Consumer Issues – Legal Wrinkle Creates Debate Over ‘Debtors’ Prisons’ in Illinois

January 26, 2012

debtor prisonGenerally, when there are summons or a subpoena for you to appear in Court, you must do so if you have been served with those papers. Either yourself, or a legal representative on your behalf has to show up. Failure to show-up, may result is a warrant for your arrest to be issued. Now, that is a Rule of Law that is helpful in many instances in order to get those who have done harm or have important information about an incident such a witness to come to Court and help in the implementation of Justice.

What I fail to understand, is that in a collection proceeding, if the defendant has been properly served, and he or she does not show up in Court, the common sense result would be the entry of a judgment in the amount asked in favor of the plaintiff and against the missing defendant. The defendant then may begin collection activities which may include freezing bank accounts, wage garnishment, ceasing property and such. It behooves us to think that a person who owes money, and has not paid it as he or she was supposed to, would suddenly come up with funds to pay the debt holder if he or she would appear in Court. It is utterly void of any sense whatsoever, for a Judge to enter a body attachment order and issue an arrest warrant in a debt collection proceeding. It is simply void of any practical sense and/or common sense and/or legal sense.

Yet, the example below is one amongst many that I have heard taking place as of late. This causes a Court to play into the hands of low-life debt collectors who have found a new weapon to harass and harm otherwise good and law abiding citizens who are down on their luck. No one should be sent to jail because they cannot pay their debt. That is a sound principle that a Judge should be able to work through when a debt collector’s representative requests the Court to issue an arrest warrant when the defendant fails to show. Under normal circumstances, the failure should simply mean that the defendant does not have any defense nor is disputing the existence of the debt or his or her obligation to pay it. What more can be obtained by placing the person in jail, possibly causing more economic harm and making it even more difficult to pay back, even if they had such an intention.

This sort of behavior is expected of debt collectors-but it is surprising and sad to see Judge’s who are willing to go along with it.

“Robin Ebersohl left her job at a Wal-Mart in Montgomery County to drive back to her home in Livingston. During the trip, she was stopped by police. “I knew my muffler was bad, but I just kind of chanced it,” Ebersohl said. “He pulled me over, and I thought I would just get a fix-it ticket or something.” What Ebersohl didn’t know was that a warrant had been issued against her in Macoupin County for failure to appear in court on a debt collection issue. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to appear to,” said Ebersohl, who said she never got a notice that she was due in court.

Instead of going home that day, she was taken to jail. Ebersohl said she spent the night in the Montgomery County Jail and then was transferred to Macoupin County, where she spent three more days in jail.”

via Legal wrinkle creates debate over ‘debtors’ prisons’ in Illinois – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register.

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Wrongful Death – Father Knows Best – Son’s Death in Salt-truck Was Avoidable

January 24, 2012

When a company designs and manufactures a product, the Law requires that manufacturer and/or designer to make sure that the designed product is reasonable safe for its intended use. Too often, it is the personal injury legal battle that brings about those simple changes, that were they implemented to begin with, the injury for which the lawsuit was brought would not have happened. It was the amputated leg of a homeowner whose legs were badly mangled up under his lawnmower when he felt and it back over his legs that prompted manufacturers to put that kill switch on the mower’s handle. It was the McDonald’s case that prompted car manufacturers to equip their cars with cup-holders. It was the avoidable death of several drivers that prompted car manufacturers to use the three-point seat belts. These simple modifications added to the cost of manufacturing, but has prevented additional injuries and death.

In the example below, and the wrongful death lawsuit that has been filed, the same principle is again at play. A simple cut-off switch and/or a protective panel could have prevented the death of a young man? The Jury will make that finding in due time I suppose.

“A suburban father filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, one month after he made a horrific discovery at the family’s business: His son had fallen on a salt-truck auger, and the younger man’s clothing had been pulled in to the mechanism, strangling him.

David Pittas filed the suit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court against the manufacturer and others tied to the sale of the salt spreader that killed his 26-year-old son Timothy Pittas. The younger Pittas would still be alive today had the salt-spreader been equipped with an emergency shut-off device or at least if the auger — the metal device that spins and spreads the salt — had a guard around it.

“The only reason we’re doing this is so no other person has to go through what I’m going through, or what my wife is going through or my [other] son is going through or my daughter is going through,” a choked up David Pittas told the Sun-Times, referring to his wife Mary and their two surviving children. “It’s wrong to bury your son, and it’s wrong that we had to. If I can save one other person’s life with this then Tim didn’t die in vain.””

via Father says son’s death in salt-truck accident didn’t have to happen – Chicago Sun-Times.

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If you or a loved one has been a victim of personal injury in Chicago or the surrounding area, contact or call us at 312-252-5252 for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

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Mediation – 678 Partners Ask CFR on How Mediation Can Yield Lower Costs, Produce Win-Win Results And Leave Less Emotional Strain in Comparison Vimeo

January 13, 2012

678 Partners ask CFR on how mediation can yield lower costs, produce win-win results and leave less emotional strain in comparis from Amir Homayoun Rafizadeh on Vimeo.

Had an eye opener discussion with Erin Johnston CEO and Founder of CFR an IL based mediation business. Idea Chef and I have been talking to different groups in the prior weeks about the Gulf Oil Spill and its consequences to the BP brand. Today we also decided to invite Nima Taradji as well to get the perspective of a trial attorney. Very educational and interesting findings when comparing mediation, arbitration and also litigation. Big cost and time differences between the techniques, better outcomes when both parties agree to some aspect rather than having one looser and one winner. Something very few people know: Emotional toll on the case looser, something mediation avoids because both parties decide, and not one or the other. Grab a cup of coffee over a Saturday or Sunday and listen to this interview.

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Product Liability – FDA Requires Increase Warning For Yaz Blood Clot Risks

January 12, 2012

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted 21-5 to require drospirenone-containing birth control pills – including Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, Beyaz, Safyral, and Vestura – to warn about increased risk of blood clots.

via Yaz Side Effects: FDA Requires Increase Warning For Yaz Blood Clot Risks | InjuryBoard Kansas City.
msnbc video: Panel: Benefits of ‘Yaz’ outweigh risks.

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The 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2011

January 7, 2012

I am posting this against my better judgment… but then again, this made me smile.

The top ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2011 are:

  • Convict sues couple he kidnapped for not helping him evade police
  • Man illegally brings gun into bar, gets injured in a fight, then sues bar for not searching him for a weapon
  • Young adults sue mother for sending cards without gifts and playing favorites
  • Woman disagrees with store over 80-cent refund, sues for $5 million
  • Mom files suit against exclusive preschool over child’s college prospects
  • Man suing for age discrimination says judge in his case is too old
  • Obese man sues burger joint over tight squeeze in booths
  • Woman sues over movie trailer; says not enough driving in “Drive”
  • Passenger’s lawsuit says cruise ship went too fast and swayed from side to side
  • Mother sues Chuck E. Cheese – says games encourage gambling in children

via The 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2011 – Yahoo! News.

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Wrongful Death – Personal Injury – Frivolous lawsuits Are Not The Issue – Carelessness Is.

January 3, 2012

We have heard so many tales of woes about how medical malpractice lawsuits are ruining the medical health of this country by making healthcare expensive for all and by causing the exodus of doctors from the so-called “judicial hellholes” (of which Illinois is supposedly one) toward States where there are limits on justice that a victim of a doctor’s carelessness can hope to obtain.

The problem with that proposition is that it is simply not true. What causes medical malpractice lawsuits are not patients and/or juries and their verdicts or lack of caps on those verdicts, but medical malpractice. The best way to prevent a lawsuit based on medical malpractice is to not commit carelessness.

Note that here, we are not talking about things that may go wrong in the natural progression of a treatment: there are times when a treatment goes wrong through no fault of the medical provider and/or the attending physician. Things may go wrong because Medicine is an art. What we are talking about here are actual damages caused to individuals that are the direct result of carelessness–that is different from simply not getting the intended result. For example, damages that could cause for failure of a doctor to simply read objective tests that are performed and that are ready to be reviewed but the doctor simply decides not to avail himself f the useful information those tests provides him. That is when medical malpractice lawsuits may be expected.

NYT: Doctors at Harlem Hospital Didn’t See Most Reports

Nearly 4,000 tests for heart disease performed over the last three years at Harlem Hospital Center – more than half of all such tests performed – were never read by doctors charged with making a diagnosis, hospital officials acknowledged Tuesday.
The echocardiogram tests, a type of ultrasound used to evaluate heart muscle and valve functions, were ordered by doctors at the hospital. The tests were stored on a computer and basically forgotten, officials said. The lapse occurred because the cardiology service at the hospital had developed a system by which technicians were given the responsibility to scan all tests and flag any that looked abnormal, so that they would be given priority when doctors read them.

It appears, officials said, that the tests that were not flagged were put aside and forgotten.

The city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs the public hospital system, including Harlem Hospital, and Columbia University, whose medical school supplies the cardiologists who work at Harlem Hospital Center, acknowledged the problem in a joint statement on Tuesday, after being asked about it by The New York Times.

“While the process the doctors followed may have alerted cardiologists to those echocardiograms that were most likely to be abnormal, the failure to read the echocardiograms in a timely manner is inexcusable and may have placed patients at risk,” Alan D. Aviles, hospitals corporation president, said in the statement. It was unclear who developed the screening system, hospital officials said.

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New Law – Back-seat Riders Required to Buckle Up

January 2, 2012

A good law is now in effect. If one is ridding in a moving vehicle, there are no reasons why all passengers should not be belted in and secured in their place. All unrestrained objects in a vehicle can become deadly projectiles in an accident and cause various levels of personal injuries if not death to themselves and/or others. It only makes sense that this law was passed.

One thing that is not clear, why passengers in taxi cabs and/or motor buses are exempt. Will the laws of physics not apply to those passengers if involved in a motor vehicle accident?

Just like unrestrained front-seat riders, back-seat passengers who aren’t buckled up during an accident can suffer head, chest and abdominal trauma.“ And they can be thrown from the vehicle,” said James Doherty, medical director of trauma and critical care programs at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Back-seat passengers also can become human projectiles during a crash, injuring or even killing others in the vehicle, he said.

Beginning Sunday January 1, 2012, Illinois will require all passengers, including previously exempt back-seat riders 18 and older, to buckle up. “It’s a good law,” New Lenox police Deputy Chief April DiSandro said. “It makes sense. If you have to be belted in the front seat, why not the back?

”The bill, which was sponsored by state Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago and the late state Rep. Mark Beaubien R-Barrington Hills, was signed into law during the summer. It allows police officers to stop a car if they spot an unbuckled rider. Fines start at $25 but can be more, depending on court costs.

via Back-seat riders required to buckle up starting Sunday – Joliet Herald News.

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