Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the opinion and award of the North Carolina Industrial Commission denying Plaintiff relief on her claim for disability compensation from Defendants, holding that there was no error.On appeal, the court of appeals held that Plaintiff's claim was not time-barred under N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-24 and thus reversed the Commission's dismissal of Plaintiff's claim based on a 2014 injury. The court remanded the case to the Commission for a determination as to whether Plaintiff suffered a compensable injury under the Workers' Compensation Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's claim was not barred by section 97-24. View "Cunningham v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs did not purchase flood insurance for their house after the sellers told them that the property was not in a FEMA flood zone. Within weeks the area flooded, the home was destroyed and Plaintiffs sued the property sellers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and private contractors.   Plaintiffs alleged that either FEMA or the Strategic Alliance for Risk Reduction (“STARR”) made the 2010 Change to the 100-year flood-line estimate and SFHA designation. They alleged that STARR is a joint venture by Defendants Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., Dewberry Engineers, Inc., and Atkins North America, Inc., but do not name STARR itself as a defendant. Atkins and Stantec filed a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), extending the federal-contractor defense. The district court granted the motion.   The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision granting Defendant’s motion to dismiss. The court held that Plaintiffs fail to state a claim because their complaint does not contain sufficient factual matter to show they are entitled to relief from Defendants. The court reasoned that Plaintiff’s complaint does not state how Atkins, Stantec and Dewberry work within STARR or which entity was responsible for any acts through STARR. Further, the complaint fails to state a claim for negligent misrepresentation against Atkins, Dewberry, and Stantec because the Plaintiffs provide “only naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement” for three elements. Finally, the complaint similarly failed to state a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation because it does not plead which defendant made what representation. View "Derek Christopherson v. Robert Bushner" on Justia Law

by
After a 21-year career as a firefighter with the City of Pocatello, Richard Nelson was diagnosed with leukemia. Nelson brought a workers’ compensation claim against the City. The Industrial Commission determined that the City failed to rebut a statutory presumption of causation with substantial and competent evidence. The City appealed, arguing there was substantial evidence to rebut the presumption that Nelson’s cancer was caused by his employment. The City also argued Idaho Code section 72-438(14)(b) unconstitutionally discriminated between the employers of firefighters who had cancer and the employers of other employees who claim to have contracted an occupational disease. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the Industrial Commission. View "Nelson v. City of Pocatello" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Board of Review affirming the decision of the Office of Judges denying Appellant's request to add C5-6 spondylosis with C6 radiculopathy as a compensable condition, holding that Appellant was entitled to a permanent partial disability award.Appellant suffered a compensable injury to his shoulder, neck and back while working for Respondent. After the injury, Appellant developed cervical radiculopathy. At issue was whether cervical radiculopathy should be added as a compensable condition of Appellant's claim. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded this case with directions to add cervical radiculopathy as a compensable condition, holding that Appellant proved a causal connection between his compensable injury and his cervical radiculopathy. View "Moore v. ICG Tygart Valley, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals that affirmed an administrative law judge's (ALJ) award of permanent partial disability benefits to Plaintiff, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Plaintiff worked for Defendant for twenty-three years as a garbage truck driver and loader. After he was injured on two separate occasions, Plaintiff filed two claims for workers' compensation benefits. The ALJ awarded Plaintiff permanent partial disability benefits, applying the three-multiple from Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)(1) to the benefits for both injuries. The Workers' Compensation Board affirmed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ's award was supported by substantial evidence. View "Apple Valley Sanitation, Inc. v. Stambaugh" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission reversing the administrative law judge's (ALJ) award of permanent and total disability (PTD) benefits against the Second Injury Fund, holding that the Commission's findings were supported by substantial and competent evidence.Christopher Klecka suffered a compensable work-related injury to his left shoulder. After settling the primary claim with his employer Klecka brought a claim against the Fund, alleging that his primary injury combined with his prior injuries rendered him permanently and totally disabled (PTD). An ALJ issued an award against the fund for PTD benefits. The Commission reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Klecka failed to establish that his primary injury and sole qualifying preexisting disability entitled him to PTD benefits from the Fund under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.220.3. View "Klecka v. Treasurer of Missouri" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner State of California (the “State”) is a defendant in an action in which Plaintiffs sought damages for wrongful death and personal injuries suffered in an automobile collision. The superior court ordered the State to produce unredacted accident reports revealing identifying information of the parties and witnesses involved in accidents that occurred in the same area.   The Second Appellate Division denied the State’s petition for a writ of mandate and required the State to reveal the information the Plaintiffs/real parties in interest seek. Petitioner argued the superior court abused its discretion when it ruled that personally identifiable information was not protected under section 20014 of the Vehicle Code. Plaintiffs contended that under section 20012 they have a proper interest in the disclosure of unredacted police reports. The court reasoned that Plaintiffs have shown the accidents are similar in nature and the evidence of the reported accidents “either is itself admissible in evidence or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Thus, this evidence illustrated that Plaintiffs are persons with a “proper interest” in obtaining the unredacted accident reports they seek. View "State of Cal. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
The plaintiff was injured after a high-speed chase, during which officers were following a car that had been reported stolen; officers had gotten within 10 feet of the car in a parking lot and had ordered the driver out of the car at gunpoint. The driver sped off and hit the plaintiff. The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/4-106(b), provides local public entities and public employees with absolute immunity from liability for “[a]ny injury inflicted by an escaped or escaping prisoner.”The appellate court held that the defendants, several police officers and their government employers, did not have immunity under section 4-106(b) for the plaintiff's injuries because the person the police officers were chasing was not “an escaped or escaping prisoner” within the meaning of the Act. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. A mere show of authority by police officers is not sufficient to establish physical custody. The driver’s freedom of movement was directly controlled or limited to a particular place; he was not “held in custody” in the parking lot within the plain and ordinary meaning of that phrase, and was not an “escaped or escaping prisoner” when he subsequently hit the plaintiff. View "Robinson v. Village of Sauk Village" on Justia Law

by
Schultz filed a wrongful death and survival action, alleging that the defendants engaged in willful and wanton conduct by refusing to dispatch 911 services, which resulted in the decedent’s (his wife) death. Schultz had called 911, asking that police stop his wife from driving because she was intoxicated. The defendants allegedly first dispatched police to the wrong location and then refused to contact police after Schultz called back. The circuit court dismissed, finding that the defendants had absolute immunity from civil liability under section 4-102 of the Tort Immunity Act and that the decedent's negligence was the sole proximate cause of her injuries and death. The appellate court affirmed, finding that the Emergency Telephone System Act (ETS), 50 ILCS 750/15.1(a), did not apply to situations in which a 911 dispatcher allegedly failed or refused to dispatch emergency services but is limited to “provid[ing] an immunity for failures within that infrastructure and technology itself” and “was not designed to supersede the immunities set forth in the Tort Immunity Act.”The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal. The limited immunity of section 15.1(a) of the ETS Act governs this claim, but dismissal was appropriate because the decedent’s conduct was the sole proximate cause of her death. View "Schultz v. St. Clair County" on Justia Law

by
A fifteen-year-old boy was shot and killed by Defendant, a then-officer responding to a 911 call about possible underage drinking. The boy’s family and friends sued Defendant and the City of Balch Springs alleging excessive force. Later, Defendant was separately convicted of murder. The district court denied Defendant’s summary judgment motion claiming qualified immunity.On appeal, Defendant argued that the facts at the moment of the threat are undisputed and urged the court to exercise jurisdiction over the case on the issue of materiality. The court found that the resolution of this factual dispute is material because it affects both whether Defendant’s use of force was reasonable and whether the force he used violated clearly established law. The court found that if a jury accepts Plaintiffs’ version of the facts as true, particularly as to what occurred in the moments before Defendant shot at the car, the jury could conclude that the officers violated Plaintiffs’ clearly established right to be free from excessive force. Thus, because the factual dispute is material, the court ruled that it lacks jurisdiction to consider the propriety of the summary judgment denial. The court dismissed Defendant’s interlocutory appeal and remanded for further proceedings. View "Edwards v. Oliver" on Justia Law