Defeat of Motion for Summary Judgment in Age Discrimination Case
On March 14, 2014, Indiano &Williams, P.S.C., defeated a motion for summary judgment filed by a multinational company based in Colombia, in a case involving claims filed by the Plaintiff, Mr. David Ashe, for unjust dismissal under local Law No. 80, and for age discrimination under both local Law No. 100 and the Age Discrimination in the Employment Act (ADEA). In a 28-page Opinion and Order, the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico determined that Plaintiff had established a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether or not Plaintiff complied with all four prima facie requirements. As such, the Court determined that for the sake of a summary judgment analysis, a presumption of discrimination had been established. The Court further found that no legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for Mr. Ashe’s termination from his management position for Editorial/Grupo Norma had been presented. Consequently, the presumption of age discrimination remained in force. Additionally, the Court held that even if the Defendants did articulate a non-discriminatory reason for Mr. Ashe’s termination, there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether or not age was the motivating factor in Plaintiff’s termination, and as a result summary judgment was denied.
Plaintiffs Win Summary Judgment in Favor of Insurance Coverage for Negligent Acts
On March 5, 2012, Plaintiffs, residents of Ontario, Canada, who rented a vacation apartment in Isla Verde during their visit to Puerto Rico, along with co-defendant Betancourt (insurance broker), filed a joint motion for partial summary judgment claiming that the studio apartment where the accident in this case took place, is part of adjacent apartment 1106 for insurance coverage purposes. The insurance carrier denied the Estate which owned the apartment coverage in this case alleging the accident did not take place in the insured premise. In the alternative, Plaintiffs and Betancourt advanced that if the Court were to find that the Policy is ambiguous with regards to the insured location, the Court must resolve the ambiguity in favor of the insured pursuant to local law. Plaintiffs and Betancourt also posited that the exclusion clause is not applicable because the owners, the Leones, did not rent the studio apartment more than occasionally.
In resolving the issue, the Court concluded that, as a matter of law, the studio apartment where the accident took place is part of Apartment 1106, because the modifications carried out by the owners did not have the effect of validly creating a new apartment. Hence, the accident occurred within the premises of Apartment 1106, and, therefore the Policy did in fact cover the unfortunate incident. Furthermore, when interpreting the insurance Policy, the Court deemed the contract clear and unambiguous on its face, and, therefore, the Policy extends to the premises of Apartment 1106, including the studio apartment. Furthermore, the Court found that the insurance company (Cooperativa) had a duty to defend the Estate (owners of the apartments in question) and that the Estate was to be reimbursed for all reasonable legal expenses previously incurred in the instant litigation. Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment was granted.
Defeat of MSJ in Medical Malpractice Case
The court DENIED Defendant Dr. Omar Nieves’ Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant Dr. Omar Nieves moved the court to enter summary judgment dismissing the complaint against him. Defendant Nieves’ contention that Plaintiffs had no admissible evidence to establish that Dr. Nieves did not follow an appropriate standard of care in treating Mr. Torres failed as a result of the courts’ determination denying Dr. Nieves’ Motion in Limine to exclude Opinions of Plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. Carl Adams against him. Dr. Nieves’ argument in favor of summary judgment rested upon the premise that it was allegedly uncontested that Dr. Nieves followed an accepted standard of care in treating Mr. Torres. The Court determined, however, that since Plaintiff's expert would proffer his expert opinion on this matter at trial, there existed a genuine issue of material fact in the controversy at bar that precluded the entry of summary judgment.
Defeat of Motion In Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Expert
The court DENIED Dr. Nieves Motion In Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's expert. The Court determined that the purpose of the expert disclosure rules had been met, and that because they are sufficiently reliable under the Daubert test, and are deemed relevant, there were sufficient grounds to exclude the challenged opinions by Dr. Adams that allegedly had not been disclosed prior to his deposition.