Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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This case arose when an investment advisor committed fraud by opening a doing-business-as ("d/b/a") bank account using the name of his employer when he did not have the employer's authority to do so. The employer's insurance company subsequently filed suit against the bank, alleging that the bank negligently failed to inquire into whether the former advisor had authority to open the d/b/a account. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit because the bank owed no recognized duty to the employer. View "National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Hometown Bank, N.A., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and her kids filed a wrongful death action in state court against R.J. Reynolds and others after her husband died from throat cancer. Defendants removed to federal court, arguing that both of the nonmanufacturers had been fraudulently joined. The district court then granted defendants' motion to dismiss because the family's claims were barred by res judicata. The court concluded that the district court did not err in finding fraudulent joinder, denying plaintiff's motion for remand, and then dismissing the nonmanufacturers from the case. The court also concluded that the "one recovery" rule of Missouri Revised Statutes 537.080 barred recovery against defendants in plaintiff's earlier suit for a wrongful death caused by the same conduct. Therefore, the district court was correct in dismissing the claims against the manufacturing defendants under the more demanding of the dismissal standards. As a result of the prior judgment, the husband no longer had a viable claim against the cigarette manufacturers at the time of his death, and his family is barred from bringing such a claim now. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Thompson, et al. v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Thomas and Martha Duban filed suit against Waverly, alleging negligence arising out of Martha's injuries she sustained when she was stepped on by a horse at the Waverly draft horse auction. At issue was whether, as a matter of law, the exception from the Iowa Code applies, such that Waverly cannot take advantage of the general immunity provided to domesticated animal activity sponsors. The court held that, because Waverly designated or intended the northeast alley as an area for persons who were not participants to be present, the exception from Iowa Code 673.2(4) applied to these facts as a matter of law, and Waverly was subject to liability for Martha's injuries. Accordingly, the court concluded that the motions for judgment as a matter of law were properly denied. View "Duban, et al. v. Waverly Sales Co." on Justia Law

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After a fatal accident, plaintiffs filed suit against the tractor-trailer driver, the truck driver's employer (Fresh Start), the company that leased the tractor, the husband and wife who owned Fresh Start, and the company that owned the two trailers the tractor was pulling (FedEx). The district court granted FedEx's motion for summary judgment and plaintiffs appealed. The court concluded that the district court applied the proper standard under Nebraska law, carefully considered the control factor, and concluded that there was no evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that Fresh Start was FedEx's employee; because FedEx was not acting as a motor carrier, it had no duty - nondelegable or otherwise - to require that the driver observe his Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) duties by reason of 49 C.F.R. 390.11; plaintiffs failed to establish a negligent entrustment claim where there was no evidence that FedEx was aware of facts permitting a reasonable jury to find that it knew or should have known that the driver was not a properly certified driver; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiffs' untimely motion for leave to amend their complaint. View "Harris, et al. v. FedEx National LTL, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Cory Snethen, the Jaycees, and Carico Farms (collectively, "defendants") and others, alleging common law negligence claims and wrongful death actions after her husband died from a motorcycle collision with a pickup. The court concluded that the district court properly dismissed negligence claims against defendants where the court predicted that the Nebraska Supreme Court would find defendants had no duty to control traffic on the highway at the time of plaintiff's husband's death. The court rejected plaintiff's remaining claims of error and affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against defendants. View "Packard v. Falls City Area Jaycees, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a sign electrician, was injured when he fell through the canopy of a storefront. Plaintiff filed suit against the owner of the shopping center and others. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's fifth motion to amend his complaint; the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to amend when plaintiff filed his motion over three months past the deadline; the exception to the "open and obvious" rule did not apply in this case; plaintiff was an independent contractor; the hazards plaintiffs encountered were open, obvious, and known to him before he ascended the roof and undertook the risk of falling; and the owner had no duty to warn plaintiff of an obvious hazard integral to his work. Accordingly, plaintiff failed to show that the owner owed him a duty. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the owner. View "Pinson v. 45 Development, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against a semi-truck driver and his company for injuries plaintiff sustained in a traffic accident. The jury returned a verdict assigning no fault to either party and plaintiff appealed. The court concluded that, given the district court's pre-trial ruling that the accident report was inadmissible, defendants should not have been allowed to introduce the officer's opinions and conclusions from the accident report. The introduction of the investigating officer's opinions and conclusions was improper and had a substantial influence on the jury's verdict. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Valedez v. Watkins Motor Lines, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and her husband brought a products liability action against the Little Giant Ladder's manufacturer after she suffered injuries while using the ladder. The district court excluded plaintiff's expert testimony and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove the various theories of products liability. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to the manufacturer. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence of the compression tests on the grounds the tests were not conducted under conditions substantially similar to those surrounding the accident. Furthermore, because plaintiff had no admissible expert testimony to support her theories of product liability, the court concluded that the district court did not err in granting the manufacturer's motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Loomis, et al. v. Wing Enterprises, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed from the district court's denial of their motion to remand and its dismissal on the merits of their claims against Wells Fargo and Kozeny. The court concluded that, because plaintiffs did not allege that Kozeny owed a tort duty enumerated in the deed of trust, no reasonable basis in fact and law supported plaintiffs' negligence claim against Kozeny; because there was no reasonable basis in fact and law for either of plaintiffs' negligence and breach of fiduciary claims, it follows that Kozeny was fraudulently joined and that the district court properly denied plaintiffs' motion to remand; the court modified the district court's dismissal of the claims against Kozeny to be without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and because Kozeny - the only nondiverse defendant - was dismissed, the district court properly retained federal diversity jurisdiction over plaintiffs' remaining claims against Wells Fargo. Because plaintiffs failed to state a claim of wrongful foreclosure, fraudulent misrepresentation, violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. 407.020.1, negligence, or negligent misrepresentation, the district court properly granted Wells Fargo's motion to dismiss. View "Wivell, et al v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, employees of OMLP, filed a negligence suit alleging that American Greetings' failure to properly label its electrical system and warn plaintiffs of the unique nature of its transformers caused Plaintiff Duncan's incorrect assumptions about the secondary transformer's voltage. The court concluded that American Greetings owed plaintiffs no duty to warn of the well-known hazard of approaching a charged transformer with improper equipment; because the nature of plaintiffs' work necessarily implicated these obvious hazards, American Greetings owed no duty to exercise ordinary care for plaintiffs' safety; and because plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that American Greetings owed them a duty, their negligence claims failed as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of American Greetings. View "Duncan, et al. v. American Greetings Corp." on Justia Law