Archive for Lawsuit

Litigation Funding is Becoming More Popular

People need to defend their rights, and there is a new industry that is growing quickly. Litigation funding has become more popular among people who have filed a lawsuit. Now, people can borrow against lawsuit settlements, annuities, life insurance policies, and more. They feel like they can “get cash now,” but this is not necessarily right for everyone.

A lot of the commercials say that people can access funding with just a few short clicks or in just a few minutes. Even though this can be tempting, this is not necessarily the case. Many people exploring these options do not have any knowledge of the loan process, let alone lending related to lawsuits. People need to be careful even though it is often compared to a credit card application or a payday loan. They may not necessarily qualify, and they may not be given the best terms.

Those who are seeking litigation funding need to be aware that this is not the same as a traditional lender. A litigation funding company usually represents a group of investors. They are looking to turn a profit following the proceeds of a successful lawsuit. Even though it is the responsibility of the litigation funding company to do its due diligence, it is also the responsibility of the individual asking for the funding to speak with a trained legal professional. If the lawsuit does not get resolved in their favor, they could be in a difficult situation.

Furthermore, not every type of lawsuit is going to qualify. For example, people can get litigation funding for a personal injury case; however, it is much more difficult to secure funding for family law. Even though it is nice that not everyone is going to have to go through a credit check, it is still critical to take a look at the terms carefully. The terms are going to depend on how much money the plaintiff requires, the value of the lawsuit, and the reputation of the attorney. All of this is going to play a role in whether someone can secure funding for a potential payoff in a lawsuit.

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.

Family of Minnesota teen who died after a dental procedure settles $2million lawsuit with their dentist

The family of The Eden Prairie, a Minnesota teenager who died while undergoing a routine dental procedure, has reached a $2million settlement with the dentist who performed the procedure.

Sydney Gallager, 17 died in June 2015 after complications from the surgery. According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Sydney died from brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. This was caused by a cardiac arrest that occurred after her blood pressure destabilized the procedure. She died later at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

The vibrant young woman was a high school junior in Eden Prairie who was active in swimming, skiing, and diving. She also served as a captain of the senior dive team and as a class president.

In January, the Galleger family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in against her dental surgeon Dr. Paul Tompach in Hennepin County District Court. The suit alleged that the 54-year-old oral surgeon’s negligence during the procedure caused the death of the 17-year-old teen.

Further investigations revealed that Tompach departed from accepted standards of medical practice by wrongfully administering general anesthesia and allowing an unqualified medical assistant to monitor Sydney during the surgery, ill preparation for a medical emergency as well as failure to respond quickly and appropriately when a medical emergency transpired.

In January 2016 The Minnesota Board of Dentistry temporarily suspended Tompach’s license to practice, but he was allowed to resume practice in March 2016 under several restrictions put in place by the board. The ban was later lifted in June 2017.
The Gallager’s lawsuit was seeking for more than $500,000 in damages, according to The Star Tribune, with an estimated cost of $200,000 in funeral and medical expenses on her family.

The case had been scheduled for trial in May 2018, but the Galleger family accepted the $2.06 million settlement offered by the defendants after lengthy negotiations with the court’s assistance. The settlement was approved in November according to court papers.

According to of the settlement, the Gallager family will receive $1,279,600, the family health insurer $40,400 for Sydney Galleger’s medical expenses and the law firm representing them $740,000 for fees and expenses.

Victims and Relatives of Those Affected By the Las Vegas Shooting File Lawsuits

Victims of the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas have filed five different lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiffs are against the hotel’s operators and the festival’s organizers. One of the suits also mentions the killer’s real estate as one of the defendants.

The lawsuit was filed in California because nearly all the plaintiffs are residents of the state or had been treated there. The event organizer, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. is also a California based company. The largest of the five lawsuits were filed by 450 individuals who comprised of eyewitnesses and those injured during the shooting.

Inadequate Security

On October 1, Stephen Paddock fired into a crowd that had gathered for the Harvest Festival from the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s 32nd floor in Las Vegas. The shooting cited as the worst in America’s modern history, left 58 people dead and scores injured.

The victims of the shooting accused MGM Resort International and its subsidiary, Mandalay Corp, that own and managed the hotel of failing to monitor the activities of Stephen Paddock. The lawsuits also accuse the MGM and its branch of not offering proper training to their security personnel.

The festival goers accuse live Nation Entertainment of failing to provide adequate exits from the venue. It is also faulted for not training its staff for an emergency. The Plaintiffs claim that had Live Nation done these two, the number of deaths and injuries would have been reduced significantly.

The Killer’s Estate

Stephen Paddock was reportedly a wealthy individual believed to have owned multimillion-dollar worth real estate investments in California and Texas. The Plaintiffs sued his estate for battery and assault.

Previous Lawsuits

Several lawsuits had been filed over the mass shooting. Paige Gasper, a college student, filed the first one which he later dismissed voluntarily.

Most of the previous lawsuits mentioned Slide Fire Solutions as one of the defendants. Slide Fire is the manufacturer of the bump stock device that the shooter used to achieve a nearly automatic firing rate. However, none of the five lawsuits mentions the firm.

According to lawyer Muhammad Aziz who is representing the plaintiffs, the focus of these cases is venue and hotels security not the right to own arms.

Case of the Unicorn Frappuccino: Cafe Sues Starbucks Over Trademark

With pink and blue rainbow swirls, it was playfully eye-catching. And Starbucks staffers had a field day promoting the Unicorn Frappuccino over social media.

But a cafe known as The End Brooklyn was not amused.

The End serves up healthful drinks in coffee cups to customers in New York City’s trendy Williamsburg area. And it filed a lawsuit that accuses Starbucks of grabbing its own Unicorn Latte idea.

The End hasn’t trademarked its Unicorn Latte, so a trademark infringement challenge is a long shot. Yet The End’s parent company, Montauk Juice Factory, has had an application for “Unicorn Latte” pending since January with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

A Unicorn Latte at The End contains dates, vanilla bean, ginger, lemon juice, cashews, and maca root. The End applies natural colors to the whipped cuppa, delighting customers with artistic flourishes. Starbucks, in turn, whipped up a drink concept with similar pastel hues, and sold it under the name Unicorn Frappuccino. Or, in the branding language of Starbucks, Unicorn Frappuccino® Blended Crème.

The End sees Starbucks as usurping the idea’s appeal, as customers now associate unicorn cafe drinks with the bigger chain.

Starbucks has fired back at the smaller company. It credits social media users’ excitement over “fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed” products for inspiration. Starbucks is well known for marketing to young adults by showing off its Frappuccino lines on social media. And Starbucks points out that its swirly pink and blue model has already finished its limited run, which played out in April.

But Montauk Juice Factory wants compensation and an apology, claiming that Starbucks took an unfair competitive advantage. It insists that the social media buzz for unicorn-themed cafe drinks was its own handiwork — and Starbucks pounced on it.

While the two companies face off over their rights to their pink and blue concoctions, they’re certainly not the only food and drink industry players to seize upon the popularity of unicorns. Indeed, Bangkok is home to the Unicorn Cafe, which attracts international swoons with its all-things-unicorn theme.

In any case, Starbucks likely regards the whole trademark argument as a tempest in a teacup. It’s now selling Dragon Frappuccino.

Lawsuit against Officials Who Oppose Controversial Law on Sanctuary Cities

he Texas attorney general made an announcement that the state intended to sue all local officials who oppose the ban on sanctuary cities. This is a law that intends to punish sheriffs and police chiefs who do not cooperate with federal immigration agents. The law requires that law enforcement agencies find out the immigration status during routine stops.
 
Officers who do not comply with the requirements will face possible fines and jail time. Those who oppose the law have said that it is unconstitutional, with various advocacy groups making the promise to challenge the law. Other parties have expressed fears that police officers may take advantage to engage in racial profiling.
 
Some of those mentioned in the lawsuit openly refused to comply with federal orders that they detain people based on their immigration status. Others have gone to court to seek legal interpretation of the role of local police in keeping communities safe. They have claimed that a legal process is better placed to resolve the issue as compared to a political one.
 
A good number of local officials have made their position clear, claiming that the law is not in the best interest of public said. One official said that although he was opposed to the law, he had always followed the law and would do the same with this particular one.
 
The lawsuit by the state seeks to have a District Court declare that the law is not in violation of the right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures or the right to equal protection. It also wants the court to rule that federal law does not preempt the law.
 
With some politicians arguing that state authorities have the duty to hold undocumented immigrants and detain suspected criminal aliens, officials have begun to revise the relevant policies.

 
Some police officers have also argued that this law would potentially discourage immigrants from interacting with law enforcement officers or reporting cases of crime. While Republicans are in support of the law, local sheriffs and police chiefs, as well as the Mexican government, have strongly expressed their opposition.

 
The new law requires law enforcement officers to establish the immigration status, even when they stop people for traffic offenses. Authorities who fail to comply with federal requests could be jailed for one year. Police departments in cities and counties could be fined up to $ 25,500 a day for violation of the same law. President Trump also threatened to strip federal funds to non-compliant cities, but a federal judge blocked this order in California.

Could A Recent Lawsuit Settlement Mean A Ban On Trucker Cell Phone Use?

The trucking industry has been subject to a number of safety regulations and environmental restrictions over the past decade, from rules on the maximum amount of driving time per day to the minimum number of miles per gallon for fleet vehicles. An end to driver phone calls and texts while on the road could be next on the list, at least for certain South Carolina truckers. Read on to learn more about the recent multi-million dollar personal injury settlement agreement that could change cell phone policy throughout the Carolinas.

What settlement was reached regarding cell phone use?

A personal injury claim was brought against North Carolina-based Unifi, Inc. by a Bennettsville, S.C. couple who were severely injured when a company driver talking on his cell phone struck their vehicle as they were turning into their driveway. This couple filed suit against both the driver and the company, alleging negligence and lack of oversight — although Unifi did have an employee cell phone policy in place at the time of the accident, shift supervisors never enforced these rules or conducted spot checks of call logs, and the lawsuit alleged some drivers were spending nearly their entire trips texting or engaging in three-way calls.

Unifi agreed to settle this federal lawsuit for $3.75 million and has adopted a cell phone ban for all its drivers while their trucks are on the road. This ban even includes hands-free devices, which are often billed as a safer alternative.

What could this settlement mean for other truckers? 

While this settlement legally applies only to Unifi (as it was never litigated to a final judgment in federal court), given the scope of liability assessed, other trucking companies around the country — particularly those without a cell phone policy in place or with an only loosely-enforced one — are likely to follow suit and ban their drivers from using cell phones. Companies that don’t ban cell phones entirely are more likely to enact additional safety and monitoring measures like tracking phone calls and regularly reviewing call logs to ensure that drivers aren’t texting or talking while driving. Taking these measures is a good way for them to avoid, or at least minimize, liability in accidents between their trucks and passenger vehicles.

Death with Dignity for a Retired Falmouth Physician

 

Who would understand the implications of a “Death with Dignity,” or physician-assisted death, option more thoroughly than physicians? Dr. Roger M. Kligler and Dr. Alan Steinbach have long believed in and advocated for a patient’s right to obtain medication from their doctor in order to avoid extreme suffering due to terminal illness. As a physician, Dr. Kligler has has witnessed his own patients’ quality of life deteriorate during the final stages of cancer. Now that he is dealing with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer, the fight is personal. He has expressed the desire to simply have the option to self-administer the lethal medication if his pain and suffering become unbearable without it resulting in the prosecution of his doctors.

Is a lawsuit the best way to move forward?

Unfortunately, Dr. Kligler may not have the time to wait for the next legislative session before receiving an answer. Ideally, a bill would pass successfully through the state house and senate in order to become a state law. Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton) has filed at least four previous versions of an assisted death bill, beginning in 2011. He notes that each bill has garnered more support than the prior version even though the bills have not yet made it out of committee. The latest Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act was co-sponsored by 39 Massachusetts lawmakers was filed in January 2015. The Joint Committee on Public Health essentially shut the bill down in June of 2016 by suggesting it be massachusetts-falmouth-physician-kliglerreviewed further.

Another option that would allow such a law to take effect would be a ballot initiative. The problem for Dr. Kligler is once again time. Because of Massachusetts ballot initiative rules, the next time a Death with Dignity bill can be presented to the public for a vote is in 2018. Although nearly 60% of the Commonwealth was in favor of a patient’s right to choose physician-assisted death, the 2012 ballot initiative was defeated 51% to 49%.

At this point, Dr. Kligler’s only hope at gaining the dignity to choose when and how he dies is if the court steps in to clarify the issue. On a positive note, there is not a law in Massachusetts that prohibits doctors from providing assistance to terminally ill patients who are ready to end their own lives. Compassion & Choices is a national organization that helped file the lawsuit on behalf of Kligler and Steinbach. The lawsuit seeks to determine what is actually allowed and what is explicitly forbidden according to current laws. After a statement made in a separate case in which justices seemed to acknowledge that a mature adult suffering from a terminal illness who may seek support, comfort and eventually assistance in ending their own life is a unique situation worthy of consideration.

 

 

Sexting Case has Huge Implications for Iowa Teen

Everyone would agree that spreading child pornography or exploiting minors is wrong, morally and legally. It is likely that most of us would vehemently and aggressively seek to punish those who participate in such activities. But what if the victim was actually the perpetrator? That one probably has you scratching your head. Consider the case of an Iowa teenager who used the mobile app Snapchat to send semi-nude photos of herself to a friend. The high school freshman posed in front of a mirror, snapped a few photos of herself and forwarded them to a friend. Little did she realize that she was breaking an Iowa law.

teen-snapchat-lawsuit-quoteIowa law stipulates that anyone who spreads obscene materials to minors has committed a crime known as sexual exploitation. Although in this case, and others like it in Iowa, the minor shared the photos, it is still considered to be either a Class C or Class D felony offense. The teenaged girl and her family assert that this is perhaps bad judgment but certainly not criminal. They have filed a lawsuit to prevent the Marion County Attorney from charging the girl with sexual exploitation.

The Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online cites research that 4-25 percent of minors 12-17 have admitted sending or sharing nude photos. A 2013 study of 378 prosecutors found that 62 percent had worked juvenile sexting cases; 36 percent had filled charges; and 21 percent had filed felony charges. The most serious charges included production of child pornography. 20 states have passed sexting laws as of July 2015.

The implications of this case for the teen are far reaching. County Attorney Ed Bull has stated that if found guilty, the girl may have to register as a sex offender. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has weighed in on First Amendment protection since the images shared by the teenager are not nude photos. The girl is wearing boy shorts and a sports bra in one picture, and topless in the other. Her hair is covering her breasts in the second photo. Lawyers for the family argue that her First Amendment rights will be violated if the prosecutor moves forward with criminal charges.

Teenagers are receiving cell phones in increasing numbers. If the research holds true, 4-25 percent of the nation’s minors could become registered sex offenders before they are old enough to vote. While most states’ attorneys agrees that sexual exploitation laws were not intentionally created to apply to youth, the legal implications for the teen in this case remain to be seen.

 

 

Cosby Drops Breach Of Contract Lawsuit Against Accuser

Longtime comedian and actor, Bill Cosby has dropped the lawsuit filed back in February of this year against Andrea Constand.  The lawsuit stated that Andrea Constand breached the terms of an agreement made back in 2006. Constand and her lawyer Dolores Troiani willingly cooperated with the Montgomery County district attorney’s criminal investigation into sexual assault allegation against Cosby in 2004.  The agreement “expressly prohibited such cooperation, according to Cosby’s lawsuit.” He denies all charges.

The lawsuit was pursued to recover the money he gave in a confidential financial agreement to Constand. The dismissal was filled July 28th   in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Cosby’s lawyer said in a statement that he has “stepped away from that suit and will instead focus his efforts on defending himself against the claims that have been lodged against him.”

Cosby also included Constand’s second lawyer, Bebe H. Kivitz and Constand’s mother in the lawsuit.  He claimed that they also broke that confidentiality agreement.  A ruling made this month said that Cosby could not sue them based on the charges that they had cooperated with law enforcement in connection with Constand’s criminal accusations against him.

Cosby faces a trial with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from the 2004 case concerning Constand, who is an employee at Temple University, Cosby’s Alma mater. Troiani said “The dismissal of the lawsuit was a win for Constand and her mother, Gianna Constand and it is a victory for all of the victims.”

Additionally, Cosby’s lawsuit also involved American Media Inc. (owner of the National Enquirer) The comedian claimed American Media Inc. continued to publish several stories about Constand’s claims regarding Cosby, even though there were clear requirements in the agreement to not publish any stories relating to certain allegations made.

Cosby also claimed of another violation when Constand gave an interview to the National Enquirer. Vice president and chief content officer at American Media Inc., Dylan Howard, said “We were always confident that AMI had not breached any agreement with Mr. Cosby, and we are pleased that he has decided not to pursue the litigation further.”

Costand’s claims are the first to result in charges being filed, out of over 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.