Friday, January 12, 2018

Illinois state rep proposes "good samaritan" law to protect people who cause damages when trying to rescue dogs or cats

Have you ever seen a dog locked inside a hot car and felt like breaking a window?

An Illinois state legislator is proposing legal immunity for people who rescue pets from hot vehicles. Rep. David Olsen has filed a bill that would alter the Humane Care for Animals Act, allowing civil and criminal liability exemptions for people who break into cars to save dogs or cats — as long as they attempt to tell police about it first. The Illinois News Network has a summary, and the bill itself can be found here.

I only have one question, why limit it to dogs or cats? Don't other pets deserve rescuing too?

North Dakota: Court refuses to apply damages cap in med mal case, declares it unconstitutional -- UPDATED

In 1995, North Dakota passed a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.  I assume has been invoked and applied since.  Until now.  The TortsProf blog is reporting today that a state judge recently refused to apply the cap and ruled the statute violates equal protection guaranteed by the state constitution by arbitrarily reducing damages for people who suffer the most severe injuries.

Go here for more (although not much) on the story.  As you know, I am against caps, but an interesting element of this story is that at $500,000, the North Dakota cap is one of the more generous out there.

UPDATE (1/12/18):  The PopTort has more information, excerpts from the decision and a nice comment on the case here.

Court finds Amazon can't be responsible as "seller" in a product liability claim

About Lawsuits.com is reporting that a federal judge has ruled that Amazon.com cannot be held liable for injuries caused by third party products the company sells on its website because, according to the court's memorandum opinion Amazon did not meet the state’s definition of a “seller.”  The court held that Amazon is merely a marketing place for third-party vendors, and not the seller or manufacturer, stating, among other things, that
“[l]ike an auctioneer, Amazon is merely a third-party vendor’s ‘means of marketing,’ since third-party vendors—not Amazon—’cho[o]se the products and expose[] them for sale by means of’ the Marketplace,” Judge Brann stated. “Because of the enormous number of third party vendors (and, presumably, the correspondingly enormous number of goods sold by those vendors) Amazon is similarly ‘not equipped to pass upon the quality of the myriad of products’ available on its Marketplace.” 
This is interesting because, as Amazon users probably have noticed, Amazon seems to sell products in a number of different ways.  As far as I can tell, these are some of the categories:

1.  Amazon products sold by Amazon.

2.  Products that are sold by Amazon but are not Amazon products.

3.  Products are that not Amazon products that are sold "through" Amazon.  If I understand it correctly, products in this category are ordered through Amazon, sold by someone else, but the order is "fulfilled" by Amazon.

4.  Products that are ordered through Amazon, sold by someone else, and the order is fulfilled by that someone else.

I understand saying that Amazon is not a seller of a product in the last category.  But I think Amazon is a seller in the first three.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Why hasn't Gov. Cuomo signed the bill adopting the "discovery rule" for the statute of limitations in certain medical malpractice claims?

The New York Personal Injury Law Blog has a good (and short) discussion of a bill waiting to be signed that would adopt the so-called discovery rule for certain medical malpractice cases.  Before we go any further, let me confess that I am surprised there is a need to pass a bill for this to begin with!  I would have thought that by now all states have adopted the discovery rule; but evidently, I am wrong.  And what is worse is that the bill does not proposed adopting the rule for all cases. 

As explained in the article, the law "mimics the law in 44 other states, extending the statute of limitations in certain medical malpractice cases [to] the time the discovery of malpractice was made, or could reasonably have been made, instead of when it occurred.  In the final hours dickering over the bill last June, it was watered down to apply only to cancer cases, leaving all other “failure to diagnose” cases, where the patient didn’t even know s/he was victimized, hanging out in the cold. But still, even in its watered down state, it is something for those that have not only been victimized by malpractice, but didn’t even find out until the time to bring suit had expired."

You should read the full article here.  Among other things, it discusses how the current state of medical insurance business does not explain the hesitation to sign the bill.