Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants and dismissing Plaintiff's suit brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the City of Milwaukee and various police officers (collectively, Defendants), holding that Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity.Plaintiff was convicted of burglary and sexual assault and served twenty-four years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence and his convictions were vacated. Plaintiff subsequently brought this lawsuit alleging that the police and City violated his due process rights in several ways. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants and dismissed the complaint in its entirety. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that the officers' conduct was not "clearly established" as unlawful at the time of Plaintiff's arrest, and therefore, Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. View "Holloway v. City of Milwaukee" on Justia Law

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Two people were killed and one was injured when a locomotive owned by Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corporation (“DM&E”) collided with their SUV at a railroad crossing Collectively, “Appellants” sued DM&E for negligence. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of DM&E.Appellants argued the district court erred in granting summary judgment to DM&E with respect to two of Appellants’ theories of negligence. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court explained that Appellants offer no evidence that the driver's SUV was doing anything other than unwaveringly approaching the crossing prior to 5.4 seconds before the collision. And to avoid summary judgment, Appellants “must provide more than conjecture and speculation,” but must “designate specific facts creating a triable controversy.”Further, the court wrote that the FRSA clarifies that an action under state law seeking damages for personal injury, death, or property damage is not preempted by federal regulation where the action is based on a railroad’s failure to comply with the standard of care provided by federal regulation. Because Appellants do not argue that a lack of lighting contributed to the collision, the gravamen of Appellants’ excessive speed theory is simply that the locomotive was moving too fast (as Appellants’ own “excessive speed” label would suggest). FRA regulations set the speed limit for the subject locomotive at forty miles per hour. The court wrote that they are not persuaded by Appellants’ attempt to rebrand the lighting requirements under Section 229.125(d) into an alternative speed limit. Accordingly, the Appellants’ excessive speed claim is preempted by 49 C.F.R. Section 213.9 and the FRSA. View "Hannah Jesski v. Dakota, MN & Eastern RR" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed from a district court judgment dismissing, as preempted by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”), their claims under the Connecticut Product Liability Act (“CPLA”) for injuries caused by a medical device, and denying leave to amend the complaint to include a claim under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”).   Because both issues turned on unresolved questions of state law, the Second Circuit certified two questions to the Supreme Court of Connecticut to clarify the scope of the CPLA and CUPTA. In view of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s answers to those questions, the court held: (1) that the Plaintiffs’ CPLA claims are not preempted by the FDCA because traditional Connecticut tort law provides a cause of action for failing to provide adequate warnings to regulators such as the United States Food and Drug Administration; and (2) that Plaintiffs’ proposed CUTPA claim would be precluded by the CPLA.   Accordingly, the court vacated the district court’s dismissal of the CPLA claims, affirm the district court’s denial of leave to amend the complaint, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Glover v. Bausch & Lomb, Inc." on Justia Law

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Two nursing homes bring interlocutory appeals to this court from orders in two separate cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff estate in each case claims that a defendant nursing home failed to provide adequate care and should therefore be held liable for the resident’s death from COVID-19. The district courts denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss based on PREP Act immunity. Defendants invoke a provision of the PREP Act that they claim gives us jurisdiction over these appeals.These cases raise the common threshold question of whether 42 U.S.C. Section 247d-6d(e)(10) empowers us to hear interlocutory appeals from decisions of out-of-circuit district courts rejecting assertions of PREP Act immunity.The DC Circuit concluded that the PREP Act confers interlocutory appellate jurisdiction on the court only from orders of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.) denying motions to dismiss or for summary judgment in willful misconduct cases—a distinct, limited cause of action that subsection 247d-6d(d) of the PREP Act excepts from its broad grant of immunity and channels to the federal district court here. Because PREP Act subsection 247d6d(e)(10) does not authorize interlocutory appeals to this court from orders of district courts elsewhere allowing other types of claims to proceed despite assertions of PREP Act immunity, the court dismissed the appeals. View "Christopher Beaty, Jr. v. Fair Acres Geriatric Center" on Justia Law

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Two nursing homes bring interlocutory appeals to this court from orders in two separate cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Plaintiffs' estate in each case claims that a defendant nursing home failed to provide adequate care and should therefore be held liable for the resident’s death from COVID-19. The district courts denied Defendant's motions to dismiss based on PREP Act immunity. Defendants invoked a provision of the PREP Act that they claim gives us jurisdiction over these appeals.The DC Circuit dismissed the appeals, holding that the PREP Act subsection 247d6d(e)(10) does not authorize interlocutory appeals to this court from orders of district courts elsewhere allowing other types of claims to proceed despite assertions of PREP Act immunity. View "Anne Cannon v. Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing North American Elite Insurance Company's (North American) claims against Menard, holding that there was no error.After a Menard employee hit a customer with a forklift the customer brought a negligence suit against Menard and its employee in state court. Menard carried two levels of personal injury liability insurance at the time. Liability exceeding $3 million fell under an umbrella policy with North American. The jury returned a $13 million verdict, which was reduced to a $6 million settlement. North American indemnified Menard for liability in excess of $3 million then brought this action against Menard in federal court, arguing that Menard violated its duties under Illinois law by rejecting a settlement offer and proceeding to trial. The district court dismissed all claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that North American was not entitled to relief on its claims of error. View "North American Elite Insurance v. Menard, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff's federal claims against Brown University and reversed the grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiff's state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, holding that there were triable issues precluding summary judgment.Jane Doe, a white woman, filed a complaint against Plaintiff, an African-American man who was then a freshman at Brown University, alleging sexual misconduct. After a multi-year process leading to Plaintiff's suspension from school and his suicide attempt. A year before he graduated, Plaintiff brought this action in Rhode Island state court alleging that Brown discriminated against him and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him. The district court granted summary judgment for Brown. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding that Plaintiff presented evidence that would allow a jury reasonably to conclude that Brown should be held liable for the tortious conduct of its officials in intentionally causing Plaintiff severe emotional distress under Rhode Island common law. View "Doe v. Brown University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that liability under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code 51, was not available in this case, where Plaintiff alleged that he was sexually assaulted by fellow students and a school district staff member at his high school.Plaintiff, through his guardian, sued the West Contra Costa Unified School District asserting various claims arising out of his high school experiences, including allegations that the District had violated the Act. The District demurred to the Act cause of action on the ground that the District was not a "business establishment" within the meaning of the Act. The trial court sustained the demurrer. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed an original petition for writ of mandate, which the court of appeal denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Act, as currently written, cannot reasonably be interpreted to encompass public school districts in situations such as the one this case presented. View "Brennon B. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Robert Procive appealed when a district court dismissed his appeal of an Administrative Law Judge’s order that denied his claim for Workforce Safety and Insurance (“WSI”) benefits. Procive submitted his first claim in 2020, alleging he suffered carpal tunnel syndrome due to injuries to both wrists, elbows, and shoulders resulting from repetitive digging, hammering and driving stakes, steel posts, and iron rods into the ground. He claimed his original injury occurred in western North Dakota, and he notified his employer of his injury in November 2004 and October 2016. WSI accepted liability for Procive’s right carpal tunnel injury, but denied for the left. Later WSI issued its order reversing its acceptance of liability for the right carpal tunnel, finding Procive willfully made false statements about whether he had prior injuries or received treatment. WSI ordered Procive to repay past benefits he received. After a hearing the ALJ affirmed WSI’s decisions denying coverage. Procive appealed to the district court in Stutsman County. WSI moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Procive was required to file his appeal in the county where the injury occurred or the county where he resided. To this, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, finding the district court did not have jurisdiction. View "Procive v. WSI" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs’ son fell to his death from the steep, sloped roof of a residential building where he lived. The building was owned by Young Men’s Christian Association of Glendale, California (YMCA or Defendant). Plaintiffs’ son had been drinking and had eaten a marijuana brownie earlier, was feeling high, and had been acting erratically before the fall. The parties agree there was an “open and obvious risk” from the roof sloped at a steep angle and covered with brittle, broken, slippery and unstable Spanish tiles. They also agree there was no need for Plaintiffs’ son to be on the roof.The trial court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court held under the circumstances Defendant owed no duty of care to Plaintiffs’ son, and his parents cannot prevail on their wrongful death claims based on premises liability and negligence. The court explained that Defendant owed no duty to do anything to protect Plaintiffs’ son from his voluntary, unnecessary, and uninvited risk taking. View "Montes v. Young Men's Christian Assn. of Glendale, CA" on Justia Law