April 18, 2014
At first, I thought this was a joke, or an article from Onion. I could not fathom that in fact it was real and General Mills really, in fact, is making an attempt to force it’ s customers to give up their right to sue for negligence… simply by “liking” their Facebook page or even perhaps by simply buying their products!
General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.
Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.
In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.
April 10, 2014
A New Jersey Facebook ruling means online posts may be used as evidence against a party. During before and after a personal injury cause of action is commenced, it is important to remember that anything you say and/or do may be used against you. It is important that you mind what you put in the public. While Illinois Courts have not yet had the opportunity to digest the issues represented by Facebook, it would not be surprising if a Court allows, at the very least, a limited inquiry about specific posts a plaintiff and/or defendant has made that may be used as an admission against interest. Best practice, of course, is not to mention anything about any ongoing litigation in any post whatsoever.
“Parents warn their teenagers about Internet dangers, from cyber bullying to potential predators, but may not realize the personal legal risks they face themselves when using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. A recent federal court in New Jersey has ruled online posts may be discoverable as evidence in some legal cases…
The ruling by a Magistrate Judge with the United States District Court in the District of New Jersey has taken a big step toward the forced disclosure of online social media postings as possible evidence in court cases and lawsuits. Specifically, content posted to social media websites may be considered evidence and is subject to the same laws against evidence tampering as physical documents.
In the case of Gatto v. United Airlines and Allied Aviation Services, Frank Gatto, a former baggage handler at John F. Kennedy Airport, sued United Airlines and Allied Aviation Services for damages following a workplace-related injury which he claimed left him permanently disabled, impairing his ability to work or engage in social activities.” The defendants “sought authorization to access Gatto’s Facebook data,” and a judge authorized the access directly through Gatto’s login. “Gatto had deactivated his Facebook account and it’s contents were automatically deleted after 14 days.” A judge “ruled that deletion of data in Gatto’s Facebook account constituted ‘spoliation of evidence,’” which “resulted in an adverse inference against Gatto.”
April 4, 2014
Distracted driving is killing more British Columbians than impaired driving and Attorney General Suzanne Anton said Wednesday the government is considering higher fines and penalties to put the brakes on the carnage.
Anton said it doesn’t appear British Columbians are getting the message that distracted driving is deadly, and along with increased penalties she’s considering public education campaigns similar to previous initiatives targeting seatbelt use and drinking and driving.
“Distracted driving is a very serious problem in B.C.,” she said. “In 2012, we had 81 deaths, and that’s 81 families who have terrible tragedy in their lives. Compared to drinking and driving there were about 55 drinking and driving deaths in 2012. It’s remarkable distracted driving is causing more tragedies right now than drinking and driving is.”
March 28, 2014
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Timothy DePaere, Railroad Accident Investigator, says that they are in the preliminary stages of their investigation. They are currently waiting for the front end outward looking video on the train to be analyzed by their specialist in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the operator of the train is in the hospital and will be interviewed soon…
March 14, 2014
In yesterday’s 5-2 decision striking down Florida’s cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases, the Supreme Court of Florida criticized in withering detail the arguments used by medical malpractice insurance lobbyists and organized medicine to push for caps and other “tort reforms.”
For all the physicians out there, please know that according to the Court, you have been lied to most of all.
Since the industry uses these same arguments to push for laws that limit compensation to sick and injured patients in every state – as well as in Congress – we thought we would take some time to list some highlights from this brutally honest Florida Supreme Court decision.
March 13, 2014
The decision ends an almost four-year-long case which was started when two girls, Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk, were suspended from their Easton Area School District middle school.
The school had banned bracelets with the slogan “I (heart) Boobies!” which were used to promote breast cancer awareness. The two girls, then aged 12 and 13, refused to take off the bracelets when asked by their principal.
Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk challenged the ban, saying they were trying to promote awareness of the disease at their middle school. They wore the bracelets on their school’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day and refused to take them off. The girls filed suit after being suspended from class.
The justices left in place a US appeals court ruling that found the bracelets were not “plainly lewd,” nor had they caused a disruption.
March 12, 2014
It’s unbelievable. A heart surgeon, who is practicing today, has a history of walking out on patients in the middle of open heart surgeries, according to a hospital administrator who filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The lawsuit follows a state report which found that a 72 year old patient is in a persistent vegetative state after the surgeon failed to close his chest cavity and told an unqualified physician assistant to finish the surgery. The doctor reportedly went out to lunch.
Allegations in the patient and whistleblower lawsuits point to alcohol abuse and repeated misconduct by the physician covered up by the hospital.
March 11, 2014
The Supreme Court Monday ruled 8-1 in favor of a private landowner in Wyoming who was fighting to keep bike paths from being built near his house. The decision, according to USA Today, threatens thousands of miles of public bicycle trails.The case wasn’t about bike paths per se — it was about whether or not the federal government retains its control over land that had been granted to railroad companies once it’s been abandoned. But the decision undermines a federal “rails to trails” program, threatening the more than 1,400 bike and nature trails it’s created since its inception in 1983.
Here’s more on the case from NPR:
The plaintiffs in the Wyoming case, Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, are descendants of the owner of a sawmill that produced railroad ties. The family was granted dozens of acres of land in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest; they are resisting attempts to use part of that land for a trail.
“We traded for the land with a right of way on it for railroad uses,” Brandt said in December. “They want to bring a train through here, that’s fine. We never expected and we never agreed to a bicycle trail.”
…The family was granted the land in 1976, in exchange for turning a larger acreage over to the government. The court’s discussion of the case touched on decades of law, from the 1875 Railroad Right of Way Act to the 1942 Great Northern Railway case, which centered on oil and mineral rights.
When the Forest Service moved to convert a swath of former railroad track on the Brandts’ land that is 200 feet wide and a half-mile long into bike trails, the family sued. After losing in two lower courts, they emerged from the Supreme Court with a victory today.
With 21 miles of gravel pathway passing through the forest, the Medicine Bow Rail Trail “has become one of the most popular rail-trails in America,” according to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.