PENDLETON, Ore. — An Oregon federal jury awarded more than $26.4 million on May 10 to a man injured in a head-on collision with a semi-truck that killed his wife. It awarded a total of $6.5 million in punitive damages against two commercial drivers and their employers for the drivers’ road rage-related behavior that caused the crash (Matthew Allison, et al. v. Smoot Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 17-01598, D. Ore.).
HACKENSACK, N.J. — On May 14, a woman seeks uninsured motorist (UIM) bodily injury benefits from the New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) for injuries sustained when an unidentified driver and vehicle struck her (Andrea Diaz v. New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. BER-L-003726-19, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — Two experts cannot testify in a product liability suit that a soy-based diet supplement caused a woman to develop hypothyroidism — one because his opinions are unreliable and the other for lack of qualifications — and without the experts to prove causation, the supplement maker is entitled to summary judgment, a Pennsylvania federal judge held May 15 (Angela Loverdi, et al. v. Medifast, Inc., et al., No. 18-2196, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81739).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on May 14 allowed a crash-test expert for a recreational-vehicle maker to testify in a product liability suit over a rollover crash that left a man paralyzed but excluded opinions of the plaintiffs’ RV expert about the design of the crash vehicle’s safety equipment and steering (Michael Thompson, et al. v. Polaris Industries Incorporated, et al., No. 16-cv-02868, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81103).
TACOMA, Wash. — A woman who claims that an e-cigarette battery exploded in her pocket and that the subsequent fire permanently disfigured her sued the retailer, distributors and manufacturers in a Washington court on April 29, seeking compensatory and punitive damages (Stephanie Galdarisi v. Vapor St8, et al., No. 19-2-07450-2, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — A decedent’s granddaughter isn’t a “claimant” under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (MMA), and so her timely complaint of medical malpractice did not suspend prescription when it came to the claims of the decedent’s sons, a split Louisiana Supreme Court ruled May 8 (James E. Guffey, et al. v. Lexington House, LLC, No. 2018-CC-1568, 2019 La. LEXIS 1370).
HOUSTON — A trial court abused its discretion in dismissing malpractice claims against a Texas hospital for the death of a 46-year-old woman who was awaiting a lung transplant and in excluding an expert’s opinion that all of the medical workers involved breached the standard of care to follow orders of the physician in charge, a state appeals court held May 9 in reversing and remanding (Aimee Harvey, et al., v. Kindred Healthcare Operating, Inc., et al., No. 14-17-00479-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3765).
DENVER — A patient who sustained a concussion when he fell off the operating table during hernia surgery filed a complaint on April 29 against a surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses and others in a Colorado federal court (Walter Stricklin v. Brock Bordelon, et al., No. 19-01242, D. Colo.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida jury awarded $11,882,175.48 on April 9 to a man whose leg was amputated after knee replacement surgery and his wife. The couple maintained that the orthopedic surgeon who conducted knee replacement surgery failed to take a complete medical history before the procedure and failed to detect an infection afterward (Matthew Standley, et al. v. Melvin H. Rech, No. 16-019088, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
MIAMI — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 29 vacated a $300,000 jury award and ordered a new trial over a two-vehicle accident, concluding that a lower court erred in denying the plaintiff a separate hearing to determine whether the defense presented a frivolous defense under Georgia law (Galawezh Showan v. Patrick Pressdee, et al., No. 17-15547, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12754).
MIAMI — The parents of a brain-damaged baby reached a $1.25 million settlement with the federal government, which was approved by a Florida federal judge on April 30. The couple sued a federally funded hospital network and an obstetrician/gynecologist for a delay in delivering their son, which they alleged resulted in his brain damage (Dayami Hernandez, et al. v. United States, No. 18-20579, S.D. Fla.).
LOS ANGELES — A lower court erred in determining that the firefighter’s rule applied in an action brought by a man who fell off a platform while giving a tour at a famous home because he was not hired to manage the dangerous condition that injured him, a California appeals court held April 25 in reversing and remanding for a new trial (Edward Harry v. Ring the Alarm LLC, et al., No. B286084, Calif. App., 2nd App. Dist., Div. 4, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 383).
ATLANTA — A Georgia appeals court affirmed on April 29 a $2.2 million verdict to a passenger who fell down an open hatch on a gambling boat and denial of a new trial motion. The cruise line was estopped from asserting that the suit was untimely because of its efforts to discourage the plaintiff from filing suit, it said (Golden Isles Cruise Lines Inc. v. Robert Bruce Lowie, et al., No. A19A0291, Ga. App., 2nd Div., 2019 Ga. App. LEXIS 232).
MADISON, Wis. — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated a trial court’s dismissal of claims against an online firearm marketplace, which a mass shooter had used to illegally purchase a gun the day before he killed his estranged wife and two others. It concluded April 30 that the website was protected from liability as a publisher of third-party information (Yasmeen Daniel v. Armslist LLC, et al., No. 2017AP344, Wis. Sup., 2019 WI 47).
MIAMI — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with a railroad on April 29 that a $1.5 million jury award for future lost wages to an employee who injured his knee on the job was excessive and gave the plaintiff the option of trimming the award to $1.41 million or holding a new trial on damages (Leslie J. Cephus v. CSX Transportation Inc., No. 18-10533, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12855).
DECATUR, Ga. — A Georgia jury on April 30 awarded $1.8 million for pain and suffering to the estate of a 70-year-old woman who was injured and later died after she fell from bed in a nursing home while the linens were being changed, while finding for the defendant on the plaintiff’s wrongful death claim (Keith Mitchell, et al. v. Tucker Investments & Associates, LLC, No. 17A65415, Ga. State, DeKalb Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — While a product liability claim against a pharmacy filed by a woman who took the wrong medication fails at the summary judgment stage for lack of proof of a defective product, her personal injury negligence claim survives based on the causation opinions of her pharmacology expert, whose qualifications were upheld by an Ohio federal judge May 3 (Pamela Sue Mason v. CVS Health, No. 2:17-cv-787, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75149).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court vacated a $37,000 sanctions award and a $75,000 punitive damage award to a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle. It concluded April 26 that the vehicle driver was allowed to concede negligence after denying it during discovery and that there was no evidence that the driver was grossly negligent (Christopher Medina v. Jennifer L. Zuniga, No. 17-0498, Texas Sup., 2019 Tex. LEXIS 387).
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).