Friday, December 6, 2013

O’Gee v. Dobbs Houses, Inc. case brief

O’Gee v. Dobbs Houses, Inc. case brief summary
570 F.2d 1084 (1978)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant caterer sought review of the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which entered a judgment for $ 170,000 in plaintiff employee's personal injury action. Third-party defendant airline sought review of the lower court's decision, which dismissed an indemnification counterclaim in favor of defendant.

CASE FACTS
Pursuant to contract, defendant caterer was responsible for loading and latching 500-800 pound buffets into the galley of third-party defendant airline. Plaintiff employee suffered back pain after attempting to move a buffet that had slipped and blocked an emergency exit. Plaintiff was examined by several physicians and eventually underwent a laminectomy. Some four years later, plaintiff brought a personal injury action against defendant. At trial, plaintiff's expert witness was permitted to testify to the opinions of plaintiff's other physicians.

DISCUSSION
  • The court affirmed the decision of the lower court that found defendant liable for personal injuries because sufficient evidence supported the jury's verdict and plaintiff's expert witness properly relied on medical reports under Fed. R. Evid. 803(4). 
  • The court remanded the damage issue because the lower court abused its discretion in denying a motion to set aside the verdict as excessive. 
  • The court reversed the dismissal of the indemnification counterclaim because the indemnification clause covered any suit that arose out of the loading of the buffet, unless third-party defendant was grossly negligent.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the decision of the lower court that found defendant caterer liable for personal injuries because plaintiff employee's expert witness properly relied on medical reports. The court remanded the issue of damages because the verdict was excessive. The court reversed the dismissal of the indemnification counterclaim of third-party defendant airline because a contract indemnification clause existed.

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