FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Injury & Tort Law

Daily personal injury and tort law case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.

Estate of Ware v. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the grant of summary judgement to a school whose former employee was exposed to radiation as part of his position because the Price-Anderson Act, which regulates the handling of certain nuclear materials by entities holding licenses to do so, set standards for the exposure of employees to radiation and the injured party in the case had been exposed to much lower than the threshold amounts.
Posted: September 18, 2017, 8:00 am

Friedman v. Bloomberg, L.P.

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the district court's dismissal of a defamation action as it related to out-of-state defendants because Connecticut's long-arm jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants excepting defamation actions does not violate the plaintiff's First or Fourteenth Amendment rights in a case where a media publisher reported on the plaintiff's lawsuit accusing their former Netherlands employer of a kickback operation involving Qaddafi and quoted the employer's statements about him, but reversing and remanding a decision that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim as it related to the employer's statements that he had repeatedly tried to extort money from them to determine whether the implication was indeed defamatory.
Posted: September 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Johnson v. Open Door Community Health Centers

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the trial court's entry of summary judgment to the defendant because the court erred in its application of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act's one-year statute of limitations for professional negligence because the injury, caused by a trip over medical equipment in a hospital, was subject to the statute of limitations on premises liability claims, not professional liability claims, since the accident did not relate to a medical procedure.
Posted: September 11, 2017, 8:00 am

Grotheer v. Escape Adventures, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming summary judgment for the defense in the case of a non-English speaking German national who suffered a broken leg when a hot air balloon in wine country crashed, though changing the grounds for the grant because the trial court found no duty of care, while the appeals court held that the company was not a common carrier subject to a heightened duty of care, the assumption of risk doctrine eliminated the negligence claim, and the company did have the duty to provide safe landing instructions but the undisputed evidence established that any failure to provide such instruction was not the cause of the injury.
Posted: August 31, 2017, 8:00 am

Murray v. Southern Route Maratime SA

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming an award of damages to a longshoreman and his wife for injuries he suffered when electrocuted working on a ship in a case where the district court properly instructed the jury that the vessel owner owes the longshoreman a duty to keep equipment in reasonably safe condition and it was not an abuse of discretion to admit a scientific expert to describe his theory of electrical injury or admit medical experts' testimony.
Posted: August 31, 2017, 8:00 am

DOE v. US

(United States Second Circuit) - Reversing a district court order permitting a claim against commanding officers at West Point Military Academy in a case relating to the sexual assault of a cadet who alleged that the commanding officers fostered a sexually aggressive culture at the school that discriminated against female cadets because Bivens claims have been repeatedly found to be inappropriate for courts to use in claims from enlisted personnel against their commanding officers.
Posted: August 30, 2017, 8:00 am

Major v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming trial court rulings that cigarettes were defectively designed and were the substantial factor in the death of a two pack a day smoker because Congress has no expressed intent to foreclose tort liability against cigarette manufacturers even if liability has a negative impact on cigarette sales and but-for causation does not apply to cases involving multiple causes, different combinations of which are sufficient to have caused the harm.
Posted: August 30, 2017, 8:00 am

Rubenstein v. Doe No. 1

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing a decision by the Court of Appeal that a claim filed in 2012 alleging sexual molestation of the plaintiff by a high school cross-country and track coach from 1993-1994 that resurfaced in 2012 as latent memories was timely and not barred under statutes of limitations because the filing of a timely claim as required in actions against public entities is a non-statute of limitations bar to suit and various tolling statutes did not cause the claim to re-accrue in the years following the alleged molestation.
Posted: August 28, 2017, 8:00 am

McMunn v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc.

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the district court's decision that plaintiffs in a case alleging that cancer developed in a large group of people as a result of exposure to excessive radiation admissions from a nuclear facility in Pennsylvania granting summary judgment to the defense because the plaintiffs failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact as to the existence of a duty, breach, and damages.
Posted: August 23, 2017, 8:00 am

Ramirez v. City of Gardenia

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the city in the case of a wrongful death suit involving the death of a man following the police use of a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver during a high speed pursuit because the city was immune from liability for officer conduct conforming with their policy on vehicular pursuits.
Posted: August 23, 2017, 8:00 am

Jacobs v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the grant of summary judgment to the defendant in the case of a plaintiff who was injured when, while inspecting a home offered for sale, the diving board he was standing on collapsed and he fell into the property's empty pool, because although the plaintiff claimed that they were also arguing the existence of a dangerous condition this claim was never pled and even if it had been it would have failed because the accident was not reasonably foreseeable.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

Parrish v. Watkins

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the Court of Appeals determination that while a case's success after a hearing on the merits typically forecloses subsequent malicious prosecution claims; a case that survives a motion for summary judgment but is determined to have been brought in bad faith after trial does not foreclose malicious prosecution actions under the interim adverse judgment rule.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 8:00 am

Parrish v. Watkins

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the Court of Appeals determination that while a case's success after a hearing on the merits typically forecloses subsequent malicious prosecution claims; a case that survives a motion for summary judgment but is determined to have been brought in bad faith after trial does not foreclose malicious prosecution actions under the interim adverse judgment rule.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 8:00 am

Towery v. State of California

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the determination, in the case of a man who caught valley fever while incarcerated in a state prison, that the State is immune from liability against a Bane Act cause of action because, subject to exceptions not relevant to the claim, a public entity is not liable for an injury to any prisoner.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 8:00 am

Toeppe v. City of San Diego

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the final judgment following a motion for summary judgment by the defendant city in the case of an injury that occurred when a tree branch fell on a woman walking through a city park because trail immunity did not apply and a disputed issue of material fact existed as to where the woman was when the tree branch struck her.
Posted: July 27, 2017, 8:00 am

Taylor v. Trimble

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the summary judgment for the defendants in the case of a child who drowned in a pool while under the care of his grandfather while guests at the respondents' home because the grandfather's supervision meant that the hosts were not negligent and owed no duty of care to protect the child and premises liability claims failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to causation.
Posted: July 27, 2017, 8:00 am

The Estuary Owners Assn. v. Shell Oil Co.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming trial court rulings that causes of action for negligence were barred by the three-year statute of limitations but reversing summary judgment ruling as to causes of action for nuisance that were not barred by the 10-year statute of repose in the case brought by condo owners for the allege contamination of soil and groundwater at the site of their homes.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:00 am

County of San Mateo v. The Superior Court of San Mateo County

(California Court of Appeal) - Denying a petition for writ of mandate seeking to overturn the trial court's denial of the county's motion for summary judgment in the case of a child crushed and seriously injured when a large tree fell in a county park campground. The county sought to dismiss the case by claiming 'natural condition immunity,' but there are triable issues of fact relating to whether the campground counts as unimproved public property.
Posted: July 25, 2017, 8:00 am

David v. Hernandez

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a jury decision that found that the plaintiff in a personal injury suit arising from a car accident would be reasonably certain to need four future shoulder surgeries, based upon expert testimony, and the trial court's decision to exclude expert testimony that the plaintiff's ability to drive was impaired by marijuana use because although the driver tested positive for THC there was no evidence of impairment.
Posted: July 25, 2017, 8:00 am

Tannerite Sports, LLC v. NBC Universal News Group

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the dismissal and judgment in the case of a plaintiff manufacturer of exploding rifle targets against the NBC news group for defamation because the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant had made a false statement about the plaintiff when they called the targets bombs and expressed concerns about their potential for misuse.
Posted: July 25, 2017, 8:00 am

Chugach Management Services Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Jetnil

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Denying the petition for review of the award of disability benefits under the Defense Base Act and the application of a judicially-created 'zone of special danger' doctrine to a local national injured while employed by a government contractor overseas.
Posted: July 21, 2017, 8:00 am

Alvarez v. Seaside Transportation Services LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the grant of summary judgment to defendants under the Privette doctrine, which prevents an independent contractor's employee from recovering tort damages for work-related injuries from the contractor's hirer because the defendants met their burden for summary judgment and there were no triable issues of material fact as to the application of the Privette doctrine because no evidence was presented that the defendant was involved in the contracted work.
Posted: July 20, 2017, 8:00 am

ZL Technologies, Inc. v. Doe

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the judgment dismissing a complaint with prejudice for failing to serve defendants and denying a motion to compel compliance with a subpeona served on respondent Glassdoor, Inc in a case where Doe defendants allegedly anonymously defamed the plaintiff on Glassdoor's website and Glassdoor denied the plaintiff access to information that would identify them.
Posted: July 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Manzanares v. Shulkin

(United States Federal Circuit) - Affirming the denials of the US Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims and the Board of Veterens' Appeals of a claim for an earlier effective date for a secondary service-connected back injury claim filed by a veteran with a primary service-connected bilateral ankle condition because the relevant statute does not make a claim for secondary service connection part of the primary service connection claim.
Posted: July 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Vargas-Colon v. Fundacion Damas, Inc.

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming district court judgments for the defendants in a procedurally and factually complicated claim involving the bankruptcy of a hospital liable to the plaintiff and other parties for settlements of medical malpractice claims because claims presented by the disabled child's brothers lacked allegations that could support their claims and the primary plaintiff failed to challenge either ground invoked by the district court in its dismissal.
Posted: July 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Swigart v. Bruno

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendant in a case involving a person struck by a horse during an endurance horse riding event on account of the doctrine of primary assumption of risk, and because Swigart failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to recklessness and the horse's propensity for danger.
Posted: July 17, 2017, 8:00 am

Mountain Valley Prop. Inc. v. Applied Risk Serv. Inc.

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the denial of a motion to vacate an arbitrator's decision because the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law and did not exceed their powers.
Posted: July 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Mejias-Aguayo v. Doreste-Rodriguez

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the denial of a motion for new rial following a jury verdict in favor of the defendants in a case involving a car accident where the plaintiff complained about the defense attorney's characterization of the incident as an accident and the judge's paraphrasing of portions of the law in their jury instructions, finding that neither incident was misleading or prejudicial.
Posted: July 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Riggs v. Curran

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the dismissal of plaintiff's claims challenging the development of an offshore wind farm because the personal injury tort claim was filed after the state's three year statute of limitations, determining that the statute of limitations began to run at the time of publication of the Public Utilities Commission's plan, not when permits were issued, energy rates rose, or the plaintiffs exhausted their administrative remedies.
Posted: July 10, 2017, 8:00 am

Kumari v. The Hospital Com. for the Livermore Pleasanton Areas

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming that a letter sent to a hospital demanding damages and alleging negligence that included a threat to 'move to the court' if a settlement amount was not paid constituted a notice of intent to sue did not extend the statute of limitations for a tort action filed more than a year after the incident.
Posted: July 6, 2017, 8:00 am

Soto v. Gaudett

(United States Second Circuit) - Reversing the denial of summary judgment and dismissing other grounds for appeals on procedural grounds, the court held that lower court erred in failing to apply the fleeing-suspect principle when determining police officer's qualified immunity in a case involving the death of a fleeing suspect as a result of tasering and a car accident.
Posted: July 5, 2017, 8:00 am

Trejo v. Johnson & Johnson

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the jury verdict involving an ibuprofen manufacturer whose pills gave a customer a reaction on account of their rare skin disease where the jury's verdicts were contradictory, with some decisions finding no strict-liability failure to warn but finding negligent failure to warn, and also failing to include the necessary question of whether a reasonable manufacturer under the same circumstances would have warned against the risk.
Posted: June 30, 2017, 8:00 am

Blanyer v. Geneva Products, Inc.

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the dismissal of a putative class action claim that was found to be barred by the statute of limitations in a case brought by former employees of a company that manufactures vinyl pipes and rain gutters because the action was commenced long after their exposure and the discovery rule did not apply since the harmful effects of the substances have been public knowledge for decades.
Posted: June 30, 2017, 8:00 am

Halley v. Honeywell International Inc.

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the class certification, settlement approval, and award of attorney's fees in a class action suit relating to the chromium contamination of New Jersey properties in the vicinity of waste disposal sites, but ordering the reconsideration of the award of costs.
Posted: June 29, 2017, 8:00 am

City of Pasadena v. Super. Ct.

(California Court of Appeal) - Mesothelioma sufferer's case is dismissed because, although the statute of limitations on asbestos-related injuries had not yet begun to run, the statute of limitations on bringing suit against the city government had.
Posted: June 26, 2017, 8:00 am

Arnone v. Aetna Life Ins. Co.

(United States Second Circuit) - In a case involving the denial of long-term disability benefits, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is reversed where on appeal the court applied a NY law that raises the conclusive presumption that settlements do not include costs paid by an insurer and that neither ERISA nor a choice of law provision on the insurance plan blocked the application of the law.
Posted: June 22, 2017, 8:00 am

Monster, LLC v. Beats Electronics, LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - In a petition for writ of mandate in an underlying tort action in which Monster alleged that Beats Electronics engaged in fraud to deprive them of interest in the company, and the headphone manufacturer filed cross-claims for breach of contract and argued that the court, rather than a jury, could determine the amount of damages, the petition is granted where defendant is entitled to a jury trial on the issue of attorney's fees.
Posted: June 21, 2017, 8:00 am

Zhu v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd.

(California Court of Appeal) - In a case involving an in-home caretaker injured while traveling between worksites, the court annulled an earlier appeal dismissing the action and remanded for a new decision, where the facts of the case qualified for the required vehicle exception to the going and coming rule.
Posted: June 20, 2017, 8:00 am

Zubillaga v. Allstate Indemnity Co.

(California Court of Appeal) - In a first party insurance bad faith action arising out of an automobile accident brought against an insurer alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, the trial court's grant of summary judgment is reversed where plaintiff demonstrated triable issues of material fact regarding whether defendant's decision she did not need expensive epidural steroid injections, was made without a good faith investigation and without a reasonable basis for a genuine dispute.
Posted: June 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Hilliard v. Harbour

(California Court of Appeal) - In an elder's suit alleging defendants took or assisted in taking his property for wrongful use, with intent to defraud, or by undue influence, in violation of Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30(a)(1)(2), a provision of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, the trial court's judgment sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend is affirmed where plaintiff lacked standing to bring this individual action.
Posted: June 16, 2017, 8:00 am

Hutcheson v. Eskaton Fountainwood Lodge

(California Court of Appeal) - In an elder law case seeking damages for elder abuse, fraud and negligent infliction of emotional distress, the trial court's denial of a motion by the nursing home-defendant to compel arbitration is affirmed where: 1) admission of decedent to the residential care center for the elderly was a health care decision; and 2) the attorney-in-fact who admitted her, acting under the Power of Attorney Law (PAL), Prob. Code section 4000 et seq., was not authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal.
Posted: June 14, 2017, 8:00 am

BPP Illinois v. Royal Bank of Scotland Grp. PLC

(United States Second Circuit) - In a suit brought by a group of hotel-related businesses, along with their investor and guarantors, alleging fraud claims against a bank and its subsidiaries, the district court's dismissal of the fraud claims is affirmed where the because plaintiffs failed to list their cause of action in a schedule of assets in their now-concluded bankruptcy proceeding, they are barred on judicial estoppel and timeliness grounds.
Posted: June 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Norman v. Elkin

(United States Third Circuit) - In a communications company's partnership dispute, arising out of the transfer of partnership assets without compensation, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed on alternative grounds the decision to enter summary judgment in defendant's favor on the claim of fraud; and 2) vacated as to judgment in defendant's favor on plaintiff's remaining claims where the District Court erred in concluding that tolling of the statute of limitations is categorically inappropriate when a plaintiff has inquiry notice before initiating a books and records action in the Delaware courts.
Posted: June 13, 2017, 8:00 am

In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products Liability Litigation

(United States Second Circuit) - In consolidated multi-district litigation arising from contamination of groundwater in Orange County, California from various oil companies' use of the gasoline additive MTBE, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on res judicata grounds as a consequence of earlier consent judgments entered in California state court resolving similar suits against defendants brought by the Orange County District Attorney, is vacated and remanded where the record does not sufficiently establish that the Orange County District Attorney and the Orange County Water District-plaintiff were in privity.
Posted: June 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Microsoft Corp. v. Baker

(United States Supreme Court) - In a putative class action alleging a design defect in defendant's Xbox 360 video game console, in which the District Court struck plaintiffs' class allegations from the complaint and denied permission to appeal that order under Rule 23(f), the Ninth Circuit's judgment, holding that it had jurisdiction and that the District Court's rationale for striking plaintiffs' class allegations was an impermissible one, is reversed where Federal courts of appeals lack jurisdiction under section 1291 to review an order denying class certification (or, as here, an order striking class allegations) after the named plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice.
Posted: June 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Johnson v. Perry

(United States Second Circuit) - In a suit against a principal-defendant of a private high school brought by a student's parent-plainitff, alleging that plaintiff's First Amendment right of freedom of assembly and his state-law right to be free from the intentional infliction of emotional distress were violated by defendant in banning him from attending virtually all school events, on or off school property, because of his opposition to defendant's bullying and harassing efforts to compel plaintiff's daughter to remain a member of the girls varsity basketball team, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed in part as to the denial of defendant's motion for qualified immunity, to the extent that he barred plaintiff from entering school property to attend spectator sports contests to which the public was invited, and caused plaintiff's removal from a non-school, privately owned stadium at which Johnson was present as an invitee of the owner; and 2) reversed in part where qualified immunity should have been granted to defendant the extent that he barred plaintiff from entering school property for purposes other than attending sports contests, given the lack of an established First Amendment right of general access to school property.
Posted: June 8, 2017, 8:00 am

McKeague v. One World Technologies, Inc.

(United States First Circuit) - In an appeal arising out of a personal injury case alleging design defect, in which the plaintiff's two lawyers did nothing to prosecute the plaintiff's claims within generous deadlines, received a second chance, and then failed to oppose a pending motion for summary judgment, the district court's refusal to grant yet another reprieve is affirmed where it did not abuse its discretion, because given the failure of plaintiff's lawyers to prosecute his claim and their repeated flouting of reasonable deadlines, the district court demonstrated a reasonable sense of nuance in doing the necessary balancing.
Posted: June 8, 2017, 8:00 am

Santos-Rodriguez v. SeaStar Solutions

(United States First Circuit) - In a suit brought by a plaintiff, who was injured in a boating accident when a corroded rod end that was part of the boat's steering mechanism failed, against the manufacturer of the boat's steering mechanism, alleging a design defect and a failure to warn, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff cannot prove that any failure to warn caused his injuries; 2) plaintiff cannot prove that any design defect in the steering rod caused his injuries; and 3) plaintiffs' derivative claims cannot survive.
Posted: June 8, 2017, 8:00 am

Brenner v. Universal Health

(California Court of Appeal) - In an action for wrongful death based on medical negligence, retaliation, Health and Safety Code section 1278.5, and elder abuse, Welfare and Institutions Code sections 15610, et seq., the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendants is affirmed where the trial court properly granted summary judgment with respect to all of the claims asserted against the defendants involved in this appeal.
Posted: June 7, 2017, 8:00 am

Safar v. Tingle

(United States Fourth Circuit) - In a suit under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and state tort law, arising out of the arrest and incarceration of plaintiffs based on an allegation of fraud that was mistakenly reported by Costco and almost immediately retracted, against the police officer and prosecutor who, at different stages of the criminal process, learned that no crime had occurred and yet failed to take steps to withdraw an arrest warrant, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed in part as to grant of immunity to defendants on the section 1983 claim; and 2) reversed in part as to plaintiffs' claim for gross negligence under Virginia law, where, at this stage, the truth of their pleadings must be assumed, and the horrific sequence of events they have alleged weighs in favor of remanding without prejudice so they can pursue their claims in state court.
Posted: June 7, 2017, 8:00 am