Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Alabama
Allstate Insurance Company v. Hicks
This matter went before the Alabama Supreme Court on consolidated appeals stemming from an action filed by Nancy Hicks for injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Hicks appealed when the trial court denied her motion for a new trial. Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") cross-appealed, challenging the trial court's denial of its motion for a partial judgment as a matter of law on the issue of causation of Hicks's injuries. By refusing to allow the jury to consider the mortality table, the trial court hindered the jury's ability to determine the appropriate amount of damages to which Hicks was entitled in a trial in which the only issue was the amount of damages. Because the trial court erroneously determined that the mortality table could not be admitted into evidence, the trial court's denial of Hicks's motion for a new trial was reversed. Because of the Court's holding on this issue, it pretermitted discussion of Hicks's other argument in support of her request for a new trial, namely that the trial court erred by not giving the requested jury instructions on permanent injuries and on the use of mortality tables. Because Allstate did not properly preserve for appellate review its motion for a partial judgment as a matter of law of the issue of causation underlying Hicks's claim, the trial court's denial of that motion was affirmed. The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Allstate Insurance Company v. Hicks" on Justia Law
Walters v. De’Andrea
Clint Walters appeals from a summary judgment entered by the Montgomery Circuit Court in favor of Montgomery Police Department ("MPD") patrol officer Jessica De'Andrea and Progressive Casualty Insurance Company ("Progressive"). Walters was driving his motorcycle when he came to a complete stop at a red light. De'Andrea was traveling in her MPD police vehicle when she came to a stop directly behind Walters's motorcycle at the intersection of the Eastern Boulevard and Monticello Drive. De'Andrea testified in her deposition that she had completed her patrol shift and that she was on her way to the MPD South Central Headquarters on the Eastern Boulevard to end her shift. When the light turned green, De'Andrea saw that other vehicles were moving. She wasn't sure if Walters' brake light was intact; the officer assumed Walters was moving and proceeded to go, hitting Walters from behind. Walters alleged he suffered multiple injuries as a result of the accident, and filed an action against De'Andrea, Progressive, and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm"). Walters asserted claims of negligence and wantonness against De'Andrea in her individual capacity; he asserted claims for uninsured-motorist benefits against Progressive and State Farm. State Farm moved for summary judgment, attesting Walters did not have any insurance policies with State Farm in force at the time of the accident. De'Andrea moved for summary judgment, arguing she was entitled to state-agent immunity; Progressive and State Farm also moved for summary judgment, arguing that if De'Andrea was entitled to be dismissed, they too should be dismissed because Walters would not be "legally entitled to recover damages" from De'Andrea. The circuit court entered summary judgments in favor of De'Andrea, Progressive, and State Farm. The summary-judgment order did not detail the circuit court's reasons for its decision. Walters filed a postjudgment motion requesting that the circuit court alter, amend, or vacate its summary-judgment order. The postjudgment motion was denied. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed, finding De'Andrea failed to demonstrate that Walters's claims arose from a function that would entitle her to State-agent immunity. Therefore, the summary judgment in De'Andrea's favor was due to be reversed. Because Progressive's summary-judgment motion was predicated solely on the ground that Walters would not be "legally entitled to recover" uninsured-motorist benefits if De'Andrea was entitled to State-agent immunity, the summary judgment in its favor was also reversed. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Walters v. De'Andrea" on Justia Law
Resurrection of Life, Inc. v. Dailey
Christian Dailey, a minor, suffered a catastrophic personal injury at a day-care facility run by Resurrection of Life, Inc., d/b/a Perfect Place Christian Academy ("Resurrection of Life"). Christian's parents, Mark and Valerie Dailey, sued Resurrection of Life and its employee Latoya Mitchell Dawkins (hereinafter "the day-care defendants") on his behalf and, following a jury trial, obtained a sizable compensatory-damages award. The day-care defendants did not challenge the size of that award, but they did challenge the trial court’s refusal to grant them a new trial on the ground of juror misconduct. Because the day-care defendants were not entitled to a new trial, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. View "Resurrection of Life, Inc. v. Dailey" on Justia Law
Ex parte Sean Allen, One Bonehead Trucking, Inc., & FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
Following an automobile accident in Lee County, Alabama between Dionne Drisker and Sean Michael Allen, Drisker sued Allen, One Bonehead Trucking, Inc. ("Bonehead"), and FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. ("FedEx"), in Macon County, where Drisker resided. The defendants sought a writ of mandamus directing the Macon Circuit Court to transfer this case to the Lee Circuit Court under the interest-of-justice prong of the forum non conveniens statute. Because the defendants demonstrated that the connection between this case and Macon County was weak and that the connection between this case and Lee County was strong, the trial court exceeded its discretion by denying the defendants' motion to transfer the case to Lee County. The Alabama Supreme Court therefore directed the trial court to transfer this case to Lee County. View "Ex parte Sean Allen, One Bonehead Trucking, Inc., & FedEx Ground Package System, Inc." on Justia Law
Turner v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company
David Turner appealed the grant of summary judgment entered in favor of State Farm Mutual Insurance Company. In August 2017, Turner was on duty as a paramedic and was riding in the passenger seat of an ambulance while responding to an emergency call. While traversing an intersection, the ambulance collided with a vehicle being driven by Michael Norris. Turner suffered multiple injuries, including a broken leg. In November 2017, Turner sued Norris, asserting claims of negligence and "recklessness." Norris answered the complaint, denying that he had been negligent or reckless. Because the Alabama Supreme Court Held that State Farm was discharged from its obligation to pay Turner UIM benefits based on State Farm's payment of a "Lambert" advance and Turner's repudiation of his policy with State Farm, the Court pretermitted consideration of Turner's alternative argument regarding State Farm's failure to disclose the substance of its investigation of Turner's claim for UIM benefits, and expressed no opinion concerning that issue. The Court also expressed no opinion regarding any potential liability State Farm may or may not have to Turner in tort because Turner did not assert such a claim in this action. View "Turner v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company" on Justia Law
Mohr v. CSX Transportation, Inc.
In April 2017, Jerry Mohr, a Mobile County resident and an employee of CSX Transportation, Inc. ("CSX"), was injured in an on-the-job accident while working on a crew that was repairing a section of CSX railroad track near the Chef Menteur Bridge in Louisiana. Mohr sued CSX in the Mobile Circuit Court, asserting a negligence claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA"). The trial court ultimately entered a summary judgment in favor of CSX. Mohr appealed that judgment, arguing there were genuine issues of material fact that could only be resolved by a jury. Finding no reversible error, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. View "Mohr v. CSX Transportation, Inc." on Justia Law
Edwards v. Pearson
Rita Edwards, as mother of Raven Edwards, appealed the grant of summary judgment entered in favor of Penny Pearson on the ground of State-agent immunity. In 2014, Raven, an eight-year-old student at Airport Road Elementary School, attempted to cross the Deatsville Highway to board a school bus being driven by Pearson, an employee of the Elmore County Board of Education. As she did so, Raven was struck by an automobile, and she ultimately died as a result of her injuries. Edwards sued for wrongful death, alleging Pearson negligently had instructed and/or invited Raven to cross the highway to board the school bus. Pearson filed an answer denying the allegations in the complaint and asserting various affirmative defenses, including, among others, State-agent immunity. After review, the Alabama Supreme Court determined Pearson demonstrated she was entitled to State-agent immunity, and Edwards failed to demonstrate that an exception to that immunity applied. Accordingly, the trial court properly entered a summary judgment in Pearson's favor. View "Edwards v. Pearson" on Justia Law
Shannon v. Smith
Deborah Shannon suffered from ongoing medical problems she claimed were the result of an automobile accident. The jury that considered the claims she asserted against the other driver rejected her claims and returned a verdict in favor of the other driver. The trial court denied Shannon's motion for a new trial and she appealed, contending the jury's verdict was not sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. Finding adequate evidence to support the verdict, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. View "Shannon v. Smith" on Justia Law
Johnson v. Ellis
Acting pro se, Costillo Johnson, who, for purposes of this litigation, identified himself as "Asume Bjambe Ausir Imhotep El" ("Johnson"), appealed a circuit court's order dismissing his civil claims of assault and battery and "retaliation" against: "Ms. Ellis," purportedly a nurse's aid at Bibb Correctional Facility where Johnson was incarcerated; Wexford Medical, Ellis's purported employer; and the Alabama Department of Corrections ("ADOC"). Because it concluded the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction, the Alabama Supreme Court vacated its judgment and dismissed the appeal. View "Johnson v. Ellis" on Justia Law
Everheart et al. v. Rucker Place, LLC et al.
Tamikia Everheart; Cardell Coachman, by and through his mother and next friend Johnitia Coachman; Michael Coleman, as administrator of the estate of Diane McGlown; Mary Weatherspoon; and Elizabeth McElroy, as administratrix of the estate of Jakobie Johnson (collectively, "plaintiffs"), filed four separate of summary judgments entered in their separate cases by the Jefferson Circuit Court in favor of Rucker Place, LLC, and Savoie Catering, LLC. While attending a Christmas party in December 2015 at the residence of Bruce McKee and Dale McKee, Jason Bewley consumed alcohol. Later, he was driving while allegedly intoxicated and was involved in an accident with a vehicle occupied by five individuals. As a result of the accident, two of those individuals were injured and the other three were killed. The plaintiffs filed four separate actions against Bewley, alleging negligence and wantonness in the operation of his vehicle. The plaintiffs also asserted dram-shop claims against Dale McKee; the estate of Bruce McKee, who died shortly after the Christmas party; Savoie Catering, LLC, which had catered the McKees' party and had served guests alcohol that had been provided by the McKees; and Rucker Place, LLC, which operates a catering business with connections to Savoie, but which claims it had no involvement with the McKees' party. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgments based on the conclusion that plaintiffs did not demonstrate that Reg. 20-X-6- .02(4) applied to the circumstances involved in their cases. The Court expressed no opinion as to whether plaintiffs presented evidence sufficient to establish a joint venture between Savoie and Rucker Place. View "Everheart et al. v. Rucker Place, LLC et al." on Justia Law