FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Injury & Tort Law

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

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

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

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

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

Cox v. State of Washington

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reinstated grandparents' claims that Washington's Department of Social and Health Services negligently failed to ensure that their two grandchildren were not placed in an abusive situation. The two boys were murdered by their father during a social-worker-supervised visit. Reversed a grant of summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings on the grandparents' negligence claims.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Coleman v. US

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Revived an Air Force member's medical malpractice suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs. Held that the district court erred in analyzing whether the plaintiff's proffered medical expert was competent to testify. Vacated in relevant part and remanded.
Posted: January 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Randle v. Crosby Tugs, L.L.C.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - In an amended opinion, held that a vessel owner did not breach its duty under the Jones Act to provide prompt and adequate medical care to a seaman who suffered a stroke. Affirmed summary judgment for the vessel owner.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Licudine v. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed an order denying prejudgment interest. Held that the plaintiff was not entitled to interest under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998 because her settlement offer was not made in good faith, in this medical malpractice case.
Posted: January 3, 2019, 8:00 am

Ironshore Europe DAC v. Schiff Hardin, L.L.P.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that an excess insurer could not sue an insured's lawyers for negligent misrepresentation. The insurer claimed that the lawyers led it to believe that a product liability suit posed no threat of exposure to its policy. Concluding that the law firm was immune from suit under these circumstances, the Fifth Circuit reversed the denial of a motion to dismiss and rendered a judgment of dismissal.
Posted: January 2, 2019, 8:00 am

Simon v. Republic of Hungary

(United States DC Circuit) - Held that 14 Holocaust survivors could proceed with their lawsuit against the Republic of Hungary seeking compensation for the seizure and expropriation of their property during the Holocaust. Reversed the district court, which had dismissed their complaint based on principles of international comity and on grounds of forum non conveniens.
Posted: December 28, 2018, 8:00 am

Olive v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - On rehearing, held that a professional model and actor was not entitled to recover his attorney fees after being awarded damages against an advertiser that used his likeness in an advertising campaign after its right to do so expired. Affirmed the trial court.
Posted: December 27, 2018, 8:00 am

Moreno v. Visser Ranch, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Revived a respondeat superior claim that a driver was acting within the scope of employment when he crashed a company-owned pickup truck, injuring his son, while returning from a family gathering. There was evidence that the employer required him to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reversed a summary adjudication ruling in the son's personal injury lawsuit.
Posted: December 20, 2018, 8:00 am

Cruz v. National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a ship repair worker who had collected workers' compensation from a staffing firm for her injuries could not bring a tort suit. She had sued the general contractor (a borrowing employer) that was performing repairs on a docked vessel. Affirmed summary judgment against her negligence claims, in a case involving the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Posted: December 19, 2018, 8:00 am

Randle v. Crosby Tugs, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a vessel owner did not breach its duty under the Jones Act to provide a seaman who had suffered a stroke with prompt and adequate medical care. The ship was docked and the captain dialed 911. Affirmed summary judgment for the vessel owner.
Posted: December 19, 2018, 8:00 am

Hoffman v. Superior Ready Mix Concrete, L.P.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed an attorney fee award to a landowner who objected to the activities of an adjacent rock quarry and prevailed in a trespass action.
Posted: December 19, 2018, 8:00 am

University of Southern California v. Superior Court (Barenborg)

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a college had no duty to protect members of the public from the conduct of a third party at an off-campus fraternity party. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries when another partygoer bumped into her and she fell from a makeshift raised platform at a fraternity party. Granted the university's writ petition challenging the denial of its summary judgment motion.
Posted: December 19, 2018, 8:00 am

Meador v. Apple, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that Apple Inc. was not liable for a fatal car crash that happened when a distracted driver looked down to read a text message on her iPhone 5. The suit alleged that the iPhone caused the accident because it had no lockout mechanism. Affirmed dismissal of the complaint, holding that Texas law would not regard a driver's neurobiological response to a smartphone notification as a cause of a car crash.
Posted: December 18, 2018, 8:00 am

Cox v. Bonni

(California Court of Appeal) - Upheld an arbitration award in favor of a physician who was sued by a patient for medical malpractice. Affirmed the trial court, rejecting the plaintiff's contentions about arbitrator bias and the enforceability of the arbitration agreement.
Posted: December 17, 2018, 8:00 am

Guernsey v. City of Salinas

(California Court of Appeal) - Revived a pedestrian's claim that a city was liable for her injuries from being struck by a truck while crossing at a faded crosswalk that hadn't been repainted in fifteen years. Reversed a judgment for the city, holding that the trial court prejudicially erred at trial in giving the city's requested "design of the driveway" jury instruction.
Posted: December 17, 2018, 8:00 am

Betzner v. Boeing Co.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a manufacturer of military aircraft that was sued in state court in an asbestos-related personal injury action was entitled to remove the case under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. section 1442(a), based on the assertion of a government contractor defense. Reversed the district court.
Posted: December 14, 2018, 8:00 am

Modisette v. Apple Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that Apple Inc. was not liable for a five-year-old girl's death and injuries to her family members that occurred when a driver using the FaceTime application on his iPhone crashed into her parents' car on a Texas highway. Affirmed dismissal of the complaint, concluding that Apple did not owe a duty of care and that the iPhone's design was not a proximate cause.
Posted: December 14, 2018, 8:00 am

Hutchison v. Fitzgerald Equipment Co., Inc.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a tractor-trailer driver could not proceed with his claims that a forklift-servicing company was liable for a forklift backing over his foot. The servicing company allegedly failed to warn his employer to install a backup alarm on the forklift. Affirmed summary judgment against his claims.
Posted: December 14, 2018, 8:00 am

BP Exploration and Production, Inc. v. Claimant ID 100094497

(United States Fifth Circuit) - In a case arising out of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, held that a detrimentally impacted seafood business's monetary award under a court supervised settlement program was not properly calculated. Vacated and remanded.
Posted: December 10, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Bostock

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the sentence of a defendant who pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine.
Posted: December 10, 2018, 8:00 am

Koerner v. CMR Construction and Roofing LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a homeowner could not proceed with his claim that a roofing company defrauded him in connection with the sale of a new roof and also performed negligent repairs. Affirmed summary judgment against his claims. Also found no error in the setting aside of a default judgment against the company.
Posted: December 7, 2018, 8:00 am

Cumpian v. Alcoa World Alumina, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a personal injury lawsuit should have been remanded to state court because of the absence of diversity jurisdiction. The district court erred in determining that the parties were completely diverse. Vacated a summary judgment ruling, in a lawsuit brought by a contractor's employee who was injured in an industrial accident at a factory.
Posted: December 6, 2018, 8:00 am

Calvert v. Binali

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed a $2 million default judgment entered in favor of a plastic surgeon who sued a former patient for allegedly posting an anonymous review online commenting negatively on her plastic surgery experience. Held that faulty service by publication rendered the judgment void on its face.
Posted: December 4, 2018, 8:00 am

Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court (Katherine Rosen)

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a college student could proceed with her lawsuit alleging that university officials were negligent in failing to take reasonable measures to protect her from being foreseeably attacked by another student who had been receiving treatment for mental illness. Denied the university's writ petition, in relevant part, on remand from the California Supreme Court.
Posted: December 4, 2018, 8:00 am

Mayall v. USA Water Polo, Inc.

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a child who suffered head injuries while playing in a youth water polo league stated a claim that USA Water Polo acted negligently and unlawfully by failing to implement concussion-management and return-to-play protocols. Reversed the dismissal of a proposed class action brought by her parent on her behalf.
Posted: November 28, 2018, 8:00 am

Morgan v. Davidson

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed a $200,000 judgment for battery in a case involving a dispute between next-door neighbors that escalated into a physical beating.
Posted: November 27, 2018, 8:00 am

Sleepy's LLC v. Select Comfort Wholesale Corp.

(United States Second Circuit) - Reinstated a mattress retailer's slander claims against a mattress manufacturer for allegedly disparaging its stores and products. Also addressed an issue concerning attorney fees under the Lanham Act. Vacated in part and remanded.
Posted: November 27, 2018, 8:00 am

Arista v. County of Riverside

(California Court of Appeal) - Revived wrongful death and other claims that a wife brought against a county government after her husband died of hypothermia because he was not rescued more quickly from a national forest where he had gone biking. Reversed dismissal in relevant part.
Posted: November 20, 2018, 8:00 am