October 16, 2014

Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital: On Discovery Motions in Medical Malpractice Cases

Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital, a case from the Supreme Court of Virginia, involved a medical malpractice case filed in the name of decedent. According to court records, decedent went to defendant's emergency room complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. Four hours after getting to the hospital, he was deceased.

ekg-293359-m.jpgAfter filing the personal injury case, plaintiff, through counsel, requested certain discovery from defendant. Included in these requests were copies of defendant's policies and procedure related to how a patient in decedent's condition should be treated by hospital staff. Defendant responded to plaintiff's requests for production of documents, claiming these documents were not relevant to the lawsuit and were privileged documents.

Plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery, requesting that the trial judge order defendant to produce the requested documents. The trial judge found that these documents were not relevant, as they would not lead to discoverable evidence, agreed that they were privileged, and denied the motion.

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October 14, 2014

Nguyen v. Western Digital Corp: On the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

Nguyen v. Western Digital Corp., a case from the Court of Appeals of the State of California, Sixth Appellate District, involved plaintiff who was born in 1994. Her mother worked for defendant from the late 1980s through 1998. Her mother worked in clean rooms in which she was exposed to tetratogenic and reproductively harmful chemicals for extended periods of time.

3mspraymount-138829-m.jpgThese chemicals are now known to cause serious harm to unborn children. Plaintiff's mother was pregnant during the time she was exposed to the chemicals. Her employment involved the manufacturing of semiconductors that required the use of a combination of toxic substances and chemicals, and there is to no way to separate which specific chemical she was exposed to at any give time.

Plaintiff (through her guardian) alleged in her complaint that the clean rooms were clean in terms of protecting the company's products but not in terms of protecting workers from toxic chemicals. The protective clothing given to workers was also to protect the semiconductors from contamination from the workers and did nothing to prevent the workers from absorbing the toxic material through their skin or inhaling toxic vapors into their lungs.

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October 9, 2014

Jones v. Imperial Palace of Mississippi, LLC: On Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Jones v. Imperial Palace of Mississippi, LLC, is a premises liability case in which plaintiff was walking through a casino parking garage when he was injured. Plaintiff was walking in the space between the wall and the front of the parking space when he tripped on a concrete parking bumper at the front of one of the spaces and fell to the concrete floor. It should be noted that the area in which he was walking was not designated for pedestrian travel, but there was nothing to indicate that pedestrian travel was prohibited in that area.

fence-726216-m.jpgPlaintiff's allegation is the concrete parking bumper was not properly aligned with the front of the parking space to the point where it was is in his path of travel and that the bumper was the actual and proximate cause of his injuries.

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October 4, 2014

Hunting Accident in North Carolina Results in Death

According to recent report from ABC News 13, a North Carolina man was killed in a hunting accident when his friend allegedly shot him with a crossbow. The two men were deer hunting on private property when one hunter had mistaken his friend for a deer.

archery-2-358728-m.jpgThe hunters were wearing camouflage and not blaze orange. However, under North Carolina law, during archery bow season, hunters are not required to wear blaze orange, as they are during rifle season. The apparent logic behind this regulation is that a hunter will be much closer to a deer when shooting with a bow, as opposed to a gun, where it is more likely that a fellow hunter could be mistaken for a deer.

As of this time, charges have not been filed against the hunter, and authorities have stated that, at least for now, they are treating this as an accident pending further investigation.

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October 2, 2014

North Carolina Man Dies in Rafting Accident

Whitewater rafting has steadily gained popularity since the 1970s. It is an exciting and fun outdoor activity enjoyed by people across the nation. Unfortunately, on some occasions the fun can quickly turn to tragedy.

river-rafting-864944-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from the Johnson City Press, a North Carolina man has died in a rafting accident on the Ocoee River. The victim was on a rafting trip led by a professional guide when the raft flipped over on a rapid. He and five other occupants on the raft fell out of the raft.

After being pulled from the water farther down the river, he was unresponsive. He was taken to a local hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival. Authorities have not released a cause of death but noted that there were no apparent external injuries and that the victim was wearing a life jacket and helmet.

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September 30, 2014

Davis v. Brickman Landscaping - Fire Death Negligence Standard of Proof High

The death of two children in a horrific hotel fire sparked a civil lawsuit brought by their parents, after they learned a storage closet beneath the stairwell lacked a fire sprinkler, as is required under state fire codes.
Our Spartanburg wrongful death attorneys know in negligence actions where municipal building and fire codes may have been breached, the attorney handling the case must have extensive experience. Statutes regarding these matters can be convoluted, and when it's alleged someone died as a result of a violation, there is a lot at stake.

In Davis v. Brickman Landscaping, Ltd., the primary question before the New Jersey Supreme Court was whether plaintiff's expert witness testimony was adequate in showing the defendant, a private company that employed fire sprinkler inspectors, breached the applicable standard of care in carrying out its duties. Because of the complexity of state and local fire codes, an expert witness was required in the case, and the one produced by plaintiff reportedly failed to adequately attest to the alleged breach of industry standards. Therefore, dismissal of the claim was upheld.

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September 28, 2014

Gregory v. One Republic Home Protection - Wrongful Death Claim Denied

The verdict favoring a home warranty company, sued for wrongful death by the mother of a Greensboro man who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his home in 2008, has been upheld by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

The mother/plaintiff alleged the warranty company was negligent in hiring a heating/cooling company with a poor business quality record. The firm had been on probation by the North Carolina Board of smokealarm.jpgExaminers of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. Later, the same company was the target of a complaint alleging incompetence that nearly resulted in a customer's new home catching fire.

Our Greensboro wrongful death lawyers understand that while plaintiff sued on a host of negligence theories, including negligent retention and vicarious liability, the two at issue upon appeal were two claims dismissed prior to trial - Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice and breach of implied warranty. The appellate court ultimately indicated the directed verdict for defendant on the UDTP claim was proper, and the plaintiff failed to properly preserve the grant of directed verdict on the breach of implied warranty claim.

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September 24, 2014

Brewer v. Hunter - Medical Records of Non-Parties Relevant in Malpractice Suit, Court Rules

A man rendered permanently paralyzed following back surgery has won a key victory in his lawsuit against the surgeon and hospital, after the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's decision to allow the medical records/outcomes of other surgical patients to be considered as evidence.
Medical malpractice attorneys in Charlotte know that while the outcome of any case is going to be heavily weighted to the facts in that particular instance, the assertion of malpractice is a complex one, and by allowing a broader range of evidence, the courts gave plaintiffs an opportunity to determine whether this physician had a problematic history. This information would be relevant in a medical malpractice case, where plaintiffs have to prove a breach in the acceptable standard of care. A pattern of such breaches would strengthen the claim and potentially dampen defendant doctor's credibility.

Here, in Brewer v. Hunter et al., the patient in question first underwent thoracic spinal surgery to treat his severe back pain, leg weakness and spinal stenosis. Less than a decade later, he sought treatment from his primary care physician for many of these same issues. He was referred to a neuroscience and spine center specialist doctor after an MRI scan revealed severe canal stenosis and diffuse degenerative disease in his lumbar.

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September 20, 2014

Reed v. Malone's Mechanical, Inc., et al.: On Jury Instructions in a Personal Injury Case

Reed v. Malone's Mechanical, Inc., et al., an appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, involves a mechanic ("Plaintiff") who was hired to help renovate a chicken processing plant. Plaintiff was employed by a contractor ("Defendant 1"), and that contract was managed by another contractor ("Defendant 2").

pipes1.jpgPlaintiff was performing work on overhead pipes designed to transport hot cooking oil to cooking equipment located in other parts of the factory. Plaintiff was diagnosing a problem with a commercial fryer when another worker ("Defendant 3") was operating a scissor lift. The worker on the lift was adjusting a 12-pound pipe saddle when it fell and landed on Plaintiff, injuring him.

Plaintiff first sued all parties except Defendant 2 in federal court under diversity jurisdiction. As your Winston-Salem personal injury lawyer can explain, for a case to be heard in federal court, it must involve either a federal question (such as the constitutionality of a statute) or have complete diversity and an amount in controversy over $75,000. In the context of a federal case, diversity means that the plaintiff and defendants are from different states. A corporation is considered a resident of the state in which it has its principal place of business, corporate headquarters, or any state in which it conducts business.

The chicken plant owner ("Defendant 4") moved for summary judgment, and the case was dismissed. At this point, Plaintiff re-filed his lawsuit against Defendant 1 and Defendant 3, claiming that the employer was negligent in failing to secure the pipe saddle, for failing to warn him that dangerous construction work was going on above him, and that it was negligent to schedule work on an overhead pipe while others were working below.

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September 19, 2014

Patterson v. Domino's Pizza, LLC: On the Agency Relationship in Civil Actions

Patterson v. Domino's Pizza, LLC, a case from the Supreme Court of California, involved an employee ("Plaintiff") who was employed by a franchised pizza restaurant operated by Defendant. Defendant hired a male employee to work as a supervisor at the restaurant. Plaintiff was hired to serve costumers at the store.

gavel22.jpgPlaintiff filed lawsuit against Defendant, alleging that her supervisor had sexually harassed her anytime they worked the same shift. She claimed that he made lewd comments and gestures and grabbed her breasts and buttocks. She asked her supervisor to stop, but he continued to harass her, according to court records.

At this point, Plaintiff informed her father, who called police. He also called corporate offices of the pizza franchise and spoke with someone in human resources. Plaintiff did not return to work for one week. When she returned, her hours had been reduced, and she quit her job. It was Plaintiff's belief that her hours were cut in retaliation for filing a complaint against her employer.

Her lawsuit contained various claims, including sexual harassment, failure to take reasonable steps to avoid harassment, and retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. She also made common law claims of negligence, assault and battery, and emotional distress. She sought both compensatory and punitive damages. As our Charlotte personal injury lawyers can explain, compensatory damages, as the name implies, are designed to compensate an injured party for any damages caused by the defendant's negligent or intentional conduct. These are the normal form of damages awarded under our legal system.

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September 15, 2014

Ainsworth v. Chandler: On Third Party Interveners in Premises Liability Cases

Ainsworth v. Chandler, a case heard in the Supreme Court of Vermont, involved a woman ("Plaintiff") who was injured at a business owned by Defendant. Plaintiff was at Defendant's electrical company when she tripped on a coil of wires that had been left in a stairway.

stairs.jpgAccording to court records, Defendant was leading her down the set of stairs when the coil of wire caught her ankle and caused her to fall. Plaintiff testified that she did not see the coil of wires prior to her fall.

Plaintiff has alleged that she suffered permanent injuries, including partial blindness, damage to her ankle, a broken tooth and painful cuts and bruises.

At the time of her accident, Plaintiff had been dating Defendant for the past six months, and her purpose for being at that location was that she was visiting her boyfriend.

Defendant filed a civil lawsuit against his liability insurance company on grounds they breached the terms of their coverage agreement by not awarding her the more than $1 million in damages she had requested. In response to this lawsuit, the insurance company denied any and all liability and counterclaimed for a declaration of noncoverage on grounds that he had breached his agreement. Plaintiff filed her lawsuit against Defendant four months later.

In her lawsuit, Plaintiff demanded over $2 million in damages and, in response, Defendant admitted to liability and conceded to the allegations in the complaint. When his insurance company learned of Defendant's admissions, it intervened in the lawsuit to protect its interests. As our Spartanburg premises liability lawyers know, a third party can intervene in an ongoing lawsuit if their interests will be substantially affected by the outcome of the pending litigation.

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September 11, 2014

Carpenter v. Kenneth Thompson Builder - Claim-Splitting Barred

Generally, most civil courts require litigants to bring all claims arising out of the same source of facts in the same civil action. When claims stemming from the same incident are filed in separate lawsuits, this is known as claim-splitting.
It's a subsidiary of the doctrine of res judicata, meaning the same matters can't be litigated twice. Essentially, courts want to make sure that cases aren't tried piecemeal, and that litigation should cease once the rights and obligations of all parties have been determined.

Our Greensboro personal injury lawyers know there may be circumstances under which the same set of facts could give rise to a separate lawsuit. For example, the claim-splitting rule doesn't necessarily restrict a later lawsuit on matters that were not relevant or at least implicitly connected to the first action. Additionally, the rule doesn't apply to a cause of action before it accrues.

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September 9, 2014

State v. Hawkins - Nursing Home Negligence by Improper Lifting

Falls suffered by nursing home patients are unfortunately all too common. These incidents result in serious injury to the patient, and the vast majority are preventable.
What's more, a fair number occur when staffers are working to lift or move a patient for one purpose or another. Our Anderson nursing home abuse lawyers know failure of nurses or aides to use proper lifting techniques will inevitably result in problems. In some cases, nursing home facilities fail to properly train or supervise staffers. Other times, it's a matter of bad policy, insufficient equipment or not enough staff. In a few cases, it's been found that staffers were simply careless, flouted the rules or, in some cases, deliberately put patients in harms' way.

This was the allegation in State of Mississippi v. Hattie Hawkins, which was recently appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court. According to prosecutors, the reported actions of the nursing assistant in question were not only negligent, they were criminal.

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September 7, 2014

Hahn v. Walsh - Ensuring Adequate Medical Care in S.C. Prisons

Although the prison population tends to garner little sympathy, the fact of the matter is, many are locked up for non-violent crimes. Regardless of the transgression, inmates are entitled under the Eighth Amendment to receive adequate medical care while in custody.
Unfortunately, our Spartanburg personal injury lawyers know that because prisoners are isolated from their families and out-of-sight from the rest of the community, they are vulnerable to care that is deficient, resulting in unnecessary suffering and, in some cases, death.

Bringing a claim in these situations requires an attorney with extensive experience. These claims are complex as it is, but when they involve a government institution and a person accused or convicted of a crime, matters are even more complicated. While private medical firms contracted with the institution may face a claim of medical malpractice, the institution itself could be held liable if it is shown prison officials treated the inmate with "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs."

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September 4, 2014

Tattoo Ink Recall: Serious Infection Risk With Contaminated Products

Everyone who gets a tattoo (which is nearly 1 in 4 Americans today) anticipates some degree of pain in the process. Unfortunately, some are finding it more painful than others after developing painful rashes, skin infections and even blood diseases, like hepatitis C from contaminated inks and needles. tattoo.jpg

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers understand in the wake of a tattoo ink recall in July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are dialing up the volume of their warnings, as more reports of serious illness emerge.

Let's start with the most recent recall. It involved inks and needles produced and distributed by a company called White & Blue Lion, Inc., a firm based in Southern California. The company voluntarily pulled its products from the shelves when it became apparent the products tested positive for pathogenic bacterial contamination. The bacteria present in these products has the potential not just to result in severe skin rashes, but also in sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body has an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection.

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