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Bishop & Associates, LLC (B&A) filed an action against Ameren Corp. and others (collectively, Ameren and the supervisors) alleging wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and other claims after Ameren terminated its relationship with B&A. The circuit court entered summary judgment for Ameren and the supervisors on all counts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Missouri does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy for independent contractors; (2) the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment to the defendants on B&A’s claim of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) Missouri case law does not support breach of contract claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy; and (4) the circuit court did not err in entering summary judgment on B&A’s tortious interference with a business expectancy claim. View "Bishop & Associates, LLC v. Ameren Corp." on Justia Law

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Robert Johnson brought a products liability case against Cottrell Inc. and Auto Handling Corp. At the conclusion of Johnson’s case the trial court directed a verdict in favor of Auto Handling on all of Johnson’s theories against it. The jury returned verdicts in favor of Johnson on his claims against Cottrell of negligence as submitted in Instruction 10 and of strict liability failure to warn as submitted in Instruction 13. The trial court entered judgment against Cottrell on the negligence verdict for $1,150,332. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court erred in granting Auto Handling’s motion for directed verdict; and (2) Instruction 10 was error, and because the error was prejudicial the judgment in favor of Johnson on his negligence claims against Cottrell is reversed. Because of the intertwined nature of the evidence and the various theories against the two defendants, the case is remanded for retrial as to the negligent maintenance and inspection claim against Auto Handling and as to Johnson’s negligence claims and strict liability failure to warn claim against Cottrell. View "Johnson v. Auto Handling Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding Brian Beaulieu Jr. liable to Greg and Victoria Goodwill for having made fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations about certain amenities in a house that he sold to them and awarding damages. On appeal, Beaulieu asserted that, pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 163, he was entitled to a setoff against the amount of damages he was ordered to pay based on the Goodwills’ settlement with the real estate agency that listed his house. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that the district court did not err by declining to reduce the damage award by the amount of the settlement between the Goodwills and the real estate agency that listed Beaulieu’s house because Beaulieu was not entitled to the setoff as a matter of law. View "Goodwill v. Beaulieu" on Justia Law

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Arthur Murdock, a police officer, was attempting to cut across two eastbound lanes of traffic and into a parking lot when his police cruiser was struck by another vehicle traveling in the outside eastbound lane from behind where Martin Thorne’s car was stopped in traffic. Murdock filed a four-count complaint alleging, as relevant to this appeal, negligence claims against Thorne and underinsured motorist (UM) claims against his employer, the Maine department of Public Safety (DPS). The superior court granted summary judgment for DPS and Thorne. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) because Murdock failed to make a prima facie showing that Thorne’s “wave-on” gesture was the proximate cause of his injuries, Thorne was entitled to summary judgment on Murdock’s negligence claim; and (2) because Murdock’s UM claim against DPS was predicated upon his negligence claim against Thorne, summary judgment was properly granted in favor of DPS. View "Murdock v. Thorne" on Justia Law

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The date upon which the cause of action would be deemed to have accrued within the meaning of the Government Claims Act's, Gov. Code, 810 et seq., statute of limitations is the date on which a plaintiff discovers or should reasonably have discovered that she had suffered a compensable injury. The trial court overruled the City's demurrer to a complaint, arguing that the real parties in interest failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement of the Act by not presenting their claim to the City within six months. The Court of Appeal held that the parties in interest presented their claim to the City more than 10 months after the date upon which the cause of action accrued and thus failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement. Accordingly, the court granted the City's petition for writ of mandate. View "City of Pasadena v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against S&N for negligence, product liability, breach of contract, and misrepresentation. Plaintiff's claims stemmed from his decision to get S&N's metal-on-metal hip replacement system and the injuries he says it caused him. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the negligence claim to the extent it relies on an improper training or failure to warn theory of liability; affirmed the dismissal of the breach of contract claim; and reversed the dismissal of the negligence claim and strict product liability claims premised on manufacturing defect, as well as his misrepresentation claim. The court explained that these surviving claims were cognizable Florida common law causes of action and were not preempted by federal law. View "Mink v. Smith & Nephew, Inc." on Justia Law

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While walking past respondent Alexander Trujillo’s home on his way to the playground, petitioner N.M. became frightened when Trujillo’s two pit bulls rushed at the front-yard fence. Although the dogs did not get out of the yard or touch N.M., N.M. ran across the street and was struck by a passing van, which seriously injured him. N.M., by and through his parent and legal guardian, sued Trujillo for, as pertinent here, negligence. Trujillo moved to dismiss that claim, contending that N.M. had not sufficiently pleaded the requisite element of duty. The district court agreed and dismissed the case, and in a split, published decision, a division of the court of appeals affirmed. The Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari, and found given the circumstances presented here, concluded Trujillo did not owe N.M. a duty of care. Because N.M.’s claim against Trujillo was predicated on Trujillo’s alleged nonfeasance, or failure to act, and because this case was distinguishable from cases in which a dangerous or vicious animal attacks and directly injures someone, N.M. was required to plead a special relationship between himself and Trujillo in order to establish the duty of care necessary to support a negligence claim. View "N.M. v. Trujillo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Inter-State, seeking damages from injuries that he sustained when an Inter-State vehicle hit his pickup truck and trailer in Missouri. A jury awarded plaintiff $4.5 damages. The Eighth Circuit affirmed and held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction because the parties were completely diverse. The court upheld the award and denied remittitur because, with both economic and non-economic damages included in the general award, the total was not monstrous, shocking, or grossly excessive. View "Eckerberg v. Inter-State Studio, etc." on Justia Law

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Smith was transported from the Rock Island County Jail to the federal courthouse for arraignment. U.S. marshals took Smith to an interview room to meet his lawyer. The Marshals Service inspects the interview rooms weekly. On the detainee’s side of the room, there is a metal stool attached to the wall by a swing-arm. According to Smith, when he sat on the stool it “broke,” causing him to fall and strike his head; he saw that bolts were missing. A nurse examined Smith and noted that his speech was slurred. She had him taken to the emergency room. He was treated for a stroke and continues to suffer adverse effects. Smith filed an administrative tort claim, which was denied. Smith then brought suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2671, relying on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to impute negligence to the government. The district court rejected the theory, noting that Smith’s fall occurred at 11 a.m., so it was possible that others could have already damaged the seat or that Smith fell without the stool having malfunctioned. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The fact that a detainee is left alone to confer with his lawyer does not defeat the notion that the room and its contents remain within the control of the government. The sort of malfunction that Smith has described is the kind of hazard that the government may be expected to guard against. View "Smith v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs claimed that the sale of property without their consent to an entity of which Defendants were principals, was fraudulent. Plaintiffs also named as a defendant the title insurance and escrow agent in connection with the sale of the property. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in part and vacated it in part, holding (1) the hearing justice erred in determining that there was no factual issue regarding damages, and summary judgment is vacated as to the individual defendants to the extent that Plaintiffs may show damages for lost profits sustained in their individual capacities only; (2) the superior court properly granted summary judgment for the individual defendants as to Plaintiffs’ tortious interference with a contractual relationship claims, intentional interference with prospective contractual relations claims, breach of contract claims, fraud claims, and civil conspiracy claims; and (3) the judgment is affirmed in favor of the title company in all respects. View "Fogarty v. Palumbo" on Justia Law