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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[12/18] Gammons v. City of New York
In this personal injury action brought by plaintiff police officer against municipal defendants, order of the Appellate Division denying defendants' motion for summary judgment is affirmed, where Labor Law section 27-a(3)(a)(1) of the Public Employee Safety and Health Act sets forth an objective clear legal duty that may serve as a predicate for a claim under General Municipal Law section 205-e.

[12/18] Jackson v. Lightley
In this case, plaintiff inmate alleges that defendants (doctors and medical staff of the North Carolina Department of Corrections) were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and as a result, that he has suffered both a heart attack and a host of other maladies that have severely compromised his quality of life. Dismissal of plaintiff’s claims against the doctors is vacated and the case is remanded for further proceedings, where, though the claim against defendant Lightest was properly dismissed under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6), plaintiff has alleged facts supporting a plausible claim of deliberate indifference against defendant Guleria.

[12/17] Turley v. ISG Lackawanna, Inc.
In this case involving racial harassment and employment discrimination in the workplace, judgment in favor of plaintiff-employee awarding him compensatory and punitive damages is affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for a new trial unless plaintiff accepts a reimittitur of the punitive damages award, where: 1) the jury was correctly instructed as to employer liability; 2) the jury could find that defendant-employer and its parent company constituted a single employer for the purposes of federal and state non-discrimination statutes; 3) the jury's verdict as to intentional infliction of emotional distress was supported by the evidence; 4) the compensatory damages award of $1.32 million was proper; but 5) the district court erred in failing to further reduce the punitive damages award down from $5 million (which was reduced by $19 million following plaintiff's acceptance of remittitur).

[12/17] South. Cal. Gas v. Flannery
In this case, plaintiff filed a complaint in interpleader against defendant and filed a motion for discharge from the interpleader action and an award of attorney fees. Defendant filed an anti-SLAPP motion in response. Order granting the discharge motion and denying the anti-SLAPP motion is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff met its burden of showing a probability it would prevail on the merits of its interpleader action; and 2) the record on appeal does not support defendant’s contention that the court’s order granting the discharge motion violated his right to due process.

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Workers' Comp

[12/17] Cal. Ins. Guarantee Assn. v. WCAB
In this medical billing dispute, the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (the Board) adopting the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s (WCJ) findings of fact and determinations of the reasonable fee for various arthroscopic knee, shoulder, and epidural injection procedures is affirmed, where: 1) despite the fact that the Legislature created a new administrative independent review process for the resolution of billing disputes in the context of workers’ compensation, and although the text of the relevant medical fee legislation and resulting statutes is ambiguous, the most reasonable interpretation of the legislation is that it does not divest the Board of jurisdiction to decide the dispute at issue in this case; and 2) the WCJ’s findings are supported by substantial evidence.

[11/20] In the Matter of Maureen Kigin v. State of New York Workers' Compensation Board
In this case, claimant was injured on the job and entitled to worker's compensation, but upon receipt of acupuncture treatment, a Workers' Compensation Law Judge determined that claimant's medical provider failed to show that the additional acupuncture treatments were medically necessary. The Workers' Compensation Board affirmed the Judge's determination, arguing that the treatments were not medically necessary within the "Medical Treatment Guidelines." Order of the Appellate Division affirming the Board's decision is affirmed, where: 1) the establishment of the variance procedure was within the Board's broad regulatory powers; 2) it was reasonable for the Board to promulgate uniform guidelines for defining the nature and scope of treatment considered medically necessary; 3) nothing in the Workers' Compensation law precludes the Board from requiring proof of medical necessity from claimant's health care provider; 4) the carrier bears the burden of proffering "substantial evidence"; and 5) the Guidelines provide claimants with a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the denial of any variance request.

[08/06] LeFiell Manufacturing Co. v. Superior Court (Watrous)
In an action brought by plaintiff-employee under Labor Code section 4558, which provides an exception to the exclusivity of the workers' compensation system for employees injured as a result of the employer's knowing removal of, or knowing failure to install, a point of operation guard on a power press, the trial court erred in denying defendant-employer's motion for summary judgment, where: 1) the door that was removed from the Fenn 5F swaging machine operated by plaintiff-employee is not a point of operation guard as a matter of law; and thus, 2) defendant -employer is entitled to summary judgment.

[07/18] Benavides v. WCAB
The decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board rescinding petitioner's disability rating is annulled, where there was good cause for the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) to reopen the case and therefore the appeals board is directed to reinstate the WCJ's award of a 72 percent disability rating. (Opinion after rehearing)

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