Articles Posted in Admissible Evidence

David Sikkelee was killed when a Cessna aircraft he was piloting crashed after taking off from North Carolina’s Transylvania County Airport. The plane had a Lycoming engine. In the lawsuit, his wife, Jill Sikkelee, alleged that the aircraft lost power due to defects in the design of the engine and its carburetor.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued Lycoming a type of certificate for the engine, certifying that the design performs properly and satisfies federal regulations.

Jill Sikkelee brought strict liability and negligence claims against Lycoming alleging design defects. On appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court for the 3rd Circuit, it was held that her state-law claims were not barred based on the doctrine of field preemption. On remand, the federal district court concluded that the claims were conflict-preempted and that Lycoming was entitled to summary judgment on Sikkelee’s strict liability and negligence claims based on Pennsylvania law.

Continue reading

During the discovery of this lawsuit, Scarlett Palm argued that she was entitled to the medical records of defendant Ruben Holocker based on the exception to the physician-patient privilege for “action brought by or against the patient . . . wherein the patient’s physical and mental condition is an issue.” 735 ILCS 5/8-802(4).

She was injured when she was struck by the vehicle driven by Holocker when she stepped into a crosswalk. Palm invoked the “at issue” exception based on evidence that, in the 20 years before Holocker allegedly injured Palm, he was involved in seven or eight auto accidents; he also accumulated a dozen traffic tickets; and, because of his diabetes, he had to submit a physician’s “letter of approval” to qualify for a driver’s license.

The trial court agreed with Palm and granted her motion for permission to subpoena Holocker’s records from his physician — identified by the Illinois Appellate Court as “Dr. Nau” – and the Illinois secretary of state.

Continue reading

Keith Turley and his wife Joy Ann Turley filed a complaint in 2015 against some 50 defendants. The complaint alleged that Turley has asbestos-related disease caused by exposure to asbestos-containing products, including valve gaskets, during his 36-year employment at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

During the discovery process and particularly with respect to interrogatory responses, Keith Turley stated that he was exposed to the asbestos-containing pipe products supplied by Familian Corp., the defendant in this case, including “asbestos cement, transite pipe, pipe collars, gaskets, elbows, pipe-repair products and other asbestos products.”

Familian moved for summary judgment arguing that Turley could not show exposure to asbestos in a Familian-related product. Turley submitted a declaration from a third-party witness who had been deposed. The trial court allowed the witness testimony. Familian used portions of the deposition in its reply brief. The court concluded that the deposition testimony “conclusively negates” the witness declaration testimony as to exposure, the court refused to consider it and granted summary judgment.

Continue reading

In this case, Giuseppina DiFranco was driving in stop-and-go traffic when her car was struck from behind by the car driven by Constance Kusar. The DiFranco car then hit the car in front of her making her knee strike the dashboard and jerking her back and forth.

Right after the crash, DiFranco said she had neck, back and arm pain and was taken by ambulance to Glen Oaks Hospital in Glendale Heights, Ill.

Over the next months, she was treated for tenderness at the lower back and right pelvis. She reported moderate pain; the treating physician concluded that she had a cervical strain, arm strain, forearm strain and back strain. The doctor recommended physical therapy and pain relievers. After months of physical therapy and other treatment, DiFranco was diagnosed after an electromyogram with a pinched nerve in her cervical area related to the crash of June 9, 2011.

Continue reading

Cedric Smith sued the United States government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Section 2671 et seq., claiming injuries from a fall off of a broken metal stool in a secured attorney-client interview room at the U.S. District Court in Rock Island, Ill.

Smith’s lawsuit relied on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself”), claiming that when he sat on the stool, it tilted backward, causing him to fall, hit his head and suffer permanent injuries.

The district court judge granted summary judgment for the federal government finding that the Smith evidence was insufficient to create an inference of negligence because others could have broken the stool or Smith could just have fallen from an undamaged stool in the absence of negligence on the part of anyone.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago reversed the granting of the summary judgment motion in an opinion written by Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner, holding that Smith’s evidence was sufficient to create a jury question as to whether the government was negligent.

Continue reading

Jessica Ferrer and her companion, Katherine Winslow, were injured when a taxicab driven by Tesfamariam Okbamicael struck the two of them as they crossed the street. Okbamicael worked for Yellow Cab, which owned the taxicab.

Ferrer brought this lawsuit against Okbamicael and Yellow Cab alleging that the driver, Okbamicael, was negligent and that Yellow Cab was vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Ferrer also alleged that Yellow Cab was liable for her injuries suffered in the crash under the theories of direct negligence (negligence as a common carrier) and negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, supervision and training.

Continue reading

A Minnesota jury has signed a $28 million verdict for the injuries suffered by a teenager who is now a quadriplegic after the car in which she was passenger was struck by a school bus. The crash occurred in 2009 when Paige Anderson was just 16 years old.  Another passenger in that car was killed in the crash.

The case was tried to a jury in Itasca County, which assigned 10% of the fault for the crash to the bus driver. The rest of the liability was placed on the driver of the vehicle in which Paige Anderson was seated. The attorney representing her said that both drivers are insured against claims like this, but the insurance coverage is substantially less than this verdict. The attorney representing Paige Anderson was Stephanie Ball.

“Awards this large are very rare in greater Minnesota, but this was a unique and heartbreaking case,” Ball stated, adding that the jurors’ verdict “recognizes the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman whose life was just getting started.”

Continue reading

On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, at 4:45 a.m., 22-year-old Patrycja Wysckowska fell 30 feet to her death after trying to navigate an outside ladder on the third-floor rear porch of an apartment building at 4310 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The apartment complex is known as Park Shores and was owned and managed by the defendants, American Heritage Investment II and Group Fox Inc. The woman had reportedly had been attending a party at the building and was trying to climb up to the roof. She was survived by her parents and two siblings.

Her family filed this wrongful death lawsuit against these defendants contending that the ladder was unsafe and one of the rungs snapped while she was on the ladder causing her to fall.

Continue reading

Billy R. Richey filed a lawsuit against State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. to recover for his injuries under the uninsured motorist coverage of his State Farm Insurance auto policy. On the evening of April 5, 2008, Richey was driving his motorcycle on a rural highway in Dade County, Mo. Richey suffered extensive injuries as a result of this incident and sought uninsured motorist coverage. Insurance coverage was denied, which led to the lawsuit.

At trial, Richey testified that he was returning home on his motorcycle after visiting a relative. As he approached a bend in the highway, an unknown driver (referred to by the parties as the “phantom vehicle”) traveling in the opposite direction swerved into Richey’s lane. Richey stated that he could have either driven off the road or hit the oncoming car head-on.  Richey steered his motorcycle to the right to avoid the other car and upon leaving the road he crashed into a ditch and was seriously injured. The phantom driver left the scene.

A deputy sheriff found Richey lying unconscious partially on the roadway. Richey was charged with a Class A misdemeanor of careless and imprudent driving as a result of the accident.  The charge specifically stated that Richey drove off the roadway and struck a ditch and thereby endangered the property of another or the life and land of any person. He was also charged with having an improper license.

Continue reading