Legal

Highest premises liability awards are against owners/operators of industrial properties

Jury Verdicts

Jury Verdict Research® recently released the 53rd Edition of the Current Award Trends revealing that the highest compensatory median awards for premises liability claims are against owners/operators of industrial properties.

The study is based on verdicts rendered from 2006 through 2012.

The graph (above) highlights the median compensatory awards for premises liability claims.

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Wrongful-death suit against Philip Morris untimely, 11th Circuit says

From Westlaw Journal Tobacco Industry: A Florida man who waited 17 years to sue a cigarette maker over his wife’s death cannot rely on equitable tolling to defeat the statute of limitations and join the Engle class of plaintiffs, a federal appeals court has affirmed.

In a March 31 per curiam opinion, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2012 ruling by a Tampa federal judge who rejected plaintiff Franklin Burr’s argument that the “delayed discovery” doctrine allowed him to toll, or suspend, the two-year statute of limitations.

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Brian Quinn on WestlawNext enhancements

Brian Quinn, senior product developer for WestlawNext at Thomson Reuters, talks about the latest enhancements to WestlawNext, including Custom Pages and eLibraries.

Belgian banks gain dismissal of suit over allegedly dishonored checks

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: A New York federal judge has ruled that a U.S.-incorporated company that claims that two Belgian banks wrongfully dishonored checks cannot pursue a lawsuit against the institutions in the United States.

Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the claims filed by Midamines SPRL Ltd. and company officer Hassan A. Abbas against Belgian banks KBC Bank NV and Antwerp Diamantse Bank NV.  Midamines is incorporated in Illinois.

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GM wants stay of ignition-switch suit pending other rulings

From Westlaw Journal Automotive: General Motors has asked a Texas federal judge to stay an ignition-switch defect suit involving a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt while the automaker awaits a decision by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on whether to consolidate more than 30 similar actions filed around the country.

GM, calling itself “New GM,” also said in its April 15 motion with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas that a stay is necessary because “Old GM,” the company that built the 2006 Cobalt, no longer exists after its post-bailout bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

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Maryland man to plead guilty to trading on inside info from ex-Wells Fargo banker

From Westlaw Journal Mergers & Acquisitions: A Maryland man has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges that he netted more than $650,000 in illegal profits by trading on inside information he learned from an investment banker about potential and upcoming mergers and acquisitions.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of North Carolina announced April 3 that Walter D. Wagner, 33, of Rockville, Md., will plead guilty to one count of conspiring to commit insider trading.

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No claim against tortfeasor’s insurer following sexual assault, 2nd Circuit says

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage: A woman who won a $100,000 judgment against a chiropractor for sexual assault cannot bring a direct action against his insurer to collect damages because federal law regulating risk retention groups bars the action, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

Federal law “contains sweeping preemption language that sharply limits the authority of states to regulate … the operation of risk retention groups chartered in another state,” a three-judge panel said in an April 4 opinion.  A risk retention group is an insurance company funded, owned and operated by its insureds.

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Supreme Court to decide evidence needed for CAFA removal

From Westlaw Journal Class Action: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed April 7 to determine how much proof a defendant must include with a notice of removal to show that state court claims meet the Class Action Fairness Act’s requirements for federal jurisdiction.

This is the third case involving CAFA’s jurisdictional requirements that the high court has heard in its last two terms.

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Nursing-home resident chokes to death on solid food

Elderly 009 black No Credit iStock PhotoThis wrongful death action was brought when Rachel Mary Kingsbury, an 82-year-old resident of defendant Westlake Nursing Center LP d/b/a Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center suffering from mental health impairments, dysphasia, congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation and restricted to a regular mechanical soft food diet that required her meat to be chopped, allegedly died as a result of choking on a piece of sausage 1.25 inches in diameter and .25 inches thick fed to her by the defendant’s staff.

Paramedics reportedly found a piece of sausage in her airway but were unable to revive her. (more…)

Missouri suit accusing Pfizer’s Lipitor of causing diabetes remanded to state court

From Westlaw Journal Pharmaceutical:  A product liability suit by 89 consumers who blame Pfizer Inc.’s blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor for their diabetes belongs in state court because some of the plaintiffs are from the same state as the company, a federal judge has decided.

U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson of the Eastern District of Missouri granted the plaintiffs’ remand motion March 26, rejecting Pfizer’s argument that the federal court should dismiss from the suit New York and Delaware plaintiffs who nominally defeat diversity.  Without those two plaintiffs, there is federal jurisdiction, the company unsuccessfully claimed.

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