Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

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In this automobile accident case, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's general-damages award granted to Plaintiff, holding that Plaintiff satisfied the requirements of Utah Code 31A-22-309 and that the district court correctly denied Defendant's new trial motion. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) Plaintiff failed to satisfy the requirements set forth in section 31A-22-309, a prerequisite to receiving general damages in most automobile accident cases, because Plaintiff did not show that she sustained a "permanent disability or permanent impairment based upon objective findings"; and (2) under Utah R. Civ. P. 59, a new trial on the amount of damages should be granted because the award of general damages Plaintiff was awarded was excessively disproportionate to the economic damages awarded. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court of appeals did not err in interpreting the phrase "objective findings"; and (2) the court of appeals did not err in affirming Plaintiff's damage award because the award was supported by sufficient evidence and was not so excessive as to appear to have been given under the influence of passion or prejudice. View "Pinney v. Carrera" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Toyota in strict products liability, negligence, and breach of warranty for injuries she sustained in a single-vehicle roll over accident. Plaintiff alleged that her 1997 Toyota 4Runner was unreasonably prone to roll over and that its seatbelt system failed to restrain her during the accident. Given plaintiff's concession that there was no evidence relating to the design of the seatbelt and that her claims instead centered on FMVSS 209, the Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in determining that she had abandoned her claim for strict liability. The court declined to reach plaintiff's evidentiary arguments because she failed to preserve them. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Smith v. Toyota Motor Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part the order of the circuit court that Appellant pay restitution to the victims of his crime, holding that a civil settlement did not preclude the restitution ordered and that the restitution order was a reasonable exercise of the circuit court's discretion under the applicable law and facts presented. Appellant collided with T.K.'s vehicle, resulting in T.K.'s death. Appellant and his insurance company reached a civil settlement with T.K.'s adult children. Appellant subsequently pled no contest to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. The circuit court ordered restitution to the adult children. The court of appeals reduced the amount of restitution because the amount included income lost as a result of the adult children's spouses missing work due to Appellant's criminal conduct. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the court of appeals (1) properly determined that the civil settlement did not preclude the circuit court from ordering restitution; and (2) erred by reducing the restitution amount because a victim suffers actual pecuniary damages when his or her spouse does not work, as the victim is a member of the marital community that is affected by the loss of income. View "State v. Muth" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the widow and executrix of her late husband's estate, filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging a claim of medical malpractice on behalf of the estate and alleging individually a claim of wrongful death. The claims stemmed from injuries her husband suffered during a fall, shortly before his death, while hospitalized in a Veterans Affairs hospital. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing the medical malpractice claim in the absence of a breach of the applicable standard of medical care. In this case, substantial evidence supported the district court's factual findings with respect to the husband's condition on the morning of the fall and the care the nurses provided him to and after his fall. The court also held that the district court did not err in dismissing the wrongful death claim in the absence of an underlying tort claim. View "Howard v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Gonsalves-Pastore Realty, LLC and dismissing Mauro Poletti's negligence complaint, holding that summary judgment was properly granted. Poletti entered into an agreement with Linda Glynn, a licensed real estate agent, to assist him in the purchase of real estate for investment purposes. Later, Glynn granted two mortgages on property purchased in furtherance of Poletti's investment plan and used the resulting funds in contravention of that plan. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Gonsalves-Pastore, as Glynn's employer or principal, breached its fiduciary duty to Poletti to oversee Glynn such that Glynn was acting in the best interests of Poletti and that no loss would ever occur to Poletti. The hearing justice granted summary judgment for Gonsalves-Pastore. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hearing justice did not err in (1) determining that no genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether or not a fiduciary relationship existed between Poletti and Gonsalves-Pastore; and (2) concluding that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether or not Defendant was liable for Glynn's alleged acts of malfeasance. View "Poletti v. Glynn" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Mentor, alleging causes of action for negligence and negligence per se based on Mentor's negligent failure to warn and negligent manufacturing of breast implants, strict products liability for failure to warn, and strict products liability for manufacturing defects. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's judgment and entered an order overruling the demurrer to the third amended complaint. The court held that the tort claims in this case survive preemption because they are premised on conduct that both violates the Medical Device Amendments (MDA) to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act and would give rise to a recovery under state law even in the absence of the MDA. The court also held that plaintiffs pleaded the requisite causal connection between their injuries and Mentor's tortious acts to survive a demurrer. Finally, the trial court erroneously sustained Mentor's demurrer to the loss of consortium claim because it was derivative of the other claims. View "Mize v. Mentor Worldwide LLC" on Justia Law

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Lula McLeod and her husband, John McLeod, appeal the circuit court’s dismissal of their medical-negligence case on grounds that it was filed outside of the limit in the applicable statute of limitations. The Mississippi Supreme Court found that because the record reflected the case was timely filed, the circuit court’s judgment should be reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "McLeod v. Millette" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a stabbing that took place outside of an Idaho Falls bar. Steven and Audra Fell were patrons of the First Street Saloon, owned and operated by Fat Smitty’s L.L.C. (Fat Smitty’s). Towards the end of the evening, an altercation took place that resulted in Steven Fell being stabbed by another patron, LaDonna Hall. The Fells filed a complaint against Fat Smitty’s, alleging Fat Smitty’s breached its duty to: (1) warn the Fells, as invitees, of any hidden or concealed dangers in the bar; (2) keep the bar in a reasonably safe condition; and (3) protect the Fells from reasonably foreseeable injury at the hands of other patrons at the bar. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Fat Smitty’s, ruling that the Fells’ claims were barred by Idaho’s Dram Shop Act because the Fells failed to give Fat Smitty’s timely notice of their claims. The Fells appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Fell v. Fat Smitty's" on Justia Law

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In this personal injury case arising from a bar fight at the San Lo Leyte VFW Post #7515 in Clyde, Kansas (VFW) between Plaintiff and a third party patron of the bar the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the district court's summary judgment in favor of the VFW, holding that there were still necessary questions of fact left unanswered, and therefore, summary judgment was not appropriate. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that despite the injury occurring off VFW-owned premises, the VFW's duty to protect Plaintiff from the assault, and the breach of that duty, arose while Plaintiff and the third party were still inside the bar. The court of appeals agreed, concluding that negligence could have arisen when all parties were on the VFW's premises. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that questions of fact existed regarding the foreseeability of Plaintiff's injury and whether a breach of duty occurred, precluding summary judgment. View "Hammond v. San Lo Leyte VFW Post #7515" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming the Nebraska Worker's Compensation Court's awards for injuries suffered by Halina Picard in two separate accidents, holding that the court of appeals correctly found that the doctrine of apportionment did not apply but erred in affirming the award of benefits for Picard's 2015 accident and injury. In 2016, Picard filed claims against P & C Group 1, Inc. relating to industrial injuries she received in 2012 and 2015. The compensation court determined that Picard was entitled to an award for a whole body injury based on both injuries, that apportionment was not appropriate, and that Picard was entitled to attorney fees. The court of appeals affirmed the awards for Picard's 2012 and 2015 injuries and reversed the attorney fees award. The Supreme Court reversed Picard's award of benefits for the 2015 injury, holding that the court of appeals (1) did not err in vacating Picard's attorney fees award; (2) did not err in finding that apportionment was inapplicable and determining that Picard's second injury award should not be apportioned with the first; and (3) erred in disregarding Picard's disability from the 2012 accident when assessing her lost earnings from the 2015 injury. View "Picard v. P & C Group 1, Inc." on Justia Law