Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s grant of Defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law in this action for alienation of affections, holding that the circuit court erred by determining as a matter of law that Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence of the amount of his damages. Plaintiff brought this action against Defendant for causing the end of Defendant’s marriage. The court granted Defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, concluding that Plaintiff failed to present evidence of his damages. Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his action, and Defendant filed a notice of review, challenging the circuit court’s denial of his other grounds for dismissal as a matter of law. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court erred by determining as a matter of law that Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence of the amount of his damages; (2) the circuit court did not err in not granting Defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on liability and causation; and (3) the cause of action for alienation of affections does not violate public policy. View "Cedar v. Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the City of Sioux Falls on Plaintiff’s complaint for negligence, holding that there was not a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the City’s conduct amounted to gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. Plaintiff was seriously injured while riding a bicycle through a public park in the City. Plaintiff sued the City for negligence. The circuit court concluded that the City was immune from liability for such negligence claims and granted summary judgment based on S.D. Codified Laws 20-9-20 and -21, which immunize a municipality for liability for negligence in connection with land open to the public for recreational use. On appeal, Defendant argued that there remained a question of fact as to whether the City was liable for his injury due to the City’s gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Plaintiff could not survive summary judgment when he simply alleged negligence as a cause of action and that Plaintiff failed to provide sufficient probative evidence that would permit a fining of willful or wanton misconduct on more than mere speculation or conjecture. View "Fischer v. City of Sioux Falls" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Larry Weisser, holding that Kayla Fluth’s satisfaction of judgment against Schoenfelder Construction, Inc. did not automatically discharge Weisser. Fluth sued Weissar and Schoenfelder to recover damages for flooding in her basement caused by a waterline leak on Weissar’s property. Prior to trial, Fluth accepted Schoenfelder’s offer of judgment for $7,500 and filed a satisfaction of judgment. Thereafter, Weisser filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that a satisfaction of judgment discharges all other joint tortfeasors from liability. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that Fluth did not discharge Weisser from liability if the satisfaction of judgment did not reflect a full satisfaction of Fluth’s damages, and on remand the court must determine whether Schoenfelder’s satisfaction of judgment was a full or partial satisfaction. View "Fluth v. Schoenfelder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and in part reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, a physical therapy company and a hospital, on Plaintiffs’ negligence claims, holding that the physical therapist failed to demonstrate an absence of any genuine issue of material fact. The plaintiff patient in this case was diagnosed with a fractured femur after a physical therapy session following her hip surgery. Plaintiffs, the patient and her husband, alleged that the physical therapist was negligent during the physical therapy session and that the hospital was negligent in failing timely to diagnose the fractured femur. The circuit court granted Defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court correctly granted the hospital summary judgment because Plaintiffs were required to, but did not, support their claim with proper expert testimony; and (2) there was sufficient evidence in the record to create a material issue of fact concerning whether the physical therapist deviated from the required standard of care. View "Hanson v. Big Stone Therapies, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting Plaintiff’s petition for a protection order against Defendant for stalking and remanded the case to permit the court to identify which of Defendant’s acts or conduct constituted stalking. After a hearing, the circuit court granted Plaintiff’s petition for a protection order on the grounds that some of Defendant’s actions and social media posts concerning Plaintiff amounted to stalking. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the circuit court’s order was not supported by proper findings. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the circuit court’s findings did not clearly identify how the evidence met the statutory elements of stalking, and therefore, the case must be remanded for proper findings. View "Thompson v. Bear Runner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation awarding Tammy Lagler, who suffered a workplace injury, permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation but reversing the decision to award it as a lump sum. The Department determined that Lagler was entitled to PTD compensation and issued a decision granting Lagler’s request for a lump-sum but denying her request for attorney fees. The circuit court affirmed the Department’s decision regarding Lagler’s entitlement to compensation but reversed the Department’s decision to award compensation as a lump sum. The court also reversed the Department’s denial of attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err by affirming the Department’s decision to award PTD compensation or by reversing the Department’s decision to deny attorney’s fees. The court also correctly determined that Lagler was not entitled to a lump-sum award. View "Lagler v. Menard, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court entering judgment on the jury’s general verdict in favor of real-estate developers (Developers) and against the City of Rapid City in this suit seeking to recover the prospective cost of repairing roads in a development outside Rapid City. Specifically, the Court held that the circuit court did not err by (1) denying the City’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability; (2) excluding evidence of the Developers’ litigation and settlement with their subcontractors; (3) granting one of the developer’s motion for judgment as a matter of law; (4) instructing the jury on estoppel defenses; and (5) not instructing the jury on the City’s public-nuisance claim. View "City of Rapid City v. Big Sky, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for Defendant, a used-car dealer, on Plaintiffs’ claims alleging that the used vehicle they purchased from Defendant was sold without a muffler and that they suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from the vehicle. The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all claims, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to generate a question of fact as to causation. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court erred in granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment because there was sufficient evidence in the record for a jury to conclude that the defective exhaust system probably caused Appellants’ carbon monoxide exposure; and (2) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellants’ request for fees incurred by their expert in preparing for a deposition noticed by Defendant. View "Garrido v. Team Auto Sales, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court declining to instruct the jury on assumption of the risk in this negligence case. Ronald Jensen purchased plywood sheets from a Menard Inc. store. While an employee loaded the sheets onto the back of Ronald’s truck a gust of wind caused the plywood to tip over and fall on Ronald, resulting in severe injuries. Ronald filed a lawsuit against Menards for negligence, and his wife sued for loss of consortium. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Ronald’s wife and estate. Menards appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying Meanrds’ request for an instruction on assumption of the risk. The supreme Court affirmed, holding that an assumption of the risk defense could not be established. View "Jensen v. Menard, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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At issue in this negligence case was whether the circuit court committed reversible error when it did not instruct the jury on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Plaintiff was at a Cabela’s store when she brushed a heavy drop-down steel receiver hitch, which fell and injured Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Cabela’s for negligence. During the settling of jury instructions, Plaintiff requested two pattern jury instructions on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, arguing that the instructions were appropriate because the only evidence of negligence was the fact that the hitch, which was under Cabela’s control, fell. The circuit court concluded that the instructions were not warranted by the evidence presented at trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not commit reversible error when it refused Plaintiff’s requested instructions because Plaintiff’s evidence left room for different presumptions or inferences negating the applicability of the doctrine. View "Steilen v. Cabela’s Wholesale, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury