ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A neuropsychologist’s opinions about a man’s injuries in an auto air bag product liability case are admissible because they meet the reliability standards of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a New Mexico federal judge decided Oct. 16 in denying the man’s motion to exclude the expert (Roy Munoz v. FCA US LLC, No. 17-881, D. N.M., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191947).
LOS ANGELES — A nursing home, its owner and a doctor on Oct. 9 filed notices alerting a California federal court that they are appealing to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals the court’s order remanding a COVID-19 wrongful death and negligence suit against them to state court (Emma Martin, et al. v. Serrano Post Acute LLC, et al., No. 20-5937, C.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California in an Oct. 9 text-only order stayed briefing on a nursing home’s motion to dismiss a wrongful death suit against it until he has ruled on the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case, noting the “considerable overlap” of the motions, specifically, that both “address the question of the extent to which plaintiffs' state law claims of elder abuse and negligence implicate the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (‘PREP Act’)” (Jaime Gonzalez, et al. v. Redwood Springs Healthcare Center, et al., No. 20-1260, E.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After granting disability rights organizations permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of a woman diagnosed with “multiple chemical sensitivity” in her effort to halt asphalt paving on her road, the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 13 denied a petition for certiorari filed by the woman and her husband challenging the exclusion of her experts and the grant of judgment for a county engineer (Cynthia Madej, et vir v. Jeff Maiden, No. 20-227, U.S. Sup.).
DECATUR, Ga. — A woman sued the owners, operators and staff of a Marriott Residence Inn in Georgia on Oct. 1 where her elderly mother stayed for several months, alleging that they lied for days that her mother was fine when in fact she had fallen in her room and sustained an injury that became septic and led to her death (Natalie Burson, et al. v. Aimbridge Hospitality, et al., No. 20A82568, Ga. State, Dekalb Co.).
LINCOLN, Neb. — Ruling on an issue of first impression, the Nebraska Supreme Court concluded Sept. 25 that the state’s parental immunity doctrine does not bar automobile negligence claims brought by unemancipated minors against a parent. It reinstated claims against a mother’s estate brought by her son and her daughter’s estate following a one-vehicle accident in which the mother was driving (Gaspar Nolasco v. Brennon Malcom, Nos. 19-729 and 19-730, Neb. Sup., 2020 Neb. LEXIS 154).
NEW YORK — A New York magistrate judge awarded $1.1 million on Oct. 1 to the partner and son of a woman who died from breast cancer, finding that a certified nurse midwife’s failure to conduct a breast exam resulted in a delayed diagnosis and decreased chances of survival. The magistrate judge entered the award after holding the decedent 50 percent liable due to her own negligence (Jimmy Viera v. United States, No. 18-9270, S.D. N.Y, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183154).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A plaintiff’s expert presented sufficient evidence of pain and suffering for a jury to consider in a suit over the death of a man after being discharged from the hospital, the North Carolina Supreme Court concluded Sept. 25, holding that the hospital was not entitled to a new trial. In reversing in part an appeals court decision, the state high court also held that the man’s estate was not required to separately allege a claim for administrative negligence (Estate of Anthony Lawrence Savino v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, No. 18PA19, N.C. Sup., 2020 N.C. LEXIS 836).
SAN FRANCISCO — A stable met its burden to show that the risk of being injured by an untethered horse is an inherent part of the risk of tending to horses, a California appeals court held Sept. 30. However, a triable issue exists as to whether the stable unreasonably increased the inherent risk by failing to enforce its policy against unleashed dogs, it said, reversing a ruling for the stable in a woman’s suit over injuries she sustained after a loose, barking dog spooked an untethered horse (Shelly Plath v. Palo Mar Stables Inc., No. A159435, Calif. App., 1st App. Dist., Div. 2, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6374).
SEATTLE — A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 reinstated claims brought by a driver who was rendered quadriplegic when a semi-tractor-trailer crossed a median and hit his vehicle. The majority held that the man’s claims that a freight broker negligently selected an unsafe motor carrier fell within the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act’s safety exception (Allen Miller v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., et al., No. 19-15981, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 30751).
SEATTLE — Following what a plaintiff’s attorney said may be the first federal civil jury trial conducted entirely over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Washington jury awarded a woman $1.35 million on Oct. 7 for a head injury she suffered when she fell in a cruise ship hallway. The jury also held the woman 20 percent responsible for the accident, which reduced the original award (Margaret Dallo v. Holland America Line N.V. LLC, No. 19-865, W.D. Wash.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California school district and the mother of a boy with severe autism who died after driving a campus golf cart into a metal railing reached a $7.5 million settlement of the mother’s wrongful death suit, the plaintiff’s firm announced Oct. 2 (Micaela Sanchez Corona, et al. v. Orange Unified School District, et al., No. 30-2019-01109866, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 9 denied a motion for an emergency stay by two federal agencies in a putative class complaint by journalists and legal observers who claim that they have been targeted by police and federal agents while covering protests in Portland, writing that the agencies have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits or sufficiently showed irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction was “not stayed pending a decision on the merits of their appeal” (Index Newspapers LLC, et al. v. United States Marshals Service, et al., No. 20-35739, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32103).
PORTLAND, Maine— Concluding that state evidentiary law protecting the confidentiality of patient records applies equally to redacted and unredacted records, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Sept. 29 reversed a trial court’s order compelling the production of the redacted records of nonparty patients who underwent similar surgical procedures as one at issue in a malpractice suit against a hospital (Estate of Carol A. Kennelly v. Mid Coast Hospital, No. Cum-18-445, Maine Sup., 2020 Me. LEXIS 118).
CINCINNATI — Granting an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit, a federal judge in Ohio on Oct. 7 found that the insurance policy’s assault and/or battery exclusion precludes coverage for any claims arising out of an April 22, 2018, incident at the insured’s bar that caused injuries to patrons by another patron who pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company v. Kenneth Rutz, et al., No. 18-00776, S.D. Ohio, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186500).
TACOMA, Wash. — A railroad company reached a confidential settlement in a Washington federal court with a woman who was injured when a speeding train derailed off an overpass bridge and her vehicle hit a train car that fell onto the highway below, the plaintiff’s attorneys announced Oct. 7 (Tiffani Vincent v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., No. 19-05252 W.D. Wash.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois judge on Sept. 15 ruled that a nurse who alleges that she was fired by a hospital in retaliation for warning co-workers that the facemasks they were given to protect them from the novel coronavirus were not as effective as the Particulate Respirator N95 facemask may proceed only with her retaliatory discharge claim against the hospital, partially granting a motion to dismiss, noting that the other claims and defendants were dismissed voluntarily (Lauri Mazurkiewicz v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, et al., No. 2020-L-003511, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 2 vacated and remanded a lower federal court's ruling that the renter of an electric boom lift's insurance policy was excess above the rental company's own commercial general liability insurance policy, finding that the rental company had no other "valid and collectible" insurance (Scottsdale Insurance Company v. United Rentals [North America], Inc., Nos. 18-1588 and 18-1593, 1st Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31396).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A hospital that prevailed in two rulings dismissing malpractice claims against it filed a notice with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 2 waiving its right to respond to a petition for certiorari in which the husband of a deceased patient seeks clarification on principles regarding the tolling of discovery in a case that was removed from, and ultimately remanded back to, a state court (Charlie Wilson v. Dallas County Hospital District, No. 20-328, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 declined to take an appeal sought by a scaffold company challenging the issuance of a "serious" citation and penalty following the drowning death of one of its workers at a jobsite (Excel Modular Scaffold & Leasing Company v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, et al., No. 19-1448, U.S. Sup.).