Little Girl Loses Leg Because of Farm Accident

An 8-year-old girl was severely injured in a backover accident on her parent’s farm in 2007.  The girl’s father was using the farm owner’s utility tractor to mow around the trailer on the land where he lived with his family.  The girl came from behind him and got caught in the blades of the mower because her father backed up the mower at the same time.  As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated.

The manufacturer of the lawnmower argued that the lawn tractor was intended for commercial use only; however, this lawnmower is routinely used to mow school yards and anywhere you expect to see kids.  The plaintiffs won in a settlement just a year later.

GlaxoSmithKline Settles Cases

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has recently paid $60 million in about 700 Avandia lawsuits over side effects associated with the diabetes drug.  However, thousands of cases against GSK remain.  These cases allege that GSK failed to adequately warn consumers about the risk of heart attacks, heart failure and other fatal injuries.  This agreement, reached about a year ago, was one of the first settlements over the drug.

Avandia’s sales have plummeted as a result of the negative press about the drug.  Some experts claim that Avandia has caused between 60,000 and 200,000 heart attacks and deaths from the time between 1999 and 2006.  The risks became known in May 2007 when a trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  This article suggested that the drug increased the risk of a heart attack by 43%.

The average plaintiff receives about $86,000.  With pressure mounting on GSK to settle cases, victims can be sure that they will receive a payment with the help of a proper and skilled attorney.

Wrongful Death May Lead to Homeowner Association’s Lawsuit

Trayvon Martin’s family may not be suing just George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch resident who wrongfully killed Martin, but also the Home Owner’s Association.  If a jury finds that Zimmerman shot the unarmed 17-yeard-old in self-defense, then the family will not be able to file a lawsuit against Zimmerman.  However, they could still go after the Twin Lakes homeowners association.  The association’s insurance policies and assets would make a much more lucrative target than Zimmerman anyway.

The home owner’s association told the residents that Zimmerman was their go-to neighborhood watch person.  The association clearly endorsed Zimmerman for seven years.  Residents were told to call both the police and Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was in the neighborhood when he spotted Martin.  He told the dispatcher that Martin looked like he was up to no good.  The dispatcher told Zimmerman not to get out of his truck, that they did not need him to do that.  Moments later Martin was shot dead in the chest.

Disability Lawsuit Results in $2.1 Million

Los Angelenos claimed the city’s emergency plans do not address the needs of disabled residents.  Consequently, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay $2.1 million in fees and other costs for attorneys who sued on behalf of those disabled Angelenos.  Additionally, the federal judge ordered the city of Los Angeles to draft a proposal on assisting disabled residents during an emergency or natural disaster.

The lawsuit stated that those who are disabled cannot access critical information, transportation or evacuation services as easily as those who are not.  As a result, disabled persons are more likely to use emergency shelters as they do not have many other options.

Coal Mine Explosion

Two years ago, a West Virginia coal mine killed 29 men.  The mine will now be permanently sealed with concrete.  Meanwhile, the mother and siblings of one of those killed, Edward Dean Jones, sued former Massey Energy chief Don Blankenship, along with eight individuals they hold responsible for the worst US coal mining disaster in four decades.  The lawsuit claims deliberate infliction of emotional distress and demands compensatory and punitive damages.

The lawsuit goes after individuals instead of the company as the plaintiffs claim that they should have put workers’ lives ahead of profits.  The losses of the 29 men could have been prevented had the necessary safety precautions been taken and corners not cut.  So far, only two Massey employees have faced criminal charges.

Leading Law Firm Liable for Malpractice

Holland and Knight, a leading law firm, was recently found liable by a Los Angeles jury for fraud, legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary responsibility.  The jury ordered the law firm to pay $34.5 million after being link to the fraud lawsuits involving Shi Shailendra, Atlanta real estate promoter.

The Sabadias claimed that Holland and Knight and Glass assisted Shailendra’s scheme that diverted tens of millions of dollars of Sabadia money right into Shailendra’s pocket.  The jury found that Holland and Knight, independently, and through its responsible partner White Reeder Glass, had tricked the plaintiffs into believing that the law firm was representing the plaintiff’s interests in their investments with Shailendra.  Sabadia stated that the law firm basically allowed us to be financially mugged.  Holland and Knight created multiple entities for the Sabadias, portrayed to banks and others that they were representing the Sabadias, directed them to sign various agreements and legally binding documents, and even sent the Sabadias blank pages to sign in various transactions.  The prosecution stated that this is a victory not only for the Sabadias, but for all consumers in California.

Police Chief Remains in Hospital after Motorcycle Accident

Lowell Police Chief Joe Landers is in critical condition after a motorcycle accident.  While Landers was in Panama City, FL a drunk driver hit his Harley motorcycle bike.  As a result, Landers was thrown off of his bike.  The drunk driver, John Christo, did not stop.  Landers was seriously injured.

The police chief is still in critical condition and his brain is still suffering swelling.  He has minimal pupil activity and function.  The people in Lowell are offering prayers as the accident occurred 800 miles away.  Landers had more than 17 years of service on the police force and the town is rallying around his recovery.

Paralyzed Woman Victimized in Nursing Home

The family of a woman who claimed to be victimized by intentional nursing home abuse has released a video showcasing the abuse.  The senior was paralyzed and lived at the nursing home until her death a year ago.  The victim’s family was shocked when they learned about the abuse that she endured the last couple of months.  As a result, one person was charged; however, the family has a video that shows more than one employee mistreated their senior family member.

The family complained to the nursing home officials, but nothing happened.  The family called state officials to get an attempt of accountability on the part of the nursing home; however, that did not result in anything timely.  The video the family has shows at least one nursing home aide physically and emotionally abusing the 87-year old resident.  At one point in the video, a worker says, “Lady, why don’t you die.”  Furthermore, the video shows an employee hitting the senior for no reason and removing her oxygen mask.

As a result, the family has filed a nursing home neglect lawsuit against the nursing home for the abusive care their loved one received.  The video footage will obviousely play a large part in the prosecution’s case.

Women Claim Zoloft Caused Birth Defects

A lawsuit was recently announced brought by 21 mothers who claim that their child was born with a birth defect as a result of taking the antidepressant drug Zoloft.  Zoloft is manufactured Pfizer.  Recently, many antidepressant prescriptions have become the subject of many birth defect lawsuits.  These suits have included severe birth defects and include fetal death.

The trend recently has been to downplay the potential side effects which results in many consumers not being fully informed of the risks.  Consumers have the right to know and have the full description of the risks before they start taking the pharmaceutical product.  The plaintiffs were not properly communicated to about the harmful potential side effects and thus have filed suit, hoping to recoup some monetary damage for the medical expenses, and pain and suffering their baby will now experience.

Tort Reform Should Be Reviewed

Under a 1971 government immunity statute, the government’s liability is capped at $150,000 per individual and $600,000 per incident.  However, if I were to crash into my neighbor’s car and accidently kill someone, I would have to pay monetary damages to help my neighbor recoup the loss or would face criminal charges.  However, the government does not fall under the same laws.  For example, the Colorado State Forest Service was blamed for the destruction of 27 structures and three deaths in a recent controlled burn that went awry.  However, its liability is restricted to the above numbers.

This fire stated as a controlled burn on March 22, 2012, but reignited in 80 mph winds on March 26.  Consequently, the fire spread across more than 4,000 acres and caused $11.3 million in property damage.  To further the damage, firefighting efforts were hampered by a series of communication mishaps and a delay in ordering an evacuation.  Many residents in the area did not receive emergency phone calls, including one of the people who died.

The Sheriff department found no criminal violations related to the wildfire.  Homeowners are justifiably furious that the Forest Service chose to set the fire during one of the driest Marches on record.  This fire resulted in 900 homes being evacuated and more than 700 firefighters.  The legislature should raise the liability cap for plaintiffs to be able to recoup.  For example, one of the nine claimants lost 2.5 miles of power distribution lines in the fire and has already spent $700,000 to repair them, even before paying mounting overtime compensation for restoring electric service to customers in the area.

While this law is intended to protect governments from frivolous lawsuits, the law needs to be reviewed and updated to keep pace with inflation.  After all, the state and local governments are collecting more in taxes as individuals earn more and home values increase.  Furthermore, this would ensure that the government is liable and held accountable for its own mistakes.