FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Injury & Tort Law

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

Klocke v. University of TX at Arlington

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Reversed and remanded. The Texas Citizens Participation Act does not apply to diversity cases in federal court.
Posted: August 29, 2019, 8:00 am

Stephens v. Union Pacific Railroad Company

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirmed. In a claim of negligence for secondary exposure to asbestos, the plaintiff failed to establish sufficient cause. The panel held that in the context of asbestos claims, the substantial-factor test requires “demonstrating that the injured person had substantial exposure to the relevant asbestos for a substantial period of time.”
Posted: August 28, 2019, 8:00 am

Jones v. US

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. An injury suit under general maritime law failed because causation evidence was scant and the injured party couldn't prove that grease on a ship deck caused him to slip and fall.
Posted: August 28, 2019, 8:00 am

Churchman v. Bay Area Rapid Transit Dist

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff sued Defendant for a slip and fall accident in the BART station on the theory that the train operator owed a heightened duty of care under Civil Code section 2100. The trial court dismissed the action on the grounds that Defendant had no liability for accidents that did not occur on the train. The appeals court agreed also holding that section 2100 does not apply to minor commonplace hazards in a train station.
Posted: August 28, 2019, 8:00 am

Lopez v. Bartlett Care Center, LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Defendant, a skilled nursing facility, appealed an order denying its petition to compel arbitration for claims of negligent, elder abuse and wrongful death. The trial court found that the claims were not arbitratable because there was no arbitration agreement between Defendant and the decedent.
Posted: August 28, 2019, 8:00 am

Huerta v. City of Santa Ana

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiffs are the parents of three girls who were killed by a speeding motorist while they crossed the street in a marked crosswalk. Plaintiff brought an action against the City of Santa Ana claiming that the crosswalk qualified as a dangerous condition on public property. The appeals court did not find a dangerous condition or any peculiar condition that would trigger an obligation by the City.
Posted: August 23, 2019, 8:00 am

Branom v. Diamond

(California Court of Appeal) - Dismissed appeal. Plaintiff and Defendant agreed to an expedited jury trial process pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 630.01. As part of the expedited process, the parties agree to waive the right to appeal. Plaintiff sought to appeal the amount of the damages award, but by executing the consent to expedited jury trial she voluntarily waived her right to appeal.
Posted: August 23, 2019, 8:00 am

Fuller v. Department of Transportation

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff was injured in a head-on traffic accident that he alleged was partially caused by a dangerous road condition. The jury found that a dangerous condition existed but it was not a reasonably foreseeable risk that this kind of incident would occur. The appeals court agreed and affirmed the judgment in favor of the Defendant.
Posted: August 20, 2019, 8:00 am

Moore v. LA Department of Public Safety

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Reversed. The substitution of the guardians of the children of a deceased man discovered a year after the filing of a wrongful death action by his mother was proper despite the substitution occurring after the statutory limitations period. The substitution relates back to the date of the initial complaint.
Posted: August 19, 2019, 8:00 am

Martinez v. Walgreen Company

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. Walgreens was not responsible for third parties injured on the road by a customer of the pharmacy who was negligently given someone else's prescription. They did not owe a tort duty of care to third parties.
Posted: August 16, 2019, 8:00 am

Voris v. Lampert

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirmed. Plaintiff successfully brought an action against Defendant for contract-based and statutory remedies for nonpayment of wages. On appeal Plaintiff sought to hold Defendant personally liable under a theory of common law conversion. The appeals court held that such a conversion claim is not the appropriate remedy.
Posted: August 15, 2019, 8:00 am

Baughman v. Hickman

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. In the case of a man who alleged a constitutional violation related to his injuries while in custody, the dismissal of all federal claims for failure to state a claim affirmed, as was the decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a Texas law claim.
Posted: August 15, 2019, 8:00 am

In Re: Deepwater Horizon

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. The magistrate judge and district court properly denied the claims of a group of fishermen to a portion of the punitive damages settlement granted to a class of claimants alleging harm as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill because the court was bound to precedent, the plain language of the settlement, and a deferential standard of review.
Posted: August 13, 2019, 8:00 am

Capitol Services Management v. Vesta Corp.

(United States DC Circuit) - Reversed and remanded. The district court's dismissal of a tort claim as time barred was in error because at the motion to dismiss stage dismissal for statute of limitations is only possible if the plaintiff's claims are conclusively time barred on the face of the complaint.
Posted: August 13, 2019, 8:00 am

Doe v. McKesson

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Petition for rehearing granted. A lawsuit by a police officer hit by a thrown object during a protest against Black Lives Matter was properly dismissed, but his suit against the protest organizer should have been permitted to proceed.
Posted: August 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Pina v. County of Los Angeles

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed judgment on the verdict and remand for new trial. Plaintiff brought a personal injury action against Defendant for injuries suffered in a bus accident. The jury found for Plaintiff but awarded minimal damages on the belief from an expert testimony that future surgery would not be required. The court awarded Defendant costs and attorney fees under CCP 998. Plaintiff appealed on the grounds that the expert testimony exceeded the scope of permissible impeachment. The appeals court agreed and ordered the trial court to vacate its order on the post-trial motions.
Posted: August 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Smith v. Ogbueh

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed. Plaintiff is an indigent, self-represented prison inmate pursuing a medical malpractice claim. The trial count denied Plaintiff’s request for the appointment of counsel and granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The appeals court directed the trial court to conduct further proceedings on Plaintiff’s right of access to the courts and right to appointment of counsel and to vacate the order granting the motion for summary judgment.
Posted: August 6, 2019, 8:00 am

Timm v. Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed. A lawsuit arising from a terrible motorcycle accident that alleged defects in the tires and helmets involved failed because the plaintiffs didn't present admissible expert testimony to support their claims.
Posted: August 6, 2019, 8:00 am

Sheen v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff, a homeowner, attempted a mortgage loan modification with Defendant, but when Plaintiff fell behind in payments, Defendant foreclosed. Plaintiff sued for negligence. The trial court sustained Defendant’s demurrer on the grounds that no tort duty is owed on contracts. The appeals court held that a lender does not owe a borrower a duty to offer, consider, or approve a loan modification.
Posted: August 5, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Superior Court

(California Court of Appeal) - Denied District Attorney’s writ of mandate to declare Senate Bill No. 1391 unconstitutional. Juvenile offender, T.D., shot and killed someone when he was 14. The DA filed charges against T.D. directly as an adult. While the case was pending, Proposition 57 was passed to eliminate the DA’s ability to charge minors 14 or younger as adults. Later, SB No. 1391 was passed that prohibited transfers of 14 -15 year-olds to criminal court. The Appeals court found that SB No. 1391 was not unconstitutional and that it was consistent with the intent of Prop 57.
Posted: August 5, 2019, 8:00 am

Lee v. Dept. of Parks and Recreation

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed immunity, reversed attorney fees. Plaintiff sued Defendant on a premises liability claim. The trial court found that governmental immunity applied and awarded judgment to Defendant along with attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1038. The appeals court held that government immunity did apply, but reversed the award of attorney fees because there was a real question of whether government immunity was applicable or not such that Plaintiff’s lawsuit had a reasonable cause which defeated the attorney fee award.
Posted: August 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Longoria v. Hunter Express Ltd.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Vacated and remanded. A $2.8 million verdict in a car accident and injury case was vacated because there was no evidence to support an award for future mental anguish or future pain and suffering.
Posted: August 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Wilson v. County of San Joaquin

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed. Plaintiff pled no contest to a felony charge of child abuse for injuries to his infant son, but filed this suit against Defendant, Fire Department, for the emergency medical aid that allegedly led to the death of his infant son. Defendant filed a summary judgment motion that was granted by the trial court on the grounds of government immunity. The appeals court held that government immunity applies to situations where fire fighters are supplying firefighting services, not emergency medical services.
Posted: July 30, 2019, 8:00 am

Chronis v. USA

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed. In order for a tort claim to be brought against the US the plaintiff must first exhaust her administrative remedies by presenting her claim to the appropriate federal agencies and demand a sum certain in their claim. The plaintiff in this action failed to make such a demand and the district court properly dismissed the case.
Posted: July 29, 2019, 8:00 am

Huckey v. City of Temecula

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. The trial court granted City's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff sued City for injuries from tripping and falling over a defective sidewalk. The trial court ruled that the defect was trivial as a matter of law.
Posted: July 26, 2019, 8:00 am

Dickinson v. Cosby

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant, Cosby, raped her in 1982. Defendant responded by claiming Plaintiff was lying in several press releases. Plaintiff filed suit for defamation. Cosby moved to strike the complaint under the anti-SLAPP statute. The trial court denied Cosby's motion to strike and the appeals court held that none of Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the anti-SLAPP statute.
Posted: July 26, 2019, 8:00 am

Tauscher v. Phoenix Board of Realtors, Inc.

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversed summary judgment in favor of the Defendant. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff, who is deaf, requested an American Sign Language interpreter at Defendants' continuing educations courses. Held that while a public accommodation must furnish appropriate assistance to individuals with disabilities, specific aid is not required, but there was an issue of material fact as to whether effective communication was offered to Plaintiff even if different than that requested.
Posted: July 25, 2019, 8:00 am

Valentine v. Plum Healthcare Group, LLC.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed order denying petition to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs attempted to enforce arbitration in an action for elder abuse and wrongful death at a skilled nursing facility. The trial court determined that the successor in interest was bound by the agreement to arbitrate, but the children of the decedent were not so bound. The trial court denied the petition to arbitrate to prevent inconsistent findings if both arbitration and litigation proceeded concurrently. The appeals court agreed.
Posted: July 25, 2019, 8:00 am

Severson & Werson v. Sephery-Fard

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed. Plaintiff filed a petition for a workplace violence restraining order against Defendant using the mandatory Judicial Council form. The trial court granted the workplace violence restraining order. Appeals court reversed concluding that Defendant was not afforded the required notice under Code of Civil Procedure 527.8 and reversed the ruling.
Posted: July 24, 2019, 8:00 am

Hollingsworth v. Superior Court

(California Court of Appeal) - Vacated. Plaintiff, the heir of an employee who was killed in a work place accident, filed a complaint alleging that the employer did not have workers compensation insurance. The employer filed a demurrer and sought adjudication with the Workers Compensation Board. The trial court stayed the civil case to allow the WCAB to decide the issue. The Appeals court held that when a civil action and a workers’ compensation proceeding are concurrently pending, the tribunal first assuming jurisdiction should have exclusive jurisdiction. The trial court erred by staying the civil case and the WCAB erred by proceeding without deference to the trial court. Order staying civil case is vacated and WCAB proceedings stayed.
Posted: July 24, 2019, 8:00 am

Chen v. LA Truck Centers, LLC.

(Supreme Court of California) - Reversed. Plaintiffs brought a tort action against Defendants for a fatal tour bus accident that occurred in Arizona. The parties originally included plaintiffs from China and defendants from Indiana and California. The trial court determined that Indiana law governed the suit. Before trial a settlement was reached with the Indiana defendant. A Motion in Limine was brought to reconsider the choice of law because of the settlement. The Supreme Court held that a settlement did not require the trial to reconsider the choice of law.
Posted: July 22, 2019, 8:00 am

Williams v. Fremont Corners, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff sued for negligence and premises liability for an assault that injured him in the Defendant's parking lot. The trial court found that Plaintiff had not met his burden of showing foreseeability of violent criminal assaults. Therefore, Defendant did not have a legal duty to implement additional security measures to prevent possible third-party conduct.
Posted: July 18, 2019, 8:00 am

In re A.M.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Father of minor appealed from an order denying him contact after he sexually abused the minor. Appeal court found no error.
Posted: July 18, 2019, 8:00 am

Doe v. Dept. of Children & Family Services

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed judgment for nonsuit. Plaintiff, a juvenile, sued Department of Children and Family Services for sexual abuse while she was in foster care. Trial court granted nonsuit because Defendant did not have a duty to protect Plaintiff from criminal actions of third parties. Appeals court affirmed, but modified cost award.
Posted: July 18, 2019, 8:00 am

Guerrero v. BNSF Railway Company

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Distict court’s summary judgment that deceased BSNF employee was not acting within the scope of his employment when driving to work affirmed. Deceased was a BNSF railroad employee, but in court’s judgment no jury could reasonably find BSNF negligent in any way, so the question of work status need not be addressed.
Posted: July 17, 2019, 8:00 am

Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc

(United States Ninth Circuit) - 9th Circuit panel certified two questions to the California Supreme Court: 1) Does Section 16600 of the California Business and Professions Code apply to covenants not to compete not involving employer and employee? and 2) Does a claim for intentional interference with contractual relations require the plaintiff to plead and prove an intentionally wrongful act in cases not involving at-will employment contracts?
Posted: July 16, 2019, 8:00 am

Monster Energy Co. v. Schechter

(Supreme Court of California) - Reversed appeal court ruling. The parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement following a tort action. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant, counsel for the injured party in the tort action, breached the settlement agreement by making public statements. Defendant claimed he was not bound by the agreement, but only recommended his clients sign it. California Supreme Court made a factual finding that the Defendant intended to be bound by the settlement agreement.
Posted: July 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Hernandez v. First Student, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiffs brought a wrongful death action on behalf of their 13-year-old son who was struck and killed by a school bus. The jury found that Plaintiff’s son was 80 percent responsible for the accident and awarded $250,000 in damages. The trial court denied a motion for a new trial. The appeals court held that Plaintiffs had not made a cognizable argument as to why the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion and found no merit in Plaintiff’s claims. Affirmed judgment.
Posted: July 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed judgment notwithstanding verdict (JNOV) in favor of Defendants in part and granted new trial. Defendants, Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JCCI) manufactured talcum products that Plaintiff’s allege caused injury. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff, awarding compensatory and punitive damages. Defendants filed a motion for JNOV as to liability and punitive damages and for a new trial. The trial court granted the motions. The appeals court affirmed the JNOV in favor of Johnson & Johnson, but partially reversed as to Defendant, JCCI. Appeals court found no malice to support punitive damages, but found causation evidence in conflict and affirmed granting a new trial to JCCI.
Posted: July 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Baker-Smith v. Skolnick

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed and remanded for new trial. Plaintiff was injured when she swerved and crashed to avoid a flying mattress. The jury found for the Defendant. The appeals court found that that the jury was given incorrect jury instructions on negligence per se and reversed the judgment.
Posted: July 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Crump v. Superior Court

(California Court of Appeal) - Petition for writ of mandate is denied. Remanded to consider restitution. Los Angeles County filed a misdemeanor criminal complaint against SoCalGas for a natural gas leak that continued for months and caused damage to residents. The criminal charges were resolved by a plea agreement, where a no contest plea was entered to the charge of failure to immediately report gas leak. Plaintiffs sought to set aside plea agreement and seek restitution under the California Constitution. The appeals court held that victims do not have a right to appeal a criminal case judgment, but they do have a right to restitution. However, restitution is only available for crimes where there is an actual conviction.
Posted: July 9, 2019, 8:00 am

Hernandez v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant for injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Plaintiff contended that Defendant was strictly liable for an alleged automobile defect that caused injury. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendant stating that Plaintiff had failed to establish Defendant acquired successor liability for the alleged defect.
Posted: July 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Brown v. Maxwell; Dershowitz v. Giuffre

(United States Second Circuit) - Vacate and order the unsealing of summary judgment record and remand. Intervenors, Dershowitz and the Miami Herald, appeal from an order denying motion to unseal filings in a defamation suit stemming from a suit brought as a result of the conviction of Jeffrey Epstein. Appeals court held the district court failed to conduct appropriate review when it ordered records sealed. Appeals court ordered the unsealing of summary judgment materials as there was no privacy interest sufficient to justify continued sealing. The remaining documents require additional review by the district court applying appropriate standards.
Posted: July 3, 2019, 8:00 am

Neto v Atlantic Specialty Ins. Co

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. Plaintiff was a passenger in an automobile that was involved in an accident. He was not a party to the insurance policy that covered the car, but was an unnamed additional insured. Plaintiff attempted to contact Defendant, the insurer of the car, but was unsuccessful. Plaintiff then reached his own settlement with at-fault driver of the other car. Defendant refused to agree to the settlement and denied coverage to Plaintiff stating that under the terms of the policy, Plaintiff had to have approval from them before settling. The trial court found that Plaintiff was not a party to the insurance contract, did not know the terms of the policy and could not be held to those terms.
Posted: July 2, 2019, 8:00 am

Frederking v Cincinnati Ins. Co

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Reverse and remand. Defendant advanced the theory that its insurance policy did not cover injuries caused by drunk driving collisions, because they are not “accidents”. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendant, insurance company, stating that the intentional decision to drive while intoxicated meant the collision was not an accident. The appeals court held that there was nothing in Texas law that would construe the term “accident” in the manner put forth by the Defendant.
Posted: July 2, 2019, 8:00 am

Clark v. River Metals Recycling, LLC

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed. The district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in a workplace injury case where the worker sued the manufacturer of a car crusher and the company it leased it to rather than his employer claiming defective design because his evidence did not comply with Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
Posted: July 2, 2019, 8:00 am

Kiebala v. Boris

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed. The district court did not err in permitting a self represented defendant to amend his complaint to avoid dismissal or in holding that a libel complaint is barred by the statute of limitations in a lawsuit relating to a luxury auto timeshare scheme.
Posted: July 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Dennis Bargher v. Craig White, et al

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Vacate and remand. Plaintiff, a prisoner, brought suit against prison official alleging that they arranged another inmate to attack him and stood by while he was severely injured. District court granted summary judgment with prejudice to Defendant for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Appeals court found that Plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies, but the proper disposition was dismissal without prejudice.
Posted: July 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Zuckerman v. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that the doctrine of laches barred a woman from seeking to recover a painting by Pablo Picasso hanging in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting once belonged to her ancestors, German Jews who fled the Nazi regime. Affirmed a dismissal based on undue delay in bringing the lawsuit.
Posted: June 26, 2019, 8:00 am

Lomeli v. State Dept. of Health Care Services

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Plaintiff sued medical providers for birth injuries that were paid for through Medi-Cal. The Department of Health Care Services put a lien on the monies recovered from the medical providers. Plaintiff sought to remove lien. Court held that Medi-Cal was entitled to repayment and upheld the lien.
Posted: June 25, 2019, 8:00 am