LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A woman whose big toe was severed after it was caught in a defective escalator at an Arkansas mall was awarded $3 million on Dec. 14 against the mall owners and operators and the escalator maintenance company (Aisha Siddiqui v. ERMC II L.P., et al., No. 14-2014-4174, Ark. Cir., Pulaski Co., 2nd Div.).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A New York jury on Dec. 3 awarded $28 million to a former special education student who had been threatened, beaten and raped by other high school students and held the school district almost entirely responsible. The award is believed to be the largest physical and sexual assault jury verdict in New York state history, plaintiff’s attorney Jordan Merson said in a statement (Gloria G., et al. v. City School District of the City of Mount Vernon, et al., No 70026/2012, N.Y. Sup., Westchester Co.).
DENVER — A lower court should have focused its analysis on a locomotive engineer’s chair, not on its component parts, such as the adjustment mechanism, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 3, reversing the dismissal of a railroad engineer’s claims that he injured himself when he tried to adjust his seat (George W. Straub IV v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 17-1050, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33816).
HAMMOND, Ind. — While the driver of a tractor-trailer and his employer admitted liability for causing an accident when the tractor-trailer changed lanes without warning and hit a vehicle, an Indiana jury awarded the vehicle’s driver $1 million for his injuries against the defendants on Dec. 4 (Richard Spinnenweber v. Robert Laducer et al., No. 14-00101, N.D. Ind.).
CHICAGO — In a wrongful death lawsuit over the drowning death of a 6-year-old in an Illinois community park pool, a jury awarded the child’s estate $21.5 million on Dec. 4 against a day camp program provider and the pool operator (Andrzej Kolodziej v. Justice Park District, et al., No. 14-7775, Cook Co., Ill., Cir.).
DALLAS — A Texas jury awarded $25 million to the mother of a Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad player who died in a drunken driving accident and his estate Dec. 14. It held the decedent 4 percent liable and split the remaining liability between the friend who drove while intoxicated and the bar that continued serving them (Stacey M. Jackson, et al. v. Beamers Private Club, et al., No. 13-13245, Texas 191st Dist., Dallas Co.).
DENVER — A divided Colorado Supreme Court on Dec. 3 affirmed a lower court ruling that a recording of a stroke victim’s consultation with an attorney to discuss suing her chiropractor was not protected by attorney-client privilege because her parents sat in on the meeting (In Re Kayla Fox v. William Alfini Jr., et al., No. 18SA92, Colo. Sup., 2018 Colo. LEXIS 962).
DENTON, Texas — A Texas jury awarded nearly $4.8 million on Oct. 26 to a man who alleged that he sustained severe injuries to his wrist and arm from falling off a collapsing stepladder, concluding that a design defect and lack of warning about hazards related to the stepladder caused his fall (John DeVallee v. Werner Co., et al., No. 2011-40709-362, Texas 442nd Jud. Dist., Denton Co.).
MIAMI — A cruise ship passenger failed to persuade the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to revive his claims that crew members over-served him alcohol and failed to stop him from entering a restricted area of the ship and falling down an emergency exit hatch. The appeals court affirmed dismissal of the claims on Dec. 13 (Olivier Caron v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., No. 17-15008, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 35012).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 3 refused to review the dismissal of a wrongful death suit brought by the parents of a professional hockey player who died from a drug overdose. The couple maintained that the National Hockey League (NHL) was responsible for their son’s death because it failed to protect him from the dangers of concussions and allowed him to become addicted to painkillers (Len Boogaard, et al. v. National Hockey League, et al., No. 18-419, U.S. Sup.).
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.).