Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that certain evidence in this action filed under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was improperly admitted and reversing the jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff. After slipping on diesel fuel spilled by a coworker, Plaintiff sued his employer, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), under FELA. At trial, Plaintiff introduced evidence that the coworker had been disciplined for his conduct. BNSF objected to the evidence, arguing that the discipline was a subsequent remedial measure barred by Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-451. The district court overruled BNSF’s objection. The jury found that BNSF negligently caused Plaintiff’s injuries and awarded $1.72 million in damages. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the evidence of the coworker’s discipline was barred by section 60-451. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the disciplinary evidence, which qualified as a subsequent remedial measure was admitted for improper purposes under section 60-451; and (2) the error was not harmless. View "Bullock v. BNSF Railway Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed an intentional tort lawsuit against Defendants for injuries he allegedly suffered as a result of a battery. The case was dismissed for lack of prosecution. Plaintiff refiled his case using the Kansas savings statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-518. The district court dismissed the case once again for lack of prosecution. Plaintiff then filed this third action, attempting to invoke section 6-518 a second time. The district court dismissed the action with prejudice. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding (1) a party may use section 60-518 only one time to resurrect a case dismissed for a reason other than upon the merits when the statute of limitations for the underlying cause of action has expired; and (2) therefore, this action was barred by the statute of limitations and properly dismissed with prejudice. View "Lozano v. Alvarez" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the firefighter’s rule should be extended to law enforcement officers. Officer Juan Apodaca and Officer Jonathan Dulaney suffered serious injuries after attempting to help Matthew Willmore, who had fallen asleep at the wheel. The officers filed a petition alleging that Willmore’s negligence caused them to suffer personal injuries and related damages. They also asserted a claim of negligent entrustment against Willmore’s father. The Willmores filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the firefighter’s rule barred the officer’s claims. Thereafter, Officer Dulaney dismissed his claims against the Willmores. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Willmores, concluding (1) the firefighter’s rule “should be and is extended to law enforcement officers”; and (2) the firefighter’s rule barred Officer Apodaca from recovering in this action because he was acting within the scope of his duties as a law enforcement officer at the time of the accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the firefighter’s rule, first enunciated in Calvert v. Garvey Elevators, Inc., is extended to law enforcement officers; and (2) the district judge correctly granted summary judgment to Defendants on all claims because of application of the firefighter’s rule. View "Apodaca v. Willmore" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiffs were the heirs of two individuals who were killed in a single-vehicle accident. Plaintiffs brought this wrongful death action against Cowley County, Bolton Township, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for failure to provide adequate warnings, signs or barriers on portions of the road where the accident occurred. The district court granted partial summary judgment to the County and full summary judgment to the Township and the Kansas Department of Wildlife. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the County did not have a duty to initiate an engineering study; (2) the County is immune from liability under the discretionary judgment exception of the Kansas Tort Claims Act (KTCA) but not immune from liability under the recreational exception of the KTCA for any failure to place an advisory speed plaque or warnings sings on its portion of 322nd Road; (3) the Township had no duty to place traffic control devices or other warning signs on its portion of 322nd Road; and (4) the KTCA exception for failing to inspect the property of another does not apply to the facts presented in this case. View "Patterson v. Cowley County, Kansas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Jeffrey Sperry, an inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF), filed a lawsuit seeking civil damages from the LCF Warden and the Secretary of Corrections, alleging that he had been exposed to lead paint and asbestos while incarcerated at LCF. The district court dismissed all claims except Sperry’s claims against the Warden and Secretary in their individual capacities. Approximately two years later, the district court dismissed all remaining claims when ruling on multiple motions to dismiss filed by the Warden and Secretary. The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of Sperry’s state law claims and reversed the dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim. The Warden and Secretary petitioned for review, arguing that the district court and court of appeals erred in considering material outside the pleadings when ruling on motions to dismiss. Sperry cross-petitioned for review, arguing that the lower courts erred in ruling that his failure to attach proof that he exhausted his administrative remedies required dismissing his state law claims. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision that Sperry’s claims must be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, holding that the district court and court of appeals erred in not enforcing the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 141, and the error was not harmless. View "Sperry v. McKune" on Justia Law