MIAMI — A Florida trial judge properly handled expert witness issues in a personal injury action over a fatal car crash, despite the standards of expert testimony admissibility being disputed in a pending Florida Supreme Court case, a state appeals court panel decided Dec. 12 (Hayes Robertson Group, Inc., et al. v. Timothy Christopher Cherry, et al., Nos. 3D18-106 and 3D17-2704, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 17907).
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 10 refused to reinstate an injunction halting paving work on a road granted to a woman with multiple chemical sensitivity, expressing doubt that she can succeed on her Americans with Disabilities Act claims without expert testimony, which was excluded by the trial court (Cynthia Madej, et al. v. Jeff Maiden, No. 18-4132, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34741).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 7 granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a vessel owner and operator asking whether punitive damages may be awarded to a seaman on an unseaworthiness claim (The Dutra Group v. Christopher Batterton, No. 18-266, U.S. Sup.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Dec. 4 remanded a personal injury action against an Indian tribe and a tribal policeman to state court after finding that the tribe and officer failed to establish federal jurisdiction (Edgar Perea v. Seminole Tribe of Florida, et al., No. 18-62136, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204553).
MIAMI — A wrongful death suit filed Nov. 27 against the owners and operators of an airplane that crashed when it ran out of fuel en route to a soccer match in Colombia, killing more than 70 people on board, alleges that the flight crew regularly skipped scheduled stops to refuel (Priscila Elen de Souza Lima, et al. v. Linea Aérea Mérida Internacional de Aviación, et al., No. 2018-039581-01, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co., 11th Jud. Cir.).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Following a bench trial, an Oklahoma federal judge on Nov. 26 awarded parents and their son $15,066,245.20 for breaches in the standard of care during the baby’s delivery by employees at a federally owned Native American medical center. The breaches resulted in severe, irreversible brain damage and a life expectancy of 22 years (Alexis Stokes, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 17-0186, E.D. Okla.).
LOS ANGELES — A trial court correctly barred the testimony of other plaintiffs who sued a surgeon because their names were not disclosed before trial, a California appeals court held Nov. 26 in a suit brought by a patient who claimed that the surgeon misrepresented the results of her back surgery (Shelly Lokietz v. Jeffrey C. Wang, No. B280399, Calif. App., 2nd App. Dist., Div. 4, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7907).
SAN FRANCISCO — A trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on comparative fault in a trial against an infant mattress maker was prejudicial error, a California appeal court held Nov. 20. It reversed and remanded for a new trial on apportionment of an $8 million award to parents whose baby died from SIDS in day care to determine whether the day care center was also negligent (David Karow, et al. v. Evenflo Co. Inc., No. A148893, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7833).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A mother whose 19-month-old daughter died after being detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Texas filed a $60 million wrongful death claim with the federal government on Nov. 27, alleging that the inadequate medical care at the facility proximately caused her child’s death.
INDIANAPOLIS — A former college football player filed a proposed class action complaint against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and a member conference on Nov. 21 in Indiana federal court, arguing that they failed to protect student-athletes from the risks of concussions despite knowing the head injuries could lead to brain damage (Gary Easley v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 18-3662, S.D. Ind.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A trial court abused its discretion by refusing to give defendants a requested jury instruction addressing their contention that a man was hit by a car because he was driving his scooter too slowly to keep up with traffic, a Florida appeals court said Nov. 30 in vacating a $6 million jury award and remanding for a new trial (Christina Araj, et al. v. Jessica Jennifer Renfro, et al., No. 5D17-130, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 17125).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A driver and her employer who were sued by the motorcyclist she hit and his wife failed to convince an Arkansas appellate court to vacate a $5.21 million jury award. The appeals court on Nov. 14 rejected the defendants’ arguments that the award was excessive and that certain jury instructions and arguments were flawed (Roxanne M. Garrison, et al. v. Charles Hodge, et al., No. 17-699, Ark. App., Div. 4, 2018 Ark. App. 556).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court on Nov. 29 concluded that a motor carrier must pay 50 percent of the $28.6 million judgment paid by a freight broker to plaintiffs who filed suit over a tractor-trailer accident that killed two people, reversing an appellate court ruling in the contribution dispute between the two vicariously liable defendants (Susan D. Sperl v. DeAn Henry, et al., No. 123132, Ill. Sup., 2018 Ill. LEXIS 1228).
PHILADELPHIA — A general contractor and two subcontractors on Nov. 7 reached a $24.1 million settlement with a construction worker who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury when he fell 20 feet through a ceiling and down a set of concrete steps and his family. A source said it may be the largest construction injury settlement reached in the state (Leon Oates, et al. v. Malvern Prep School & The Friends of Haverford School, et al., No. 02036, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri appeals court vacated a defense verdict and remanded for a new trial in a suit alleging that errors during a baby’s delivery resulted in her death, concluding Nov. 20 that a trial court abused its discretion in denying the plaintiffs’ right to ask if potential jurors had a connection to the defendants’ insurer (Abraham J. Eoff, et al. v. Jennifer K. McDonald, et al., No. ED106265, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., Div. 3, 2018 Mo. App. LEXIS 1455).
PASADENA, Calif. — A youth water polo league owed a duty of care to a player who suffered post-concussion syndrome after being hit in the face by the ball and then was returned to play by her coach, where she was hit in the head several more times, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 28, reversing a lower court’s dismissal for failure to state a claim (Alice Mayall, et al. v. USA Water Polo Inc., 16-56389, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33359).
WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on Nov. 19 granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment filed by a defendant nursing home in a wrongful death suit, holding that an amended death certificate, rather than the testimony of two nurses, can be used to establish a triable issue as to whether a woman’s fall caused her death (Mark Funk, et al. v. Pinnacle Health Facilities XXXII LP, et al., No. 17-1099-JTM, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196660).
NEW ORLEANS — A trial court properly excluded a fire expert’s testimony about the cause of a fatal car crash and correctly awarded summary judgment to the carmaker on product liability claims leveled by the deceased’s family, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 26 (Ramona L. Smith, et al. v. Chrysler Group, L.L.C., No. 17-40901, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33154).
RICHMOND, Va. — A grandmother who filed a product liability suit against a bikemaker after her granddaughter was hurt in a bicycle crash lost her chance to challenge the causation testimony of an expert witness when she failed to make Daubert objections at trial, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 21 (Virginia Callahan, et al. v. Pacific Cycle, Inc., No. 17-1739, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32953).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A trial court erred in allowing the admission of evidence about a murdered former sheriff’s felony conviction three decades ago in a wrongful death trial, a Kentucky appeals court held Nov. 9, but the panel refused to overturn a $28,000 jury award because the decedent’s estate failed to preserve its objections (Jayne Browning, et al. v. Steve Duff, et al., No. 2016-001460, Ky. App., 2018 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 785).