LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Court: New Evidence For Punitive Damages Was Not Precluded By Remand

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — (Mealey’s) Saying that a trial judge did not err by allowing new mitigating evidence to be presented to a jury considering the amount of punitive damages on remand, the Missouri Supreme Court on Sept. 10 affirmed a $1.5 million judgment in a long-running tobacco wrongful...

Bird in Hand Better than Two in Bush

Angela and Rodney Gilpin were murdered inside an apartment building owned and operated by Dennis and Sandra Prenger (collectively, the “Prengers”). Plaintiffs, survivors of the victims, obtained wrongful death judgments against the Prengers in state court. The state court found that the Prengers...

Virginia: Real Estate Developer Is Subject to Wrongful Death Action for Contractor’s Employee

In a split decision, the Supreme Court of Virginia held that the trial court erred when it sustained a plea in bar and dismissed a wrongful death action filed against a property owner by the estate of a general contractor’s employee who was killed in a construction accident. The majority held that...

Massachusetts: Estate May Not Maintain Wrongful Death Against Directors of Nonprofit Employer

The estate of a residential treatment counselor at a mental health clinic may not maintain a wrongful death action against two directors of the mental health association that employed the decedent, held the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The counselor was fatally attacked by one of the facility’s...

Federal: Widow’s Wrongful Death Action Against Employer For Husband’s Exposure to Harmful Substances May Be Removed to Federal Court

Construing Missouri law, a federal district court held that a widow, who alleged her husband died as a result of exposure to a variety of harmful substances while he worked for the defendant manufacturing firm, had alleged common law tort liability; her claim did not “arise under” the state’s...

Don’t Let a Viable Defendant Walk Free

I have many times in this space cautioned against giving up the ability to sue and collect from a viable defendant with assets to seek damages from an insurer. In Jennifer A. Stephens, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Charles Eugene Becker and as Assignee of Anchorage Homes, LLC, Plaintiff...

Deceased Smoker’s Daughter Testifies About His Smoking In Florida Wrongful Death Case (Watch The Video)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla — (Mealey’s) The daughter of a deceased smoker testified in a wrongful death action in state court Aug. 19 that her father “was always smoking” and “was always trying to quit” ( Heather Irimi, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. , No. 2008...

Deceased Smoker’s Daughter Testifies About Quitting Smoking Attempts In Florida Case (Watch The Video)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.— (Mealey’s) The daughter of a deceased smoker testified in a wrongful death action in Florida’s 17th Judicial Court for Broward County Florida on Aug. 20 that her father was unable to quit smoking because he was addicted to cigarettes ( Heather Irimi, et al. v...

Closing Arguments Center On ‘Addiction’ Issue In Florida Smoking Case (Watch the Video)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (Mealey’s) Closing arguments got under way Aug. 26 in Florida’s 17th Judicial Circuit Court for Broward County in a suit alleging that a longtime smoker’s March 2013 death was caused by smoking cigarettes ( Heather Irimi, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco...

Tobacco Companies Say Smoker Was Not Addicted In Florida Case Closings (Watch The Video)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (Mealey’s) Closing statements by attorneys for three tobacco companies wrapped up on Aug. 27 in the Florida 17th Judicial Circuit Court for Broward County in a suit alleging that a longtime smoker’s death in March 2013 was caused by his smoking ( Heather Irimi...

Virginia: Wrongful Death Action Related to Death of Police Recruit From Blow to Head in Training Barred by Exclusivity

The Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed the dismissal of a widow’s wrongful death action filed against the chief of police of the City of Norfolk and other police officials following the death of her husband, who died after receiving several blows to the head during his training as a recruit at...

Georgia: Exclusive Remedy Bars Wrongful Death Action by Non-Dependent Heir in Spite of Statute’s Refusal to Allow Payment of Comp Benefits

The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed a trial court’s order granting summary judgment to an employer in a wrongful death action filed by the mother of a deceased employee, agreeing that the exclusive remedy provisions of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act barred the civil action. That...

Washington: Widow’s Wrongful Death Action for Husband’s Mesothelioma Barred by Exclusivity

Washington state courts may not use the “substantially certain” test to determine whether an employer’s actions against an injured worker were intentional, again held the Supreme Court of Washington in a split decision. Accordingly, a widow’s contention that her husband’s...

Florida Judge Declares Mistrial In Tobacco Case Because Of Witness Statement (Watch The Videos)

VIERA, Fla. — (Mealey’s) A state court judge sitting in the Brevard County, Fla., 18th Judicial Circuit Court entered a mistrial on Sept. 26 after two weeks of trial in a wrongful death action brought by the widow of a longtime smoker because of a comment made by an expert witness for the...

Parties Dispute Nicotine Addiction Issue In Florida Suit’s Opening Statements (Watch The Videos)

TAMPA, Fla. — (Mealey’s) Trial got under way on Sept. 26 with opening statements in the Hillsborough County, Fla., 13th Judicial Circuit Court in a suit alleging that a woman’s death from lung cancer was caused by her 40 years of smoking ( James Lourie, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco...

Arkansas: Special Employer Enjoys Exclusive Remedy Defense in Wrongful Death Action Filed Against It

An Arkansas appellate court held that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission did not err when it determined that a deceased worker was the defendant-company’s “special” employee since, at the time of the worker’s fatal injury, the defendant-company had the right...

Utah Appellate Court Permits Plaintiff To Sue Herself

The Utah Third District Court, Salt Lake Department, recently considered the case of Bagley v. Bagley , 2015 UT App 33, 2015 Utah App. LEXIS 32 (Utah Ct. App. 2015) , where an heir and personal representative filed a survival and wrongful death lawsuit against herself as the driver who caused a motor...

Connecticut: “Payloader” Is Not Motor Vehicle for Purposes of Special Rule Allowing Tort Action Against Fellow Employee

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31–293a creates several exceptions to the otherwise applicable rule that a workers’ compensation claim for benefits is the exclusive remedy that an employee may pursue against a fellow employee. One such exception allows the injured employee to proceed in tort against...

Arizona Jury Awards $2.5 Million To Estate Of Nursing Home Resident (Watch The Video Excerpts Of Opening, Closing Statements)

PHOENIX — (Mealey’s) An Arizona state court jury on May 22 awarded $2.5 million to the estate of a woman who contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after developing a bedsore while in a nursing home ( The Estate of Doris L. Cote, et al. v. Five Star Quality Care Inc...

California: Exclusive Remedy Provision Bars Separate Suit Related to Asbestos-Laden Pipes Carried Home for Home Projects

Where survivors of a worker who died of asbestos-related mesothelioma sued the employer, a pipe manufacturer, for wrongful death, alleging that in addition to his workplace exposure to asbestos, the worker was also permitted to take waste or scrap pipe home, where he was exposed to asbestos in using...

Georgia: Parent’s Wrongful Death Action for Negligent Hiring of Convicted Felon May Proceed

Where an employee was shot and killed by a co-employee on the special employer’s premises for no apparent reason—the two hardly knew each other and had no difficulties with each at work—the death did not arise out of and in the course of the employment. Accordingly, the exclusive remedy...

Wife Not Liable for Husband’s Circumvention of Ignition Interlock Device

A wife was not liable in a wrongful death case after her husband, who was required to have an interlock device on his car, drove her car which did not have such a device, and killed another driver. The Court of Appeals of Louisiana had to determine whether the parents of Dr. Kristofor Toups, a veterinarian...

Texas: Police Sergeant’s Widow May Not Recover Wrongful Death Benefits Against Police Department

A widow’s civil action to recover damages from the Houston Police Department related to an incident in which her husband, a police sergeant, was killed in the line of duty by a man who was present in this country illegally, and who was subsequently convicted of the police sergeant’s murder...

North Dakota: Widow’s Tort Action Fails Under State’s “Almost Impossibly Strict Standard” for Intentional Tort Allegations

The Supreme Court of North Dakota held the trial court properly granted a former employer’s summary judgment dismissing a widow’s wrongful death action against it because the facts alleged did not provide a genuine issue of material fact to avoid the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workforce...

Maine: Wrongful Death Action Barred by Exclusive Remedy Provisions of State Comp Act

The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine held that an estate’s wrongful death action against the deceased employee’s employer was barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act where the undisputed evidence indicated the deceased employee had sustained fatal...