Articles Posted in Injury Law

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Plaintiff’s probationary employment was terminated by Kansas State University. Plaintiff sued the University, arguing that her employment termination was in retaliation for her potential claims under the Kansas Workers Compensation Act. The district court granted the University’s motion to dismiss, determining that Plaintiff did not exhaust her administrative remedies because Plaintiff was required under the Kansas Judicial Review Act (KJRA) to first present her retaliatory discharge claim to the University for determination. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Plaintiff’s claims were not governed by the KJRA and, therefore, jurisdiction was proper in the district court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s tort claim was not governed by the KJRA. Remanded. View "Platt v. Kansas State Univ." on Justia Law

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Bromley Quarry operated an underground limestone mine adjacent to Plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs sued Bromley Quarry, claiming trespass and conversion of 855,500 tons of limestone. Bromely Quarry admitted that it had trespassed onto the Armstrong property and removed 173,392 tons of rock during the limitations period generally applicable to trespass and conversion claims but denied liability for the remainder (the “disputed rock”). The district court granted summary judgment to Bromley Quarry on Plaintiffs’ claim relating to the disputed rock, and, following a trial, awarded Plaintiffs damages for the 173,392 tons of limestone that the court found was converted during the limitations period. To compute the award for the rock, the district court found Bromely Quarry was a good-faith trespasser. The Court of Appeals reversed in part, concluding that Bromley Quarry was not a good-faith trespasser, and otherwise affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the lower courts erred by relying on an incomplete record to determine when the statute of limitations began running on Plaintiffs’ claims; and (2) Bromley Quarry did not prove it was a good-faith trespasser and therefore was liable for $1,733,920 as the enhanced value of the 173,392 tons of limestone. View "Armstrong v. Bromley Quarry & Asphalt, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Defendants. The district judge issued a memorandum decision addressing various motions for partial and full summary judgment. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion seeking the district judge’s certification of the memorandum decision as a final judgment under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-254(b). The district judge granted the request in a journal entry, determining that “there is no just reason for delay.” Within thirty days of the filing of the court’s journal entry, Plaintiffs then filed their notice of appeal of the adverse rulings. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, ruling that Prime Lending II v. Trolley’s Real Estate Holdings controlled and that the district court had no discretion to retroactively certify the judgment as immediately appealable. The Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals’ order dismissing Plaintiff’s appeal, holding (1) a certification of “no just reason for delay” may be made after summary judgment is granted to fewer than all parties or on fewer than all claims; (2) the filing date of the district court order or journal entry memorializing that certification starts the thirty-day appeal clock; and (3) the district judge’s certification of his original decision as an appealable judgment was successful in this case. View "Ullery v. Othick" on Justia Law

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Helen Keiswetter died from her injuries after a minimum-security inmate escaped from the State’s custody, entered her home, and forced her into a closet, where the inmate kicked her, causing her to fall and hit her head. Helen’s son, Ron Keiswetter, sued the State for her personal injuries and wrongful death. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the State, finding that the public duty doctrine precluded Keiswetter’s claim and that the State was immune from liability under the police protection exception of the Kansas Tort Claims Act (KTCA). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the State demonstrated that it was entitled to immunity from liability under the police protection exception of the KTCA. View "Keiswetter v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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In 2008, Plaintiff settled his negligence case against Defendant. The district court dismissed the litigation for lack of prosecution later that year. More than four years later, Plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the dismissal order, alleging that he never received payment. The district court set aside the dismissal order. Defendant then filed this interlocutory appeal arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction to set aside the dismissal order because Plaintiff’s motion was untimely under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-260(c). Defendant did not seek certification for his interlocutory appeal but, instead, argued that a common-law jurisdictional exception permitted an appeal from an order setting aside a final judgment, citing Brown v. Fitzpatrick. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that Brown was no longer viable in light of more recent case law from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Brown is overruled to the extent it endorsed a judicially created appeal right in a civil case outside of those created by statute; and (2) Plaintiff’s appeal in this case must be dismissed because it was not brought in accordance with the statute governing interlocutory appeals. View "Wiechman v. Huddleston" on Justia Law

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Tenth-grader Jesus Rodriguez was injured while traveling to a soccer match in the bed of a pickup truck driven by a fellow student and teammate. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company had issued a policy to the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which administered various extracurricular activities in the state. Rodriguez’s mother (Plaintiff) filed a claim with Mutual of Omaha. Mutual of Omaha denied the claim, reasoning that the travel during which Rodriguez was injured did not qualify as covered under the policy. Plaintiff sued the school district, Mutual of Omaha, and other defendants. The district judge held that Mutual of Omaha should be dismissed as a defendant in the case because Rodriguez’s travel was neither authorized by the school district nor subject to reimbursement, the two requirements for “covered travel” under the definition in the Mutual of Omaha policy. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the travel involved in this case did not qualify as subject to reimbursement, and thus there was no coverage under the policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the travel during which Rodriguez was injured was “authorized” and “subject to reimbursement,” and therefore, there was coverage under the policy language. View "Rodriguez v. United Sch. Dist. No. 500" on Justia Law

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A seven-year-old child was killed in a one-car rollover crash. The child’s parents had periodically traded driving duties during the trip, and Mother was driving when the accident occurred. Father brought a wrongful death action against Mother, alleging that Mother’s negligence was the proximate cause of the child’s death. The jury found both parties fifty percent at fault, which resulted in a judgment in favor of Mother. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this action was not barred because Mother was both a potential tortfeasor and heir at law; (2) the district court did not err in denying Mother’s motion for summary judgment and her motion for judgment as a matter of law; and (3) the district court erred in instructing the jury on comparative fault, and the error was not harmless. View "Siruta v. Siruta" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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The day after seeking treatment at Ashland Health Center, a municipal hospital, Ann Krier died. Four days after the executor of Krier’s estate (Plaintiff) submitted a notice of claim to Ashland, asserting claims against the hospital for the alleged negligence of its employees, Plaintiff filed a wrongful death action and a survivor action against one of Ashland’s employees (Defendant). The district court granted summary judgment to Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff failed to comply with the notice requirements in Kan. Stat. Ann. 12-105b by not waiting to file the lawsuits until the statutorily required time of 120 days had elapsed after submitting the written notice to the hospital. A divided Court of Appeals panel affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that failure to comply with section 12-105b(d) does not deprive a district court of jurisdiction over a lawsuit against a municipal employee because the jurisdictional bar in the statute unambiguously applies only to lawsuits against municipalities. View "Whaley v. Sharp" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death action against a hospital and its employee after Plaintiffs’ son died from a punctured bowel. The district court dismissed the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction, concluding (1) the hospital was a municipality as defined by section 12-105a(a); and (2) Plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice requirements under Kan. Stat. Ann. 12-105b(d). The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, holding (1) compliance with section 12-105b(d) is not achieved when a claimant’s notice fails to provide any statement of monetary damages; (2) the provision in section 12-105b(d) giving a municipality 120 days to investigate and review a claim is a statutory condition precedent to filing a lawsuit, and a claimant’s premature filing of a lawsuit leaves a court without subject matter jurisdiction; and (3) in this case, even if Plaintiffs substantially complied with section 12-105b(d) by providing the hospital with a statement of damages, the district court properly dismissed their case because they prematurely filed it. View "Sleeth v. Sedan City Hosp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Doctor and Doctor’s employer (Employer), alleging that Doctor touched her inappropriately and made sexually charged comments during her office visits. Plaintiff settled with Doctor, and the case proceeded against Employer. The district court held that Plaintiff’s claims against Employer were barred by Kan. Stat. Ann. 40-3403(h), which past decisions of the Supreme Court interpreted to cover a covered health care provider’s vicarious liability and any other responsibility, including independent or direct liability, for claims caused by the professional services of another health care provider. The court of appeals affirmed. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the lower courts erred in relying on the cases interpreting the statute because the cases were wrongly decided, were distinguishable, or had been effectively overruled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 40-3403(h) barred Employer’s liability, and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment. View "Cady v. Schroll" on Justia Law