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An Estate Files a $9.5m Suit Against Multnomah County After a Falling Tree Kills an Expectant Woman

The Multnomah Estate of a 30-year-old expectant woman who lost her life when a huge cedar fell onto her Ford SUV has moved to court to seek compensation amounting to $9.50 million. The suit has been filed against the registered owners of the Multnomah County land where the cedar tree grew.

According to the information provided in the lawsuit, Olivier was about four months pregnant when the incident occurred on 1st March 2016, at almost 6:30 am as she was heading to work along the Southeast Oxbow Drive. The cedar tree which was approximately 100-foot tall fell onto the driver’s side of Olivier’s 2001 Ford Explorer and killed her instantly.

Denied Permission

After Olivier’s death, Mark Harrington, the owner of the land where the tree grew came forward and said that the county authorities had denied him the permission to cut down the ill-fated tree and other trees near it that were also in a devastating condition.

Although it isn’t clear why Harrington was denied the permission to cut down the tree, Mr. Pullen, the official county spokesman, says that the county lacks a general code governing the cutting down of trees on private property.

At the time of her death, Olivier was a wife to Jeremy Olivier, and they had a baby boy who was three years old.

The estate where Olivier lived has taken the county to court claiming that the county denied granting the landowners where the tree grew permission to cut it down even after informing them about the rotting nature of the tree. The lawsuit argues that if the county had granted the sought orders to cut down the tree, Olivier’s life couldn’t have been cut short.

Portland attorneys Anthony Furniss and Gregory Leineweber are representing Olivier’s estate in the case which was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Related Cases

The lawsuit filed by Olivier’s estate is the fourth one to be recorded in the past two years over deaths caused by falling trees. A case was filed in 2016 in which the parents of an 11-year-old kid, Lake Oswego after he was killed when a tree fell on top of the car he was riding in.

During the same year, another lawsuit was also filed by the estate of an elderly woman who was killed when a neighbor’s tree fell onto her house at night. This happened in Southeast Portland. A similar case was also reported last year when a 27-year old man was killed while driving along the Columbia Highway.

A Chicago Father Sues Foster Care for Negligence After His 9-Month Old Baby Died

A Chicago northwest father has filed a lawsuit against childcare claiming that the program denied him his constitutional rights and freedom as a father and released his 9-month old daughter to her careless mother who later caused her death. Justin Freeman describes the program in question as an option to foster childcare and claims that the program blatantly declined to release Cherish to his care.

Negligence

Justin Freeman filed a lawsuit on February 7th, 2018 accusing the non-profit organization of negligence by declining to release his daughter to him without the mother’s consent after he was employed. He says that the organization, later on, conspired with the mother of the child and released the 9-month old toddler to her mother without him knowing.

The couple had voluntarily taken their baby to the SFC (Safe families for Children) program in early September after they were unable to provide for themselves. The organization, which is based in Chicago’ northwest side, is a non-profit organization that helps parents who are unable to provide for their toddlers.

The baby died on December 20, 2017, shortly after she had been released into her careless mother’s custody against the wish of her father. Justin Freeman believes that baby Cherish Freeman died as a result of Shanquilla Garvey’s actions inside her Joliet motel’s room.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit further claims that Freeman believes that his child could not have died if her custody had been handed to him instead of the mother since he knew the nature of environment the mother was living in and the kind of people that hang around her although his plea was ignored despite raising these concerns. The lawsuit further states that there had been previous serious allegations leveled against Shanquilla Garvey by the father of her other kids.

Justin Freeman states how he loved his daughter so dearly that he wouldn’t allow anything wrong to happen to her if he was allowed to take her from the organization.

SFC organization declined to talk about the matter and only stated that the organization was shocked and saddened to learn about the death of baby Cherish Freeman and reiterated the fact that parents retain complete guardianship of their kids even when they are at the organization.

Shanquilla Garvey, the baby’s mother was arraigned in court and charged with provoked battery; denied cash bond and is still locked up in custody.

Deutsche Bank in Dayton Hit with Discrimination Suit

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) filed charges against Deutsche Bank, and several subsidiaries, for discrimination in minority neighborhoods. The suit filed on February 1 in federal court alleges that Deutsche Bank purposely neglected its foreclosed properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Dayton and in other communities.

The NFHA based its suit on collected evidentiary photographs, as well as a Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) study of neglected homes in the Dayton area from 2011-2016. The NFHA alleges that Ocwen and Altisource, companies that administer property for Deutsche Bank, have largely abandoned foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods while providing expected upkeep in predominantly white neighborhoods.

The NFHA report examined 36 foreclosed properties owned by Deutsche Bank in the Dayton area. 21 of these homes are in predominantly white neighborhoods with 15 in African-American areas. The reports note that nearly 75 percent of properties in minority neighborhoods had overgrown grass and dead leaves against just one-third of homes in white communities. 40 percent of properties in neighborhoods of color were strewn with garbage compared to 23.8 percent of white homes. 53 percent of homes in African-American communities had dead or dying trees and shrubs, whereas just 28.6 percent of properties in white communities were in the same condition.

Banks are required to maintain foreclosed properties by mowing lawns, maintaining yards, and performing general upkeep.

A Deutsche Bank representative stated that the bank’s only duty is to hold the property as a trustee. However, a representative from Altisource refuted the charges stating that the MVHFC study had been discredited by a 2016 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) analysis while maintaining that the NFHA’s contentions unfairly characterize Altisource’s record in property preservation.

Dayton is not the only city where such charges have been leveled against Deutsche Bank. The NFHA has sued them for discriminatory practices in 30 other communities across the United States. Nor is it the first time the MVFHC has been involved in such a suit. In 2016, it was part of a coalition of 20 groups which filed discrimination charges against Fannie Mae, a federally-backed manager of property loans and mortgages.

Record $100-Million Settlement Awarded to Helicopter Crash Survivor

record $100-million settlement has been awarded to a medivac flight nurse who received burns to over 90 percent of their body in a helicopter crash. David Repsher, 47, was a registered nurse for Air Methods Corporation, an emergency medical transport company. The helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff in July 2015, killing the pilot and injuring another flight nurse as well as the catastrophic injuries to Repsher.

The settlement occurred about a month before the case was to come to trial. The helicopter crashed in Frisco, Colorado, about 70 miles west of Denver. The three men were to attend a Boy Scout camp event. No patients were on board.

The case revolved around the fact that the helicopter’s manufacturer, French company Airbus Helicopters SAS, failed to outfit the helicopter with a crash-resistant fuel system. The manufacturer took advantage of a loophole. Crash-resistant fuel systems were mandated for all helicopters certified (not manufactured) after 1994. The U. S. Government found as of November 2014 that eighty-five percent of U.S. registered helicopters manufactured after 1994 lacked crash-resistant fuel systems.

David Repsher’s burns covered over 90 percent of his body. Some of those burns extended down to the bone. Mr. Repsher spent 11 months in a burn intensive-care unit. He’s had over one hundred surgeries. In addition to a permanent loss of hearing, he is permanently disfigured and suffers the functional loss of his hands. He required months of physical therapy to relearn how to eat, swallow, talk, stand and walk.

The $100-million settlement is divided between Airbus Helicopters ($55 million) and Air Methods Corporation ($45 million). In addition to the fuel system issues, the investigation showed that Repsher’s seat was not adequately attached to the helicopter floor causing him to be ejected from the aircraft. The pilot of the helicopter was implicated because he turned off a hydraulic switch that delivered hydraulic pressure for the tail rotor.

Airbus Helicopters is implementing enhanced safety features on all newly manufactured aircraft. Air Methods has replaced the downed aircraft with improved safety features and has retrofitted their other helicopters.

Dave Repsher and his wife, Amanda, have established a foundation which focuses on aircraft safety for medical evacuation aircraft and to help other burn victims.

The Mother of a Teen Who Disappeared in 2005 Files a Lawsuit against a TV Series Organizers Who Duped Her into Providing Her DNA

Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalee Holloway, has filed a lawsuit against Oxygen media seeking compensation amounting to $35 million in what she terms as a well-orchestrated plan by the company to dupe her into providing her DNA in the making of a 2017 true crime series on her kid’s disappearance. Beth terms the move by Oxygen Media as reckless and outrageous. Natalee’s mother, who is currently a school teacher, filed the lawsuit on February 2nd, 2018 in Federal court, Birmingham.

The Lawsuit

The 44-page affidavit lists Oxygen Media and Brian Graden Media as the principal defendants.Beth is accusing the two companies of making false declarations that they had discovered how her daughter died and where she was buried.The two companies further claimed that the body of the teen was exhumed five years after her death and her remains desecrated.

The lawsuit further claims that the actions of the two companies made Beth hear, watch, and read about the false ordeal that her daughter went through. This made her believe that Natalee was likely dragged, raped, maimed, killed and her body buried. The series which was titled “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway” aired at least six episodes between August 19th, 2017 and September 23rd, 2017. The teen’s father, Mr. Dave Holloway, and a private investigator named T.J. Ward appeared in the series.

According to Beth Holloway, the defendants lied to her and the whole world that the series was real-time and it was a legitimate investigation into new leads. However, Beth claims that the show was well-planned, preconceived, and written in advance.

Week after week, she was forced to watch every episode and follow every headline to discover the horrors that befell her little daughter. To make things worse, the defendants capitalized on her agony and desire to find her daughter’s remains to ask her for a DNA to test against the remains they claimed that they had discovered.

The lawsuit claims that the two defendants knew that they were lying and they had not discovered and would not discover the remains of Natalee. The two defendant went ahead and used Beth Holloway’s DNA on the outrageous show without her permission and under the guise of carrying out a legitimate investigation.

Natalee Holloway disappeared on May 30th, 2005 while in Aruba in the company of over 130 of her graduated classmates.

Oak Park Contractors Sued Over Fraudulent Business Practices

Oak Park Contractors are facing charges of contractual malpractice. The sued are the President of Anthony Remodeling Painting and Decorating Inc., Sharon Shimek, and Anthony Taglia, who is the company’s business representative. The office of the Attorney of Cook County filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against the two on three grounds;

1. Nonrefundable hefty deposits

The lawsuit alleges that these contractors received hefty deposits from their customers. Additionally, they refused to refund the deposit in the cases where they failed to perform the contracted work. This is a breach of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.

2. Masquerading as licensed contractors

The lawsuit alleges that the two contractors are not correctly licensed under the state’s law. It continues to state that they sold time limited discounted offers to unwary customers, despite the fact that they knew they could not meet that timeline. They allegedly reached out to these clients via the phone, email or over the internet.

3. Blackmailing clients

The third allegation against the defendants is that they blackmailed their customers into accepting new contracts changes by withholding services. They orchestrated the said changes to increase the cost of the contract. They are also accused of refusing to honor valid contract cancellations.

According to the state attorney’s office, six people have been affected by these fraudulent practices losing a total of $24,500. It points out that the complaints date to back to 2012.

Speaking on the lawsuit against him, Anthony Taglia pointed out that he has done nothing fraudulent. He claimed that he has been in the business since 1991 and has conducted over 100 deals annually and the six cases against him do not have any weight.

On the second account, he points out that there is no requirement for a permit when painting a house. Nevertheless, he has had a permit since 2012 that he only uses when doing construction jobs. On the third allegation, he explains that their actions were obligated by the situations their clients placed them into.

The aim of the lawsuit is to seek a refund for the customers and the banning of the defendants for the allegedly unfair and deceptive practices. The defendants face civil penalties of up to $50,000 if found guilty.

Lawsuit Filed Over Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting

On January 6, 2017, Esteban Santiago, a war veteran with schizophrenia, took a one-way Delta flight from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale. He traveled lighter than most, his only luggage a Walther PPS 9mm semiautomatic pistol and ammunition that he checked in. During the flight, he was unruly and aggressively argued with other passengers in view of airline employees.

Airport policy is to deliver the checked firearm to the passenger when he or she is outside of the building. However, this policy was not followed. Santiago retrieved his gun, concealed himself in a restroom to load the weapon, and then opened fire in the baggage claim area. He killed five and injured six more.

Among the slain was Olga Woltering. The 84-year-old woman had flown to Fort Lauderdale with her husband, Ralph Woltering, to take a family cruise and celebrating Ralph’s 90th birthday. She was shot in the head while sitting in her wheelchair, dying instantly. Her husband, standing next to her, survived.

Olga’s family have hired an attorney, David Di Pietro, to represent them in court. A lawsuit has been filed in Broward Circuit Court against several entities including Delta Air Lines and Broward County Commission. The family is asking for damages for pain and suffering.

In the months after the shooting, multiple criticisms have been leveled against the Fort Lauderdale Airport and responding agencies. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office released a report in June 2017 scrutinizing official response to the shooting. Some criticisms include:

  • Although Santiago was reached and restrained by in-airport officers within 85 seconds, the rest of the official response was far less efficient and orderly.
  • Miscommunication over the county radio system led responders to believe there were multiple shooters in different airport terminals.
  • No emergency number was set up, which resulted in the 911 system being overwhelmed with calls.
  • Witnesses to the shooting were held within view of the victims.
  • Passengers on the tarmac were held for up to 10 hours without water, food, shelter, or information on what was happening.

Delta Air Lines has expressed sadness over the shooting but has no other comment on the incident or pending lawsuit.

Santiago is currently in Miami’s Federal Detention Center. He is scheduled for trial in June.

NHL Predator’s Face Ice Injury Lawsuit

Eric Nystrom was a National Hockey League (NHL) player. As a college student, he played with the Michigan Wolverines hockey team. He was sought after in the 2002 NHL draft with a first-round pick of tenth overall. His father Bob Nystrom, who was born in Sweden and grew up in Alberta, played with the NHL New York Islanders that won four consecutive Stanley Cups.

In 2005, Nystrom turned professional and played with the Quad City Flames, a farm team of the Calgary Flames, an NHL franchise. Nystrom split the 2007-2008 season between the Quad City Flames and the Calgary Flames. Eric Nystrom went on with his NHL career and played with the Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators. Before the 2017-2018 NHL season, the Predators put Nystrom on waivers and bought out the last year of a four year contract with Nystrom. This action of the Predators against Nystrom effectively ended his NHL career.

Professional hockey is a very tough and somewhat violent sport. There is a high incidence of injuries in professional sports which are both popular and profitable. For instance, Professional sports in California in baseball, women and men’s basketball, hockey, and soccer have produced thousands of work injury claims.

Following Nystrom’ release from the Predators, he sought financial relief for three injuries he suffered playing professional hockey. Nystrom claimed that he suffered from ” permanent partial ” injuries to his hip and leg, on Sept. 3, 2013; a concussion on Nov. 15, 2013; and a back injury on Jan. 12, 2014.

Hockey is as prone to severe injuries like football, and it has been reported that hockey players suffer brain injuries from concussions. The Canadian Medical Journal found that between 1997 to 2004 five hundred fifty-nine concussions were reported in hockey players. The symptoms of a brain injury range from dizziness to blurred vision.

In Tennessee, work injury claims, are subject to provisions of the Workers Compensation Act. Nystrom is seeking a lifetime of medical payments and further economic relief. Not all states recognize that sports injuries are covered under Worker Compensation legislation. In response to Nystrom’s lawsuit, the Predators denied all the allegations in his suit, claimed that it had no knowledge of the injuries, Nystrom was not permanently disabled and the Predators never authorized medical treatment to him.

Carbon Monoxide Death Case Results in Family’s High-Dollar Settlement

A boy from Rock Hill, SC, died in 2013 due to carbon monoxide poisoning after staying at a Best Western motel in Boone, NC. Located 100 miles north of Charlotte, NC, the boy and his mother had stopped for the night at the motel, resulting in the boy’s death, and in serious injury occurring to the mother. The boy, Jefferey Williams, died due to leaking carbon monoxide that was coming from the motel’s swimming pool heating system. The mother, Jeannie Williams, suffered serious injuries also due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Six weeks previously, Shirley and Daryl Jenkins, of Washington State, had died in the exact same room. However, at the time of that incident, officials were unable to locate carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of their deaths. The Williams family filed wrongful death and injury lawsuits against Best Western and other parties involved and agreed to settle the suit for a sum of $12 million. The Jenkins family also filed lawsuits, which their attorney has said was settled for a considerable amount of money. The manager of the Best Western at the time, Damon Mallatere, also faced manslaughter charges, but those charges have since been dismissed. Instead, his management company plead guilty to three counts of manslaughter. In January 2018, Mallatere filed a lawsuit against the city of Boone for malicious prosecution. Mallatere claims he has not been able to find a job since the manslaughter charges were filed against him.

Since the incident, the Williams family has founded the Jeffery Lee Williams Foundation, which works to raise carbon monoxide safety awareness. The North Carolina General Assembly created a law that is designed to help prevent carbon monoxide tragedies, making it a requirement for hotels, motels, and other lodgings to install carbon monoxide alarms near possible sources of carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, furnaces that burn fossil fuels, and other appliances.

Best Western has since ordered that carbon monoxide alarms be placed in all rooms. They also replaced the pool heater, which burned natural gas, with an electric one. Due to the state medical examiner’s skipping important deaths during suspicious deaths cases, North Carolina has since doubled their pay and instated mandatory training to rectify the issue.

Conductor Files Lawsuit In Fatal Amtrak Derailment

Between June 24, 2011, and April 3, 2016, there were nine Amtrak accidents in which nineteen people were killed and at least six hundred passengers were injured. In eight of the accidents, the cars derailed. The direct causes of the accidents involved a train hitting rocks, cattle feed truck, tractor-trailer, a truck and a train speeding in a curve out of control.

The last recorded Amtrak accident was on December 18, 2017. While this inaugural Amtrack train route could carry two hundred and fifty people, on December 18th, there were at least seventy-eight passengers and five Amtrak crew members. This route was the first time the train was running, leaving the Tacoma, Washington station, setting a course with the high-speed Amtrak Cascades 501 through the Point Defiance Bypass, from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

After the train left the Tacoma station, it derailed traveling at least 80 miles per hour at a curve which allowed only 30 miles per hour and the engine and four passenger coaches fell over an overpass with two dangling, and the other two fell onto the busy southbound lanes onto Interstate 5. A truck trailer and a passenger car were damaged. As a result of the derailment, three passengers were killed, and at least 80 passengers were injured.

Of the first lawsuits to be filed, one was one by a conductor in the lead engine that derailed, 48-year-old Garrick Freeman. Mr. Freeman filed a complaint because he suffered severe injuries to his pelvis and ribs. He will require extensive rehabilitation to relearn how to walk. A passenger, Pennie Contrell broke her collarbone and ribs. She also suffered an injury to her neck and internal injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this accident. Some issues to be investigated is the exact cause of the accident, whether the conductor and the crew were adequately trained to operate and navigate the new route and whether a system of positive train control could have avoided the accident. Further, before the accident, both engineers and conductors, like Mr. Freeman, complained that they informed their supervisors that they were not adequately trained to navigate the new high-speed rail system. However, notwithstanding Freeman’s concerns, Amtrak placed him in the lead engine the morning of the accident.