TRENTON, N.J. — A trial court correctly denied a gynecologist’s bid to be dismissed as a third-party defendant in an action alleging the failure to timely diagnose a woman’s fatal cervical cancer, the New Jersey Supreme Court concluded March 16. Third-party defendants may be subject to contribution claims and, therefore, the gynecologist must participate at trial, it said (Samuel Mejia, et al. v. Quest Diagnostics Inc., et al., No. 082739, N.J. Sup., 2020 N.J. LEXIS 304).
PITTSBURGH — A trial court properly found that the discrepancies between a plaintiff’s complaint and his testimony about how he was injured by a land-clearing tractor did not warrant overturning a $2.49 million award, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held March 13 (Michael Huchko, et al. v. Blount International Inc., et al., No. 1281 WDA 2019, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 889).
ATLANTA — A Georgia appeals court on March 16 reversed and remanded a $19.8 million award to a man who was severely injured when a dump truck hit his tractor. It concluded that the plaintiff’s counsel violated a trial court’s ruling barring emotionally charged statements by saying that a jury award based on the cost of nursing home care would be signing the plaintiff’s “death warrant” (Rubin Harvey Jr. v. Johnny L. Williams, No. A19A2217, Ga. App., 2nd Div., 2020 Ga. App. LEXIS 207).
LOS ANGELES — More cruise ship passengers sued Princess Cruise Lines on March 13 and March 17 in a California federal court, accusing the cruise operator of exposing them to COVID-19. Five couples allege that the company knew and failed to disclose that passengers exposed to the coronavirus on a prior voyage remained on board for the plaintiffs’ cruise (Debra Dalton, et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., 20-02458; Evelyne Abitbol, et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 20-02414; Michael Austin, et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 20-02531; and Steven Kurivial, et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 20-02361, C.D. Calif.).
EASTLAND, Texas — A trial court should have included a question about negligence in its charge to a jury, which decided that a funeral home was not liable for a woman’s injuries after she was cut by a picture frame it loaned her, a Texas appeals court said March 19 in vacating the defense verdict (Lee Ann Colbert v. Brad Smith, et al., No. 11-18-00063, Texas App., 11th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 2314).
LANCASTER, Pa. — The executor of the estate of an elderly man who allegedly died from injuries that occurred during stays at a rehabilitation hospital and a nursing home in Pennsylvania on March 17 filed a petition in state court seeking approval to settle his wrongful death and survival claims against the rehabilitation hospital for $45,000; he previously settled his claims against the nursing home defendants for $175,000 (Andrew Collins v. Manor Care of Lancaster, PA, LLC, et al., No. CI-2012-15908, Pa. Comm. Pls., Lancaster Co.).
TACOMA, Wash. — Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nine older adults who have medical conditions that carry a high risk of contracting a serious and potentially fatal COVID-19 infection sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a Washington federal district court on March 16, seeking their release from detention (Karlena Dawson, et al. v. Nathalie Asher, et al., No. 2:20-409, W.D. Wash.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal judge in Connecticut on March 16 dismissed a defendant company and one of its shareholders from a negligence case against a senior living facility but allowed a resident’s claims against the facility’s owner and management company to proceed, along with an unfair trade practices claim against the facility’s executive director (Dorina Schachter, et al. v. Sunrise Senior Living Management, Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-953, D. Conn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44964).
AUSTIN, Texas — A bed and breakfast owner owed no duty to an invitee who was bitten by a brown recluse spider on his property because he was unaware of the presence of the venomous arachnid, the Texas Supreme Court held March 13, reversing an appellate court ruling (Homer Hillis v. Henry McCall, No. 18-1065, Texas Sup., 2020 Tex. LEXIS 187).
CHICAGO — The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) exhibited “reckless disregard” for college football players’ health and safety, allege two class complaints, both filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, one on March 13 on behalf of decades of Texas Southern University (TSU) student-athletes and one on March 16 on behalf of decades of Alcorn State University student-athletes (Lernard Mack, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 20-835, Thomas Baker, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 20-846, S.D. Ind.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and its board of governors fails to put policies and practices in place to protect student-athletes from sexual abuse by coaches and other athletic department personnel, three female student-athletes allege in a class complaint filed March 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that also names one coach as a defendant and accuses him of “grooming” and sexually abusing all three plaintiffs (Erin Aldrich, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 20-1733, N.D. Calif.).
MIAMI — Four Florida residents and one business sued government agencies in the People’s Republic of China on March 13 for failing to timely report the initial COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 and downplaying its seriousness. The plaintiffs seek to represent classes of plaintiffs in the United States whose health and businesses are consequently being affected by the disease (Logan Alters, et al. v. National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, et al., No. 20-21108, S.D. Fla.).
LOS ANGELES — A couple quarantined in their cabin on board a cruise ship sued the cruise line in a California federal court on March 9, alleging that the company knew that two passengers from the previous voyage had coronavirus symptoms but chose to embark on another voyage the same day. The company failed to inform the 3,000 new passengers that 62 passengers from the previous cruise are also on board, they argue (Ronald Weissberger, et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 20-02267, C.D. Calif.).
HOUSTON — A trial court abused its discretion in granting a motion for a new trial to a decedent’s family in a suit against medical providers who misdiagnosed his acute myeloid leukemia as tonsillitis, a Texas appeals court ruled Feb. 25. It pointed out that autopsy photos were not new evidence and did not warrant a new trial (In Re Iftikhar Ahmed, et al., No. 01-19-00584, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 1571).
DALLAS — The discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) bars two brothers’ claims against the federal government alleging that negligent training, supervision and staffing at an air traffic control center led to their parents’ deaths in a small aircraft crash, a Texas federal judge concluded Feb. 25 (Charles Barton Fehr, et al. v. United States, No. 18-01083, N.D. Texas).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University (OSU) on March 6 announced that it reached confidential settlements with plaintiffs in 11 of 18 lawsuits filed in Ohio federal court accusing it of ignoring male students’ complaints that athletic team doctor Richard Strauss, M.D., had been sexually assaulting them for decades.
SAN ANTONIO — A Texas federal judge on March 2 denied the city of San Antonio’s bid for a temporary restraining order to stop the relocation and/or release of individuals exposed to the coronavirus who are quarantined at a military base without being tested for the disease three times. The judge called the federal government’s position that the city and state could impose their own quarantines “disappointing” (San Antonio, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 20-CV-0255, W.D. Texas).
MACON, Ga. — A Georgia jury awarded $12.5 million on Feb. 13 to a man who needed half of his jawbone removed after developing a serious complication from radiation to treat cancerous cells that spilled into his neck during surgery to remove a mass. The surgeon admitted that he failed to read an MRI report suggesting that the mass was cancerous (Forrest David Reise v. ENT Center of Central Georgia, et al., No. 83845, Ga. State, Bibb Co.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A divided Tennessee Supreme Court concluded Feb. 26 in a premises liability action that the state’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages does not violate the right to trial by jury, the doctrine of separation of powers or the equal protection provisions of the Tennessee Constitution (Jodi McClay v. Airport Management Services LLC, No. M2019-00511-SC-R23, Tenn. Sup., 2020 Tenn. LEXIS 84).
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concluded Feb. 27 that a wrongful death claim brought by a deceased nursing home resident’s statutory beneficiary is derivative of the decedent’s action and, therefore, an arbitration agreement signed on the decedent’s behalf also bound the beneficiary (GGNSC Chestnut Hill LLC, et al. v. Jackalyn M. Schrader, No. SJC-12714, Mass. Sup., 2020 Mass. LEXIS 133).