Smith, Stephenson Win Fifth Circuit Appeal

February 17, 2012.

Leland Smith and Robert Stephenson received a favorable ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Monique Doss v. NPC International, Inc.

Smith and Stephenson represented the owner of a restaurant which had been sued by 19 plaintiffs who alleged that they suffered food poisoning due to negligently prepared food. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling. The Fifth Circuit's opinion discusses the forum shopping strategies of plaintiff's counsel who filed five separate lawsuits in state court. Smith and Stephenson were successful in removing each of the five lawsuits to federal court and prevailed on each of the five motions to remand filed by the plaintiffs wherein they requested that the cases be transferred back to state court. In affirming summary judgment, the Fifth Circuit found that the plaintiffs failed to produce the required medical evidence to support a claim of food poisoning.