Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on her constitutional challenges to Maine’s Wrongful Birth Statute. After she gave birth to a healthy child, Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc., claiming that a contraceptive implant manufactured by Merck and/or its applicator were defective. Plaintiff also sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that a doctor at a federally-funded community health center unsuccessfully implanted the Merck product. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint in reliance on Maine’s Wrongful Birth Statute. The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s case, rejecting her constitutional challenges to the Wrongful Birth Statute. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s challenges to the constitutionality of the Wrongful Birth Statute under the Maine and United States Constitutions failed. View "Doherty v. Merck & Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in Defendants’ favor on Plaintiffs’ claims seeking compensatory damages, declaratory relief, a permanent injunction, and expungement of disciplinary proceedings from a student’s university records. John Doe was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Boston College student. In 2012, Boston College held disciplinary proceedings against Doe, and an Administrative Hearing Board found Doe responsible for the lesser offense of indecent assault and battery. In 2014, Boston College conducted an independent review of the disciplinary proceedings and determined that the Board’s finding was proper. Doe and his parents filed a lawsuit against Trustees of Boston College and several university officials. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on all counts. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim for the 2014 review and Title IX, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims; and (2) vacated the grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim for the 2012 disciplinary proceedings, where there were genuine issues of material fact on this claim, and basic fairness claim, where the grant of summary judgment on this claim rested on the court’s analysis as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim. View "Doe v. Trustees of Boston College" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court declaring that AIG Property Casualty Company had a duty to defend William H. Cosby, Jr. In 2014 and 2015, nine of the women who had, over the past decade, accused Cosby of sexual assault, filed three separate actions claiming that Cosby had defamed them by publicly denying their accusations. At the relevant times, Cosby held two insurance policies issued by AIG. Under each policy, AIG had a duty to defend lawsuits alleging defamation. AIG sought a declaration that the policies’ “sexual misconduct” exclusions barred coverage because the underlying defamation claims “arose out of” Cosby’s alleged sexual assaults. The district court granted judgment on the pleadings for Cosby, concluding that the sexual-misconduct exclusions were ambiguous. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the “arising out of” language in the policies rendered the pertinent sexual-misconduct exclusions ambiguous as to the question in this case, requiring judgment for Cosby, the policyholder. View "AIG Property Casualty Co. v. Cosby" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the proprietor of a self-service gas station (Defendant) on a customer’s (Plaintiff) negligence claim. Plaintiff filed suit in a Massachusetts state court claiming that Defendant was negligent because the presence of positive limiting barriers (PLBs), which are required by Massachusetts law, in the concrete surrounding Defendant’s gas pumps constituted a hazardous condition and that Defendant failed to warn of that hazard. Defendant removed the action to the federal district court. The district court concluded that the PLBs, if dangerous, presented an open and obvious danger so that Defendant had no duty to warn customers about that danger. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that because there was no question that the PLBs were open and obvious, Defendant had no duty to warn visitors about them, and that Plaintiff’s remaining claims of error were unavailing. View "Potvin v. Speedway LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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At issue here was cross-claims arising out of a bail bondsman’s attempt to seize a bailed man who had failed to appear for a court hearing. Rodriguez, the bailed man, left New Jersey to return to his home in Puerto Rico in violation of the bail agreement. When Rodriguez missed a court date in New Jersey, the bail bond was declared forfeited. Agents acting for Speedy Bail Bonds seized Rodriguez in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez filed suit against Speedy seeking damages for his seizure and detention. Rodriguez’s mother as co-plaintiff claimed mental anguish. Speedy counterclaimed for breach of the bail agreement. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Speedy. The First Circuit affirmed the damages award on the counterclaim but remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings on the question of whether the jury instructions as to the tort claims accurately reflected Puerto Rico law because the question of Puerto Rico law and out-of-state bounty hunters had not been briefed. View "Rodriguez-Tirado v. Speedy Bail Bonds" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of Defendant after this Court remanded the case, holding that any error in the district court’s evidentiary rulings was harmless and that the district court did not commit prejudicial error when it found that Plaintiffs waived their negligence claim. Plaintiffs Barbara and Michael Bradley filed a second amended complaint alleging medical negligence, battery, and the failure to obtain informed consent. The district court granted summary judgment on the battery claim. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in Defendant’s favor. The First Circuit vacated the judgment and remanded for a new trial on account of an error in excluding the testimony of Plaintiffs’ proffered expert witness. After a second trial, the jury again returned a verdict in favor of Defendant. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) assuming, without deciding, that the district court erred in admitting an entry from Barbara’s diary and in admitting an excerpt from Barbara’s medical records from a different hospital, these errors were harmless; and (2) the district court did not commit prejudicial error in finding Plaintiffs to have waived their medical negligence claim. View "Bradley v. Sugarbaker" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the mailing of a claim filed pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for wrongful death was timely presented to the appropriate federal agency where Plaintiffs mailed the notice through the United States Postal Service (USPS) via certified mail and USPS attempted delivery on the last day of the two-year period. The district court dismissed the FTCA suit on the grounds that Plaintiffs had not first timely presented their claim to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because ICE did not come into actual possession of Plaintiffs’ mailed notice of their claim until after the two-year period had run. The First Circuit vacated the dismissal, holding that this case must be remanded for consideration of Plaintiffs’ contention that Plaintiffs’ claim had been timely presented by virtue of the fact that USPS arrived at ICE with notice of the tort claim on the last day of the two-year statutory period. View "Ortiz-Rivera v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The First Circuit affirmed the federal district court’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion for a default judgment against the Republic of Cuba seeking to enforce a Maine Superior Court’s default judgment of $21 million for the “extrajudicial killing” of Plaintiff’s father, a purported covert United States agent. The district court denied Plaintiff’s motion and dismissed her suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1330, 1602-1611, which generally bars suits against foreign sovereigns. The district court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the suit because of Plaintiff’s failure to show that the terrorism exception to foreign sovereign immunity applied. Specifically, the district court disagreed with the Maine Superior Court’s determination that Plaintiff’s father was “extrajudicially killed” by Cuba for purposes of the FSIA. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that Cuba committed an extrajudicial killing, and therefore, Plaintiff could not establish that the terrorism exception to the FSIA applied. View "Sullivan v. Republic of Cuba" on Justia Law

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Appellants’ action brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2671-2680, seeking compensatory damages for the allegedly negligent act of a federal employee was time-barred under the FTCA’s statute of limitations. On April 22, 2013, Appellants filed a medical malpractice complaint pursuant to the FTCA against the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The district court granted summary judgment for USDHHS, concluding that the complaint was time-barred for failing to file compulsory administrative claims within the FTCA’s two-year statute of limitations. On appeal, Appellants argued that their claim was timely under the “discovery rule.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, at least by March 8, 2010, Appellants knew of sufficient facts for their cause of action to accrue, and therefore, Appellants’ action was time-barred. View "Morales-Melecio v. United States" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this defamation action for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Deal, LLC posted to a subscriber-only website an attached to email newsletters three articles written by William Meagher that allegedly defamed Scottsdale Capital Advisors Corp. and John Hurry (collectively, Plaintiffs). Plaintiffs filed suit in New Hampshire. The only connection any of the parties had with New Hampshire was that Dartmouth College, one of The Deal’s institutional subscribers, was located there. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, concluding that Plaintiffs would have no reasonable basis upon which to establish that anyone in New Hampshire saw any of the articles as a result of the Dartmouth subscription. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that nothing in the record indicated that Plaintiffs’ only injury, reputational harm, arose in any way from Defendants’ only contacts with Plaintiffs’ chosen forum. View "Scottsdale Capital Advisors v. The Deal, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury