Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana
Griffin v. Menard Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Defendant in this personal injury case, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiffs were shopping for a sink in Menard, Inc. when a box containing a sink came apart and the sink fell on one of the plaintiffs, causing him injuries. Plaintiffs sued Defendant for damages, alleging premises liability and a loss of consortium. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs did not meet their burden on their premises liability claim; and (2) Plaintiffs' res ipsa loquitur claim failed. View "Griffin v. Menard Inc." on Justia Law
Reece v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment on Plaintiff's negligence claim based on a determination that no duty was owed in this case, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff's husband suffered catastrophic injuries when the motorcycle he was operating was hit by a car in an intersection. Plaintiff brought this action against Defendant, alleging negligence for allowing the property it owed to grow grass so high that it blocked the view of the roadway. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant did not owe a duty to nearby motorists. View "Reece v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc." on Justia Law
Renner v. Shepard-Bazant
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the trial court awarding Plaintiff $132,000 in damages in connection with her negligence complaint, holding that the trial court erred in failing to apply the eggshell-skull rule.Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence, and the trial court granted a default judgment. Plaintiff requested over $600,000 in damages. The trial court ultimately awarded her $132,000 in damages, noting Plaintiff's failure to mitigate her damages and failure to show that the accident in this case caused all of her damages. The Supreme Court held that the trial court abused its discretion in calculating damages, holding (1) the trial court properly reduced its award due to Plaintiff's failure to mitigate her damages; (2) the trial court did not err in determining that Plaintiff failed to prove Defendant's negligence proximately caused all her damages; but (3) the trial court erred in failing to apply the eggshell-skull rule. The Supreme Court remanded the matter for the trial court to recalculate its award of damages. View "Renner v. Shepard-Bazant" on Justia Law
Branscomb v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P.
The Supreme Court answered in the negative a certified question as to whether a store manager can be held liable for negligence when he is not directly involved in the accident at issue.In the underlying personal injury case Plaintiff sued Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart's store manager, Jim Clark, seeking damages. Plaintiff sued in state court, but Defendants sought to remove the case to federal court and the grounds that Clark, an Indiana citizen, was added solely to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiffs sought to remand the matter back to state court, alleging that there were issues of fact precluding a conclusion that Clark, who played on personal or direct role in the alleged injury, was fraudulently joined. The United States District Court sua sponte entered an order seeking guidance in resolving the issue of whether Clark could be liable as a defendant. The Supreme Court answered by holding that when there are no allegations that a store manager controlled the premises where the harm occurred, he cannot be held liable under Indiana law. View "Branscomb v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P." on Justia Law
Cooper’s Hawk Indianapolis, LLC v. Ray
In this negligence action, The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal from the order of the trial court denying Defendant's motion for summary judgment, holding that the appeal was forfeited.Plaintiff was injured when she slipped and fell in Defendant's restaurant. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence. After the trial court denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment, Defendant timely moved to certify the order for interlocutory appeal. The court of appeals accepted the interlocutory appeal, but Defendant did not timely file a notice of appeal. The court of appeals reversed the denial of the summary judgment motion without addressing the untimeliness of the notice of appeal. The Supreme Court granted transfer and dismissed the appeal, holding that the appeal was untimely and that there was no extraordinarily compelling reasons to restore the forfeited appeal. View "Cooper's Hawk Indianapolis, LLC v. Ray" on Justia Law
Doe v. Carmel Operator, LLC
In this case involving an agreement to arbitrate, the Supreme Court reiterated the elements of equitable estoppel required for an outside party not contemplated by the agreement to enforce an arbitration clause against a signatory and reversed the trial court's determination that a third party could compel arbitration, holding that none of the traditional elements of equitable estoppel were satisfied.Jane Doe's legal guardian (Guardian) arranged for Jane to live at Carmel Senior Living (CSL) and initialed an arbitration agreement. Guardian later filed a complaint against CSL; its management company, Spectrum; and one of its employees, claiming that the employee had sexually abused Jane and that CSL and Spectrum (together, CSL) were vicariously liable. Guardian later amended the complaint to add Certiphi Screening, the company CSL had hired to run background checks on new employees. The defendants demanded arbitration. The trial court granted the motions to compel arbitration, concluding that the agreement covered CSL and that equitable estoppel mandated arbitration of Guardian's claims against Certiphi. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Certiphi did not meet the requirements of equitable estoppel. View "Doe v. Carmel Operator, LLC" on Justia Law
Doe v. Carmel Operator, LLC
The Supreme Court reversed the determination of the trial court that Jane Doe could compel her legal guardian (Guardian) to arbitrate her claims against it and affirmed the trial court's order compelling Guardian to arbitrate as to the remaining defendants, holding that this Court declines to adopt any alternative theories to the doctrine of equitable estoppel.After Jane had been living at Carmel Senior Living (CSL) for a few months, Guardian filed a complaint against CSL, CSL's management company and one of its employees, and Certiphi Screening, the company CSL had hired to run background checks on new employees, alleging that Jane had been sexually abused. The trial court granted CSL's and Certiphi's motions to compel arbitration under the arbitration agreement in the residency contract, determining that the agreement covered CSL under and agency theory and that equitable estoppel mandated arbitration of Guardian's claims against Certiphi. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Certiphi was not one of the third-party beneficiaries provided for in the arbitration agreement and could not meet the requirements of equitable estoppel; and (2) this Court declines to endorse any alternative equitable estoppel theories. View "Doe v. Carmel Operator, LLC" on Justia Law
Glover v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co.
In this insurance dispute stemming from a fatal car collision, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Insurer, holding that the decedent's estate was entitled to summary judgment on the issues of whether the decedent was an "insured person" and the availability of $25,000 in further UIM coverage under the decedent's parents' Allstate policy.Shelina Glover died in a car accident. The insurers of the two responsible drivers paid policy limits, and Glover's estate received separate settlements for underinsured-motorist (UIM) coverage from Glover's own carrier and from that of Glover's husband, who was driving the vehicle on the day of the accident. The Estate requested further UIM coverage under Glover's parents' Allstate policy. The trial court granted summary judgment for Allstate, concluding that the policy's offset and anti-stacking provisions barred the Estate from recovery because the amount the Estate received from other insurers exceeded the limits under the policy. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding (1) Glover was an "insured person" under the policy; and (2) the Estate's UIM settlements were not offset against the policy's UMI limit, and therefore, the Estate had an additional $25,000 UIM coverage available to it under the Allstate policy. View "Glover v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Riddle v. Cress
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendants relief from a default judgment, holding that the trial court's assessments of the parties' credibility and demeanor were sufficient to establish at least "slight evidence" of excusable neglect.Plaintiff sued Defendants alleging that certain statements Defendants made constituted defamation and false reporting. Because Defendants did not enter appearances or respond to the complaint the trial court granted default judgment to Plaintiffs. The trial court granted Defendants' motion for relief from the default judgment, concluding that Defendants were sincerely confused about their obligation to respond. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings, holding that the trial court's fact-sensitive judgments showed that Defendants were entitled to relief. View "Riddle v. Cress" on Justia Law
Humphrey v. Tuck
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court awarding Plaintiff $40,000 in this personal injury action, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in giving a failure to mitigate instruction.Plaintiff brought this action alleging negligence and respondeat superior against Defendants claiming that a vehicle accident caused a preexisting tumor in his eye to swell in size. At the conclusion of the evidence, Defendants asked for a jury instruction on failure to mitigate damages. The trial court gave the requested instruction. The trial court awarded Plaintiff $40,000. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the mitigation instruction was unsupported by the evidence. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in giving a failure to mitigate instruction. View "Humphrey v. Tuck" on Justia Law