May

2

Personal Injury Lawsuit Claims Doctor Operated on Wrong Side of Brain

Posted by jclark | Posted in Medical Malpractice

A personal injury lawsuit filed by a Missouri woman claims that a St. Louis neurosurgeon operated on the wrong side of her brain, according to an alarming report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sources say that 53-year-old Regina Turner was the victim of an allegedly botched brain operation, and as a result of the trauma, is no longer able to speak intelligibly.

According to Turner’s personal injury attorney, she was scheduled to have a craniotomy bypass on the left side of her head on April 4 at St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, Missouri, sources say.

But Turner alleges that Dr. Armond Levy, a 46-year-old neurosurgeon who has battled several malpractice lawsuits during his career, performed the operation on the wrong side of her brain.

Once doctors realized they had made a mistake, they performed the same operation on the correct side of her brain six days later, according to sources.

Unfortunately, the new operation allegedly failed to reverse the damage caused by the first, and Turner is now no longer able to take care of herself, which she was able to do before the operation.

According to the lawsuit, Turner now requires “around the clock care for her basic needs,” and also continues to suffer from a broad range of maladies, including “emotional distress, anxiety, disfigurement, and depression.”

In addition to her surgeon, the lawsuit also names SSM Health Care-St. Louis, the owner of St. Clare Health Center, as a defendant, and accuses it and her doctor of “negligence and carelessness” stemming from a “wrong-sided surgery.”

Officials at SSM refused to comment on the pending medical malpractice claim, but Bill Hoefer, a spokesman for St. Clare Health Center, told sources that the hospital remains “committed to patient safety and the highest-quality health care.”

In addition, Hoefer noted that, “if a medical error does occur, we take it very seriously. We investigate thoroughly to see what processes can be changed to prevent it from ever happening again, and then we make those changes immediately.”

Sources say Levy, the alleged target of the suit, which only identifies the doctor as “A.L.,” is a board-certified neurosurgeon.

But despite his certification, the lawsuit alleges that Levy failed to exercise reasonable care. It also alleges that his staff “stood by and watched A.L. operate on the wrong side of the plantiff’s skull and brain when they could have prevented the error.”

According to sources, Turner is asking for enough personal injury damages to “punish” SSM and the neurosurgeon for their “indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of Regina Turner.”

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Apr

18

Family of Slain Teenager Awarded Millions in Car Accident Lawsuit

Posted by jclark | Posted in Car Accident Cases

After four years of grieving, the family of a teenager who was killed during her walk to school has finally received legal relief, according to a report from NBC News.

Sources report that the family of Ashley Davis, who died at the tender age of 13 after being struck by a car, was awarded $90 million in personal injury compensation by a jury in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The accident that led to the car accident lawsuit occurred on the morning of September 1, 2009, when a Lincoln Continental slammed into Davis as she was crossing the road to reach her bus stop, according to sources.

After hitting Davis, the driver of the SUV also struck a minivan and a 17-year-old boy, while classmates of Davis watched in horror.

As a result of the accident, Davis, a freshman at Crossland High School, suffered severe injuries and died after two weeks of intense medical efforts.

At trial, the victim’s mother, Nycole Davis, noted that her daughter was “doing the right thing” by going to school and lamented that the teenager “didn’t deserve” to meet such a tragic end.

According to the family’s personal injury attorney, the school board was negligent because it failed to follow the policy it had adopted in order to “provide for safe transportation.”

That policy, according to the wrongful death attorney, was to “pick up Ashley on her own side of the street.” Instead of following the policy, however, the bus driver typically “forced her to cross the street.”

And the mother of Ashley Davis believes that if “she didn’t have to cross the street,” her daughter would be “going to prom” and “graduating this year.”

After an emotional trial, the jury sided with the Davis family, and awarded an unprecedented $90 million in personal injury damages, as well as money to cover medical expenses and funeral costs, according to sources.

Nycole Davis told sources that she wasn’t looking for such a large sum of money, but instead was determined to see that someone was “held responsible for what happened to my daughter.

Sources note, however, that the case may not be over. According to a statement released from Prince George’s County Public Schools, the case is still being fought, and a judgment has yet to be officially entered.

Reports also say that the relief award could be well above the state’s limits for lawsuits against public schools. So while the Davis family seems to have won a significant court victory, they may never see the $90 million the jury awarded.

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Apr

15

Explosions at the Boston Marathon

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

By

People at the Boston Marathon are getting a lot more than they bargained for today, on Patriot’s Day. As thousands of runners were crossing the finish line 2 separate explosions occurred at the bases of buildings.

It is too early to get reports on how many people were injured in the explosions, but so far dozens are being reported and ambulances are trying to maneuver through the area. Injuries are being described as those similar to injuries obtained in war zones.

“There was an explosion. Police, fire and EMS (emergency medical services) are on the scene, we have no indication of how many people are injured,” a spokesman for the Boston Police Department said.

The explosions happened approximately 5 hours into the race. The marathon has been suspended. No one is currently allowed in or out of the hotel that is serving as headquarters for the event. The transit area has shut down all service to the area.

Disclaimer: This video of one of the marathon explosions shows at least one person getting injured upon impact.

Precautionary measures are being taken in Boston, New York and Washington D.C. in case this was a terrorist attack, but it is being said it is far too early to draw any conclusions.

UPDATES

As of 4:08pm eastern time, April 15th, the Boston Police Department is reporting 2 dead and 23 injured.

As of 6:00pm eastern time, April 15th, over 100 people are being treated.

As of 10:40am eastern time, April 16th, 3 people are confirmed dead and 176 injured.

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Apr

4

State Lawmaker Accused of Drunk Driving in Car Accident Lawsuit

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

A personal injury lawsuit filed this week accuses Connecticut State Rep. Christina Ayala of fleeing the scene of an accident caused by her own drunk driving, according to a report from the Norwich Bulletin.

Sources say the lawsuit, filed by 26-year-old Krystal Valez, claims that Ayala was under the influence of alcohol when she ran her car into a vehicle driven by Valez. The lawsuit also alleges that Ayala fled the scene of the accident.

The accident in question occurred last August, when Ayala’s 2007 Nissan Sentra allegedly struck a 2002 Honda Accord being driven by Valez.

Ayala allegedly fled the scene of the accident, but a person who witnessed the crash followed her car and eventually forced her to pull over about six blocks from the location of the collision, according to sources.

When Ayala was questioned by officers after the accident, she claimed that she tried to check on Valez following the collision, but that she decided to leave the scene because she felt “scared” due to the presence of a man who was screaming at her.

Interestingly, when police took Ayala into custody, they did not test her for alcohol, because they claimed she did not appear to be intoxicated. Nevertheless, the lawsuit filed by Valez alleges that Ayala was drunk at the time of the crash.

The plaintiff claims that she suffered back injuries and a concussion as a result of the accident, and that her medical costs amount to roughly $11,000.

Valez, however, will have to refute the testimony of Ayala’s father, Alberto Ayala, who claims that his daughter had not been drinking before the accident, according a statement given to the Connecticut Post.

Of course, Alberto Ayala has every incentive to make this claim, because not only is he the driver’s father, he is also named as a defendant in the car accident lawsuit.

Unfortunately for Christina Ayala, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the pending personal injury lawsuit is the least of her legal concerns.

Sources say Ayala, who is serving her first term in the state legislature, was officially charged with failing to renew her driver’s registration, failing to obey a traffic signal, and evading responsibility.

During her latest court hearing, Ayala was told by her judge that she could accept a plea bargain offered by prosecutors or stand trial for her criminal counts.

Under the plea deal, Ayala would receive a suspended sentence and have an extended period of probation. Sources say Ayala has three weeks to make her choice.

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Apr

1

Kevin Ware Gruesome Injury, Successful Surgery

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

By

Yesterday, college basketball fans and people throughout the nation, gasped and hoped for the best for Kevin Ware, the Louisville Cardinals’ guard who suffered a gruesome leg injury during their NCAA Midwest Regional final win over the Duke Blue Devils.

Ware jumped up to defend against a shot behind the arc and his right leg buckled as he landed, sending him into excruciating pain directly in front of the Louisville bench.

The leg was reportedly broken in two places and will likely take at least a year to recover from the injury.

Viewer discretion advised for those wanting to watch the video. If you prefer not to see the actual break, focus on the players on the bench and their reaction.

The whole stadium watched and prayed in a stunned silence as paramedics rushed in to attend to Ware whose bone was sticking out of his leg.

Players and coaches from both teams looked on and huddled together, many visibly emotional and shaken up, all hoping for the best for Ware. The injury was so bad that CBS did not replay it.

“The bone’s 6 inches our of his leg and all he’s yelling is, “Win the game, win the game,” coach Rick Pitino said.

Collapsing to his own hands and feet at the sight of Ware’s injury, the Cardinal’s Chane Behanan commented, “The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out.”

Ware was taken off the court on a stretcher, to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where they re-set his bone and inserted a rod into his right tibia during a two hour surgery.

Ware is expected to remain in the hospital for a couple days and hopes to rejoin the team in Atlanta as they continue on to the Final Four. There is no timetable set on his return to the court.

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Mar

21

Doctor Faces Second Personal Injury Lawsuit for Sexual Misconduct

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

Doctors are placed in a position of extreme trust, so when they abuse that trust, the consequences are often costly, both in a criminal and a civil sense.

This week, an Illinois doctor who already lost his medical license earlier this month is facing a second personal injury lawsuit stemming from his alleged sexual misconduct, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times.

The doctor, Kishor Jain, a pediatrician by training, has already been charged with felony sex crimes, and is currently facing another lawsuit in Will County, Illinois. He has now been accused by six different women of groping them during office visits, according to sources.

The latest personal injury claim was launched by 34-year-old Kelly Meister, who claims that Jain touched her breast after putting his hand down her shirt. During another visit, Jain reportedly “massaged” her breast and “was making panting sounds as if he was clearly enjoying himself.”

Meister, who says the incidents happened between 2007 and 2011, also claims that Jain frequently aimed “inappropriate and sexual comments” in her direction.

And Meister isn’t alone. Sources say her personal injury attorney also represents another woman, 29-year-old Jessica Schubbe, who filed the initial lawsuit against Jain.

According to sources, Schubbe’s civil lawsuit raised red flags at the state attorney’s office. After an investigation, prosecutors accused Jain of molesting five different women, and the doctor was arrested on February 15. He was later released on a $10,000 bond.

And while Jain is awaiting judgment in both civil and criminal courts, he has already started to suffer consequences for his alleged actions. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has suspended his medical license, and Jain is no longer with his former clinic.

One factor that has upset Jain’s alleged victims is that he has escaped similar allegations in the past. Jain was reportedly arrested in January 2002 for an alleged assault of a 21-year-old patient, but the case was later expunged after a jury found Jain not guilty.

But later that year, two more patients, Kerry Tadej and Robin Mendoza, filed a lawsuit against Jain in which they claimed the controversial doctor had “fondled and touched” them during office visits. This case, however, was settled outside of court in May 2007, according to sources.

With the latest lawsuit, and the pending criminal trial, it appears that Jain’s luck in avoiding prosecution for his actions may have finally run out.

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Mar

14

Elements of Worker’s Compensation

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in On-the-Job Injuries

If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to Worker’s Compensation. It’s that simple. You don’t have to prove that someone was negligent, or that the accident was preventable, or that it was someone’s fault. Generally, you will need to show 3 things:

  1. There was an accident
  2. It was “on the job”
  3. You were injured as a result

Although it might seem self-explanatory, there are a few issues to consider. As far as accidents are concerned, about all that isn’t covered is an intentional act on the part of the injured person. Also, we don’t generally think of occupational illnesses as being caused by “accidents”, they can be covered also.

Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive-stress conditions such as working an optical scanner is a common example, but a heart attack can, under the right circumstances, may be covered as well, even though factors outside of the job may have contributed to the condition.

Whether an event is in the course of employment can be contested. Factors that can be looked at include the location of the accident, the job duties of the individual, what the person was doing at the time of the accident and whether the person was “on the clock”.

As to the injuries, one must show that there was an injury and that it was caused by the accident. For example, orthopedic injuries are very often accompanied by chronic conditions. You might have bulging discs in your back and never know it. Then you strain your back, get an MRI and find that you have a bulging disc.

Your employer may not be liable for the disc, but may have to pay for the treatment if the back strain on the job exacerbated that condition to the point where it became painful, thus requiring treatment.

You will need to fill out the paperwork related to your claim and your doctor will need to certify that the treatment is medically necessary and that it is due to the injury received on the job. If the employer and its insurance company do what they are supposed to do, you likely wouldn’t need the assistance of a lawyer.

If you have a valid, covered claim, your medical expenses should be covered as well as two-thirds of your loss of pay. Also, the pay is calculated on the average weekly wage of the 52 weeks before the accident. This can be tricky if you had brief spikes of overtime, seasonal layoffs, or commissioned income.

If you are receiving worker’s comp pay, one problem you could encounter is learning that your loss of pay benefits have been cut off. No hearing, no warning, not even a phone call. Someone in the insurance company decided that you were well enough to return to work, so they terminated your benefits.

Now you have to fight to get them back. You need to know what information was used to make the determination and come up with counter-information. Then there will be a hearing before the Worker’s Compensation Board to determine who is right. Many people in this situation turn to a lawyer to represent them.

Because you received worker’s compensation, you can’t sure your employer and you cannot recover for pain and suffering. This is the trade-off. You don’t have to prove that the employer was negligent, so you are covered even if the employer was not at fault. But, even if you can prove that your employer was at fault, violated safety rules, failed to address repeated accidents or known hazards, you don’t get a dollar more.

However, in some situations, you may be able to recover from a “third party.” For example, you slip and fall because the janitorial company applied the wrong kind of wax. You are covered by worker’s comp but you may be able to sue the janitorial company. The comp carrier will get reimbursed for any money they spent on your, but you can recover for that one-third of income you lost, plus pain and suffering.

If your job requires you to travel and you are injured in a car, you should also be covered by no-fault insurance. You can’t recover twice for one loss, but you can reduce your losses: Worker’s comp covers two-thirds of your loss of income, but no-fault covers 80% so worker’s comp would pay you the first two-thirds, then you can recover the additional 13.33% from no-fault.

Finally, if you have a permanent injury, you may be able to get a “schedule award” which is based on a formula depending on the extent of your disability and your rate of pay, offset by payments you have already received. But, you may want to get some advice as to whether the schedule award is your best option.

Depending on your situation, you may be better off getting disability payments and having your medical expenses taken care of.

The bottom line is: any time you are injured on the job, report it. You may not realize at first how injured you are. You may be entitled to coverage if you need medical attention or are unable to work due to your injuries.

This is your right as an employee and your employer’s legal obligation. But in order to protect your rights, make sure to report accidents and injuries, make sure the correct paperwork is filled out and timely submitted , and that your doctor is supplying the information that the insurance company needs to fulfill its responsibilities.

This article was written by guest blogger, Andrew T. Velonis.

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Mar

6

Son of Cab Driver Killed in Shootout Files Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted by jclark | Posted in Car Accident Cases

The son of a cab driver who tragically died during a shootout on the Las Vegas Strip is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the man who allegedly triggered the street battle, according to a report from the Las Vegas Sun.

Sources say Michael Boldon, 62, and his passenger, Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, were killed two weeks ago when a Maserati driven by Kenny Cherry struck Boldon’s cab while traveling at a high speed.

Cherry allegedly lost control of his luxury vehicle after being shot by Ammar Harris, who is the target of the younger Boldon’s personal injury lawsuit, according to sources.

The lawsuit, which was filed this week in Clark County District Court, claims that the 26-year-old driver, who was behind the wheel of a black Range Rover, started shooting at Harris while he was driving, which forced him to lost control of his Maserati.

According to the local coroner, Cherry died of a gunshot wound before causing the fatal accident, which destroyed Boldon’s cab and caused a massive explosion, sources say.

And the Boldon family’s personal injury lawyer told sources that he expects to add more defendants as he learns more information during the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

Additional defendants could eventually include other people who were involved in a heated argument outside the Aria, a club where the incident started, according to Las Vegas police.

The Boldon’s attorney is also considering filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the taxi that exploded and caused a giant fire. The attorney claims that such explosions after an accident do “not happen in real life,” and believes it may have been the result of a design flaw.

The accident became national news in late February when it happened. The Las Vegas Strip is known for its bright lights and endless waves of tourists, not its violent activities.

Granted, plenty of organized crime still exists in Las Vegas, but violent activities rarely spill out into the Strip, where families and gamblers alike wander at all hours of the day.

But the wild shootout and Boldon’s subsequent death have raised fears that Las Vegas may not be as safe as most people assume.

Of course, Boldon’s family has an even bleaker vision of the city. According to the lawsuit, Boldon’s son has suffered “a tremendous amount of grief and sorrow, loss of probable support, companionship, society and comfort for which he is entitled to be compensated.”

The lawsuit is looking for personal injury compensation worth at least $10,000, and is also looking for reimbursement for Boldon’s funeral expenses, sources say.

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Jan

30

Premises Liability Basics

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

Just because you were injured on someone else’s property does not mean that the property owner is automatically liable. You have to prove that the property owner was negligent.

State laws will vary, but in order to prove it, you generally will have to show that the property owner failed to act as a “reasonably prudent” person under the circumstances.

This means the injured party has to show either that the owner knew or should have known of the hazard, had an opportunity to correct it, and failed to take action or that the property owner created the hazard.

Let’s look at a typical example: you are walking through the supermarket and suddenly, your feet go out from under you and you end up on the floor, in terrible pain.

  • Maybe a store employee just finished mopping but did such a lousy job that there was grease left on the floor.
  • Maybe some kid in a shopping cart reached out and knocked something off the shelf, causing it to spill on the floor just before you came walking down the aisle.
  • Maybe there had been a spillage on the floor for 20 minutes but the store management had not yet gotten around to getting someone to clean it up.
  • In the first example, the store will likely be liable because its employee created the hazardous condition.

    In the second example, the store will likely not be liable because it did not have an opportunity to find out about the condition, or to do something about it.

    In the third example, it could go either way: a jury could decide that 20 minutes is too short of a time for the store management to have learned about the spillage. Or, perhaps that it was a reasonable amount of time to have discovered the spillage, but since it was only 20 minutes, they still didn’t have enough of a chance to get to cleaning it up. Or, the jury could decide the store is liable because management should have discovered the spillage and cleaned it up within that time.

    This is a fair rule: property owners should keep their property in reasonably safe condition. But, it would be unrealistic to require everyone to keep property in perfectly safe conditions at all times. A store cannot hire employees to accompany each customer as they do their shopping.

    All rules have drawbacks. In the example above, how do you prove what it was that you actually slipped on, how it got there or how long it was there?

    Many injuries can never be shown to have resulted from the negligence of property owners due to a lack of evidence. But sometimes, such evidence is available.

    For example, a lady slipped and fell on a glob of grease while on her way into a store. As she was lying on the sidewalk, a customer came out and saw her. Turns out he knew her, so he stopped to help. He recalled having seen that glob of grease there when he had been on his way into the store 20 minutes earlier.

    A woman slipped on spilled milk in a store. Someone had been able to describe the milk as congealed. In order for the milk to get in that condition, it had to have been there for more than a half hour.

    A woman slipped on a strawberry in the produce department. A stock clerk had just finished putting strawberries on display, so the most likely conclusion was that she had spilled it.

    If you or someone you know is injured on someone else’s property, here is how you might be able to protect your rights.

    • Look to see what caused the fall. Was it a slip or a trip?
    • Take pictures right then and there. Most of us conveniently carry cell phones with cameras on them.
    • If this is a business property (such as a store), have someone take an accident report right away and write down that person’s name.
    • Look around to see if anyone saw you and write down those names as well.

    When an accident happens, you may not know the extent of your injury right away. Sometimes, the initial pain is severe, but after a few weeks you are as good as new. Other times, you think you can “walk it off” and you are such a tough guy you won’t go to the doctor until someone makes you, and when you do, you find out it is much worse than you thought. Either way, make that report and do it right away.

    Some property liability insurance policies include a provision called a “medical payments provision.” Although it is not required, this provision will pay medical expenses up to a certain amount, regardless of fault.

    It may not be advisable to try to handle a liability claim yourself. As you can see, this is a tricky business and doing it yourself could lead to further complications and headaches. You would probably be up against professional insurance people, lawyers who have experience in these types of cases and rules upon rules upon rules that you may not know anything about.

    A lawyer can advise you on your case, fight for your rights, and may bring you piece of mind. Many personal injury lawyers will provide you with a free consultation. If you’re injured on someone else’s property, you can call a personal injury lawyer in your area.

    This article was written by guest blogger, Andrew T. Velonis.

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    Dec

    19

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Calls for Assault Weapon Ban

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    Shortly after the horrific and tragic shooting in Connecticut, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a ban on assault weapons.  In what Emanuel is calling a “vote of conscience,” according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel has challenged politicians to ban assault weapons on both the state and national level.

    “As somebody who stood by President Clinton’s side to make sure we had a ban on assault weapons, I do not want to see more weapons on the street, more guns on the street.  They make your job all that more difficult,” said Emanuel while addressing a new batch of Chicago police officers at their graduation.

    “It’s time that we as a city have an assault weapons ban, it’s time that we as a state have an assault weapons ban, it’s time that we as a country have an assault weapons ban… And I would hope the leadership in Congress now will have a vote of conscience.  It is time to have that vote.”

    Mayor Emanuel at one point referenced the nationwide assault rifle ban that was enacted under President Bill Clinton.  It was enacted in 1994, but had a 10 year “sunset provision.”  This means that the bill will expire if it is not renewed by congress after a specific amount of time (in this instance, 10 years).

    Another well known piece of legislation with a sunset provision was the Bush tax cuts.

    In 2004, 10 years after the bill was enacted, the bill expired.  Since then, there have been numerous attempts to renew it, but Republican opposition has been strong.  The bill has yet to reach the floor for a renewal vote.

    With the increasing polarization of the politicians, the odds of a nationwide ban are not great.  And while the tragic events of Newtown have brought the conversation to the forefront, many are not ready to address the issue.

    Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy also supports Mayor Emanuel’s call for a ban.  McCarthy has also stated his desire that Attorney General Lisa Madigan appeal a federal court ruling that struck down the Illinois ban on carrying handguns in public.

    McCarthy and Emanuel are some of the most visible supports of increased gun control and regulation.  The two have political capital in Chicago, but they would face adversity even at the state level- let alone the national level.

    The major divide seems to be between urban residents and rural residents.  Each has a desire to control gun regulations.

    This makes the most sense because the lifestyles of the two regions can be worlds apart.  It is hard for an urban apartment dweller to think of a legitimate reason to possess an assault weapon.  And many rural dwellers have grown attached to their firearms as a tool for their daily lives.

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    Dec

    13

    Former IMF Chief and New York Maid Settle Sexual Assault Claim

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former International Monetary Fund chief, has settled a civil suit filed against him by a New York hotel maid.  According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Strauss-Kahn, 63, has settled the suit filed by Nafissatou Diallo.

    The amount of the settlement was, not unexpectedly, undisclosed.

    Strauss-Kahn was not required to appear in court for the end of the case, and remained in Paris throughout the proceedings.

    The final hearing in the case took place only seven miles from the luxurious Manhattan hotel where the alleged incident occurred.  As a result of the incident, Strauss-Kahn spent six nights in custody and then resigned his position.

    The scandal arose from an incident on May 14, 2011, “when Diallo, 33, told police Straus-Kahn attacked her at the Sotifel Hotel.  She said he emerged naked from the bathroom of his $3,000 a night suite and forced her to perform oral sex.”

    The police were barely able to arrest Strauss-Kahn before he left the country.  He was already seated on a plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport when the police finally caught up to him.

    At the time, Strauss-Kahn was the head of the world’s most influential financial organizations and even had aspirations of running for president of France.  As a result of the scandal, however, he was forced to resign his position and lost his political chances despite being the one time front-runner for the Socialist party.

    Prosecutors believed that DNA evidence would result in criminal charges, but those were dropped amid concerns of Diallo’s credibility.  Apparently she had some inconsistencies in her account following the incident.

    Despite the lack of criminal charges, Strauss-Kahn’s troubles only increased after the scandal.  A wave of other accusations flooded Strauss-Kahn, often referred to as the “great seducer” in French political circles.

    Strauss-Khan had admitted that he had a sexual encounter with Diallo, but claimed that it was intentional.  He even filed a $1 million countersuit against Diallo for defamation.

    Strauss-Khan is now awaiting the results of another court that will greatly affect his future.  A French court is deciding whether or not he has to stand trial on pimping charges related to sex parties he attended with prostitutes.

    These kind of sensational headlines are often enough to sink even the most promising careers.  While it seems that Strauss-Kahn’s career has taken a significant blow, he hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet.  Strauss-Khan is slowly attempting to revamp his career by giving speeches at private conferences and setting up a consulting firm in Paris.

    Perhaps his biggest hurdle will be the decision by the French court on his potential pimping charges which is set for December 19th.

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    Dec

    10

    Unexpected Odds and Disproportionate Fears

    Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

    The odds of dying from a lightning strike are one in 134,906. Are you afraid of dying from strange types of injuries or accidents? You’re more likely to die of disease.


    unexpected odds disproportionate fears

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    Heart Disease vs. Drowning

    • Odds of dying of heart disease: one in six.
    • Odds of drowning: one in 1,103.

    Cancer vs. Air Travel Accident

    • Odds of dying of cancer: one in seven.
    • Odds of dying in an air travel accident: one in 7,178.

    Stroke vs. Fireworks Discharge

    • Odds of dying of a stroke: one in 29.
    • Odds of dying because of a fireworks discharge: one in 652,046.

    Firearm Assault vs. Wasp, Hornet, or Other Bee Sting.

    • Odds of dying of a firearm assault: one in 321.
    • Odds of dying due to a bee sting: one in 79,842.

    Motor Vehicle Accident vs. Shark Attack

    Falling vs. Flooding

    • Odds of dying in a fall: one in 163.
    • Odds of dying in a flood: one in 558,896.

    Intentional Self Harm vs. Fire, Smoke, Flame

    • Odds of dying because of intentional self harm: one in 109.
    • Odds of dying due to fire, flame, or smoke: one 1,344.

    This infographic has been brought to you by Total Injury.

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    Dec

    5

    Chicago Man Gets $50k for Unlawful Arrest, and 75¢

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    A federal jury found in favor of a Chicago man when they found that two police officers wrongfully arrested him while he was inflating his tires with air.  The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Pares Ratliff, then 23, was arrested when filling his tires.  The jury decided to award him $50,000 in damages, and an additional 75 cents for the money he put in to the air pump, but didn’t get a chance to use.

    In 2009, Ratliff was driving to the store at night to buy diapers for his son when he decided to fill up his tires at a gas station.  While attempting to inflate his tires, two Chicago police officers approached Ratliff claiming to have a warrant for his arrest.  Ratliff allegedly claimed that it was impossible, then the police accused him of threatening them with the air hose, and arrested him on the spot.

    The police report claimed that Ratliff gripped the air hose and said, “If you don’t let me finish filling my tire with air, I’m going to kill you.”  Which is a very different account that Ratliff gave.  He claimed that he was confused and said, jokingly, that he would go with them if they refunded the 75 cents he just put in the machine.

    In the end, Ratliff was charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, but neither officer showed up to the first court date- which resulted in the charges being dropped.

    Ratliff, a manager at a Jewel-Osco, then filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the officers lied about their interactions with Ratliff.

    The trial lasted for four days, and the jury only had to deliberate for an hour.  After the trial, Ratliff was awarded “$30,000 in compensatory damages against the city and an additional $20,000 in punitive damages against the two officers.  They tacked the 75 cents onto the punitive damages, according to court records.”

    Compensatory damages are intended to repay the plaintiff for damages incurred from the incident.  In this case, the jury decided that in order to put Ratliff in the position he would have been in without the misconduct by the police, he should be compensated with $30,000.  The punitive damages are a tool for punishing the wrongdoer.

    This means that the jury found that Ratliff needed $30,000 to be made whole, and that the city should be punished to the tune of an additional $20,000 (plus 75 cents).

    Just to add to the city’s tab for this incident, the city will have to pay his legal bills, in addition to the aforementioned damages.  The legal bill for this? Nearly $300,000.

    Not unexpectedly, no spokesman for the city’s Law Department was available for comment.

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    Nov

    28

    Traffic Pollution and Autism Link?

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    A recent article in the Chicago Tribune is reporting that environmental toxins may cause reactions in fetuses and early infants which can manifest as autism.

    The study showed that “children who were exposed to the highest levels of traffic-related air pollution during gestation and in early infancy were three times more likely to be diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder than were those whose early exposure of such pollutants was very low.”

    While people have known for years that traffic pollution can cause serious health conditions, the link to autism is very recent.  The study which points to the link was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

    In that study, a group of over 500 children were followed for several years following their birth.

    The link drawn by the article is most evident “ at the highest levels of exposure, and slightly higher when the exposure comes later in a woman’s pregnancy.  The strongest link was found between exposure to nitrogen dioxide- a pollutant found plentifully around freeways- and autism, while exposure to particulates was less strongly linked to autism.”

    The article also claims to have taken into account many other factors that could affect the results.  These other factors ranged from, “parental education, ethnicity, whether a mother smoked during pregnancy, or how densely populated the region was.”

    This shows that the researchers were concerned about merely showing a link between socioeconomic status and autism.  Instead, the article works to find out if there is a link between certain pollutants and autism.

    One of the more concerning aspects about autism is it’s increasing prevalence.  In the past six years, autism has increased in the U.S. by 78% percent.  This research project was one of a string of three articles to address this issue.

    The studies “point to an urgent need for more research on prenatal and early post-natal brain development in autism, with a focus on how genes and early development combine to increase risk” for autism, states Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of Autism Speaks and a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Diesel exhaust apparently is capable of interfering with gene expression, which is an important part of healthy brain development.  This is a possible explanation for how pollutants could affect development enough to cause autism.

    The authors of the research are careful to point out that this is not definitive proof that pollutants can cause autism.  It is merely an early step into more thorough research to determine the overall health effects of these kinds of pollutants.

    And while the research is just starting, we can all appreciate the dangerous effects of pollutants.  Regardless of its role in autism, we all should have plenty of reasons to avoid these toxins.

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    Nov

    21

    Code of Silence Costs Chicago

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    In 2007, a female bartender was brutally beaten by a drunk off-duty Chicago police officer.  The entire assault was caught on tape.  Now, the city of Chicago is on the hook for $850,000.

    According to a report by ABC, the verdict may be indicative of a systemic problem in Chicago police: a code of silence.

    This alleged code of silence helps explain how the city of Chicago can be liable to a person who was brutally beaten by an off-duty­ police officer.  Normally, the actions of an off-duty police officer (or any employee) that has no relation to their official position, or under the color of their position, would not result in liability against the city.

    This aspect made the trial unique, as it was focused on whether there is an ingrained code of silence.  Most of the two and a half week trial focused on this aspect (the fact that former police officer Anthony Abbate beat the bartender was very apparent from the video).

    According to the report, “jurors not only found that other officers and Abbate’s superiors tried to cover up the attack at Jesse’s Short Stop Inn, but they concluded that Abbate’s knowledge of his fellow officers’ willingness to cover him created an environment that led to the attack on Obrycka [the bartender].”

    The core question the jury had to deal with was, “whether the police culture emboldened him and led him to act with impunity in attacking her.”

    The defense tried to argue that there was no evidence of a code of silence.  Abbate was, the defense points out, charged and convicted for the beating in 2009.  However, Abbate was only convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to probation (i.e., no jail time).

    The plaintiff brought in Debra Kirby to help refute the claim that the system worked because Abbate was convicted.  Kirby was the head of the department’s internal affairs division at the time and, “testified that she recommended during a phone call with Cook County prosecutors three days after the beating that Abbate be charged with a serious felony.”

    Kirby’s internal affairs detective, Joseph Stehlik, claimed to have been in the room for this phone call and claims that Kirby recommended the lesser charge which Abbate received.

    The city plans of challenging the verdict.  The fact that Abbate was off-duty makes a $850,000 verdict hard for the city to swallow.

    Regardless of how the appeals go, reports are that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has suggested that anyone participating in a code of silence will face stiff consequences.  The police force in Chicago cannot work for peace and justice if it attempts to keep its own guilty members free.  It seems this verdict sends that message loud and clear.

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