Articles Posted in Personal Injury

by
The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff's action for negligence against three defendants. The court held that the district court erred by denying the motion to remand this action to state court due to the absence of diversity jurisdiction. In this case, plaintiff stated a claim upon which relief could be granted and it was Alcoa's burden to negate the possibility that PMIC's negligence contributed to plaintiff's injuries. The court held that PMIC was not improperly joined and the parties were not completely diverse. View "Cumpian v. Alcoa World Alumina, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
Smith was killed while driving a 2013 Jeep Wrangler, manufactured by Chrysler. Days after the crash, Chrysler sent out a Recall Notice: the transmission oil cooler (TOC) tube of some 2012 and 2013 Wranglers might leak, which could cause a fire in the underbody of the vehicle. Smith’s Jeep was never inspected for the defect before his accident and the wrecked Jeep was not preserved for a post-accident inspection. Days after the crash, the scene of the accident was photographed, showing what appears to be charred grass along the path Smith’s Jeep traveled after leaving the road. Smith’s family sued, asserting strict products liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, claiming that the recall defect caused a fire in the Jeep's underbody, filling the passenger compartment with carbon monoxide, so that Smith lost consciousness and ran off the road. The Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Chrysler. The court properly excluded a supplemental report by plaintiff’s expert, which failed adequately to connect newly disclosed information and conclusions that Smith’s Jeep had a defect and that the alleged defect caused a fire. Even if there was a defect, there was no evidence that it caused a fire in Smith’s Jeep or that the fire caused the crash. The court upheld an award of costs to Chrysler, despite plaintiffs’ “impoverished condition.” View "Smith v. Chrysler Group, L.L.C." on Justia Law

by
After Dr. Alan Sandifer was pierced in the head by the cable guard of his 2007 Hoyt Vulcan XT500 bow, his family filed suit against Hoyt Archery and its insurers under the Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA) alleging that the compound bow was defectively designed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding most of the testimony of plaintiffs' primary expert. In this case, plaintiffs failed to show how the accident occurred, because the expert's response to Hoyt's theory was based on unscientific and unhelpful propensity evidence that was not reasonably relied upon by experts in the biomechanical field and consequently failed to satisfy Daubert's requirements for the admissibility of expert opinion. View "Sandifer v. Hoyt Archery, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against defendants after plaintiff's daughter died from inhaling a large quantity of aerosol dust remover in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The court held that plaintiff's negligence claim based on premises liability failed because she did not plead that there were any issues with the conditions of the premises, and because Wal-Mart did not owe the daughter any duty of care regarding her purchase or abuse of dust remover. Furthermore, Wal-Mart was not liable for negligent entrustment under Restatement (Second) of Torts 390 and under Texas laws, and Wal-Mart employees were not liable in their individual capacities. The court affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to remand and motion to alter or amend the complaint. View "Allen v. Walmart Stores, LLC" on Justia Law

by
After plaintiff lost his arm when his vehicle collided with a piece of farm equipment being towed by a truck, plaintiff filed suit against Progressive, the company that leased the equipment to the driver of the truck, alleging that the company was negligent in failing to warn the driver of the dangers associated with towing the equipment with a pickup truck instead of a tractor. The district court granted summary judgment for Progressive on the failure to warn claim. The Fifth Circuit affirmed and held that plaintiff failed to create a factual dispute regarding the essential element of proximate cause. In this case, plaintiff failed to put forth any evidence that corroborated his conclusory assertion that the truck's lack of control over the farm disc led to his accident. View "Funches v. Progressive Tractor and Implement Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
After an intoxicated driver fled Austin police and knowingly accelerated through a closed city block during the South by Southwest Festival and killed four people, the family of one of the victims filed a wrongful death action against the festival organizers and the City of Austin. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants failed to adequately blockade the street and prevent the ensuing harm. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action for failure to state a claim under Texas law. The court held that plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege the SXSW defendants controlled the premises where the driver struck the victim. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed the negligence and premises-liability claims against the SXSW defendants for lack of duty. The court held that plaintiffs failed to allege any violation of a codified standard of conduct and thus plaintiffs' negligence per se claim was properly dismissed. The court also held that the district court properly dismissed the implied warranty and public nuisance claim. Finally, the City's immunity was not waived because plaintiffs have failed to state a valid premises claim. View "Smit v. SXSW Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
After plaintiff was injured when he fell off a defective ladder between a casino vessel and hotel owned by PNK, he filed suit against PNK for damages under Louisiana law. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to PNK and held that genuine fact issues exist as to whether PNK may be liable for plaintiff's injuries. The court held that a reasonable fact finder could conclude that PNK expressly or impliedly authorized the particular manner which rendered the work unsafe. The court also held that plaintiff's possible negligence before using the defective ladder could be taken into account, not as a complete bar to recovery via summary judgment, but rather through comparative fault principles. Furthermore, there were genuine issues as to whether the risk posed by the defective ladder was unreasonable under Louisiana law. The court rejected PNK's alternative argument and remanded for further proceedings. View "Renwick v. P N K Lake Charles, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's actions under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging that his discharge by a VA hospital and its employees intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him and tortiously interfered with his business relationships. The court held that the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) preempted plaintiff's FTCA tort claims relating to his discharge for alleged whistleblowing. Therefore, plaintiff could not bring his claim for lack of jurisdiction. View "Griener v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against Manitowoc Cranes after her husband, John, was injured in a crane accident that rendered him physically and mentally incapacitated. The jury ruled for plaintiff, finding that Manitowoc failed to warn Model 16000 Series crane operators that, if the crane tips over, large weights stacked on the rear of the crane can slide forward and strike the operator's cab. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's final judgment against Manitowoc for $2.8 million in actual economic damages and $600,000 in non-economic damages. The court held that Manitowoc was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the failure-to-warn claim where Manitowoc's warning was inadequate, and the inadequate warning proximately caused John's injuries. In this case, Manitowoc's misuse allegations did not convince the court that John's alleged misuse proximately caused his injuries, and the jury had an adequate basis for finding that an alternative warning could have communicated valuable additional information about the falling counterweight danger, allowing John to avoid injury. Finally, the court rejected Manitowoc's expert and evidentiary challenges. View "Williams v. Manitowoc Cranes, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Wal-Mart in an action alleging a premises liability claim against the company for plaintiff's slip and fall. The court held that plaintiff's entire story, uncorroborated assumptions and all, was more plausible than Wal-Mart's proposed alternatives. In this case, plaintiff's was the only explanation supported by multiple, particularized indicia: The auto-scrubber pauses where the level of the floor changes; liquid tends to accumulate in uneven areas; and, per the post-slip cleanup effort, the spill was a concentrated puddle (rather than a trail created by a leaking garbage bin). Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Garcia v. Wal-Mart Stores Texas, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury