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By Timothy Tomasik & Patrick Grim

A court has rejected the $72 billion dollar rideshare giant’s most recent attempt to force its riders behind closed doors. In reversing the lower court, the First Circuit ruled that Uber’s mandatory arbitration clause was unenforceable.

In the suit, Uber recognized riders confronted with lengthy sets of terms and conditions rarely, if ever, review the fine print on their iPhones while signing up. Notably, Uber did not argue that any of the Plaintiffs actually saw the arbitration clause which waived their right to a jury trial or even clicked on the "Terms of Service & Privacy Policy" button. Rather, it relied solely on a claim that its presentation of the clause was sufficiently conspicuous to bind the Plaintiffs whether or not they chose to click through the relevant terms and arbitration clause.

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By Timothy Tomasik & Patrick Grim

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion in Coventry Health Care of Missouri, Inc. v. Nevils, one of the last Neil Gorsuch-less cases before the nation’s highest court. Writing for the majority, the Notorious RBG made it clear that when it comes to states prohibiting insurance companies from claiming the proceeds of personal injury settlements - federal law reigns supreme.

The Nevils case stemmed from a 2006 car accident, in which Jodie Nevils, a former federal employee, was injured. Per Nevil’s employment with the federal government, Nevils was enrolled in and insured under a Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA) plan offered by Coventry Health Care of Missouri. Soon after filing suit, Nevils recovered a settlement award against the defendant driver. Nevils v. Group Health Plan, Inc., 418 S. W. 3d 451, 453 (Mo. 2014).

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By Timothy Tomasik

“Can I borrow your car?” is a phrase nearly every car owner has been asked at one time or another. While handing over the keys to a friend in need may seem like the courteous thing to do, it is important to remember that you are trusting the other driver to operate your car safely.  Tragically, this all-too-common courtesy can have drastic and life altering consequences for the owner when the driver borrowing the car is not properly qualified to operate it.

In the automobile context, the law governing owner liability in this scenario is called “negligent entrustment.” Negligent entrustment involves the lending of one person’s car to another when the lender knew or should have known that the borrowing driver was not qualified to use the vehicle.  Under these circumstances, the law imposes a duty not just on the driver borrowing the keys, but also on the owner.  Essentially, when the owner knew or should have known that the driver was not qualified to operate the car, the owner will be liable for the negligent acts of the trustee (driver) resulting in harm to others. Typically, whether the owner “knew” the driver was unqualified hinges on whether the owner was aware of multiple prior traffic offenses or vehicular crashes.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

By Robert Geimer

Researchers from Michigan State University claim that riding a rollercoaster may help patients pass kidney stones.  According to an article in the current issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, after learning that a number of patients described passing kidney stones after riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, researchers constructed an artificial human kidney - complete with kidney stones - and took it for a ride.  They found that in the front seat, a stone was passed in 4 of 24 trials; in the back of the roller coaster, a stone was passed in 23 of 36 trials.  The authors theorize that the motion of the roller coaster helps knock stones loose so they can be passed out of the kidney.  This is research that can safely be described as, ahem, thrilling.

By Robert Geimer

Devices used to heat and cool patients during heart surgeries have been found to spread Legionella bacteria, the source of so-called Legionnaire’s disease.  According to an article in the Seattle Times, these devices may be designed in a way that does not allow them to be properly cleaned.  If so, the problem would be similar to the one identified with the use of endoscopes that spread deadly CRE bacterial infections at hospitals around the country, including Lutheran General Hospital outside of Chicago. TKK is presently representing patients who were infected in that outbreak.  If you or a loved one have been notified of an infection associated with an operating room heating-cooling device, contact TKK right away for important information.

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