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

June 2011 Archives

First Amtrak Crash Lawsuit Filed in Nevada

Alexandra Curtis, an attendant on the train involved in last week's deadly Nevada Amtrak crash, has launched what it sure to become a barrage of lawsuits against truck driver Lawrence Valli and his employer, John Davis Trucking Co.

The lawsuit, which seeks $10,000 in general damages and undetermined medical costs, alleges that Valli negligently failed to heed the warnings at the train crossing.

Given his driving record, this allegation may not be so far off the mark.

BART Settles with Oscar Grant's Mom for $1.3M

The recent Oscar Grant settlement of $1.3 million has been made with Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother. The decision of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to settle with the family, however, is not an admission of guilt by the transit agency.

Grant, 22, was killed on a BART train platform on January 1, 2009. The responding BART officers had gone to the station after there were reports of a fight, reports CBS News.

Grant was unarmed and lying face-down on the station when he was shot by former BART officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle said he thought he was reaching for his Taser, not his gun.

Man Can Sue After Bipolar Wife Dies in Jail

A federal judge in Florida ruled in favor of Michael DeGraw this month, allowing him to proceed with a lawsuit filed against a local sheriff, which seeks compensation for an incident during which bipolar wife died in jail.

Suing on behalf of himself and his deceased wife, Jennifer, Michael alleges that prison employees falsified documents and failed to provide adequate medical care as required by the 8th Amendment.

He appears to have a pretty strong case.

George Desdunes' Death: Cornell Frat Sued for $25M

George Desdunes was a Cornell University student until tragedy struck. Now, his mother is suing the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity for George Desdunes' death, allegedly the result of a hazing ritual gone awry.

The wrongful death suit was filed by Desdunes' mother. She is seeking $25 million from the fraternity, reports The Daily Mail.

Desdunes, 19, was "kidnapped" by fellow pledges during the hazing ritual. Fraternity members had then tied him up and quizzed him on the fraternity, forcing him to drink alcohol until he was unconscious.

Glaxo Pays $41M to 37 States for Bad Drug Plant

The recent GlaxoSmithKline (Glaxo) settlement means the drug company will be paying $41 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia. The settlement is about Glaxo's "bad drugs," arising out of medicine manufactured at the company's former factory in Puerto Rico.

The company made "bad drugs" between 2001 and 2004. The drugs included anti-nausea drugs, diabetes drug, and the antidepressant Paxil, according to prosecutors, Bloomberg reports.

The company failed to make sure that certain drugs were not contaminated, and some tablets may have contained too much or too little of the active ingredient, says the criminal complaint.

Hustler Lawsuit's $20M Award Reduced by Judge

The Hustler lawsuit's $20 million judgment against the magazine for publishing nude Nancy Benoit photos after her death has been reduced to $375,000 by a federal judge.

Nancy Benoit was married to professional wrestler Chris Benoit. Nancy and her 7-year-old son, Daniel, were strangled to death by Chris Benoit in 2007. Chris Benoit then committed suicide, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Nancy Benoit originally posed for the nude photographs when she was an aspiring model back in 1983, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Generic Drug Warning Labels Shielded by S. Ct.

A divided Supreme Court on Thursday put an end to the vast majority of generic drug lawsuits, finding that consumers cannot sue generic drug manufacturers for the use of inadequate warning labels.

The case, which does not impact the Court's 2009 ruling regarding liability for non-generic drug labeling, was decided on the basis of preemption.

Five Justices found that it is virtually impossible for generic manufacturers to comply with both federal and state law at the same time.

Man Sues Nail Salon: Charged $1 Extra for Manicure

Ever been the victim of nail salon discrimination? No?

Because Norris Sydnor III of Maryland claims he was, and now he wants $200,000.

Filed against Rich's Nail Salon in Landover, and set to go to trial next month, the lawsuit claims that being forced to pay $1 more than a woman for a manicure was emotionally distressing.

And illegal.

The Pill for Acne: 2 NC Teens Die from Yasmin ,Yaz

Taking birth control for acne has risks. But, do pharmaceutical companies actually acknowledge these risks and publicize them - or do they aggressively market off-label uses for contraceptives?

The parents of two deceased teens, Brittany Nicole and Michelle Pfleger, are blaming birth control for their daughters' death.

Nicole, from North Carolina, started taking Yasmin when she was 13. She was prescribed the drug for acne. She died from pulmonary embolisms when she was 15, and her father believes the embolisms were a result of the Yasmin, reports Courthouse News Service.

Pet Car Insurance Covers Car Accident Injuries

Do you need pet car insurance?

Wait, what is pet car insurance?

A newer trend, this type of insurance covers veterinary care should your pet be injured while in your car, whether in an accident or not.

So if you're prone to toting Fido or Tiger or even Iggy from place to place, pet car insurance is something you may want to consider.

Ky. Woman Umi Southworth's Death: Murder Victim was Alive

Umi Southworth's death was a tragedy. Her husband, Don Southworth, is charged with her murder. Authorities admitted to mistakes in the original investigation, pointing to the protocols and policy of the police department of Lexington.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been handed down against the city on behalf of Umi's estate.

Police originally found Southworth, beaten and left in the bushes behind her home in Kentucky, last June, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Air France Crash Plaintiffs Can't Sue in US

A federal judge in Northern California for the second time dismissed the Air France crash lawsuit on Wednesday, ruling that family members of those killed in the 2009 crash are not entitled to sue parts manufacturers in the United States.

Citing the legal doctrine of forum non conveniens, the judge determined that France is a more appropriate venue for the dispute despite the fact that defendants are American companies.

Ferris Wheel Death: Abiah Jones, 11, Died in Fall

The tragic Ferris wheel death of 11-year-old Abiah Jones in New Jersey has encouraged stricter rules on amusement park rides and has also spurred her family to hire an attorney.

The new rules are now mandating that riders in Ferris wheels be at least 54 inches tall in order to ride without supervision. The New Jersey Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Unit are also encouraging that each car have at least two riders, reports CNN.

Young Abiah Jones was on a school trip as a reward for making the honor roll when she fell out of the Ferris wheel to her death.

Lower Merion Spying Suit: Pa. School Sued Again

Lower Merion School District thought that it had put the school spying case to rest, spending $1.6 million last year in litigation and settlement after news broke that it had secretly captured over 65,000 images of students via remotely accessed webcams.

Unfortunately, it appears as though the Pennsylvania school will be shelling out a bit more cash, as the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that a 2009 Harriton High graduate is suing the district after learning that it had captured nearly 8,000 images on his school-issued laptop.

Filed in federal court, this new lawsuit alleges that the school violated the civil rights of plaintiff Joshua Levin, as well as humiliated him and caused severe emotional distress.

Playboy Sued: Model Injured in Trampoline Fall

Model Denise Underhill has filed suit against Playboy for an injury she sustained while jumping on a trampoline during a photo shoot. The Playboy trampoline lawsuit is about a 2009 incident, but was only recently filed.

Underhill was required to jump on a trampoline for a photo shoot. During her jumping session, she tore the meniscus in her right knee. Instead of calling for doctors, however, photo shoot staff simply gave her crutches and sent her on her way.

Underhill is now asking for about $25,000 in damages for her injuries, claiming that she even had to undergo surgery on the bad knee, according to celebrity gossip source TMZ.

Bananas Foster Fire: 4 Injured by Flaming Dessert

Flaming desserts and injury are something that seem like they would go hand-in-hand. And, a recent Bananas Foster fire that left four unlucky restaurant diners burned seems to underscore the danger of fiery foods.

The unfortunate accident took place at the Ozona Blue, a restaurant in Palm Harbor, Florida. Katie Hudgins, her fiancé and her fiancé's family, were sitting down to a nice meal and had ordered two servings of Bananas Foster.

Bananas Foster is a popular dessert fish consisting of bananas and a mixture of butter, cinnamon, and other ingredients. The dessert is also considered a tableside spectacle, as rum is poured into the dish and set on fire for patrons.

Swimming Pool Liability: Pool Safety is Key

It's swimming pool season, which means that it's the perfect time to brush up on pool safety and, of course, the related topic of swimming pool liability.

Before you open up your backyard pool to family and friends this summer, it's necessary that you take the required steps to protect them as well as yourself.

Here's a quick primer to get you started.

The rules of negligence require that you act with the utmost care with respect to your backyard pool--no matter what time of year it is.

Citi Credit Card Data Hacked

The Citi credit card hack seems to be just one of the many information hacks of 2011.

Citigroup claims that about 1% of North American card holders' information may have been breached. In its annual report in 2010, Citi had reported that it had around 21 million credit card customers in North America.

Alarmingly, the hack occurred more than a month ago - and Citi only confirmed it this week, after the Financial Times broke the story.

Ill. Benzene Lawsuit Targets Shell Oil Spill

A benzene lawsuit has been filed against Shell Oil and BP by the estate of a late teacher, Debra Ochs. The leukemia lawsuit was filed by Jeffry Ochs, her husband, and on behalf of their daughter.

Debra Ochs, a teacher at the Roxana School District in Illinois, died of leukemia in 2008. She had fought the disease for five years, reports The Telegraph.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has been monitoring benzene levels in recent years, trying to detect the chemical. In 1986, a benzene release occurred - a total of 8,400 gallons of benzene leaked out of an underground pipeline, reports The Telegraph.

Chiquita Terrorism Lawsuit: Murder, Torture

With the approval of a federal judge in Florida on Friday, the Chiquita terrorism lawsuit will move forward, permitting thousands of Colombians to sue the banana grower for aiding in state-sponsored human rights violations.

The lawsuit stems from $1.7 million in payments Chiquita made to the AUC, a Colombian paramilitary group that has been labeled a terrorist organization by U.S. officials.

As a paramilitary organization, the AUC has been responsible for the murder and torture of thousands of Colombians, but has specifically targeted labor and leftists activists in the country's banana growing region, according to Slate.

Patti LaBelle Sued for Airport Attack

Would you be okay with having bodyguards working for R&B legend Patti LaBelle attack you? Probably not, and neither is Richard King, 23, who is now suing LaBelle for the alleged assault.

The attack occurred at an airport in Houston. King was the one who threw the first punch, and he was intoxicated and trying to get into LaBelle's limo - or so said LaBelle's bodyguards in a statement to the Houston police.

Well, those might not be all the right facts, according to a surveillance tape that was recently released by King's attorneys. In fact, a whole other story comes to light.

Jury Sides with RI in Paralyzed Man's Lawsuit

Brett A. Roy, paralyzed as a result of a swimming accident in a Rhode Island state park, lost his bid for compensation on Monday when, after 7 days of deliberation, a jury sided with the state, awarding the injured man nothing.

What's fascinating about this case is not the outcome, but instead the fact that it was premised on a unique state statute that overrode the jury's decision that both parties were equally at fault.

In July 2008, Brett A. Roy and his family took a trip to World War II Memorial State Park in Woonsocket, where there is a large swimming pond. He reportedly dove into a shallow area, causing injuries that resulted in paralysis, reports WPRI-TV.

Can You Sue a Paramedic, Firefighter?

As a result of a Memorial Day incident that left the city of Alameda's first responders on the shore while a man drowned in an apparent suicide attempt, a lot of people are wondering whether it's possible to sue a paramedic or firefighter for failing to provide adequate medical care.

While in some jurisdictions it is possible to sue a paramedic, the right is typically limited, and will vary state by state.

And in some instances, it simply depends on whether the state has waived its sovereign immunity.

Dunkin Donuts Sued: Sugar in Diabetic's Coffee

Move over, McDonald's. There's a Dunkin' Donuts coffee lawsuit in town, and it has nothing to do with heat.

Danielle Jordan of Philadelphia is suing the company for unspecified damages, claiming that after one of its employees served her sugar-laden coffee instead of the requested artificial sweetener, she went into diabetic shock.

This one already seems like a long shot.

Bath Salts Death: 'Imitation Cocaine' Kills Man

Just a few days after Florida banned imitation cocaine, there has been a bath salt death in the Sunshine State. These "bath salts" are different than the kind you put in your tub - essentially, it is imitation cocaine, and overdosing on the drug can cause death.

Jairious McGhee, 23, is the first case of a bath salt overdose death nationwide, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

While McGhee's death is the first reported death, bath salts have been attributed to 2,500 calls to poison control centers across the country, according to ABC News. Ingesting too much of the imitation cocaine can cause paranoia, hallucinations, and rapid increases in heart rate.

Amtrak Injuries: Chicago Train Crash Lawsuits?

Twelve people were injured in a Chicago train crash Thursday morning when an Amtrak train and Metra commuter train carrying 1,500 people collided near Union Station.

As with a number of train crashes in recent years, you can expect a thorough investigation into the cause of the crash.

The two trains collided where two tracks converge, but were so slow-moving that few people were harmed. Even with blown out train windows, most passengers were able to follow emergency lights and self-evacuate, reports The Chicago Sun-Times.

Train crashes happen, unfortunately. So will there be Chicago train crash lawsuits? 

Yaz Birth Control Pills' Blood Clot Risks

The FDA is now investigating birth control pills (like Yaz) and blood clot risks. The new investigation was issued after two recently published studies showed that women who used birth control that contain drospirenone were more at risk for blood clots.

So far, the FDA is not recommending women who are taking birth control pills that contain drospirenone, like Yasmin and Yaz, to stop taking the pills. The FDA is instead advising that women should talk to their healthcare providers first before they make any changes to their birth control.

The FDA also urged women who had any symptoms like persistent leg pain, severe chest pain or sudden shortness of breath to contact their doctor immediately.

Chantix Suicide: Pfizer Covers Up Drug Deaths?

Pfizer may have intentionally misreported hundreds of incidents detailing Chantix suicide risks and other serious side effects, according to a recent report by non-profit pharmaceutical watchdog.

Though Pfizer did report suicides and suicide attempts linked to its smoking-cessation drug, the incidents were improperly buried amongst tens of thousands of reports describing minor side effects, the Institute for Safe Medication Practice reports.

Last year, the FDA asked Pfizer to resubmit thousands of side-effect reports after it had done so in an improper format; they could not be properly inputted in the agency's tracking system, reports MSNBC.

Will Alameda Water Rescue Policy Lead to Lawsuit?

An Alameda water rescue policy has come under scrutiny after the drowning death of a man on Memorial Day.

The Alameda drowning was the apparent result of a suicide attempt by Raymond Zack, 52. But what is shocking is that firefighters and police who were called to the scene could only stand idly by as they watched the man succumb to the waves.

Police and firefighters stood back, helpless. They were untrained in water rescue. Due to budget cuts, the fire department's water rescue program had been scrapped, and the policy for firefighters was that they were not to enter into the water in cases like this, reports USA Today.

Bicycle Accidents: Cyclists Must Obey Traffic Laws

Even though cyclists often receive the brunt of the injuries that occur during car-bicycle accidents, the fact is that a cyclist can actually be found primarily liable for his injuries--and the injuries of a motorist--should they end up in court.

Why?

Because, just like motorists, cyclists must obey traffic laws, and a failure to do so is strong evidence of negligence, and thus fault.

As with all injuries, bicycle accident liability comes down to which party was negligent, and whether the parties contributed to their own injuries.