DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A trial court abused its discretion by refusing to give defendants a requested jury instruction addressing their contention that a man was hit by a car because he was driving his scooter too slowly to keep up with traffic, a Florida appeals court said Nov. 30 in vacating a $6 million jury award and remanding for a new trial (Christina Araj, et al. v. Jessica Jennifer Renfro, et al., No. 5D17-130, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 17125).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A driver and her employer who were sued by the motorcyclist she hit and his wife failed to convince an Arkansas appellate court to vacate a $5.21 million jury award. The appeals court on Nov. 14 rejected the defendants’ arguments that the award was excessive and that certain jury instructions and arguments were flawed (Roxanne M. Garrison, et al. v. Charles Hodge, et al., No. 17-699, Ark. App., Div. 4, 2018 Ark. App. 556).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court on Nov. 29 concluded that a motor carrier must pay 50 percent of the $28.6 million judgment paid by a freight broker to plaintiffs who filed suit over a tractor-trailer accident that killed two people, reversing an appellate court ruling in the contribution dispute between the two vicariously liable defendants (Susan D. Sperl v. DeAn Henry, et al., No. 123132, Ill. Sup., 2018 Ill. LEXIS 1228).
PHILADELPHIA — A general contractor and two subcontractors on Nov. 7 reached a $24.1 million settlement with a construction worker who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury when he fell 20 feet through a ceiling and down a set of concrete steps and his family. A source said it may be the largest construction injury settlement reached in the state (Leon Oates, et al. v. Malvern Prep School & The Friends of Haverford School, et al., No. 02036, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri appeals court vacated a defense verdict and remanded for a new trial in a suit alleging that errors during a baby’s delivery resulted in her death, concluding Nov. 20 that a trial court abused its discretion in denying the plaintiffs’ right to ask if potential jurors had a connection to the defendants’ insurer (Abraham J. Eoff, et al. v. Jennifer K. McDonald, et al., No. ED106265, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., Div. 3, 2018 Mo. App. LEXIS 1455).
PASADENA, Calif. — A youth water polo league owed a duty of care to a player who suffered post-concussion syndrome after being hit in the face by the ball and then was returned to play by her coach, where she was hit in the head several more times, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 28, reversing a lower court’s dismissal for failure to state a claim (Alice Mayall, et al. v. USA Water Polo Inc., 16-56389, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33359).
WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on Nov. 19 granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment filed by a defendant nursing home in a wrongful death suit, holding that an amended death certificate, rather than the testimony of two nurses, can be used to establish a triable issue as to whether a woman’s fall caused her death (Mark Funk, et al. v. Pinnacle Health Facilities XXXII LP, et al., No. 17-1099-JTM, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196660).
NEW ORLEANS — A trial court properly excluded a fire expert’s testimony about the cause of a fatal car crash and correctly awarded summary judgment to the carmaker on product liability claims leveled by the deceased’s family, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 26 (Ramona L. Smith, et al. v. Chrysler Group, L.L.C., No. 17-40901, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33154).
RICHMOND, Va. — A grandmother who filed a product liability suit against a bikemaker after her granddaughter was hurt in a bicycle crash lost her chance to challenge the causation testimony of an expert witness when she failed to make Daubert objections at trial, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 21 (Virginia Callahan, et al. v. Pacific Cycle, Inc., No. 17-1739, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32953).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A trial court erred in allowing the admission of evidence about a murdered former sheriff’s felony conviction three decades ago in a wrongful death trial, a Kentucky appeals court held Nov. 9, but the panel refused to overturn a $28,000 jury award because the decedent’s estate failed to preserve its objections (Jayne Browning, et al. v. Steve Duff, et al., No. 2016-001460, Ky. App., 2018 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 785).
SAN FRANCISCO — A lower court committed prejudicial error when it excluded expert testimony on a driver’s methamphetamine use in a trial over injuries to two road crew workers who were hit by a car, an appeals court concluded Oct. 23. It remanded for a retrial on the driver’s comparative negligence but kept the $56.5 million and $2.7 million awards to the workers intact (Shannon Moore, et al. v. State of California Department of Transportation, No. A151059, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7226).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida judge on Nov. 13 entered final judgment on jury awards of $4.9 million and $2.4 million to the driver and passenger, respectively, of a landscaping truck that was hit a bus when it turned in front of the truck (Juan Torres, et al. v. First Transit Inc., No. 17-81162, S.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A man who was injured after being struck by a downed power line being repaired by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and his wife argue to the U.S. Supreme Court that sovereign immunity does not protect the federally owned corporate entity from suit. In a petitioners brief filed Nov. 13, the couple maintains that lower courts erred in applying the discretionary function exception to dismiss their claims (Gary Thacker, et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 17-1201, U.S. Sup.).
MEDFORD, Ore. — The federal government was not entitled to a set-off of an award for past medical expenses to a man who was on Medicaid when he was left nearly quadriplegic from an untimely diagnosed MRSA infection, an Oregon federal magistrate judge concluded Nov. 6. Following post-trial briefing on damages, the judge awarded the plaintiff $12,647,009.06, including $1,847,009.06 in past medical expenses (John Eric Smith v. United States, No. 16-00690, D. Ore.).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Supreme Court concluded Nov. 15 that the state’s year-old Medical Review Panel Act is unconstitutional because the statute forecloses immediate access to the court system by requiring medical review panels to evaluate the merits of proposed medical malpractice claims before claimants can file suit (Kentucky, et al. v. Ezra Claycomb, et al., Nos. 2017-SC-000614 and 2017-SC-000615, Ky. Sup., 2018 Ky. LEXIS 504).
SAN DIEGO — A California state judge on Nov. 16 entered final judgment on a $105,356,000 jury award against a man who fraudulently promised that he could cure a plaintiff’s cancer with an alkaline diet and advised her to stop chemotherapy (Dawn Kali v. Robert O. Young, et al., No. 37-2015-00043052, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS — The National Hockey League on Nov. 12 announced that it has reached a $18,922,000 tentative non-class settlement of multidistrict concussion injury litigation brought by 318 retired professional hockey players and unfiled claimants (In Re: National Hockey League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
PHOENIX — An Arizona appeals court vacated a jury’s $7.9 million award to a man who was hit by a drunken driver while stopped at an intersection on his scooter. The lower court erred in refusing to give a jury instruction on intervening and superseding cause proposed by the owner of a gentleman’s club, which was critical to determining liability, the appeals court said Nov. 15 in remanding the action (Mark H. Dupray, et al. v. JAI Dining Services [Phoenix] Inc., No. 1-17-0599, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2018 Ariz. App. LEXIS 179).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California magistrate judge denied a medical center’s motion for summary judgment on Nov. 9, holding that the equitable tolling doctrine extended the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims brought by a plaintiff whose wife died days after having their third child. The magistrate judge left disputes over the standard of care and the anesthesiologist’s employment status for a jury to decide (Jiame Calderon, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 17-0040, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192402).
PHOENIX — Because a trial court failed to state with particularity the grounds for significantly reducing a $30 million jury award to the parents of a man killed in a two-car collision by a suspect fleeing from police, an Arizona appeals court reinstated the award against the state on Nov. 13 (Shuja Sayed Ahmad, et al. v. Arizona, No. 1-14-0664, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2018 Ariz. App. LEXIS 177).