Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

September 2011 Archives

KC Priest Sued: Fathered Child with Married Woman

Reverend Joseph Matt, a Missouri priest who fathered a child with a married woman, is being sued along with the diocese. The priest was sued in an anonymous lawsuit filed by the woman's husband.

The woman's husband wants to keep his name out of the lawsuit to protect the identity of the child.

Rev. Matt admitted to having an affair with the husband's wife for an extended period of time in 2004 and 2005. The man said that his wife turned to the reverend for counseling after she had lost her job.

Rev. Matt had served on the diocese's marriage tribunal. That is when the affair began - and when the child was conceived.

Wife Loses Suit Over Husband's Brain Removal

A Maine jury ruled against Anne Mozingo, who had alleged that doctors harvested her husband's brain without her consent.

Mozingo's husband passed away from a brain aneurism in 2000. She said she consented to donate a small brain tissue sample.

Instead, she says she learned five years later that her husband's entire brain had been removed, along with his brain lining, liver, spleen and pituitary gland. All of the organs were packed up and sent to the Stanley Medical Research Institute.

Jury Awards 4.5M in Eureka Police Beating Death

The family of a Eureka Police beating victim was awarded $4.5 million on Friday.

Three officers from the Northern California city were accused of using excessive force and ignoring Martin Cotton's medical needs. He died in a Humboldt County jail cell just hours after participating in a violent altercation with police.

Those officers were also ordered to pay an additional $75,000 to Cotton's family.

Exploding Toilet in GSA Building Injures DC Woman

Toilet injuries: they exist, and not just in cartoons. A woman was injured by an exploding toilet at a federal building in Washington D.C. on Monday.

The explosion occurred at the General Services Administration (GSA) building on 7th and D SW in our nation's capitol.

The woman was taken to the hospital after the accident with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Employees were warned not to use the restrooms after the incident.

Well, clearly nobody would try to use the toilet. Not after one exploded.

Can the poor woman sue to recover damages?

School Bus Stop Safety: Top 3 Ways to Avoid Danger

It's September, meaning parents everywhere are now sending their kids to school again. Bus stop safety and school bus safety should be on parents and children's minds.

Bus safety is especially important if your child takes the bus to school every day.

With that in mind, here are some top tips to ensure your child gets to school safely:

Pitt. Prison Guards Sexually Abused Inmates?

A newly-filed federal lawsuit accuses prison guard Harry Nicoletti of systematically raping and sexually abusing inmates at State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh.

The inmate, known only as John Doe, further alleges that 7 other guards participated in the abuse. The suit also names the prison, the state Department of Corrections, and the prison superintendent as defendants.

Officials are being accused of ignoring complaints.

Jaycee Dugard Sues U.S. Over Her Kidnap

Jaycee Dugard sued the U.S. government on Thursday. She alleges that the negligence of federal parole officers contributed to her kidnapping and imprisonment. Dugard was kidnapped when she was 11 at by Phillip and Nancy Garrido from South Lake Tahoe in 1991.

She was driven across state lines into Antioch, California. There, she was captive for 18 years and raped hundreds of times. She bore two children from Phillip Garrido.

The shocking part: Garrido was released from federal prison on charges of kidnapping and rape just three years before snatching Dugard. He was still under federal supervision when he kidnapped her.

Listeria in Cantaloupe Kills 8th Victim

The Listeria death toll continues to rise as eight people have died from the bacterial infection. In response, attorneys around the country are preparing to file more Listeria lawsuits.

In total, the outbreak has sickened 55 people in 14 states.

The CDC has traced the Listeria bacteria to cantaloupe produced by Colorado-based Jensen Farms, CBS News reports. Jensen Farms voluntarily recalled the contaminated fruit, which was shipped from July 29 - Sept. 10 to multiple states.

VA Man Sues Starbucks Over Hidden Toilet Camera

A Virginia man is suing Starbucks over a hidden toilet camera found by his 5-year-old daughter.

While visiting a Washington location, the girl discovered the camera attached to a pipe under the sink. It was pointed at the toilet and recording occupants.

This is at least the fourth Starbucks camera incident in the last year, though it appears to be the first lawsuit.

Will SeaWorld Death End Killer Whale Shows?

Does the tragic 2010 death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau mark the end of the theme park's famous orca stunts? The SeaWorld death not only shocked the audience on hand, it also shed light on some of the park's safety violations.

SeaWorld operates parks in Florida, Texas and California. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) filed a citation against the company after a six-month investigation into its orca program, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The investigation was launched after Brancheau, a veteran trainer, was pulled underwater by a killer whale named Tilikum at SeaWorld Orlando during a live show. Tilikum had grabbed a hold of Brancheau's ponytail, dragging her underwater. Brancheau drowned.

Reno Air Crash Death Toll is 10 after Reno Air Race

A tenth person has died as a result of the devastating accident at the Reno Air Race over the weekend, with officials reporting at least another 70 injuries ranging from minor to serious.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), tasked with investigating such accidents, is currently at the site of the Reno air crash. It is raising questions about the medical history of veteran stuntman pilot Jimmy Leeward, his modified World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter plane, and the safety of air races in general.

FL Wrongful Birth Lawsuit: $4.5M Jury Award

Faced with pictures of 3-year-old Bryan, a little boy who was born without arms and only one leg, a jury in a wrongful birth lawsuit awarded parents Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana $4.5 million last week.

The West Palm Beach couple asserted that OB/GYN Dr. Marie Morel and her ultrasound technician were negligent in detecting Bryan's missing limbs. The couple argued that had they known about his disabilities, they would have saved him "a life of physical and psychological pain" and terminated the pregnancy.

Thanksgiving Killer Lawsuit: Parents Sued

Florida man Paul Merhige went on a murderous rampage during a family dinner on Thanksgiving Day in 2009 and killed four family members. Now, the parents of the Thanksgiving killer face a lawsuit by Muriel and Jimmy Sitton.

The Sittons are the Merhiges' cousins. The murders happened at the Sittons' house, where the Merhiges, including their son Paul, attended a holiday family dinner together.

The lawsuit alleges that the Merhiges could have prevented the slayings, which claimed the lives of Paul's twin sisters, his aunt, and Makayla Sitton, who was the Sittons' daughter, reports NBC Miami.

Makayla Sitton would have turned 8 this year, WPTV-TV reports.

Listeria in Cantaloupe: Lawsuit to be Filed

A Colorado family is expected to file a Listeria lawsuit over the infectious bacteria this week. The lawsuit will be filed against Jensen Farms, who voluntary started recalling their fruit after fears over the possibility of Listeria in their cantaloupe increased, according to the Denver Post.

The couple, Charles and Tammy Palmer, purchased a cantaloupe at a local Walmart in Colorado Springs in mid-August.

The cantaloupe was from Jensen Farms, according to the Palmers' attorney. Charles Palmer ate the fruit over several days before he became ill on August 30th, the Denver Post reports.

Southwest Blackout Caused by Negligence?

Is it possible to win a blackout lawsuit?

Plaintiffs in a just-filed class action suit against Arizona Public Service, the utility company responsible for last week's 12-hour Southwest blackout, think so.

Accusing the company, along with San Diego Gas & Electric, of negligence, the lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in compensatory, statutory and punitive damages on behalf of affected customers living in California.

Is Your Cosmetic Surgeon Properly Trained?

Cosmetic surgery deaths are on the rise, and it may have something to do with the lack of proper training.

As a result of doctors' ability to perform most procedures with a general medical license, a large number of non-specialized medical professionals are reportedly moving into the more lucrative field of cosmetic surgery.

Your face lift or liposuction procedure may be in the hands of an ophthalmologist, pediatrician, or even an oral surgeon.

Toyota Sued Over Cyberstalking Ad

Automaker Toyota has been sued over an advertising stunt gone awry. California woman Amber Duick is suing Toyota for its cyberstalking ad campaign which she claims caused her great distress.

Toyota launched its "Your Other You" advertising campaign in 2009. The campaign was created by advertising firm, Saatchi & Saatchi LA, according to Wired.

The advertising campaign allows individuals to dupe a friend into thinking that fictional stranger has access to their personal and private information and is coming over to pay them a visit, according to Wired.

Amber Duick's friend signed her up for the prank, according to Wired.

Man Kills Mother, Father Sues for Malpractice

The father of a man who stabbed his own mother has been permitted to sue his son's psychiatrist for stopping his son's medication. Victor Bruscato was mentally ill when he stabbed his mother to death in 2002.

In 2001, Bruscato was assigned to Dr. Derek Johnson O'Brien, a psychiatrist at the community health center in Gwinnett County, Georgia. There, O'Brien prescribed Bruscato powerful anti-psychotic medication that helped control his violent impulses, reports the AP.

O'Brien discontinued the medication in May 2002. He wanted to ensure that Bruscato wasn't going to develop a dangerous syndrome from the drugs, the AP reports.

Bobby Flay Sued for $5M in Restaurant Fall

An elderly woman from Chevy Chase, Maryland, has sued celebrity chef Bobby Flay, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Monday that seeks $5 million in compensation for a tumble she took at his southwestern-inspired Mesa Grill.

Barbara Sandler, 77, the woman behind the Bobby Flay lawsuit, claims to have fallen down a short flight of stairs leading to an elevated dining area near the front of the restaurant, causing bleeding in the brain, permanent left brain damage, and a two-month stint in the hospital.

Rat Bites NY Woman at Subway Station

It seems that the New York subway's rat problem is on the rise. So, news that a rat bit a woman on a subway platform in downtown New York last Monday is probably not too surprising.

The unsuspecting victim was waiting at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station at around 9:30 a.m. when the rat snuck up her and bit her on the foot, UPI reports.

She was treated at New York Downtown Hospital and released.

Brazilian Blowout's Cancer Risk from Formaldehyde

The FDA has issued a letter about Brazilian Blowout's formaldehyde levels to the salon product's parent company. The FDA alleges that Brazilian Blowouts are unsafe to customers and salon workers.

A "Brazilian Blowout" is a hair-straightening treatment much-loved by regular consumers and Hollywood powerhouses. Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry and Nicole Richie are amongst the stars who have received the treatment. It can help tame and straighten curly or frizzy hair.

But, it seems that the popular salon treatment comes at a high cost. Financially, the treatment can be upwards of $200 to $500 per treatment, Fox News reports. Health-wise, Brazilian Blowouts can create dangerous levels of formaldehyde, according to CBS News.

Nursing Home Abuse: Your Legal Options

Many Americans move into nursing homes so that they will be well-cared for, even later in life. But sometimes the care they are supposed to receive turns into nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse.

Signs of neglect can be difficult to spot. Residents may show symptoms of dehydration or malnutrition. Bedsores may appear.

What rights do nursing home residents (and their families) have?

New 9/11 Lawsuit: Saudis Aided 9/11 Attacks

A new 9/11 lawsuit has been filed by Lloyd's Syndicate 3500, a London-based insurance company also known as "Lloyd's of London," in Western Pennsylvania. The federal lawsuit alleges a causal link between the government of Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Saudi Arabia financed and provided support to the terrorist attacks, according to the insurance company, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Also listed among the defendants are some Saudi banks and charities.

The insurance company alleges the attacks would never have happened without Saudi Arabia's support. As a result, they're asking that the nation repay them about $215 million, which is the amount the insurance company paid out in 9/11-related claims.

Using GPS to Piece Together Bike, Car Accidents

Are GPS devices the answer to finding fault in bike and car accidents?

With an overwhelming number of cases providing no evidence other than participant statements, finding and analyzing GPS data in bike and car accidents appears to be the next big thing in personal injury law. 

With the devices recording speed and location--and in the case of cyclists, pedal rates and heart rates--investigators can piece together a sometimes significant amount of information.

But be careful--an analysis of GPS data can work both for and against a crash victim.

Annie Le's Family Sues Yale for Her Murder

Two years after her murder, the family of slain Yale pharmacology graduate student Annie Le has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university, alleging that it created a culture of violence, for years failing to protect women on campus from sexual harassment and assault.

The Annie Le lawsuit further asserts that Raymond Clark III, the lab technician who has since been sentenced to 44 years in prison for Le's murder, was a known threat to the safety of others, yet was allowed to retain his employment and remain in close contact with students and other employees.

MacBook Air Cuts Like a Knife. Literally.

Would you use your MacBook Air as a knife? Videos, pictures, and stories have surfaced of Apple users across the globe using their MacBook Airs to slice fruit, mushrooms, and sometimes even their own elbow. Ouch.

Starting at $999, a MacBook Air is a very expensive kitchen tool.

Of course, "knife" is not the MacBook Air's main function. It's a notebook computer.

But, is it a dangerous notebook? Would Apple face liability if people injure themselves on the MacBook?

When Can I Sue Police for False Arrest?

It’s true that you can sue the police for false arrest, provided that your situation meets the right criteria.

While courts often grant law enforcement immunity as to not hinder their investigative duties, that immunity is qualified, meaning that police officers may not freely and willingly violate an individual’s rights.

When an officer engages in such conduct, an individual may bring a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, which makes it illegal for government employees to deprive an individual of his rights under the Constitution.

Amish Horse Buggy Crash Kills 2 Ind. Children

An Indiana Amish SUV crash has killed two children. The fatal buggy crash took place at around 10 a.m. on Monday.

The crash occurred when a horse pulling two carts carrying 6 Amish children was hit by a SUV.

The SUV hit the horse and the first cart, according to Reuters. Ten-year-old Jenna Miller was tragically pronounced dead at the scene. Seven-year-old Jolisa Miller died later at a local hospital. Three of the other children had head injuries, while one had shoulder injuries and denied treatment.

Why Medical Malpractice Suits Rarely Win

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

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?

Fuel Gel in Firepots Have Killed 2, Injured 75

If you ever poured fuel gels into firepots to light up some of your patio decorations, you should stop. Firepot injuries have caused 75 injuries and two deaths.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has now issued a voluntary recall of the gel fuels.

The recall covers around 2 million bottles and jugs of fuel gels from nine manufacturers and distributors, reports CNN.

Costco's 'Slipped on a Slurpee' Lawsuit Stays in NY

Warehouse retailer Costco suffered a blow last week when the New York judge presiding over the "Costco slurpee lawsuit," a slip and fall action brought by 74-year-old Theresa Danza, denied the company's motion to move the suit to Florida.

Visiting a Costco in North Miami, Fl., Ms. Danza suffered spinal and shoulder injuries when she "slipped on a slurpee that was all over the floor" and "went flying...up in the air."

She chose to sue in New York, where she currently resides.