Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wright v. Farouk Systems, Inc.
Plaintiff filed this products liability action under Georgia law alleging that a hair bleaching product manufactured by defendant burned her scalp, causing her to suffer physical, mental, and emotional pain. On appeal, plaintiff contended that the district court erred in refusing to consider some of her evidence when ruling on defendant's motion for summary judgment. The court held that the statements made by a salon owner were non-hearsay admissions of a party opponent and it was an abuse of discretion to exclude them from consideration on hearsay grounds. On remand, the district court should decide whether the salon owner's affidavit should be excluded because plaintiff failed to timely disclose her as a witness as required by Rule 26(a)(1)(A)(i). Even if the district court concluded that the affidavit should be excluded under Rule 26, the district court should also alternatively rule on defendant's motion for summary judgment as though that affidavit were not excluded. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Wright v. Farouk Systems, Inc." on Justia Law
The Estate Of Tore Myhra v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
Plaintiff, the estate of Tore Myhra, brought suit against Royal Caribbean, seeking damages for Mr. Myhra's injuries and death. It alleged that a bacterial infection that he had acquired while on board Royal Caribbean's vessel had caused the tragic events. On appeal, the estate contended that the forum-selection clause should be invalidated both because it was against the statutorily expressed public policy of the United States and because its terms were not reasonably communicated to the Myhras. The court concluded that 46 U.S.C. 30509(a) did not prevent Royal Caribbean from including the forum-selection clause in the Myhras' contract. Nor did the court perceive any procedural or substantive error in the district court's conclusion that the clause was reasonably communicated to the Myhras. Accordingly, the decision of the district court to dismiss the case was correct and the court affirmed the judgment. View "The Estate Of Tore Myhra v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd." on Justia Law
Curry, et al. v. AvMed, Inc.
Plaintiffs, victims of identity theft, appealed the district court's dismissal of their Second Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The district court held that among its other deficiencies, the complaint failed to state a cognizable injury. The court found, however, that the complaint stated a cognizable injury for the purposes of standing and as a necessary element of injury in plaintiffs' Florida law claims. The court also concluded that the complaint sufficiently alleged the causation element of negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, breach of implied contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of fiduciary duty. The complaint similarly alleged facts sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss on the restitution/unjust enrichment claim. However, the complaint failed to allege entitlement to relief under Florida law for the claims of negligence per se and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Therefore, the court reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Curry, et al. v. AvMed, Inc." on Justia Law
Chaparro, et al. v. Carnival Corp.
Plaintiffs and their daughter took a vacation aboard a Carnival cruise ship where a Carnival employee encouraged them to visit Coki Beach. On the way back from Coki Beach to the ship, plaintiffs and their daughter were on an open-air bus that passed a funeral service of a gang member. While stuck in traffic, gang-related, retaliatory violence erupted at the funeral, shots were fired, and the daughter was killed on the bus as an innocent passerby. Plaintiffs sued Carnival, alleging, among other things, that Carnival negligently failed to warn them about the crime problem, reported gang-related violence, and potential for public shootings in the areas at issue. The court held that the complaint sufficiently stated claims for which relief could be granted. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's judgment of dismissal and remanded for further proceedings. View "Chaparro, et al. v. Carnival Corp." on Justia Law
Strickland v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co.
Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, Norfolk Southern, stating claims under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. 51 et seq., and the Federal Safety Appliance Act (FSAA), 49 U.S.C. 20301 et seq. Plaintiff claimed that he suffered a shoulder injury as a result of a faulty handbrake during his work shift. Without addressing the sufficiency of plaintiff's testimony, the district court granted summary judgment to Norfolk Southern. The court found that the district court applied the wrong standard for summary judgment and that, even if it had applied the correct standard, summary judgment was improper. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Strickland v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co." on Justia Law
Juris v. Inamed Corp.
This case arose from a 1999 class action suit against the maker of silicone breast implants. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama approved a mandatory, limited fund class settlement which resolved tens of thousands of claims arising from injuries allegedly caused by defective implants manufactured by Inamed Corporation. In 2006, Zuzanna Juris filed an individual suit in California state court naming Inamed and its successor Allergan, alleging injuries caused by her Inamed implants. Defendants contended that Juris' lawsuit was barred by the 1999 class settlement. Juris countered that she could avoid the settlement's res judicata effect on due process grounds. The district court held that the class settlement precluded Juris from prosecuting the California case. Juris appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the method the Alabama court approved for distributing class notice was constitutionally deficient because she did not receive actual, individual notice. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that Juris' assertion that she should have received actual, individual notice rested on a "faulty premise." Even assuming a heightened notice standard applied in this case, the Court concluded that Juris was unable to demonstrate that the notice in the class proceeding was constitutionally deficient. Finding no other error in the district court's holding that the class settlement precluded Juris' California case, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed that court's judgment.
Furry v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Plaintiff-Appellant John Furry, as personal representative of the estate of his daughter Tatiana Furry, appealed a district court’s order granting the Miccosukee Tribe’s motion to dismiss his complaint. He complained that the Miccosukee Tribe violated 18 U.S.C. 1161 and Florida’s dram shop law by knowingly serving excessive amounts of alcohol to his daughter, who then got in her car, drove off while intoxicated, and ended up in a fatal head-on collision with another vehicle on a highway just outside Miami. The Miccosukee Tribe moved to dismiss the complaint on the jurisdictional ground that it was immune from suit under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity. In its order granting the tribe's motion to dismiss, the district court determined that tribal sovereign immunity barred it from entertaining the suit. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit agreed: "The Supreme Court has made clear that a suit against an Indian tribe is barred unless the tribe has clearly waived its immunity or Congress has expressly and unequivocally abrogated that immunity. [Plaintiff argued] that both of these exceptions have been met here, but these arguments are ultimately without merit."
Farias v. Mr.Heater, Inc.
Plaintiff-Appellant Lilybet Farias appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants-Appellants Mr. Heater, Inc., Enerco Group, Inc. and The Home Depot, Inc. Further, she appealed the denial of the Rule 59 motion for reconsideration in favor of Defendants on her claims of strict products liability and negligent failure-to-warn. Plaintiff asserted that Defendants negligently failed to warn her of the danger which could result from the indoor use of two propane gas-fired infra-red portable heaters that she purchased from Home Depot and which had been manufactured by Enerco and Mr. Heater. As a result of the allegedly inadequate warnings, Plaintiff argued she unwittingly used the heaters inside her home and when she failed to close a valve on one of the gas tanks before going to sleep, her home caught fire causing thousands of dollars in damages. On appeal, Plaintiff argued the district court erred by resolving as a matter of law, rather than leaving the issue for the jury's determination, the question of the adequacy of the warnings and instructions provided with the heaters. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit saw no error in the district court's conclusion that the warnings provided by Defendants were inadequate as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants.
Wajnstat v. Oceania Cruises, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Oceania Cruises after he became ill on the cruise and received allegedly substandard care. Plaintiff claimed that Oceania negligently hired, retained, and supervised the ship's doctor. Oceania attempted to bring this interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(3), contending that the district court erred when it held that a limitation-of-liability provision in Oceania's ticket contract was unenforceable. The district court concluded that the provision, which incorporated by reference portions of international treaties and the United States Code, was so confusing that it did not reasonably communicate to the passengers the cruise line's liability limits. The court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to Ford Motor Co. v. S.S. Santa Irene, which held that the application of the limitation-of-liability provision was not an immediately appealable order under section 1292(a)(3).
Alderwoods Group, Inc., et al. v. Garcia, et al.
This case stemmed from a debt which consisted of claims of tort liability possessed by relatives of people buried in a cemetery called Graceland. Creditors alleged that debtors were liable to them and the members of their class for damages because, due to inadequate record keeping, debtors were unable to locate upon request the grave sites of family members or close relatives buried in Graceland. At issue was whether a bankruptcy court in one federal district had jurisdiction to determine whether a debt was discharged in a bankruptcy case litigated in another federal district. The court held that the court lacked jurisdiction and therefore did not reach the other issues on appeal.