FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Injury & Tort Law

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

Kashef v. BNP Paribas S.A.

(United States Second Circuit) - Revived a New York tort lawsuit alleging that a French bank that evaded U.S. sanctions on Sudan aided and abetted the Sudanese regime in its commission of atrocities against the plaintiffs. Vacated a dismissal and remanded.
Posted: May 22, 2019, 8:00 am

Owens v. Republic of Sudan

(United States DC Circuit) - Held that claimants whose family members were harmed in a terrorist attack may state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress even if the claimants were not present at the scene of the attack. The case involved District of Columbia tort law and terrorist bombings in East Africa.
Posted: May 21, 2019, 8:00 am

Taulbee v. EJ Distribution Corp.

(California Court of Appeal) - Found no instructional error in a vehicle accident case where a Jeep collided with a truck parked near the side of the freeway. Affirmed the jury's verdict in favor of the defendants.
Posted: May 20, 2019, 8:00 am

McCarty v. Menard, Inc.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a man who tripped over a product display sign at a store could not proceed with his personal injury lawsuit. Affirmed summary judgment in favor of the store, relying on the open and obvious doctrine which implicates the general duty of care owed to business invitees in Illinois.
Posted: May 20, 2019, 8:00 am

D.Z. v. Los Angeles Unified School District

(California Court of Appeal) - Revived a student's negligent supervision claim against a school district. She alleged that school officials knew or should have known of the danger posed by a high school teacher who sexually abused her but failed to take appropriate steps to stop him, resulting in harm to her. Reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding reversible error in an evidentiary ruling.
Posted: May 14, 2019, 8:00 am

Estate of Klieman v. Palestinian Authority

(United States DC Circuit) - Held that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization, in this lawsuit brought by the estate of an American schoolteacher who was killed in a terrorist attack in the West Bank. Affirmed a dismissal, finding that the recently enacted Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 did not apply here.
Posted: May 14, 2019, 8:00 am

IQ Dental Supply v Henry Schein, Inc.

(United States Second Circuit) - Plaintiff brought suit against three dental supply distributors alleging that they conspired to violate antitrust laws. The trial court dismissed plaintiff's antitrust claims for lack of standing and tort claims for failure to state a claim. Second circuit affirmed the dismissal of the antitrust claims, but vacated the judgment for the tort claims. The case was remanded back to the district court for further proceedings.
Posted: May 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Carmona v Leo Ship Management, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed in part. District court dismissed plaintiff's personal injury case stating the the court lacked personal jurisdiction and the Fifth circuit agreed. However, the Fifth circuit held that the district court should have considered whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction accords with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice and remanded the case for the district court to decide that prong.
Posted: May 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Switzer v. Wood

(California Court of Appeal) - Plaintiff prevailed at trial on causes of action for fraud, conversion of property and violation of Penal Code 496. PC 496 provides enhanced civil penalties for knowingly selling stolen property. These penalties include treble damages and an award of attorney fees. The trial court declined to award treble damages on a civil suit and a portion of the attorney fees. Appellate court reversed the trial court judgment as to PC 496 and attorney fees stating that the statute was clear and unambiguous.
Posted: May 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Cohen v. Kabbalah Centre International Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a woman who made a sizeable donation to a San Diego spiritual group had no right to obtain her money back. Affirmed a summary adjudication in relevant part, rejecting her fraud and other claims.
Posted: May 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Webber v. Butner

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Revived an Indiana law negligence lawsuit brought by a man who was hit on the head by a falling tree branch while helping to cut down trees on his friend's property. Held that the district court gave an erroneous jury instruction in this diversity action regarding the use of safety equipment.
Posted: May 3, 2019, 8:00 am

Board of Forensic Document Examiners, Inc. v. American Bar Association

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that an organization may not proceed with its defamation action alleging reputational harm from an article published in an American Bar Association law journal. The author's statements were non-actionable expressions of opinion. Affirmed a dismissal.
Posted: May 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Harry v. Ring the Alarm, LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a tour guide who was injured while giving a tour at a noted architectural residence was entitled to a new trial on his negligence and premises liability claims, in this case where he fell from a platform suspended over a hillside. The issued involved the doctrine of primary assumption of risk.
Posted: April 25, 2019, 8:00 am

Doe v. McKesson

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a police officer who was seriously injured by a heavy object thrown by an unidentified protester could proceed with a negligence claim against an organizer of the protest. The organizer insisted that the First Amendment barred the lawsuit. Unpersuaded, the Fifth Circuit reversed a dismissal, in this suit brought under Louisiana law involving a Black Lives Matter protest against police misconduct.
Posted: April 24, 2019, 8:00 am

Redlin v. US

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirmed the dismissal, on timeliness grounds, of a veteran's lawsuit alleging that he received negligent medical care at a Veteran Affairs facility. He failed to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act's deadline.
Posted: April 23, 2019, 8:00 am

Du-All Safety, LLC v. Superior Court

(California Court of Appeal) - Plaintiff timely filed it expert disclosure and then sought to file a supplemental disclosure to rebut additional experts disclosed by opposing party. The trial court denied the supplemental disclosure. The appeals court over-ruled the trial court, stating that it had abused its discretion.
Posted: April 19, 2019, 8:00 am

Puga v. RCX Solutions, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - In an amended opinion, held that a licensed motor carrier was liable for injuries that occurred when its truck driver crossed the median into oncoming traffic. Affirmed a jury verdict in favor of an injured motorist but modified the amount of damages, in this case involving Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Posted: April 17, 2019, 8:00 am

Cox v. Griffin

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a plaintiff could not recover against her former business partner for intentionally filing a false police report accusing her of a crime. Citizen reports of suspected criminal activity cannot be the basis for a claim of false imprisonment or intentional infliction of emotional distress, as opposed to malicious prosecution. Affirmed a JNOV.
Posted: April 17, 2019, 8:00 am

Burch v. CertainTeed Corp.

(California Court of Appeal) - In a product liability case, held that a manufacturer of asbestos-cement pipe was liable to a plumber who contracted mesothelioma following many years of installing the pipe throughout California. Also addressed an issue regarding joint and several liability. Affirmed in part and reversed in part a judgment entered after a jury trial.
Posted: April 15, 2019, 8:00 am

Stennett v. Miller

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a nonmarital biological child lacked standing to sue for the wrongful death of an absentee father who never openly held her out as his own. Affirmed the dismissal of the wrongful-death suit for lack of standing.
Posted: April 12, 2019, 8:00 am

Stokes v. Muschinske

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed a damages award in a motor vehicle accident case. The plaintiff, disappointed by the size of the jury's award, sought to overturn it raising procedural issues.
Posted: April 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Johnson v. Raytheon Co. Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that an independent contractor's employee who was seriously injured on the job could not proceed with a negligence lawsuit against the prime contractor or the corporation on whose premises the injury occurred. Affirmed a summary judgment ruling.
Posted: March 27, 2019, 8:00 am

Last Frontier Healthcare District v. Superior Court (Harper)

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a medical malpractice plaintiff could not proceed with her claim against a surgeon at a public hospital. She did not timely comply with the state law requirement of presenting a claim to a public entity before bringing an action for damages against it.
Posted: March 26, 2019, 8:00 am

Long v. Forty Niners Football Co. LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a man who was shot in the parking lot after a professional football game could not proceed with his personal injury claims. His lawsuit against the football team was barred by the statute of limitations. Affirmed a dismissal.
Posted: March 26, 2019, 8:00 am

Grossman v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a man could not proceed with his negligence claims against a school district. He suffered serious injuries when he fell off a 27-foot-tall inflatable slide while attending an event at his child's elementary school. Affirmed a summary judgment ruling.
Posted: March 25, 2019, 8:00 am

Steinle v. City and County of San Francisco

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that San Francisco was not liable for the death of a woman who was shot by an undocumented alien with a criminal record who had been released from the sheriff's department's custody. Affirmed the dismissal of a negligence claim on grounds of immunity.
Posted: March 25, 2019, 8:00 am

Barenborg v. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a national fraternity had no duty to protect an individual from the actions of a local chapter and was not vicariously liable for them. Affirmed a summary judgment ruling, in a case where a visiting student was injured when she fell from a raised platform at a fraternity party.
Posted: March 19, 2019, 8:00 am

Williams v. Norfolk Southern Corp.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - In a personal injury case, held that a teenager who was struck by a train while running from a police officer could not hold the railway liable for his injuries, because he was more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Affirmed summary judgment in favor of the railway, in this diversity case applying Indiana's comparative fault law.
Posted: March 19, 2019, 8:00 am

Lewis v. Mutond

(United States DC Circuit) - Revived an American citizen's claim seeking damages from two foreign officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who allegedly subjected him to torture. Held that the Congolese officials did not qualify for foreign official immunity under the common law. Vacated a dismissal, in this lawsuit brought under the federal Torture Victim Protection Act.
Posted: March 12, 2019, 8:00 am

Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a former U.S. Navy sailor's personal injury action against a private shipyard could not be removed to federal court. Affirmed a remand order, in this case where the sailor alleged that asbestos exposure while his naval vessel was being refurbished eventually caused him to contract mesothelioma.
Posted: March 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Centex Homes v. R-Help Construction Co., Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a subcontractor hired to install utility boxes in a residential subdivision had a contractual duty to defend the developer from a personal injury claim alleging that the plaintiff fell into a defectively constructed utility box. Reversed and remanded.
Posted: March 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Greenhill v. Vartanian

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a man was time-barred from claiming that another man stole his vintage airplane from an airport hangar. Affirmed a declaratory judgment ruling.
Posted: March 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Cooke v. US

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that a woman failed to administratively exhaust her tort claims against the U.S. government arising out of an alleged assault by border patrol agents. She contended that the mailbox rule applied because she mailed in an administrative claim form, even if she could not prove receipt. However, the Second Circuit held that the mailbox rule does not apply to Federal Tort Claims Act claims, and affirmed the dismissal of her complaint.
Posted: March 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Jorge-Chavelas v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a sugarcane farm had no statutory immunity from a tort lawsuit brought by two injured cane planters. Louisiana workers' compensation laws did not grant immunity from suit here because the planters were an independent contractor's employees. Affirmed a bench trial judgment in favor of the employees.
Posted: March 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Liebhart v. SPX Corp.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Revived property owners' claim that toxic dust and debris from the demolition of an abandoned factory migrated onto their properties, jeopardizing their health and the health of their tenants. Vacated a summary judgment ruling, in a lawsuit brought under federal statutes authorizing private rights of action for environmental contamination, and also under state law.
Posted: March 6, 2019, 8:00 am

Webster v. CDI Indiana, LLC

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a diagnostic imaging facility was liable for a radiologist's negligence in missing a cancer, even though the radiologist was an independent contractor rather than a direct employee. Affirmed a jury verdict.
Posted: February 27, 2019, 8:00 am

Ryan v. Real Estate of the Pacific Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that homeowners did not need an expert witness to establish the elements of their negligence and other causes of action against a real estate agency. Reversed a summary judgment ruling.
Posted: February 26, 2019, 8:00 am

Chunn v. Amtrak

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that Amtrak police did not mishandle cash seized from a man during an arrest. The arrestee contended that he should have been given an opportunity to contest Amtrak's transfer of the $10,000 to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Unpersuaded by his arguments, the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment against his due process and conversion claims.
Posted: February 21, 2019, 8:00 am

Korman v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed the dismissal of a cruise ship passenger's personal injury complaint against a cruise line company. Held that forum non conveniens applied because of a forum selection clause in the parties' contract.
Posted: February 14, 2019, 8:00 am

Spiegel v. McClintic

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a condominium resident did not state a viable claim that another resident in the same building conspired with town officials to violate his constitutional rights. Affirmed a dismissal.
Posted: February 14, 2019, 8:00 am

Pappas v. Philip Morris, Inc.

(United States Second Circuit) - Reinstated a wife's pro se lawsuit against a cigarette manufacturer on behalf of the estate of her late husband, who died from smoking-related diseases. Vacated the dismissal of her claim under the Connecticut Product Liability Act as well as loss of consortium claims.
Posted: February 12, 2019, 8:00 am

St. Bernard Parish v. Lafarge North America, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that an attorney could not intervene in a personal injury lawsuit to pursue his fees and expenses, after having earlier withdrawn from the case. His intervention motion was untimely.
Posted: February 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Puga v. RCX Solutions, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a licensed motor carrier was liable for injuries that occurred when its truck driver crossed the median into oncoming traffic. Affirmed a trial judgment in favor of an injured motorist, with a modification to the amount of damages, in this case where the motor carrier unsuccessfully asserted a defense under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Posted: February 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Kopplin v. Wisconsin Central Limited

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a railroad employee could not proceed with his claim that he injured his elbow on the job; his evidence of causation was lacking. Affirmed summary judgment against his claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act.
Posted: February 1, 2019, 8:00 am

Booth v. US

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a son was time-barred from claiming that the Federal Highway Administration's negligence caused his father's traffic death while the son was a minor. He argued that the statute of limitations was tolled, but there is no tolling under the Federal Tort Claims Act based on being a minor. Affirmed a summary judgment ruling.
Posted: January 31, 2019, 8:00 am

Lamb v. Ashford Place Apartments LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a tenant could not hold her landlord liable for a lung condition she developed as a result of breathing smoke and fumes from her apartment's broken heating unit. Affirmed summary judgment in favor of the landlord.
Posted: January 30, 2019, 8:00 am

Fernandez v. Alexander

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a patient could not proceed with her medical malpractice lawsuit against an orthopedic surgeon who had treated her fractured wrist. Affirmed summary judgment against her claims.
Posted: January 28, 2019, 8:00 am

Zhang v. Jenevein

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a company president may proceed with a lawsuit against another company's president for secretly recording their conversations in violation of California privacy laws. Affirmed the denial of a defense anti-SLAPP motion, because neither making the recordings nor using them as evidence in contractual arbitration was protected activity.
Posted: January 23, 2019, 8:00 am

Linton v. County of Contra Costa

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed an order denying a plaintiff's request for attorney fees. She contended that she was entitled to fees based on the defendants' acceptance of her offer to compromise under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998, but her argument failed in this personal injury case.
Posted: January 23, 2019, 8:00 am

Rivera v. Allstate Insurance Co.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - In an amended opinion, overturned a $27 million jury verdict obtained by four portfolio managers who were fired after being accused of engaging in improper trading practices. Held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to assert claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and because of this, the district court was without power to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over their state law defamation claims. Remanded with instructions to dismiss the entire case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am