Wrongful Death – Tower Climbing Death and Question of Control

June 6, 2012

Understanding the contracting chain on cell tower jobs can be complicated, but crucial when workers die.

William “Bubba” Cotton, 43, was the first of 11 cellsiteworkers who died on AT&T projects from 2006 through 2008, years when the carrier merged its network with Cingular and ramped up its 3G network for the iPhone.

As ProPublica and PBS “Frontline” reported last month, tower climbing ranks among the most dangerous jobs in America, having a death rate roughly 10 times that of construction. The project Cotton was on involved several layers of subcontractors, which is common in the tower industry. The accident was more unusual. Most of the 50 tower climbers killed on cell site jobs since 2003 have died in falls, but Cotton was crushed to death by an antenna.

A wrongful death lawsuit subsequently filed by Cotton’s survivors, as well as a personal injury suit filed by his cousin and co-worker, Charles “Randy” Wheeler, explored two questions at the heart of every tower fatality: Who controlled the tower site? And who was responsible for the safety of the subcontractors working on it?

Read More:

via Anatomy Of A Cell Tower Death · OPB News.

tower death

The AT&T cell tower job in which William Cotton died involved several layers of subcontractors. This chart shows which companies in the contracting chain were investigated by OSHA and the results of litigation by Cotton’s family and his co-worker, Charles Wheeler.

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Product Liability – Restore Legal Rights to Victims of Generic Drug Gain Support Amongst Attorney Generals Across US

May 29, 2012

A group representing state Attorneys General across the country has backed a proposed Senate bill that would allow the makers of generic prescription drugs to update safety labels on their products if they become aware of new dangers and side effects from taking them.

According to a statement from the National Association of Attorneys General NAAG, the bill proposed by Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken would give all users of prescription drugs the same legal rights if they suffer a side effect from taking it that’s not expressly noted on safety information included with the drug. Under current federal law, makers of generic drugs are blocked from updating the safety labels on the copies of name-brand drugs they manufacture and distribute until the company that makes the name-brand drug makes changes. If a patient is prescribed or dispensed a generic drug and suffers a side effect, they are unable to file any legal actions against the makers of the generic drug, which is exempted from facing lawsuits for hiding side effects of that drug.

This law gained attention when the Supreme Court was presented with the case PLIVA Inc. vs. Mensing in which the high court ruled that federal law only granting permission to makers of name-brand drugs to independently update the safety labels on drugs prevented those who’ve been injured by generic prescription drugs from seeking any legal actions against the makers of it.

NAAG states that more than 70 percent of all prescriptions filled in the U.S. are for generic drugs and that’s likely to increase as patents for top-selling drugs expire, as the one for the cholesterol drug Plavix has recently done. In that case, seven companies have been permitted to make copies of Plavix to be sold under its generic name.

via The Trial Lawyer Magazine – State Attorneys General Support Bill to Restore Legal Rights to Victims of Generic Drug Side Effects | The Trial Lawyer Magazine.

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March 20th Vote Smart: Review Judicial Evaluations Presented by Illinois State Bar Association

February 29, 2012

Rating Judicial Candidates

vote elections 2012Since Illinois voters have the responsibility to elect judges, the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) feels it has an obligation to share with the public information about qualifications of judicial candidates. The lawyers who practice alongside candidates for judicial office are in a unique position to assess the professional qualities that are necessary for good judges.

View ISBA’s judicial ratings for the March 20th primary by county.

Judicial Evaluations | Illinois State Bar Association.

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Wrongful Death – A Series of Mistakes Cause Girl’s Death

February 22, 2012

If not for a series of “mistakes” made by the four paramedics who treated Starks on that fateful day, attorney Brian Murphy argued that the girl would be alive today.

The first mistake was that the child was “intubated through the esophagus that leads to the stomach, instead of through the trachea that leads to her lungs,” Murphy said.

The second mistake involved ignoring a “standing medical order” issued by the Fire Department. According to Murphy, it states that, if a patient’s condition worsens, paramedics are to look into the patient’s mouth to “visually observe where the breathing tube was placed.”If the paramedics had done that, Murphy said, “They would have seen the tube was in the esophagus and not in her trachea and they would have removed it and properly placed it.”

The third mistake involved the “fender-bender” that delayed Starks’ transport to the hospital.Instead of proceeding to Trinity Hospital after determining that the driver of the other vehicle was not injured, the paramedics chose to follow, what Murphy called a “ridiculous general order” that states that, if you’re in an accident involving property damage, you remain on the scene.

via Paramedics’ alleged mistakes in girl’s death likely to cost taxpayers .

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Dog bite Injuries – Denver TV Anchor’s Is Bitten In The Face During Interview

February 16, 2012

Approximately 800,000 dog bite attacks occur each year in the United States that require medical treatment. Children account for many of these dog bite victims. Each year, thousands of children are either killed or seriously injured by dog bites injuries. Dog bites can cause serious and disfiguring injuries that may have life changing and life long effects on a person. The effects are catastrophic all the way around: the victim will have to live with the effects of his injuries and the dog, more often than not, will have to be put down.

The story below is just an all too familiar story about an all too trusting individual who simply fails to assess the real dangers of getting too close to an animal with which she is unfamiliar.

A veteran Denver television anchor was injured Wednesday after she was bitten in the face by a dog while doing a live broadcast about a dog rescued by a firefighter. Kyle Dyer was interviewing Michael Robinson — the owner of an 85-pound Argentine mastiff that fell into a lake on Tuesday while chasing a coyote in the city’s Lakewood area — and firefighter Tyler Sugaski, who put on a wetsuit and rescued the dog, when the attack occurred. According to KUSA-TV, firefighters, paramedics and animal control officials were called to the station after the attack.

The station posted a statement on its Facebook page that Dyer was “getting medical attention due to the injury” and the station was waiting to find out the extent of her injuries before issuing further information. A station spokeswoman was not available for comment. The station showed video of Dyer petting the dog, but cut off the video before the attack and said they would not show it. A station spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment. Julie Lonborg, spokeswoman for Denver Health hospital, said in a statement that Dyer was in fair condition and being evaluated by a trauma team. The hospital said she was awake and visiting with family. KUSA-TV said she may go home as soon as tonight.

Megan Hughes, spokeswoman for the Denver Environmental Health department, said no decision has been made on what will happen to the dog.

via Dog bites Denver TV anchor’s face during interview – CBS News.

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Wrongful Death – Mother: Cop, Not Ex-Boyfriend, Deserves Prison Time

February 1, 2012

At what point negligence becomes willful and wanton disregard for a person’s safety?

This is the question that the alleged facts of the case below raises for me. The alleged facts are generally that the boyfriend was drink and calls on his girl to drive hum home. She has a suspended driver’s license and has no babysitter on call. So she puts the baby in the safety seat, as she should, and get the drunk boyfriend. On their way home, they are stopped by a police officer. Upon realizing that the girl friend’s license is suspended, he arrests her, and gives the keys to the car and the baby in the back seat to the drunk boy friend to go home. On their way home, the drunk boy friend crashes the car killing the baby.

Police officers have immunity from the negligent acts they commit while in the performance of their duties. However, police officers are still responsible for willful and wanton acts they commit that causes harm to others. That is, while a police officer may not be held responsible for running into a bystander while chasing a bad guy, he can be held liable if he runs into the bystander on purpose or the chase he has entered into is so dangerous and so unreasonable that it becomes tantamount to a willful and wanton act.

In the case below, the police officer allegedly gives the keys to a drunk person allowing him to drive the vehicle along with the baby in the backseat. Is this an act of negligence that is tantamount to a wilful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, namely the baby in the backseat? I suppose if the case does not settle, twelve jurors will be able to tell us the answer.

“This police officer might have prevented this offense, but he did not cause it,” stated Burmilla.

However, LaFond’s attorney, Mark Horowitz, countered that Officer Felicetti bears all of the responsibility.

“He controlled the situation. He’s the one that pulled her over. He could have ‘A’ told Kathie to drive the child home. He could have given her a ticket roadside. He could have said go home, don’t let me catch you out again,” he said.

via Mother: Cop, Not Ex-Boyfriend, Deserves Prison Time | NBC Chicago.

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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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