The First Circuit has upheld a trial court’s dismissal on summary judgment of an outside worker’s suit against an auto dealership over a slip-fall injury he incurred on the floor in its garage and service area. The court noted that the reason for his presence at the dealership was that his company had been hired to clean it, and that he had said in his deposition that “typically there would be oil and grease everywhere” on that part of the floor after a day’s operations. Besides deeming the hazard to be open and obvious, the trial court had “noted Massachusetts precedent holding that a property owner does not owe a duty of care to a plaintiff where ‘the danger presented to the plaintiff was one that he had been hired to cure.'” [LaPointe v. Silko Motor Sales, First Circuit]
“In his deposition, [plaintiff] Porterfield said he may have bitten someone’s ear, but he didn’t know whose.” The suit by a now-West Virginia lawmaker, still pending after years, seeks to hold a now-defunct Indiana bar legally responsible for the catastrophic injuries he suffered during the affray. [Jake Zuckerman, Gazette Mail]
Over a period of two years at a nursing home in Waterloo, Ontario, a nurse identified in legal papers as DS “[stole] opioids for her own use and [falsified] medical records in order to conceal the thefts.” Now “a labor arbitrator has ordered the Regional Municipality of Waterloo to give DS her job back, and to compensate her financially for her unfair dismissal, including general damages for ‘injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.’ The care home had a duty to accommodate the nurse’s unquestioned diagnosis of severe opioid use disorder and mild to moderate sedative-hypnotic use disorder, ruled arbitrator Larry Steinberg. This disease had left her with ‘a complete inability or a diminished capacity’ to resist the urge to feed her addiction.” [National Post]
Visiting Myrtle Beach for a wedding, two New York women walk by a closed amusement park in the early morning hours and resolve on a joyride:
“Even though it was closed, the plaintiffs were easily able to move the unsecured gate at the entrance to the Pipeline Slide and climb the stairs to the top of the slide,” claims the lawsuit. “Without any employees present to instruct them, the plaintiffs were not aware that they needed to have the slide sprayed with water, nor did they know that they needed a burlap sack to safely go down the side.”
“Without these safety precautions, the plaintiffs slid down the slide at a very high velocity, colliding with the metal barrier at the bottom of the slide,” the lawsuit also claims. “As a result of the collision, both plaintiffs sustained significant injuries.”
Now they want damages against the park on a variety of theories, including punitive damages. [WBTW]
“A 54-year-old Florida woman was arrested Sunday after she was caught stealing cement pavers from a home in Port Richey….Upright said she thought they were trash. Deputies said she then threatened to sue the owner because she hurt her back on his property while loading the blocks into her vehicle.” The homeowner said the 42 decorative blocks, worth an estimated $420, were being stored not far from the roadway as part of a remodeling project. [WFLA]
Via Eugene Volokh, the Eighth Circuit has ruled [Hiltner v. Owners Insurance Co.] that a North Dakota trial court improperly assigned a heightened duty of care to a driver following an accident on the grounds that she had been a designated driver at a social outing. Noting contrary rulings in several jurisdictions, it ruled that North Dakota law would not impose such a heightened duty: as a Tennessee court observed in 2008, “[t]o hold a driver liable for the irresponsible actions of an intoxicated passenger would cut against this important social policy of encouraging the use of designated drivers.” More: T. Thomas Metier, Northland Injury Law.
A court in Australia has ordered costs against a claimant who had sued a grocery store after a slip-fall, after finding that “the grape could not have been on the floor longer than 10 minutes… and it was not realistic to expect every piece of vegetable matter which fell to the floor be picked up instantly.” [Harriet Alexander, Melbourne Age via Tortylicious on Facebook]:
“Coles is not bound to ensure the absolute safety of entrants to its stores,” he said.
“It must take reasonable care.
“Coles could not have been expected to ensure safety by, for example, having several staff in every aisle doing nothing but watching for dropped vegetable matter, or by allocating a staff member to ‘shadow’ every customer as they walked around the store.”
“A trial is set to begin for a $20 million lawsuit against Metro-North Railroad by a man severely injured when he climbed a Metro-North tower in Connecticut and fell on electric wires that power the trains….Colon alleges Metro-North didn’t post adequate warning signs on the tower.” [AP/Fox61]
Plaintiffs sued a New Mexico pharmacist for selling them opioids, resulting in their addiction. One big problem, however: “the plaintiffs had conspired with a nurse practitioner to write up fraudulent prescriptions.” And New Mexico adheres to a rule followed by various states in various forms known as the in pari delicto rule. It “is based on a public policy to preclude anyone who injures him or herself in the course of criminal activity from recovering in tort for those injuries. Put another way, perhaps more appetizing for those of you who delight in legal jargon, criminal conduct is an intervening act that cuts off liability.” [Stephen McConnell, Drug & Device Law]
Yaugeni Kralkin injured himself jumping out the back of a speeding ambulance in Staten Island, and now he wants money from New York City, its fire department and four emergency workers. “Mr. Kralkin was incredibly drunk, with a blood-alcohol level so high he was unaware of his actions, he says, even as he unbuckled straps and ultimately dived from the vehicle, according to his lawyer. The emergency medical workers failed in their duty to protect him, the lawsuit contends, even from himself, in his inebriated state.” [Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times]