Firm News

TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

DunbarMonroe represented a motor carrier and poultry processor/supplier in a case in which plaintiff alleged that the poultry company/motor carrier was liable for the actions of an independent contractor-driver who was hauling poultry. The trial court granted the poultry company’s motion for summary judgment on direct negligence and punitive damages, ruling that the poultry company cannot be liable for the acts of employees of independent contractors. Following the trial in June 2015, all of the plaintiff’s claims against the poultry company were dismissed with prejudice.


TORTS – PRODUCT LIABILITY

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a ladder manufacturer in a product liability suit, wherein the plaintiff alleged the manufacturer’s ladder was defective in design. After a three day trial in March 2015, the jury found the ladder was not defective, and the court entered judgment in favor of the defendant.


TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a motor carrier and its driver in a case in which the plaintiff claimed severe personal injuries due to a collision. The collision occurred between plaintiffs’ car and a motor carrier’s tractor-trailer in a curve on a two-lane road at approximately 2:00 a.m. and the vehicles were traveling in opposite directions. The case was tried in the Circuit Court of Forest County, Mississippi. At the conclusion of the trial in 2015, the jury found the motor carrier and driver not to be liable and returned a verdict for the defendants. Post-trial motions were also successfully defended by DunbarMonroe.


TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a national motor carrier and its driver in a suit where the plaintiff alleged the motorcycle on which she was a passenger was forced off the road by the defendant’s tractor-trailer driver. After a trial on the matter in April 2014, the jury found motor carrier’s driver was not negligent, and the court entered judgment in favor of the defendants.


TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

In March 2014, DunbarMonroe successfully defended an out-of-state trucking company and its driver in a case where the defendants admitted liability for the accident. At trial, the plaintiffs sought damages far more than that which would make them whole, and the jury awarded Plaintiffs the exact dollar amount suggested by defense counsel. The amount awarded by the jury was less than the amount which had previously been offered to the plaintiffs to settle the case.


TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a national motor carrier in a vehicle accident in which plaintiff alleged that the motor carrier’s driver failed to drive appropriately, allegedly causing plaintiff’s driver to rear-end the motor carrier’s trailer which was stopped due to slowing/stopped interstate traffic. DunbarMonroe moved for summary judgment and the Circuit Court for Warren County, Mississippi granted the motion. DunbarMonroe then successfully defended the case in the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 2014, and the Mississippi Supreme Court denied certiorari in 2015.


TORTS – PREMISES LIABILITY

DunbarMonroe represented the defendant in this premises liability case. In September 2013, the court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the defendant did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the alleged hazard and that the plaintiff had failed to meet his burden of proof. The plaintiff’s claims against DunbarMonroe’s client were dismissed.


TORTS – PLAINTIFF MISREPRESENTATIONS

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a commercial farming company and its owners in a case in which the plaintiff alleged to have been injured on the job. After considerable investigation, DunbarMonroe moved to dismiss the case due to plaintiff’s misrepresentations about prior injuries and treatment for similar medical conditions and injuries before this incident. The plaintiff agreed to the dismissal of the claim in 2013.


TORTS – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

DunbarMonroe represented the parents and minor sons of a woman who died after following the birth of her second son in 2012. After a bench trial, the court found that the defendant breached the standard of care which proximately caused the patient’s death. The court awarded the maximum amount of damages allowed by law. On appeal, DunbarMonroe was ultimately successful when the Supreme Court of Mississippi affirmed the trial court’s ruling.


TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a national motor carrier and its tractor-trailer driver in a case where the plaintiff alleged the driver negligently struck and killed a 78-year-old woman while backing up his pick-up truck in the parking garage of his doctor while obtaining work related physical. After an August 2010 trial on the matter, the jury verdict was in favor of the defendants, finding that the driver was not negligent.

DunbarMonroe then successfully defended the case on appeal, where the Court of Appeals found in favor of the defendants in 2012 and the Supreme Court of Mississippi dismissed the plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari in 2013.


TORTS – COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

DunbarMonroe successfully defended a national motor carrier in a personal injury suit in which the plaintiff alleged back, knee and lower extremity injuries after allegedly falling out of the motor carrier’s trailer during the loading process. After investigation, DunbarMonroe moved to dismiss plaintiff’s claim due to dishonesty about prior injuries in the same body parts allegedly affected, and the Hinds County Circuit Court granted the motion to dismiss on August 10, 2012.


TORTS – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

DunbarMonroe successfully represented a patient who was injured as the result of the defendant physician’s medical malpractice during a knee replacement surgery. After a trial on the matter in November 2010, the jury found in favor of DunbarMonroe’s client and awarded over $500,000 in damages.


Motor Carrier – Cargo Liability

On October 8, 2009, DunbarMonroe was successful in obtaining a dismissal of all state law causes of action against its client, a nationwide motor carrier of household goods, under the pre-emption doctrine of the Carmack Amendment. Plaintiff sought various bad faith breach of contract, punitive damage and emotional distress claims, among others, in her suit for damage to her household goods while in transit between Louisiana and Mississippi. The Court agreed with the motor carrier that all such state law causes of action were preempted by the Carmack Amendment which limits the liability of the motor carrier of household goods. The case remains pending on the Carmack Amendment claims.


Business – Commercial Transaction

DunbarMonroe successfully defended its client against allegations that he was personally liable on a promissory note in excess of $150,000 as general partner of a Georgia Limited Partnership formed to purchase certain Moe’s Southwestern Grill Franchises located in Mississippi. The case was filed by the prior franchisee of three Moe’s franchises alleging that when the transaction closed, Defendant, a limited partner, signed his name to the promissory note and wrote “Gen. Ptr.” under his name on the note making him personally liable. Defendant was not a general partner of the Georgia Limited Partnership and had inadvertently indicated he was the general partner when signing the note and other documents. The case was tried to a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi beginning September 14, 2009. A unanimous jury of eight deliberated for seven hours and concluded that defendant was not liable individually on the note as a general partner by estoppel under Georgia law. The defense contended that Plaintiff did not have any knowledge on which to form a belief as to defendant’s status as a general partner of the limited partnership until after it had already bound itself to the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, including the extension of credit, by executing the Purchase and Sale Agreement. The writing of “Gen. Ptr.” on the Promissory Note was subsequent to entering the binding obligation to extend credit and could not create an estoppel. The jury agreed with the defense that any reliance that occurred on which a decision was made to extend credit occurred prior to the closing when the Purchase and Sale Agreement was executed between the parties in which Plaintiff agreed to the credit terms and bound itself to close prior to having any information on which to form a belief defendant was a general partner.


Torts – Premises Liability

DunbarMonroe obtained a defense verdict on Friday, March 28, 2008, in a premises liability case which was filed against the owners and managers of a 400 unit apartment complex in Jackson, Mississippi. The plaintiff alleged that she was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint in her apartment by another tenant of the complex. DunbarMonroe represented the management company in charge of the complex at the time of the alleged assault, as well as the individual apartment manager. Following a five-day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning a verdict in favor of all defendants. The case was tried in Hinds County Circuit Court, the Honorable Winston Kidd presiding.


Torts – Premises Liability

On March 14, 2008, DunbarMonroe obtained summary judgment on behalf of a convenience store in a lawsuit filed by an individual who was allegedly injured when he ran into an advertising banner in the store’s parking lot. The plaintiff alleged that the sign was hung too low and in an otherwise unsafe and unreasonable manner. Judge Albert Smith of the Coahoma County Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the convenience store, finding no evidence that the banner was hung in an unsafe manner and further finding that, in any event, any danger presented by the banner was open and obvious.


Torts – Liquor Liability

On March 7, 2008, DunbarMonroe obtained summary judgment on behalf of a nightclub in a lawsuit filed by an individual who was allegedly injured in a car accident. The plaintiff alleged that the accident was caused by an individual co-defendant, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. On the day of the accident, the individual co-defendant had been hosting a karaoke show at the nightclub. The plaintiff sought to recover from the nightclub, asserting that the individual co-defendant was acting in the scope and course of his employment with the nightclub at the time of the accident, and that the nightclub had provided alcohol to the individual co-defendant earlier in the evening even though he was visibly intoxicated. Judge Swan Yerger of the Hinds County Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the nightclub, finding that there was no evidence that the individual co-defendant was an employee or agent of the nightclub, or that the nightclub had provided him any alcohol whatsoever on the evening in question.


Torts – Commercial Trucking

DunbarMonroe was hired to represent an international commercial carrier that was involved in a serious multi-vehicle collision in western Mississippi. Several other trucking carriers and passenger vehicles were involved in this complex accident. The DunbarMonroe response team was on the scene within hours, working to document and preserve evidence for upcoming litigation. DunbarMonroe is working with experts and has developed forensic animations in defense of numerous claims arising from the collision.


Torts – Governmental Liability

On June 25, 2007, DunbarMonroe obtained summary judgment on behalf of a Mississippi municipality in a lawsuit filed by a citizen who claimed that he was wrongfully arrested and subjected to unnecessary force and humiliation. The plaintiff based many of his claims on the fact that he was arrested by the police outside of the city limits of the municipality. It was undisputed, however, that a Sheriff’s Deputy from the county in which he was arrested accompanied and assisted the arresting police officer in detaining the plaintiff at his place of employment. The plaintiff further alleged that, by arresting him at his job, the municipality subjected him to unnecessary humiliation. In granting the municipality’s motion for summary judgment, the Circuit Court found that the arrest was valid and that the arresting officer acted reasonably at all times.


Torts – Commercial Trucking

DunbarMonroe obtained a favorable verdict on May 23, 2007, in a case filed by the owner of a truck stop against a large commercial trucking company and its contracted driver. The lawsuit arose from an accident where the contracted driver struck a fuel dispenser at the truck stop, knocking over the dispenser and resulting in the release of diesel fuel. The plaintiff store alleged that, as a result of the accident, it sustained various damages to its property and was forced to undergo significant environmental remediation at the direction of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Throughout the litigation, the defendants consistently maintained that, while they were responsible for knocking over the fuel dispenser, the bulk of the damages claimed by the plaintiff resulted directly from the plaintiff’s failure to train its employees to respond to accidents, failure to maintain proper safety equipment, and failure to take adequate environmental protection measures prior to the accident. The plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages was dismissed prior to trial pursuant to the defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment. At trial, the defendants requested that verdict be rendered against them in the amount for which they were actually responsible, which was 10% of what was being sought by the plaintiff. Following a three-day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning a verdict in the exact amount for which defendants claimed they were responsible. Costs were also awarded to the defendants. The case was tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Southern Division, the Honorable Louis Guirola presiding.


Torts – Commercial Trucking

DunbarMonroe obtained a defense verdict on January 5, 2007, in a personal injury case filed against a large commercial trucking company and its contracted driver. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained various personal injuries – including medical expenses, physical impairment and lost wages – when the contracted driver rear-ended his personal vehicle, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and flip multiple times. DunbarMonroe represented the trucking company and its contracted driver. Following a two-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of both defendants. The case was tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Eastern Division, the Honorable Tom Lee presiding.


Torts – Commercial Trucking

DunbarMonroe obtained summary judgment in July, 2008 for one of the nation’s largest commercial trucking companies. The DunbarMonroe team represented the trucking company in a vehicle accident case in which the plaintiff alleged that the trucking company employee dangerously swerved onto the interstate, causing a vehicle accident and injuries. After testifying as to the name on the trailer, the plaintiffs were unable to fully identify the tractor or driver. In moving for summary judgment, DunbarMonroe assembled evidence sufficient to rebut the presumption of ownership and agency, and the United States District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, held that the case should be dismissed with prejudice.