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Medical Malpractice

July 20, 2014

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Motorcycle Personal Injury – Plaintiff Awarded $5.4M Against Government

July 8, 2014

motorcycle-accident

motorcycle-accident

I see this happening all the time. A City or a City owned entity simply refuses to even negotiate a reasonable settlement, preferring to take the matter all the way to trial instead of coming to the table where reason can prevail and chances are that a settlement for a lesser amount can be reached. Unfortunately, this strong arm tactic works in the long run. Because, even if the defendant ends up paying more in litigation cost and/or verdict amount, knowing the defendant hardline position serves as a warning to others who may want to file a lawsuit against this defendant that they will be in for the long haul. That alone, probably causes many trial lawyers to forgo taking on cases where the liability may be hard to prove or damages too small to worth the lengthy battle.

A judge in San Diego awarded $5.4 million in damages against the US government and in favor of a motorcyclist, whose severe injuries in a collision with an on-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent ended his music recording career.After a four-day trial, US District Court Judge Larry H. Burns of the Southern District of California, awarded over $6.3 million on July 20, 2014 to John B. Hendrickson of Chula Vista, CA. The judge apportioned fault 85% to the U.S. Government and 15% to Hendrickson, for a net verdict of nearly $5.4 million.

[...]

“During the five years of litigation leading up to the trial, the government denied responsibility for Hendrickson’s injuries and refused to engage in settlement negotiations,” Francavilla said. “There was a zero offer heading into trial, and we are pleased justice has been served after all these years. The verdict acknowledges the responsibility the government has to do its job safely and protect the public.”

via Government to Pay $5.4M to Recording Artist in Career-Ending Motorcycle Crash | The National Trial Lawyers.

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Supreme Court: Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant

June 26, 2014

United States Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court

In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

While the decision will offer protection to the 12 million people arrested every year, many for minor crimes, its impact will most likely be much broader. The ruling almost certainly also applies to searches of tablet and laptop computers, and its reasoning may apply to searches of homes and businesses and of information held by third parties like phone companies.

“This is a bold opinion,” said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. “It is the first computer-search case, and it says we are in a new digital age. You can’t apply the old rules anymore.”

via Supreme Court Says Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant – NYTimes.com.

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Consumer Abuse – “Like” a Company’s Page; Give Up Your Rights!

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.

“We’ve updated our privacy policy,” the company wrote in a thin, gray bar across the top of its home page. “Please note we also have new legal terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.”

via When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue – NYTimes.com.

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Facebook and Rules of Discovery – Trend Is Toward Full Disclosure

April 10, 2014

Facebook

Facebook

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.”

http://www.ereleases.com/pr/jersey-federal-court-rules-facebook-posts-evidence-144429

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Motor Vehicle Accident – Distracted driving kills more than drunk driving

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.”

via Distracted driving kills more than drunk driving, B.C. considers higher fines | GlobalPost.

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Personal Injury – CTA Train Crash Investigation Only Starting – Train Accident

March 28, 2014

I apologize for the advertisement… Use of the AdBlock extension may enhance your viewing experience.

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…

Video: Blue Line investigation: ‘We’re at the preliminary stages’ — chicagotribune.com.

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Tort Reform – Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Caps in Florida

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.

via ThePopTort: Florida Supreme Court to Med Mal Insurance Industry: Stop Lying.

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