Justia Civil Procedure Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Injury Law
Wesley Health System, LLC v. Estate of Jackie Katherine Love
Edward Love filed a complaint against Wesley Health System, LLC (“Wesley”) alleging negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death of his wife, Jackie Katherine Love. A default judgment was entered against Wesley. The trial court denied Wesley’s motion to set aside the default judgment and entered a final judgment against Wesley awarding Love $1,784,715.18 in compensatory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees. Because the trial court erred by prohibiting Wesley from cross examining the process server on the disputed issue of whether process was served upon Wesley’s registered agent, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded. Although the trial court’s prohibition of cross examination was reversible error and dispostive to the Supreme Court's decision, it further held that the trial court also erred by failing to apply the three-part balancing test articulated in "Woodruff v. Thames," (143 So. 3d 546, 552 (Miss. 2014)). View "Wesley Health System, LLC v. Estate of Jackie Katherine Love" on Justia Law
McKean v. Yates Engineering Corp.
During the construction of Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center’s (“ARMC”) expansion, scaffolding built by W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company collapsed, injuring plaintiffs David McKean, Francesco Medina, Donald Arrington, and Wayne Robertson. The trial court granted summary judgment and dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against all defendants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decisions of the trial court. Although the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals’ decision to affirm the trial court, it nevertheless granted certiorari to clarify two issues: (1) whether the Mississippi Supreme Court adopted the seven-factor test used in "Hanna v. Huer, Johns Neel, Rivers, & Webb," (662 P.2d 243 (Kan. 1983) superceded by statute, as recognized in "Edwards v. Anderson Engineering, Inc.," (166 P.3d 1047 (Kan. 2007)), to determine whether an architect’s supervisory powers go beyond the provisions of the contract; and (2) to clarify the Court’s position on the effect of an “undocumented immigrant” status on recovery for workplace injuries. View "McKean v. Yates Engineering Corp." on Justia Law
Magill v. Ford Motor Co.
The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court's review centered on whether the trial court erred in concluding that defendant Ford Motor Company was subject to general personal jurisdiction in Colorado, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in "Daimler A.G. v. Bauman," (134 S. CT. 746 (2014)). This case arose out of a 2013 accident in Colorado in which plaintiff John Magill's 2007 Ford Fusion collided with a vehicle driven by defendant Mark Polunci. Magill (and his wife) alleged that Ford, as manufacturer of the Fusion, was liable for Mr. Magill's serious injuries based on three causes of action sounding in tort. Ford moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. After review, the Colorado Court determined that the record did not support a finding that Ford was "essentially at home" in Colorado, and therefore not subject to general personal jurisdiction here, "maintaining a registered agent in the state does not convert a foreign corporation to a resident." Because none of the parties resided in Denver and the accident did not occur there, the Supreme Court concluded venue was not appropriate where the action was originally filed, in Denver County. The Supreme Court remanded this case for the trial court to transfer this case to an appropriate venue. The proper venue would then determine whether Ford was subject to specific jurisdiction. View "Magill v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law
Johnson v. Colorado
Petitioner Donald Johnson was convicted of careless driving-no injury, and the county court ordered him to pay $23,435.20 in restitution for pecuniary losses suffered by, among others: (1) a woman whose vehicle he struck with his vehicle; and (2) the woman’s seven medical providers. Initially, the restitution payments were disbursed to the woman, who was obliged to pay her medical providers. After the State learned that the woman had not paid the providers, it moved to change the restitution payee, so that the restitution payments would be disbursed directly to the providers. The court granted that motion. Johnson moved for reconsideration, arguing the State's request to change the restitution payee was effectively a new restitution request and was untimely. The county court rejected this argument and denied Johnson’s motion. Finding no reversible error in the district court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Johnson v. Colorado" on Justia Law
Jordan v. Dean Foods
At issue in this case was a decision of the Industrial Commission (the Commission) finding that Edward Jordan failed to prove entitlement to additional benefits for accidents that occurred during his employment. Jordan served over twenty-one years in the Navy, retiring in 2003. While in the Navy, Jordan was never assessed with a service-related disability involving his cervical area.1 After retiring from the Navy, Jordan and his wife moved to Boise, and he started working for Dean Foods as a milk delivery driver. On May 16, 2006, Jordan suffered an injury while trying to move a stack of milk containers (the 2006 accident). Jordan testified he experienced a sudden onset of pain in his neck and shoulders along with numbness extending down his arms. He notified a supervisor after he dropped a gallon of milk due to the numbness. Jordan sought treatment for neck, cervical, and radiculopathy symptoms. Jordan would document complaints about his neck to his employer over the next five years. Jordan underwent surgery in 2012. Jordan recovered from the surgery without complication, but Dr. Doerr imposed lifting restrictions. As a result of the restrictions, Dean Foods terminated Jordan’s employment after it determined that it was unable to make reasonable accommodations which would allow Jordan to accomplish his essential job functions. The Commission chose not to adopt the referee’s recommendation although it also decided Jordan’s claims in favor of Employer/Surety. The Commission’s decision differed from the referee’s recommendation because the Commission decided to address the merits of Jordan’s claim related to the 2006 accident rather than holding that he abandoned those claims. After review of the Commission record, the Supreme Court concluded there was no reversible error and affirmed. View "Jordan v. Dean Foods" on Justia Law
Minick v. City of Petaluma
Riding in a non-competitive charity bicycling event, Minick fell while descending a hill in Petaluma. Erwin, riding behind Minick, saw him lose control of his bicycle after hitting a large pothole. Minick exhausted his administrative remedies, and then, represented by Watson, brought suit under Government Code section 835. The city moved for summary judgment, arguing that Minick, who had no recollection of the accident, had no proof of any dangerous condition on public property. Watson opposed the motion, attaching grainy, low-resolution black-and-white photographs of the alleged site, a copy of a police report containing Erwin's statement that he saw a pothole where Minick fell; and an engineer's expert declaration that a defect in the street caused the fall. The court issued a tentative ruling denying the motion. At the hearing, Watson appeared, but showed signs of physical distress and was taken to a hospital by ambulance. The day before a continued hearing, the court again tentatively denied the motion. After hearing arguments, the court granted the motion, referring to Watson’s arguments as “ludicrous.” The court later granted relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b), accepting Watson’s explanation that he had been suffering from a serious illness for which he was under heavy medication. The court of appeal affirmed., When a court finds a wholesale disintegration of the attorney’s professional capacity because of a medical crisis, the availability of relief for excusable neglect is within the court’s sound discretion. View "Minick v. City of Petaluma" on Justia Law
Baptist Ventures, Inc. v. Hoke
ENT Associates of Alabama, P.A., A. Craig Chapman, M.D., and Baptist Ventures, Inc., d/b/a Montgomery Surgical Center, LLP ("MSC"), separately appealed a circuit court's interlocutory order denying their motions for a summary judgment. In 2011, Lauryn Hoke received medical care from Dr. Chapman, ENT Associates, and MSC (collectively, "the defendants"). On April 10, 2013, one day shy of two years after she was provided medical care by the defendants, Hoke filed a medical-malpractice claim against the defendants, complaining that the defendants deviated from the acceptable standard of medical care when, despite being aware of the fact that she was allergic to latex, they failed to provide a latex-free environment during both her surgery and her recovery and that, as a result, she suffered a severe allergic reaction that caused serious injuries. The complaint was signed by John Loeschen as "counsel for plaintiff" with an asterisk next to Loeschen's signature, noting below his address (which was Roanoke, Virginia) "motion pro hac vice to follow." The complaint included a certificate of service, signed by Loeschen, but did not include the name or signature of an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama. It was undisputed that the complaint was filed electronically by an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama, Benjamin Pool. The complaint did not include the addresses of the defendants or any instructions to the circuit clerk for service of process. On June 4, 2013, approximately 55 days after Hoke's complaint was filed, Loeschen filed a verified application for admission to practice under Rule VII of the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar. On June 28, 2013, Dr. Chapman and ENT Associates filed a motion to strike the complaint and a motion to dismiss. On July 10, 2013, MSC also filed a motion to dismiss. The defendants argued that the complaint was signed and filed by an out-of-state attorney who had not been admitted to appear pro hac vice as an attorney in Alabama and that, under Rule VII, the complaint was a nullity and due to be stricken. Furthermore, they argued that because the two-year statute of limitations that applied to Hoke's medical-malpractice action had expired, the case should have been dismissed in its entirety with prejudice. The circuit court denied defendants' motions. Finding that Hoke's complaint was not "commenced" for statute-of-limitations purposes before the applicable statute of limitations expired, the Supreme Court found that the underlying action here was time-barred. The circuit court's judgment denying defendants' motions for summary judgment was reversed, and this case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Baptist Ventures, Inc. v. Hoke" on Justia Law
Chavez v. Dole Food Co., Inc
More than 200 foreign agricultural workers allege they were exposed to the pesticide DBCP on banana farms throughout Central America, in the 1960s through the 1980s, resulting in health problems. Litigation began in 1993 with a putative class against Dole and related companies in Texas state court. Numerous suits were filed (and consolidated) in 2011 in the Eastern District of Louisiana against Dole and others. That court granted Dole summary judgment based on the statute of limitations; the Fifth Circuit affirmed. Meanwhile, in 2012, several actions were filed in the District of Delaware against the same defendants and alleging the same causes of action. That court dismissed, applying the first-filed rule, reasoning that “one fair bite at the apple is sufficient.” The Third Circuit initially affirmed, but on rehearing, en banc, held that the district court abused its discretion under the first-filed rule by dismissing the claims with prejudice and erred by refusing to transfer claims against Chiquita to another forum. The timeliness dismissals entered by the Louisiana District Court did not create a res judicata bar to the Delaware suits. The court stated that it was “untenable” that 20 years after the litigation began, no court had considered the merits. View "Chavez v. Dole Food Co., Inc" on Justia Law
Griffith v. Entergy Mississippi, Inc.
Walter Griffith, Jr., a licensed master electrician, was critically injured while attempting to attach a ten-foot piece of metal conduit to an electrical pole owned by Entergy Mississippi, Inc. (“Entergy”). Griffith later filed a complaint against Entergy, alleging grossly negligent and willful conduct and requesting compensatory and punitive damages. The trial judge ultimately granted Entergy’s motion for summary judgment, and Griffith appealed to the Supreme Court, raising three alleged errors by the trial court in its grant of summary judgment to Entergy. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Griffith v. Entergy Mississippi, Inc." on Justia Law
N.L. v. Bethel Sch. Dist.
N.L. met Nicholas Clark at school track practice. She was 14, and he was 18. Both were students in the Bethel School District. Neither N.L. nor any responsible adult on the field knew that Clark was a registered sex offender who had previously sexually assaulted a younger girl who had been about N.L. 'sage at the time. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department had informed Clark's school principal of his sex offender status, but the principal took no action in response. Clark persuaded N.L. to leave campus with him and raped her. N.L. sued the district, alleging negligence. The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the School District’s duty to N.L. ended when she left campus and whether its alleged negligence, as a matter of law, was not a proximate cause of her injury. The Court answered both questions “no,” affirming the Court of Appeals’ judgment reversing the trial court’s dismissal of this case on summary judgment. View "N.L. v. Bethel Sch. Dist." on Justia Law