Before 2014 gets too far in the distant past (where the heck did January go?), let’s look at some of the more important civil law appellate opinions from late in the year. More analysis will follow as time permits, but here’s our choice for the top five:
Lunsford v. Mills An insured person under an auto policy is entitled to UIM coverage as soon as the policy of a single defendant is exhausted in a car crash involving multiple defendants. (Check out my latest e-newsletter for a more thorough discussion.)
Truhan v. Walston When a sheriff deputy drove at high speeds with no lights or sirens on the way to merely direct traffic at a minor accident scene, he may have violated traffic laws, including NCGS § 20-145.
Nicholson v. Thom In a medical negligence action, the injured plaintiff was not required under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to produce an expert witness to provide testimony against the defendant surgeon about the side effects of the medicine she was taking when she left a surgical sponge in the plaintiff during surgery.
Mohr v. Matthews The defense of contributory negligence barred the estate of a 19-year old young man who was killed in a crash from recovering a wrongful death claim, even though the social host defendants knowingly provided alcohol to him and informed him that “the keys are in the car” they knew he was going to drive.
Kelly v. United States The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled that a liability waiver signed by the parent of a minor child was enforceable, following an injury to that child while using a rock-climbing apparatus at a JROTC event.