Articles Posted in Injury Law

by
Stacy Stevens, the personal representative of her late husband, Scott Stevens, filed suit on behalf of Scott’s estate against MTR Gaming Group, Inc. and International Game Technology, Inc. after Scott allegedly developed “gambling disorder,” embezzled more than $7 million from his employer to play video lottery machines, spent his family’s savings, and fatally shot himself. Stacy brought claims for negligence, breach of the duty of care, products liability, wrongful death, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The federal district court certified to the Supreme Court questions of law relevant to resolving the motions. The Supreme Court answered the first certified question in the negative and declined to answer, as effectively moot, the remaining certified questions, holding that no duty of care under West Virginia law exists on the part of manufacturers of video lottery terminals, or the casinos in which the terminals are located, to protect users from compulsively gambling. View "Stevens v. MTR Gaming Group, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant alleging that he suffered past medical expenses arising from a car accident. Defendant admitted liability for the accident but denied that the accident injured Plaintiff’s right knee and caused the need for knee surgery. Rather, Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s knee problems were caused by preexisting conditions unrelated to the accident. The jury awarded Plaintiff past medical expenses of $9,620, which is the amount of damages that Plaintiff alleged were the result of his neck and back injuries. Plaintiff moved for a new trial, arguing that there was uncontroverted evidence that his knee condition was caused by the car accident. The circuit court granted a new trial, finding that the preexisting conditions in Plaintiff’s right knee were aggravated in the car accident. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in deciding to grant Plaintiff a new trial based on its finding that the jury verdict was against the weight of the evidence. View "Harnish v. Corra" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
Rubin Resources, Inc. filed a legal malpractice action against Garold Morris, alleging that Morris was negligent in performing a title examination and preparing a title opinion for Rubin regarding an oil and gas leasehold, resulting in $278,455 in damages. Morris did not dispute that he was negligent in performing the title examination and title opinion. The circuit court, however, granted summary judgment in favor of Morris, concluding that Morris’s negligence was not the proximate cause of Rubin’s damages. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the undisputed facts demonstrated that the damage Rubin asserted was the direct and proximate result of Morris’s professional negligence. View "Rubin Resources v. Morris" on Justia Law

by
On September 1, 2007, the Dattolis were at Oglebay Park Resort in Ohio County, when Mr. Dattoli leaned against a split rail fence after glancing at the fence to ensure that its parts were attached. As he leaned against a post and put his hand on the top rail, the end of the top rail broke into pieces causing Dattoli to fall down a hill and injure his shoulder, requiring surgery and months of physical therapy. The Dattolis brought a negligence claim and presented the testimony of Hargleroad, the Park's Director of Operations since 1990, that the fence was installed between the 1970s and the 1990s; that the Park Commission produced no documents in response to the Dattolis’ request for repair and maintenance records; that wood has a life expectancy; and that the Park was in a better position to ensure that the fence was in good repair than a Park guest. The Commission presented no witnesses. The jury awarded the Dattolis $36,894.47 in medical expenses and $19,000 in lost wages. The court later granted the Dattolis a new trial on damages for pain and suffering. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reversed; the Dattolis failed to establish a prima facie case of negligence, adducing no evidence that the Commission knew or should have known of the defect that allegedly caused Dattoli’s injury. View "Wheeling Park Comm'n v. Dattoli" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
Thompson, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, resided at CMO’s nursing facility, 2001-2011. Following his death, his estate filed suit, alleging that Thompson’s injuries and death resulted from the abuse and neglect he suffered while a resident at the nursing facility. The complaint also sought damages in connection with systemic problems at the nursing facility concerning staffing, budgeting and allocation of resources, and inappropriate policies and procedures under the West Virginia Nursing Home Act (W.Va. Code 16­ 5C-15) and in violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (W.Va. Code 46A-6-101 to -110). 4 At trial, the petitioner introduced evidence of falls, subdural hematoma, hip fracture, malnutrition, personal dignity violations, and extreme pain. The state’s highest court granted a new trial on the personal injury claim, but denied on as to the wrongful death claim. The trial court erred by applying the two-year limitations period under theMedical Professional Liability Act in a manner that prevented introduction of pertinent evidence of Thompson’s injuries. View "Williams v. CMO Mgmt., LLC" on Justia Law

by
Jarred Wellman, a West Virginia resident, was killed in a one-car rollover crash in West Virginia. Jarred was operating a 2002 Ford Explorer at the time of the accident. Plaintiff, a West Virginia resident and the father and administrator of Jarred’s estate, filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Wyoming County against Ford Motor Company alleging product liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Ford filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on the grounds that it was a nonresident corporation. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Ford requested the Supreme Court to issue a writ of prohibition seeking dismissal from the underlying action. The Supreme Court granted the requested writ as moulded, holding (1) Ford has not shown that it is entitled to extraordinary relief whereby the Court would dismiss it from the underlying civil action; but (2) Ford’s assertions regarding its challenge to jurisdiction are of such a significant nature that the parties are entitled to an opportunity to develop the record and submit argument to be considered and determined by the circuit court. View "State ex rel. Ford Motor Co. v. Hon. Warren R. McGraw" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, a commercial truck driver, alleged that Defendant carelessly engaged in an act of road rage that injured Plaintiff. The jury returned a verdict that Plaintiff had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant negligently caused the accident. The circuit court entered judgment on the jury’s verdict. Plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the judgment entered on the jury’s verdict pursuant to W. Va. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(3), arguing that Defendant concealed prior traffic citations during discovery and misled the jury about prior citations in his testimony, and therefore, the verdict was unjust. The circuit court denied relief. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment order, holding that Defendant’s misrepresentation and misconduct in discovery prevented Plaintiff from fully and fairly preparing for and rebutting Defendant’s claims at trial, and therefore, the judgment was unfairly obtained. Remanded. View "Phillips v. Stear" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
Plaintiffs, Murl Tribble and Janet Sargent, and Defendant, Polly Pickens, were three adult sisters involved in a dispute over the Estate of their deceased mother. Plaintiffs alleged (1) beginning at the time of their father’s death, Defendant engaged in a scheme to convert their mother’s property to her own use, to the prejudice of the Estate and Plaintiffs as beneficiaries; and (2) Defendant attempted to deal her scheme by not disclosing non-probate assets while acting as executrix of their mother’s estate. The jury awarded Plaintiffs damages in the amount of $94,124, which the circuit court directed to be paid into the Estate. Defendant filed a motion for a new trial, which the circuit court denied. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Defendant’s motion for a new trial, holding (1) Defendant’s argument that the Supreme Court should dismiss this action as untimely was without merit; (2) the circuit court did not err in entering judgment as a matter of law to the effect that a fiduciary relationship existed between Defendant and her mother; and (3) Plaintiffs established a sufficient factual basis for their claims of breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with Plaintiffs’ expectancy, conversion, constructive fraud, and actual fraud to go to the jury. View "Pickens v. Tribble" on Justia Law

by
Respondent was injured in a car accident caused by a hit-and-run driver. Respondent filed an uninsured motorist suit against the unknown driver seeking damages. State Farm, Respondent’s uninsured motorists’ insurance carrier, defended the lawsuit. State Farm advanced Respondent $30,628 on her damages before trial, but after the jury returned a verdict for Respondent, the circuit court refused State Farm any credit against the final judgment for the advance payment. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment order, holding that the court erred (1) when it refused to deduct State Farm’s advance payment against the final judgment, and (2) in calculating prejudgment interest. Remanded. View "Doe v. Pak" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against two law enforcement officers, as well as their respective employers, alleging (1) the officers attacked, assaulted and battered Plaintiff and intentionally inflicted emotional distress; (2) the employers had failed to properly hire and discipline the officers and had failed to adopt policies to prevent similar conduct; and (3) Defendants violated his constitutional rights. Defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting that they were entitled to qualified immunity. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly denied summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity because there were numerous disputes about the material facts supporting the immunity determination, which disputes should be resolved by a jury. View "Maston v. Wagner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law