Authorities are investigating a fall down an elevator shaft at a Pennsylvania correctional facility that proved fatal for both a correctional officer and an inmate.


According to The New York Times, the pair were engaged in a scuffle following a verbal argument over the fact the inmate was being made to take the stairs, rather than the elevator, after playing basketball. They crashed through an elevator door and fell some five stories down the elevator shaft. Another corrections officer who was assisting the first just narrowly avoided plunging 70 feet down the shaft as well.

The elevator was reportedly on its way up from the first floor at the time of the accident. The 27-year-old inmate’s death was ruled accidental, but the 25-year-old guard’s death was ruled a homicide.  Continue reading

It’s a safe bet to say your grandmother probably isn’t on Snapchat. That’s especially true if she’s living in a nursing home. Meanwhile, the app is extremely popular among the younger cohort. It has also fast become known to those who advocate for protecting the elderly from nursing home abuse and exploitation. iphone6

Why? Because an increasing number of nursing home staffers have been caught taking photographs of elderly residents in demeaning or humiliating circumstances and then posting those images on the social media platform.

One case reported out of Wisconsin just recently involved an 87-year-old man suffering dementia who had just lost his wife of many years and his leg. His son placed him in a nursing home down the street, WGNTV reported, and he would wander the halls calling out for his wife. One day, he was particular agitated. A nurse aide, apparently frustrated, snapped a photo of him and shared it with her friends, captioning the image, “JERK!” His son later said an employee was kicking his father’s wheelchair and the Snapchat image showed him kicking back as other staffers laughed in the background.  Continue reading

Stairways are one of the most dangerous features of any property. That’s why they must be constructed according to very specific industry standards, depending on the type of structure and their purpose.stairs9

Building codes dictate things like riser height, railing material, tread depth and head room. But of course, building codes can change over time, and certain stairways that aren’t necessarily safe could be grandfathered in. On top of that, many property owners fail to maintain stairways. Stairs that fall into disrepair can be very dangerous as well.

In the recent case of Estate of Smith v. Salvesen, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled against a widower whose wife died after apparently falling down a flight of stairs in a guest room where they were staying.  Continue reading

In North Carolina, cities enjoy a general authority and control over all public streets, alleys, bridges and sidewalks within those corporate limits. However, those cities, by statute (NCGS 160A-296(a)(1)), must also maintain those sidewalks in proper repair. Cities are also responsible to conduct reasonable inspections from time-to-time to check for any possible defects. sidewalkcrack

In order to be found liable for a personal injury caused by a defective sidewalk, an individual has to prove that the city had actual or constructive notice of the defect. That means one needs to show someone actually told the city about that particular defect before – and the city did nothing to fix it or warn people about it – or the condition existed for such a length of time that had the city been using reasonable care, it would have discovered it.

In most cases, we’re going to be talking about constructive notice. That means plaintiffs have to gather lots of information to lay the foundation for the case. They may even need expert witness testimony to discuss how and when the defect formed.  Continue reading

Jurors are slated to decide soon whether a 55-year-old man’s death in a Georgia hospital was the result of medical malpractice or simply the result of an aggressive infection over which doctors had no control. insidehospitalroom

The unfortunate reality is that not every person who dies in the hospital – even after receiving medical treatment – is a victim of medical malpractice. In fact, it may not even be medical malpractice when a doctor makes an error. Determining whether medical malpractice may be at issue involves ascertaining whether the medical professional failed to abide by the applicable standard of care. That standard of care is different from Asheville, NC than it is in Los Angeles, California. It’s different for an emergency room doctor than it is for a neurologist. It’s different for a critical care nurse than it is for a paramedic.

In the case of Harper v. Vick, et al, plaintiff’s wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the decedent’s widow, alleges the specialists – including a pulmonologist and an ear, nose and throat doctor – failed to open her husband’s airway to properly treat the breathing problems she says killed her husband.  Continue reading

A woman in South Florida is suing a luxury hotel in Miami and a valet service after she claims she was injured in a violent carjacking as she unloaded her belonging in the carport of the building, where the bustling valet service was operating.

Keys in the ignition of a car Keys representing unlocking an idea, treasure, or love

In the case of Stept v. Met II Hotel LLC, plaintiff is seeking punitive damages and other sanctions against the hotel, arguing staffers at the hotel and valet services knew there was a potential for carjacking and failed to update its procedures – even after a previous attempt from this very same suspect.

According to reports from Courtroom View Network, which is following the case, the victim sustained serious damage to her arm and mental health in the incident. She was forced to undergo elbow surgery on her left arm and still struggles with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Defendant’s alleged failure to act was an egregious breach of duty, plaintiff argues, in light of the threat this suspect posed.  Continue reading

It’s July, so perhaps now is not the best time to talk about icy walkways and snow-slicked floors. But slip-and-fall lawsuits can be filed at any point in the year, and some of the principles that apply to wintertime slip-and-falls can be useful in other seasons too. icewalk

In the recent Iowa Supreme Court case of Alcala v. Marriott Int’l, Inc., a $1.2 million personal injury verdict was overturned after the high court determined the trial court improperly submitted a negligent training theory without first eliciting testimony on the standard of care for worker training and then proving a breach of that standard. The trial court also reportedly made the mistake of instructing jurors that an icy walkway violated the private safety code that violates slip-resistant construction materials, despite conflicting expert testimony.

According to court records, this premises liability action arose from an incident that occurred in January 2010. Plaintiff, a software consultant, was based in Texas but often traveled out-of-state to clients that were having the software installed. On this particular incident, plaintiff was on such a business trip and was staying at a local hotel, owned and operated by defendant. Just before 8 a.m. one morning, she was exiting the hotel to head to the client’s office when she slipped and fell, breaking her ankle.  Continue reading

Earlier this year, South Carolina lawmakers rejected the South Carolina Medical Marijuana Program Act, which would have granted access to caregivers and patients suffering from serious illnesses. Meanwhile in North Carolina, House Bill 983 is pending that would allow marijuana as medicine. Given the growing tide of approval for medical marijuana in the U.S., it’s ultimate approval in the Carolinas seems inevitable, as legal marijuana is one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. joint

One of the benefits of legalized marijuana is accountability for those who cultivate, process and distribute the drug. Reasonable regulations help patients and customers understand what they are getting and ensure that those who fail to ensure their products are safe properly compensate those who are affected.

Take for example the recent lawsuit filed against Colorado’s largest cannabis cultivator by two consumers over the use of pesticides. As The Denver Post reports, the plaintiffs – one who uses the drug for treatment of brain tumor symptoms – allege defendant LivWell Inc. have been using a dangerous chemical called Eagle 20 to kill pests, but in turn have been endangering users who became sick when they inhaled the drug. They assert that the fungicide, when it’s heated to smoke, produces a dangerous gas about which users were not warned. The consumers are seeking class action status for their product liability claim.  Continue reading

A woman in California is suing SoulCycle for negligence after an injury that followed when an instructor allegedly barked at her to pedal faster in front of her bosses and co-workers. Even as the woman could feel her knees begin to buckle, she tried briefly to push herself harder. She couldn’t keep going. But, she soon realized, she couldn’t stop the bike. She fell off, her feet still strapped to the pedals. According to her personal injury lawsuit, she suffered catastrophic damage to her ankles.indoorcycle

SoulCycle, popular in large cities and among celebrities like Oprah and Kelly Roland, involves cycling while also working out the upper body, either with weights or dance moves. The classes are pricey and the studios are designed to feel elite. Beginner riders are relegated to the back of the classes, only moving forward – and closer to the instructor – once they’ve mastered the moves. This seems a bit counterintuitive, considering less experienced riders would seemingly benefit more from being able to watch the instructor more closely. But again, it has to do with the vibe of exclusivity.  Continue reading

Boating accidents in North Carolina inevitably spike in summertime. There are simply more boats on the water. But that is not to say these injuries and deaths are inevitable. In fact, most are avoidable with proper precaution. boats

The 2015 Report of Boating Accidents and Fatalities by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission indicates there were 166 boating accidents in the state last year, including 21 fatal accidents. There were also nearly 375,000 registered vessels that year. Interestingly, the number of registered vessels was down slightly from 380,000 in 2014, even though the number of total boating accidents rose from 130. It was the first time boating accidents went up since 2004. There were 215 and 217 boating accidents in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

When boating accidents do occur, it can leave victims and loved ones reeling, unsure of who may be held responsible. The recent Iowa wrongful death case of Estate of McFarlin v. State illustrates how many entities may be involved and the difficulties in bringing action against the government in such cases.  Continue reading

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