Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order finding that the trustee's claim under the Carmack Amendment against Canadian Pacific was untimely. This appeal stemmed from a train accident killing 47 people and destroying an entire town in Quebec. The court held that WFE's claim based on a claim letter and denial in April 2014 made the trustee's April 2016 lawsuit timely. In regard to Irving Oil, the court held that there was a genuine dispute over the very existence of contractual terms in the bill of lading providing for a nine-month notice period and a two-year suit limitation, precluding both dismissal on the pleadings or summary judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Whatley v. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Jeffery Oppedahl and his family filed suit against Mobile Drill after Jeffery was injured in an accident involving a truck-mounted drill auger that left him a quadriplegic. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Mobile Drill on plaintiffs' negligent entrustment claim involving the auger and the related consortium claims. The court held that the refurbishment exception did not apply here and that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiffs' negligence and strict liability claims based on the running of the Iowa statute of repose. Even if the exception applied, plaintiffs' claim would still be barred where the existing case law in which courts have adopted a refurbishment exception to statutes of repose requires that the refurbishment be completed by the party being held accountable for the harm. In this case, it was IDOT, not Mobile Drill, that conducted the auger refurbishment. The court also held that the Iowa Supreme Court likely would not apply negligent entrustment against a product manufacturer when the claim relates to the sale of the product. Assuming that negligent entrustment applied, plaintiffs' claim failed where there was insufficient evidence to support a claim that Mobile Drill had knowledge that IDOT would use the auger in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical harm or that it was foreseeable to Mobile Drill that IDOT would use the auger in an unsafe way. View "Oppedahl v. Mobile Drill International Inc." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from consolidated actions alleging negligence and malicious conduct by the United States related to the development and maintenance of Albert Pike. In 2010, an intense storm system caused rapid and serious flooding of the river and resulted in the death of 20 campers. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the United States's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Applying the Arkansas Recreational Use Statute, the court held that the campsite fee the Park Service charged was not an admission fee, and charging the fee did not disqualify the Park Service from claiming immunity under the statute. Furthermore, camping within a 100-year floodplain was not an uncommon recreational activity in Arkansas and the activity was of common usage. Therefore, the statute's immunity would extend to a private land owner facing this claim and the government could claim the immunity. View "Moss v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, asserting wrongful death claims under the public liability provision of the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, alleging exposure to nuclear radiation during World War II and the Cold War. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss claims brought on behalf of persons who passed away more than three years prior to the filing of suit. The Eighth Circuit affirmed, holding that the claims were untimely under Missouri's statute of limitations, Mo. Rev. Statutes Section 537.100, which did not permit tolling. The court also held that, to the extent equitable estoppel due to fraudulent concealment might be permitted under Missouri law, plaintiffs failed to raise the issue of fraudulent concealment in the district court. Finally, the provisions in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act governing actions brought under state law were inapplicable to the present claims. View "Halbrook v. Mallinckrodt, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff in an action alleging that Southern negligently maintained the roadway at a crossing where its three tracks intersected a state highway. The court held that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, he established a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Southern negligently maintained the pavement. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Donaldson v. Kansas City Southern Railway Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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This appeal stemmed from litigation establishing that FAG Bearings was solely responsible for the TCE contamination in Silver Creek and Saginaw. Schaeffler Group subsequently acquired the facility. In this case, plaintiffs filed suit against Schaeffler, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for their daughter's autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). Plaintiffs alleged that Schaeffler's negligent release of TCE and failure to warn the community of TCE contamination caused their daughter to develop AIH. A jury found in favor of plaintiffs and the district court then denied Schaeffler's motions for judgments as a matter of law and a new trial. The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the district court abused its discretion in ruling that Schaeffler was judicially estopped to deny successor liability; because plaintiffs failed to prove successor liability, the district court erred in denying summary judgment dismissing Schaeffler as a separate defendant; the post-trial dismissal of Schaeffler because plaintiffs failed to prove successor liability did not affect the jury's finding that FAG Bearings was liable for negligently causing plaintiffs' AIH injury; remand for a partial new trial limited to the issue of FAG Bearings's punitive damages liability was appropriate; plaintiffs proved causation; and the evidence was sufficient to submit the failure to warn claim to the jury. View "Kirk v. Schaeffler Group USA, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the United States' motion to substitute parties and motion to dismiss, as well as Lake Regional's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, including Lake Regional, for negligence after doctors failed to diagnose her cancer. The court held that the district court properly granted summary judgment for Lake Regional because plaintiff failed to show a genuine dispute of material fact that one of the doctors was employed by Lake Regional; the district court did not err in granting the motion to substitute because plaintiff could not rebut the prima facie evidence that the doctor was a federal employee; the district court did not err in granting the motion to dismiss where her tort claim was untimely; and equitable tolling was not applicable in this case. View "Wilcox v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Eighth Circuit vacated a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff in an action alleging that plaintiff's decedent contracted acute myeloid leukemia from benzene exposure while working as a truck driver. The court held that the district court erred by determining that plaintiff's claim for damages was not discharged by defendant's bankruptcy because defendant violated plaintiff's due process rights by not providing sufficient notice of the bankruptcy. In this case, plaintiff was an unknown creditor and defendant conducted a reasonably diligent search for creditors. Furthermore, the publication notice of bankruptcy provided was sufficient to meet the decedent's due process rights. View "Dahlin v. Lyondell Chemical Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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After plaintiff was injured by a load of boxes he was hauling, he filed suit against IP and John Doe, an employee of IP, alleging that Doe negligently failed to secure the load and that IP negligently supervised the loading and inspecting of the trailer and was vicariously responsible for Doe's negligence. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the district court's grant of summary judgment for IP. The court held that the district court correctly noted that plaintiff made no evidentiary showing that IP or Doe had breached a duty of care owed to him, so there was no evidence that anyone committed a negligent act. Furthermore, plaintiff failed to produce any evidence showing that negligence in the loading process caused his injuries, and that he was deemed to have admitted that causes other than negligence could well have caused the load to fall on him. View "Bedford v. Doe" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff filed suit against GM after was involved in an accident where he sustained a cervical-spinal cord injury that rendered him a quadriplegic. Plaintiff was in a GMC Savana van and, although he had his seatbelt on during the time of the crash, it did not prevent him from hitting his head on the roof of the van when the vehicle rolled over. The jury found GM negligent for failing to test the van and such negligence caused plaintiff's injuries. The district court then granted GM's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law (JML) and set aside the verdict. The trial court also conditionally granted a new trial solely as to damages. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment as to the motion for JML and held that there was legally sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find GM liable for negligent design, specifically for failing to conduct adequate testing. The court affirmed the conditional grant of a partial new trial on damages. View "Bavlsik v. General Motors" on Justia Law