Earlier this month, an appellate court in Vermont decided a case implicating the state’s recreational use statute. In the case, Symonds v. City of Pawtucket, the plaintiff was the mother of a young girl who was injured while she was playing on a playground on city property. The mother filed a premises liability lawsuit against the City, claiming that the City’s negligent maintenance of the property caused her daughter’s injuries.

swing-1255387The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s written opinion, the girl got a splinter while playing on a wooden jungle gym. The mother testified that the condition of the jungle gym was so poor that it “had deteriorated to the point where the wood was frayed, split, and slivered.” After her daughter’s injury, the plaintiff called the Parks and Recreation Department to file a complaint and let them know of her daughter’s injuries. A short time later, she filed a premises liability lawsuit.

At trial, the City asked that the court dismiss the case based on the state’s recreational use statute. A recreational use statute is a law that grants immunity to property owners who open their land up to the recreational uses of others, when others are injured on their land. There is an exception to the recreational use statute when there is willful or malicious conduct. In such cases, there may no longer be immunity, and liability may arise.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Texas decided a case that illuminated the intersection between two different areas of personal injury law. Ultimately, the court determined that a slip-and-fall accident that occurs at a hospital does not fall within the hospital’s provision of health care and therefore should not be held to the heightened requirements of a medical malpractice action.

slippery-when-wet-1549497In the case, Reddic v. East Texas Medical Center Regional Health Care System, the plaintiff was a hospital visitor who slipped on a floor mat a few feet after entering the hospital. The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result and sued the hospital under a premises liability theory.

The Case Goes to Trial

At trial, the defendant hospital petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit because the plaintiff failed to submit an expert report validating her claims, as is required in medical malpractice cases. The plaintiff’s position was that a slip-and-fall accident taking place in a hospital is not so related to the hospital’s business of providing health care as to mandate the heightened requirements.

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Late last month on Halloween, two vehicles collided head-on in Glen Burnie, killing both drivers. According to one local news source, the accident occurred on Solley Road near where it meets Chestnut Springs Lane. The fatal accident claimed the lives of both drivers, and the three passengers involved in the accident were also seriously injured.


Evidently, three teenage friends were driving in a Nissan on Solley Road, heading to a Halloween party. At some point, another Nissan approaching in the opposite direction inexplicably crossed over the center line and collided with the Nissan carrying the three teens. After the initial collision, the vehicle that crossed over the center line flipped on its roof and continued to slide down the highway until it collided with a third vehicle.

In the end, both drivers of the Nissan vehicles were dead. Two teenage passengers in one of the vehicles, as well as the woman’s husband in the other Nissan, were all taken to the hospital. Since the accident, all of the injured parties have been released from the hospital.

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Earlier this month in Minnesota, a former auto mechanic who filed a medical malpractice action against a treating physician received a jury verdict in his favor, awarding him over $9 million in damages. According to one local news source reporting on the case, the man sued his anesthesiologist after he sustained spinal cord damage and subsequent paralysis after a 2012 surgery.

iv-drip-intravenous-treatmen-1524733Evidently, the man went to the doctor with flu-like symptoms. While attempting to determine what the cause of the symptoms was, doctors discovered that the man was dangerously dehydrated. He was treated for the dehydration. It was ultimately determined that the man had suffered from a perforated bowel and would need to undergo surgery to repair the bowel. However, according to the court’s written opinion, the doctors failed to continue treatment for dehydration as he was started on the anesthesia in preparation for the surgery.

As a result of the dehydration, the man’s blood pressure dropped, resulting in his spinal cord receiving inadequate blood flow. The final result was that the man permanently lost the use of his legs. He filed suit against the treating physicians and recently recovered a sizable $9.1 million award.

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Earlier this year, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case that excused two semi-truck drivers from liability because the negligence of a third truck driver was deemed to be an intervening cause of the injuries complained of by the plaintiffs. In the case of Baumann v. Zhukov, the plaintiff was a personal representative appointed to represent the interests of an entire family who died as a result of a multi-vehicle accident.

truck-4-1478008According to the court’s written opinion, the accident took place back in September 2012. The facts of the case are a bit confusing but illustrate the “intervening cause” doctrine nicely.

The Facts of the Case

Zhkov was traveling in his truck on the highway when he experienced an equipment malfunction, and his truck would no longer run. He pulled over to the side of the road and waited for assistance. However, before assistance could arrive, Johnson approached in his semi-truck and slammed into Zhukov’s parked truck. Evidence adduced at trial suggested that the safety cones placed on the road to warn passing motorists of Zhukov’s truck were not properly placed.

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Earlier this month, the Idaho Supreme Court decided a case brought by a man who was injured when he slipped and fell while attending a Pop Warner football game in Plummer, Idaho. In the case, Hayes v. Plummer, the plaintiff sued the city who owned the park where the injury occurred, but he was prevented from recovering damages because the court determined that the City of Plummer enjoyed sovereign immunity from this type of lawsuit.

free-and-in-the-grass-pt3-1532542The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was attending his grandson’s Pop Warner football game back in September 2011 when he slipped on some uneven ground that was covered by a tuft of grass. The man did not pay any admission to get into the park nor to watch the game. The man sustained injuries and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the city, seeking monetary compensation.

As it turns out, back in 1976, the park was conveyed to the City from a local school district. Park of the agreement was that the school district would continue to pay for the utilities and make improvements on the land, as needed.

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Earlier this month in Thurmont, Maryland, one man was hit and killed by a hit-and-run driver as the man was pulled off to the side of the road to assist another motorist whose car had broken down. According to one local news report, the man was a Marine who had served since 2013 and was recently promoted to the rank of corporal.

road-3-1449262Evidently, the Marine had pulled over on the side of Route 15, near where it meets Auburn Road, at around 10:50 in the evening, to help a stranded motorist. While he was on the side of the road, not far from where his vehicle was parked, a truck towing a car veered off the highway and into the median, striking the Marine and his vehicle.

While the driver has yet to be located, and an investigation is still underway, police believe that the driver of the truck came to a stop about 100 yards from the scene of the accident. However, as good samaritans arrived to help the accident victim, the driver of the truck sped off. Police told reporters that they found track marks in the grass near the scene that they believe belonged to the truck, and they are confident that the vehicle is a dual axle truck that was towing a smaller vehicle.

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Earlier this month in North Carolina, a judge sentenced a woman to 6-17 months in jail for assisting in a delivery that resulted in the child’s death. According to one local news report, the woman was holding herself out to the public as a midwife, although she was not licensed under state law to practice midwifery in North Carolina.

birth-1441966Evidently, the woman did attend some schooling for midwifery, but that institution was not accredited. The family who retained her services was aware of this and decided to hire her nonetheless. However, at some point during the delivery, the child died.

The woman was initially charged with murder of an unborn child, assault, theft by false pretenses, and obstruction of justice. After some discussion between the woman’s attorney and the prosecutor, she was offered a deal of 6-17 months incarceration for pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and unauthorized practice of midwifery. The judge, hearing that the woman had already spent almost 300 days in jail at the time of sentencing, suspended her sentence.The family has expressed their disappointment in what they believed to be a lenient sentence.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Mississippi decided a case that was brought by a family who was involved in a serious car accident that they attributed to the negligence of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). In the case, Logan v. MDOT, the Supreme Court of Mississippi determined that the plaintiffs should have been able to submit an affidavit of a family member who talked to several MDOT employees after the accident and was told that they had received complaints of the dangerous condition earlier that day.

bridge-1526248According to court documents, the family was driving over a bridge that had recently undergone some asphalt repair work. MDOT, the organization responsible for the repairs, placed several thick metal planks over the asphalt as it cured. However, according to the plaintiffs, some of the planks were laying on top of one another in a way that made them stick up, creating a danger to passing motorists.

Indeed, as the plaintiffs’ car traveled across the bridge and over the planks, it got caught and spun out, injuring several family members inside. The family filed suit against MDOT, claiming that its failure to maintain the road was negligent. The family also claimed that MDOT’s failure to warn passing motorists of the dangerous condition was negligent.

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Earlier this month in Prince George’s County, a head-on collision claimed the life of one man and seriously injured two others. According to one local news report, the accident took place on a Saturday afternoon on Maryland Route 231.


Evidently, the driver of a pick-up truck was driving on Route 231 when he inexplicably veered over the center median and into oncoming traffic. As he did so, the truck he was controlling crashed into another vehicle head-on. The truck was only occupied by its driver, but the other vehicle had two people inside.

The driver of that other vehicle, a 59-year-old man from Chesapeake Beach, was fatally injured in the accident and was pronounced dead on the scene by emergency responders. The passenger in the other vehicle, as well as the driver of the pick-up truck, were both taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Both, however, are expected to make a full recovery.

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