Archive for News

Jury Awards $18.5 million to Jefferson, Kentucky Hunter Injured in Fall

On Thursday, August 10th, a Jefferson, Kentucky Circuit Court jury reached a verdict in the case of O’Bryan vs Primal Vantage Co., finding in favor of the plaintiff, Kevin O’Bryan. Mr. O’Bryan was awarded $18.5 million in damages stemming from the injuries he sustained five years earlier while using a product manufactured by the company.

Mr. O’Bryan was out turkey hunting on May 3, 2012, in a tree stand made by Primal Vantage Co. which he had purchased at Dick’s Sporting Goods five years earlier. Polypropylene straps securing the tree stand to the tree failed, the tree stand collapsed, and Mr. O’Bryan was seriously injured after falling to the ground. Following the incident, he suffered from chronic pain and paralysis and endured a divorce.

The legal basis for O’Bryan’s suit against the product manufacturer was founded in negligence and product liability theories that hold a manufacturer or seller liable for placing a dangerous or defective product in the hands of a consumer. In this case, though the product itself was not defective, the product’s marketing was defective in that the labeling did not warn him of the dangers. The civil case presided over by Justice McKay Chuvin ended in the jury’s unanimous ruling that Primal Vantage Co. had not provided Mr. O’Bryan reasonable warning that the tree stand’s securing apparatus — polypropylene straps — were at risk of failure.

Per the verdict form, the jury awarded Mr. O’Bryan $869,975 for past medical expenses, $1.2 million for lost wages, and $13 million for pain and suffering. Sante O’Bryan, his ex-wife, was awarded $80,000 for loss of consortium. Court records state that O’Bryan did not use a safety harness or take other precautions (such as inspecting the tree stand’s stability) which may have prevented his fall; though the jury sided with Mr. O’Bryan’s claims, they found him 50% at fault for his injuries, which reduced the damages awarded to him by half.

Ann Oldfather, Sean Deskins and Michael Hasken represented Kevin O’Bryan; Sante O’Bryan was represented by Jeff Adamson and Paul Casi III.

The Church Versus State: Putnam City School district in the Crossfire.

The Church Versus State: Putnam City School district in the Crossfire.

Husband and wife, Adam and Kelsey Daniels on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Putnam City school district and staff for alleged harassment and defamation of character. In the law suit, the two, claim that they have consistently been stressed and harassed by the school’s staff because of their religious practices.

According to Adam and his wife, their troubles began in 2013 when the school became aware that the Daniels practice a religion called Anramainyu. Anramainyu is described as the worship of Ahriman who is also known as the destroyer of good, god of darkness and the creator of evil. For those who practice this religion, it is not ‘Satanism.’ Adam says they worship a being that ‘predates’ Satan. The complainants claim that the indifferent treatment they have received from the school because of their religious practices is a violation of their civil rights.

The family says that, within a few years, they have been visited more than 30 times by officers from both Child Protective Service and the DHS. Apparently, all the visits were necessitated by falsified information provided by the school’s district staff. The family also added that both teachers and students bullied their children. In as much as the District officials were aware, no action was taken.

The plaintiffs also claim that their special needs daughter was subjected to strip searches by the school’s nurse on several occasions. From Adam’s perspective, “We believe that the strip searches were to check for abuse because of what they believe we do and how we practice our faith.” The same child is also said to have returned home with injuries. When asked, the school could not provide satisfactory information.

The family hopes that the lawsuit will stop the school district from using the DHS and CPS to mount pressure on them because of their religion. The lawsuit is also seeking an amount of USD 300,000 as compensation for mistreatment and defamation of character by the school district. The Daniels believe that the law suit will help them protect their special needs daughter.

Lawsuit Against Former Pasadena Unified Principal For Threatening To Call Immigration

According to litigation filed by Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), The Pasadena Unified School District failed to investigate complaints against Juan Ruelas; the former principal at Madison Elementary School. The claim is that Ruelas used threats of deportation to intimidate a parent and caretaker.

The names of both women behind this case were availed to the principal, Juan Ruelas by district officials, who responded by banning one lady from volunteering at Madison. This was a violation of the right of both women to due process by the district, allowing racial discrimination, as alleged by the lawsuit. According to confirmed reports, the threat came when Eva Del Rio, the babysitter came to drop off a child in her care.

After knocking on a closed campus entrance, the principal threatened to report her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after allegedly cursing, if she attempted to knock on the door again. The following day a Jane Doe met with Ruelas claiming that school staff was taking away and disposing of her daughter’s meals during lunch before the girl was done.

In response, the suit claims that the defendant, Ruelas threatened to send ICE to Madison Elementary School if Jane Doe, the plaintiff, registered a complaint with PUSD.

Doe went ahead and filed the complaint, after which the district’s human resources office sent her a letter, indicating her grievances had been forwarded to Ruelas, and that he would address her concerns.

After that, Ruelas and another employee told her that she was “defaming” the principal and risked being sued if she persisted. Pasadena Unified pledged to protect students and parents without relevant documents in December 2016, by passing a policy that prevented U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, from gaining entry to the district’s properties without a warrant.

Doe shared about her treatment and implored the community to take action against Ruelas, during the board meeting where this policy was approved.The lawsuit alleges that the district and the manner in which the board handled these threats, did not cause emotional distress to the mother only, but to her three children as well.

The complaint is now seeking unspecified damages, and an order for PUSD to launch an investigation into threats relating to immigration status.The identities of the complainant will remain undisclosed, and provision of copies of the complaint by the district, will not happen following pending injunctions.

Assisted living facility neglected dying Alzheimer patient, lawsuit claims

On June 25, 2016, Eugene Kosmin, a resident of The Bristal Assisted Living at Woodcliff Lake died in hospital. Kosmin’s death was allegedly a direct result of negligence on the part of the staff at the assisted living facility, according to his son, who filed at suit against the facility on August 15 at the Bergen County Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, Kosmin’s son Scott—the executor of the estate—alleges that staff members at the assisted living facility did not adequately monitor the health of his ailing 88-year-old father. And for that reason, his health went from bad to worse drastically in the course of three weeks.

In an interview, Egg Harbor attorney Patrick T. D’Arcy said that the staff “should have sent him to hospital sooner than they did. They were not vigilant in their care.” D’Arcy filed the suit on Scott’s behalf.

More specifically, the suit stated that in the period between June 1 and June 24, Kosmin’s condition began changing. Problems that developed include dehydration, sepsis, kidney failure, and urinary tract infection among others.

Certain infections are common in people suffering from advanced Alzheimer disease, and they are a frequent cause of death. These infections include severe skin infections, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. Among all infections, pneumonia is the leading cause of death. As the Alzheimer disease advances, poorly coordinated swallowing and diminished lung function due to poor mobility often lead to aggressive pneumonia as saliva and food enters the airway. While pneumonia may be the final condition, Alzheimer’s is the real cause.

All that notwithstanding, Scott believes that reasonable measures could have been taken to avoid his father’s death. And he is not alone in his plight.

According to California Department of Social Services spokesman Michael Weston, 46 assisted living facilities in the state were closed for various infractions in 2016 and 48 were put under probation. The agency, which is responsible for licensing such facilities, reports that even more disciplinary actions such as these have occurred in 2017.

Before having a loved one admitted into an assisted living facility, it is advisable to carry out thorough research on prospective assisted living facilities to confirm that there have been no lawsuits against it.

J & J Ordered to Pay $417 Million in Ovarian Cancer Case

A California jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million to an ailing woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based baby powder for feminine hygiene.

The verdict in the lawsuit filed by the California woman, Eva Echeverria, marks the largest sum awarded in a series of talcum powder lawsuit verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in courts around the U.S.

The verdict included $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages. It was a significant setback for J & J, which already faces 4,800 similar claims nationally. Echeverria’s lawsuit was the first out of many of California talc cases to go to trial. Relative to Echeverria’s case, more than 1000 other people have similar lawsuits. Some who won their lawsuits won much lower amounts.

The ruling came after five other cases in Missouri state court, where many other lawsuits are pending. The Missouri cases, which have largely originated from out-of-state plaintiffs, have faced jurisdictional questions after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in June that limited where personal injury lawsuits can be filed.

Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers regarding talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the product regularly starting in the 1950’s until 2016. She was however diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
The California woman hoped that her case would prompt J & J to put additional warnings on its products. Her intention lay mostly on assisting other women throughout the whole country that have ovarian cancer out of using Johnson & Johnson for two or three decades.

J & J’s lawyers and spokeswoman Carol Goodrich countered that studies and federal agencies have not found that talc products are carcinogenic.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2006 classified talcum powder as a probable human carcinogen if used in the female genital area, but no federal agencies have taken any action to remove talcum powder from the consumer market.
Johnson & Johnson has had many warning bells over a 30 year period but has failed to warn women when buying the famous Johnson’s baby powder.

The case is Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, BC628228, Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Malibu Boats

The recent wrongful death law suit filed by Florida Personal Injury Lawyer, Don Fountain and the legal team working at Clark, La Vista, Fountain, Prather, Littky-Rubin, and Keen, and the co-counsel at the Copper Firm, has led to an NBC consumer investigation that focuses on the potential hazards of recreational boating. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a family in Lake Worth, FL. The family lost their 7 year old son in an unfortunate recreational boating accident. The lawsuit alleges that the boat manufacturer, Malibu Boats, used an improper design for their boat and further failed to test the vessel.

 

How Did The Accident Take Place?

 

Ryan Batchelder, the 7 year old who died in the boating accident sustained fatal injuries after being washed out of the seat of the Malibu Response boat. The bow of the boat swamped and dipped causing it to take on water and washing Ryan and one of his family members overboard. The driver of the boat tried to reverse the boat to prevent it from sinking, but to no avail. Ryan was entangled on the boat’s propeller and died from blood loss and drowning.

 

Findings by NBC

 

Investigations into the case have found that the authorities at Malibu Boats had expressed concerns regarding the design of the boat that caused Ryan’s death. Their concerns address the new design of their boat that put additional seats to the bow and added more weight on the front of the boat. Malibu Boats claims that it tested this new design but they had no records or documentation of such testing.

 

Apart from highlighting the dangerous practices involved in designing recreational boats, NBC has raised questions regarding the regulations that allow manufacturers to test their own boats instead of a government agency such as the U.S. Coast Guard. Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard’s authority with regards to recreational boats is focused on the safety equipment stored in these boards and enforcing laws on the water.

 

The legal team representing Ryan’s family intends to use this lawsuit to get justice for the child and his family, and to lobby for changes in the recreational boating sector that will focus on public safety.

Greenpeace to Bleed More than $900 Million

Recently, Energy Transfer Partners filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace.

The Dakota access developer accused Greenpeace as well as other environmental groups of inciting eco-terrorist groups to spread wrong information about the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the lawsuit, Greenpeace launched the eco-terrorism campaign seeking to block the pipeline.

The suit has already caused the accused at least $300 million, and they could even end up bleeding more cash. Also, with the suit in place, the future of environmental activism could experience hurdles.

This federal lawsuit is set to be big, especially since it was filed by attorneys who also happen to work for the same New York firm that represents Donald Trump, the US president. The suit was presented at the US District Court for the District of North Dakota.

The Dakota pipeline operator and developer claims that Earth First, Greenpeace and the other rogue organizations took part in the misleading campaigns so they could solicit more donations and run their business or political agendas.

In the lawsuit, the Energy Transfer Partners continue to argue that the actions of the environmental activists caused damage not only to the pipeline but also to the people and property along the pipeline’s route.

The Dakota Pipeline began shipping oil in June 2017. It was constructed so that it could deliver oil from North Dakota to the Midwestern refineries.

There have been several other protests over the pipeline in the previous years. Tribes such as the Standing Rock Sioux vehemently protested against the pipeline in fear of their drinking water being polluted and their archaeological sites being tampered with.

During his reign, President Obama had ceded to the cries of the tribes and stopped the project. However in January this year, President Trump gave an executive order that facilitated the completion of the pipeline construction.

In the suit, ETP is seeking triple damages, which means that the accused could end up paying fines worth at least $1 billion. However, according to Greenpeace USA counsel, ETP is just another corporate bully out to harass public participants.

According to the USA counsel, Energy Transfer Partners is only seeking to silence free speech.

“He can run anytime he wants. I’m giving him the red light.” ~ Yogi Berra

In 2014, the Chicago-Tribune  investigated Chicago’s “red-light camera system” responding to claims of increasing dangers on the city’s streets. Their investigation confirmed that nearly 40 percent of equipped intersections had become more dangerous!

  • Rear-end collisions increased by 22 percent.
  • Those intersections that rarely saw vehicle mishaps were now actively involved.

Their investigation exposed a $2 million City Hall bribery scandal. John Bills received a 10-year sentence for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars for directing massive red-light camera contracts to Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. ~ an amount equal to thirteen percent of Redflex’s worldwide revenue.

Federal testimony revealed that Bills took bribes up to $2,000 for each of the 384 cameras installed. The investigation also discovered:

  • Malfunctioning cameras
  • Inconsistent enforcement policies
  • The issuance of millions of dollars in tickets despite the fact that transportation officials were aware that ‘yellow-light times’ had dropped below federal minimum guidelines

2015

Lawsuits were filed alleging that the city violated its own rules by mismanaging the $600 million red-light program. Allegations included:

  • Failure to send a second violation notice before guilt was determined.
  • The doubling of fines for late payments before allowed to do so.

2016

A Cook County judge approved “class action status” for the existing legal actions.  The judge’s rule created a significant increase in City Hall’s exposure to liability.

And today

Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral administration has agreed to pay $38.75 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleges that the city failed to give sufficient notice to alleged red-light camera violators. Under the agreement, people who were ticketed from 2010 to 2015 will be reimbursed. More than 1.2 million people may receive a refund equal to half of their fines paid. Those eligible will receive written instructions as to how to collect their refund. Additionally, the city will:

  • Forgive $12 million in unpaid tickets
  • Disqualify violations that might result in car boots or suspended licenses

By 2018, the city will receive a $10 million bribery scandal settlement from Redflex . This amount will be added to the city’s allocation of $26.75 million within the budget. The city will first use available operating funds ,and then use bond proceeds when necessary.

Lyft Policies Under Scrutiny in New Lawsuit

The rights and responsibilities of the major ride-sharing services have been called into question frequently over the past few years.  Lyft, which is one of the top ride share services in the country, is now a defendant in a civil lawsuit that is quickly gaining national attention.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Josie Saint Fleur, is the mother of Karenine Saint Louis, a 13-year old girl who died in a terrible car crash on July 9, 2017.  The lawsuit alleges that the girl took a Lyft ride to the home of Jimmy Aguirre, a 17-year old, at 5:30am.  When she arrived at his home, she got into his pickup truck and soon after died when the truck drove into two trees just outside of Lantana, FL.

The lawsuit has named several co-defendants including Aguirre, Aguirre’s mother, Lyft’s corporate entity, and the Lyft driver that is believed to have taken Saint Louis from her home to Aguirre’s home.  According to state records, Aguirre only has a Class E learning permit and not a full drivers license.  This means that Aguirre was required by law to have an adult over the age of 21 with him whenever he is driving a car.

Lyft and its driver are facing even further scrutiny for its role in the event.  According to Lyft’s corporate practice, the company is not supposed to pick up any passengers that are under the age of 17.  The lawsuit states that the driver of the Lyft should have requested the girl’s ID and refuse the ride if the girl could not provide a valid ID.  There is even a 24-hour call line for Lyft drivers to use in these types of events.

At this point the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has yet to file any criminal charges, although it has acknowledged that the investigation is ongoing.  The local reporters looking into the case and lawsuit have not been able to receive any comments from Aguirre, his family, Lyft, or the Lyft corporate office.  Friends and family of Karenine have created a page online in hopes of raising enough money to pay for her funeral.

Contaminated-scope law

After Richard Bigler’s death due to pancreatic cancer caused by a contaminated Olympus scope, Theresa Bigler filed a lawsuit against Virginia Mason Medical Center. In turn, the hospital filed a case against their supply company, Olympus. However, a 12-member jury determined that the hospital also shared some blame and thus they needed to compensate the affected family. The compensation was set at $1 million whereas Olympus was ordered to pay $6.6 million damage fee for a superbug outbreak which had affected the hospital’s reputation.

Olympus was impressed with the jury’s decision, and one of its officials gave a condolence message to the Bigler family on behalf of the company. In their statement, Olympus appreciated the jury for acknowledging that their duodenoscope design was safe and was not the cause of Mr. Bigler’s death. However, the jury blamed Olympus for failing to give adequate warnings regarding the scope and also instructions on how to safely use it. This, according to the jury, led to the death of Bigler and also ruined the reputation of Virginia Mason Medical Center. One member of the jury claimed that Olympus hadn’t been playing by the rules for a long time and hence the verdict was appropriate since it held the company accountable.

According to the jury, Olympus was supposed to prioritize patient’s safety over their profit gains. One of the Olympus experts admitted that trials and lawsuits could help in behavioral change hence the ruling would most probably convince Olympus and other device managers to work by the rules. Most medical and legal experts were surprised at how Olympus fared in the case considering that there were numerous similar lawsuits against the company.

There are more than 25 families and patients who have sued Olympus due to wrongful deaths, negligence, or fraud. As a result, federal prosecutors are investigating Olympus to determine their potential role in patient infections. Considering that Olympus duodenoscopes are used to treat and diagnose problems in the digestive tract such as bile duct blockages, cancers, and gallstones, it is imperative that the devices are made with utmost precision.

Evidently, Olympus acted recklessly by failing to warn U.S. hospitals about previous superbug outbreaks and also for not fixing an outright design flaw in their scope which made disinfection and cleaning hard. On the other hand, the hospital should have asked for a cleaning and disinfection manual from Olympus to ensure their patient’s safety. All in all, the decision was fair for all the affected parties.