FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Injury & Tort Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roe v. Halbig

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed that a blogger who moved to quash a subpoena was entitled to an award of attorney fees as the prevailing party, in a case where a crowdfunding campaign originator alleged that he was defamed online. Remanded for recalculation of the fee award.
Posted: November 20, 2018, 8:00 am

Hart v. Keenan Properties

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed a $1.6 million jury verdict in an individual's asbestos-related personal injury lawsuit. Held that there was no admissible evidence that the defendant company supplied asbestos-cement pipes to a worksite in the 1970s; the only evidence was hearsay.
Posted: November 19, 2018, 8:00 am

Alcazar v. Los Angeles Unified School District

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a middle-school child was not entitled to a new trial on his claim that the school district was liable for injuries he suffered when he fell from a tree branch on the school's campus.
Posted: November 15, 2018, 8:00 am

Marteney v. Elementis Chemicals Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed a wrongful death judgment in favor of the children of a man who died from mesothelioma, in a lawsuit brought against a chemical company.
Posted: November 1, 2018, 8:00 am

Zander v. Orlich

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Revived the claim of a citizen who was sexually assaulted by a sheriff's deputy that the sheriff was vicariously liable under principles of respondeat superior. Reversed summary judgment and remanded.
Posted: October 30, 2018, 8:00 am

Lovett v. Herbert

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that correctional officers had qualified immunity from a claim that they violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a man arrested for drunk driving who fell out of an upper bunk bed at the jail, suffering injuries that eventually led to his death several months later. Reversed the denial of qualified immunity, in this lawsuit alleging that an intoxicated person should not have been assigned to an upper bunk.
Posted: October 29, 2018, 8:00 am

Sandifer v. Hoyt Archery, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that an archery equipment manufacturer was not liable under the Louisiana Products Liability Act for the death of a man who, while at home, was pierced in the head by a piece of a hunting bow he was examining or modifying. Affirmed summary judgment against his family's claims, concluding that the district court did not err by excluding most of the testimony of the family's primary expert witness.
Posted: October 24, 2018, 8:00 am

Doe v. Nestle, S.A.

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Revived claims that manufacturers of chocolate products and other firms in the industry aided and abetted child slave labor on Ivory Coast cocoa farms. The companies contended that the complaint sought an impermissible extraterritorial application of the Alien Tort Statute. Reversing a dismissal order in relevant part, the Ninth Circuit held that the former child slaves must be allowed to amend their proposed class action complaint.
Posted: October 23, 2018, 8:00 am

Sandoval v. Qualcomm Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Upheld a finding that a large company was liable for the electrocution injuries suffered by an employee of a subcontractor who was working at a cogeneration plant on the company's campus, on the ground that the company retained control over the safety conditions and was negligent. Affirmed the denial of the company's JNOV motion; also affirmed that the company was entitled to a new trial limited to the issue of apportionment of fault.
Posted: October 19, 2018, 8:00 am

A.G. v. County of Los Angeles

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a child had legal standing to bring a wrongful death suit over the death of the man that raised him, even though it was not his biological father. Reversed and remanded, in a case involving a man's death as a result of an encounter with members of the sheriff's department.
Posted: October 18, 2018, 8:00 am

Allen v. Walmart Stores, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that Walmart and other defendants were not liable for a drug-abuse death that resulted from inhaling aerosol dust remover purchased at a Walmart store. The deceased's mother asserted negligence and product liability claims after her daughter was found dead from inhaling large quantities of the dust remover. Affirming dismissal, the Fifth Circuit held that the mother failed to state a claim.
Posted: October 16, 2018, 8:00 am

Moon v. City of El Paso

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Reinstated a false-imprisonment claim filed by a man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, holding that his claim was timely filed because false imprisonment is a continuing tort under Texas law. Also held that the assistant district attorney enjoyed prosecutorial immunity. Reversed in part and remanded.
Posted: October 15, 2018, 8:00 am

Webb v. Frawley

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that an employee of a commodities trading business failed to state claims that a supervisor tortiously interfered with his employment contract and knowingly misrepresented company policy, resulting in the employee's termination. Affirmed the dismissal of his claims.
Posted: October 11, 2018, 8:00 am

Wilson v. Horton's Towing

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a man whose pickup truck was seized by tribal police after they found marijuana during a traffic stop failed to exhaust his tribal remedies against a towing company, which he claimed was liable for conversion for unlawfully releasing the truck to the Indian reservation authorities. Remanded with instructions to dismiss his complaint without prejudice to refiling after he had exhausted his tribal remedies.
Posted: October 9, 2018, 8:00 am

Ruiz v. Musclewood Investment Properties LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Reinstated a legally blind person's claim that a local business he walked past on a regular basis failed to prevent its unleashed guard dog from growling at and attacking his guide dog, in violation of his rights under the Disabled Persons Act. Reversed orders sustaining a demurrer and granting a motion to strike.
Posted: October 5, 2018, 8:00 am

Ruiz v. Musclewood Investment Properties LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Reinstated a legally blind person's claim that a local business he walked past on a regular basis failed to prevent its unleashed guard dog from growling at and attacking his guide dog, in violation of his rights under the Disabled Persons Act. Reversed orders sustaining a demurrer and granting a motion to strike.
Posted: October 5, 2018, 8:00 am

Shell Offshore, Inc. v. Tesla Offshore, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a company surveying the ocean floor was properly apportioned 75 percent of the liability for an accident in which its underwater sonar device struck an offshore drilling rig's mooring line. The remaining 25 percent of the liability was allocated to the operator of the chartered vessel that was pulling the sonar device. Affirmed a judgment after a jury trial.
Posted: October 5, 2018, 8:00 am

Ruiz v. Musclewood Investment Properties LLC

(California Court of Appeal) - Reinstated a legally blind person's claim that a local business he walked past on a regular basis failed to prevent its unleashed guard dog from growling at and attacking his guide dog, in violation of his rights under the Disabled Persons Act. Reversed orders sustaining a demurrer and granting a motion to strike.
Posted: October 5, 2018, 8:00 am

Doe v. Vigo County, Indiana

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that Indiana law did not require a county government to answer for the sexual misconduct of a maintenance employee who allegedly sexually assaulted the plaintiff while she volunteered at the park where he worked. Affirming summary judgment for the county, held that the county was neither vicariously liable for the wrongs nor directly liable for permitting them to occur.
Posted: October 3, 2018, 8:00 am

Schulz v. Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that the trial court abused its discretion by reducing to 10 percent a law firm's contingency fee from an $18 million wrongful death settlement, rather than the 40 percent called for in the contingency fee agreement or the 31 percent requested by the law firm.
Posted: October 2, 2018, 8:00 am

Jabo v. YMCA of San Diego County

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed on summary judgment that a YMCA was not liable for negligence in the death of a man who died of sudden cardiac arrest after playing soccer on a YMCA-owned field that was rented to a nonmember league. Held that the YMCA had no common-law duty of care to provide hands-on usage of an automatic external defibrillator on the facts here.
Posted: September 28, 2018, 8:00 am