Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court affirmed the compensation court’s findings that Plaintiff was entitled to benefits and that the court did not have jurisdiction to resolve issues regarding a third-party settlement but reversed the compensation court’s denial of Plaintiff’s request that she be awarded penalties, attorney fees, and interest. Plaintiff was driving a school bus when the bus was struck by a drunk driver, injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s employer (Employer) paid workers’ compensation benefits for a time but refused to pay benefits when Plaintiff asserted that she was permanently disabled as a result of her injuries. The workers’ compensation court concluded (1) Plaintiff was entitled to additional benefits; (2) the court did not have jurisdiction to grant relief requested by Employer concerning a settlement that Plaintiff entered into with the third party who caused her injuries; and (3) Plaintiff was not entitled to penalties, attorney fees, and interest. The Supreme Court held that the compensation court (1) correctly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve disputes related to Plaintiff’s settlement with the third-party tortfeasor; (2) correctly found that Plaintiff was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits; but (3) was clearly wrong in denying Plaintiff penalties, attorney fees, and interest because there was no reasonable controversy regarding her entitlement to benefits. View "Gimple v. Student Transportation of America" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court determining that Appellant’s injuries did not “arise out of” his employment, holding that Appellant’s assignment of error on appeal was without merit because he waived his argument by failing to present it to the compensation court. At trial, Appellant argued only that his injury arose out of employment because his fall, which resulted in injuries, resulted from a risk of employment. On appeal, however, Appellant argued that his injury arose out of employment under the “increased-danger” rule. The Supreme Court held that the trial court did not commit plain error by not applying the increased-danger rule, and Appellant waived his argument on appeal by failing to present it to the compensation court. View "Maroulakos v. Walmart Associates, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellant’s wrongful discharge claim on the ground that it was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion. Appellant filed a complaint against her former employer, alleging violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and wrongful discharge in violation of Nebraska law and public policy. A federal district court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that the claim was governed by the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA) and was not a general state law tort claim for wrongful discharge. Appellant’s title VII claim remained pending in the federal court. Appellant then filed the instant complaint against Defendant in the district court for Lancaster County, alleging wrongful discharge “in violation of Nebraska law and public policy.” The district court dismissed the wrongful discharge claim, concluding that it was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion because the federal district court had already decided the claim on the merits and dismissed it as time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "Hill v. AMMC, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant’s motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and compel arbitration, holding that the issue of whether the arbitration agreement in this case was enforceable was properly decided by the district court and not an arbitrator. Thomas Cullinane, as special administrator for the estate of his mother, Helen Cullinane, filed a wrongful death action against Appellant, Beverly Enterprises - Nebraska, Inc., doing business as Golden LivingCenter - Valhaven (GLCV). GLCV filed a motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and compel arbitration in accordance with the terms of a written arbitration agreement between GLCV and Helen. GLCV asserted that Eugene Cullinane, Helen’s husband, while acting as Helen’s attorney in fact, signed the agreement when he and Helen were admitted to the facility. The district court found that Eugene’s execution of the arbitration agreement could not be binding upon Helen, nor her estate, and thus dismissed GLCV’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that the arbitration agreement was not binding upon Helen or her estate. View "Cullinane v. Beverly Enterprises - Nebraska, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s declaration that the arbitration agreement at issue in this case was void and unenforceable on state law grounds and for being contrary to public policy, holding that the court erred in both respects. Plaintiff sued Defendants, a nursing home and its employees, for injuries he sustained as a resident at the nursing home. Defendants filed motions to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration cause within the admission agreement Plaintiff had signed upon being admitted as a resident in the nursing home. The district court overruled the motions, concluding that the arbitration clause (1) lacked mutuality of obligation by the parties, (2) was unenforceable for failure to strictly conform to the requirements of Nebraska’s Uniform Arbitration Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2601 et seq., and (3) was void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the arbitration agreement was valid and enforceable and governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. View "Heineman v. Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ amended complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim because amendment to state a claim was plausible. Plaintiffs, the next-door neighbors of a rental house at which a natural gas explosion occurred, injuring Plaintiffs, sued the rental house’s landowner and property manager based upon a negligence theory. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ amended complaint with prejudice less than five months after the action commenced, without providing a post response opportunity to amend and based upon a no-duty-owed conclusion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that that the district court erred in finding that amendment of the complaint would have been futile and thus erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The court remanded the cause with direction to grant the neighbors leave to amend their complaint. View "Eadie v. Leise Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this product liability action, the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the claimant’s expert’s testimony regarding causation. Plaintiff brought this product liability action against Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. and Roche Laboratories, Inc. (collectively, Roche) alleging that she developed health issues as a result of ingesting Accutane, a pharmaceutical drug manufactured and distributed by Roche. After conducting a Daubert/Schafersman hearing, the district court entered an order precluding Plaintiff’s expert witness from rendering opinions on the general and specific causation of Plaintiff’s Crohn’s disease. Thereafter, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of Roche. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the expert testimony after finding that the expert’s methodology was unreliable and conclusion-driven; and (2) with the exclusion of this testimony, there remained no issue of material fact, and therefore, summary judgment was properly granted in favor of Roche. View "Freeman v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this product liability action, the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the claimant’s expert’s testimony regarding causation. Plaintiff brought this product liability action against Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. and Roche Laboratories, Inc. (collectively, Roche) alleging that she developed health issues as a result of ingesting Accutane, a pharmaceutical drug manufactured and distributed by Roche. After conducting a Daubert/Schafersman hearing, the district court entered an order precluding Plaintiff’s expert witness from rendering opinions on the general and specific causation of Plaintiff’s Crohn’s disease. Thereafter, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of Roche. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the expert testimony after finding that the expert’s methodology was unreliable and conclusion-driven; and (2) with the exclusion of this testimony, there remained no issue of material fact, and therefore, summary judgment was properly granted in favor of Roche. View "Freeman v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming that county court’s grant of summary judgment against Plaintiff on her claim that Defendants tortiously interfered with her business relationship with her employer. On appeal, Plaintiff argued, in part, that there existed a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether interference by Defendants was justified. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the undisputed facts showed that Defendant’s actions were justified because they provided truthful information to Plaintiff’s employer about Plaintiff; and (2) therefore, Defendants could not incur liability for interfering with Plaintiff’s business relationship with her employer. View "Thompson v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court overruled the application of the collateral order doctrine to the extent that it authorized an interlocutory appeal from a denial of sovereign immunity. Plaintiff brought this negligence action against the Bellevue Public School District (BPS) and Bradley Nord, alleging that while Nord was a BPS teacher and Plaintiff was a student, Nord made nonconsensual sexual contact with Plaintiff that began a sexual relationship between the two occurring primarily on BPS premises. BPS and Nord filed separate motions to dismiss, claiming sovereign immunity under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act’s intentional tort exception. The motions were denied. Nord filed a motion to reconsider or to alter or amend, which motion was also denied. BPS appealed, and Nord cross-appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and cross-appeal because the appeal from the order at issue was not statutorily authorized. View "E.D. v. Bellevue Public School District" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury