News & Events

Summary Judgment Upheld at Fifth Circuit

Members of Butler Snow’s Products Liability Group and Commercial Litigation Group recently obtained summary judgment for a large truck stop operator in federal district court for the Southern District of Mississippi in a premises liability case involving alleged bleach exposure. The principal allegation was that the truck stop operator was negligent by failing to warn the plaintiff that the restroom had been cleaned with bleach. The plaintiff failed to designate a medical expert to testify that his skin lesions were caused by bleach exposure, relying instead on his own testimony and the principle of res ipsa loquitur to prove negligence. The District Court granted summary judgment on May 19, 2011, holding that the plaintiff’s injuries required expert medical testimony and therefore that res ipsa loquitur did not apply. The plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 9, 2012, in a per curiam opinion, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment, following the District Court’s reasoning. Members of the defense team were Chad R. Hutchinson and John H. Dollarhide.