May 2011 News: Injured
Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

May 2011 Archives

Sky Express Bus Crash: 4 Crashes, 46 Violations

In the wake of Tuesday morning's Sky Express bus crash, harrowing information about the company's safety record and permissive attitude towards bus driver fatigue has come to light.

The Virginia crash, which has killed 4 and injured more than 50, is not Sky Express' first:

With one of the worst government safety ratings, this is the carrier's fourth accident in 2 years.

To prevent bus driver fatigue, passenger-carrying drivers are only permitted to drive 10 consecutive hours, or to spend a total of 15 hours on duty (this includes time for unloading/loading of passengers and other non-driving duties). They must then receive 8 hours consecutive time off.

In Auto Bailout, Accident Victims Go Unpaid

Who are the real victims of the federal auto bailout?

Accident victims.

While taxpayers are rightfully upset at the expenditure, the resultant bankruptcy and restructuring have left car-related product defect and personal injury victims in the lurch.

And, sadly, many of these people will never receive a cent of court-ordered compensation for a family member's death or a life-altering injury.

Pool Accidents: What Swimming Pool Laws Apply?

Pool accidents are unfortunately common in the United States. Home owners and pool owners worried about liability from pool accidents should become informed about some of the swimming pool laws that regulate the use and ownership of pools, and of tips of how to prevent such tragic accidents from happening in the first place.

According to the CPSC, around 300 children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of drowning - and more than 2,000 are sent to the hospital.

The statistics alone should make any parent want to be more cautious - most of the victims who drowned were actually being supervised at the time the accident happened, and about 65% of accidents occurred in pools owned by the child's own family.

Phila. Jury Awards $10M Children's Motrin Verdict

A Children's Motrin verdict of $10 million was awarded to the family of Brianna Maya, 13, in Pennsylvania. At the age of 3, Maya suffered from debilitating Children Motrin's side effects that have left her scarred permanently.

Maya was given Children Motrin's to combat a fever and cough. Soon after, she started to develop blisters in her mouth, which rapidly spread throughout her entire body. She lost 84% of her skin, was blinded, and her reproductive organs were destroyed. Her lung function is now at 50%, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The culprit was Children's Motrin, and a little-known side effect called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

TEN attacks a person's mucus membranes, essentially burning off the patient's skin in certain cases. As her condition worsened, Maya was transferred to a burn unit, where she had remained for several weeks as her body received several skin grafts from cadavers and pigs, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Trampoline Parks Breed Trampoline Injuries

Trampoline parks have gained popularity around the country. But they might be breeding trampoline injuries, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Emergency records show 16 ambulance calls for trauma, including broken ankles, dislocated shoulders and head injuries, since a trampoline park opened last November in Carol Stream, Ill., reports the Tribune.

And nationally, almost 100,000 people go to the ER per year after trampoline accidents, reports WGN-TV.

Trampolines can provide fun and exercise. But the American Academy of Pediatrics advises to confine trampoline activity to supervised settings like a gymnastics facility, reports WGN-TV.

Minn. Lawyer Must Pay $15M to Boy He Molested

Prominent Minnesota attorney Aaron Biber's civil case ended in a judgment for the plaintiff, a victim of child sexual assault, in the amount of $15 million.

Biber served as the treasurer of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and was a former partner at the firm Gray Plant Mooty where he specialized in antitrust law.

The civil case began last June, a month before Biber pleaded guilty in the child sexual assault case. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year, reports the Star Tribune.

The damages amount was broken down into $5 million for assault, battery and emotional distress on the victim, and $10 million in punitive damages, reports the Star Tribune.

How to Prevent Being Bitten by a Dog

Man's best friend can have a lot of bite, and this week is Dog Bite Prevention Week! Did you know that there are some dog bite laws out there? And, dog bite attorneys? There are a lot of things you can do to get yourself educated about your furry friends.

Dog bite prevention week can be summed up by getting a bit more knowledgeable about (1) tips to prevent dog bites for both yourself, and your pooch if you have one and (2) what the legal ramifications and remedies are for dog bites.

Tips on how to prevent dog bites:

  • Children should be taught the proper way to handle dogs, and that some interactions - like poking or hitting the dog - may provoke a dog bite.

Jacuzzi Death: Man Sucked into Hotel Hot Tub

It may not have been the season for swimming pool accidents, but after suffering from a jacuzzi death this past December, the family of John Van Hoy Jr. has filed suit against Sandals Resort, its marketing company and Hayward Industries.

The lawsuit alleges that Hoy, a healthy and fit 33-year-old, was sucked into the spa's drain, and that when his fiancee called for help, Sandals employees ignored her and then eventually refused to perform CPR.

The alleged incident occurred at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau, Bahamas when John Van Hoy Jr. was taking a dip in the resort's jacuzzi spa. He apparently dunked himself under the water and then became trapped in the spa's outlet drain cover, reports Courthouse News Service.

Jury Misconduct: Bribery for Cut of Verdict

It's not often that a case about jury misconduct makes headlines. Deonarine Persaud, 53, was arrested in New York after he tried to bribe the plaintiff's mother in the case he was sitting as a juror in.

The plaintiff in that case, Bridget Wigand, filed a medical malpractice suit against her physician. Wigand's mother received a phone call from Persaud when the jury was about to deliberate, reports CBS-2.

The man on the other line said that he had some vital, damaging information for Wigand's case. Wigand's father met the man, now revealed to be Persaud, who told him that he would be willing to sway the other jurors to find for their daughter - for a fee.

Buffalo YMCA Lawsuit: Girl, 11, Raped at Camp

A Buffalo YMCA lawsuit has levied some serious accusations of child rape. A 12-year-old girl, raped on the premises, gave birth earlier this year. She named the rapist, a former YMCA camp counselor, as the father. The attacks allegedly occurred at a YMCA Buffalo, in the basement sauna room of the facility.

The girl was 11 at the time. According to her attorneys, she not only became pregnant as a result of the attacks but also contracted a sexually transmitted disease, reports The Wall Street Journal. She was assaulted twice by the same camp counselor.

The alleged perpetrator committed the rapes when he was 17. The lawsuit the girl's family has filed against the YMCA alleges that they were negligent, according to The Wall Street Journal. The perpetrator is facing felony rape charges.

Healthcare Apps: Who's Liable for Injuries?

There is an app for everything these days - including for your health.

Developers have begun to create healthcare apps specifically targeted for both the normal consumer as well as for healthcare providers. Want to monitor your heart rate at home? There might be an app for that! As a doctor, do you want to look up some potential diagnoses on your iPhone? There might be an app for that too!

For patients everywhere, the use of healthcare apps creates the question: who will be held liable if an app is used, and an injury occurred? Would it be the app provider, the app marketplace, or the healthcare provider?

Four Loko Wrongful Death Suit for Boy, 15

What do you get when you combine alcohol, caffeine, taurine and guarana? Four Loko. And death. Now, there is a Four Loko lawsuit against the company that made the beverage.

Karla Rupp of Virginia believes the beverage contributed to the death of her son, Bo Rupp, 15. The teen drank two cans of the beverage last September before attending a concert. Each can of Four Loko contains the same amount of alcohol of around 4 cans of beer.

Bo was kicked out of the concert for being intoxicated, reports the New York Daily News. His mother came to pick him up, but on the way home Bo leapt out of the car. Disoriented, he ended up in the middle of a dark street, where he sat down. He was hit by a SUV and died the next day, reports Reuters.

Prisoner Health Care: Death in a Boston Jail

While fighting deportation to the Dominican Republic, Pedro Tavarez was held in the Suffolk County House of Correction, where he died in October 2009 when an untreated sepsis infection caused a heart attack.

Filing suit in a federal court in Boston this week, his daughter is alleging that the prison was grossly negligent, committed malpractice, and violated her father's civil rights.

In short, she claims that the jail did not uphold its duty with respect to prisoner health care.

Danroy Henry's Family Filing Wrongful Death Suit

Last month, the family of Pace University football player Danroy Henry sued the Village of Pleasantville, NY, and Aaron Hess, the officer who shot Henry, as reported in the Boston Herald.

We previously blogged about the grand jury's failure to indict Hess for the New York police shooting. Now it's time for Pleasantville and Hess to file written answers to the Henry family's allegations in the United States District Court proceeding.

The grand jury's failure to indict Hess has no legal bearing on the civil lawsuit brought by Danroy Henry's family.

Here are two reasons why:

Elite DC Private School Sued for $10M Over Affair

Elite D.C. private school Sidwell Friends School is being sued for $10 million by Arthur Newmeyer, the father of a 5-year-old student at the prestigious institution.

Newmeyer alleges that the school was negligent and inflicted emotional distress on him after he found out that his wife was having an affair with school psychologist James Huntington.

Huntington had worked at Sidwell Friends for 10 years, but was fired last February. The complaint states his firing took place about a year after Newmeyer raised complaints about Huntington, reports The New York Times.

Newmeyer alleges that he shared some of the sexually explicit e-mails exchanged between Newmeyer's wife and Huntington, which spurred the school board into action, reports The Washington Post.

Kids Eat 'Relaxation' Brownies, Go to Hospital

In theory, Lazy Cakes, melatonin brownies marketed as a path to relaxation, sound like a great product.

They taste good, they're legal, and they'll mellow you out.

But with a significantly higher dosage of melatonin than recommended for an adult, they're making kids sick.

For an adult, melatonin is considered to be relatively safe and effective for those suffering from insomnia and jetlag.

Airline Responsible When Children Fly Alone?

Every summer, thousands of children fly alone for the purpose of visiting family, friends or summer camp.

Though the overwhelming majority of these instances go smoothly, undoubtedly there will be at least one child who misses his flight or wanders around an airport for a few hours because of a delay.

While the public's first instinct is often to blame the airline, the fact is that it may not be responsible for mix-ups when children fly alone.

Disney Settles Donald Duck Groping Lawsuit

The Donald Duck groping incident is over for the Walt Disney Co., which has reportedly settled a lawsuit with a Pennsylvania woman who alleged that an employee dressed as the cartoon character molested her during a 2008 vacation.

Though the terms of the settlement are being kept confidential, chances are that the groping victim, April Magolon, made away with a hefty sum.

According to the complaint filed in the original lawsuit, while with her children at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida, Donald Duck "[grab]bed April Magolon's breast and molest[ed] her and then made gestures making a joke indicating he had done something wrong."

Sony Data Breach Lawsuits Piling Up

If you or your kids have a PlayStation, it's likely you received an e-mail a few weeks ago from Sony Online Entertainment telling you that your personal information might have been stolen.

In response, approximately 25 lawsuits have already been filed against Sony, according to Westlaw. The number will likely only grow as more plaintiffs - and attorneys - step up to take a bite out of the Sony apple.

Sony has stated that the hackers might have made it out with 12.3 million credit card numbers, reports the Chicago Tribune. Many users stored their credit card information in the Sony database to allow for quick purchases in the online Sony PlayStation Store, where users can download games, movies, music and more.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting: Is it Legal, Safe?

It helps congestion.

It causes accidents.

Whatever your opinion on motorcycle lane splitting--the practice of driving between cars in slow or idling traffic--it is undoubtedly based on whether your ride has 2 or 4 wheels.

But more importantly, is it legal? Is it safe? And how does it impact a lawsuit should there be an accident?

As of now, motorcycle lane splitting is only legal in the state of California, though there may be some participating localities across the country. Arizona is also on the verge of enacting a trial run of the practice in Maricopa County.

Why Do We Declare a National Emergency?

In the last two weeks, President Obama declared a national emergency in states across the Midwest and the Southeastern United States, ordering federal agencies to release disaster funds to support the recovery of the flooded and tornado-hit regions.

Though it might seem silly to issue a declaration of emergency for a situation that is clearly dire, the act of doing so is actually incredibly important for states seeking federal aid.

Metra Train Collides with Truck, Driver Killed

A Metra passenger train struck and killed a man who reportedly drove his dump truck around downed crossing gates in Des Plaines, Ill., near Mount Prospect, Ill., reports the Naperville Sun.

The collision occurred at about 8:40 a.m., on the Metra Union Pacific's Northwest line. The intersection where the accident happened is a grade crossing, protected with gates, lights and bells, reports Patch.com.

According to witnesses, the crossing gates were down, the warnings lights shone and the no left turn sign illuminated, reports the Naperville Sun.

St. Paul Settles with K-9 Bite Victim, 16

Mitch Fitzgerald, a South St. Paul teenager, thought he could take a walk with a friend on a snowy March evening. Then a St. Paul police dog named Sarik attacked the young man, then 13 years old. Nobody claims the attack was provoked.

Mitch suffered a lip gash requiring three stitches to close at Children's Hospital of St. Paul. Sarik also ripped open Mitch's arm, which required 13 more stitches to close. And then Mitch had to endure taunts at school about being a "dog toy," reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The South St. Paul police did not cite off-duty St. Paul police officer Isaac Rinehart for unleashing Sarik in a public park, reports the Pioneer Press.

Mississippi Flood Raises Toxic Mold Threat

Mississippi flood waters take the treat from beating your feet on the Mississippi mud. The toxic mold might give you more than a treat, too.

And when Mississippi tributaries begin to back up, breaching their low levies, the damage will spread. Snakes, molds, water-borne bacteria, and septic tank effluent will spread to form a river of cess as much as 80 miles wide, reports USA Today.

The Army Corps of Engineers, after grim calculations, has begun to relieve pressure on the lower reaches of the Mississippi, by diverting river flow upstream. So the Corps has dynamited a levee near Cairo, Ill., opened a spillway outside of New Orleans and is considering opening another dam near Baton Rouge that hasn't been opened since 1973--all to relieve pressure from the swollen river, reports USA Today.

Seattle to Pay $1.5 Million in Woodcarver Cop Killing

The City of Seattle will pay $1.5 million to the heirs and estate of John T. Williams, a Seattle woodcarver shot dead by a Seattle Police in August 2010.

It was an emotionally-charged police shooting that say a law enforcement office quit and avoid prosecution.

Funeral Home Buries Wrong Woman in Mix-Up

A funeral is meant to be a time for loved ones to reflect and collectively mourn a death. For the family of Sylvia Wallace, a funeral home mix-up in Texas had them mourning a stranger.

A veteran of the business for over 20 years, Falls Funeral Home director Rick Shaffer assumed the responsibility of the tragic mishap.

Wallace had always wanted to be buried in Cobb County, Georgia, next to her mother, reports The Times Record. When she passed away at a nursing home facility in Texas, her children, James Elser and Shanon Aradillas, contacted the Falls Funeral Home to make arrangements for her body to be embalmed and sent in a pink casket of their choosing to Georgia.

Texas 'Loser Pays' Bill Passed by House

Proponents of Texas House Bill 274 say the bill, if it becomes law, will limit frivolous and junk lawsuits with a new Texas "loser pays" statute. But proponents may want to be careful what they wish for.

House Bill 274, as passed recently by the Texas House of Representatives, provides a kicker to the pure "loser pays" rule, reports the Associated Press. Remember "loser pays," aka the "English Rule," contrasts with the "American Rule," where each party bears their own attorney fees unless shifted by a statute.

Yankee Stadium 'Jolts' Woman with Electricity

It may only be two years old, but it appears as though New York's Yankee Stadium is already causing trouble for some fans.

Portia Walton, a 54-year-old Yankees fan, is suing the ballpark, alleging that an exposed outlet gave her the shock of her life during an April 4 game against the Minnesota Twins.

Dodgers Stadium Victim Bryan Stow 'Basically Gone'

Bryan Stow was brutally attacked in a parking lot at Dodgers Stadium in March. From most accounts, the senseless beating was brought on simply because Stow, 42, is a Giants fan.

The crime occurred in a stadium parking lot after an opening game between the Dodgers and the Giants. Stow, a paramedic, was wearing Giants gear.

$322M Verdict is Largest US Asbestos Verdict

A Mississippi jury has awarded the largest U.S. asbestos verdict in history - $322 million.

Thomas Brown Jr., 48, was awarded the sum to cover future medical expenses, pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages against the defendants, Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) and Union Carbide Corporation.

Leopard Attacks First Grader at Wichita Zoo

Imagine walking through your local zoo only to witness a leopard attack a visiting child.

Horrifying, right?

Well visitors at a Wichita zoo were treated to just that last week after a first grader hopped a fence separating visitors from the leopard's enclosure.

Tobacco Suit Deadlines Lifted by Ca. Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court dealt Phillip Morris USA another blow last week in a ruling that may revitalize hundreds of lawsuits against the company.

Smokers in California who are diagnosed with a second smoking-related disease are no longer barred from bringing a tobacco lawsuit if they previously failed to file suit over a different smoking ailment.

Colorado's 'Defective' Toilet Paper Lawsuit

This is perhaps one of the oddest product defect suits you'll ever see.

The Regents of the University of Colorado are suing a toilet paper manufacturer and its distributor for providing "defective" toilet paper that allegedly clogged pipes in 27 academic buildings, leading to severe overflows and general restroom chaos.

Wondering how toilet paper can be defective? It didn't properly "disperse."

Denver Settles Police Brutality Suit for $795K

In January 2009, Alexander Landau experienced a brutal beating at the hands of three Denver police officers who later fabricated police reports so that the Department would not investigate his claims.

This week, a lawsuit filed by Landau alleging that the officers violated his civil rights was settled, with the city council unanimously agreeing to award him $795,000.

100M Sony Online Entertainment Accounts Hacked

After grossly mishandling the PlayStation Network breach, Sony is facing legal action both in the U.S. and abroad, along with a host of regulatory investigations by governments across the globe.

Unsurprisingly, things are about to get a lot worse.

It turns out that the company's Sony Online Entertainment network was also hacked, bringing the grand total of exposed accounts to nearly 100 million.

Airline Lost Husband's Body, Wife Sues

If you've ever been upset when an airline has lost your luggage, take heart--at least it didn't lose your husband.

Martha Elena Flores-Cura is suing Continental Airlines in response to an August 2009 incident during which the carrier allegedly lost the remains of her deceased husband, Humberto Rivera, after his body had been flown from Atlanta to Texas.

Shoes Off Teen's Feet Lead to Case's Settlement

Although wrongful death lawsuits often seek monetary damages, the truth is that nothing can replace a deceased love one. Instead, the suits often serve as a means of closure.

Jennifer Adkins, whose 14-year-old son Christopher Jones was killed in a 2009 attack by 6 boys, seems to have figured this out.

In exchange for a defendant's new sneakers, she agreed to settle her lawsuit.