Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries
L. C. v. United States
While L.C. was incarcerated at Federal Medical Center, Lexington, she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employee, Lee. L.C. alleges that the BOP knew or should have known of Lee’s assaults on her and other incarcerated women and failed to enforce its zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault in BOP facilities because BOP officials failed timely to report and investigate Lee’s assaults. L.C. filed a negligence claim against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).The district court dismissed the assault-and-battery claim, holding that the FTCA’s exception to sovereign immunity does not apply to torts committed by federal employees who act beyond the scope of their employment. It dismissed her negligence claim under the discretionary-function exception to the FTCA. The Sixth Circuit affirmed on other grounds. The claims fall outside the discretionary-function exception; BOP policy imposes specific and mandatory directives on all BOP officials timely to report and investigate information pertaining to sexual assault by a BOP official and deciding whether to do so is not susceptible to policy considerations. The negligence claim, however, should be dismissed for failure to allege sufficiently that the BOP knew or should have known of Lee’s attacks. View "L. C. v. United States" on Justia Law
Granite School District v. Young
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting Robyn Young's motion to dismiss this action brought by Granite School District regarding settlement proceeds Young had received for industrial injuries, holding that the Labor Commission had exclusive jurisdiction over the factual questions at the heart of this reimbursement dispute.Young, a special education teacher, sought workers' compensation for injuries she received at the hands of her students. An administrative law judge awarded Young benefits, finding that Young was permanently and totally disabled and that Young did not have to reimburse Granite with funds she received from a legal settlement she had obtained against medical debt collectors for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Granite then initiated suit for reimbursement from Young under the Utah Workers' Compensation Act. The district court granted Young's motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it dismissed Granite's complaint because the Workers' Compensation Act assigned the Commission exclusive jurisdiction over this dispute. View "Granite School District v. Young" on Justia Law
Tennco Energy, Inc. v. Lane
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Board determining that Richard Lane's notice to his former employer, Tennco Energy, Inc., that he was asserting a subsequent claim against it was timely, holding that there was no error.In 2019, Lane filed a coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) claim against Tennco Energy, Inc. An administrative law judge dismissed the claim after determining that Lane had failed to give timely notice of the claim pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 341.316(2). The Board reversed, concluding that a prior CWP claim that Lane had previously settled against a former employer had no bearing on Lane's duty to notice Tennco when he asserted a subsequent claim against it. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that remand was required for additional findings of fact under this opinion. View "Tennco Energy, Inc. v. Lane" on Justia Law
Rodarte v. Bluelinx Corp.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the ruling of the Workers' Compensation Board affirming the denial of Francisco Rodarte's motion to reopen and reversing the ruling that Rodarte's shoulder claim was barred due to failure to join, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Rodarte sustained two work-related injuries while working for BlueLinx Corporation - a knee and ankle injury in 2016 and a shoulder injury in 2018. In Rodarte and BlueLinx ultimately entered into a settlement agreement for Rodarte's knee and ankle injuries. BlueLinx denied Rodarte's shoulder claim, however, concluding it was barred pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.270 due to Rodarte's failure to join it to the 2016 claim. Rodarte moved to reopen the 2016 claim, which the chief administrative law judge denied. Thereafter, an administrative law judge dismissed the shoulder claim. The Board affirmed the denial of the motion to reopen and reversed the dismissal of the shoulder claim. The court of appeals affirmed the Board's ruling on the motion to reopen but reversed its determination that Rodarte's shoulder claim was not barred for failure to join. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals did not err in its rulings. View "Rodarte v. Bluelinx Corp." on Justia Law
Bird v. Pruett’s Food, Inc.
Plaintiff Steven Bird, an independent contractor hired to install a new checkout lane at Defendant Pruett's Food store, was injured after falling off a ladder Defendant had supplied to aid Plaintiff in completing the work. Plaintiff initiated a negligence action, seeking damages from his injuries and lost wages. Plaintiff presented his case at trial, after which Defendant demurred to Plaintiff's evidence. The trial court sustained the demurrer. Plaintiff appealed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that Plaintiff failed to establish that Defendant owed him a duty of care. View "Bird v. Pruett's Food, Inc." on Justia Law
Z.D. v. Community Health Network, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on her claims against Defendant, a hospital who mailed a letter containing Plaintiff's private health matter to a third party who posted the letter to social media, holding that genuine issues of material fact remained.Plaintiff filed suit against a hospital alleging that it invaded her privacy by publicly disclosing her private information and negligently failed to maintain the confidentiality of her information. The trial court granted summary judgment for the hospital. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Defendant was not entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's privacy claim because the hospital did not negate the public-disclosure tort's publicity element; (2) Defendant was entitled to partial summary judgment on Plaintiff's negligence claim; and (3) genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether Plaintiff's pecuniary damages were recoverable and whether Defendant was the proximate cause of those damages. View "Z.D. v. Community Health Network, Inc." on Justia Law
In re Edwards v. New Century Hospice
At issue before the Colorado Supreme Court in this matter was a trial court’s order denying immunity to Defendant New Century Hospice, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Defendants Legacy Hospice, LLC, d/b/a New Century Hospice of Denver, LLC, and Legacy Hospice of Colorado Springs, LLC (collectively, “New Century”). New Century argued it was entitled to immunity under four different statutes. Tana Edwards filed suit against New Century (her former employer) and Kathleen Johnson, the Director of Operations for New Century Castle Rock (collectively, “Defendants”). As part of her employment with New Century, Edwards provided in-home care to an elderly patient. In December 2019, Johnson began to suspect that Edwards was diverting pain medications from the patient. Defendants reported the suspected drug diversion to the Castle Rock Police Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”). Defendants also lodged a complaint against Edwards’s nursing license with the Colorado Board of Nursing (“the Board”). After investigations, no criminal charges were filed and no formal disciplinary actions were taken against Edwards. Edwards subsequently brought this action against Defendants, alleging claims for negligent supervision and negligent hiring against New Century, as well as claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against New Century and Johnson. Defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion as to Edwards’s claims for negligent hiring, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, finding that the claims were either time-barred or could not be proven. Three of the statutes New Century cited for its immunity claim, 12-20-402(1), C.R.S. (2022) (“the Professions Act”), 12-255-123(2), C.R.S. (2022) (“the Nurse Practice Act”), and 18-6.5-108(3), C.R.S. (2022) (“the Mandatory Reporter statute”), only authorized immunity for a “person.” Relying on the plain meaning of “person,” the Supreme Court held that New Century was not entitled to immunity under these three statutes because it was a corporation, not a person. The fourth statute, 18-8-115, C.R.S. (2022) (“the Duty to Report statute”), explicitly entitled corporations to immunity, but only if certain conditions were met. Applying the plain language of the statute, the Supreme Court held that New Century was not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of immunity under this statute because it did not carry its burden of demonstrating that all such conditions were met. View "In re Edwards v. New Century Hospice" on Justia Law
Johnson v. Freborg
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant in this defamation case, holding that before Plaintiff may recover presumed damages, he must show that Defendant's speech was not only false but was made with actual malice.Plaintiff, a private figure, sued Defendant after a post on Defendant's social media page accused Defendant and others of sexual assault. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant on the grounds that the speech involved a matter of public concern and was not made with actual malice. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the truth or falsity of Defendant's statement presented a genuine issue of material fact. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the dominant theme of Defendant's post involved sexual assault in the context of the #MeToo movement, and therefore, her statement was entitled to heightened protection under the First Amendment; and (2) remand was required for a trial on the veracity of Defendant's speech and actual malice. View "Johnson v. Freborg" on Justia Law
JAMIEN JENSEN, ET AL V. EXC INCORPORATED, ET AL
This diversity suit involves personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from a collision between a sedan and a tour bus on a U.S. highway within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation reservation. Before trial, the district court held that Arizona law applies to the accident, and it therefore dismissed all claims based on Navajo law. At trial, the jury rejected all remaining claims asserted by the sedan’s surviving passengers and by the estate of the sedan’s driver, and the district court entered judgment in favor of the tour bus driver, the tour organizer, and other related corporations. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of Defendants to the extent that it dismissed all claims that had been asserted solely under Navajo law; reversed the district court’s judgment on the claims that were submitted for trial because the district court erroneously allowed the introduction of hearsay opinions of a non-testifying putative expert; and remanded for a new trial. The panel held that the district court abused its discretion in allowing, under the guise of impeachment evidence against Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, Defendants’ counsel to elicit the opinions expressed in a police report prepared by the Arizona Department of Public Safety as to the cause of the accident. Next, the panel affirmed the district court’s conclusion that Arizona law applied and its resulting dismissal of all claims that were asserted only under Navajo law. View "JAMIEN JENSEN, ET AL V. EXC INCORPORATED, ET AL" on Justia Law
Saylor v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Defendant's lawsuit under the State Tort Claims Act (STCA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8,209 to 81-8,235, based on a finding that Defendant's action was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion, holding that claim preclusion applied.Defendant, an inmate, filed two cases against the State under the STCA. The district court entered two judgments. One judgment dismissed the first action with prejudice as barred by the STCA's statute of limitations and the other dismissed the second action with prejudice because Defendant had failed to comply with the preset claim presentment provisions of the STCA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed the second action as barred by claim preclusion because Defendant could have, and should have, brought all of his claims in the first action but failed to do so. View "Saylor v. State" on Justia Law