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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September 2, 2014

BB Buggies Inc. v. Leon - $10M Product Liability Judgment Set Aside

A default judgment against the defendants in a $10 million product liability case was recently set aside by the Mississippi Supreme Court, after evidence was submitted indicated a "colorable defense," indicating the defense did not design, manufacture or distribute the product in question.
Our Anderson personal injury lawyers know that default judgments are regarded by appellate courts with scrutiny because, essentially, the defense has not presented their side of the case. Default judgments in favor of the plaintiff are typically entered when the defense fails to file an answer to the complaint within a set amount of time. Notice of the default judgment is issued, the defense has another opportunity to respond, and if they still do not, a separate hearing may be held to determine damages.

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September 1, 2014

Gregory v. Cott - Nursing Home Staffers Can't Sue Dementia Patients

One of the cruelest things about Alzheimer's disease is the way it transforms a person into someone practically unrecognizable. Someone who was once incredibly intelligent and loving becomes dull and distant. A person who was once full of life and compassion is suddenly depressed and easily agitated.
While the disease manifests itself differently among patients, one of the more common symptoms reported by caregivers is aggression and even physical violence. Most frequently, it is caregivers who endure the brunt of these violent bursts, and often sustain injuries as a result.

However, the courts have consistently held, most recently in the California Supreme Court case of Gregory v. Cott, that professional caregivers do not have the option to sue people with dementia for the physical injuries they inflict.

The reason has to do with the fact that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove the patient owed an initial duty to the caregiver, which proximately by breaching it resulted in injury. This is central to most injury cases. Secondly, caregivers are presumed to accept the assumption of risk when working with these patients. That is, they recognize potential violent tendencies, and should be trained with how to deal with them.

Still, these injured parties would do well to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rock Hill, as there may be other parties who might be deemed responsible. Where workers are concerned, there is always the option of seeking workers' compensation. In those claims, it will not be necessary to prove anyone was negligent. All that is necessary to prove, aside from the extent of the injury, is that it occurred during or in the course of one's employment. For staffers who have suffered injury, it will not matter if the company failed to adequately train or manage these patients. That's because workers' compensation is considered an exclusive remedy, relieving the company of any other legal liability for work-related injuries.

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August 28, 2014

Brooks v. Martin, et al. - Overcoming Governmental Immunity Defense

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a complaint brought by a woman seriously injured when a police officer negligently collided with her at an intersection.
While such action seems inherently unfair, it's an illustration of the principle of sovereign immunity, which can shield government entities and employees from legal responsibility for harm caused.

However, our Asheville personal injury attorneys recognize this protection is not without limit, and there are circumstances under which a person can successfully bring suit against the government or its workers. Such a case should not be pursued unless it has been carefully reviewed by an experienced injury lawyer.

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August 26, 2014

Internet Gun Exchange Host Not Liable for Death, 7th Circuit Rules

Lawsuits against online providers who facilitate gun sales between private buyers and sellers will likely not go far, if the recent ruling handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is any indication.
Although disappointing, the ruling in Vesely v. Armslist LLC is not all that surprising, given the legal precedent set by previous cases involving sites like Craigslist and EBay. Our Rock Hill injury lawyers know it's generally been held that these kinds of "online marketplaces" can't be held liable for the negligence or criminal wrongdoing of their customers.

Specifically, 47 U.S.C. ยง 230 may preclude some of these lawsuits because it says operators of interactive computer services aren't responsible for material posted by users.

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August 24, 2014

New Documentary Highlights Twisted Tort Reform Efforts

Corporations have spent millions of dollars convincing people that the majority of personal injury lawsuits are "frivolous," "trivial" and the work of money-grubbing trial lawyers. Since the 1980s, lobbyists have pressed this narrative on the public and politicians in an effort to push through tort reform efforts to limit public access to the court system - one of the only places "the little guy" can face off against a corporate giant and have a real shot at success.

And such efforts continue.
In the new documentary, "Hot Coffee," directed by Susan Saladoff, the truth about the American civil justice system is examined - starting with the 1992 case of a 79-year-old woman who sued McDonalds after spilling hot coffee on herself.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers know this is a classic example of how the facts are twisted in the public eye to make it seem as if the woman was absurd for suing in the first place - and the court system acted egregiously in awarding her anything.

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August 22, 2014

Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc.: Liability Waivers in Negligence Actions

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers know that companies will try to avoid liability for negligent conduct by having customers agree to lengthy and confusing liability waivers.

climbing-the-wall-288569-m.jpgIn Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc., an Alaska case, the plaintiff signed up for a beginner rock climbing class at a local gym. The gym was designed to simulate a rock-climbing environment, as the walls were made to look like rocks with various hand and footholds attached.

The plaintiff was no stranger to risky physical activities, both while exercising and at work. According to the record, she had worked in construction and on a commercial fishing boat. She had also gone kite boarding, which is considered a dangerous activity.

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August 18, 2014

Shapria, M.D. et al. v. Christiana Care Health Services, Inc., et al.: Informed Consent and Personal Conflicts of Interest in Medical Malpractice Cases

As our Spartanburg personal injury attorney know, doctors are required to give patients all the information necessary to make an informed decision as to whether they should undergo a particular procedure. Often times, that means weighing the benefits and risks associated with the medical procedure. However, in at least some cases, it may require disclosure as to whether the doctor has a financial incentive to perform the procedure, aside from the normal medical bill.

hospitalcorridor1.jpgIn Shapria, M.D. et al. v. Christiana Care Health Services, Inc., et al., the plaintiff fell off a ladder and broke several ribs. While in the hospital, he was still experiencing significant pain in his ribs, even though he was taking oral pain medication.

Oral pain medication enters the body after being swallowed and has a pain-reducing effect on the nervous system as a whole. While some medications work better for certain types of pain than others, they are not considered a target analgesic.

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August 15, 2014

Brouwer v. Sisters of Charity Providence: The Common Knowledge Exception to the Expert Witness Requirement in South Carolina

Brouwer v. Sisters of Charity Providence, an appeal heard in the South Carolina Supreme Court, involved a plaintiff who was admitted to a hospital to undergo surgery to treat sleep apnea.

guantes-gloves-776917-m.jpgWhile in surgery, the plaintiff had some type of allergic reaction and was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). While in the ICU, it was determined the plaintiff had an allergic reaction to latex. Before having surgery, she was asked if she had a latex allergy and told the hospital staff she did. She was wearing a latex allergy identification bracelet at the time of her surgery.

The plaintiff filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) along with her medical malpractice negligence complaint. As your Anderson, South Carolina personal injury lawyer can discuss, South Carolina has very specific procedural requirements for filing a summons and complaint that are different from most other jurisdictions.

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August 12, 2014

Adams, et al. v. Laboratory Corp. - Failure to Diagnose Spurs Lawsuit

The most common allegation made in medical malpractice litigation is that of a misdiagnoses. That was established in a study published late last year in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, which revealed 72 percent of all malpractice claims against primary care doctors were the result of a doctor who either failed to diagnose the correct condition, failed to identify there was a illness or disease or who diagnosed the wrong disease.
Our Asheville medical malpractice lawyers recognize that a case of misdiagnosis can have serious consequences, when you consider that virtually all action - or inaction - a patient takes with regard to his or her health is based upon that. We trust doctors and other health care workers to get it right - or at least to meet the reasonable standard of care in reaching the conclusion they do. When they fail in this regard, it could be grounds for litigation, particularly if a patient suffers severe or lasting problems as a result of the error.

Adams, et al. v. Laboratory Corp. of America, the assertion from the plaintiff was that technicians of a laboratory failed to alert her and her doctor to the fact that cancer had been detected in her cervix until such time that the cancer had spread, requiring intensive and evasive treatments.

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