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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Personal Injury

No immunity for sheriff

LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana sheriff did not win immunity against the negligent hiring and supervision claims he’s facing after a male deputy was criminally charged with raping a female pretrial detainee he was guarding at a hospital in 2019. The woman died, but her mother sues because the guard’s presence violated the sheriff’s written policy against having a male deputy guarding a female inmate without another male deputy present, if no female deputy is available. Due to this, and the guard’s history of drug abuse and psychological treatment, the sheriff may be liable.

Dental shooting

TYLER, Texas — A family’s amended wrongful death complaint against the dental firm where their family members, two dentists, were shot and killed by a “disgruntled patient” was tossed in Texas federal court. The family members did not show the patient’s criminal actions were foreseeable or that the dentists’ office “had a duty to protect the dentists from him.”

Experts against Monsanto

AUSTIN, Texas — Monsanto may not exclude expert testimony in a wrongful death lawsuit over its Roundup product, ruled a federal court in Texas. The man used the herbicide for decades before developing a recurring cancer and eventually succumbing to it. Only one expert, whose testimony “speaks only generally to the statistical value of life, and not the specific loss” involved in this case, is excluded; others, such as a neurologist who treated the deceased, may testify.

No defamation by hospital

HARRISBURG, Penn. — An attorney’s defamation, false light and privacy claims failed before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which ruled that a hospital’s criticism of the attorney was limited to his handling of wrongful death suits, and did not falsely imply he was engaged in illicit behavior. The defamation debacle arises from two wrongful death lawsuits that were filed against the hospital after a nurse admitted to killing patients.

Horse crash

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the owners of horses who escaped from their fencing and wandered onto U.S. Highway 80, where they fatally collided with a motorist. The hunting lodge did not intentionally or knowingly allow the horses escape before the crash, so the wrongful death claims fail.

Glass in jam

HOUSTON — A federal court in Texas will allow a customer, who was harmed by broken glass found in his Smucker’s jam, to bring suit against the company despite his misidentification of the firm’s affiliates in his lawsuit. The customer’s motion to remand the claims to state court under a “relation back” doctrine in Texas law, which keeps the claims from being tossed under the statute of limitations.