Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

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State employee Shirley Shea suffered from chronic pain and has been unable to work. She applied for occupational disability benefits, claiming that prolonged sitting at work aggravated a preexisting medical condition. The Division of Retirement and Benefits denied the claim. An administrative law judge affirmed that decision, determining that employment was not a substantial factor in causing Shea's disability. On appeal, the superior court reversed the administrative law judge’s decision. Because the administrative law judge’s decision was supported by substantial evidence, the Alaska Supreme Court reversed the superior court’s decision and affirmed the administrative law judge. View "Alaska Dept. of Administration, Division of Retirement & Benefits v. Shea" on Justia Law

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Laura Miller appeals from a summary judgment entered by the Jefferson Circuit Court ("the circuit court") in favor of the City of Birmingham ("the City"), Sandy Roberts, and Alice Crutchfield (collectively, "the City defendants"). Robert Miller, Laura's husband, was employed by the City as a firefighter. Unum Life Insurance Company of America ("Unum") issued a group life and accidental death and dismemberment policy. According to the summary of benefits, the policy included different life-insurance benefits for active employees and for retired employees. Under the policy, as an active employee, the City paid Robert's insurance premiums, thereby entitling him to a life-insurance benefit of $151,000. However, if Robert were to retire, he would be required to pay his life-insurance premiums and would be entitled to only a $50,000 life-insurance benefit. The summary of benefits specified that, in order to be eligible for a waiver of the life-insurance premiums, the insured had to "be disabled through your elimination period," which was nine months. In 2012, Robert was diagnosed with brain cancer and soon became unable to perform the duties of his job. Laura contended once the Millers learned of Robert's condition, they "sought to obtain information about [Mr. Miller's] life insurance benefit and all other benefits that might be available." The Millers did not have a copy of the policy or the summary of benefits at that time. The Millers and Ed Bluemly, Mrs. Miller's brother-in-law, met with Sandy Roberts, the assistant benefit administrator and the pension coordinator for the Jefferson County Personnel Board, and Alice Crutchfield, a personnel technician for the Jefferson County Personnel Board, to learn about the available benefits. The Millers asked for a copy of the policy, and there was a dispute over whether the Crutchfield gave the Millers a copy. The Millers ultimately sued the City for negligence with respect to the policy and collection of the benefits to which Robert was entitled. After review of this matter, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's summary judgment in favor of the City insofar as the circuit court based its summary judgment in favor of the City on the City defendants' argument that the City was entitled to immunity from Laura's claim alleging wanton and reckless misrepresentation. However, the Court reversed the circuit court's summary judgment in favor of the City defendants in all other respects. The Case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Miller v. City of Birmingham et al." on Justia Law

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Andrew Barnwell appealed the grant of summary judgment entered in favor of CLP Corporation ("CLP"). CLP owned and operated a McDonald's fast-food restaurant. In 2013, Barnwell visited the restaurant. Barnwell stated that after he entered the restaurant, he went straight to the restroom to wash his hands. Upon exiting the restroom, Barnwell alleged he slipped and fell, and complained of leg and back pain shortly thereafter. Barnwell sued CLP, asserting a claim of negligence. After a review of the facts entered in the trial court record, the Supreme Court held the circuit court erred in entering a summary judgment in favor of CLP. "CLP failed to present substantial evidence supporting its affirmative defense that the [floor's] condition that allegedly caused Barnwell to slip and fall was an open and obvious danger." View "Barnwell v. CLP Corporation" on Justia Law

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Raymond Bennett, who was intoxicated and driving his motorcycle, entered a curve at a high rate of speed and drove into a ditch. He was killed in the accident. Several Highway Patrol troopers soon arrived to manage the scene and investigate the incident. Approximately an hour and a half later, Douglas Howard rounded the same curve and encountered a motorhome that was stopped in his lane of travel. Howard lost control of his motorcycle and was injured. Howard sued Bennett’s estate, alleging that Bennett’s negligence in his own accident proximately caused Howard’s injuries in the subsequent accident. The Estate moved for summary judgment. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Bennett’s negligence was not the proximate cause of Howard’s injuries as a matter of law. Remanded with instructions for entry of summary judgment in favor of the Estate. View "Howard v. Bennett" on Justia Law

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Shantel Jackson filed suit against former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., alleging, inter alia, claims for invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff's claims were based, either entirely or in part, on Mayweather's social media postings about the termination of Jackson's pregnancy and its relationship to the couple's separation and his comments during a radio interview concerning the extent to which Jackson had undergone cosmetic surgery procedures. Mayweather filed a special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, (the Anti-SLAPP statute). The trial court denied the motion. The court concluded that the challenged causes of action arose from protected activity under section 426.16, subdivision (e)(3); the statements concerned an issue of public interest; and Jackson failed to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on her cause of action for defamation and most aspects of her causes of action for invasion of privacy. Accordingly, the court reversed with respect to Jackson's causes of action for defamation and false light portrayal and her cause of action for public disclosure of private facts based on Mayweather's comments about cosmetic surgery. The court affirmed in all other respects. View "Jackson v. Mayweather, Jr." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants after he was injured when his rifle suddenly discharged, firing a bullet through his foot. Plaintiff alleged five products liability claims and one claim under Texas law. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of defendants because plaintiff's claim was time-barred. At issue was whether the district court properly applied Texas's choice of law rules, which is dependent upon whether section 71.031(a) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code is a choice of law provision and whether the statute applies in federal court. The court concluded that Hyde v. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. is controlling in this case. In light of Hyde, the court concluded that section 71.031 is a choice of law provision that applies in both state and federal courts, and an analysis of section 71.031 demonstrates the result is the same regardless of whether plaintiff is considered a resident of Texas or Georgia. In this case, even assuming the rifle was first purchased in 1998, plaintiff had until 2013 to initiate his products liability suit, but he did not do so until 2015, which was more than fifteen years from the date of the sale of the rifle. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Burdett v. Remington Arms Co., LLC" on Justia Law

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Patrick Camerano died after suffering a fall while on a “respite/nursing stay” at a facility operated by East Boston Neighborhood Health center (EBNHC). Plaintiff, Patrick’s son, sent a letter styled as a “claim” to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) alleging state common law and federal statutory violations and seeking $1,700,000 in damages for Patrick’s alleged wrongful death. The district court granted summary judgment to the government, concluding (1) Plaintiff’s tort claims against EBNHC are considered tort claims against the United States, which was subject to a two-year limitations period; and (2) Plaintiff did not file his administrative complaint with HHS until more than two years after learning that his father had suffered a fatal injury caused by a fall. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff’s arguments that his claim did not accrue until his newly retained counsel was able to ascertain the name of the respite/nursing home where his father’s accident happen failed; (2) Plaintiff’s argument that the two-year limitations period should be equitably tolled also failed; and (3) the district court did not commit procedural error in granting summary judgment to the government. View "Camerano v. United States" on Justia Law

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While assigned to fight a wildfire, plaintiff and appellant Rebecca Megan Quigley was severely injured when a water truck ran over her as she slept at the fire base camp. She sued, inter alia, defendants-respondents Garden Valley Fire Protection District, Chester Fire Protection District, and their employees Frank DelCarlo, Mike Jellison, and Jeff Barnhart for damages, claiming she was injured as a result of their negligence, a dangerous condition of public property, and defendants’ failure to warn. The trial court granted nonsuit against plaintiff’s complaint on the bases that defendants were statutorily immune from liability and the firefighter’s rule prevented plaintiff from recovering. Because the Court of Appeal agreed defendants were immune from liability for plaintiff’s injuries, it affirmed the judgment. View "Quigley v. Garden Valley" on Justia Law

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Petitioner LeAndra Lewis sought workers' compensation benefits for injuries she suffered following a shooting in a night club operated by L.B. Dynasty. In a previous opinion, the South Carolina Supreme Court held Lewis was an employee of L.B. Dynasty, entitling her to workers' compensation benefits. The Court remanded the matter to the court of appeals to review the commission's order awarding benefits to Lewis. Ultimately, the court of appeals affirmed the commission's award of $75 per week. Lewis appealed, arguing the court of appeals erred in holding the commission's findings were supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court agreed, and remanded this case back to the commission for a de novo hearing to determine the amount of benefits to which Lewis is entitled. View "Lewis v. L.B. Dynasty" on Justia Law

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Garland Brothers Joint Venture owned property at which Charter Manufacturing Company had housed its business under a triple net lease. MWF later purchased the property. MWF hired Hunzinger Construction to perform renovation work on the property. Russell Brenner, a Hunzinger employee, was injured while performing the work. Brenner and his wife sued MWF, Garland Brothers, and Charter, alleging negligence and violation of Wisconsin’s safe-place statutes. The circuit court dismissed Charter and Garland Brothers, concluding that the caveat emptor principle precluded judgment against them. The Brenners subsequently settled with Charter and Garland Brothers. MWF appealed Charter’s dismissal. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court’s summary judgment in favor of Charter. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the caveat emptor doctrine applied to Charter, and MWF did not establish any exception to the doctrine in this case. View "Brenner v. National Casualty Co." on Justia Law