PORTLAND, Ore. — City of Portland police used excessive force against and unlawfully arrested those attending and documenting Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the city following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, three Oregon residents allege in a class complaint filed July 7 in an Oregon court (Robert Evans, et al. v. City of Portland, No. 20CV23349, Ore. Cir., Multnomah Co.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal judge in Connecticut on July 8 held that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against an underlying negligence lawsuit, rejecting the insurer’s argument that the policy’s “Games Exclusion” bars coverage (Atain Specialty Insurance Co., v. Hank's Dairy Bar Inc., et al., No. 19-1085, D. Conn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119593).
NEW ORLEANS — A biomechanical engineer can testify as an expert for a truck driver in a personal injury suit about the force caused in a sideswipe crash but not about whether the collision at issue actually caused the injuries complained of, a Louisiana federal judge held July 2 in denying a motion to exclude the expert’s testimony from trial (Wayland Collins, et al. v. John C. Benton, et al., No. 18-7465, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116333).
SEATTLE — A Tennessee couple filed a putative class action on June 24 against cruise ship operators in a Washington federal court, alleging that the defendants failed to implement any of the promised enhanced screening during boarding and other measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, which resulted in one of the plaintiffs testing positive for the disease (Leonard C. Lindsay, et al. v. Carnival Corp., No. 20-00982, W.D. Wash.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A trial court erred in granting judgment based on the loss of chance doctrine against the family of a man who died after his oral cancer went undiagnosed and untreated for 17 months, a Maryland appeals court held June 22, vacating the decision and remanding for a new trial (Jeanne Marie Johnson, et al. v. Lindsay Golden, et al., No. 939, Md. Spec. App., 2020 Md. App. LEXIS 594).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An unarmed school security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who failed to immediately alert campus authorities of a potential active shooter is not entitled to statutory immunity, a Florida appeals court affirmed July 1 (Andrew Medina v. Andrew Pollack, et al., No. 4D19-777, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 9528).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 rejected a transportation company’s bid to overturn $5.4 million jury award to a man whose foot was crushed by a falling 2,000-pound metal rod while he was helping load a truck. It affirmed a lower court’s refusal to grant a new trial, holding that any jury instruction errors were harmless (Richard Edwards Jr. v. Cardinal Transport Inc., No. 19-1034, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 20041).
HOUSTON — Two plaintiff’s experts were qualified to render opinions and provide reports addressing a physician’s alleged breach of duty in failing to identify a woman’s kidney injury, which eventually led to the amputation of her hands and feet, a Texas appeals court concluded June 23, affirming a lower court ruling denying the physician’s motion to dismiss (Samiran Kumar Das v. Yvonne Hester, No. 14-19-00596, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4611).
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed an $8.29 million award for a child born with permanent injuries to his right arm, rejecting arguments that the awards for lost future earnings and noneconomic damages to a child who was under 5 at the time of the trial were speculative and excessive (Young Juan Zhao, et al. v. United States, No. 19‐3071, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 20225).
ATLANTA — Cruise ship employees tasked with monitoring ice rink conditions should have noticed gouges in the ice that caused a passenger to fall and break his ankle, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded June 19. It reinstated a $667,000 jury award to the injured passenger, which had been reduced to $433,000 due to the jury’s finding that the passenger was also at fault (Edgardo Lebron v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 19-10115, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19226).
MIAMI — Newlywed cruise passengers who sustained serious burns during a trip to an active volcano in New Zealand when it erupted sued a cruise line and excursion operator on June 25 in a Florida federal court, arguing that the defendants should have known that the volcano was likely to erupt (Lauren Barham, et al. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., et al., No. 20-22627, S.D. Fla.).
DENVER — Protesters and the Denver police department reached an agreement in a putative class action to limit police use of crowd-control weapons including tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets, which a Colorado federal judge approved June 26. He noted that the stipulation complies with new state legislation enacted in the wake of protests against police brutality (Agazi Abay, et al. v. Denver, No. 20-1616, D. Colo.).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon on July 2 partially granted a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction sought by journalists and legal observers in a putative class complaint over their treatment while covering Portland protests and enjoined the police from arresting them, using physical force and seizing their equipment and press passes (Tuck Woodstock, et al. v. City of Portland, et al., No. 20-1035, D. Ore., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116612).
LOS ANGELES — A Hollywood nursing home and its owner on July 1 removed a negligence and wrongful death complaint filed by the family of a resident who died of COVID-19 to federal court, arguing that the court has jurisdiction because they were acting under the direction of a federal officer and that the claims are preempted by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) (Emma Martin, et al. v. Serrano Post Acute LLC d/b/a Hollywood Premier Healthcare Center, et al., No. 20-cv-5937, C.D. Calif.).
HOUSTON — A lower court lacked jurisdiction over a Delaware franchisor of math and reading centers in a slip-and-fall lawsuit, a Texas appeals panel ruled June 30, reversing the denial of the franchisor’s special appearance and rendering judgment in its favor (Kumon North America Inc. v. Ngoc Vinh Nguyen, No. 14-18-00639-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4811).
NEW YORK — Ten women asked a New York federal court on June 30 to approve an $18.8 million settlement of claims that imprisoned former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein sexually abused them while other defendants did nothing to stop him. They also seek class certification of two classes of women who met with Weinstein to audition or discuss working on projects or who were employed by his companies (Louisette Geiss, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, et al., No. 17-09554, and Jill Doe, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, et al., No. 19-3430, S.D. N.Y.).
OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska federal judge on June 29 allowed two experts to testify that the lung cancer a woman developed and died from was caused by breathing in diesel fumes from the locomotives she worked with her entire life, saying the experts’ methods and opinions are “scientifically valid” and “sufficiently reliable” (Dale E. Bettisworth v. BNSF Railway Company, No. 8:17-cv-491, D. Neb., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114255).
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police assaulted members of the press and other legal observers in an effort to intimidate and suppress reporting of protests over the killing of George Floyd, several journalists and legal observers allege in a class complaint filed June 28 in a federal court in Oregon seeking monetary damages and prospective injunctive relief (Tuck Woodstock, et al. v. Portland, et al., No. 20-1035, D. Ore.).
NEWARK, N.J. — The operators of two New Jersey rehabilitation centers where at least 50 patients have died from COVID-19 maintain in a June 22 brief opposing remand that a class action negligence and wrongful death suit filed against them belongs in federal court because the claims fall under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act; alternatively, they argue that the national emergency declaration and regulations issued by national health agencies in response to the pandemic converted health care workers and facilities into “agents and officers acting to further a government interest thus conferring Federal Officer jurisdiction” (Estate of Joseph Maglioli, et al. v. Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center I, et al., No. 20-cv-6605).
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The widow of a Safeway grocery chain employee who died from COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, sued the chain and its parent company in a California court on May 13, alleging that the defendants advised its workforce not to wear masks and gloves to protect themselves from infection (Norma Zuniga v. Safeway Inc., et al., No. HG20062742, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).