MIAMI — The parents of an 18-month-old girl who fell 150 feet to her death from a cruise ship filed suit on Dec. 11 in a Florida federal court, alleging that Royal Caribbean Ltd. violated industry safety standards by failing to include safeguards or warnings on glass windows that open near an area for children (Alan Wiegand, et al. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 19-25100, S.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — BNSF Railway Co. on Nov. 22 waived its right to respond to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by the widow of a worker who was killed as a result of an accident that occurred while driving to work (Rita Guerrero v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 19-625, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a $4 million settlement on Dec. 4 between the city and a woman who was seriously injured when her SUV fell 20 feet into a sinkhole that suddenly opened near an intersection, according to the plaintiff’s attorneys, who alleged that the sinkhole was caused by the city’s failure to maintain its sewer system (Stephanie Scott v. County of Los Angeles, et al., No. BC675020, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Dec. 5 reinstated a woman’s claims against a health system alleging that she had to terminate her pregnancy after a doctor mistakenly treated her with a drug that causes birth defects. The state high court concluded that the plaintiff’s application to the medical review board was complete and tolled the applicable statute of limitations period for filing suit (Marlina Romero v. Lovelace Health System Inc., et al., No. S-1-SC-36764, N.M. Sup., 2019 N.M. LEXIS 53).
LOS ANGELES — A motorcyclist who was thrown from his vehicle when a car suddenly changed lanes without signaling was awarded more than $21.5 million by a California jury on Dec. 3 after the driver and his employer admitted liability (Matthew Rada v. Hardin Irvine Automotive Inc., et al., No. BC 696709, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The mother of a man who died from a heart arrhythmia due to heat exhaustion was awarded $12 million on Nov. 25 by a California jury that held the club where he was a member 80 percent liable for failing to immediately call 911 and the decedent 20 percent liable because he refused help and had underlying health problems (Katherine Keck v. Bel-Air Bay Club Ltd., No. BC704134, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge concluded that the lake in which a “duck boat” sank during a storm, causing the deaths of 17 people on board, is not a navigable waterway and, therefore, is not subject to admiralty jurisdiction for purposes of limiting liability. The judge on Nov. 27 dismissed a suit brought by the owners and operators of the duck boat to restrict or free them from liability, and the companies filed a notice of appeal on Dec. 2 (In re Branson Duck Vehicles LLC, et al., Nos. 6:18-03339 and 6:19-05006, W.D. Mo., Southern Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205731).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Following a bench trial on damages, a California federal judge awarded a woman at least $23.2 million on Dec. 2 for injuries she received when her legs were caught in the propeller of a rental boat, which resulted in the partial amputation of one leg. The judge also ordered the parties to submit calculations on the present value of the future economic damage award (Manisha Palla v. LM Sports Inc., et al., No. 16-02865, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207457).
GRETNA, La. — The Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) failed “to present clear and unequivocal proof” that an insolvent insurer satisfied the requirements of Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 9:3550 for proper cancellation of an automobile insurance policy for nonpayment of a premium, a Louisiana appeals panel ruled Dec. 4 (Lucy Benitez v. Ahmed Elsayed, et al., No. 19-CA-122, 2019 La. App. LEXIS 2189).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York appellate court on Nov. 20 concluded that a $13.9 million award to a man who was hit by a bus while sitting in his parked car and his wife was excessive and remanded for a new trial on certain damages. It also gave the couple the chance to accept a reduced award of $5.18 million (Calvin L. Tarpley, et al., v. New York City Transit Authority, et al., No. 2017-10506, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8432).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appeals court on Nov. 19 threw out all but $2,500 of a more than $640,000 jury award to parents and their son that sued a hotel after finding bedbugs in their room. The appeal court vacated awards for punitive damages and attorney fees, as well as the jury’s finding of intentional infliction of emotional distress (Martha McKindra, et al. v. Tharaldson Financial Group Inc., No. E069896, Calif. App., 4th App. Dist., Div. 2, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7701).
ATLANTA — The Georgia Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 reversed a ruling granting summary judgment on punitive damages to a pedestrian who was hit by a 16-year-old driver, concluding that there was no evidence that the driver was on her cell phone at the time of the accident. It also affirmed a ruling rejecting the driver’s “act of God” defense (Katherine Glynn Head v. Jadilson Silva De Souse, No. A19A2284, Ga. App., 2019 Ga. App. LEXIS 685).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Kentucky appeals court on Nov. 22 affirmed a ruling in favor of a physician accused of deviating from the standard of care by a patient who was diagnosed with a biliary leak following surgery to remove his gallbladder (James Hacker v. Dana Edwards, No. 2018-CA-001223, Ky. App., 2019 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 834).
JACKSON, Miss. — There is no evidence showing that a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchisee exercised control over a gas station convenience store’s restroom located in the same building where a man slipped and injured himself, the Mississippi Court of Appeals held Dec. 3, affirming judgment to the franchisee (Wilbur M. Washington, Jr., et al. v. West Quality Food Services, Inc., No. 2017-CA-01532-COA, Miss. App., 2019 Miss. App. LEXIS 576).
FRESNO, Calif. — Mostly granting a motion by the federal government to compel production of documents containing the handwriting and signature of a decedent in a wrongful death lawsuit, a California federal magistrate judge on Dec. 2 found that the production would not violate the right against self-incrimination of the decedent’s family members under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Maricela Laurino, et al. v. United States, No. 1:18-cv-00636, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207461).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A tribal hospital reached a $7.5 million settlement with the parents of a child born with a severe brain injury after being deprived of oxygen during labor and filed their agreement in an Oklahoma federal court on Nov. 19 (Shelby Wilkett Carshall, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 17-329, E.D. Okla.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois appellate panel on Nov. 27 reversed the dismissal of a personal injury action against a nursing home filed by the administrator of a resident’s estate, disagreeing with the ruling in Giles v. Parks, on which the trial court relied to determine that the claims were untimely (Radoslaw Mickiewicz v. Generations At Regency, LLC, et al., No. 1-18-1771, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2185).
MARIETTA, Ga. — A Georgia judge on Nov. 14 entered judgment in favor of a son who prevailed at a recent jury trial on allegations that a nursing home, a hospice care provider and their employees contributed to the wrongful death of his mother (Gary Alexander v. American Grace Healthcare Services Inc., et al., No. 15-A-2421-5, Ga. State, Cobb Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 25 declined to take up a case in which a woman whose mother was shot by a gun procured online had raised a question about the extent to which the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides immunity from liability to website operators (Yasmeen Daniel v. Armslist LLC, et al., No. 19-153, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 7206).
CHICAGO — Seventeen employees of McDonald’s restaurants in the Chicago area sued corporate- and franchise-owned stores on Nov. 21 in an Illinois state court for failure to protect them from customers’ violent behavior, which has resulted in physical and psychological injuries (Sonia Acuña, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 2019-CH-13477, Ill. Cir, Cook Co.).