Tort

Ford Motor Co. Was Aware of Faulty Transmissions, Sold Cars Anyway

Ford Motor Co. is facing significant liability in lawsuits regarding defective transmissions in two entry level car models, the Detroit Free Press reports. Internal documents show that the company was aware of faulty DPS6 transmissions in its 2011 to 2016 Fiesta and Focus models but let them be sold instead of issuing a recall. A Los Angeles jury last year awarded a plaintiff $554,000 in punitive damages over the controversy, and the company is facing nearly 13,000 lawsuits nationwide for the sale of affected vehicles.

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Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Vape Manufacturer

Two Kentucky residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against an e-cigarette manufacturer alleging the company marketed its products to children and deceived customers into believing its products were safe, the Courier Journal reports. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that the San Francisco based company Juul used flavored vape pods and unlawful marketing to mislead the public about the potency of its products and safety concerns from use. The plaintiffs’ attorneys say they are working with up to 100 more potential clients who could file their own suits or join others under current adjudication.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Motion to Remand Climate Change Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected motions by multinational energy companies to halt a lawsuit filed by the city of Baltimore seeking relief for the companies’ roles regarding climate change, The New York Times reports. The move comes after a request by the Counsel for National Association of Manufacturers — which represents the 26 companies named as defendants — to block the state court lawsuit and have it moved to federal court. The companies maintain that the current venue will subject them to needless litigation expenses, and that the plaintiffs will have an advantage in state court. The city responded that associated costs do not amount to an irreparable injury that would warrant a stay of proceedings. The Supreme Court’s brief order shows no reason for the denial.

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Mother of Man Killed in Downtown Police Chase Suing Metro-Nashville

An Arkansas woman whose son was killed during a police chase in downtown Nashville is now suing several parties involved — including metro government — regarding the incident, The Tennessean reports. Corey Joseph Taylor was walking on a sidewalk when a stolen vehicle being chased by police jumped the curb, striking and killing him. Taylor’s mother, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, maintains in her complaint that “the potential benefit of immediately apprehending a fleeing car thief was greatly outweighed by the known, foreseeable risks of the high-speed pursuit and was a gross deviation from acceptable law enforcement standards.” She is seeking more than $10 million in damages from defendants.

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Customers File Class Action Lawsuit After Chattanooga Water Outage

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court regarding a water main break last week that left thousands in Chattanooga and north Georgia without water, WTVC Chattanooga reports. The suit names several utility companies, maintaining that plaintiffs suffered from the loss of potable water because of “substantial annoyance and inconvenience, out-of-pocket expenses for replacement water, (and) lost profits and lost wages.” The complaint does not indicate a specific amount for damages sought.

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Federal Judge Issues Stay Pending Outcome of TSC Decision Regarding Cap on Non-Economic Damages

A federal judge on Monday issued a stay on a judgment where a freight company was found responsible for the negligence of an employee that rear ended a woman's car, with a jury awarding her $2 million in non-economic damages. Tennessee Eastern District Judge Travis R. McDonough ordered the stay pending the outcome of Jodi McClay v. Airports Services Management, LLC, where the Tennessee Supreme Court will consider the issue of the state’s cap on these damages. This comes after a recent, similar case where Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley challenged the cap saying it appears to be unconstitutional, citing the Tennessee Constitution's declaration that "the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate." McClay is set for the Supreme Court’s Sept. 4 docket.
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Woman Suing Johnson City Asks Court to Strike Physician's Testimony

The attorney for the plaintiff in a personal injury case against Johnson City where a city-owned tractor collided with the woman’s car causing her shoulder injuries is now asking that her physician’s testimony be struck from record, the Johnson City Press reports. The lawyer for Theresa Doty argues that Dr. Gregory Stewart, who performed Doty's shoulder surgery following the accident, is being used by defense attorneys to circumvent Tennessee’s collateral source rule, muddying the waters between the plaintiff's medical expense calculations and those proffered by a consulting firm for the city. Doty is suing the municipality for up to $300,000, including $204,196 in hospital charges, while the defense argues that medical expenses — based on estimates from the city’s consulting firm — should be around $39,952.
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New Details Emerge of a Lawsuit Regarding Astronaut Neil Armstrong's Death

News of a secret $6 million lawsuit settlement surrounding the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong broke just days after the 50th anniversary of his moon walk, The New York Times reports. Armstrong passed away in August 2012, two weeks after heart bypass surgery, as nurses attempted to remove a temporary pacemaker and causing uncontrollable bleeding. The case was settled in 2014 after Armstrong’s daughter-in-law, and family attorney Wendy R. Armstrong, sent a letter to opposing counsel saying the astronaut’s sons would go public with the accusations of malpractice against the hospital. A lawyer for Armstrong’s children, who participated in the secret hearings, said in a filing: “Any linkage of this health provider to the death of (Armstrong) could irreparably and unfairly forever taint the business enterprise … No institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America’s greatest heroes.”

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Man Sued Over Negative Online Review Highlights SLAPP Concerns

A Florida dog owner was recently sued for a negative review posted online, highlighting concerns regarding Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits, CBS News reports. Defendant Tom Lloyd took his sick dog to DeLand Animal Hospital where he was told that the animal would need emergency surgery. Six hours later the hospital informed him that it was unable to locate a surgeon. Lloyd then took the dog to another veterinary clinic that told him it was too late for surgery and the dog would need to be euthanized. He subsequently posted the unfavorable online review in question, when the reviewed hospital and veterinarian sued him shortly thereafter for defamation, claiming his statements were "false" and "published maliciously and recklessly." This case was settled after Lloyd participated in an interview with CBS; however, similar suits have been recently filed in New York, Kansas and South Carolina. While some states, including Tennessee, have laws against SLAPP lawsuits, there are no federal laws barring the practice. Tennessee's law became effective July 1.

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Rutherford Adult Detention Center Facing Another Bunk-Related Lawsuit

The Rutherford County Adult Detention Center (RCADC) is facing another lawsuit involving its bunk beds and denial of medical treatment, the Daily News Journal reports. A federal lawsuit, filed pro se by Angelo Gleaves, maintains that he was injured after his top bunk fell because it was improperly secured, leading to dizziness, pain and migraines. Gleaves also contends that when he notified jail staff of his injuries, he was taunted, denied treatment and suffered physical abuse by employees. A similar lawsuit was filed in April against RCADC by another inmate who was paralyzed after he fell off of a top bunk, despite claims that he notified jail staff of medical conditions that prevented him from being able to use the higher bed. Gleaves seeks $100,000 from the jail and its medical provider for his injuries.

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