Injury & Tort Law News - U.S. First Circuit
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Does a person have standing to claim a product defect because of an increased risk of harm from a product's vulnerability to lightning strikes?

Maybe. The First Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that such scenario could give rise to standing, but in the case of Tim Kerin and his lawsuit against the Titeflex Corporation, the court said that, regardless, Kerin hadn't met his burden of alleging sufficient facts to show probable future injury.

Back in August, the First Circuit decided Penn v. Escorsio, an arguably obvious case where qualified immunity was denied to prison guards who knew about an inmate's suicide risks, ignored his very vocal threats to do exactly that, then found him strung up in his cell. The inmate, Matthew Lalli, suffered severe brain damage and will require $9 million in care, according to his mother, who brought suit on his behalf.

Now, despite plans to appeal the First Circuit's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, the case itself will return to the district court and be scheduled for trial, as the First Circuit denied a request to hold the case pending further appeal, reports the Bangor Daily News.

Slocking. It's nothing new. Rappers Kool G and Tupac referenced padlocks in socks years ago. And if softcore adult films on Netflix are your cultural reference points of choice, [spoiler alert] Red got slocked by Vee in the penultimate episode of the second season of "Orange is the New Black."

Take a prison-issued padlock. Put it in a sock. Beat your fellow prisoners. It's ingenious and not altogether unheard of. And that's these two prisoners' point: Why are prisons still handing out padlocks? The two slocking victims argue that ignoring the obvious problem is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.

$100,000 in Attorneys' Fees on $7,650 Damages Award OK: 1st Cir.

When opposing counsel turn a deaf ear to your settlement desires, pointing them to Diaz v. Jiten Hotel Management Inc. might help: an employer had to pay more than 10 times the damages award in attorney's fees.

The case is a good way to reinvigorate one's litigation sticker shock.

More specifically, the First Circuit's decision serves as an excellent reminder that a seemingly rinky-dink discrimination case can add up to a major expenditure of resources and staggering attorneys' fees for the loser.

CROCS: Weird Looking But Not Necessarily Dangerous, Says 1st Cir.

Personal injury attorneys may want to pay attention to a First Circuit ruling issued last month on products liability claims against CROCS shoes.

FindLaw favorite Judge Bruce Selya opens with an amusing observation about the clogs' fashion faux pas: "CROCS are odd looking shoes, known for their comfort."

Odd looking yes, but dangerous around escalators? It's not clear, the surprisingly fashion conscious panel ruled.

Massachusetts Settles Massey Mine Explosion Lawsuit for $264M

On Monday, Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman announced a $265 million deal with Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc. The deal settles allegations that the coal miner misled investors, including the state's pension fund, by misrepresenting its safety record ahead of a deadly 2010 Massey Energy mine explosion that killed 29 people.

The settlement is good news for investors and state taxpayers alike.

Judge Halts Sale of Boston Globe to Red Sox Owner

A Massachusetts judge has temporarily blocked the sale of The Boston Globe and The Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry.

Henry inked a deal for the papers with The New York Times Company for an estimated $70 million but Judge Shannon Frison of Superior Court in Worcester halted the sale, citing a potential complication with a pending class action lawsuit involving the Worcester newspaper and its delivery workers.

Newspaper legal drama reported by the newspaper parties -- très meta!

It's common practice to sue doctors for medical malpractice -- why do you think healthcare (medical malpractice insurance) costs so much? But what if a patient's medical malpractice claims fail? Can they sue the doctors who wrote an article in a medical journal, which was admitted into evidence in the medical malpractice trial, on the theory that the article "caused" the juries to find against them?

The First Circuit said "no."

What's up with parents kidnapping their kids and taking them to different countries? Just last week, we gave a preview of an international custody dispute that the Supreme Court is hearing, while the First Circuit heard a case of its own. Though dealing with different issues, these cases highlight problems that no parent wants to worry about.

Matthew and Sondra Knowles ("the Knowleses") owned a mixed-use five-story rental property in Massachusetts. In 2008, they weathered a tropical storm that resulted in excess rain water pooling on the roof of the building, which in turn resulted in property damage because water leaked through two glass skylights.

Nova Casualty Company ("Nova"), the Knowleses' insurance provider denied the insurance claims citing "rain limitation" and "faulty workmanship" provisions. The Knowleses ended up having to vacate the building and couldn't afford repairs. As a result of the long vacancy, the building was vandalized and robbed of its copper piping, which led to even more water damage. Due to the lost income from the rental property, the Knowleses defaulted on their mortgage, and Fidelity Co-operative Bank ("Fidelity") foreclosed.