Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the MDL court's partial summary judgment award and denial of plaintiff's motion to reconsider. Plaintiff filed suit against Boston Scientific, alleging that the transvaginal mesh product that the company manufactured injured her and that Boston Scientific failed to warn of risks associated with the mesh. Plaintiff joined an MDL and then lost her failure to warn claim at summary judgment. After the case was transferred to a district court for trial on the remaining claims, plaintiff moved to reconsider the summary judgment award based on evidence that she failed to cite during summary judgment briefing in the MDL court. The district court denied the motion and plaintiff subsequently lost at trial. The Fourth Circuit could not say that the MDL court erred in its summary judgment ruling based on the evidence plaintiff cited in opposition to summary judgment. The Fourth Circuit explained that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require parties to cite all evidence in support of their positions at summary judgment. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion to reconsider despite plaintiff’s citation to additional excerpts of plaintiff's treating phsysician's deposition establishing that he reviewed and was familiar with the Directions for Use (DFU). View "Carlson v. Boston Scientific" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging that they forced her to provide labor in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. 1589. Specifically, plaintiff alleged six claims of involuntary servitude and illegal trafficking stemming from her work as a live-in housemaid to defendants. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. Drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff, the court agreed with the district court's determination that plaintiff's evidence was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of the forced labor statute and that defendants were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. In this case, plaintiff failed to develop sufficient evidence upon which a jury could reasonably conclude that defendants knowingly forced or coerced her to come to the United States, or to remain in their employ against her will, by means of serious psychological harm or abuse of law or legal process, when she otherwise would have left and returned to her home country of Kenya. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Muchira v. Al-Rawaf" on Justia Law

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Howard and Nancy Nease filed a products liability suit against Ford, alleging that Howard sustained serious injuries in an accident caused by a design defect in the speed control system of his 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck. The jury awarded plaintiffs over $3 million in damages. The district court denied Ford's post-trial motions. The court concluded that the expert testimony of Samuel Sero regarding the speed control cable should not have been admitted. The court explained that Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. applies to Sero's testimony and the district court did not perform its gatekeeping duties with respect to Sero’s testimony. In this case, Sero’s testimony should have been excluded under Daubert because it was unsupported. Without any other expert testimony to establish that the 2001 Ford Ranger was defectively designed and that there were safer alternative designs available that a reasonably prudent manufacturer would have adopted, the court concluded that the Neases cannot prove their case under West Virginia law. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in Ford's favor. View "Nease v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and her husband filed a products liability suit against Ethicon after she experienced complications from the implantation of a transvaginal mesh medical device. On appeal, Ethicon challenges the denial of its post-trial renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, for a new trial. The court affirmed the judgment, concluding that the district court did not commit reversible error where plaintiffs offered sufficient evidence to sustain the jury's general verdict for plaintiffs on their design defect, failure to warn, and loss of consortium claims. In this case, the district court did not err by excluding evidence of the FDA's section 510(k) evaluation process; excluding the FDA Advisory Committee evidence; and excluding evidence of the Prolene suture's regulatory history. View "Huskey v. Ethicon, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., alleging that Navy officers negligently allowed a training structure to remain in a dangerous condition and failed to warn her of the dangerous gap between the mats placed adjacent to the structure. Plaintiff, a sheriff's deputy, was seriously injured when she jumped from the structure onto the set of mats and landed in a gap between them. The district court granted the government’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the challenged Navy conduct fell within the FTCA’s “discretionary function exception” and therefore that Congress had not waived sovereign immunity for plaintiff's claim. The court affirmed and concluded that the Navy’s decisions regarding the maintenance of its military bases for use by civilian law enforcement involved policy judgments that Congress sought to shield from tort liability under the FTCA. View "Wood v. United States" on Justia Law

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Survivors of John R. Leichling filed suit against Honeywell, alleging that Mr. Leichling’s fatal lung cancer resulted from exposure to toxins during his employment at the Dundalk Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, where Honeywell operates a chemical manufacturing plant. Decades earlier, Honeywell began using chemical refuse to create a landmass on which the Marine Terminal later sat. The district court dismissed the suit pursuant to Maryland’s 20-year statute of repose, Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. 5-108(a). The court concluded that Honeywell's use of chromium ore processing residues (COPR) fill in creating the landmass that later became the base for a large portion of the Dundalk Marine Terminal is thus an improvement to that property pursuant to Maryland’s statute of repose. Because plaintiffs concede that they brought their claims outside of the statute’s 20-year time bar, the district court did not err in dismissing these claims. View "Leichling v. Honeywell International, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff initially filed a medical malpractice claim with Maryland’s alternative dispute resolution agency within the Federal Tort Claims Act's (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., limitations period. However, plaintiff did not file a complaint in federal court until well after that period had passed. The district court dismissed the complaint as untimely. The court concluded that, because an “action is begun” under the FTCA only by filing a civil action in federal district court, plaintiff's claim was untimely. The court also concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that any extraordinary circumstances warranted equitable tolling. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Raplee, Jr. v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff filed a wrongful birth action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., after her federally-supported prenatal care provider failed to timely inform her that her child would be born with severe congenital abnormalities. The district court found in favor of plaintiff and awarded her $12 million in economic and noneconomic damages. When plaintiff was eighteen months pregnant, the provider detected potential fetal abnormalities during a routine ultrasound but, due to errors on its part, the provider did not inform plaintiff of the abnormalities until three months later. Because at that point plaintiff was well into her third trimester, the laws of West Virginia and nearby states barred her from terminating her pregnancy. The court concluded that the district court properly awarded plaintiff damages attributable to her child’s past medical expenses; the district court correctly measured plaintiff's damages using the amount medical providers billed for her child’s care, rather than the amount the West Virginia Medicaid program paid those providers; but the district court erred in failing to hold a post-verdict, prejudgment collateral source hearing. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Simms v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury