Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

October 2017 Archives

For more than two months, a smoldering fire in wood pellet silos engulfed the South Texas town of Port Arthur. According to a new lawsuit filed by residents of a nearby neighborhood, the conditions during those two months were dire: "The smoke filled plaintiffs' homes. The smoke saturated not only the homes, but also their cars, clothing and other personal belongings. Plaintiffs could not sleep due to smoke and its smell entering their bedrooms."

The suit claims German Pellets Texas was negligent in both preventing and putting out the fire at its plant, and that smoke from the fire has caused serious health problems for residents.

When we go to doctors for treatment and medication, we want to believe the medications are safe. And when we hear the phrase "FDA-approved," we generally believe the drug or medication has undergone extensive testing and that the FDA wouldn't approve a drug -- and a doctor wouldn't prescribe it -- if it weren't safe.

But what a doctor will prescribe medication for and what the FDA has tested a drug for may not always match up. Here's what you need to know about off-label drug prescription and use.

The things that make Halloween fun are the same things that make it frightening: out at night, among scary costumes and spooky decorations. We certainly want to be a little scared on Halloween, and it can be a fine line between scary and safe.

So here are three ways to keep the frightening fun this Halloween, keep the scary stuff safe, and avoid injuries that can ruin a good All Hallows' Eve.

On April 26, 2012, Jessica Jauch was pulled over in Choctaw County, Mississippi and arrested on an outstanding felony warrant for selling a controlled substance. For the next 96 days she sat in jail, without access to an attorney or a judge.

The charges underlying that warrant turned out to be false, so Jauch filed a civil rights lawsuit against Choctaw County and Sheriff Cloyd Halford. While a lower court dismissed her claims based on the grand jury's indictment, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the suit, ruling that Jauch had been denied "basic procedural due process" by the county and Sheriff Halford in being held so long.

To date, investigators have yet to determine the cause of a series of fires that destroyed over 5,000 structures and killed over 40 people in northern California's wine country. But one Santa Rosa couple thinks they know the culprit: Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Wayne and Jennifer Harvell are suing PG&E, claiming the company failed to properly maintain the areas around some of its power lines, allowing vegetation to come into contact with electrical equipment and sparking fires that the state insurance commissioner estimates caused over $1 billion in damage.

While jury after jury has been awarding plaintiffs hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for the cancer-causing risks in their talc and baby powder products, the company's attorneys have consistently defended "the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder" and asserted they believe the verdicts will be overturned on appeal. This week, J&J got one of those verdicts reversed, but not on the basis of the safety of its products.

The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District overturned a $72 million verdict in favor of the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer, saying the case should never have been tried in St. Louis.

When most of us think of negligence and injury, the classic example is the simple car accident. We all owe a duty to drive carefully, someone breached that duty by driving irresponsibly or ignoring a traffic sign or signal, this causes a crash, and someone else is injured. Perhaps negligence and car accidents are so closely linked because so many lawsuits follow accidents.

But as seemingly familiar as so many people are with accidents and the personal injury lawsuits that follow, we still have questions. Here are seven of the most common car accident lawsuit questions, and where to find the answers:

A new lawsuit against neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalist groups in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia claims the antagonists brought "semi-automatic weapons, pistols, mace, rods, armor, shields, and torches" to the city, with "the purpose of inciting violence and instilling fear within the community of Charlottesville and beyond."

The suit, filed on behalf of 11 people injured during the August clashes, charge 26 individuals and groups with negligence, conspiracy, harassment, infliction of emotional distress, and assault along with violations of the Ku Klux Klan Act and the Civil Rights Act. Here's a look:

If there is anything positive to be taken from the horrific Harvey Weinstein revelations, it's that more victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment -- both male and female -- are coming forward with their stories. And as more stories are told, more lawsuits will follow.

And that will leave many people wondering whether you can sue for sexual assault or harassment, and who, other than the perpetrator, might be responsible. Here's a look:

The fact that an Indiana couple found hidden cameras in their Florida Airbnb rental, and that local law enforcement believes dozens of renters at the same location may have been illegally captured on video going back years, is distressing. But it's not new. Airbnb was sued two years ago after a German woman discovered a hidden camera in her California rental.

Clearly the owners of the rentals are violating criminal statutes and could be civilly liable for the secret surveillance, but what about Airbnb itself? Can the company be sued if guests are filmed without their permission?

Lawsuits seem to follow any tragedy. And when the person most directly responsible for the tragedy is no longer alive -- as is the case in so many mass shootings -- victims look for someone to hold legally accountable. Schools and movie theaters have been targeted with lawsuits after shootings before, so it's only natural to wonder whether the hotel from which Stephen Paddock killed 58 and wounded almost 500 more, the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, could be liable for the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Here's a look at the hotel's potential legal liability following the shooting.

Hospitals, and the medical professionals they employ, are supposed to be the places and people we can turn to for care, cure, and comfort. Sadly, in doesn't always work out that way. Hospitals can make mistakes and their employees can abuse their power to take advantage of vulnerable patients.

That's what happened according to one woman's lawsuit against Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Mississippi. A Jane Doe claims a paramedic sexually assaulted her in the back of an ambulance while she was suffering from a drug overdose and being transported to the hospital.

Aschea Austin, according to her civil complaint, visited the drive-thru South State Road Dunkin' Donuts in Margate, Florida in December 2015, four months pregnant at the time. Unhappy with her order, Austin admittedly "became a participant in a verbal, then physical altercation with Xiomara Henry," a Dunkin' employee.

One month later, Austin went to the hospital complaining of a fever, nausea, and vomiting. She later miscarried in the hospital, and is now suing the doughnut chain, claiming it and the employee are liable for the miscarriage.

One of the most tragic stories emerging from the wake of Hurricane Irma was the death of 11 residents at a single nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills lost its air conditioning during the storm, and allegedly didn't contact 911 until two days later. Eight of the facility's patients died the next day, many from respiratory or cardiac distress, some of whom arrived at hospitals with body temperatures of 109.9, 108.5, 108.3, and 107.

There are now a multitude of lawsuits being filed against the nursing home, claiming administrators and staff were negligent in their care of residents.