Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court
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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court denying Defendants' motions for dismissal and summary judgment, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff brought this action alleging that Father M.J., a priest, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City alleging various torts based on sexual abuse from M.J. when Plaintiff was a child. Defendants filed motions for dismissal and summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff's claims were time barred. The district court denied the motions, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that disputed questions of material fact remained. View "Doe v. M.J." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a panel of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to the Kansas Workers Compensation Fund on the Fund's collateral action against Trademark, Inc., holding that there was no error.After Juan Medina received a workplace injury he sought compensation from his direct employer under the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-501 et seq. Because the employer did not carry workers compensation insurance, Medina impleaded the Fund to obtain benefits. Thereafter, an ALJ awarded compensation to Medina, and the Fund paid Medina benefits. The Fund then filed this action under Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-532a against Trademark, the general contractor for whom Medina's employer was acting as a subcontractor at the time of the injury. The district court granted summary judgment to the Fund and denied attorney fees. The court of appeals panel affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the lower courts correctly interpreted section 44-532a as allowing the Fund to pursue an action against Trademark; but (2) the Fund was not entitled to attorney fees. View "Schmidt v. Trademark, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of two police officers in this complaint seeking money damages under various state law tort theories, holding that the officers were entitled to discretionary function immunity.This case stemmed from a police officer's investigation of suspicious activity in a residential area and the officer's detainment of Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit against two of the officers who arrived at the scene before Plaintiff was eventually released, alleging state law tort theories arising from this encounter. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the officers' conduct was not privileged because they lacked reasonable suspicion to detain Plaintiff as part of their investigation; but (2) the officers were entitled to discretionary function immunity under the Kansas Tort Claims Act, Kan. Stat. Ann. 75-6101 et seq. View "Schreiner v. Hodge" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court to grant summary judgment on the University of Kansas Hospital Authority's (KUHA) claims against the City of Ottawa seeking to recover the cost of medical treatment provided to an indigent patient who was injured in a car crash, holding that the City was not obligated to pay the patient's medical expenses.In seeking to recover the cost of the patient's medical treatment in this case, KUHA relied on Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4612(a), which requires a city or county to pay a health care provider for health care services rendered to an indigent person in the custody of a city or the city's law enforcement agency. The district court granted summary judgment against the City of Ottawa, ruling that the Ottawa Police Department (OPD) ultimately had custody of the patient, and not the City. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that OPD did not have custody of the patient under section 22-4612(a), and therefore, the City was not liable for the patient's unpaid medical expenses. View "University of Kansas Hospital Authority v. Board of Franklin County Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' lawsuit against their doctor based on Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1906(a), holding that section 60-1906(a) does not violate the right to trial by jury guaranteed by section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights or the right to a remedy guaranteed by section 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.Plaintiffs sued their obstetrician, asserting that Defendant breached the applicable duty of care by failing to detect fetal abnormalities in an ultrasound. Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the damages claim for future care made this a wrongful death lawsuit barred by section 60-1906(a). The district court granted judgment to Defendant based on the statute, determining that the statute was unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly applied section 60-1906(a) to conclude that Defendant was entitled to judgment on the pleadings. View "Tillman v. Goodpasture" on Justia Law

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In this case involving an Employer's subrogation interest in a $1.5 million settlement, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the Workers Compensation Board calculating the subrogation interest for Employer and remanding for a larger reduction, holding that the Board correctly determined the calculations.Employee suffered a workplace injury and received workers compensation benefits from Employer and its insurance carrier. Employee sued three other entities he claimed were liable for some or all of his injuries and settled with two of those entities. In this matter, Employer and its insurer sought to be repaid from one of those settlements under Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-504(b). The jury found Employer twenty-five percent at fault and assessed Employee's damages at more than $4 million. The Board reduced the subrogation interest for Employer's past and future expenses by twenty-five percent of the settlement, but the court of appeals concluded that the reduction should be by twenty-five percent of the jury's award. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board did not err in calculating Employer's subrogation interest. View "Hawkins v. Southwest Kansas Co-op Service" on Justia Law

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In this workers compensation case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals holding that Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-510e(a)(2)(B) was unconstitutional on its face, holding that the statute is constitutional.Appellant was injured during his employment and filed for workers compensation benefits. A doctor rated Appellant's permanent partial impairment using the Sixth Edition of the American Medical Association Guides, as adopted by the Kansas Workers Compensation Act. See section 44-510e(a)(2)(B). The court of appeals reversed, holding that the statute's use of the Sixth Edition was unconstitutional on its face because it changed the essential legal standard for determining functional impairment. The Supreme Court reversed after construing the ambiguous statutory language to avoid the constitutional question, holding that the language of section 44-510e(a)(2)(B) referencing the Sixth Edition can reasonably be interpreted as a guideline rather than a mandate. View "Johnson v. U.S. Food Service" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the Workers Compensation Board that clear and convincing evidence showed that an employee's impairment caused by marijuana consumption did not contribute to the employee's workplace accident, holding that sufficient evidence supported the Board's finding that it was "highly probable" that the employee's impairment did not contribute to his accident.Gary Woessner died after falling fifteen feet from a jobsite catwalk for an unexplained reason. Gary's employer, Labor Max Staffing, paid workers compensation benefits for his temporary total disability and for his treatment and care, but after he died, Labor Max stopped paying not he workers compensation claim. Carmen Woessner, Gary's widow, sought benefits. An administrative law judge ruled that Gary's injuries were not compensable because Carmen failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Gary's impairment caused by marijuana use did not contribute to his accident, injury, and death. The Board concluded that Gary's injuries were compensable and awarded the benefits, finding that, even if Gary was impaired, the impairment did not contribute to his accident. The Supreme Court affirmed the Board, holding that the drug test results were admissible and that the conclusively presumed impairment did not contribute to Gary's accident. View "Woessner v. Labor Max Staffing" on Justia Law

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In this personal injury case arising from a bar fight at the San Lo Leyte VFW Post #7515 in Clyde, Kansas (VFW) between Plaintiff and a third party patron of the bar the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the district court's summary judgment in favor of the VFW, holding that there were still necessary questions of fact left unanswered, and therefore, summary judgment was not appropriate.On appeal, Plaintiff argued that despite the injury occurring off VFW-owned premises, the VFW's duty to protect Plaintiff from the assault, and the breach of that duty, arose while Plaintiff and the third party were still inside the bar. The court of appeals agreed, concluding that negligence could have arisen when all parties were on the VFW's premises. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that questions of fact existed regarding the foreseeability of Plaintiff's injury and whether a breach of duty occurred, precluding summary judgment. View "Hammond v. San Lo Leyte VFW Post #7515" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming in part and reversing in part the order of the district court granting summary judgment for the State and Patrick Saleh, a highway patrol trooper, and dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging negligence and vicarious liability, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed precluding summary judgment.Plaintiffs, Shelby Montgomery and Scott Bennett, sustained injuries when a Toyota driven by Robert Horton ran a red light and collided with Bennett's truck. Horton was being pursued by Saleh at the time of the collision. Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit, claiming that Saleh was negligent in failing to cease his pursuit of Horton prior to when he did and that the State was vicariously liable. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The court of appeals reversed the district court's finding on proof of causation and remanded for trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Saleh breached the duty imposed by Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1506; and (2) a dispute existed as to whether Saleh's conduct was a cause in fact of Plaintiffs' injuries. View "Montgomery v. Saleh" on Justia Law