FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Injury & Tort Law

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

Rasmussen v. Lazarus

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the denial of a motion to dismiss a wrongful death suit based on a cold case murder because any prematurity defense was waived when it was not timely raised, was cured by the time the issue was raised in the motion to dismiss, and equity supported disregarding the prematurity plea in abatement altogether.
Posted: January 8, 2018, 8:00 am

Kramer v. Cullinan

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing a district court order on summary judgment denying qualified immunity to the former president of Southern Oregon University in an action alleging that she violated the liberty interest of a former employee by releasing stigmatizing information in connection with his termination when his dismissal letter became publicly available because the panel held it did not contain stigmatizing information.
Posted: January 3, 2018, 8:00 am

Foss Maritime Company v. Corvus Energy Limited

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant in the case of a third-party contribution and indemnification action arising from a tugboat fire because the parties had settled prior to a fact-finder's determination of fault and the plaintiff explicitly released the defendant from claims as part of the settlement.
Posted: December 27, 2017, 8:00 am

Turley v. Familian Corporation

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the trial court's order of summary judgment to a defendant corporation in an asbestos suit where testimony that couldn't conclusively establish that the specific plaintiffs were exposed to the company's specific products was not given enough weight, since it did establish the use of their products at the plaintiff's worksite and disregarding his testimony was error.
Posted: December 22, 2017, 8:00 am

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the Court of Appeals determination that the manufacturer of a name brand drug whose labeling directs the warnings provided on its generic bioequivalent's packaging owes a duty of reasonable care to the consumers of the generic drug and that the liability for potential negligence doesn't automatically terminate upon transfer of the company's rights in the name brand drug to a successor manufacturer.
Posted: December 21, 2017, 8:00 am

Crediford v. Shulkin

(United States Federal Circuit) - Vacating the judgment of the Veteran's Court upholding a Board of Veterans' Appeals denial of service connection to a man with a cervical spine condition suffered when he had an accident after a night of drinking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Club that the Coast Guard determined to have been an accident that wasn't due to his misconduct and occurred 'in the line of duty' because the board erred in making its own findings on the question of willful misconduct without addressing the earlier Coast Guard findings.
Posted: December 18, 2017, 8:00 am

Kurwa v. Kislinger

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming a court of appeals judgment in a case where the parties agreed to dismiss many claims, a choice the plaintiff made in order to appeal a partial order of dismissal, but the judgment wasn't final, couldn't be appealed, and the trial court disavowed the ability to revisit the agreement, resulting in attempts by the plaintiff to finalize the judgment by dismissing other claims, but still couldn't get the judgment revisited because a cross-claim remained pending, because while the court agreed that the present appeal wouldn't get the plaintiff out of their bind, but clarifying that the trial court retained authority to render a final and appealable judgment and remanding for the trial court to vacate its defective judgment and enter a final judgment.
Posted: December 18, 2017, 8:00 am

Southern California Gas Leak Cases

(California Court of Appeal) - Granting a petition for peremptory writ of mandate in a case alleging purely financial loss in a suit between seven businesses that suffered economic losses but not injury to person or property as the result of a massive natural gas leak at a gas company's facility whose demurrer to the negligence claims had been overruled because the gas company owed no duty to prevent the business plaintiff's economic loss based on negligent conduct.
Posted: December 15, 2017, 8:00 am

Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Hart High-Voltage Apparatus Repair and Testing Co., Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the summary judgment dismissing an action by PG&E seeking reimbursement for millions of dollars in direct and indirect costs incurred on account of the negligent servicing of a large transformer at a hydroelectric power plant because, although the plaintiff did not own the transformer at issue, they held enough property interests in the transformer and its operation to secure standing as the real party in interest.
Posted: December 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Jensen v. U-Haul Co. of California

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a trial court ruling denying a motion to compel arbitration in a case involving damages caused when a rented truck blew a tire while the renters were driving it because neither plaintiff was a party to the rental contract containing the arbitration agreement provision.
Posted: December 11, 2017, 8:00 am

Bartholomew v. Youtube, LLC.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the trial court's dismissal for failure to state a claim in the case of a musician whose video was taken down from YouTube, which posted a statement that the video had violated their terms of service, because using violence and profanity as examples of things that could result in the removal of a video did not amount to libel.
Posted: December 1, 2017, 8:00 am

Olson v. Manhattan Beach Unified School District

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the trial court's dismissal of a second amended complaint in a lawsuit alleging defamation and deceit related to parents' complaints about a baseball team coach because the grievance, filed pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, failed to satisfy the claim filing requirements of the Government Claims Act.
Posted: November 29, 2017, 8:00 am

Santos v. Los Angeles Unified School District

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment after a Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) vehicle driven by an LASPD officer struck another vehicle a lawsuit was filed against the LASPD, but the vehicle turned out to be insured by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), later added to the complaint, because there was a factual dispute regarding whether the misrepresentation of the LASPD officer resulted in equitable estoppel.
Posted: November 29, 2017, 8:00 am

Adelson v. Harris

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the district court's dismissal of a case and award of attorney's fees and costs in the case of a man suing the National Jewish Democratic Counsel for defamation arising from the organization's communication to presidential candidate Mitt Romney that the plaintiff's financial contributions were tainted because the plaintiff failed to allege knowledge of falsity in their statements.
Posted: November 29, 2017, 8:00 am

Kedra v. Schroeter

(United States Third Circuit) - Reversing the district court's grant of qualified immunity and remanding the case of a state trooper shot and killed by his instructor during firearms training because although the plaintiff only alleged an objective theory of deliberate indifference, which was not clearly established at the time of the shooting, the obviousness of the risk was relevant to proving actual knowledge and the allegations were sufficient to support a reasonable inference, adequately pleading a state-created danger claim.
Posted: November 28, 2017, 8:00 am

F.P. v. Monier

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the judgment of the court of appeal that the district court's failure to issue a statement of decision as required by the Code of Civil Procedure was not reversible per se because no judgment can be set aside on the ground of misdirection of the jury, the improper admission or rejection of evidence, or for any error as to pleading or procedure, unless after examining the entire cause the court concludes that the error resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
Posted: November 27, 2017, 8:00 am

Dickinson v. Cosby

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing a decision striking the plaintiff's first amended complaint as it applied to Bill Cosby's attorney in a defamation suit involving a letter that characterized her rape accusation as a lie, as it applied to a demand letter, but affirming the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion with respect to a press release.
Posted: November 21, 2017, 8:00 am

Laboratory Specialists International, Inc. v. Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the district court's dismissal of a lawsuit pursuant to the forum selection clause in the parties' contract because there was no procedural error and the court did not err in dismissing the plaintiff's tort claims or by refusing to conduct an analysis under discretionary forum non conveniens factors.
Posted: November 21, 2017, 8:00 am

Best Auto Repair Shop, Inc. v. Universal Insurance Group

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claims in the case alleging that insurance companies had unlawfully interfered with the plaintiff's right to make or enforce existing and prospective contracts with their insureds or third party claimants by excluding a repair shop and because the owner is black and Dominican because issues were waived or improperly pleaded.
Posted: November 16, 2017, 8:00 am

Best Auto Repair Shop, Inc. v. Universal Insurance Group

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claims in the case alleging that insurance companies had unlawfully interfered with the plaintiff's right to make or enforce existing and prospective contracts with their insureds or third party claimants by excluding a repair shop and because the owner is black and Dominican because issues were waived or improperly pleaded.
Posted: November 16, 2017, 8:00 am

Cornell v. City and County of San Francisco

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the jury verdict for tortious interference with economic advantage, Civil Code violations, attorney fees, and costs in the case of a police officer trainee who was wrongly arrested and held while taking a morning run because there was sufficient evidence to support the decisions, damages awards, and verdict.
Posted: November 16, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. Conagra Grocery Products Company

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing a trial court judgment relating to the sale of lead-based paints because substantial evidence didn't show causation as to residences built after 1950 and directing the trial court to hold further proceedings on remand regarding the appointment of a suitable receiver for any damages, but otherwise affirming.
Posted: November 14, 2017, 8:00 am

Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church

(Supreme Court of California) - Holding that a church did not owe its invitees a duty to prevent injuries that resulted from crossing a public street between the church's overflow parking lot and the church itself because the street's dangers were not obscured or magnified by any condition on the landowner's premises or any action taken by them.
Posted: November 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Amoah v. McKinney

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the district court's decision to grant the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's statement of facts and granting summary judgment on the remaining record in a case where a tractor trailer rear-ended the plaintiff's passenger vehicle because expert opinions that were necessary to prevail hadn't been filed by the plaintiff until months after the deadline for expert disclosures had passed.
Posted: November 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Lichtman v. Siemens Industry Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - In an injury and tort action, arising after plaintiff was injured in an auto collision during a power outage when the intersection's traffic signal's battery backup unit, maintained by defendant, had no batteries, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is reversed where the defendant failed to establish it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Posted: November 2, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re Complaint of Buchanan Marine, L.P.

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the district court's decision to dismiss the case of a barge worker claiming under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, NY, and maritime law for injuries sustained while working on a barge and grant a complaint for exoneration of liability pursuant to the Limitation of Liability Act because the court correctly held that the worker, who inspected and maintained mooring barges, was not a 'seaman' for the purpose of the Jones act, but also vacating and remanding because the court erred in dismissing certain claims against the owner of the barge and operator of the facility
Posted: October 27, 2017, 8:00 am

M.F. v. Pacific Pearl Hotel Management, LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing and remanding the superior court's dismissal of a claim under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act brought by a housekeeping employee who was raped by a drunk non-employee trespasser that the employer knew or should have known was on the premises and had aggressively propositioned other employees prior to the attack because the claims were sufficient under the statute to survive the employer's demurrer.
Posted: October 26, 2017, 8:00 am

Foltz v. Johnson

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the grant of summary judgment in an action alleging negligence by a woman's former fiance when a dirt bike ride resulted in her being thrown from the vehicle and suffering a paralyzing spinal injury because her agreement to go dirt biking resulted in a primary assumption of risk and there were no triable issues of fact regarding whether the defendant engaged in reckless conduct totally outside the range of activity involved in off-road dirt biking.
Posted: October 25, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. Luo

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the jury conviction of a man for involuntary manslaughter following the collapse of an unsupported excavation at a construction site that resulted in a worker's death because expert testimony was unnecessary to establish that the unsupported excavation presented a serious danger and this determination did not involve information beyond the average person's common experience.
Posted: October 25, 2017, 8:00 am

Andrews v. Target Pharmacy

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the entry of an order of summary judgment against the defendant in a case where there were multiple deadline extensions granted to submit the documentation necessary to admit expert testimony that the defendant failed to meet because it was not an abuse of discretion to refuse to reopen discovery after the defense's repeated failure to comply with deadlines and submit the necessary documentation.
Posted: October 23, 2017, 8:00 am

Morrill v. Scott Financial Corporation

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's dismissal of an action brought by an attorney and his law firm in Arizona alleging abuse of process and wrongful institution of civil proceedings by a North Dakota corporation for lack of personal jurisdiction in a case where the lawyers claimed that the defendants had engaged in a campaign to harm them during prior litigation in Nevada in which they represented adverse parties because the defendants all resided out of state and did not have contacts in Arizona sufficient to establish specific personal jurisdiction over them.
Posted: October 23, 2017, 8:00 am

Curtis Engineering Corporation v. The Superior Court of San Diego County

(California Court of Appeal) - Granting the petition for writ of mandate in a case involving professional negligence in which the attorney for a plaintiff failed to file a certificate declaring that a consultation and opinion from an expert in the field had been acquired in support of the action until after the expiration of the statute of limitation and more than 60 days after the filing of the complaint because such notices are required on or before the date of service of the complaint and no adequate excuse for not doing so had been proffered.
Posted: October 23, 2017, 8:00 am

Lyons v. Colgate-Palmolive Company

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendant Colgate-Palmolive in a product liability claim relating to a woman's allegation that she developed mesothelioma from the use of a cosmetic talcum powder containing asbestos because the record contained substantial evidence creating a triable issue as to whether the talc contained asbestos that could be found to have been a substantial cause of the plaintiff's illness.
Posted: October 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Morales-Simental v. Genentech, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the grant of summary judgment to the defendant company in a case involving an auto accident where the plaintiffs sought to hold the driver's employer responsible because the court correctly determined that the driver's conduct fell into the coming and going exception to respondeat superior liability and insufficient triable issues of material fact were presented to support an alleged special errand exception to overcome the summary judgment.
Posted: October 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Mckee v. Cosby

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the district court's grant of Bill Cosby's motion to dismiss on First Amendment grounds in a case alleging defamation when the New York Daily News published an article in which the plaintiff accused him of rape and a purportedly confidential letter drafted by Cosby's attorney in response was released to news outlets and websites worldwide.
Posted: October 18, 2017, 8:00 am

Reenstierna v. Currier

(United States First Circuit) - In a defamation action, arising out of defendant's report to the New Hampshire Real Estate Appraisal Board's disciplinary hearing concerning a grievance charge against plaintiff, a real estate appraiser, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is affirmed where defendant's statements in his report are shielded from this suit by New Hampshire's absolute witness immunity doctrine.
Posted: October 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Trotter v. 7R Holdings LLC

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming a district court order dismissing a maritime case involving an injury that took place on a boat registered in the British Virgin Islands for forum non conveniens because the remedies available in the alternative forum were not clearly inadequate, the Jones Act lacked a special venue provision, and the court reasonably balanced the relevant private and public interest factors.
Posted: October 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Stewart v. St Joseph Health

(California Court of Appeal) - Issuing a peremptory writ of mandate directing the Superior Court to vacate an order granting summary adjudication of the plaintiff's causes of action for elder abuse, fraudulent concealment, and medical battery and substituting an order denying the motion as to these causes of action because of errors in the determination of duties owed and because issues of material fact existed.
Posted: October 12, 2017, 8:00 am

Small Justice LLC v. Xcentric Ventures LLC

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the district court's decision to dismiss the plaintiff's claims under Massachusetts law for libel and intentional interference, affirming the grant of summary judgment to the defendant on the remaining claims, and affirming the award of attorney fees and costs to the defense in a case where an attorney was the subject of two negative reports because the law immunized the defense for many of the complaints.
Posted: October 11, 2017, 8:00 am

Longoria v. Pinal County

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing and remanding a case in which the family of a man shot in the back by the police, killing him as he raised his hands above his head and following the use of non-lethal force by officers because the officer who shot him was not entitled to qualified immunity because the use of force could have been found unreasonable by a jury and material issues of fact existed regarding whether the officer's version of events leading up to the shooting were credible.
Posted: October 10, 2017, 8:00 am

McKenney v. Mangino

(United States First Circuit) - Dismissing the portions of an interlocutory appeal for want of appellate jurisdiction and otherwise affirming the district court's ruling that an officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in the tragic case of a man who died at the hands of a police officer trying to do their job because the denial was legally sound and fact-based arguments were inappropriate for an interlocutory appeal.
Posted: October 6, 2017, 8:00 am

Manhattan By Sail, Inc. v. Tagle

(United States Second Circuit) - Vacating the district court's judgment in favor of the owners of a sailing vessel sued by a woman who was injured when a deckhand lost control of a weighted halyard that hit her in the head because the district court's ruling that the plaintiff failed to show negligence or entitlement to the application of res ipsa loquitur because a seaman can lose control of a line without negligence was in error and the court should have found negligence occurred based on the evidence.
Posted: October 5, 2017, 8:00 am

TDY Holdings LLC v. US

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing and remanding the district court's judgment in favor of the United States, allocating 100 percent of the cleanup of a site to the military contractor who contaminated it and zero percent to the government because the court erred in its analysis and application of the Shell Oil and Cadillac Fairview decisions.
Posted: October 4, 2017, 8:00 am

Gordo-Gonzalez v. US

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the dismissal of a suit in which the ex-wife of an FBI agent complained that the FBI negligently supervised him, resulting in his use of FBI equipment to spy on her during their marriage, because the Federal Tort Claims Act's discretionary function exception applied and the government did not waive its sovereign immunity.
Posted: October 3, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation No. VI

(United States Third Circuit) - Vacating the entry of summary judgment on the plaintiff's negligence claims in a case involving asbestos and maritime law because the court chose to apply a reasonable foreseeability standard instead of the bright line rule adopted by the district court, but affirming the entry of summary judgment on the plaintiff's product liability claims because they were abandoned on appeal.
Posted: October 3, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re The Complaint of Christopher Columbus LLC

(United States Third Circuit) - Vacating the district court dismissal of a negligence lawsuit relating to a drunken brawl that broke out among the passengers of a cruise on the Delaware River because proper maritime jurisdiction was found over the event, which the court concluded had the potential to disrupt maritime commerce.
Posted: September 25, 2017, 8:00 am

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