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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Pioneer Homestead on its professional negligence claim against Sargent Engineers, Inc. on the grounds that Pioneer’s claims were time-barred, holding that disputed issues of material fact existed with respect to whether Pioneer reasonably should have discovered Sargent’s alleged negligence. After Pioneer completed construction of an apartment building it discovered numerous design deficiencies in the building’s plans, as well as deviations from those plans in the building’s construction. Pioneer sued Sargent for professional negligence in the structural engineering services it provided during the design phase of the building’s construction. The district court ruled that Pioneer’s claims were time-barred as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed as to when Pioneer should reasonably have been on notice that it needed to investigate the adequacy of the sign, plans, and specifications for the building. View "Pioneer Homestead Apartments III v. Sargent Engineers, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this case presenting the question of whether a treating therapist owes a duty of reasonable care to a nonpatient parent when treating that parent’s child for potential allegations of sexual abuse, the Supreme Court remanded this case for proceedings consistent with its opinion in Mower v. Baird, __ P.3d __ (Utah 2018), a companion case also decided today. As a result of the actions of Kayelyn Robinson, a therapist who treated Plaintiff’s child, Rocio Smith lost visitation with her children for several years and “endured personal defamation, lost income and employment, and incurred enormous legal expenses.” Smith filed suit against Robinson for malpractice and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The district court granted Robinson’s motion to dismiss the malpractice and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims. Smith appealed the district court’s decision on her malpractice claim. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for the district court to conduct proceedings consistent with its opinion in Mower. View "Smith v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's accounting malpractice claims against GT as premature. The court held that plaintiffs' claims against GT were premature because they did not submit them before an accountant review panel prior to filing this lawsuit. The court also held that plaintiffs' claims against GT were time-barred under the relevant preemptive period. Therefore, all of plaintiffs' accounting malpractice claims must be dismissed with prejudice because they were filed outside the relevant preemptive period and thus were extinguished. View "Firefighters' Retirement System v. Grant Thornton, LLP" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court in favor of Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (Resource Recovery) in the amount of $5,733,648.18, inclusive of interest, on Resource Recovery’s claims of professional malpractice and breach of contract, holding that the trial justice erred in failing to grant Restivo Monacelli LLP’s (Restivo) motion for judgment as a matter of law. Although Restivo raised numerous contentions as to alleged error by the trial justice, the Supreme Judicial Court on appeal focused its inquiry only on Restivo’s contention that the trial justice erred in denying its motion for judgment as a matter of law because expert testimony with respect to proximate cause was required but was not presented by Resource Recovery. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with Restivo, holding that expert testimony on the issue of proximate cause was required in this case, and Resource Recovery did not provide the required expert testimony as to proximate cause. View "Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. v. Restivo Monacelli LLP" on Justia Law

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The Director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) brought formal charged against Eddie Anderson, the Chief Magistrate Judge for Tattnall County. The acts of judicial misconduct arose from the repossession of a vehicle from a woman by the owner of an automobile dealership due to lack of payment to the dealership and lack of insurance on the vehicle. Judge Anderson demanded via an ex parte phone call that the owner either return the woman’s repossessed vehicle or remit the money paid to the dealership for the vehicle and reimburse the woman for her insurance costs. When the owner refused these ex parte demands, Judge Anderson advised the woman to file a case against the owner in his court, which she later did. Judge Anderson undermined the public integrity and impartiality of the judiciary by advising the woman to file a case and by making ex parte demands before a case was even filed. Moreover, Judge Anderson’s demands and the woman’s subsequent lawsuit violated clearly established law. The Georgia Supreme Court accepted an agreement between the JQC and Judge Anderson that he be publicly reprimanded for his admitted violations of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct. View "Inquiry concerning Judge Eddie Anderson" on Justia Law

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Security Bank & Trust Company (Security Bank) lacked standing both in its capacity as personal representative of Gordon P. Savoie’s estate and in its capacity as trustee of the Gordon P. Savoie Revocable Trust to bring this legal malpractice action related to estate planning services for its deceased client. In its complaint, Security Bank alleged that Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd. (Larkin) failed to advise Savoie that his estate would be subject to a substantial generation-skipping transfer tax upon a distribution to a beneficiary who was more than thirty-seven years younger than him. The district court granted Larkin’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, determining that Savoie lacked standing either as personal representative or as trustee. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Security Bank had standing as personal representative because a cause of action for legal malpractice accrued to Savoie during his lifetime, and therefore, survived to Security Bank. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a cause of action for malpractice did not accrue during Savoie’s lifetime and therefore did not survive to Security Bank; and (2) Security Bank could not state a claim for legal malpractice against Larkin in its capacity as trustee. View "Security Bank & Trust Co. v. Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd." on Justia Law

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At issue was the claim and issue preclusive significance in future litigation of a conclusion relied on by the trial court and challenged on appeal but not addressed by the appellate court. The Supreme Court overruled People v. Skidmore, 27 Cal. 287 (1865), holding that Skidmore reflects a flawed view of preclusion and that stare decisis does not compel continued adherence to Skidmore. Plaintiff sued both Dr. Haitham Matar and Dr. Stephen Nahigian for professional negligence and alleged that Matar was vicariously liable for Nahigian’s alleged tort. The trial court granted summary judgment for both defendants in two successive judgments. In the first judgment with respect to Nahigian, the trial court concluded that the suit was untimely and that there was no genuine issue regarding causation. In the second judgment, the trial court concluded that the court’s earlier no-causation determination precluded holding Matar liable for Nahigian’s conduct. The court of appeals affirmed the first judgment on statute of limitations grounds without reaching the no-causation ground. As to Matar, the court of appeal reversed, concluding that claim preclusion was unavailable because Plaintiff sued both defendants in a single lawsuit and that Skidmore was inapplicable to issue preclusion. The Supreme Court held that Skidmore must be overruled and that Matar was not entitled to summary judgment on preclusion grounds. View "Samara v. Matar" on Justia Law

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Dr. Paulus, a cardiologist at Ashland, Kentucky’s KDMC, was first in the nation in billing Medicare for angiograms. His annual salary was around $2.5 million, under KDMC’s per-procedure compensation package. In 2008, HHS received an anonymous complaint that Paulus was defrauding Medicare and Medicaid by performing medically unnecessary procedures, 42 U.S.C. 1320c-5(a)(1), 1395y(a)(1), placing stents into arteries that were not blocked, with the encouragement of KDMC. An anti-fraud contractor selected 19 angiograms for an audit and concluded that in seven cases, the blockage was insufficient to warrant a stent. Medicare denied reimbursement for those procedures and continued investigating. A private insurer did its own review and concluded that at least half the stents ordered by Paulus were not medically necessary. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure subpoenaed records and concluded that Paulus had diagnosed patients with severe stenosis where none was apparent from the angiograms. Paulus had retired; he voluntarily surrendered his medical license. A jury convicted Paulus on 10 false-statement counts and on the healthcare fraud count. It acquitted him on five false-statement counts. The court set aside the guilty verdicts and granted Paulus a new trial. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The degree of stenosis is a fact capable of proof. A doctor who deliberately inflates the blockage he sees on an angiogram has told a lie; if he does so to bill a more expensive procedure, then he has also committed fraud. View "United States v. Paulus" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court quashing its preliminary writ in mandamus and denying Bryan Robison’s request for a permanent writ against the director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration (Department), holding that Robison failed to demonstrate he was entitled to mandamus relief. One month before Robison’s license as a general bail bond agent was set to expire, he applied to renew his license with the director of the Department. As a result of Robison’s outstanding forfeitures and judgments, the director denied Robison’s application for renewal. Rather than exercising his right to file a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission, Robison filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, alleging that the director denied his renewal application without proper notice and an opportunity to be heard. The circuit court quashed its preliminary writ and denied Robison’s request for a permanent writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion because the director properly exercised her discretion by refusing the renewal request pursuant to her statutory authority and this Court’s rules. View "State ex rel. Robison v. Lindley-Myers" on Justia Law

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Dr. Solman performed arthroscopic surgery on Grussing’s knee in June 2014. At her July 9 appointment, Grussing reported swelling in her knee to a physician's assistant, who recommended physical therapy. Dr. Solman did not examine Grussing. Grussing returned to Dr. Solman’s office on July 18, again reporting pain and swelling. Dr. Solman aspirated Grussing’s knee, observed that the synovial fluid looked normal, and did not test the fluid for infection. Grussing continued to experience pain and swelling. In October, a different physician aspirated Grussing’s knee and sent the fluid for analysis. The knee was chronically infected. Grussing underwent a total knee replacement. The primary issue in Grussing’s malpractice suit was whether Dr. Solman breached the standard of care when he decided not to test the synovial fluid aspirated during her July 18, appointment. Grussing opened her case with Dr. Solman’s deposition testimony; he acknowledged that fluid that does not appear cloudy can test positive for bacterial infection. The defense’s expert, Dr. Matava testified that there was no way to confirm that Grussing’s knee was infected on July 18. The Eighth Circuit affirmed a defense verdict, rejecting arguments that the district court erroneously limited Grussing’s cross-examination of Matava during an attempt to elicit testimony that fluid that is not cloudy can test positive for bacterial infection and that it failed to correct defense counsel’s misstatement of law during closing argument. The correct burden of proof was properly emphasized throughout trial. View "Grussing v. Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Inc." on Justia Law