Insurance Company Sues Kroger Contending the Grocery Chain Should Not Have Taken the Case To Trial

When people think about Kroger, they often think about a grocery store chain just like any other. Now, Kroger is dealing with a significant legal issue on its hands. Not all Kroger stores are created the same and, sadly, a 27-year-old veteran of the Navy was robbed, carjacked, and shot at least a dozen times at a Kroger grocery store in Atlanta. Shockingly, the veteran managed to pull through. He survived to sue Kroger in an effort to recover compensation for his medical expenses, as he alleged Kroger did not have adequate security. While this specific store was not identified, it is known that this store was ranked at the top of the list regarding Kroger stores that needed additional security. A trial was held and the defendant received tens of millions of dollars.

Now, multiple insurance companies are suing Kroger in an effort to recover their own money. While many grocery store chains have insurance policies to cover issues such as this, insurance companies are contending that the decision of Kroger to gamble on a jury verdict is a violation of a specific GA law that prevents stores from needlessly taking cases to trial knowing that they have an insurance policy in their back pocket. The insurance companies contend that the store should have known that it was likely to lose and should not have taken the case to trial.

It will be interesting to see what happens as these insurance companies do battle. For the victim in the case, he spent three weeks in a coma. Then, he spent an entire year in the hospital. He had more than a dozen surgeries. The cost of his medical care totaled millions of dollars. The victim is going to live the rest of his life partially paralyzed due to damage to his spinal cord.

The insurance companies contend that the facts of the case alone should have pushed Kroger to settle the case. They did not, placing the insurance company in the path of a devastating trial that they would have to pay for. It is possible that this case could set an interesting precedent for other cases moving forward.

The Checklist: Get the Most out of Mediation and Settlements

When a lawsuit is taking place, a lot of parties like to come to an agreement on a mutual settlement. That way, everyone can keep in negotiations private and nobody has to worry about the cost of going into the courtroom. On the other hand, sometimes it can be difficult to come to an agreement when it comes to a settlement. That is where mediation can be helpful.

In some cases, mediation can be expensive. In order to minimize the cost and still get as much as possible out of the mediation process, it is important to go in with a checklist. First, make sure that all parties are fully briefed on the legal aspects of the case. Then, each party should write down his or her respective goals for litigation. That way, the mediator knows what the major sticking points are of the negotiation process.

Then, everyone should get a good night’s sleep before the mediation process and enter the room and realistic expectations. Keep in mind that taxes may have an impact on the financial aspects of any mediation settlement. On the other hand, I understand that money can grow over time. Everyone should work with an expert to understand the power of money when it comes to compounding interest.

Furthermore, it is important for people to be prepared to walk away. If people walk into mediation expecting that it is going to be solved on the first attempt, this may not happen. Even though a significant percentage of cases are resolved on the first try, it may take multiple attempts. Keep in mind that a single lump sum of money can translate into significant wealth in the future. On the other hand, newfound wealth can also bring challenges, problems, and issues that were not present before.

Ultimately, when it comes to the mediation process, there are benefits and drawbacks. It is critical for people to think about all of these legal aspects before they walk into the room. That way, they can position themselves to take advantage of the assistance of a professional mediator. If everyone goes into the mediation process with this checklist, there is a greater chance of the case being settled.

Seattle City Council Orders Hazard Pay for Grocery Store Employees

The coronavirus pandemic has had an adverse impact on just about everyone. Some parts of the country have had a harder time dealing with it than others. One of the areas that has been at the hardest is Washington state. In particular, Seattle has faced its challenges. As businesses continue to reopen, the virus is still very much with us. Even though it is good that a vaccine has been developed, it will take some time for it to be rolled out completely. As a result, a lot of essential workers are placing themselves in harm’s way in order to provide us with the services we require. This includes individuals who work at the grocery store. In exchange for putting themselves on the line, they deserve to be compensated with increased pay. Fortunately, it appears that the Seattle council is now ready to do exactly that.

In accordance with the city mayor, all grocery store workers are going to be provided with Hazard pay, which will provide them with an extra $4 per hour. This regulation is going to apply to all grocery store employees who are working in the city of Seattle. This order is going to take place during the month of February and it is going to continue until vaccines are available to everyone who works in grocery stores. Ideally, this will happen in April; however, it is unclear if the city is actually going to meet that goal. Of note, there are some grocery stores that are already providing some hazard pay. Those who are not currently applying it will need to do so in order to remain in compliance with this new regulation.

It is important for everyone to remember that these grocery store employees are placing their life on the line in order to provide with the food and drinks we want. Therefore, everyone who’s going into a grocery store has to remember to remain socially distant, wear a mask, and wash their hands. That way, we can get this virus under control and reduce the chances of people getting sick, ending up in the hospital, and dying as a result of this pandemic. It will be interesting to see how this hazard pay regulation unfolds.

Kevala, A Seattle-based Startup Firm Raises $4M to Address Long Term Healthcare Labor Shortages Amid Covid-19 Crisis

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, different sectors of the economy have experienced major setbacks. The impacts have been more pronounced on the already prevailing labor deficit facing the care industry for the senior people. Kevala, a Seattle-based startup, has come forth with new plans seeking to address this problem.

Just recently, Kevala raised $4 million to aid the development of its integrated workforce management and care platform, which will specialize in supporting long-term care facilities in addressing staffing and compliance needs, among others. Vulcan Capital, a private equity firm, was on the front line in funding the cause. Other firms, including High Alpha, Costanoa, and PSL Ventures, also contributed significantly to funding the program.

Since Kevala’s emergence last April, its primary purpose has been to see that senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities have a reliable and consistent supplemental nursing workforce. The company boasts a technology that allows users to create an efficient pool of on-call nurses who take up the shifts when the need arises. Already, Kevala has a group of around 50 competent and highly experienced nurses that temporarily takes up the shifts and tend to the client’s needs effectively and on time. Kevala primarily sources funds by selling the software and also taking a portion of income to supplemental personnel.

According to Kevala CEO Todd Owens, the deficit in the healthcare labor force is amplified by the imbalance between the demand and supply for nurses in the healthcare industry, which has gradually advanced to become a national crisis. Owens also acknowledges that while long-term care ranks amongst the fastest-growing segments in healthcare, it is also the most technologically under-equipped.

Aegis Living, the president of Kris Engskov, has already expressed interest in collaborating with Kevala. In a statement, she declared that they are already looking forward to working with Kevala in bringing forth a new and unique platform that will improve their approach towards managing the time and scheduling of their care team. By doing so, Aegis is convinced that the platform will make sure that each worker is where they are supposed to be, at precisely the exact time, and most importantly, maintain the same technology they have been using to perform other activities in other aspects of their lives.

Deadly Garbage Truck Accidents on the Rise

Trash Truck Accidents, Costs on the Rise

Waste management is a critically important service in any community and especially cities in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation. A massive garbage truck picking up a large dumpster and swallowing and crushing the contents in a large hopper is a familiar sight.

Those garbage trucks typically operate during the busiest time of the day and in the busiest locations. The timing and location of most garbage creates a virtual certainty of multiple accidents involving garbage trucks and other vehicles and pedestrians just about every day.

The Solid Waste Association of North America affirms a rising problem with an “unprecedented” number of fatal accidents causing a “surge” in fatalities across the nation in early 2019. The report calls for local, state and federal officials to work together and implement and enact regulations designed to make trash pickups safer for everyone.

Ordinances Often Enable Accidents

Local ordinances that enable garbage trucks to violate traffic laws in order to access the trash and remove it quickly contribute to the problem. In many locales, garbage truck drivers commonly can:

  • Drive the wrong way on one-way streets and alleys.
  • Violate rights-of-way.
  • Occupy the center median.
  • Drive in the opposing traffic lane.
  • Block bicycle lanes.

When local drivers and pedestrians are used to certain traffic patterns and suddenly encounter a large garbage truck disregarding them, the odds of an accident happening rise greatly.

Garbage trucks are very large have obstructed views when backing up. Aside from side mirrors, garbage truck drivers cannot see what is around them and often rely on other drivers to use common sense and give the trucks lots of room to move and handle the trash.

Impatient drivers also contribute to the problem. When drivers find themselves stuck behind a garbage truck moving relatively slowly and making frequent stops, they become tempted to violate traffic laws. Many will pass trucks illegally and violate pedestrian and opposing traffic rights-of-way to get around a garbage truck. Doing so easily could lead to an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian – or the garbage truck.

When accidents with garbage trucks happen, proving negligence is tricky because of local laws enabling them to get the job done. An experienced personal injury attorney is the solution.

5 Tips For Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Each year more than 39 million people visit a physician for accidental injuries. Many of these may qualify for personal injury claims. These include auto accidents, workplace injuries, slip and fall accidents, and defective products. If you were injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Filing a personal injury claim can be complicated. However, these steps will help you prepare to file a personal injury claim.

1. Get Medical Treatment Quickly

Some injuries, including whiplash from a car accident, don’t have symptoms immediately after the accident. It’s always a good idea to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident. If you notice new symptoms in the days after any type of accident, it’s important to see a doctor. In addition to taking care of your health, medical care will document any injuries or symptoms you are experiencing.

2. Report the Accident

You’ll need to report the accident. Who you report it to will depend on where the accident occurred. If you are injured at work, you’ll report it to your supervisor. A car accident should be reported to the police. If you are injured in a business, report it to the manager or supervisor. It’s best to get some type of documentation when you report the injury. This will help you prove your case later on.

3. Keep Documentation

In addition to getting a copy of any accident report, you should get a copy of any medical records associated with the accident. You should also write out a personal statement of how the accident occurred. Keep any insurance claims, hospital bills, and repair expenses.

4. Keep Quiet

Keep all information on a need to know basis. Don’t post information about the accident on social media. Do not speak to the defendant’s legal team or insurance company without seeking legal advice. Remember, their job is to work for the other side, and they can use the information you provide against you.

5. Seek Legal Help

Seek legal help as soon as possible. Ideally, it should be the next step after seeking medical attention and reporting the accident. Filing a personal injury claim is a process. An attorney can guide you through the process and help you avoid common mistakes.

Beware of Online Sales of Loose Lithium-Ion Batteries

Consumers are being warned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) not to buy or use loose 18650 lithium-ion battery cells. The federal agency is telling consumers to beware these rechargeable batteries are being sold, primarily online, without proper circuit protection which can lead to bodily injury.

How can consumers identify packaging?

Normally, lithium-ion battery cells are manufactured and assembled into standalones or safely bundled in battery packs. What is happening is some distributors are taking the battery packs apart, separating the cells, and rewrapping them to sell to consumers as individual pieces. When taken apart, they look a lot like standard AA batteries, but slightly larger. These cells are not intended – or designed – for individual sale.

What are the dangers?

Loose 18650 battery cells pose significant risks to people under the right conditions. For instance, if these battery cells are repackaged and have exposed metal positive and negative terminals, they could short-circuit at any time. This means if you are handling, transporting, storing, charging, or using the batteries, and they come into contact with metal objects, such as keys or loose change, you can be severely injured. The reason is if touching metal objects causes the batteries to short-circuit, they could quickly overheat and ignite the cell’s internal materials; this process is called thermal runaway and can create dangerous fires or explosions.

How are loose lithium-ion batteries used?

People are using the 18650 battery cells as standalone batteries for e-cigarettes, vapes, flashlights, toys, personal fans, headlamps, small power tools, and other types of small devices. Another significant problem the CPSC warns of is that thermal runaway can also occur if people put these lithium-ion loose batteries in chargers not designed for them.

The CPSC warns loose lithium-ion batteries simply don’t have the protection circuits necessary to be safely used. The federal agency is actively working with online retailers, including eBay and Amazon, to remove loose lithium-ion battery listings that do not have the proper protection circuits.

This doesn’t mean you can’t buy any 18650 batteries online. What it means is you should carefully check to make sure the batteries you’re buying weren’t part of a larger battery bundle that was taken apart.

Zoom Insists Class Action Suit Be Dismissed

Zoom Video Communication is at the center of a class-action lawsuit they claim should be thrown out. According to Lawstreet, Zoom is meeting the case with much scrutiny and has filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the defendant failed to state clearly a claim for which they should be compensated.

The plaintiff has accused Zoom of the following:

1. Unauthorized data sharing with third-party companies like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn

2. Zoombombing (This is when unauthorized and uninvited users bursts into a Zoom call. In fact, Zoom meeting links have been hacked and posted publicly on the Internet.)

3. Zoom misrepresented their encryption protocols

Zoom has seen unprecedented growth since the onset of the pandemic. With a sudden and swift move to shelter-in-place, many schools and workplaces suddenly found themselves learning and working from home, with the majority relying on Zoom for communication. Because of this, Zoom stated it has “worked tirelessly…to keep its services operational and secure, while developing and deploying extensive privacy and security enhancements to address new challenges caused by the massive uptick in non-corporate usage.” In other words, Zoom is doing the best it can under the circumstances.

Zoom went on to state that the plaintiff is simply trying to profit from Zoom’s growth with a nationwide class-action suit that is loosely based and lacking in evidence. Zoom says that the ideas brought forth by the plaintiff are largely based on media stories. In other words, according to Zoom, the plaintiff is motivated by profit and using hearsay as their only evidence.

The legal team for Zoom asserts that the case doesn’t hold up in court because it doesn’t prove they were actually harmed by using Zoom per their allegations of meeting disruptions, shared data, and misrepresenting their encryption processes.

Zoom also argued that according to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, they are barred from liability from Zoombombing because Zoom is an interactive platform. When it comes to the data sharing allegation, Zoom purports that the plaintiff does not disclose their data was shared, again suggesting no harm was done.

Overall, Zoom asserts that the plaintiff’s claims be dismissed based upon the above-stated arguments. The hearing for the motion to dismiss is scheduled for February 2, 2021, before Judge Lucy H. Koh.

Preparation Was Key to This Train Derailment

Oil spilling from a derailed train in the northwest area of Washington was contained on Wednesday, a day after the derailment. No injuries or wildlife impacts have been reported so far, but there is a containment area blocked off around the crash site; this is to ensure the safety of the public and particularly the on-scene officials responsible for cleaning the site.

An investigation has revealed no causes for the derailment of the BNSF Railway 108-car train that was transporting Bakken crude oil. As it derailed, it sparked a fire that resulted in the evacuation of areas throughout Custer, and parts of Interstate 5 were also shut down.

The extent of the damage caused by the accident caught the attention of the FBI as well as state ecology responders. The railway’s contractors were expected to safely remove all railcars from the site within 24 to 48 hours. They were expected to do the same with any oil found in any of the tanker cars.

It will likely take complete cleanup of the site several months or longer. However, according to state ecology experts, there has yet to be any oil found in the waterways. Investigations of the site also show no harmful levels of pollutants in the air.

Information released to the public shows there was a total of seven tank cars that derailed on December 22, 2020 during the morning time crash, with two of them igniting about 11:40 a.m. The oil tank cars (DOT-117Rs involved in the crash were recently retrofitted to comply with updated federal safety standards. All oil found in these older-style tank cars was removed and then scheduled for delivery to its final destination.

Many officials connected to the situation gave much praise for the recent simulated training sessions in emergency management that took place in Custer. It is believed that the site was contained as much as it was because of this training and the preparation that it gave for such an event.

To ensure the safety and health of citizens and workers, the crash site and areas surrounding it will be monitored for the next several months.

Electric Pressure Cooker Injury Lawsuits Are Rising in Numbers

Electric pressure cooker injury lawsuits are on the rise. The popularity of the kitchen gadget has increased the amount of defective products circulating in the marketplace. In fact, Sunbeam Products, Inc. announced a recall of over 900,000 pressure cookers towards the end of November 2020 after receiving over 100 complaints of pressure cooker lids blowing off during normal use. The injuries and property damaged caused by the electric pressure cooker has caused many people to seek out legal help from the personal injury lawyers in hopes of recovering money to pay for the injuries and damage.

The electric pressure cooker has become a must-have kitchen appliance due to their ability to slow cook meals in less time and help ingredients retain more of their nutrients. What users may not realize is the electric pressure cooker relies on the use of heat and high pressure to cook the contents inside.The most common point of failure is the lid. When the lid seal or valve fails, the cooker releases the contents or explodes, causing the contents to be sprayed on anyone standing near the unit. Common injuries include burns on the face, head, torso and arms. Cuts and bruises from shrapnel are also common.

Manufacturers of pressure cookers are alleged to have knowingly put faulty pressure cookers on the market that had poor safety seals and valves due to bad design. Another alleged problem is a failure to place adequate or visible warnings about proper operation of an electric pressure cooker. Manufacturers also failed to pull defective models off the market and sold them alongside “new and improved” models

Currently, counsel is taking legal action in a consolidated product liability lawsuit against Tristar Product’s Power Pressure Cooker XL in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. This is a Federal class action lawsuit against Sunbeam products and Newell for alleged defects in multiple models of the Crock-Pot Multicooker pressure cookers. The lids of the Crock-Pot Multicooker pressure cooker has an alleged defect that allows the lid to open while the contents are pressurized and cause severe injury. The manufacturer of the Crock-Pot Multicooker failed to recall their units which resulted in a class action lawsuit.