Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Nix v. Major League Baseball
MLB and the MLBPA began an investigation into the sale and use of performance-enhancing drugs; Plaintiff and his company were among those investigated. Since then, Plaintiff has filed a series of lawsuits across the country against MLB, the MLBPA, their members and employees, and an increasing number of assorted defendants. This appeal involves the latest in a series of unsuccessful lawsuits by Plaintiff, proceeding pro se. Defendants moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) in five separate motions; MLB and the MLBPA also moved for sanctions. The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims, denied him leave to amend, and imposed sanctions. The Fifth Circuit affirmed and granted Defendants’ motion for sanctions. The court ordered that no pleading or lawsuit in any federal court within the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit shall be filed by, or on behalf of, Plaintiff, his affiliates, or his related entities against any of the defendants in this suit without first obtaining the permission of the court in which he seeks to file. He must attach a copy of this opinion to any such request for permission. The court explained that aggravating the situation is Plaintiff’s patent bad faith. Plaintiff was not only on notice from the district court that he was a vexatious litigant and that his lawsuit was frivolous, but he was also on notice from two other courts that have imposed sanctions on him (a California federal court and a New York state court) that his claims have no merit. View "Nix v. Major League Baseball" on Justia Law
Daniel Ilias v. USAA General Indemnity Company
S.D. lost control of his van while driving on a divided highway in Pasco County, Florida. The van jumped the center median and landed directly on top of an oncoming car driven by Plaintiff. Plaintiff was seriously injured in the resulting wreck. S.D.’s insurer, USAA General Indemnity Company, immediately began investigating. But despite learning that Plaintiff had suffered grievous injuries so that his damages would almost surely exceed S.D.’s $10,000 policy limit, and despite determining that S.D. was solely at fault for the accident, USAA delayed initiating settlement negotiations for over a month. Then, USAA failed to confirm for Plaintiff’s attorney that S.D. lacked additional insurance coverage with which to satisfy a judgment. Plaintiff then commenced this action to hold USAA responsible for the judgment, bringing a single claim for bad faith under Florida common law. USAA moved for summary judgment, arguing that no reasonable jury could find that its conduct amounted to bad faith. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded. The court held that the district court improvidently granted summary judgment to USAA. Material issues of fact as to bad faith and causation remain in dispute, and Plaintiff is entitled to have a jury resolve them. The court explained had USAA complied with its “duty to initiate settlement negotiations” sooner or provided Plaintiff’s attorney with a coverage affidavit before Plaintiff filed suit, the case may have settled before rising costs changed the calculus. View "Daniel Ilias v. USAA General Indemnity Company" on Justia Law
MATT YAMASHITA V. LG CHEM, LTD., ET AL
Plaintiff brought this products-liability suit against LG Chem, Ltd. (“LGC”) and LG Chem America, Inc. (“LGCA”), claiming that they negligently manufactured and distributed a battery that he used to power an electronic cigarette until the battery, and electronic cigarette both exploded in his mouth. Plaintiff sued LGC and LGCA in Hawaii state court, bringing various state-law claims related to the design, manufacture, labeling, advertising, and distribution of the subject battery. LGC and LGCA were timely removed from Hawaii state court to the District Court for the District of Hawaii and then moved to dismiss Yamashita’s complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Yamashita opposed the motions and moved for jurisdictional discovery. The district court denied Yamashita’s motion for jurisdictional discovery. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court held that Ford modified, but did not abolish, the requirement that a claim must arise out of or relate to a forum contact in order for a court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction. The panel explained that while LGC and LGCA’s Hawaii contacts clearly showed that they purposefully availed themselves of Hawaii law, they can only be subject to specific personal jurisdiction if Plaintiff’s injuries arose out of or related to those contacts. The panel held that Plaintiff had not shown that his injuries arose out of any contacts because he had not shown but-for causation. The panel concluded that the district court’s denial of jurisdictional discovery was not an abuse of discretion. View "MATT YAMASHITA V. LG CHEM, LTD., ET AL" on Justia Law
Omni Hotels Management Corp. v. Ultimate Parking, LLC
In this dispute over indemnification arising from an underlying negligence case, the First Circuit vacated the decision of the district court as to a contractual crossclaim for indemnification, holding that the district court erred.John Caruso was staying at the Omni Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island when he tripped and fell on a curb separating the hotel's valet from its main entrance. Caruso brought this complaint against the both the hotel's valet operator and its owner, claiming that Defendants negligently maintained the premises and had a duty to warn him of an unreasonably safe condition, causing his injuries. The hotel owner filed crossclaims against the valet in the action, seeking indemnification for its litigation costs. As to the indemnification crossclaims the district court held that Omni was not entitled to relief. The First Circuit vacated the judgment for the valet and directed the district court on remand to enter judgment for the hotel owner, holding that the district court's rejection to the hotel owner's right to contractual indemnification was premised on an incorrect view of both Rhode Island law and the language of the parties' contractual agreement. View "Omni Hotels Management Corp. v. Ultimate Parking, LLC" on Justia Law
Core and Main, LP v. Ron McCabe
Core and Main LP (“C&M”) supplies water, wastewater, storm drainage, and fire protection products and services to commercial and governmental customers. C&M acquired the assets of Minnesota Pipe and Equipment Company (“MPE”), which supplied the same products and services in areas of Minnesota and South Dakota. Defendant, one of the shareholders, was part of MPE’s management team. Defendant started work at Dakota Supply Group, Inc. (“DSG”), a C&M competitor. C&M brought a diversity action against Defendant and DSG, asserting breach of the Employment Agreement’s noncompete and confidentiality covenants, tortious interference, and related claims. The district court granted Defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The main issue on appeal is whether the court correctly concluded that the Noncompetition Agreement was a later agreement and, therefore, its Entire Agreement provision superseded the restrictive covenants. The Eighth Circuit concluded that the breach of contract and tortious interference claims turn on fact-intensive issues that cannot be determined on the pleadings. Accordingly, the court reversed the dismissal of those claims and otherwise affirmed. The court explained that it agreed with C&M that it is at least plausible the two Agreements covered different subject matters, making Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal inappropriate. The Noncompetition Agreement restricting MPE shareholders from engaging or investing in a competing business was geographically broad, but its duration was precisely limited to a specific term for each restricted party. In addition, the court concluded that in the context of the multiple agreements that completed the Asset Purchase transaction, the term “prior or contemporaneous” in the Noncompetition Agreement’s Entire Agreement provision is ambiguous. View "Core and Main, LP v. Ron McCabe" on Justia Law
Algo-Heyres v. Oxnard Manor
Plaintiff suffered a stroke on August 18, 2009. He was hospitalized at St. John’s Regional Medical Center for two weeks, followed by a month in St. John’s inpatient rehabilitation facility. He entered Oxnard Manor, a skilled nursing facility, on October 3. Four days later, on October 7, Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement. It stated that he gave up his right to a jury or court trial, and required arbitration of claims arising from services provided by Oxnard Manor, including claims of medical malpractice, elder abuse, and other torts. Plaintiff remained a resident at Oxnard Manor until his death nine years later, individually and as Plaintiff’s successors in interest, sued Oxnard Manor for elder abuse/neglect, wrongful death, statutory violations/breach of resident rights, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Oxnard Manor filed a petition to compel arbitration. Both sides relied on medical records to demonstrate whether Plaintiff had the mental capacity to consent to the arbitration agreement. The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court explained that evidence here that Plaintiff scored below the level necessary to “solve complex problems such as managing a checking account” supports the conclusion that he was unable to manage his financial affairs. But regardless of whether the presumption of Civil Code section 39, subdivision (b) applied, substantial evidence established that Plaintiff lacked the capacity to enter an arbitration agreement. View "Algo-Heyres v. Oxnard Manor" on Justia Law
Haas v. Estate of Mark Steven Carter
In 2014, plaintiffs Roberta and Kevin Haas' stopped car was struck by a car driven by defendant Mark Carter. Plaintiffs brought this negligence action against defendants, Carter's estate and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, seeking to recover economic and noneconomic damages. Carter died after plaintiffs filed suit. State Farm was Roberta Haas' insurer, whom she sued for breach of contract, alleging it failed to pay all the personal injury protection benefits that were due. At trial, one of the primary issues was whether Carter’s driving was a cause-in-fact of the injuries that plaintiffs alleged, and the issue on appeal became whether the trial court properly instructed the jury on causation. The jury returned a verdict for defendants. After review, the Oregon Supreme Court determined the trial court did not err in instructing the jury on causation, and affirmed the circuit court's judgment. View "Haas v. Estate of Mark Steven Carter" on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Procedure, Contracts, Insurance Law, Oregon Supreme Court, Personal Injury
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. v. Traffic Tech, Inc.
Employees at C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. jumped ship to join Traffic Tech, Inc. C.H. Robinson then sued five of those former employees and Traffic Tech, raising various state-law claims, including tortious interference with a contractual relationship. After the case was removed to federal court, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the former employees and Traffic Tech. The district court also awarded attorney fees to the former employees and Traffic Tech The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s claim for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, reversed the judgment in all other respects, and vacated the district court’s order awarding attorney fees and costs. The court held that Minnesota law applies to the interpretation and enforceability of Defendants’ employment contracts. The court remanded for the district court to consider whether C.H. Robinson’s claims or disputes against Peacock arose in California or elsewhere under Peacock’s employment contract. The court further remanded for the district court to substantively analyze whether all or part of the former employees’ contracts are unenforceable and, if not, whether the claims for breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship survive summary judgment. View "C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. v. Traffic Tech, Inc." on Justia Law
Mobile Infirmary Association v. Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, Inc.
Mobile Infirmary Association d/b/a Mobile Infirmary Medical Center ("Mobile Infirmary") appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, Inc. ("Quest"). Quest and Mobile Infirmary entered into a Laboratory Management Agreement ("the LMA"), in which Quest agreed to manage Mobile Infirmary's onsite clinical laboratory facilities and to provide clinical testing services used by Mobile Infirmary's medical staff to diagnose and treat patients. The LMA also contained indemnity provisions. In 2015, James Ward went to Mobile Infirmary's emergency room after suffering weakness, dizziness, loss of fluids, a mild cough, and severe body aches. Ward was eventually diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis. When his condition did not improve, Ward was moved into the intensive-care unit, at which point his doctor ordered him to undergo glucose finger-sticks and a basic metabolic panel every four hours to help monitor his serum glucose, kidney function, acid/base status, and electrolytes. According to Mobile Infirmary, those basic metabolic panels were supposed to be performed by Quest, but they were allegedly canceled by one of Quest's employees. At some point, he suffered an "anoxic brain injury" and later died "as a result of multisystem organ failure secondary to severe sepsis and septic shock." Ingrid Mia Ward ("Mia"), Ward's wife and the personal representative of his estate, commenced a wrongful-death action against Mobile Infirmary and other defendants responsible for Ward's treatment and care. Quest was not named as a party to Mia's action. Mobile Infirmary informed Quest of the action and, as the case progressed, apprised Quest of the status of the proceedings, including its negotiations with Mia for potential settlement of the lawsuit. Mia and Mobile Infirmary ultimately settled the wrongful-death action. Before Mia's claims against Mobile Infirmary were dismissed pursuant to a joint motion of those parties, Mobile Infirmary filed a third-party complaint against Quest in which it sought contractual and equitable indemnity related to its defense and settlement of Mia's action. Quest filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted in part by dismissing Mobile Infirmary's equitable- indemnity claim. The Alabama Supreme Court found that nowhere in the LMA did the parties expressly agree or clearly provide a formula that, in the event there was a claim that arises out of partial liability or concurrent acts by both parties, indemnification will be required for a proportionate share. Accordingly, judgment was affirmed. View "Mobile Infirmary Association v. Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Procedure, Contracts, Health Law, Personal Injury, Supreme Court of Alabama
Erie Insurance Exch. v. Mione, et al.
In 2018, Albert Mione (“Mione”) was in a collision while operating his motorcycle. Mione’s motorcycle was insured by Progressive Insurance, under a policy that did not include UM/UIM coverage. Albert and his wife Lisa jointly owned a car, which was insured by Erie Insurance on a single-vehicle policy that included UM/UIM coverage with stacking. Mione’s adult daughter Angela also lived in the couple’s home, and she too owned a car, which Erie insured on a single-vehicle policy (“Angela’s policy”). Both of the Erie policies contained household vehicle exclusions barring UM/UIM coverage for injuries sustained while operating a household vehicle not listed on the policy under which benefits are sought. The courts below held that the exclusions were valid and enforceable, citing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 1998 decision in Eichelman v. Nationwide Insurance Co., 711 A.2d 1006 (Pa. 1998). The Miones, contended that the lower courts erred in applying Eichelman, arguing that the Supreme Court sub silentio overruled that decision in Gallagher v. GEICO Indemnity Co., 201 A.3d 131 (Pa. 2019). The Supreme Court rejected the Miones’ argument, and affirmed. View "Erie Insurance Exch. v. Mione, et al." on Justia Law