Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

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Plaintiff appealed the district court’s dismissal of his amended complaint against Carnival Corporation for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff contended that the district court erred in finding that his amended complaint failed to allege sufficient facts in support of his negligence claims to show that Carnival was on notice of the alleged hazard.   The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that Plaintiff failed to include factual allegations that plausibly suggest Carnival had constructive notice of the dangerous condition. Therefore, Plaintiff failed to satisfy the pleading standard set forth in Iqbal and Twombly. While Plaintiff alleged facts that establish the possibility that Carnival had constructive notice of the hazardous substance on the staircase as to invite corrective measures, a claim only has facial plausibility when the plaintiff’s allegations allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”   Furthermore, while Plaintiff alleged that there were crewmembers in the surrounding shops, he does not allege that there were any crewmembers in the immediate area of the glass staircase that could have observed or warned him of the hazard. Simply put, Plaintiff’s allegations do not cross the line from possibility to the plausibility of entitlement to relief. View "Donnie Holland v. Carnival Corporation" on Justia Law

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The Department of Labor brought a petition seeking review of a final order issued on December 31, 2020 by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The Commission found the phrase “stored in tiers” in the second sentence of 29 C.F.R. Section 1910.176(b) did not apply to pallets of merchandise located in a Walmart Distribution Center in Johnstown, New York.   The Secretary argued that the Commission erred in finding Section 11 1910.176(b) inapplicable to Walmart’s tiered storage system because it unambiguously includes material placed or arranged one above another in tiered storage racks, such as the system used at the Distribution Center. Alternatively, the Secretary also argued that if the Court found the regulation ambiguous, the Court should defer to the Secretary’s reasonable interpretation.   The Second Circuit vacated and remanded finding that the Secretary of Labor’s interpretation was reasonable. The court explained that the Commission’s cramped definition ignores other types of tiers, including seating arrangements at sporting events and music venues with layers of seats that are independently supported and placed one over the other with gaps between them. There is nothing inconsistent in the remaining language of the standard that militates against an interpretation that shelves can be tiers. Here, the pallets stored on the selective racking became unstable and merchandise on the pallets fell. Accordingly, the court concluded that the Secretary’s competing interpretation of the language of the standard is reasonable. View "Martin J. Walsh v. Walmart, Inc." on Justia Law

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A client who retained Plaintiff, the Law Corporation, to represent him in a marital dissolution action. The client assigned the judgments to Musick Peeler & Garrett LLC (Musick Peeler). In October 2019, the Law Corporation filed a motion (the setoff motion) in the superior court to set off against its judgment debt to Musick Peeler a debt that Dougherty allegedly owes to the Law Corporation. The client’s alleged tortious actions to hinder, delay, or defraud the Law Corporation in its efforts to collect on a 1999 default judgment prior to our opinion vacating that judgment and declaring it void in 2009. The trial court denied the motion and the Law Corporation appealed.   The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court explained that to the extent the Law Corporation incurred any fees or costs in connection with its defense against the collateral attack actions in California, they were incurred in defending actions by the client, not a third person. These actions, therefore, do not support a setoff claim based on the tort of another doctrine. Further, even if the Law Corporation’s motion was procedurally proper, the Law Corporation failed to support its setoff claims with relevant evidence and, therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion. View "Karton v. Musick, Peeler, Garrett LLP" on Justia Law

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A Delaware superior court affirmed an Industrial Accident Board (the “IAB” or “Board”) decision denying Appellant Joseph Wilson’s (“Wilson”) petition seeking payment for a cervical spine surgery. The parties agreed the treatment Wilson received was reasonable and necessary. Wilson was injured in a work-related accident on August 1, 2002 while working for Appellee Gingerich Concrete and Masonry (“Employer”). Sometime after the accident, Wilson started treatment with Dr. Bikash Bose (“Dr. Bose”), a certified Delaware workers’ compensation healthcare provider. Wilson’s injury necessitated two related cervical surgeries. The first surgery was performed while Dr. Bose was certified under the Delaware workers’ compensation system (the “Delaware Certification”) according to the requirements set forth in the Act. Employer’s carrier paid the bills related to Wilson’s first surgery. But Wilson’s first surgery proved unsuccessful, and Dr. Bose recommended a second surgery. During the time between Wilson’s first surgery and his second surgery, Dr. Bose’s Delaware Certification lapsed, and he did not seek re-certification for nineteen months. The issue presented was whether the second surgery was compensable given that the treating physician’s certification under the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”) had lapsed by the time of treatment. If the treatment was not compensable, as the IAB and superior court held, then Wilson asked the Delaware Supreme Court to anticipatorily resolve the question of whether he could be liable for the bill even though no one asserted such a claim. The Supreme Court concluded Dr. Bose’s lapse rendered him uncertified, and, thus, the disputed bills were not compensable under 19 Del. C. § 2322D. View "Wilson v. Gingerich Concrete & Masonry" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff began receiving prescription medication administered through a pain pump and filled by AIS Healthcare (“AIS”). In 2021, she discovered that AIS was billing her insurer at a rate of $120 per day for allegedly unauthorized services. Plaintiff filed suit in state court, seeking damages for contract, tort, and unjust enrichment claims. AIS removed to federal court and moved to dismiss the case on grounds that Plaintiff lacked standing to sue because she had suffered no injury. Noting that “a breach of contract alone is an insufficient injury in fact,” the district court concluded that Plaintiff could not satisfy standing’s redressability element for the claims asserted and dismissed them with prejudice under Rule 12(b)(1).   The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s claims for lack of standing, however, the court modified the district court’s judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s claims for lack of standing. First, the court explained that the district court erred in holding that Plaintiff failed to show an injury in fact through her associated breach of contract and tort claims. However, because the court agreed with the district court that Plaintiff’s claims are not redressable by the damages she seeks, the court affirmed its dismissal of her claims for lack of standing. Further, the district court’s dismissal with prejudice appears to be a “scrivener’s” error. The court thus modified the district court’s judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s claims with prejudice to make it without prejudice and affirm the judgment as modified. View "Denning v. Bond Pharmacy" on Justia Law

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The People of the State of California (People), appealed the denial of the motion for victim restitution, i.e., attorney fees and costs after Respondent was convicted by plea of felony driving with a .08 blood alcohol level or higher causing bodily injury. the denial of the motion for victim restitution, i.e., attorney fees and costs, after Respondent was convicted by plea of felony driving with a .08 blood alcohol level or higher causing bodily injury release of liability signed by the victim in the civil case discharged respondent’s obligation to pay restitution in the criminal case.The Second Appellate District agreed with the People and reversed. Here, the People presented evidence that the injured driver received a civil settlement of $235,000. Of the settlement, $61,574.44 was paid to the driver’s attorney as a contingency fee of 25 percent plus costs. Respondent did not present any witnesses or evidence in opposition. Instead, he argued the signed releases by the victims meant they “ha[d] received full and complete compensation,” and the contingency fee was “not a true amount of attorney’s fees.” However, “[a] crime victim who seeks redress for his injuries in a civil suit can expect to pay counsel with a contingency fee.” Because the People established that the driver paid her attorney a contingency fee of 25 percent, the burden shifted to Respondent to refute this showing. Respondent contends the trial court’s denial of fees was an “implied finding”. But an implied finding of fact must be supported by substantial evidence. View "P. v. Nonaka" on Justia Law

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Attorney David Graham represented Sandra Rusch and Brenda Dockter in separate proceedings against the same employer before the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board. Rusch injured her back working for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Klawock. Dockter sustained a knee injury at work for SEARHC in Sitka. After litigation, the parties successfully settled most issues with the assistance of a Board mediator. The parties were unable to resolve the amount of attorney’s fees SEARHC would pay for Graham’s work, so that issue proceeded to hearings, which the Board heard jointly. The Board awarded far less in attorney’s fees than the claimants sought. The Alaska Supreme Court reversed the Commission’s decisions, resolving most but not all issues in favor of the claimants, and remanded the case to the Commission with instructions to remand the case to the Board for further proceedings. The Supreme Court instructed the Board to consider the factors from the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct to determine reasonable fees. After the Supreme Court awarded attorney’s fees to the claimants for their appeal to the Court, the claimants sought fees for their work in the first appeal to the Commission, asking the Commission to adopt the modified lodestar approach to awarding fees. The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court was whether the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act authorized the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission to award enhanced attorney’s fees to successful claimants for their attorneys’ work in a Commission appeal. The Commission decided the Act did not. But because the Commission’s decision rested on an incorrect interpretation of the Act and because the Commission failed to consider the claimants’ evidence and arguments in favor of enhancement, the Supreme Court reversed the decision and remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Rusch v. Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium" on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified a question of law to the Alabama Supreme Court. Dr. Dino Ferrante, a gastroenterologist, prescribed LIALDA, which is manufactured by Shire U.S., Inc., and Shire, LLC (referred to collectively as "Shire"), to help patient Mark Blackburn with his Crohn's disease. "LIALDA is the brand name for Shire's mesalamine drug, which is an anti-inflammatory drug specifically aimed at the gut. LIALDA is not approved by the FDA to treat Crohn's, but it is approved to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn's 'sister' disease." After taking LIALDA for between 12 to 16 months, Blackburn discovered that he had developed kidney disease, specifically advanced chronic interstitial nephritis, which had resulted in irreversible scarring and had diminished his kidney function to 20% of normal capacity. As a result, Blackburn is awaiting a kidney transplant. The federal appellate court asked: (1) consistent with the learned intermediary doctrine, may a pharmaceutical company's duty to warn include a duty to provide instructions about how to mitigate warned-of risks?; and (2) might a plaintiff establish that a failure to warn caused his injuries by showing that his doctor would have adopted a different course of testing or mitigation, even though he would have prescribed the same drug? The Supreme Court answered both questions in the affirmative. View "Blackburn v. Shire U.S., Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioners Javier Vasquez and his employer, Matosantos International Corporation (MIC), appealed a New Hampshire Compensation Appeals Board (CAB) determination that it could not order respondent, The Hartford Insurance Company, to pay workers’ compensation benefits to Vasquez. The CAB concluded that the Department of Labor (DOL), and therefore the CAB, lacked jurisdiction under the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Law to interpret the workers’ compensation insurance policy that MIC had purchased from The Hartford. Because the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded the CAB did have jurisdiction to consider and resolve the coverage dispute between MIC and The Hartford, it vacated the CAB’s decision and remanded for its consideration, in the first instance, of whether the policy purchased by MIC covered Vasquez when he was injured while working in New Hampshire. View "Appeal of Vasquez" on Justia Law

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While T.L. was being transported by ambulance from a crisis stabilization unit to an inpatient psychiatric facility, she suddenly unbuckled the belts strapping her to the semi-reclined gurney and stepped out of the back of the moving ambulance, sustaining serious injuries. At the stabilization unit, she had been placed on a “section 5585” 72-hour mental health hold. (Welf. & Inst. Code 5585) However, she was calm and cooperative while at the unit, was never diagnosed as being a danger to herself, and was transported by ambulance to and from a local hospital for medical clearance, without incident. Her attending psychiatrist determined she was stable for transport to the in-patient facility.The trial court rejected T.L.'s suit on summary judgment, finding that the defendants owed no duty to prevent her from engaging in impulsive, reckless, irrational, and self-harming conduct. The court of appeal reversed. The defendants, like any other provider of medical services or medical support services, owe a general duty of care to those to whom they provide such services. While the professional standard of care does not, as a matter of law, require the use of restraints during the transport of any patient subject to a 5585 hold, the court should address T.L.’s claims that the gurney should have had shoulder harnesses and that the rear door of the ambulance should have been locked. View "T.L. v. City Ambulance of Eureka, Inc." on Justia Law