Austin Mom Sues Austin Independent School District for Injuring Her Son

Nidia Heston, a mother from Austin, Texas, recently sued Austin Independent School District (AISD) in a federal court. She claims a teaching assistant at Clint Small Jr. Middle School, Jennifer Hardison, injured her son by hitting him with a trashcan.

State Law Protection

In the U.S. state law prevents government institutions from spending public funds on personal injury cases. It’s commonly known as sovereign immunity. The law ensures that public schools to stick to their curriculum without worrying about accident-related liability.

The Boy’s Health Condition

Nidia stated that her son has autism and a psychological disorder; and requires special attention both at home and in school. She believes that Austin Independent School’s administration should understand her child’s condition.

The Physical Assault

On March 30, 2016, Jennifer assaulted the boy physically by throwing a trash can. Nidia requested KVUE to hide her son’s identity, as he is a minor. Court photos and records clearly showed that the child suffered injury and bled. Also, Jennifer chipped his tooth and broke his permanent trainer. Upon getting the news, Nidia rushed her son to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

All this time, the boy was crying thinking that he had violated school regulations. He blamed himself for being hit by the aide. Nidia further explained how the trashcan injured her son. She said that it would be difficult for an individual to see most injuries apart from a broken tooth.

After leaving ER, the boy discovered what had occurred. He became infuriated and fell ill. He laid down on a cold cement floor. After a while, Nidia and her son had to go back to ER and miss grandfather’s burial. He would have been the pallbearer.

Martin J. Cirkiel, Heston’s attorney, said that Nidia and her child went through a tough time. Nidia’s family sued AISD for violating Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.

Cirkiel stated that the key role of a lawyer is to educate the judiciary and the public to protect the rights of all citizens.

Last May, KVUE defenders published a report on school districts’ immunity to personal injury cases. Nidia confessed that she didn’t expect the court to hear her lawsuit.

Over a year before the incident, Nidia requested a paraprofessional work with her child. She sought a replacement for his aide ten months before the assault. She wasn’t sure of his safety. However, AISD ignored her request.

The Court’s Verdict

Jennifer Hardison pleaded guilty to the charges and was put on probation for two years. AISD asked the court to dismiss Nidia’s lawsuit claiming she didn’t use all legislative solutions.

 

Swinomish Files Lawsuit Against Big Pharmaceutical Company For Perpetuating Opioid Crisis

Big Pharmacy is no stranger to lawsuits and this time they’re in a bind against not only an individual but an entire tribe. The Swinomish Native American tribe in Washington has filed a lawsuit against huge pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson and Johnson. Purdue Pharma is on the prime manufacturers of the deadly and addictive drug, Oxycontin. The Swinomish tribal community claims that the companies used false and misleading advertising techniques that “fueled the opioid epidemic and results in death and devastation to Swinomish families.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of Native Americans and Alaska Natives dying from opioid overdoes skyrocketed four-fold between 1999 and 2013. By 2014, Native Americans had the highest death rate from opioid overdoes out of any other ethnic group in the country. The lawsuit attributes this increase and epidemic to the pharmaceutical companies. Further, the lawsuit states that the opioid epidemic affects the tribe culturally and economically and deceptive companies must be held accountable.

Swinomish Tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby, the former president of the National Congress of American Indians says of the lawsuit: “We have been holding funerals while these companies reap record profits. It is time they are held accountable for the destruction they’ve caused in the Swinomish community.”

Purdue Pharmaceutical attempted to dismiss the Swinomish lawsuit but a King County Superior Court judge shut them down. Purdue also tried to counter lawsuits in South Carolina and Oklahoma and was not allowed.

For short-time rehabilitation to currently struggling opioid addicts, The Swinomish tribe established its own opioid dependency treatment center called The Didg’alic Wellness Center. “Didg’alic” is a Lushootseed word that translates roughly to “place where camas was dug” Camas is both a flower and food staples amongst Native American culture. This wellness center has been the Swinomish tribe’s way of taking back control in the out-of-control opioid crisis brought on by Big Pharma, but they feel the lawsuit will bring further justice.

Cladoosby sums up: “It’s very important for the companies to understand we feel they created a plague in the United States, and we don’t feel they’re doing enough to address it.”

Pierce County Judge Sanctions Backpage.com after CEO’s Guilty Plea in a Lawsuit

A Judge in Pierce County has ordered the sanctioning of Backpage.com in an ongoing lawsuit involving two teen girls who were allegedly sold for sex on the mentioned website.

The girls maintained that the plea agreement in which the former Backpage.com entered, in a separate criminal case, conflicted the assertions of the defendants in the lawsuit.

Ferrer acknowledged that he and Backpage.com executives and owners had known that most of the website’s escort ads were for prostitution. Further, he confessed that they had edited out the explicit references to prostitution so the ads would become a little less apparent to give the company deniability.

In light of that, the attorneys, Michael Pfau, Vincent Nappo and Jason Amala, representing the girls asserted that the group was dishonest about that in the lawsuit.

The motion filed by the girls’ attorneys stated that Ferrer’s admissions indicate the defendants of Backpage.com have deliberately and continually made misrepresentations in discovery, depositions, and pleadings to the court with the intention of obstructing the civil justice system and to needlessly inflate the costs of litigation to the victims of minor trafficking.

Judge Helen G. Whitener, the superior court judge, concurred and on Thursday ordered Backpage.com, Ferrer and its owners to pay the girls $200,000 in compensation, reported the girls’ attorneys.

Besides, Whitener said the defendants had willfully and unjustifiably failed to produce the 1.2 million documents sought by the girls as part of the lawsuit. And that if they failed to produce the records within 60 days, they would have to pay up to $1.2 million.

In the lawsuit, the two teens were identified as R.O. and K.M, and they said they were victims of sex trafficking in 2014 and 2015 aged about 14 and 16.

Backpage.com participated in the abuse by editing the online ads to make them less conspicuous, they were for sex, alleged the teens in the lawsuit filed last year.

They argue that Ferrer’s plea is a clear indication their allegations are true. Ferrer pleaded guilty in Arizona, California, and Texas to committing federal states crimes, the conspiracy to facilitate prostitution and money laundering included.

In April 2018, the FBI and other U.S. law enforcement agencies seized and shut down the website.

 

Legal Organizations Sue the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Mistreating Detained Minors

A judge in California instructed the American border authorities to reunite all separated families within one month. The order has given hope to children who have been separated from their parents and relatives for long.

Mistreatment Lawsuit

Recently, several legal organizations sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for mistreating minors detained in custody. The organizations accused the state of forcing children to take various psychotropic drugs without seeking their parents, relatives or custodian consent. This prevented children from reuniting with their families.

A few days ago, a Californian judge ordered the state to stop separating family members. The state had established a “zero tolerance” policy which prompted separation of families. Further, the judge ordered the federal government to reunite over 2,000 children with their families. Similarly, another lawsuit filed in April accused state-owned facilities of giving children an overdose to manage trauma arising from being separated from their relatives.

The Centre for Human Rights & Constitutional Law

One of the organizations which filed last Friday’s lawsuit, the Centre for Human Rights & Constitutional Law initiated the famous 1997 Flores settlement that explains how the state should treat detained children.

On the other hand, the Trump-led team is requesting a California court to change the settlement. It intends to detain children for long together with their families. Carlos Holguin, the center’s general counsel, said that the Department of Health and Human Services has been mistreating minors for long. His group has been challenging the federal government for over 30 years.

Carlos stated that the government has persistently tried to scrap the legal rights which protect underage children separated from their parents at the border. Currently, over 8,000 minors remain in custody. The legal organizations mainly focus on protecting the rights of all juveniles in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services didn’t comment on the litigation.

The Lawsuit Complainants

Last Friday’s lawsuit includes five children accusing contractors in charge of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement of mistreatment. In one case, a 12-year-old Guatemalan boy detained since February was given psychotropic medication to treat depression.

He developed depression while in custody. The complainant stated that the minor refused to continue with medication since it affected him negatively. The shelter’s officials decided to transfer the boy to Texas-based Shiloh Residential Treatment Centre. The officials of the Centre said that they’ll release the minor once he is psychologically stable.

In a different scenario, a 16-year-old Honduras girl has been treated with Abilify, Clonidine, Prozac, and Seroquel. Despite being partially deaf, border authorities didn’t provide her with hearing aids.

The federal government has many options to control illegal immigration but mistreating children in custody isn’t one of them.

 

Judge Dismisses Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Haddon Township Police Chief

A 2-year statute of limitation has caused the judge to dismiss the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by four senior, male police officers against Haddon township police chief Mark Cavallo. Out of four counts, three were dismissed because though the officers claimed to be victims of sexual harassment since 2008, they cited no incidents since March 2016.

The senior officers had accused their superior of making inappropriate comments to and about them that were sexual in nature, including unwanted verbal solicitations. They stated that he touched them on the upper, inner thigh, and claimed to have witnessed Cavallo doing the same to other police officers.

The township had an attorney investigate the complaints, which the township mayor Randall Teague claimed were submitted after Cavallo had expressed intentions to retire and then changed his mind. Teague mentioned that the allegations were made at a time when police department promotions were being discussed and advertised.

Jeffrey Caccese, the attorney representing the four officers, emphasized that their decision to come forward with their concerns was difficult and not taken lightly. He also emphasized that no action was taken by the township to remedy the troubling situation.

The one remaining complaint in the lawsuit is for a claim of retaliation made after March 2016. This claim was made when Cavallo demanded that the officers had broken the chain of command by criticizing the promotion process.

A fifth officer had filed a lawsuit shortly after being let go in 2015 due to an eye condition that hindered his ability to work. While he had originally claimed to have received inappropriate communications from Cavallo, including sexually charged texts and images, he settled for $175,000 in exchange for agreeing he had no inappropriate communication from him.

The complaints filed by the four officers remain nothing more than allegations after being dismissed, and Cavallo continues to serve as police chief. At 59 years of age, Cavallo has been police chief since 2009 and served on the Haddon Township police force for 34 years.

Meanwhile, the four officers continue to serve under Cavallo, with one accuser—Captain Scott Bishop—serving as the second-highest ranking officer in the department.

 

Joe DiMatteo’s Family Sues West Penn Hospital for His Death

A family in Allegheny sued West Penn Hospital and four doctors for the death of Joe DiMatteo. They claimed that the medical personnel’s malpractice led to the death of their loved one.

Joe DiMatteo Health Condition

Joe DiMatteo, a resident of Allegheny County, suffered from acid reflux for a long time. DiMatteo ran health care podcast for hour-long sessions. When his condition deteriorated, he conducted thorough research on viable treatment options.

Joe chose a device that prevents acid from reaching an individual’s esophagus hoping it would allow him to continue with the podcast as he monitored his family’s pharmacies in Pittsburgh.

On March 21, 2017, Joe underwent minor surgery in West Penn hospital. The surgery involved implanting the medical device. Over the next few months, certified doctors in the hospital did gross malpractice which led to Joe’s demise on June 15, 2017, at the age of 61.

Compensation Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, Mary DiMatteo, Joe’s daughter asked for compensation for her father’s death. Mary was the executor of Joe DiMatteo’s property and the lead plaintiff in the case. Nevertheless, Dan Laurent, West Penn hospital’s spokesman stated that the hospital had no comment to make on the matter.

In the hearing, Mary explained how Joe struggled to eat after the surgery. As a precautionary measure, he avoided food which exacerbated his condition including pasta sauce. With time, the acid reflux adversely affected his voice. He was concerned about his clarity during the podcast.

He visited West Penn Hospital in 2017 and consulted doctors on the best medical treatment options available. Occasionally, he met with Blair Jobe, AHN’s Esophageal and Lung Institute’s director, surgeon Yoshihiro Komatsu, Dr. Fahim Habib, and Dr. Kevi Christopher. They were defendants in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Joe DiMatteo instructed Dr. Christopher and Dr. Komatsu to insert the LINX Reflux Management System to prevent acid from further damaging his esophagus. The LINX system, a little bracelet of magnets is a useful technique in treating acid reflux. The device closes the sphincter area of a patient by adjusting its titanium beads.

Shortly after installation, the device seemed to operate well. However, after a few days, Joe started having trouble swallowing. A month later, he went back to West Penn hospital for an X-ray which revealed that the bracelet had shifted upwards from its initial position.

Joe DiMatteo’s Demise

On April 25, 2017, Joe went to West Penn to undergo surgery to remove LINX device. Dr. Habib and Dr. Komatsu implanted another device. During the surgery, doctors damaged his lymphatic system, causing chyle leak.

He made routine check-up visits at the hospital until June 12, 2017, when he underwent another surgery. Unfortunately, during the operation, Dr. Komatsu cut Joe’s descending aorta. According to the lawsuit, stopping the bleeding was an uphill task since he had been on coagulants.

DiMatteo was placed on life support when his situation worsened. He died three days later after his family agreed to remove him from life support.
Since their father died, the DiMatteos have carried on the pharmacies and podcasts by running Joe’s old shows. Sadly, their mother passed on five months later.

Today, Joe Jr. heads the company and is the lead pharmacist. The company has branches in Oakmont and Penn Hills. Dante also works with the company after graduating with a degree in Pharmacy while Mary handles accounting duties.

New York State Threatens to File A Lawsuit Against Trump’s Policy on Immigration

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has threatened to file a lawsuit against the federal government over its ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy which has resulted in the separation of families of undocumented immigrants. More than 2000 children have been separated from their parents after the families were caught trying to enter the United States illegally. According to Cuomo, the administration’s decision to separate children from their parents and guardians is a violation of the due process.

 

Violation of Constitutional Rights

 

The New York governor, a Democrat, is a known Trump critic and at some point, referred to Trump as ‘ugly.’ Mr. Cuomo said that the lawsuit will be filed in the next two days and will involve three different state agencies. Among the violations that the governor stated is the federal constitutional rights, and he went further to say that the lawsuit will incorporate three different sections of the law. According to the governor and the state of New York, there are at least 70 children being housed in 10 different facilities downstate, including the Bronx, Lincolndale, Yonkers, and Kingston.

 

The Trump administration insists on enforcing federal laws by prosecuting immigrants who cross the border illegally, and since the government can’t hold children in federal jails, they are sent to detention camps. The US Congress is on the process of revising immigration laws to come up with a comprehensive set of legislation to make permanent changes on immigration. State lawmakers in Albany joined the rest of the nation in the condemnation of Trump’s new immigration policy.

 

‘Inhumane’ Policy

 

Gov. Cuomo referred to the administration’s policy on immigration as ‘inhumane,’ saying that separating children from their parents would have a lasting negative effect. State agencies in New York have made several attempts to reach out to the facilities where the children are being held with no avail. The state of New York was trying to offer health and social services for the children. However, this isn’t the first time the governor of New York is threatening to sue the federal government. In January, Andrew Cuomo threatened to sue the federal government over the tax law but didn’t follow through.

 

A 12 Year Old Who Was Forced To Hug Bullies at School Commits Suicide

According to her parents, Mallory Grossman was bullied at school by classmates through text messages, Snapchat messages, and Instagram posts. Unfortunately, she could not handle it and she committed suicide on June 21, 2017. A year later, Grossman’s parents have decided to sue the Board of Education together with the township itself. Allegedly, Copeland Middle School never took significant action despite the parents’ repeated complaints.

Messages of the lawsuit were left for Superintendent Greg McGann together with the school district’s offices but were not returned immediately. Attorney John Laciofano of Rockaway’s township told the NJ Advance Media that a complaint had not yet been served to them. Laciofano pointed out that the matter would be passed on to Rockaway’s insurance carrier.

Attorney Bruce Nagel of Nagel Rice is representing Grossman’s parents, Dianne and Seth Grossman. He is famous for securing huge settlements and jury awards that amount to millions of dollars. According to him, this lawsuit was the first to be filed in New Jersey in relations to cyber-bullying suicide. Nagel said that they have not yet sued the families of the children who bullied Mallory. However, they have been notified of the possibility of a legal action. Nagel said that they still don’t know the status of the investigation despite it being investigated by the prosecutor’s office.

The Grossman family claims that the school failed to adhere to the state’s anti-bullying statute. They claim that the school officials suggested Mallory should avoid her bullies by having lunch in a guidance room instead of the lunchroom. In an attempt at reconciliation, she was then forced to hug her harassers.

Since the tragic loss of her daughter, Dianne Grossman has been an anti-bullying advocate through the Mallory’s Army group. She has expressed how impossible it has been to recover from Mallory’s death but is grateful for the community’s support.

Following the controversies surrounding Mallory’s death, McGann announced he would resign on 1st July. At some point, the Grossmans’ claims were called categorically false by the township’s Board of Education.

In the lawsuit, the complaints want the court to determine punitive damages and an unspecified compensatory.

 

4 Employees Sue UCLA over Workplace Sexual Harassment

Four former female UCLA employees, namely, Krystal Eda, Marya Miguel, Amber Rose Palega, and Jackie Rodriguez have filed a lawsuit against the University of California and Board of Regents for failing to handle abuse complaints appropriately. The case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and the plaintiffs claim that their supervisor, Martha Mansoor harassed them sexually by slapping their buttocks, caressing their thighs, and making uncouth sexual remarks about their bodies. The plaintiffs feel that their allegations were ignored as they were ‘female-to-female.’

These claims fall under the FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act) rights that are meant to protect employees against workplace harassment and discrimination. The plaintiffs allege that the harassment began in 2016 and that the defendant retained her post even after one of the women informed another supervisor of the harassment. Instead, the supervisors retaliated by adding on to the plaintiffs’ workload, thus ensuring that they had no time to seek legal help, claims Darren Richie, the plaintiffs’ lawyer. Retaliation is also covered under FEHA.

The plaintiffs also claim that the complaint process at UCLA is long, confusing and ineffective. They cite a perfect example of the defendant continuing to work with and supervising the plaintiffs even after being alerted to the complaints against her. In spite of the harassment complaints having been submitted earlier in the year, the lawsuit indicates that the school terminated Mansoor in July of 2017. Moreover, UCLA’s internal complaint system showed that only one of the four women was the complainant while the rest were witnesses.

While UCLA did not respond immediately, they later issued a statement claiming that “these allegations are inconsistent with the standards of conduct expected of UCLA staff, faculty and students and we take them very seriously.” UCLA said they were reviewing the lawsuit’s details and would respond appropriately. The statement further encouraged the UCLA community to come forth with any concerns they could be having about the workplace environment.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for sexual harassment, failure of the institution to prevent such harassment, retaliation and discrimination, and deliberate and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Richie says that the four plaintiffs are pursuing more than 120 million dollars in compensation.

 

High School Football Player Collapses and Dies After A Strenuous Training Session in Summer Heat

Lewis Simpkins, a 14-year old student at River Bluff High School collapsed and died after a two-hour and 15 minutes training session in 95-degree heat. This practice session was a punishment by the River Bluff High School football team for performing poorly in a match played the day before. The training session, ordered by the school’s football coaches, comprised of a series of sprints and other strenuous workouts with regular water breaks every 15-20 minutes.

 

Family Lawsuit

 

The parents, Willie and Shonda Simpkins, filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for wrongful death. According to the Simpkins family lawsuit, the 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive tackle collapsed in the high school’s locker rooms minutes after the training sessions. According to fellow teammates, Lewis was struggling throughout the training session and often had to stop and gasp for air. Just when the players thought that the strenuous training session was over, the coaches ordered the defensive players to perform ‘up-downs.’

 

It’s during this drill — where players assume a push-up position on the ground and then bring themselves up to their feet repeatedly — that Lewis’s body gave in to the pressure. After several up-downs, Simpkins leaned on one knee and could not get up. The coaches kept yelling constantly for the players to get up. Simpkins performed one more up-down but couldn’t find the strength to get up. He was moved to the training room where after answering a number of questions, became unresponsive.

 

Pre-Existing Heart Conditions

 

According to Margaret Fisher, the Lexington County Coroner, Lewis Simpkins succumbed to pre-existing heart conditions which were worsened by the extreme heat and humidity during the training session. The lawsuit filed by the family says that the River Bluff High School students were pushed too far in the training sessions without the necessary equipment to protect them from the extreme summer heat. In the lawsuit, the Simpkins family accuses S.C. Board of Education, S.C. High School League, Lexington County, and the Lexington 1 School District for failing in the adoption and enforcement of policies meant to protect the players in extreme weather conditions.