Victims of Wawa Data Breach Pursue a Class Action Lawsuit

The Christmas season is normally a time for shopping, celebrating, and exchanging gifts with loved ones. Instead, customers of Wawa convenience stores got a not-so-merry surprise just before the holidays. On December 19, 2019, the nationwide chain announced a massive data breach that compromised the credit and debit card data of thousands of customers. In the aftermath of the breach, several customers are suing the chain for negligence, claiming the company failed to take suitable security measures to protect sensitive data from cyberattacks.

Wawa is the latest in a string of major companies targeted by hackers who install malicious software to gain ongoing access to payment data. According to CEO Chris Gheysens, hackers used malware to breach the payment processing systems at in-store terminals and fuel stations across 850 locations. For unsuspecting customers who swiped their credit or debit cards, the breach potentially exposed their names, card numbers, and expiration dates — the only details needed for many online purchases. While the company isn’t sure which of its stores were affected, Gheysens assured the public that debit card PINs, CVV security codes, and ATM transactions weren’t compromised in the cyberattack.

In an apology letter on behalf of Wawa, Gheysens stated that the malware was introduced sometime after March 4, 2019, and wasn’t detected until December 10. With the help of forensic specialists and law enforcement, Wawa was able to contain the breach by December 12 and narrow down the nine-month timeframe when the intrusion likely took effect. Gheysens also announced that the company is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to safeguard customers from further threats. Unfortunately for some customers, the company’s efforts didn’t come soon enough.

As of December 29, 2019, Wawa is facing six lawsuits that may develop into a class action complaint. One data breach plaintiff, Tabitha Hans-Arroyo, says she lost access to her Capital One credit card funds on Christmas Eve when the company blocked a suspicious $2,535.15 charge. Like other victims of cyberattacks, Hans-Arroyo has to deal with the inconvenience of an account freeze during the holidays, as well as the lingering uncertainty about other data that could have been exposed.

The suit seeks to hold Wawa accountable for falling short of consumer protection laws and taking a “cavalier” approach to cybersecurity. In the meantime, other retail chains should learn from this recent data breach and be vigilant about conducting routine security checks and keeping up with the latest risk prevention recommendations from the Federal Communications Commission.

Common Failure to Diagnose Personal Injury Cases

When physicians and other healthcare providers fail to accurately and correctly diagnose a life-threatening medical condition, it can have dangerous consequences. Mistakes and misdiagnoses may leave many patients and their families with no other option but to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to get the financial assistance and compensation they now need. Issues such as a stroke or heart attack can result in permanent disability and death in the event that they are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in time. There are some conditions that are misdiagnosed more commonly than others.

Pulmonary Embolism: This is a condition caused by a blood clot that obstructs the flow of blood through the lung arteries. This embolism is a serious health issue since the lack of blood flow causes damage to the lung tissue, as well as other organs in the body. Prompt care is essential in order to help with the chances of a successful recovery. The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are usually confused with other medication conditions, which delays treatment. Patients that do manage to survive a pulmonary embolism after a misdiagnosis usually suffer permanent disability.

Mental Illness and Depression: Mental illness and depression are more common than most people realize and the conditions are hard to correctly diagnose. Those who suffer from mental illness may be more likely to harm others around them or themselves, especially in a situation where an incorrect diagnosis leaves them unable to get proper care and supervision. It’s rare for mental illnesses to pose a direct physical threat to a patient but a psychiatric emergency can still be life-threatening. A healthcare provider that doesn’t have the right experience can miss the signs that a patient can be at risk for violence or self-harm.

Heart Attack or Stroke: Despite their prevalence, heart attacks still go undiagnosed regularly. Confusing symptoms of a stroke or heart attack with another medical condition means that treatment can be delayed until it is too late. Patients may not get the surgical procedure or anti-coagulates that could end up saving their life.

While healthcare providers do everything in their power to accurately diagnose an illness, failing to properly diagnose a condition is one of the leading causes of healthcare providers getting sued for medical malpractice. Those who suffer due to improper care can be entitled to compensation.

Sex Trafficking Using Facebook Sets Off a Lawyer’s Unique Argument

Tech companies have avoided a lot of legal consequences, due to a 1996 law that protects them from lawsuits. However, Houston personal injury attorney Annie McAdams is hoping to change all of this.

McAdams is starting a legal fight against Facebook and similar tech companies and accusing them of helping facilitate the sex trafficking of minors. In a series of different lawsuits in Texas, Missouri, Georgia, and California, McAdams is using this new argument to fight the law and is finding some success early on. This year, a judge in Texas has denied Facebook’s attempts to dismiss the lawsuits.

This law says in Section 230 that Internet companies, just like Facebook, aren’t liable for what users post. McAdams’s argument is that in the case of pimps using social media in order to lure children into prostitution, there should be separate laws that require the tech companies to warn users of the risk and do more in order to prevent it. She says that there isn’t another industry that has the luxury of protection and isn’t held accountable for anything they have caused.

McAdams’s lawsuits are also part of a boarder effort to use the courts to end this law that governs the Internet. This law has been debated on the campaign trail and in Washington but there isn’t legislation that is expected anytime soon in order to weaken it. Instead, there are lawyers that are pushing ahead with lawsuits in order to challenge the protection of Internet companies. In the years past, the rulings have actually strengthened the law but now the cracks are beginning to show. For example, in 2016, a federal appeals court ruled that the law didn’t protect a modeling website that was used by two men to lure women they subsequently drugged and sexually assaulted. It was ruled that the site’s owners knew of this threat and failed to warn women.

Facebook has asked a judge in Houston to dismiss two of McAdams’s lawsuits due to the immunity offered under Section 230. However, the judged denied the motions. Facebook then responded to this decision with a 50-page petition. The approach of McAdams could prove significant and if the Texas rulings hold up, it could persuade other judges and even draw the Supreme Court to weigh in.

Lawsuit Filed by Special Education Teacher Dismissed by State Supreme Court

Recently, it was announced that the state dismissed a lawsuit filed by an Irvington School Board teacher against the local school district. The lawsuit was filed by a special education teacher who claimed she sustained grievous injuries in an attacking leveled by one of her students several years ago. Special education students are often bused into Irvington School District in an effort to improve the education of children with special needs. Often, these students are prone to expressing extreme outrage and temper tantrums that place both students and staff at risk.

According to documents that were filed, that is exactly what happened to this special education teacher. The teacher claimed that she suffered an elbow injury at the hands of one of her students. According to her, this injury caused not only physical distress but also emotional and psychological trauma as well. The lawsuit claimed that the school district was liable for her injuries and was seeking compensation for the trauma she endured.

In extensive court filings, which included emails between this teacher and the school board, the teacher warned the school district about the temper tantrums this student was prone to expressing. The teacher also expressed fear for both the safety of staff and students because of this one student’s emotional lability. She claims that, despite the extensive email warnings, the school failed to take sufficient action to protect its students and staff from harm.

In contrast, the school district attorney claimed that the district was not liable for the injuries and further distress suffered by the teacher because the injuries and any complications stemming from the injury were related to work. Therefore, they were covered under the worker’s compensation agreements and statutes that this teacher presumably sought. In his decision, the state Supreme Court judge expressed his agreement with the argument put forth by the school district, saying the case was not properly before the court and would be dismissed.

The legal counsel for the teacher expressed his disappointment. He stated that he had hoped the court would see the case his way but that he was not done yet. He was discussing other options with his client, who continues her pursuit of compensation.

When a Workplace Injury Requires Filing a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Third Party

If you have suffered a workplace injury, workers’ compensation may not cover all of your expenses. However, in limited circumstances, an employee who suffers a workplace injury can file a lawsuit against an employer or a negligent third party.

An example would be if there was a safety violation, a dangerous condition, or a toxic substance that caused the injury. Often, these claims occur when there is a negligent third party. You could also sue your employer if they intentionally hurt you or if they don’t carry workers’ comp insurance.

Third-party claims

In the event that an employer doesn’t maintain adequate safety controls, workers’ compensation doesn’t provide punitive damages. That is why is important for injured workers to know their rights and potentially bring a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.

Toxic Substances

If a worker is exposed to a toxic substance such as asbestos, a lawsuit can usually be brought against the manufacturer of the substance. Also, if a worker used safety equipment that didn’t adequately provide protection against the toxic substance, the manufacturer of the equipment can also be held liable for the worker’s injury.

Some injuries caused by toxic substances are immediate, such as a chemical burn. But many times, injuries caused by toxic substances do not appear for a number of years. But even if there is a time delay, injured workers can succeed in winning lawsuits and receiving monetary damages for their injuries.

Hazardous Conditions

Jobs in factories, transportation, and construction are where workers are most likely to be faced with hazardous conditions that could result in an injury.

A factory worker could bring a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer if the worker suffered an injury caused by machinery that was defective or didn’t work properly. If the manufacturer knew that the equipment or machinery was dangerous, they could be required to provide the injured worker with compensation.

Similarly, a truck driver can bring a lawsuit against a manufacturer of a truck part that is determined to be defective and caused the driver to be injured. If a construction worker is injured on a job site, a claim could be brought against a negligent party, such as an engineer, architect, general contractor or equipment manufacturer.

Seek legal assistance

If you have suffered a workplace injury, you may be eligible for benefits beyond what is provided through workers’ compensation. To receive the benefits you deserve, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney who understands both personal injury law and the workers’ compensation system.

 

Johnson City advocates new policy for tort medical injury payouts.

America’s health care system grows increasingly complex for all parties, and this leads to repercussions even in the Tri-Cities area. At issue are the discrepancies between the prices charged for medical care and the amount usually paid for those charges in reality. It is unusual, to put it mildly, for health care agencies to be paid the full amount they charge. Insurance companies have the tremendous latitude to negotiate the exact amount disbursed, while the insured, to put it bluntly, tend to declare bankruptcy rather than face the staggeringly inflated prices. This disparity between the “sticker price” of health care and the amount paid has led the Tri-Cities to pursue a policy called the “collateral source rule,” which prevents the defendant in a personal injury suit from showing in court that the plaintiff or their insurance paid less than the full rate for their health care.

The city’s position is that, as the instances of injured people ever paying the charged price for medical care are very rare, then it is unfair to tort defendants to force them to pay out for the full amount. After all, a tort recovery is meant to replace precisely what was wrongfully damaged, not more.

The case used as an example was a personal injury suit brought after a city vehicle hit a local resident on Buffalo Road in 2017. Johnson City Medical Center billed that resident $9,728 for emergency room care and $194,468 for shoulder surgery. However, in the end, Ballad Health considered those expenses discharged for a Medicare payment of only $13,443.71. This is less than 10% of the original charge. This is far from unusual.

However, others believe that removing or reducing the role of the collateral source rule serves only the insurance companies. The collateral source rule helps to stop insurance companies from reducing their damage payouts for medical injuries. This decline in medical bill reimbursement, which can confidently be predicted to be a large decline, would primarily affect the defendants directly. The amount they could expect to gain after being wrongfully injured by city property could decrease precipitously, and there is little clarity about how this would affect the insured compared to the uninsured. It would also remove the incentive for attorneys to represent them.

Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Defamation Lawsuit Against Elon Musk over “Pedo Guy” tweets

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles denied Elon Musk’s request to throw out the case of a British rescue diver who claims Musk called him a “pedo guy.”

Musk and Vernon Unsworth first came to odds when the diver questioned the need for a small submarine the inventor-businessman sent to help in the rescue of a teen soccer team that had become trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.

Unsworth sued Musk after a heated back-and-forth following the successful rescue of the soccer team. It was during that period that Musk called the diver a “pedo guy.”

At first, Musk apologized for accusing Unsworth of pedophilia but then renewed his accusations through emails to BuzzFeed News. Musk added more specific claims, calling Unsworth a “child rapist” who moved to Thailand to find a child bride.

Thailand is known for its sex trafficking and legal child marriage. The country has no minimum age for marriage. Thai children’s rights activist Anchana Heemmina told the Guardian that legal loopholes have made “cross-border marriages” a “big business.”

Musk said in a court deposition released last September he was worried that Unsworth might be “another Jeffrey Epstein.” Court documents show that Musk’s representatives contracted private investigators to “dig up details” in Unsworth.

Unsworth has denied such accusations, but his attorneys have yet to respond. Musk attorney Alex Spiro said, “We look forward to the trial.”

This has been a trying summer for Musk marked by altercations with reporters, the failed attempt to take his Tesla car company private and missed production goals.

The Unsworth case is one of a number of legal actions that Tesla and his companies face. Most notably Tesla is fighting a lawsuit filed by shareholders over the 2016 acquisition of SolarCity and Walmart over Tesla solar panels that caught fire on several of its stores.

Musk told The New York Times that 2018 had been “the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating.” As 2020 fast approaches, Musk appears set to take the offensive against accusers like Unsworth.

California McDonald’s Workers Awarded $26 Million Settlement Over Lost Wages and Working Conditions

After a seven-year battle 38,000, McDonald’s workers have been awarded $26 million by a Los Angeles County Superior Court. The court ruled against McDonald’s Restaurants of California Inc. over an array of claims, including failure to pay minimum and overtime wages and inadequate rest and meal breaks.

The lawsuit focused on corporate-owned McDonald’s that used a timekeeping system designed to bar workers from rest breaks, cheat them out of earned overtime, and have to pay out-of-pocket for cleaning and ironing their uniforms.

Once approved by the judge, this will mark the largest wage settlement ever against the Chicago-based fast-food giant. McDonald’s has been a target of labor organizers for years.

But that isn’t the only problem the home of the Big Mac faces.

On November 12, the American Civil Liberties Union sued McDonald’s on behalf of Michigan workers who claim sexual harassment has gone unchecked in its restaurants.

Adding to its legal woes, a group of Chicago-area workers sued McDonald’s on November 21 over a redesign in their stores that made them vulnerable to attacks by angry customers.

Of the California lawsuit, a McDonald’s spokesperson said the restaurant chain takes its employees seriously and strives to treat its employees fairly. McDonald’s Corp offered a written statement saying:

While we continue to believe our employment practices comply with the California Labor Code, we have decided to resolve this lawsuit filed back in early 2013. With this settlement, the parties have reached a mutually acceptable resolution and have submitted the settlement to the Court for its review and approval.

The company also issued new options and rules that cover rest breaks and meal periods. Employees’ uniforms will also be provided at no cost when they become damaged or worn.

McDonald’s agreed, as a part of the settlement, to compensate employees with a one-hour wage premium on days they aren’t provided a timely rest or meal break. The company said it will allow workers to leave their store during meal breaks “without restrictions.” The company said it will also no longer require workers to take breaks at the beginning or end of shifts

Ohio Counties Benefiting From $20.4M Opioid Settlement

The recent cleanup and attention on healthier communities are much more progressive with involvement from a drug manufacturer. The progress in addressing a community issue is part of the efforts to improve a sporadic health challenge nationally. While avoiding a federal civil trial, Johnson and Johnson will pay Cuyahoga and Summit counties $20.4M to help fight the opioid epidemic. Before the settlement, this was seen as a non-issue by many Americans. With this agreement, the drug manufacturer will pay the counties $10 million in cash, cover $5 million for the localities legal expenses and donate $5.4 million to the area’s local nonprofit groups fighting the opioid epidemic.

Avoiding an expensive federal civil trial is one of the reasons the pharmaceutical giant has reached this settlement. Both Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals can avoid liability with this settlement. This allows the company to avoid some of the demands for resources and uncertainty of a trial. Helping to address the nation’s opioid crisis is making progress as the company is now working in a collaborative way to help people in need. The efforts are focusing on having the healthiest communities and the cooperation is nice for the two Ohio counties. The collaboration between counties might also provide innovative community solutions to benefit many others. The avoidance of Opioid issues is also helpful for states around Ohio and throughout the nation. Serving the constituents of the areas with these types of solutions are also hopeful as nation-wide remedies at some point.

There are more than 2,500 counties, cities and others involved with the numerous lawsuits. The complaint blamed nearly two dozen drug manufacturers, pharmacies, and distributors for being a part of triggering the opioid epidemic with prescriptions for pain medication that were considered highly addictive. The efforts on a state basis are also including Oklahoma with a court order for the company to pay $572 million for being a part of the opioid epidemic in that state. Although the company is appealing this ruling, the current focus on state repairs for the epidemic are supporting healthy communities with nonprofit involvement. Supporters see that the spending allocations and commitments to work towards solutions are helpful on a nation-wide basis.

Will Juul Lab Join Big Tobacco in Big Dollar Lawsuits?

Lisa Marie Vail is going to make history as she is supposedly the first person to file a lawsuit against a vapor manufacturer for the wrongful death of her 18-year-old son, Daniel David Wakefield. Vail claims that the e-cigarette manufacturer is responsible for her son’s addiction to vaping nicotine and his subsequent demise. The suit exists amid much criticism and a rising number of afflicted users.

Vail filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Tuesday, October 15 and is specifically claiming that the e-cigarette manufacturer is directly responsible for her son’s:

  • injuries due to addiction to the product that he was exposed to through advertising at age 15.
  • intense addiction that affected his emotional well-being and interest and performance in school.
  • hospitalization for breathing and lung complications after a year of using Juul, and that the nicotine addiction was severe enough to require nicotine patches on his skin throughout his three-day stay.

Wakefield was found unresponsive by his father after a day that included strenuous physical activity. The medical examiner determined that Wakefield died of natural causes and that he suffered from asthma in his youth.

Lawsuit and Criticism Begs the Questions

Vail’s many accusations appear to fall under the umbrella complaint of the responsibility of her son’s addiction. The following points address her allegations:

  • If Wakefield started vaping in 2016, the same year that the FDA began to regulate the advertising, distribution of ENDS (components like atomizers, batteries, cartridges, cartomizers, flavorings, etc.), importing, labeling, manufacturing, packaging, promoting, and selling of e-cigarettes, then how is Juul guilty of targeting her son or other teenagers?
  • If the warnings about the dangers of Juul ingredients and the conditions under which they are available for sale to appropriate-aged consumers are clearly stated on the packaging, then how was Wakefield able to obtain the product?
  • As a known asthmatic, no matter how long he was asymptomatic, why would he inhale anything detrimental to his ability to breathe?
  • If Wakefield was so intensely addicted, where was he able to consume the product so profusely and regularly?
  • If the severity of his addiction was so blatantly obvious during his hospital stay, what was done to help him and why not file a suit then?

Consider the fact that vaping is appealing to most smokers, of THC and nicotine, because it eliminates the public’s problem with exposing others to its effects, allows smokers to stay indoors, and enables a buzz with impunity.