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Articles Posted in Mississippi

A Mississippi Appeals court recently affirmed a trial court decision to throw out a Wal-Mart premise liability case involving a damaged container and corrosive burns. Instead of letting the events (and the injuries) speak for themselves, the court places an extremely high evidentiary expectation that was out of the plaintiff’s grasp. Should courts be allowing corporations to escape liability just because the plaintiff is unable to show every single detail of the accident when he is clearly injured? It is a challenge courts have wrestled with for hundreds of years.

What happened? A patron visited a Mississippi Wal-Mart in the fall of 2010. While perusing the aisles, he selected a bottle of bleach to put in his basket. After leaving the checkout counter, the patron realized he accidentally forgot to purchase the bleach and placed the bottle on his lap to return to the cashier. Unfortunately, this bottle of bleach was leaking and spilled its contents on his legs and thighs. Because of a prior injury, the man had been paralyzed from the waist down since 1967 and he did not become aware of the spilled bleach until the cashier noticed the leaking bottle. The bleach caused chemical burns on his thigh and knee, and he brought suit against the Wal-Mart Corporation.

The patron filed a premise liability claim that alleged Wal-Mart was negligent and had knowledge of a dangerous condition. Wal-Mart made a motion for summary judgment, and the trial court dismissed the case, saying that the patron failed to prove Wal-Mart’s negligent act. The Mississippi Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

Our firm has spend a lot of time fighting battles with defense lawyers over independent medical exams. This Mississippi case in the Welding Fume Products Liability MDL (venued in Ohio) involves the defendant’s request for a second independent medical exam and the concern plaintiffs have about the request.

At the defendants’ request, the plaintiff had an IME with a neurologist who – shocker! – found that the plaintiff’s injuries were not from welding fume. Defendants then wanted the plaintiff to submit to a second IME involving electrophysiological testing by neurophysiologists. Plaintiff refused and defendants’ filed a motion to compel.

Plaintiff’s lawyer argued that the plaintiff should not have to undergo electrophysiological testing because it would be extremely stressful for him, since he suffered a severe electrocution accident in 2000.

Mississippi law and Mississippi jurors give slip and fall victims a fair shake.  Here are some recent slip and fall cases is Mississippi.

Mississippi Slip and Fall Verdicts and Settlements

  • 2019, Mississippi: $1,387,762 Verdict. A man visited a body shop to check up on his daughter’s vehicle’s repair status. As he walked into the back of the shop, he encountered a dog who bit him in the leg. He shook off the dog and ran off. The man then slipped on an oil puddle. He suffered a tibia fracture that required a surgical repair. The man claimed that he would need to undergo future knee replacement surgery. He also claimed that his injuries impaired his ability to work as an HVAC repairman. The man filed dog bite and slip and fall claims against the body shop. The body shop denied liability, arguing that there was no evidence that the dog was vicious in the past and that the shop management did not know of an oil spill. They also argued that the man was contributorily negligent. The Hinds County found the body shop 85 percent negligent and the man 15 percent negligent. They awarded a $1,387,762 verdict. The man’s net award was $1,179,597.

A former Mississippi State University baseball player has filed a lawsuit against the school’s baseball coach. The lawsuit claims the player was forced to pitch while injured.

The lawsuit adds in an allegation that to me diminishes the credibility of the lawsuit. Plaintiff claims the coach “forced” his team to practice more during the week than was allowed by NCAA regulations. First of all, you don’t have to force many college kids to play baseball. And that alleged forcing has nothing to do with his injuries. The purpose of the claim is to expose an evil that has nothing to do with the lawsuit, really. Moreover, the player had a choice to pitch or not pitch. He chose to pitch.

Cases like this – rightly or wrongly – rub me the wrong way. I have a lot of clients minding their own business, driving down the street and someone comes across the double yellow line drunk and hits them. These people never had a choice. This young man had a choice and made it.

The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed a directed verdict for a hospital in a nursing medical malpractice action in which the plaintiff suffered IV infiltration – leakage of fluid from an IV into the patient’s tissues from an IV line – and burn injuries.

The directed verdict from the trial court struck Plaintiffs’ expert from testifying as to the standard of care even though the expert had already been accepted as an expert on the nursing care given by the hospital. Had the expert been permitted to testify, she would have testified as to the standard of care for IV infiltrations and that the hospital breached that standard.

The Mississippi high court also make a good call for plaintiffs on the question of the collateral source set off when the amount of the liens/bills have been reduced.

A Mississippi police department tried to cover up for a police officer in a fatal car accident that killed a 19-year-old man last November in Brandon County, according to a lawsuit filed last week. Plaintiff’s attorney claims that the officer was traveling nearly 30 mph over the posted speed limit and was not using his siren at the time of the crash. The lawsuit also questions police findings that the decedent was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of his death.

One issue was the amount of drugs and alcohol in the deceased system. Toxicology experts say that any internal injury can destroy the accuracy of the drug and BAC tests because the stomach and intestinal alcohol mix with blood when organs rupture, which increases the BAC test results. Moreover, the BAC from a deceased person must be tested from the heart, which is often not what the coroner does in practice.

A Jefferson County, Mississippi jury has ordered Sherwin-Williams Co. to pay $7 million to a boy who suffered brain damage after ingesting lead-contaminated paint chips. In ruling for the plaintiff, jurors found that the Sherwin-Williams was liable for the boy’s brain injuries.

A lawyer for Sherwin-Williams said they plan to appeal the verdict. With the Mississippi Supreme Court being what it is today, plaintiff’s lawyers have a ways to go.

The Accident and Injury Lawyer Blog has gotten a good bit of traffic regarding an email to me that I posted from Justice Oliver E. Diaz, Jr., a current Mississippi Supreme Court justice who is running for reelection. The New York Personal Injury Attorney Blog has a good post this week about why electing judges is a bad idea.

I will go out on a limb and suggest that Justice Diaz would agree with me.

The Mississippi Supreme Court last week affirmed a $4 million in compensatory damage award in the case of Carthage woman who died from a lethal dose of painkillers after being misdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Plaintiff’s decedent had been given enormous volumes of the painkiller Dilaudid while she was at a hospice. Incredibly, the woman’s autopsy showed that the woman never had cancer in the first place. The court also dismissed $500,000 punitive damages against the medical director of the hospice at the time of the incident.

The hospice, in this case, tendered their $1 million policy before trial. The medical malpractice case proceeded against the doctor who ordered the medication. The doctor’s defense at the malpractice trial was that patients at hospices often need high dosages of medication because they build up a tolerance to the drug that takes away their pain. I appreciate this argument, but there has to be a balance between giving people the medication they need and not killing them. Did the doctor in this case really try to find that balance? Certainly, this Mississippi jury in this medical malpractice lawsuit did not believe that the doctor sought that balance.

The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of nursing home abuse neglect claim because the plaintiff failed to provide 60 days’ notice of the intention to file a medical malpractice action against a health care provider as required under Mississippi Code Section 15-1-36(15). This statute requires Mississippi nursing home and medical malpractice plaintiffs to health care provider’s sixty (60) days’ prior written notice notifying the defendant of the legal basis of the claim and the type of loss sustained, including with specificity the nature of the injuries suffered.

This statute comes from Mississippi’s disastrous tort reform act passed in 2002 that, among other things, establishes a cap on noneconomic damages of $ 500,000 for lawsuits filed before July 1, 2011, a cap of $ 750,000 for those filed after July 1, 2011, but before July 1, 2017, and a cap of $ 1,000,000 for those filed thereafter.

I do not have a problem with the ruling because it is a correct interpretation of the Mississippi law. But the law accomplishes nothing in this case but to deny a Plaintiff the right to justice.

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