Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

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Beasley alleged that, during the proposed class period— January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2016—Tootsie Roll manufactured, distributed, and sold products that contained artificial trans fats in the form of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) and that trans fats are harmful and cause cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and organ damage. Beasley alleged she purchased Tootsie Roll products containing PHOs during the class period. She sought to represent a class defined as: “All citizens of California who purchased Tootsie Products containing partially hydrogenated oil in California” during the class period. Beasley asserted the use of PHOs was unlawful and unfair under the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) (Bus. & Prof. Code, 17200 ) and breached the implied warranty of merchantability.The court of appeal affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. Beasley failed to allege cognizable injury and some of her claims were preempted by federal law (specifically a congressional enactment providing the use of PHOs is not to be deemed violative of food additive standards until June 18, 2018). The claim for breach of warranty is also preempted. Permitting the use of broad state statutory provisions governing “adulterated” foods to impose liability for PHO use before the federally established compliance date would create an obstacle to the achievement of Congress’s evident purpose of confirming the 2018 compliance date. View "Beasley v. Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the court of special appeals affirming the circuit court's judgment affirming the decision of the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission granting Respondent's request for compensation for his hernia, holding that the court of special appeals did not err.In granting Respondent's request for compensation, the Commission found that Respondent sustained an accidental injury during employment, that his current hernia was the result of the accidental injury, and that, as a result of the hernia, Respondent was totally disabled for several months. The circuit court and court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the court of special appeals did not err when it (1) held that "definite proof" under L&E 9-504(a)(1) applies to the quality of evidence presented and not the standard of proof a claimant must meet; and (2) concluded that Respondent met his burden of persuasion when producing medical evidence to a preponderance of the evidence standard. View "United Parcel Service v. Strothers" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued the United States of America for injuries sustained from a fall on federal property. Specifically, he points to the General Services Administration’s (“GSA”) commitment to “making Federal buildings and facilities fully accessible to all people” and to “ensuring the full integration of individuals with disabilities who use [government] facilities.”He also asserts that the southwalk design violates the International Building Code (“IBC”) requirements for stairs.   The district court determined that Plaintiff’s tort claim was barred by the discretionary-function exception to the Government’s waiver of sovereign immunity for tort claims. The district court therefore dismissed Plaintiff’s suit for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court explained that because Plaintiff has not pointed to any statutes or mandatory regulations that sufficiently constrain the GSA’s discretion over the building’s design, he has failed the first step in overcoming the discretionary-function exception. Further, the court held that because Plaintiff has failed to show that the Government’s discretion was not susceptible to policy analysis, the discretionary function exception bars his claim. View "Phillip Alberty v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendant and dismissing Plaintiff's action alleging that Defendant was liable as his co-employee "for reckless, willful, wanton and/or reprehensible conduct" that led to him being run over with a concrete truck while working on a construction project, holding that there was no error.In granting summary judgment for Defendant, the district court concluded that Defendant was immune from liability because, under Wyoming law, Plaintiff's sole remedy was workers' compensation benefits. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether Defendant lost statutory immunity because his actions were willful and wanton. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed, holding that the district court (1) erred by ruling that Defendant was not responsible for Plaintiff's safety and work conditions because he was not Plaintiff's supervisor; (2) did not err in ruling that Plaintiff did not present evidence showing that Defendant knew his actions presented a serious risk to Plaintiff or that it was highly probable harm would result if he disregarded the risk; and (3) did not err by ruling that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to whether Defendant acted willfully and wantonly. View "Lovato v. Case" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court disqualifying Risie Howard as the attorney representing the estate of Mrs. George Howard in a case arising from Mrs. Howard's medical treatment, holding that the circuit court's ruling represented a manifest abuse of discretion.On appeal, Howard argued that the circuit court erroneously interpreted Rule 3.7 of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct and misapplied the test promulgated in Weigel v. Farmers Insurance Co., 158 S.W.3d 147 (Ark. 2004), in granting Defendants' motion to disqualify her. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court did not faithfully apply Rule 3.7 and the precedent established by Weigel and its progeny in disqualifying Howard. View "Howard v. Baptist Health" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a negligent credentialing is a separate and independent claim from medical negligence but that a negligent credentialing claim cannot proceed without either a simultaneous or prior adjudication of or stipulation to medical negligence.At issue was whether a hospital's grant of staff privileges to a physician, otherwise known as credentialing a physician, confers a duty upon the hospital that is separate and independent of the duty the physical owes to the hospital's patients. If so, the question remained whether a patient's negligent credentialing claim can proceed in the absence of a prior adjudication or stipulation that the physician was negligent in his care of the patient. The trial court in this case granted the hospital's motion for summary judgment on the negligent credentialing claim. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a negligent credentialing claim cannot proceed without either a simultaneous or prior adjudication of or stipulation that a doctor committed medical malpractice; and (2) because such an adjudication or stipulation was not present in this case, the negligent credentialing claim was properly dismissed. View "Walling v. Brenya" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment to Liosha Miles on the issue of whether each of the two insurance policies in this case provided separate tranches of insurance of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, holding that the circuit court erred.Given her disagreement with GEICO Advantage Insurance Company and GEICO Choice Insurance Company (collectively, GEICO), Miles filed this action seeking a declaration that each policy at issue contained separate $50,000 limits for UM and UIM coverage and that GEICO owed her addition amounts for her UIM claims related to a single automobile accident caused by the negligence of two different drivers other than herself. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Miles. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) UIM coverage is a constituent part of UM coverage; and (2) consequently, the circuit court erred in concluding that Va. Code 38.2-2206(A) required each policy to provide Miles with separate UM and UIM coverage limits for injuries arising from a single accident. View "GEICO Advantage Insurance Co. v. Miles" on Justia Law

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This is an appeal from an order denying Defendant’s to strike Plaintiff’s causes of action against him pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute. The Second Appellate District reversed the trial court’s order and remanded to the trial court with instructions to grant Defendant’s motion to strike Plaintiff’s causes of action against him for civil extortion and violation of the Ralph Act.   The court wrote that there is no dispute that Defendant’s underlying conduct was in furtherance of petitioning activity within the meaning of section 425.16, subdivision (b)(1). But the trial court concluded Defendant’s prelitigation letter responsive to a demand from Plaintiff’s counsel amounted to extortion as a matter of law so as to deprive it of section 425.16 protection under Flatley v. Mauro (2006). The court explained that even though the trial court declined to reach it, the court decided to exercise our discretion to consider the second prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis and conclude that Plaintiff failed to meet his burden to show a probability of prevailing on his causes of action. The sole cause of action that Plaintiff defends on appeal is for civil extortion. The court agreed with Defendant that the litigation privilege defeats this cause of action. View "Flickinger v. Finwall" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought by Walmart, Inc. ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to reverse its decision awarding Dianna Hixson temporary total disability (TTD) compensation on the basis of State ex rel. Klein v. Precision Excavating & Grading Co., 119 N.E.3d 386 (Ohio 2018), holding that Klein applies prospectively only.Before the Supreme Court issued Klein, the Commission awarded Hixson TTD compensation. After Klein was released, Walmart, Hixson's former employer, filed this action seeking a writ of mandamus ordering the termination of Hixson's TTD compensation after the date notified Walmart of her retirement. The court of appeals granted the writ, concluding that the Commission abused its discretion by awarding TTD compensation for the period following Hixson's retirement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Klein does not apply retroactively and should be applied prospectively only. View "State ex rel. Walmart, Inc. v. Hixson" on Justia Law

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Appellant a Louisiana attorney representing oil spill claimants in the settlement program, was accused of funneling money to a settlement program staff attorney through improper referral payments. In a disciplinary proceeding, the en banc Eastern District of Louisiana found that Appellant’s actions violated the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct and suspended him from practicing law before the Eastern District of Louisiana for one year. Appellant appealed, arguing that the en banc court misapplied the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct and abused its discretion by imposing an excessive sanction.   The Fifth Circuit found that the en banc court misapplied Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(e) and 8.4(a) but not Rule 8.4(d). Additionally, the en banc court did not abuse its discretion by imposing a one-year suspension on Appellant for his violation of 8.4(d). Accordingly, the court reversed the en banc court’s order suspending Appellant from the practice of law for one year each for violations of Rule 1.5(e) and 8.4(a). The court affirmed the en banc court’s holding that Appellant violated Rule 8.4(d). Finally, the court remanded to the en banc court for further proceedings. On remand, the court is free to impose on Appellant whatever sanction it sees fit for the 8.4(d) violation, including but not limited to its previous one-year suspension. View "In re Jonathan Andry" on Justia Law