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A woman was seriously injured while descending a set of stairs that lacked a railway after singing in her church choir. When she sued the church for damages, it was undisputed that she fell on the defendant’s stairs and suffered injuries as a result. The question recently before the North Carolina Court of Appeals was whether the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff and breached that duty, foreseeably resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries. church

According to court records in Thompson v. Evergreen Baptist Church, a key issue in this case was the plaintiff’s own knowledge of the potential danger.

The plaintiff was a member of the church for 34 years. Her husband had been a member of the congregation his entire life, and their children and grandchildren were baptized there. At various times, the plaintiff helped with the children’s choir and served as a youth director, a Sunday School teacher, and the Director of Missions. At the time of her fall, she was serving as a youth director. Additionally, she was a regular church attendee, noting she was there any time the church doors were open and she was able to attend.

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Four months ago, hoverboards were the hottest item on the market. In the weeks before Christmas, some 400,000 of them were shipped out of Shenzhen, China alone. skateboards

But today, they’re tough to find. On Feb. 18, the U.S. government issued a statement saying most hoverboards do not meet their basic safety standards.

Big name retailers like Amazon, Toys R’ US and most recently Target have pulled the items from their shelves and refused to stop selling. They are banned for transport on airlines and all public transportation systems. You can’t ride them on the sidewalks or streets of New York City, the UK or in any Disney park in the world.

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A U.S. magistrate judge for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville Division, has granted a South Carolina couple the go-ahead to continue pursuit of their lawsuit against Beech Mountain

The case stems from an injury sustained by the wife in January 2011. She alleges she suffered a traumatic brain injury when a heavy block of ice and snow fell onto her head from the roof of the resort, which is about two hours outside of Asheville.

She and her husband filed a lawsuit, Palacino v. Beech Mountain Resort, Inc., alleging the resort was negligent and seeking compensatory and punitive damages.  Continue reading

Suing a local government entity is accompanied by a unique set of legal hurdles. Suing the federal government for injury can have mountainous hurdles.
Bu that doesn’t mean a case isn’t ever worth pursuing, as Young v. United States recently revealed. Here, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted plaintiffs the right to continue their case under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), after a woman suffered serious injuries after she fell into a deep hole formed underneath the snow near a buried transformer in a national park, close to the main visitor center. She alleged the National Park Service knew of the danger because it had created it and failed to warn visitors.

Although the lower court dismissed the claim as barred under the discretionary function exception under FTCA, the appellate court flatly rejected this defense. Justices called the decision not to warn “totally divorced” from any other policy consideration except the one the park service should have upheld: the safety of some 2 million visitors who patronize the park every year.
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The Washington Post reports that a South Carolina inspector had issued only one citation in more than three years of inspecting amusement park rides. This inspector was fired for falsifying a report that led to the death of a 6-year-old boy on a children’s train ride.

Our personal injury lawyers in Spartanburg and elsewhere are appalled at this inspector’s blatant disregard for safety.

State records show that this inspector had issued only one violation in more than three years of inspecting amusement park rides. He had been employed by South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for 20 years, and from 2008 to 2011, he performed well over 140 inspections. In 2010, he issued no violations and denied no permits for 36 rides he inspected. Seven other inspectors issued 54 violations and denied 10 permits for 212 inspections. In 2011, he inspected 16 rides and again issued no violations while 10 other inspectors issued 38 violations during 150 ride inspections. The inspector has refused to speak publicly and state officials are making changes to the licensing department.

“We are taking precautions to make sure that they realize this is not just a check of a box. This is a life,” Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday. “It was a senseless situation that shouldn’t have happened. But it is also a reminder of what we can do to fix it to make sure that it never happens again.”

We had previously posted to our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about this accident back in April.

State officials fired the inspector when they learned he had falsified his inspection report of the miniature train ride at Spartanburg’s Cleveland Park. On the day of the inspection, the train’s battery was dead, so the ride could not be tested. The inspector OK’d the ride anyway. The train derailed on opening day of the park, injuring 28 people and killing a 6-year-old boy.

County officials are blaming the crash on excessive speed. Witnesses stated they saw the train accelerate suddenly just prior to the crash. And in the ambulance ride to the hospital, the train’s operator made the comment that he was going too fast. County prosecutors will review the case and decide if anyone will be criminally charged.

ABC news reported that 7,000 people go to the hospital every year due to injuries at carnivals. They feel the problem is a lack of federal oversight on how carnivals are set up and maintained. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) only has jurisdiction over rides transported from location to location (mobile amusement rides).

CPSC Inspection criteria includes:

North Carolina:
-Semi-annual inspection of stationary rides.
-Unannounced inspection.
-All mobile rides inspected at each set-up.
-Follow-up inspection to ensure compliance.
-Ski lifts, rope tows, water slides and go-carts (28 mph limit) are also regulated and inspected.

South Carolina:
-Yearly and unannounced inspections.
-Operators are also inspected.
-$500,000 liability insurance, manuals, daily check sheets and maintenance records are required.
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Our Carolina injury attorneys have been closely monitoring a host of safety recalls issued this month involving infant equipment.

To date, more than 3 million units, involving products from newborn mittens to baby video monitors to bassinets to car seats have been recalled due to reported incidences of infant injury or death.
Recalls began on Feb. 11, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission along with Summer Infant Inc. announced a voluntary recall of about 1.7 million video baby monitors after two infants suffered strangulation deaths from the video monitor electrical cords. The recall spans 40 models sold at major retailers between January 2003 and February 2011. Monitors were priced between $60-300.

CPSC and Summer urge parents who own one of these products to make sure the electrical cord is at least 3-ft. out of reach of a child. Summer is providing owners with updated warning labels.

The second recall alert was issued on Feb. 14 by the National Highway Safety Administration warning parents and caregivers that Dorel Juvenile Group was recalling 794,247 child safety seats. It was determined that a sticking harness release button could prevent the car seat from locking in place, thus increasing the risk that a child would be injured in a car accident.

According to Dorel, the defect is specific to seats with a Center Front Adjuster that were manufactured between May 2008 and April 2009. The recall includes infant, convertible and booster child restraints. To date no injuries have been reported and DJG is offering parents a free remedy kit of non-toxic lubricant.

On Feb. 15, Nurses Choice along with the CPSC issued a recall of 4,700 newborn keepsake mittens made of white cotton with “2011” decorations glued on one side. Again, no injuries have been reported, but there are choking hazard concerns because the decorations can be pulled off.

Finishing off the lot was a Feb. 16 recall of about 500,000 Burlington Basket Company bassinets which can collapse if the cross-bracing rails are not fully locked into position. CPSC and Burlington report there have been 10 incidents where the bassinets have collapsed. Two infants received minor injuries and no fatalities have been reported. Wal-Mart and other major retailers (including online retailer sold the $50 bassinets between January 2003 and August 2010.

Parents have been instructed to stop using the bassinet until they determine the cross-bracing support rails are locked. Burlington has provided a video on proper bassinet assembly on their website.
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