Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries
Tran v. Nguyen
Defendant Que Phung Thi Nguyen allegedly threatened to expose the existence of plaintiff Bruce Tran's child she birthed during his marriage. Between 2010 and 2011, the Trans separated. During their separation, Tran began a romantic relationship with Nguyen; a few weeks into the relationship, Nguyen informed Tran she was pregnant with his child. Shortly thereafter, in June 2011, Tran ended the relationship. According to the complaint filed in this case, Nguyen later “began to blackmail” Tran by demanding that he pay her thousands of dollars, or she would disclose their relationship and the child’s existence to his wife. In this case, the parties disputed whether California had a civil cause of action for extortion. The trial court agreed with defendant Nguyen’s contention plaintiff Bruce Tran’s extortion cause of action could only move forward if it arose out of a threat to initiate a false criminal or civil prosecution—and thus no such cause of action could be based on the facts in this case. The Court of Appeal disagreed: Civil Code sections 1566, 1567, and 1570 established a right to rescission in cases in which a person’s consent to a transaction was obtained by “menace”: threats of confinement, of unlawful violence to the person or his or her property, or of injury to a person’s character. "This is effectively the civil version of extortion." However, because the cause of action which sought rescission sounded in contract, rather than tort, no emotional distress damages were recoverable. Because the civil extortion/rescission cause of action did not give rise to emotional distress damages, the Court found no error in the portion of the court’s order sustaining Nguyen’s demurrer to Tran’s separate cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court consequently reversed the judgment entered against Tran, and remanded the case with directions to allow him leave to amend his cause of action for recovery of the funds he paid to Nguyen as a result of her threats to reveal their affair—and the existence of their child—to his wife. View "Tran v. Nguyen" on Justia Law
Jones v. Regents of the University of California
Plaintiff-appellant Rose Jones, an employee of the Regents of the University of California (the University), was injured while riding her bike on University grounds on her way home from work. She and her husband filed suit against the University. The University moved for summary judgment, arguing inter alia, that Jones was limited to workers’ compensation under that system’s “exclusivity” rule. Although an employee’s commute was generally outside the workers’ compensation scheme, the University argued Jones’s injuries were subject to the “premises line” rule, which extended the course of employment until the employee left the employer’s premises. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment for the University. Appellants challenged the trial court’s ruling, claiming that a triable issue remained as to whether the premises line rule applied to Jones’s accident based on a variety of factors. After review, the Court of appeal determined the factors appellants cited raised no question about the rule’s application. Therefore, judgment was affirmed. View "Jones v. Regents of the University of California" on Justia Law
Marshall v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
At issue in this case is whether ORS 12.115(1) applied to actions in which plaintiffs allege their attorney negligently caused injury consisting solely of financial loss—here, the cost to plaintiffs of attempting to defend themselves against a claim for unpaid federal taxes and the anticipated cost of paying that tax liability. To this, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded the legislature intended the phrase “negligent injury to person or property” in ORS 12.115(1) to include negligence claims seeking to recover for the kind of injury to economic interests that plaintiffs have alleged. View "Marshall v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP" on Justia Law
Hanks v. City of Boise
In December 2019, Paul Hanks slipped and fell on a patch of ice after exiting a vehicle in the passenger unloading zone at the Boise Airport. Hanks sued defendants the City of Boise, Republic Parking System, LLC, and United Components, Inc. for negligence. Hanks argued that Defendants had a duty to maintain the airport facilities in a safe condition and that Defendants failed in that duty by not keeping the passenger unloading zone free of ice. Respondents the City of Boise and Republic Parking System, LLC moved for summary judgment, arguing they had met all legal duties owed to Hanks. The district court agreed and granted summary judgment. Finding that the district court did not err in its grant of summary judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "Hanks v. City of Boise" on Justia Law
Hardwick v. 3M Co.
Hardwick alleged that his bloodstream contains trace quantities of five chemicals (PFAS)—which are part of a family of thousands of chemicals used in medical devices, automotive interiors, waterproof clothing, food packaging, firefighting foam, non-stick cookware, ski and car waxes, batteries, semiconductors, aviation and aerospace construction, paints and varnishes, and building materials. Hardwick, who was exposed to firefighting foam, does not know what companies manufactured the particular chemicals in his bloodstream; nor does he know whether those chemicals might someday make him sick. Of the thousands of companies that have manufactured PFAS since the 1950s, Hardwick sued 10 defendants and sought to represent a class comprising nearly every person “residing in the United States.” The district court certified a class comprising every person residing in Ohio with trace amounts of certain PFAS in their blood.The Sixth Circuit remanded with instructions to dismiss the case. Even at the pleadings stage, the factual allegations, taken as true, “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” The element of traceability requires a showing that the plaintiff’s “injury was likely caused by the defendant.” The district court treated the defendants as a collective, but “standing is not dispensed in gross.” Even if Hardwick met the actual-injury requirement he must tie his injury to each defendant.” Hardwick’s conclusory allegations do not support a plausible inference that any of the defendants bear responsibility for the PFAS in Hardwick’s blood. View "Hardwick v. 3M Co." on Justia Law
Earheart v. Central Transport
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (appeals board) affirming the judgment of the Court of Workers' Compensation Claims (trial court) ordering Employer to pay Employee's attorney's fees and costs under Tenn. Code Ann. 50-6-226(d)(1)(B), holding that there was no error.Employee filed a petition for benefit determination seeking additional medical treatment after injuring his hip while working for Employer. The trial court ordered Employer to provide separate panels of specialists to treat Employee's hip and back. Employee subsequently filed another petition for benefit determination seeking temporary disability benefits. Employer agreed pay the requested temporary disability benefits. Thereafter, the trial court ordered Employer to pay attorneys' fees and costs to Employee's attorney. The appeals board affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in ordering Employer to pay Employee's attorneys' fees and costs under section 50-6-226(d)(1)(B). View "Earheart v. Central Transport" on Justia Law
Sabater v. Razmy
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing the underlying tort action for failure to timely effect service of process, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a request for enlargement of time to serve and dismissing the action.Appellants sued Respondent for personal injuries following a car collision. Because Appellants failed to serve the summons and complaint on Respondent within 120 days the district court issued an order to show cause, and the summons and complaint were served. Respondent moved to quash the service of process and to dismiss the complaint. The district court denied Appellants' untimely motion for an extension of time to serve process and granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly denied Appellants' untimely motion for an extension of time and properly dismissed the case under Nev. R. Civ. P. 4(e)(2). View "Sabater v. Razmy" on Justia Law
DiNardo v. Kohler, et al.
Cosmo DiNardo (“DiNardo”) suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder, and, as a result, exhibited psychosis, grandiose speech, suicidal ideation, as well as homicidal ideation and violent behavior. He confessed to killing four individuals, and pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder. He subsequently filed a complaint against his treating psychiatrist and health care providers, claiming that his criminal conduct was the result of his psychiatrist’s grossly negligent treatment, and sought compensatory damages, indemnification for judgments levied against him by his victims’ families, and counsel fees. In an appeal by allowance, the issue presented for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's consideration was whether the “no felony conviction recovery” rule precluded DiNardo’s cause of action. Because the Court found the rule barred the medical malpractice claims at issue in this appeal, it affirmed the order of the Superior Court. View "DiNardo v. Kohler, et al." on Justia Law
Hangey, et al. v. Husqvarna, et al.
In this case, a Pennsylvania trial court transferred venue based on a determination the corporate defendant did not regularly conduct business in Philadelphia County because only 0.005% of the company’s total national revenue was derived from that county. On appeal, the Superior Court reversed, holding the trial court abused its discretion in transferring venue. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted discretionary review to evaluate the Superior Court’s determination, and affirmed: venue was proper in Philadelphia County. View "Hangey, et al. v. Husqvarna, et al." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Block v. Industrial Commission of Ohio
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus requiring the Industrial Commission of Ohio to award him a scheduled award of permanent partial disability (PPD) compensation under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57(B) for the loss of the use of his right hand, holding that the court of appeals correctly denied the writ.Appellant was injured during the course of his employment as a laborer when he fell from a roof onto concrete below. A district hearing officer granted Appellant's request for scheduled-loss compensation, but a staff hearing officer vacated that order on appeal. The court of appeals denied Appellant's ensuing complaint for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that some evidence supported the commission's decision denying Appellant's request for compensation for the loss of the use of his right hand, and the commission did not abuse its discretion. View "State ex rel. Block v. Industrial Commission of Ohio" on Justia Law