Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of New Mexico decided a case that was brought by a man who was injured when a pair of boots he purchased from Wal-Mart came apart at the sole and caused him to trip. The court ended up remanding the case back to the lower appellate court so that it could reconsider the case in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
According to court documents, the plaintiff bought a pair of work boots at Wal-Mart and shortly after the purchase tripped and fell when the sole of the boot started to come off. The man was seriously injured and received treatment for a back injury as a result.
A little over three years later, the man filed suit against Wal-Mart, claiming that the boots caused the fall and that the poor quality of the boots violated implied and express warranties.
In response, Wal-Mart pointed to a three-year statute of limitations that governs tort law, and it argued that, since the man didn’t bring the claim within the three-year period, it was time-barred. Wal-Mart also argued that there were no issues of material fact that could result in a verdict for the plaintiff, no matter how they were resolved. The trial judge agreed with Wal-Mart on both issues and threw out the case.
The plaintiff appealed the lower court’s ruling to the intermediate appellate court. The plaintiff argued that the claim he was bringing was under a different statute that had a four-year statute of limitations, and that there were material facts that could be resolved in his favor and result in a plaintiff’s verdict. At the first level of appeal, the court only answered one of the questions before it.
Determining that the three-year statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff’s case, the court affirmed the lower court’s ruling without reaching the issue of whether there was any material fact at issue. The plaintiff appealed again, this time to the Supreme Court of New Mexico.
The Final Appeal
In the most recent appeal, the court agreed with the plaintiff that the proper time limit is a four-year statute of limitations. The court noted, however, that, since the intermediate appellate court failed to rule on both issues before it, the Supreme Court needed to remand the case back to that court for it to rule on the second issue. Depending on how that court rules, the plaintiff may be able to continue towards trial.
Have You Been Injured By a Defective Product?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured by a defective product, make sure you act quickly in contacting an attorney and filing your case. As you can see, waiting can cost you your chance at recovery. The skilled personal injury advocates at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of combined experience bringing cases on behalf of injured Marylanders and know what it takes to be successful at trial or in pre-trial negotiations. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
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