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8th Circuit decides two N.D. cases Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has issued opinions in two North Dakota cases: a drug case and a product liability case.

In United States v. Chappell the court held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence as the motion failed to show a government witness lied on the stand or that the evidence - a post-trial statement by the witness the she was drunk and high when she testified - was material, as it would only have gone to credibility and impeachment; the other evidence of guilt was overwhelming and compelling, and even if defendant had been able to block the testimony, an acquittal seems unlikely; even if the government concealed the witness's mental state, such evidence was not material impeachment evidence and would not amount to a Brady violation.

Read the court's opinion at:

In Scott v.Key Energy Services, Inc., the court explained that the plaintiff was injured when a Hydra-Walk system he was operating for Key, his employer, overturned; he obtain workers' compensation benefits from Key and then sued Key and Hydra-Walk alleging the system was defective and unreasonably dangerous; Key, which had purchased Hydra-Walk five years before plaintiff was injured, moved for summary judgment, asserting that workers' compensation was plaintiff's exclusive remedy. The court held that Hydra-Walk is not a third-party tortfeasor for purposes of determining whether plaintiff may pursue a remedy; Hydra-Walk no longer exists under North Dakota law and plaintiff cannot maintain a claim against it; North Dakota's Supreme Court has never allowed an employee to successfully recover against an employer where the employee was injured by equipment manufactured by another company prior to that company's merger with the employer and the injury occurred post-merger; without further indication that the North Dakota Supreme Court would be receptive to application of the dual persona doctrine, the court is unwilling to apply it for the first time to plaintiff's claims; nor would North Dakota Supreme Court recognize the dual capacity exception to the exclusive remedy rule.

Read the court's opinion at: