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The Supreme Court granted mandamus relief to Relator, who sought to resign, revoke, or withdraw the circuit court’s medical authorization order authorizing the release of the decedent’s medical records, holding that the medical authorization order in this case was prohibited by this court’s precedent. Relator filed a wrongful death action against Defendants after his brother, the decedent, died allegedly from metastatic colon cancer. During discovery, Defendants sought an order from the circuit court authorizing the release of the decedent’s medical records. The circuit court signed an order authorizing the release of medical records. Relator then petitioned for this writ to prohibit the use of the decedent’s unlimited medical records. The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition, holding that the medical authorization was prohibited because there was no case-by-case review of the medical authorization designed to tailor the requests to the pleadings. View "State ex rel. Fennewald v. Honorable Patricia S. Joyce" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether a home inspector owes a duty of reasonable care to a homeowner’s guest. Plaintiff was injured when he fell from a second story deck that had not been properly constructed but had recently been inspected by a state home inspector hired by the homeowner. Plaintiff sued the home inspector, home inspection franchise, and other defendants not relevant to this appeal. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendants successfully negated essential elements of the claims of negligent misrepresentation and negligent inspection and that summary judgment was appropriate. View "Grogan v. Uggla" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Garland DeCourcy’s petition for writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit the circuit court from proceeding in this action brought by William Williams to recover a computer, telephone system, and keys to a vehicle from DeCourcy. After a bench trial in magistrate court, DeCourcy was ordered to return certain property to Williams. DeCourcy appealed and filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that Williams could not meet his burden of proof because the evidence should be limited to the evidence presented to the magistrate court. The circuit court ruled that a trial de novo authorized it to consider additional evidence, including witness testimony not presented in magistrate court. DeCourcy then filed this petition for writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding (1) an appeal of a civil action tried before a magistrate without a jury under W. Va. Code 50-5-12(b) shall be a trial de novo, meaning a new trial in which the parties may present new evidence including witness testimony not presented in magistrate court; and (2) the circuit court did not err in its determination that new evidence, including witness testimony, was proper in this appeal from magistrate court. View "State ex rel. DeCourcy v. Honorable Jennifer P. Dent" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court’s decision in West v. Shelby County Healthcare Corp., 459 S.W.3d 33 (Tenn. 2014), holding that “reasonable charges” for medical services under Tennessee’s Hospital Lien Act are the discounted amounts a hospital accepts as full payment from patients’ private insurer and not the full, undiscounted amounts billed to patients, does not apply in personal injury cases. Further, the collateral source rule applies in this personal injury case, in which the collateral benefit at issue is private insurance. Therefore, Plaintiffs may submit evidence of the injured party’s full, undiscounted medical bills as proof of reasonable medical expenses, and Defendants are precluded from submitting evidence of discounted rates accepted by medical providers from the insurer to rebut Plaintiffs’ proof that the full, undiscounted charges are reasonable. The Supreme Court thus affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals, which concluded that West did not apply to personal injury cases but that evidence of discounted amounts accepted by the injured’s medical providers may be admissible to rebut Plaintiffs’ expert testimony on the reasonableness of the amount of the full, undiscounted bills. View "Dedmon v. Steelman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Plains Tire & Battery, Co. in this case filed by Cindy and William Williams alleging that Plains was negligent in failing to maintain the area outside its store in a reasonably safe condition, leading Cindy to slip and fall. In granting summary judgment for Plains, the district court found that Plaintiffs failed to present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Plains breached a duty to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case, holding that Plaintiffs raised genuine issues of material fact. View "Williams v. Plains Tire & Battery Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that author James Risen, together with publishers, made false and damaging statements about plaintiff in a book. A chapter of the book focuses on software that plaintiff pitched to the United States as a counterterrorism tool, but that ultimately was widely seen as a "hoax." The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants where plaintiff failed to put into the record any evidence that would permit a factfinder to evaluate the legitimacy of his bare assertions. In this case, plaintiff produced virtually no evidence of the software's functionality to factually rebut Risen's statements that it never worked as plaintiff said it did. View "Montgomery v. Risen" on Justia Law

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United Fire & Casualty Company appealed a district court judgment awarding Carol Forsman $249,554.30 in her garnishment action against United Fire, commenced after she settled claims in the underlying suit against Blues, Brews and Bar-B-Ques, Inc., d.b.a. Muddy Rivers. Muddy Rivers was a bar in Grand Forks that was insured by United Fire under a commercial general liability ("CGL") policy. In 2010, Forsman sued Muddy Rivers and Amanda Espinoza seeking damages for injuries to her leg allegedly sustained while a guest at a February 2010 private party at Muddy Rivers. Muddy Rivers notified United Fire of the suit and requested coverage. United Fire denied defense and indemnification based on the policy's exclusions for assault and battery and liquor liability. However, after appeals and reconsideration, the court ruled in Forsman's favor, finding the settlement amount was reasonable. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court erred in granting summary judgment because material fact issues existed on whether exclusions for "assault and battery" and "liquor liability" in the CGL policy excluded coverage of Forsman's negligence claim against Muddy Rivers. Furthermore, the Court concluded further conclude the court properly granted summary judgment to Forsman holding United Fire had a duty to defend Muddy Rivers under the CGL policy in the underlying suit. Therefore, the Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Forsman v. Blues, Brews & Bar-B-Ques Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Appellant challenging the circuit court’s order dismissing her case with prejudice based on the statute of limitations. The circuit court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice because Appellant’s various complaints, including Appellant’s fourth amended complaint, were time-barred. In her complaints, Appellant named different defendants, and none of the amended complaints stated that they were incorporating Appellant’s earlier complaints. The Supreme Court held that Appellant’s appeal was not final because not all defendants were dismissed, and therefore, there were still claims pending against some Defendants. View "Henson v. Cradduck" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company’s (BNSF) motion for summary judgment on Kelly Watson’s asbestos-related disease claim, brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, holding that the bankruptcy court’s order enjoining claims against W.R. Grace and other “affiliated entities,” including BNSF, tolled the statute of limitations on Watson’s claim. Thus, the district court erred in concluding that the bankruptcy court’s order expanding a previous injunction barring the commencement or filing of new claims to include BNSF as a nondebtor affiliate did not bar the commencement of new actions against BNSF. View "Watson v. BNSF Railway Co." on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the City of Fairmont, which entered into a lease purchase agreement for equipment with Comvest, Ltd., may assert claims and defenses against Blue Ridge Bank - to whom Comvest assigned its interest in the lease purchase agreement, including its right to the City’s monthly payments - based on Comvest’s conversion of funds designated for the purchase of the equipment. The Supreme Court held (1) the Bank took its assignment subject to the City’s claims and defenses arising from Comvest’s breach of the lease purchase agreement; and (2) therefore, the City may assert claims and defenses against the Bank based on Comvest’s conversion. View "Blue Ridge Bank, Inc. v. City of Fairmont" on Justia Law