Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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In this personal injury case involving a building that a city owned but leased to a nonprofit arts group, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant, the City of Gastonia, based upon the doctrine of governmental immunity, holding that Defendant was entitled to governmental immunity under the circumstances of this case. Plaintiff filed this complaint alleging that Defendant was negligent in failing to maintain its building’s exit in a reasonably safe condition and failing to warn of the dangerous and hazardous condition of the exit. The trial court granted summary judgment for Plaintiff, concluding that Defendant was entitled to governmental immunity. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that governmental immunity did not apply. The Supreme court reversed, holding that the trial court correctly determined that Defendant’s activity in leasing the property to the arts group was a governmental function, and therefore, Defendant was entitled to governmental immunity. The court remanded this case to address the issue of whether Defendant waived governmental immunity by purchasing liability insurance. View "Meinck v. City of Gastonia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiffs failed to state claims for tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair and deceptive practices, civil conspiracy, and unjust enrichment sufficient to survive Defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to N.C. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). After Plaintiffs asserted various causes of action against Defendants, including the "Metropolitan defendants" and "dancer defendants," the Metropolitan defendants and dancer defendants filed motions to dismiss the amended complaint in its entirety pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). The business court granted the motion to dismiss as to all of Plaintiffs’ claims except for the claims for breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and punitive damages against the dancer defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) Plaintiffs failed to state valid claims for forties interference with contract, unfair and deceptive practices, and unjust enrichment against the Metropolitan defendants; (2) Plaintiffs failed to state valid claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and civil conspiracy against all defendants. View "Krawiec v. Manly" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court did not need to decide whether North Carolina recognizes Plaintiff’s first-party claim for dram shop liability because Plaintiff could not recover due to the decedent’s contributory negligence. Plaintiff’s wife died from acute alcohol poisoning after consuming at least ten alcoholic beverages at a hotel owned and operated by Defendants. Plaintiff filed a complaint for wrongful death, alleging common law dram shop liability; negligent aid, rescue, or assistance; and punitive damages. The trial court dismissed the dram shop claim for failure to state a claim and related punitive damages claims. After a jury trial on the remaining claims, the trial court dismissed the action, finding that the decedent’s death was not proximately caused by Defendants’ negligence. Plaintiff appealed, contesting the dismissal of his common law dram shop claim. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court allowed review to address Defendants’ issue as to whether North Carolina recognizes a first-party cause of action for dram shop liability. The Supreme Court reversed without reaching the issue, holding that the factual allegations of Plaintiff’s complaint established the decedent’s contributory negligence. View "Davis v. Hulsing Enterprises, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s decision to award Plaintiff benefits arising out of a 2009 automobile accident. The court of appeals concluded that Plaintiff was barred from pursuing compensation for his personal injury claim under the Workers’ Compensation Act because he had elected to settle his claim against the third-party tortfeasor without the consent of Defendant, the City of Charlotte, and had received disbursement of the settlement proceedings. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the Act protects both the employer’s lien against third-party proceeds and the employee’s right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits under these circumstances; and (2) therefore, the Commission correctly concluded that Plaintiff had not waived his right to compensation under the Act. View "Easter-Rozzelle v. City of Charlotte" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the determination of the Industrial Commission that Plaintiff was not entitled to any compensation for permanent partial disability under N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-31. Plaintiff suffered a compensable accident and sustained injuries while he was walking at his job site. During the years after his work-related accident, Plaintiff continued to have neck pain. Plaintiff later sought permanent partial disability benefits. After a remand from the Supreme Court, the Commission entered an amended opinion and award denying benefits. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the Commission did not err in concluding that Plaintiff was not entitled to any compensation for permanent partial disability. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the Commission failed to carry out the court of appeals’ mandate that it make additional findings of fact and conclusions of law on the issue of Plaintiff’s entitlement to benefits under section 97-31. View "Harrison v. Gemma Power Systems, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the determination of the Industrial Commission that Plaintiff was not entitled to any compensation for permanent partial disability under N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-31. Plaintiff suffered a compensable accident and sustained injuries while he was walking at his job site. During the years after his work-related accident, Plaintiff continued to have neck pain. Plaintiff later sought permanent partial disability benefits. After a remand from the Supreme Court, the Commission entered an amended opinion and award denying benefits. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the Commission did not err in concluding that Plaintiff was not entitled to any compensation for permanent partial disability. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the Commission failed to carry out the court of appeals’ mandate that it make additional findings of fact and conclusions of law on the issue of Plaintiff’s entitlement to benefits under section 97-31. View "Harrison v. Gemma Power Systems, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was injured while working for Defendant. The North Carolina Industrial Commission accepted Plaintiff’s claim as compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act, and Defendant began paying Plaintiff compensation for temporary total disability. Plaintiff later filed a Form 33 requesting a medical motion hearing regarding his symptoms. The Commission concluded that Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of establishing that his anxiety and depression were a result of his work-related accident and that Plaintiff was not entitled to disability payments made after January 2011. The court of appeals (1) vacated and remanded in part, ruling that, on remand, the Commission should give Plaintiff the benefit of a presumption that his anxiety and depression were related to his injuries; and (2) reversed in part, ruling that Plaintiff had met his burden of establishing disability. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) Plaintiff was entitled a presumption of compensability in regard to his continued medical treatment; and (2) the Commission failed to address the effects of Plaintiff’s tinnitus in determining whether Plaintiff lost wage-earning capacity. View "Wilkes v. City of Greenville" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Penny Cummings filed a medical malpractice action against Defendants, a doctor and a health care facility. The trial court entered judgment for Defendants after a jury found that Defendants were not liable for Plaintiff's injuries. Based on two affidavits submitted by jurors after the trial alleging juror misconduct, Plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial. The trial court granted Plaintiff's motion. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's order setting aside the verdict and awarding a new trial. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred by considering the evidence of alleged juror misconduct in the form of the two affidavits because the affidavits were inadmissible pursuant to N.C. R. Evid. 606(b), which reflects the common law rule that affidavits of jurors are inadmissible for the purposes of impeaching the verdict except as they pertain to extraneous influences that may have affected the jury's decision.View "Cummings v. Ortega" on Justia Law