Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lawrey v. Kearney Clinic, P.C., et al.
After plaintiff's daughter was born with permanent nerve damage in her right shoulder and arm, plaintiff filed suit against the physician who performed the delivery of plaintiff's daughter. The court concluded that the proper standard for review of the district court's order granting the motion in limine is abuse of discretion, not plain error; the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding the testimony of plaintiff's experts because the experts' opinions did not fit the specific facts of this case; the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the issue of informed consent where the record did not support the contention that the physician's expert testified the risk factors present in this case required a physician to warn a patient about the possibility of a permanent injury; and the court rejected plaintiff's contention that the district court should have granted her a new trial based on allegedly prejudicial and inflammatory comments made by defense counsel during closing arguments. View "Lawrey v. Kearney Clinic, P.C., et al." on Justia Law
Mack, et al. v. Stryker Corp., et al.
Plaintiff filed a negligence and strict products liability suit against Stryker, the manufacturer and seller of the pain pump that was inserted into her shoulder to mitigate her pain while recovering from surgery. Plaintiff's husband filed a claim for loss of consortium. The court concluded that Stryker could not have foreseen the potential for articular cartilage damage as the result of the surgical implementation of its pain pump on the medical community's knowledge in 2002; Stryker, as a matter of law, had no duty to protect or warn plaintiff of the harm that Stryker's pain pumps may inflict; and the FDA denials did not indicate to Stryker that use of its pain pumps in intra-articular spaces was unsafe or could result in foreseeable harm. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Stryker. View "Mack, et al. v. Stryker Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Mahanna, et al. v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Assoc.
In 2011, plaintiffs filed suit against the Bank for breach of contract, negligence, and conversion after plaintiffs gave physical possession of gold coins and proof sets to a predecessor of the Bank, as collateral to secure a line of credit in the 1980's, and the Bank stated conclusively in 2009 that it no longer possessed the coins. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Bank, holding that the suit was time-barred by Missouri's ten-year statute of limitations. Whether plaintiffs could or could not have continued to borrow on the allegedly ongoing line of credit did not change the fact that reasonable persons had to have known, prior to January 2001, that their creditor's non-responsiveness and inability to locate the collateral suggested that an injury and substantial damages may have occurred. View "Mahanna, et al. v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Assoc." on Justia Law
Bachtel v. TASER Int’l, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the city and several police officers after her son was shot in the chest with an electronic control device (ECD). After the case settled, plaintiff filed suit against TASER for products liability and negligence. The court concluded that plaintiff's failure to warn claim failed as a matter of law because she did not establish on the record that an additional warning would have changed the behavior of the officers involved; the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding plaintiff's expert's testimony on the issue of whether a different or additional warning would have altered the officer's actions under the existing circumstances; even if the court were to conclude that there was a legitimate jury question as to whether the officer had been made aware of the specific risk of cardiac danger when the ECD was fired directly at the subject's chest, such a conclusion would be rebuttable by undisputed evidence in the record that he had not been instructed on available warnings and did not heed the limited training he had received; there was no genuine dispute on the record that the officer would not have read any additional warning TASER may have added as to the cardiac danger of the ECD in any of its product warnings or bulletins, or in any training materials prepared after January 1, 2005; even if an adequate warning had appeared, the officer would not have heeded it; and therefore, TASER was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's negligence and failure to warn claims where she failed to establish that an additional warning would have altered the behavior of the officer. The court also concluded that plaintiff failed to present evidence that the ECD device used by the officer was unreasonably dangerous as designed. Plaintiff's design defect claim failed as a matter of law where plaintiff failed to demonstrate any "specific design choices" that rendered the model unreasonably dangerous. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment and dismissed plaintiff's remaining claims as moot. View "Bachtel v. TASER Int'l, Inc." on Justia Law
Roe v. St. Louis University, et al.
Plaintiff filed suit alleging deliberate indifference by the University to her rape by another student and state law violations including breach of contract, misrepresentation, and negligence following a back injury she received in training for the field hockey team. The district court granted summary judgment to the University. The court concluded that plaintiff had not demonstrated a genuine issue of matter fact as to whether the University acted with deliberate indifference in respect to her rape and its aftermath; although plaintiff's sexual assault was clearly devastating to her, plaintiff had not shown that the University violated Title IX in its response to it or otherwise; plaintiff had not created a genuine issue of material fact on her negligence claim because she had not presented evidence to show the University breached a duty to conform to a standard of care; the district court properly granted summary judgment on plaintiff's misrepresentation claims because she provided no evidence that any representations made to her were actually false; plaintiff has not demonstrated a genuine issue of material fact on her breach of contract claim; plaintiff has not shown that Judge Autrey abused his discretion by declining to recuse where alumni connections were not a reasonable basis for questioning a judge's impartiality; plaintiff has not shown error or abuse by the district court or violation of her due process rights where she failed to present her positions as required by the court rules for the orderly disposition of issues; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion to extend discovery under Rule 56(d). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Roe v. St. Louis University, et al." on Justia Law
Boehm v. Eli Lilly & Co.
Plaintiff, after being diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia (TD), filed suit against Lilly, manufacturer of the antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa, alleging personal injury and product liability claims. The district court concluded that Lilly adequately warned plaintiff's treating and prescribing physicians of the risk of developing movement disorders like TD. On appeal, plaintiff argued, inter alia, that the district court erred in excluding his expert opinion testimony that 15% of Zyprexa users will develop TD after three years of use. The court concluded that the district court was well within its substantial discretion to conclude that plaintiff had not provided sufficient scientific support for the opinion and to exclude the opinion. The court also concluded that the district court properly applied the learned intermediary doctrine in dismissing the failure-to-warn claim. Finally, assuming Arkansas law recognized an overpromotion exception, the exception would not apply in this case because plaintiff presented no evidence that any representation by a salesperson affected a prescribing doctor's decision to continue plaintiff on Zyprexa and because there was no reliable evidence that Zyprexa had significantly more risk of movement disorders than the drug reps allegedly said it had. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint. View "Boehm v. Eli Lilly & Co." on Justia Law
Patterson v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co.
Plaintiff, a student cheerleader paralyzed while practicing a tumbling maneuver in gymnastics class, sought coverage under the insurance policy that Mutual issued to Prairie View as a member of the NCAA. Mutual argued that the policy covered student cheerleaders who were injured during cheerleading practice sessions. The court concluded that the gymnastics class could be considered a "practice session" under the policy; the coach authorized, supervised, and organized the cheerleading activities during the gymnastics class; the activities performed during the class were performed in preparation for a Qualifying Intercollegiate Sport team competition where plaintiff's primary purpose in taking the class was to improve his skills as a cheerleader; and the activities during the class were directly associated with the activities of a Qualifying Intercollegiate Sport team. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiff. View "Patterson v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Spaulding v. Conopco
Plaintiff suffered severe injuries while working for an independent contractor that provided industrial cleaning services to Conopco. Plaintiff, injured while cleaning a large tank, filed suit against Conopco, alleging negligence based on a variety of Conopco's alleged acts and omissions. The court concluded that the district court properly granted Conopco's motion for summary judgment where Conopco owed plaintiff no duty to act with ordinary reasonable care where Conopco did not retain sufficient control over the jobsite or over the independent contractor's employees. Further, Conopco did not voluntarily assume a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to defendant. Because plaintiff has not shown that Conopco retained control over the jobsite or the manner of plaintiff's performance, Conopco had no duty to warn plaintiff of potential dangers surrounding the tank. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Spaulding v. Conopco" on Justia Law
Tedder v. American Railcar Industries
Plaintiff filed suit against ARI, alleging that a golf cart accident had caused his debilitating back pain. The court concluded that the district court did not err in admitting an expert's testimony under the standards set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; under Arkansas law, the jury could rely upon lay testimony to conclude that plaintiff was asymptomatic prior to the accident and upon the expert's testimony to conclude that plaintiff's lack of symptoms prior to the accident tended to exclude potential causes of his symptoms; where the parties agreed that the district court abused its discretion in partially remitting the jury's damages award, the district court did not err in denying the motion for a new trial; and the district court did not err in its remittitur of damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Tedder v. American Railcar Industries" on Justia Law
Winter v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Plaintiff filed suit against Novartis alleging that Novartis negligently failed to provide adequate warnings for two drugs she took, Aredia and Zometa, after having two of her teeth extracted. Plaintiff developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) after the extraction. Plaintiff was awarded $225,000 in compensatory damages and Novartis appealed. The court concluded that a jury could reasonably find that plaintiff's injury was the natural and probable consequence of Novartis's behavior and rejected Novartis's arguement that plaintiff did not establish that her injuries were proximately caused by inadequate warnings; the district court did not err in applying Missouri law where Missouri had the most significant relationship to the punitive damages claim; and Novartis correctly reasoned that the MedWatch checkmarks were inadmissible hearsay, out-of-court assertions offered for their truth but Novartis failed to demonstrate the prejudice required for a new trial. The court concluded, however, that the district court abused its discretion in awarding plaintiff full costs for depositions conducted as part of multi-district litigation. Accordingly, the court affirmed in Case No. 12-3121 and vacated in Case No. 12-3409. View "Winter v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp." on Justia Law