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The zone of special danger doctrine can apply to local nationals working in their home countries under employment contracts covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, as extended by the Defense Base Act (DBA). The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision of the United States Department of Labor's Benefits Review Board (BRB) awarding disability benefits, pursuant to the DBA, to Edwin Jentil. Jentil was employed by a U.S. government contractor when he was injured. The panel held that the ALJ and BRB did not commit legal error by applying the zone of special danger doctrine to Jetnil. In this case, substantial evidence supported the ALJ and BRB's decision that Jetnil was entitled to disability benefits because his injury arose out of the zone of special danger associated with his employment. View "Chugach Management Services v. Jetnil" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for the County of Lancaster in this complaint filed by the City of Lincoln seeking reimbursement of expenses paid on its employee’s behalf after a deputy sheriff with the County made contact with the employee, injuring the employee’s shoulder. The district court concluded (1) the County’s procurement of liability insurance did not constitute a waiver of its sovereign immunity for claims less than the policy’s retained insurance limit; and (2) because the amount in controversy was $63,418, the County did not waive its sovereign immunity by obtaining insurance for claims exceeding $250,000. The Supreme Court affirmed for reasons different from those stated by the district court, holding (1) the County’s procurement of insurance did not constitute a waiver of immunity as to a claim arising out of a battery; and (2) therefore, the County’s policy did not cover the underlying event, and there was no waiver of immunity regardless of the retained insurance limit. View "City of Lincoln v. County of Lancaster" on Justia Law

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Under Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689 (Privette), an independent contractor's employee generally may not recover tort damages for work-related injuries from the contractor's hirer. Plaintiff filed suit against Evergreen and two of its contractors for general negligence after he was injured at work when he drove a maintenance van into a shipping container. Plaintiff was employed with PCMC, which had been hired by Evergreen. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendants based on the Privette doctrine. The court held that defendants met their burden as the moving parties on summary judgment and plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of material fact. View "Alvarez v. Seaside Transportation Services LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed this diversity action against Fundacion Damas, Inc. and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico alleging (1) Fundacion was the owner and operator of Hospital Damas, (2) Fundacion committed medical malpractice under Articles 1892 and 1803 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code, and (3) Fundacion and Banco Popular committed negligence by mismanaging funds of a trust. The district court granted Banco Popular’s motion to dismiss count three and Fundacion’s motion for summary judgment on counts one and three. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to present the court with a developed argument that was convincing enough to disturb the judgment of the district court. View "Vargas-Colon v. Fundacion Damas, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, Pamela and Nick McCarty, filed suit against Hillstone, alleging a premises liability claim after Pamela slipped and fell at one of defendant's restaurants. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissal and held that plaintiffs failed to identify evidence from which a jury could, under any of the three methods of proof outlined in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Reece, 81 S.W.3d 12, 814–15 (Tex. 2002), conclude that Hillstone had actual or constructive knowledge of the restaurant floor's allegedly dangerous condition. View "McCarty v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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In a products liability case, plaintiffs Kawika and Sandra Demara appealed the grant of summary judgment granted in favor of defendants The Raymond Corporation (Raymond) and Raymond Handling Solutions, Inc. (RHSI). As pertinent to the appeal, Plaintiffs asserted claims for strict liability and negligence based on injuries Kawika suffered allegedly as a result of design defects in a forklift designed by Raymond and sold by RHSI. In granting summary judgment, the trial court ruled, in part: (1) Plaintiffs did not establish a triable issue of material fact as to causation; (2) the consumer expectation test did not apply as a matter of law; and (3) for purposes of applying the risk-benefit test, even if Plaintiffs had shown a triable issue of material fact as to causation, Defendants established the requisite elements for the application of the risk-benefit test, and Plaintiffs did not establish a triable issue of material fact as to whether the benefits of the design outweighed the risks of the design. The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court erred in these rulings: (1) because Plaintiffs' showing as to causation was more than negligible or theoretical, it was sufficient to defeat summary judgment; (2) Defendants did not meet their burden of establishing as a matter of law that the consumer expectation test does not apply to Plaintiffs' claims; and (3) in applying the risk-benefit test, Defendants failed to present sufficient evidence to shift the burden to Plaintiffs to show a triable issue of material fact. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment and remanded with instructions to deny Defendants' motion. View "Demara v. The Raymond Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Kathleen Swigart and defendant Carl Bruno participated in an organized endurance horseback riding event with approximately 47 other riders. Swigart was in the lead and had dismounted at a required checkpoint along the course. There was no dispute that Bruno's horse struck Swigart while she was standing on the ground, injuring her. Swigart sued Bruno, alleging causes of action for negligence, reckless or intentional misconduct, and having an animal with a dangerous propensity. The trial court granted Bruno's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals concluded the doctrine of primary assumption of risk barred Swigart's cause of action for negligence, and that Swigart did not meet her burden of establishing a genuine issue of material fact as to Bruno's alleged recklessness or Bruno's horse's alleged propensity for danger. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment. View "Swigart v. Bruno" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are current and former federal law enforcement employees and their spouses who were deceived into investing in a Ponzi scheme presenting as the Federal Employee Benefits Group (FEBG). Plaintiffs filed suit against the Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1), for negligent conduct and aiding and abetting the scheme. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Government's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and held that the misrepresentation exception applied to bar plaintiffs' claim. In this case, plaintiffs' claims arose out of Kenneth Wayne McLeod's misrepresentations about his bond fund. McLeod founded and ran the FEBG Bond Fund. View "Alvarez v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Wal-Mart on plaintiffs' negligence claims under Louisiana's merchant liability statute. Plaintiff Duncan slipped on a mat in front of a Reddy Ice freezer and fell forward onto the ground. The next day she had a still birth. Duncan and the child's father filed suit for wrongful death of their unborn child. The court held that plaintiffs failed to present any "positive evidence" that Wal-Mart created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage, as La. Stat. 9:2800.6(B)(2) requires, and therefore they cannot maintain their merchant liability claim. View "Duncan v. Wal-Mart Louisiana, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Lenny and Tracy Chapman filed suit against Hiland after an explosion seriously injured Lenny, alleging negligence and loss of consortium. Hiland then filed a third-party complaint against Missouri Basin and B&B, seeking indemnification. In this appeal, Missouri Basin challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiffs and the district court's ruling on post-judgment motions. The Eighth Circuit held that honoring the Oklahoma choice-of-law provision in the Hiland Master Service Contract did not violate a fundamental public policy of North Dakota because it was not a motor carrier transportation contract under North Dakota law. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting plaintiffs' Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) motion where the district court clarified that by using the language "all amounts that have been paid or will be paid," Missouri Basin intended that it indemnify plaintiffs for the full amount of the settlement, including those amounts paid by Hiland's insurers. Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Missouri Basin's Rule 59(e) motion. View "Chapman v. Missouri Basin Well Service" on Justia Law