SAN JOSE, Calif. — The family of a man who was killed when his Tesla vehicle suddenly turned and crashed into a concrete median sued the automaker on April 26 in a California state court, alleging that it failed to design and manufacture safe autopilot functions (Sz Hua Huang, et al. v. Tesla Inc., et al., No. 19-346663, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court on May 2 affirmed a $10.8 million jury award to a pedestrian who was permanently disabled when he was hit by a forklift, concluding that the award was not excessive and that trial court did not err in refusing to modify a jury instruction (James Cobb v. County of Los Angeles, No. B287090, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court on April 23 concluded that the state’s $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages is unconstitutional and reinstated a $15 million jury award — that had been reduced to $9.7 million with the cap — to a man injured in a crane accident and his wife (James Todd Beason, et al. v. I.E. Miller Services Inc., No. 114301, Okla. Sup., 2019 Okla. LEXIS 28).
JACKSON, Miss. — With the opinions of a trip-and-fall personal injury plaintiff’s liability expert properly excluded, a trial court correctly awarded the defendant country club summary judgment because without the expert testimony, no genuine issue of material fact exists, a Mississippi appeals court decided April 30 (Owen J. Bradley, et al. v. Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association Inc., No. 2017-CA-01389-COA, Miss. App., 2019 Miss. App. LEXIS 180).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 29 rejected lower court holdings that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was immune from suit under the “discretionary function” rule and remanded for a determination of whether the hybrid entity’s conduct that allegedly caused a plaintiff’s injuries from a downed power line is considered governmental or commercial (Gary Thacker, et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 17-1201, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 3149).
PHILADELPHIA — In a consolidated ruling addressing six appeals, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 26 found that a trial court judge overseeing the National Football League (NFL) concussion injury class settlement had the authority to void prohibited assignments but “went too far” when she voided cash advance agreements between litigation funding entities and class members in their entirety and when she voided certain contractual provisions (In Re: National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation, Nos. 18-1040, 18-1482, 18-1639, 18-2184, 18-2582 and 18-3005, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12563).
DETROIT — A forensic pathology expert for the estate of a 37-year-old woman who died while she was a prisoner in a Michigan county jail cannot testify in the estate’s suit against the county and others because his opinions are unreliable and unhelpful, a federal judge decided April 23 (Russell Hubble v. Macomb County, et al., No. 2:16-cv-13504, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68784).
MISSOULA, Mont. — Parents have plausibly alleged that a design defect in a Remington rifle caused the death of their 16-year-old son when it fired without him pulling the trigger, a Montana federal judge held April 11, refusing to dismiss their claims against gun manufacturers and others (Sharon Teague, et al v. Remington Arms Co. LLC, et al., No. 18-184, D. Mont., Missoula Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62711).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on April 12 partially reversed an appeals court ruling and dismissed all claims against a regional water authority brought by the parents of a woman who drowned after she slipped and fell off a dam while attempting to walk across it (Tarrant Regional Water District v. Richard Johnson, et al., No. 17-0095, Texas Sup., 2019 Tex. LEXIS 374).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The estate of a 22-year-old woman who died after being infected by a microscopic amoeba while whitewater rafting reached a confidential settlement on April 16, ending a suit filed in a North Carolina federal court against a water park and its designers (James Seitz v. U.S. National Whitewater Center Inc., et al., No. 18-00044, W.D. N.C.).
SAN DIEGO — A hospital secretly recorded more than 1,800 women without obtaining their consent for more than a year as they underwent surgeries and other procedures, a plaintiff argues to a California federal court on April 17 in a proposed class action complaint seeking to represent a class of women who were filmed (Amber Snodgrass v. Sharp HealthCare, et al., No. 19-0702, S.D. Calif.).
LANSING, Mich. — A plaintiff who fell and broke her ankle after she left a lighted pathway at a music festival could have avoided injury if she had exercised ordinary care, the Michigan Court of Appeals said April 18 in affirming summary judgment for the venue and organizer (Brandi L. Roe v. Michigan International Speedway Inc., et al., No. 342857, Mich. App., 2019 Mich. App. LEXIS 1137).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A New York justice on April 5 agreed to reduce a $34.8 million award to a child with severe deficits who was born prematurely after two physicians repeatedly failed to recommend a procedure that could have prevented the preterm delivery. He said the $20 million awarded for past and future pain and suffering deviated substantially from awards in similar actions and reduced it to $9 million (CLC Jr. v. Westchester Medical Center, et al., No. 51356/14, N.Y. Sup., Westchester Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1635).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The husband and four minor children of a woman who died as a result of undiagnosed placenta accreta following a cesarean section were awarded $24.5 million by a Florida jury on April 17 (Rodolfo Vargas Chavez, et al. v. Adolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, et al., No. 18-001011, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
OLYMPIA, Wash. — As the landowner-lessor, a port is liable for injuries to a ramp operator that occurred when a ramp on property leased to the state of Alaska collapsed, the Washington Supreme Court concluded April 11. It pointed out that the port retained responsibility for repairs to the property in the lease (Shannon C. Adamson, et al. v. Port of Bellingham, No. 96187-5, Wash. Sup., 2019 Wash. LEXIS 262).
DANVILLE, Ill. — An Illinois jury awarded $4.8 million on March 27 to the estate of a woman who died seven years after surgery to remove a cyst damaged a urinary duct and resulted in the loss of a kidney (Amanda Reed v. Muthiah Thangavelu, et al., No. 2010-L-100, Ill. Cir., 5th Jud., Vermilion Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Twenty complaints were filed April 10 and 11 against school and law enforcement officials by 10 students injured and on behalf of a teacher and nine students killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 (Samantha Mayor v. School Board of Broward County, et al., No. 19008071, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
DES MOINES, Iowa — A man whose prostate was removed following a cancer diagnosis and who later found out he didn’t have cancer and his wife were awarded $12.2 million in compensatory damages by an Iowa jury April 5 (Rickie Lee Huitt, et al. v. Iowa Clinic, P.C., et al., No. 139726, Iowa Dist., Polk Co.).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on April 18 entered final judgment on two $5 million jury awards to the parents of two teenage girls who were killed when an RV driven by a 99-year-old man the wrong way down a highway hit their vehicle (Yvonne Poindexter v. Joseph A. Zacharzewski, et al., No. 18-14155, and Stewart Feketa v. Joseph A. Zacharzewski, et al., No. 18-14156, S.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS — Although the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 17 revised an opinion to correct inconsistent statements, it did not change its original holding that a trial court properly allowed a Texas state trooper who witnessed and investigated a fatal tractor-trailer crash to offer expert opinions on the cause of the accident (Alexandro Puga, et al. v. RCX Solutions, Inc., No. 17-41282, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11229).