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Four Personal Injury Appellate Opinions Worth Reading

There were no personal injury related appellate opinions this week in state or federal court in Maryland this week but there are a few cases elsewhere worth a read:

  • In Morse v. Davis, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a $1.25 million verdict (actually $2.5 million reduced by the cap) in a colon cancer misdiagnosis case. Defendant made two arguments we see in various permutations in our practice. The first is the whole idea of whether an expert can speak directly or indirectly to the ultimate issue of fact for the jury. The second is the extent to which an expert can make credibility determinations about another witness. I think this is often an issue not worth fighting for plaintiffs’ lawyers when the defense is calling a plaintiff a liar. Rich Friedman’s book Polarizing the Case is an illuminating read on whether it is a good thing to make the trial about whether your client is a liar.
  • In Horak v. Building Services Industrial Sales Company, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin found that invoices produced by the company’s lawyer, that documented the sale of products that contained asbestos, are admissible even without an authenticating witness under the ancient-documents exception to the hearsay rule. Given the value of asbestos cases, that is a pretty valuable invoice to find.
  • In Saeco Electric & Utility, Ltd.v. Gonzales, a Texas appellate court reversed a $5 million verdict, finding that the case should have been submitted to the jury as a premises defect action, as opposed to straight negligence. The dissenting opinion found that because the utility was not in control of the premises at the time of plaintiff’s injury, but was responsible for creating the dangerous condition that caused injury, this is not just a premises liability case. I think it is odd that in some states the dissenting opinion is filed in a separate opinion. You can find more details on the jury’s verdict and the plaintiff’s awful injury here.
  • Riegel v. Medtronic claims another victim, this time a man alleging that a Medtronic drug pump and spine catheter caused him to become a paraplegic. Sadly, no one is talking about the Medical Device Safety Act to remedy this injustice anymore.

You can find the four appellate opinions you should read from last week here.

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