Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

August 2011 Archives

Ride the Ducks Needs a Safety Review, Feds Say

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that Philadelphia tourist attraction Ride the Ducks undergo a safety review. This comes after tug pilot Matt Devlin pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter after his tug boat steered a barge into the duck boat last summer, killing two tourists, reports the Claims Journal.

Ride the Ducks is a tourist attraction that has been operating since 2003. The ride lets tourists and patrons take an hour-long drive in the World War II-style amphibious duck boat around Philadelphia that ends in a 10-minute soak in the Delaware River.

The tourist attraction turned fatal last year. Two tourists were killed on the duck boat after a barge collided into the boat while it was disabled in the Delaware River, reports the Claims Journal.

NY Attorney Sues Exs Over Posts

Manhattan attorney Matthew Couloute Jr. has filed a federal lawsuit against two ex-lovers who have taken to the internet, posting nasty messages about his allegedly cheating ways on a website known as

Alleging tortious interference with prospective business relations, Couloute claims that the messages left by Stacey Blitsch (who is also the mother of his child) and Amanda Ryncarz are destroying his legal career, costing him prospective clients left and right.

The posts are the first Google search results for his name.

Half Dome Death: Hiker is Yosemite Death No. 17

The recent Yosemite Half Dome death marks the 17th death in the national park this year. Ryan Leeder, 23, fell thousands of feet to his death at around 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

Leeder was a native of Bonny Doon, located close to Santa Cruz, California. He was currently residing in San Jose, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Fellow hikers heard Leeder scream and watched him fall Monday night. Authorities were not able to search for his body until the following day due to darkening conditions.

AL Funeral Home Lost Woman's Body, Daughters Sue

Jimmie Lee Scott is supposed to be buried at Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery, Alabama, but according to a lawsuit filed by her three daughters, their mother's body is currently missing.

The women have now sued Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, which oversaw their mother's service and casket, as well as Forest Hills Memorial Park, a company contracted to finalize the burial.

They're seeking a total of $3 million, though they'd probably just like their mother's body back.

Dr. Who Cut off KY Man's Penis Cleared by Jury

A Kentucky jury cleared the doctor who cut off a man's penis during surgery. Penis amputee Phillip Seaton was awarded no damages in the case.

Seaton, 64, was suing Dr. John Patterson. He accused the doctor who cut off his penis in 2008 of doing so without his consent during a circumcision procedure, reports ABC News.

During the procedure, Patterson said he discovered the cancer. He said he believed that the penis needed to be amputated right away, and that he had no other options, ABC News reports.

The jury appears to have agreed with Dr. Patterson.

Las Vegas' Aria Resort Sued Over Legionnaires'

Eight former guests of the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas have sued the hotel and its builders for $337.5 million after contracting Legionnaires' disease, a severe and potentially deadly form of pneumonia.

The Aria Legionnaires' incident, which has been confirmed by health investigators who believe the bacteria spread through the hotel's air conditioning and water systems, is being blamed on the builder's negligent design and installation, as well as management's failure to inspect and repair.

Should $1M be New Standard for Stillbirth in NY?

Is $1 million in damages the new "standard" for stillbirths in New York? How does one even manage to quantify monetary damages for stillborn babies after medical malpractice?

In 2004, New York changed its law to allow mothers to sue for emotional damages resulting from medical malpractice-caused stillbirths.

Brooklyn mother Lucy Ferreira's case was one the first to make it to a trial. She was originally awarded $1 million in damages against the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in 2005, reports The New York Times.

An appeals court determined that the $1 million award was "reasonable compensation" for her mental anguish and suffering by a New York appeals court, The New York Times reports.

Navy Asbestos Verdict: $32M to Navy Veteran

Kentucky resident Ronald Dummitt, a former Navy veteran, was awarded a $32 million asbestos verdict after an eight-week trial in New York.

Dummitt, now 68, served for 28 years in the Navy. He was exposed to asbestos from working on Navy ships. He served on seven different ships between 1960 and 1977, reports WSAZ-TV.

Dummitt worked in the boiler and fire rooms on board the ships. His work also included repairing valves manufactured by Crane Co. These repairs involved removing and replacing asbestos-laden parts, according to WSAZ-TV.

Eliot Spitzer Sued for Libel: $90M for Slate Piece

Former Attorney General and Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer is facing allegations of libel for the first time since he took to the airwaves and launched his career in political commentary.

The Spitzer libel suits, filed by two former executives at Marsh & McLennan, a global insurance brokerage firm, are asking for a combined total of $90 million, pointing to negative statements Spitzer made in an article written for the Washington Post's

An article that doesn't even mention them by name.

Urban Outfitters Sued Over Sexy Underage Photos

Parents of teen model Hailey Clauson have filed suit against Urban Outfitters. The Urban Outfitters lawsuit alleges that the store is using "salacious" photos of the underage model on some of the company's T-shirts without consent.

Clauson is only 16. The images used on some of the Urban Outfitters tees feature Clauson posing on a motorcycle with her legs spread in what her complaint calls a "blatantly salacious manner."

The images were shot by photographer Jason Lee Parry. Clauson's parents are seeking around $28 million in damages, according to ABC News.

Police Kill Chicago Man's Dog, Jury Awards $333K

It's not often police kill a dog and are forced to pay, but a Chicago jury on Friday made a statement when it awarded the family of Darren and Thomas Russell $243,000 for an incident during which Chicago police raided the brothers' home and shot the family's dog.

An additional $90,000 was also awarded to Thomas Russell, who was found to have been falsely arrested for obstructing authorized service of criminal process when he asked the officers if he could secure the canine.

Indiana Stage Collapse: $50M Wrongful Death Suit Filed

The tragic Indiana stage collapse claimed the lives of 6 people, possibly 7. The stage collapsed from a powerful gust of wind prior to a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. Among those who perished was Tammy VanDam. Her partner Beth Urschel has now filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of herself and VanDam's estate.

Tammy VanDam's wrongful death suit seeks around $50 million in damages, reports the Post-Tribune. The suit was filed against Mid-America Sound Corp., Lucas Entertainment Group and Live Nation.

Medical Malpractice Suits Seldom Win: Study

Most doctors will be sued at some point during their career, with those specializing in high-risk procedures boasting nearly a 100% chance, according to a medical malpractice study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Despite the number of medical malpractice suits, the study concluded that only 22% result in some sort of payment, either via settlement or jury award.

Why? And what do these numbers say about the state of the health care industry?

Chicago Woman Sues: Stuck in Bathtub 30 Hours

Chicago woman Anna Cullen was stuck in a walk-in bathtub for more than 30 hours, and she isn't happy about it.

Spurred by her 30-hour dip in the tub, she's filed a lawsuit against Premier Care, the tub's manufacturer.

Cullen fell into the bathtub when she was filling it up with water, and became wedged in the front of the tub. That's when she says she tried to unplug the drain, but the chain broke, causing her to be submerged in bathwater for more than 30 hours, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Her daughter found her unconscious in the tub.

Penis Amputation Trial: KY Surgeon Sued

A Kentucky man thought he was going into surgery for a circumcision but ended up with a penis amputation. He will soon be having his day in court. Jury selection has already begun in the lawsuit, brought by plaintiff Phillip Seaton.

The doctor in the case maintains that he detected cancer in Seaton's penis during the procedure, meaning that the organ needed to be amputated.

The procedure was done in October 2007. Seaton, listed in his 60s, was having the circumcision surgery in order to treat inflammation, according to the AP.

Martha Stewart Sued for Stealing Invite Design

Maybe August 2011 should be considered Martha Stewart lawsuit month. First, Stewart settled a lawsuit that alleged her lawn chairs snipped people's fingers off. Now, she and her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, are facing a design copyright infringement lawsuit.

The suit was filed in federal court by Gregory Beauchamp, who says that Stewart published a graphic that he created in one of her magazine issues.

And, she did so twice. Granted, Beauchamp gave Stewart's company permission to print his graphic in the magazine the first time, where he was given proper credit. The second time, Beauchamp alleges that a curiously similar graphic was re-printed in another magazine issue, without credit or permission, according to TheWrap.

La. Man Sues for $30M: Police Dog Bite to Penis

Louisiana resident Cody Melancon has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit after a police dog bit his penis. The K-9 officer, named Zin, is a Belgian Malinois, and is still on active duty with the Gretna police.

The unfortunate incident happened in late May, according to UPI.

Police went to Melancon's apartment to arrest him on charges that he'd kicked down a front door and hit the occupant. The police were accompanied by Zin.

Vegas Cellmate Killing Leads to $10M Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by the family of Francesco Sanfilippo, the victim in last month's Las Vegas cellmate killing, is raising questions about inmate safety and the housing of mentally-ill prisoners.

Stabbed with a pencil by 18-year-old cellmate Carl Guilford, the family alleges that the prison was negligent and violated Sanfilippo's 8th Amendment rights by placing him in a cell with an inmate known to hear voices and suffer from bipolar disorder.

They want $10 million.

Indiana Fair Deaths: 5 Killed at Sugarland Show

Concerts and fairs are meant to be fun. But, tragedy struck a recent Indiana fair. Deaths, injuries and mayhem occurred when a stage collapsed prior to a Sugarland concert.

Over the weekend, around 12,000 fans had gathered to watch the concert, reports CNN. Sara Bareilles, the opening act for Sugarland, had just finished performing.

That's when a gust of wind sent metal scaffolding from the stage onto the "Sugarpit," killing five and injuring about 40 others.

Can I Sue After a Recall?

Imagine that your car has just been recalled. The overwhelming question that you may be wondering is, can I file a recall lawsuit? What are my recall rights?

A recall may fix the underlying problem with your vehicle or defective product. And, some recalls may even offer compensation in the form of a refund. But, what if you've been injured as a result of the defective product?

You could file a lawsuit.

Martha Stewart Chair Lawsuits Settled

Kmart and its infamous craft-maven partner have agreed to settle a group of Martha Stewart chair lawsuits that left a Kentucky child, an Illinois college student, and a New York retiree without full use of their fingers.

Apparently, a line of Stewart-branded and designed patio chairs sold at the discount retailer unintentionally came with a built-in, secondary function.

The legs acted as a mini-guillotine.

Sleep-Deprived Doctors: New Limits for Residents

Most patients would prefer to avoid being treated by a sleep-deprived doctor.

Unfortunately for most patients, getting a doctor who is well-rested may simply be out of the question considering the general standards for resident physician hours that have been in place for decades.

Until now, that is.

While images of exhausted residents and sleep-deprived physicians are common on Grey's Anatomy, it seems that the medical profession has finally acknowledged that lack of sleep increases the chance for error. The result is the implementation of new standards that force residents to take some rest breaks.

AZ Family Told Daughter Abby Guerra Was Dead

Arizona family Sergio and Maria Guerra mistakenly received some tragic news as a result of fatal crash mix-up. They were told that their daughter, Abby Guerra, 20, had died in a car accident.

Except, in reality, Guerra had survived the crash - her friend, Marlena Cantu, was the one who died. Officers had mistakenly identified Guerra as the crash victim, reports USA Today.

Guerra was in the hospital in critical condition. Six days had lapsed in between the time authorities first notified Guerra's family of her "death" and the time that they notified her family that she was actually alive.

Male Breast Cancer: Medicaid Denies SC Man

Despite known cases of male breast cancer, Medicaid does not cover it. Men with breast cancer may have to suffer through high bills and hospital costs unless new rules are implemented - or existing rules are interpreted differently.

Raymond Johnson, 26, was diagnosed with breast cancer in South Carolina, where he works for around $9 an hour, reports MSNBC.

Johnson was surprised to learn of his diagnosis, because he wasn't even sure that men could be diagnosed with breast cancer. He was even more surprised when he was denied coverage for his illness, according to MSNBC.

Can I Sue to Cancel My Gym Membership?

A common complaint amongst gym goers everywhere is that it's really difficult to cancel a gym membership once you've signed up.

Unfortunately, if you sign a gym contract with a term longer than a month, you're generally bound for its duration, requiring you to pay fees, accept auto-renewals, and cancellation charges.

However, you still may be able to cancel a gym membership via lawsuit if there is evidence of one of the following defenses.

U.S. Army Did Not Properly Test Body Plate Armor

Sometimes the only thing standing between life and death for a soldier is their gear, such as body plate armor. Well, the U.S. Army has admitted a rather large mishap: about 5 million plates of body armor were not tested properly.

According to a report from the Defense Department Inspector General, many units were not tested properly, while some units weren't tested at all.

Of course, just because the units weren't tested properly does not mean that they are defective. However, it does mean that without the tests, the Army has less information about the reliability of the equipment that is being used on the battlefield, reports Wired.

What is Medical Malpractice? What is Not?

You may hear about them in the papers or on TV, but the truth is that medical malpractice cases are not merely lawsuits based on the fact that a patient was somehow injured by a healthcare provider.

Medical malpractice is a form of negligence, meaning that only those injuries caused by a doctor's negligent actions can legally form the basis of such a lawsuit.

However, as is explained below, proof of negligence doesn't always guarantee a successful claim.

Google Car Crash: Self-Driving But Human Error

Tech geeks are asking questions about the first ever Google car crash over the weekend, which occurred when the company's self-driving car rear-ended another vehicle near Google's Mountain View, California headquarters.

Built on a set of lasers and imaging systems, since the Google self-driving car has hit the streets (it's logged 160,000 miles), one of the largest questions has been about responsibility.

Much like with this incident, everyone wants to know who, ultimately, is responsible for a self-driving car crash?

NYC Triathlon Death: Man, 64, Dies in River Swim

The NYC triathlon over the weekend was marred by a series of injuries, one of which ended in the death of 64-year-old Michael Kudryk.

While kicking off the event with a mile-long swim across the Hudson River, Kudryk reportedly suffered from a heart attack, necessitating his removal from the choppy waters, and a trip to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police also had to pull at least another 26 of the 3,000 participants out of the water for a variety of other injuries.

Good Samaritans Save Woman's Life, Then Sue Her

Though it's not all that uncommon for rescuers to sue the people they save, a lawsuit filed by David Kelley and Mark Kinkaid against Theresa Tanner, the woman they pulled from a burning car outside Marion, Ohio, has some people up in arms.

The pair, badly and permanently injured by the 2009 rescue, is seeking compensation to help with medical bills, arguing that, because Tanner's crash was actually a suicide attempt, she should be responsible for their injuries.

What are Damages Caps?

When you win a lawsuit, you may think you'll be getting the full amount of the jury award - but be aware, many states have enacted damages caps that might limit the amount of damages that you receive. What are damages caps, anyway?

Say you have a claim against a doctor who may have been negligent in providing you care. This means you might have a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice claims originate from when a medical professional or health-care provider deviates from the standard of practice used in the field and fails to reasonably care for their patient.

Joyce Meyer Sued, Insurance Co. Won't Pay

If a new lawsuit filed in St. Louis is any indication, things aren't looking too good for televangelist Joyce Meyer.

Sued in May for the wrongful death of her former bodyguard Sheri Coleman, Meyer is now party to a federal suit filed by her insurer.

The company is asking a judge to affirm its denial of coverage, allowing it to skirt any responsibility for the payment of legal bills Meyer acquires while defending the wrongful death suit.

What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer

Finding an attorney is a daunting task, especially when you aren't sure what you should be looking for when choosing an attorney.

After all, if you get into an accident or are injured, and believe that you have a case that has some legal merit, who should you turn to?

Sure, there are the lawyers that your friends or family might recommend to you. Finding an attorney through a recommendation of a friend may be a good way to assess the qualifications of an attorney. But, there are other things that you should also consider - and do - when choosing a personal injury attorney.

Half Dome Death: CA Woman Falls 600 Feet

A California woman slipped when hiking, falling from Half Dome to her death. This most recent tragic incident seems to be a continuation of a deadly season at Yosemite, with deaths at a recent high.

Haley LaFlamme, 26, fell to her death at the national park after slipping on wet granite. She fell 600 feet, and was declared dead on the scene.

The park website warns visitors not to try to climb up the cables, which were installed to help climbers ascend the dome, if the rock is wet, according to the park website. Specifically, the park points out that most accidents on the dome occur under wet conditions.

LaFlamme is the 14th person to die in the famed park this year, reports the Los Angeles Times. This number is quite high for the year, as Yosemite would usually see 12-15 deaths by the end of the year.

Top 5 Reasons to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Contrary to popular belief, medical treatment that does more harm than good isn't necessarily cause for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice laws are actually medical negligence laws, meaning that a patient's claim is only actionable if a medical provider or facility negligently provided care that resulted in injury or death.

Putting aside the issue of faulty medical devices, medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and facilities must usually be based on one of the following.

Road Trip Safety Tips: How Not to Get Injured

It’s summer. Maybe school is just about to start, or you’ve got a few weeks of vacation that you’d like to use up. What better way to close a summer than with a road trip? Safety, however, should also be on your mind. Do you know if you’re legally able to drive with an out-of-state-license?

What other safety tips should you keep in mind before embarking on a long, cross-country trek?

As always, when planning a trip, while having fun may be the priority, the secondary priority should be safety.