Injury & Tort Law News - U.S. Eighth Circuit
U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Injury & Tort Law Category

8th Circuit to Review American Sniper 'Scruff Face' Award

Jesse Ventura's defamation suit has landed at the doorstep of the 8th Circuit. Although the final decision is potentially months away, legal scholars and big business are already at the sidelines waiting with bated breath.

The lawsuit is a direct result of an account that Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (now deceased) claimed took place in a California bar in 2006. In his book, Kyle claimed that the then anonymous "celebrity" Navy SEAL known only as "Scruff Face" spoke offensively about the SEALs and that Kyle just had to straighten him out. The stakes? Only what must be proven to support a defamation claim and the very limits of what is protected speech in America. Opinion pieces on the legal implications make for stimulating reading.

By the way, "Scruff Face" is Ventura.

When Carol O'Neal's husband died in a hunting accident, she sued his rifle's manufacturer, the Remington Arms Company. The rifle's design was defective, she alleged, causing the gun to fire when the trigger wasn't pulled.

There was one catch, though. Ms. O'Neal couldn't produce her husband's rifle or even any direct evidence of the defect. That doesn't mean her case can't go forward, however, the Eighth Circuit ruled on Wednesday.

Victim of St. Louis Ponzi Scheme Lawyer Loses at 8th Cir.

Want to prove legal malpractice in Missouri when it comes to international investments? According to the Eighth Circuit, you're going to need an expert witness for that.

Phil Rosemann sued Martin Sigillito for legal malpractice after Sigillito absconded with a large part of a $15.6 million dollar loan, ultimately leading to his conviction for wire fraud and money laundering.

A sheriff's deputy in South Dakota, accused of using excessive force in shooting and killing a young man, is not summarily protected from suit by qualified immunity, the Eighth Circuit held on Monday.

Christopher Capps, a 22-year-old member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, was shot and killed by Deputy David Olson in 2010. When Capps' parents sued, Olson argued that he was protected by qualified immunity. The facts alleged put that into question, the court found. Olson's alleged use of excessive force would have violated Capps' constitutional rights and prevented Olson from being covered by qualified immunity. Thus, the factual dispute must be determined at trial.

8th Cir. Reverses Summary Judgment in Sammy Hagar Defamation Suit

This one's a doozy.

Jane Doe met Sammy Hagar in 1983 when she was working as a Playboy bunny at the Playboy Club in Lansing, Michigan. In 1988, Doe told Hagar she was pregnant and he was the father, which he denied, but signed an agreement with Doe, anyway. The child was born, but died shortly afterward. In a 2011 autobiography, Hagar said that the paternity claim was just an attempt to extort money out of him and he doubts there ever was a baby at all. Doe sued for defamation. The district court granted summary judgment for Hagar. In a ruling today, the Eighth Circuit reversed some of that summary judgment.

I think that about sums it up.

US Bank Not Liable for Petters Ponzi Scheme

When is a bank liable for a customer's Ponzi scheme? Tom Petters started a company called Petters Capital, which he claimed purchased excess merchandise and sold it to companies like Sam's Club. Sounds great -- except he never did that. He faked purchase orders and paid old investors with the money he received from new investors. You know, like you do in a Ponzi scheme.

Petters defrauded a lot of big banks and investors in his $3.65 billion scheme. Palm Beach Funds, a private equity firm, lost $700 million, and it sure wasn't going to get it from Petters. Instead, it sued the bank where the money was kept in escrow before Petters transferred it to Palm Beach, on the theory that US Bank breached its fiduciary duties and committed all the kinds of negligence. The Eighth Circuit disagreed.

8th Cir.: 'One Recovery' Rule Bars Wrongful-Death Tobacco Suit

For 28 years, Michael Thompson smoked cigarettes. He stopped when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997. Following the diagnosis, he sued the manufacturers and distributors of the cigarettes in a personal injury action. A state court granted summary judgment for the distributors, but not for the manufacturers. The case against manufacturers R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson went to trial, and Thompson obtained a verdict of more than $1 million in his favor.

After Thompson died in 2009, his wife and children brought a wrongful death suit against all the previous defendants. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit affirmed dismissal of Thompson v. R.J. Reynolds based on Missouri's "one recovery" rule.

Quite a few cases making the rounds in the Eighth Circuit are making headlines and deal with everything from Wizard of Oz merchandise, to kosher hot dogs. Here's a breakdown in the latest news out of the Eighth Circuit.

Iowa Campaign Finance Ban

In 2013, the Eighth Circuit upheld an Iowa law that "allow[s] for independent expenditures by corporations and unions but ... ban[s] ... direct contributions to candidates and committees by corporations," reports Reuters. An anti-abortion group challenged the ban, and petitioned for writ of certiorari, which the Supreme Court denied on Monday. This is highly interesting light of the Court's ruling last week in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission; it shows the Court has said all that it wants to for now on campaign finance.

Ex-Police Chief Affair Lawsuit Tossed; 8th Cir. Appeal Possible

A district court judge has dismissed a woman's lawsuit against the city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and its former police chief Alex Moreno.

The suit involves dramatic allegations and tales of intrigue: police power, a sexual rendezvous, and harassment.

Albeit a lusty page-turner, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf was unmoved by Tamara Villanueva's claims and dismissed the suit.

Novartis Failed to Warn About Aredia, Zometa's ONJ Risks: 8th Cir.

There are few pains in life that top dental procedures. Seeking refuge in a cocktail of prescription pills feels like the only way to cope with the unrelenting agony radiating from your face, to keep from silently sobbing in some dark corner.

Plaintiff Ruth Baldwin wished she had known a little bit more about those pills she was popping -- and more importantly, the dangers that come with their use -- before ingesting two bone drugs, Aredia and Zometa, after her dental procedures.