PHILADELPHIA — In an action over a woman’s knee injuries from falling out of a hospital bed on remand from the state high court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court on May 26 rejected arguments that it erred in refusing to allow testimony detailing the plaintiff’s son’s criminal past. It also affirmed its rulings on an award of future medical expenses (Betty L. Shiflett, et al. v. Lehigh Valley Health Network Inc., et al., No. 2293 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1752).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A mental health facility that provided outpatient treatment to a student who later shot and killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 had no legal duty to protect the shooting victims, a state appellate court held May 17. It affirmed a lower court decision dismissing the claims against the facility (Andrew Pollack, et al. v. Nikolas Cruz, et al., No. 4D19-1512 and Royer Borges, et al. v. Nikolas Cruz, et al., No. 4D19-1513, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 7399 and 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 7394).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia trial court erred when it dismissed a wrongful death suit on the grounds that it was barred by a settlement the decedent’s husband reached in Kentucky against different defendants, the Virginia Supreme Court concluded June 4, reversing and remanding (Lewis Darnell Green v. Diagnostic Imaging Associates P.C., et al., No. 190181, Va. Sup., 2020 Va. LEXIS 61).
HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Supreme Court on June 3 said an appellate court correctly dismissed part of an appeal brought by a midwife and her practice challenging a $4.2 million jury award in a birth injury suit as untimely and affirmed the lower court’s refusal to permit a late appeal (Jenniyah Georges, et al. v. OB-GYN Services P.C., et al., No. 20170, Conn. Sup.).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A sharply divided Arkansas Supreme Court on May 28 affirmed a $630,000 award to a woman who was injured when she fell outside a Dollar General store, concluding that evidence supported the finding that wet concrete presented an unreasonably dangerous condition and that testimony on causation by the plaintiff’s chiropractor had been properly allowed (Dollar General Corp., et al. v. Karen Elder, No. 18-313, Ark. Sup., 2020 Ark. LEXIS 215).
PHILADELPHIA — Two nonprofit furniture trade associations that encourage compliance with voluntary safety standards are not liable for the death of a toddler who died when a dresser tipped over on him, a Pennsylvania federal judge concluded June 2, dismissing the action (Meghan DeLong, et al. v. American Home Furnishings Alliance, et al., No. 19-2766, E.D. Pa.).
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on May 22 threw out a $109.7 million jury award to a woman who lost her hands and feet to necrotizing fasciitis following complications from surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. It reversed and remanded for a fourth trial, holding that lower court errors prevented the defendant from presenting its causation defense (Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida v. Lisa-Maria Carter, No. 2D18-1219, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 7062).
NEW YORK — Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon.com Services LLC (together, Amazon) have failed to follow New York law and state and federal guidance during the novel coronavirus pandemic resulting in the death of at least one worker and workers’ family members from COVID-19, six employees of the Staten Island JFK8 fulfillment center allege in a June 3 complaint filed in a New York federal court (Derrick Palmer, et al. v. Amazon.com, Inc., et al., No. 20-2468, E.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES — The family of a Hollywood nursing home resident who died of COVID-19 filed a negligence and wrongful death complaint on May 21 against the facility and its owners and operators, claiming that severe understaffing and a lack of proper infection control allowed the disease to “rage uncontrolled” through the facility, resulting in at least 16 resident deaths (Emma Martin, et al. v. Serrano Post Acute LLC d/b/a Hollywood Premier Healthcare Center, et al., No. 29-cv-19545, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on May 20 affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a negligence action against Florida Light and Power Co. (FPL), finding that the utility provider had no duty to provide continuous electricity to a nursing home where several residents died following Hurricane Irma (Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, LLC v. Florida Power and Light Company, et al., No. 4D19-1786, Christine Cooper v. Florida Power and Light Company, et al., No. 4D19-1787, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 6981).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on May 26 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that confirmed an arbitration award in favor of Lyft Inc. and denied its commercial general liability insurer’s petition to vacate the award in an insurance coverage dispute stemming from an accident that was caused by a driver who was using the Lyft platform (Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Company v. Lyft, Inc., No. A155908, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3261).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on May 21 denied summary judgment to a retailer in a couple’s slip-and-fall personal injury case after also denying the retailer’s bid to preclude the couple’s expert from testifying, not for a lack of merit but for an overabundance of briefing (Veronica Capaldi, et al. v. BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc., et al., No. 1:18-cv-10615, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89596).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appellate court on May 15 refused to grant a new trial to parents who were awarded $466,000 in a wrongful death suit over their 17-year-old son who suffered permanent brain injury after a severe dairy allergy reaction that left him in a vegetative state until he died three years later (Ilana Peretz, et al v. Rudrani K. Belnekar, et al., No. A-4953-17T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 932).
LOS ANGELES — The wife of a man who died after contracting COVID-19 on board a cruise ship sued the cruise operator on April 15, alleging that the ship’s staff ignored repeated calls to its emergency line after quarantining passengers in their rooms and failed to provide adequate medical attention. The complaint, filed in a California federal court, is one of a string of suits stemming from the Grand Princess cruise in late February (Susan Dorety, et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 20-03507, C.D. Calif.).
By David E. Richman and Jacqueline D. Bushwack
PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Supreme Court on May 6 refused to disturb a verdict in favor of a residential facility for children with cognitive and physical impairments that was accused of using physical restraints on a teen more than 140 times over his seven-month stay (Neil H. Graff, et al. v. Children’s Care Hospital and School, No. 2020 S.D. 26, S.D. Sup., 2020 S.D. LEXIS 40).
HOUSTON — A woman sued a supermarket chain in a Texas court on May 8, alleging that she was injured when a Plexiglas partition installed to enable social distancing due to the novel coronavirus pandemic fell on her foot; she later required surgery (May Homsy v. H-E-B LP, No. 2020-28576, Texas Dist., Harris Co., 113th Jud. Dist.).
CHICAGO — A former National Football League player on May 16 sued the manufacturers of a widely used football helmet, accusing them in an Illinois federal court of conspiring with the league for decades to hide the danger of concussions from players and the helmets’ inability to provide protection (Lucas Petitgout v. Riddell Inc., et al., No. 20-02929, N.D. Ill.).
JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge awarded a man and his wife more than $3.1 million in economic damages on May 13 for injuries that resulted when a physician at a military hospital used a hollow needle to drain an abscess in the man’s chest and accidentally lacerated his lung and heart (Charles Brown, et al. v. United States, No. 17-551, S.D. Miss.).
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 24 reversed an appeals court ruling granting a new trial in a birth injury action, holding that the jury had been properly instructed about reasonable alternative methods for monitoring the baby’s heart rate during delivery (London Scott Barney, et al. v. Julie Mickelson, et al., No. 2017-1616, Wis. Sup., 2020 Wisc. LEXIS 115).