HARTFORD, Conn. — A fourth-year surgical resident was acting as an agent of the hospital when he nicked a plaintiff’s colon during a hernia surgery and, therefore, the hospital was vicariously liable for his actions, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Aug. 14, reversing an appellate court decision (Vivian Gagliano, et al. v. Advanced Specialty Care P.C., et al., No. 19804, Conn. Sup., 2018 Conn. LEXIS 267).
RALEIGH, N.C. — The doctrine of governmental immunity protects a North Carolina county from a police department employee’s claims that exposure to mold while working in a county building caused him to suffer a variety of health problems, a North Carolina appeals court held Aug. 7, reversing a lower court decision (Lawrence Phifer v Pasquotank County, et al., No. 17-1155, N.C. App., 2018 N.C. App. LEXIS 728).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appellate court refused to overturn a defense verdict to a transit authority on Aug. 8, holding that a train conductor who alleged that she hurt her shoulder trying to open a train door failed to prove that a video of the incident had been edited and was improperly authenticated (Gail Owens v. Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp., A-5314-16T3, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1881).
HOUSTON — A trial court properly excluded three Google Earth photographs with dates that were not authenticated, a Texas appeals court affirmed Aug. 7 in a lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who claimed that she fell down a mattress store’s steps after being startled by an inflatable “tube man” near the front door (Ena Jones v. The Mattress Firm Holding Corp., et al., No. 14-17-00091, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6140).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge awarded a woman $35,863 on Aug. 4 in her lawsuit accusing the federal government of negligence after she was injured when a Transportation Security Commission (TSA) canine handler let his dog slip out of his harness and knock her and her emotional support dog down (Pamela McSwain v. United States, No. 15-01321, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132321).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Aug. 6 the Tennessee Court of Appeals left intact a jury’s determination that the family of a nursing home patient is entitled to punitive damages from the facility but vacated a $28 million punitive damage award upon reversing the jury’s findings of direct and vicarious liability by the facility’s parent companies and two individual officers (Cindy Hatfield v. Allenbrooke Nursing Home LLC, No. W2017-00957-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2018 Tenn. App. LEXIS 450).
WAUSAU, Wis. — A “mud bog” race spectator who lost part of his leg when a mud buggy crashed into the stands failed to convince a Wisconsin appeals court to grant him a new trial. The appeals court on July 31 rejected his arguments that a trial court erred in excluding testimony about a previous accident at the track and that a defense counsel’s statements prejudiced his case (Shawn M. Wallace v. Richard R. Woodford, et al., No. 2016AP2359, Wis. App., Dist. III, 2018 Wisc. App. LEXIS 668).
GREENBELT, Md. — A Maryland federal judge on Aug. 2 refused to dismiss wrongful death claims arguing that the federal government’s failure to maintain painted white fog lines on a highway caused a driver to veer off the road and hit a couple trying to change a flat tire, killing the man and injuring the woman (Maurice A. Williams, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 17-1125 and Julia R. Pearce v. United States, et al., No. 17-1816, D. Md., Southern Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129555).
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 affirmed the statutory cap on a $1.5 million award to a surfer who had his arm severed when he collided with a small fishing vessel called a dory boat. Also affirmed were rulings that the state was not entitled to recreational immunity related to the public’s use of the beach and ocean or discretionary immunity related warning of the risks posed by dory boats (Cole A. Ortega v. Darrell D. Martin, et al., No. 372, Ore. App., 293 Ore. App. 180).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 27 refused to grant a new trial against a doctor and hospital sued for medical malpractice after the doctor’s unorthodox treatment of a possible subgaleal hemorrhage left a baby’s head and scalp permanently disfigured. However, the judge agreed that the jury’s compensatory damage award to the family was excessive and slashed the total $47,033,579 award to $19,283,579 (Ian Harker, et al. v. John O. Chan, et al., No. 15-277, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125808).
FORSYTH, Mo. — The three daughters of a couple who died July 19 when an amphibious vehicle known as a “duck boat” sank on a Missouri lake filed suit on July 30 against the operators of the vessels. They argue that the defendants disregarded storm warnings and a history of safety issues with duck boats (Michelle Chaffer, et al. v. Ride the Ducks International LLC, et al., No. 1846-CC00143, Mo. Cir., Taney Co.).
HOUSTON — With most expert testimony for an injured girl surviving motions to exclude, a maker of sport-utility vehicles lost its summary judgment bid Aug. 6 in a design defect suit in Texas federal court (Doris Denise Norris v. Kawasaki Motors Corp, USA, et al., No. 4:16-cv-2424, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131201).
DELAWARE, Ohio — A customer sued Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. on July 31, saying he became ill after eating chicken tacos from an Ohio restaurant that is now being investigated for a food poisoning outbreak (Filip Szyller v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 18-B 07 0414, Ohio Comm Pls., Delaware Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A golf club has a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect patrons against the foreseeable risk presented by yellow jacket nests on its property, a California appeals court held Aug. 1, reversing a lower court ruling in litigation brought by a golfer who was attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets during a golf lesson (Carolyn Staats v. Vintner’s Golf Club, No. A147928, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 674).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on July 25 vacated a $1.3 million jury award to the estate of a patient who died at a detox facility over multiple errors by the lower court and ordered a new trial against the physician supervising the nurse practitioner who failed to diagnose the patient’s fatal heart problem (Antonio F. DeFilippo, et al. v. Gregory H. Curtin, et al., No. 4D17-1477, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 10379).
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two lawsuits were filed on July 29 and July 31 by the estates of four of the 17 victims who drowned when an amphibious vehicle known as a “duck boat” sank on a Missouri lake on July 19, arguing that the accident was entirely preventable by the operators and manufacturers of the vessels, who ignored numerous warnings about both the duck boats’ safety and the weather that day (John D. Coleman, et al. v. Ripley Entertainment Inc., et al., No. 18-03225 and Lisa D. Berry, et al. v. Ripley Entertainment Inc., et al., No. 18-03226, W.D. Mo.).
CHICAGO — A parking garage management company could have reasonably foreseen that a concert goer could become distracted by the crowd after the event and trip over a short steel pole placed to deter vehicle traffic, an Illinois appellate court held July 20. It reversed and remanded a lower court ruling that the distraction exception did not apply to the “open and obvious” rule (Georgia Christakes v. SP Plus Corp., No. 1-17-2675, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 6th Div., 2018 Ill. App Unpub. LEXIS 1237).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 2 found that a nursing home, its owner and the company that managed the facility should pay punitive damages to the families of three people who died while in a wing for ventilator-dependent patients, but reduced the amounts after finding that the original awards issued by a jury exceeded North Carolina law (Geraldine L. Vandevender, et al. v. Blue Ridge of Raleigh LLC, et al., Nos. 17-1900, 17-1951, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21464).
NEWARK, N.J. — A pedestrian on Aug. 1 filed a complaint in state court seeking personal injury damages from the New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) after he suffered injuries caused by an unknown driver (John Plantz v. New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. ESX-L-005402-18, N.J. Super., Essex Co.).
LANSING, Mich. — In a patient’s action alleging that she was injured after a hospital aide dropped her twice while helping her to the bathroom, the Michigan Supreme Court on July 23 concluded that her allegation addressing the second fall was for negligence, not medical malpractice. The state high court reversed and remanded a lower court ruling that the claim at issue was untimely (Audrey Trowell v. Providence Hospital and Medical Centers Inc., No. 154476, Mich. Sup., 2018 Mich. LEXIS 1376)