Federal jury returns $834,703.33 verdict in trip and fall case

A federal jury returned this substantial verdict on Wednesday in favor of a 71-year-old Bucks County woman in a trip and fall case.  The woman was  working as a sales representative for General Mills in the Pathmark supermarket at Franklin Mills in Philadelphia when she tripped over a file box that Pathmark employees had placed to  prop open a back office door, after a rubber door stopper had worn out.

The woman was represented by Robert Slota, Jr. of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin in Montgomery County.

The eight member federal jury was composed entirely of jurors from counties outside of Philadelphia.  Plaintiff had originally filed in Philadelphia, but Defendants, Pathmark Stores, Inc. and A&P removed the case to federal court.  The highest settlement offer by Pathmark prior to trial was $75,000.

Plaintiff overcame the usual defense in trip and fall cases, which is to blame the injured person and argue that the injured person themself was negligent for not seeing the hazard.

Slota also overcame the normal belief of jurors, one often shared by lawyers and judges, that trip and fall accidents are not serious matters.  Slota presented evidence that trip and fall accidents are the number one cause of injury in the retail industry generally and in the supermarket business in particular.  Fall injuries injure more store customers and workers and any other type of accident.

To further overcome the "blame the injured person defense" Slota focused on the Pathmark corporation's actions by emphasizing that the company had 125 stores, yet had no corporate safety officer, no corporate safety committee, and no safety training for the personnel of the Franklin Mills store.  Slota presented expert evidence that the industry standard is to keep aisles and doorways clear of trip hazards and that such standards were readily available to a large company like Pathmark. Said Slota, "by emphasizing the corporate failure to create a culture of safety, we were able to give the jury a reason to explain how the personnel in the Franklin Mills store could leave a box in an office doorway for weeks on end."

Throughout the trial, Slota made frequent use of a wedge shaped rubber door stopper he bought for $4.95 at Home Depot. "It was the cheapest trial exhibit I've ever paid for." No witness from Pathmark could explain why Pathmark could not have done the same thing to protect workers and prevent this injury.

Slota's client suffered a fracture of her dominant shoulder which required surgical repair and a metal implant.  She had a poor outcome and was forced to give up her job and give up driving and has become dependent on friends and family for getting out of her house.  Slota told the jury that the dollars they included in their verdict could give his client a worry-free future by providing the means to hire a driving service, assistance in the home, and help doing everyday tasks.  Said Slota, "Now this jury's verdict can give my client peace of mind in the future, so she will not have to worry about being trapped in her house or forced into a nursing home if something should happen to the family and friends are currently taking care of her."

Ferguson v. Pathmark, Inc. et al  U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Pa., Civil Action, No. 2:13-cv-00778.

Defendant's counsel was Jay Branderbit of Kent & McBride (Philadelphia)

Owner of Apartment Complex Destroyed By West Explosion Files Suit Against CF Industries

(Houston, TX) CF Industries is facing another lawsuit related to the devastation caused by the West Fertilizer Plant explosion. Attorneys Mo Aziz of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend and Chad Pinkerton of The Pinkerton Law Firm have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a J&B Realty, LTD. The company owned and operated rental property in West that was damaged or completely destroyed in the April blast.

“In addition to the numerous victims that were killed and injured by the ammonium nitrate blast, the real property and businesses in West sustained wide-spread damage as well,” commented Texas lawyer Mo Aziz. According to reports of the April blast at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas, more than $100 million worth of property damage resulted from the explosion.

An entire apartment complex belonging to J&B Realty was leveled in the blast and several other properties were made uninhabitable after ammonium nitrate at the West Fertilizer Plant became unstable, resulting in a massive explosion. Other than the destroyed apartment building, what is left of the rental properties that formerly served as a source of income for J&B Realty is no longer habitable and cannot be rented.

“The apartment complex that we represent was completely destroyed by the blast. In addition to structural damages, we are also claiming business interruption losses, that is, lost rental income,” noted Aziz.

Aziz asserts in the lawsuit that CF Industries was negligent in designing, manufacturing, marketing, and selling the combustible material without taking the simple step of using an additive that would have decreased the chance of a serious or fatal explosion fueled by the fertilizer component, according to the products liability lawsuit.

Attorneys Mo Aziz and Chad Pinkerton have been actively advocating for the rights of the people who were harmed in the West, Texas explosion. Separate from the recently-filed property damage lawsuit, both lawyers are also representing more than 50 victims or surviving family members of the catastrophic blast.

The personal injury lawyers of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend have been protecting injured people and their families throughout Texas for more than 60 years. To reach attorney Mo Aziz, or any of the injury attorneys at Abraham Watkins, contact the firm online or at 800-580-9121. The firm offers a no cost, no obligation consultation and can help you understand your rights when a sudden tragedy permanently changes your life.

Andrea Sneiderman: 6 Must-Read Docs

HLN; July 29, 2013

HLN has covered the investigation into the fatal shooting of Rusty Sneiderman at a Georgia day care center for almost three years. Now, HLN will cover the trial of his wife, Andrea Sneiderman.

Rusty Sneiderman was gunned down in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood at 9:15 a.m. on November 18, 2010, in a busy parking lot outside a pre-school with children in a playground less than 30 feet away. He was shot four times.

Hemy Neuman, the gunman and Andrea's former boss, is serving life in prison for Rusty's murder. Andrea Sneiderman is preparing to stand trial for allegedly lying about her relationship with Neuman and lying to law enforcement about the murder.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.hlntv.com/article/2013/07/18/case-file-6-must-read-sneiderman-docs?hpt=hp_bn17

George Zimmerman’s Brother: Civil Lawsuit ‘Might Not Be Very Flattering’ to Trayvon Martin’s Family

Huffington Post; July 26, 2013

If Trayvon Martin's family decides to file a wrongful-death suit against George Zimmerman, they could be opening a Pandora's box, according to Zimmerman's older brother.

"A myriad of things that were off-limits in a criminal trial would come into play in a civil case. Specifically, things that might not be very flattering to Trayvon or his family," Robert Zimmerman Jr. said in an email to The Huffington Post.

George Zimmerman, a 29-year-old former neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted earlier this month of all criminal charges in the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Prior to the start of Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, the judge overseeing the case ruled that lawyers for Zimmerman could not mention Martin's alleged history of fighting or pictures of drugs and guns found on his cell phone.

"Public opinion was swayed by a false presentation of this case from the beginning," Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara said at a press conference after the ruling. "The Martin family, through their handlers, presented a picture of who Trayvon was and who George was that is wholly inaccurate."

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/george-zimmerman-civil-lawsuit_n_3659826.html

Texas Study: Water Pollution near Fracking Sites

News Inferno; July 29, 2013

A new study reveals water pollution near sites where natural gas production is taking place.

The study, which was conducted by a research team from the University of Texas at Arlington, found high metal levels in drinking water supplies near hydraulic fracturing—fracking—sites, which the team says calls for additional study into oil production, according to WVGazette.com. Drinking water near natural gas extracting sites tested with high levels of arsenic, selenium, and strontium.

“This study alone can’t conclusively identify the exact causes of elevated levels of contaminants in areas near natural gas drilling, but it does provide a powerful argument for continued research,” lead author Brian Fontenot, a UT Arlington graduate who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told the WVGazette.com. The study was published online by the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The study looked at Barnett Shale’s water quality. The shale encompasses a 5,000 square mile area in northern Texas and encompasses some 17 counties in that state, WVGazette.com reported. The team sampled 100 water wells from the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers and so-called “reference sites” from the Nacatoch aquifer east of the Barnett Shale. While BTEX chemicals—benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and zylenes—were not detected in the drinking water, researchers detected the highest levels of metal contamination within three kilometers of fracking wells. Some samples tested with arsenic and selenium in amounts exceeding what the EPA considers safe. “At minimum, these data suggest that private wells located over natural gas wells may be a higher risk for elevated levels of constituents than those located further from natural gas wells,” the study concluded, according to WVGazette.com.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.newsinferno.com/?p=45222

San Diego Mayor Wants City to Pay Legal Fees in Sexual Harassment Battle

CNN; July 30, 2013

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who's battling a tide of sexual harassment allegations, wants his city to cover his legal expenses.

Last week, Filner's lawyer sent a letter to the city, saying it should mount the mayor's defense and pay his legal bills.

On Tuesday, the city council will hold a closed session to figure out how to proceed.

It's a tricky predicament.

Seven of nine members of the city council have asked Filner to step down.

And even though it's not unprecedented for cities to pick up the tab to defend one of its officials, some city council members have said Filner's case is different: the acts he's accused of didn't take place as part of his official duties.

There's also another hitch: the city itself, along with the mayor, is the defendant in a lawsuit filed by his former spokeswoman -- one of seven women accusing Filner of unwanted groping, kissing or other inappropriate contact.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/30/us/california-filner-scandal/index.html

Student Sues Ford over the 112 Pounds of Weed Cops Found in His Trunk

Jalopnik; July 29, 2013

You know how they always ask in the airport if you let anyone else touch your luggage? And you laugh cause it's stupid. Well, on a border crossing, a student discovered someone put 112 pounds of weed in his car without him knowing. And he blames Ford.

Ricardo Magallanes drove his 2007 Ford Focus across the border from Mexico, only to find out that he was carrying 112 pounds of marijuana in the back, apparently without him knowing.

Those darn drug smugglers!

It has happened to a few other Fords recently, but Magallanes is taking it one step further: He's suing Ford. Magallanes alleges that Ford mishandled keys and key codes to the point that it allowed smugglers to break into his car and stash the sticky icky in his trunk.

Apparently the FBI found out that someone at a Dallas Ford dealer got codes to all the cars that were found smuggling the drugs back in 2011. Magallanes was arrested and held without bail until the FBI realized that something wasn't quite right in the string of smuggling arrests.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://jalopnik.com/student-sues-ford-over-the-112-pounds-of-weed-cops-foun-951402644

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Plans Conn. Museum Touting US Legal System, Detailing Tort Law

Minneapolis Star Tribune; July 28, 2013

Ralph Nader has a new cause.

After dedicating nearly half a century to battling businesses over almost everything from dangerous products to the influence of money in politics, the consumer advocate is planning a museum in his Connecticut hometown that celebrates victories of the law over corporate power.

The 79-year-old Nader says the American Museum of Tort Law, which is set to be built in a former bank building in downtown Winsted, will hold appeal for an audience far beyond law school students. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that visitors will learn that the jury system serves ordinary citizens.

"I hope they and their children will see what an awesome institution it is," he said. "Most people feel excluded from the democratic processes in our country. There's a lot of cynicism, lethargy, apathy."

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/travel/217293971.html

“File a Yasmin Claim, Just in Case”


Lawyersandsettlements.com; July 28, 2013

It never occurred to Mary until some time later that an “incident” at work was in fact a mini-stroke. And it never occurred to her that Yasmin was the cause. It never even crossed her doctor’s mind that Yasmin was associated with stroke, but as soon as her ob-gyn found out, she told Mary to stop taking it - immediately.

Mary (not her real name) will never forget what happened on April 3. “I was at work and felt a wave wash over me,” she explains. “I closed my eyes and shook my head, and then when I opened my eyes, I had double vision and I was leaning to one side.” The sensation worsened. Fortunately, Mary knew what to do (she works in health care) and help was close by.

“I called my regular doctor and asked him what to do,” Mary says. “One of my staff members drove me to his office where I had all the usual tests, including blood work. He thought that I might have had a micro-stroke and referred me to an eye doctor.” As soon as she got home, Mary curled up on the couch and fell asleep, exhausted.

The eye doctor concurred with Mary’s physician, that indeed she’d had a micro-stroke. “He told me it would probably take from six to eight weeks to resolve and sent me on my way,” says Mary. “Still no one asked me about any meds I was taking. I never thought of telling anyone about Yasmin.”

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/yasmin-side-effects-yaz-blood/interview-yasmin-birth-control-lawsuit-23-18939.html?utm_expid=3607522-2.QRdCdW42SWGLZa0nRc6K3w.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lawyersandsettlements.com%2F#.Ufa8ifXRZfw

Internet Payday Loan Companies Accused of Hiding behind Immunity


Lawyersandsettlements.com; July 29, 2013

In the continuing crackdown against high interest Internet payday loans and predatory lending, the State of Minnesota is challenging the growing practice by lenders of hiding behind cloaks of immunity available through sovereign communities in an effort to get around State laws that govern interest rates and other financial terms.

To wit, Internet payday loan companies appear to be partnering with tribes and first nations communities - the latter eager to ease financial difficulties at their reserves, with the former taking advantage of sovereign immunities available through the tribal communities to duck under the radar of state regulatory authority.

As described in a published report by the Star Tribune (7/12/13), it is alleged that Internet payday loans are made by Western Sky Financial Inc., a company reportedly based in South Dakota and owned by an American Indian. As a member of a tribal community, the owner can reportedly circumvent state laws. The loans are then sold to an Internet payday loan company known as CashCall, of California.

The practice is known within financial circles as “rent-a-tribe,” and is something the State of Minnesota is attempting to shut down. To that end, an Internet payday loan lawsuit has been filed jointly by the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Minnesota and the Office of the Commerce Commissioner naming CashCall Inc. and its two subsidiaries.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/internet-payday-loans/western-sky-financial-inc-martin-webb-cashcall-18940.html?utm_expid=3607522-2.QRdCdW42SWGLZa0nRc6K3w.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lawyersandsettlements.com%2F#.Ufa7zfXRZfw

Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims for Missed Cancer, Heart Attacks

News Inferno; July 26, 2013

A new, large study reviewed medical malpractice claims and found claims are most commonly associated with missed cancer and heart attack claims.

The study appears in the July 18th issue of BMJ Open and was conducted by Irish researchers who reviewed more than 7,150 journal papers concerning medical malpractice claims, according to CBS News. The researchers were specifically reviewing claims brought against primary care physicians as this practice discipline typically represents the initial line of care among patients.

Of the studies reviewed, the team deemed 34 journal articles appropriate for the research; 15 from the United States-based, nine from Britain, seven from Australia, two from France, and one from Canada, according to CBS News. The researchers discovered that the most commonly reported medical malpractice claims involved missed diagnoses, which amounted to 26-63 percent of the total claims, depending on the study. Death topped the list of common consequences under claims for missed diagnosis and occurred in 15-48 percent of the cases.

The study, conducted by Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School and Trinity College Dublin reported that the most prevalent missed diagnoses in adults were cancer and heart attack, followed by appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, and bone fractures. In children, most commonly missed diagnoses were related to meningitis and cancers, CBS News reported.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.newsinferno.com/?p=45211

Representing George Zimmerman -- Mark O'Mara

Florida Super Lawyers 2013

On a picture-perfect day about 10 years ago, a couple of lawyers took advantage of a day off to go waterskiing with some friends on the St. Johns River north of Orlando.

The sun was warm. The river was perfect. Everyone was having a great time. Joe Flood was at the wheel of the boat and Mark O’Mara was in the water, waiting for his chance to ski.

As Flood—who once worked with O’Mara at the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office—tells the tale, O’Mara said, loudly but very calmly, “Hey Joe, let’s go.”

The group on the boat was laughing and talking. What was the hurry? But O’Mara called out, “We really need to go now.” Still cool as James Bond asking for a martini.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.superlawyers.com/florida/article/Representing-George-Zimmerman/ceb35067-8c95-48d3-b110-19e508e1983b.html

NTL Board Member Mark O’Mara Says George Zimmerman Will Get His Gun Back, Needs it ‘Even More’ Than Before

Huffington Post; July 15, 2013

George Zimmerman will get his gun back following his acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin -- and his attorney believes he needs it "even more" than before.

"'Yes. [There's] even more reason now, isn't there? There are a lot of people out there who actually hate him, though they shouldn't," Mark O'Mara told ABC News.

Zimmerman, 29, was found not guilty Saturday night on charges of second degree murder. Under Florida law, all evidence used in the case will be released, including the Kel Tec 9 pistol Zimmerman used to kill Martin.

O'Mara, who led Zimmerman's defense, said that his client plans to continue carrying the weapon and now wears a protective vest when he appears in public, ABC News also notes.

"I think that he feels truly in his heart that if he did not have that weapon that night he might not be here," O'Mara said. "[He] would have continued to get beat even though he was screaming for help."

The Justice Department says it is considering whether federal prosecutors will file criminal civil rights charges against Zimmerman. Additionally, a number of civil suits are expected surrounding the case.

To view the video association with this story, please click here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/george-zimmerman-gun-back_n_3598228.html

Zimmerman Verdict Protesters Attack TV Reporter, Storm Walmart

Los Angeles Times; July 16, 2013

A peaceful protest of the George Zimmerman verdict in Los Angeles turned violent Monday after youths broke away from the main demonstration in Leimert Park, stomped on cars, broke windows, set fires and attacked several people.

KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV reporter Dave Bryan and his cameraman were among those who came under assault. One of the two journalists was taken to a hospital with a possible concussion, Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Andy Neiman told The Times.

Protesters also stormed a Wal-Mart in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, pushing their way through as guards scrambled to close security gates. A short while later, LAPD officers wearing helmets and carrying batons swarmed the store as others marched through the parking lot.

Young vandals who entered the Wal-Mart stormed in, threw merchandise on the ground and yelled, shoppers told a Times reporter. Some tried to break open the jewelry glass displays. The disturbance in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles caused about 350 LAPD officers to swarm the area, leading to at least 13 arrests.

Elsewhere, one young man was seen throwing a metal wastebasket at the window of a darkened Jack-in-the-Box restaurant.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-trayvon-zimmerman-verdict-protesters-storm-walmart-attack-tv-reporter-vandalize-20130716,0,3836135.story

Study: Some Acid Reflex Drugs Associated with Increased Cardiac Risks

NewsInferno; July 15, 2013

Some popular acid reflux drugs such as Prilosec (omeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), and Prevacid (lansoprazole), may increase risks for heart disease and heart attack, according to an emerging report by the American Heart Association.

The report notes that while the drugs may suppress stomach acids, they may also lead to blood vessel constriction, which reduces blood flow, according to Forbes. Study lead, John P. Cooke, clinical professor and chair of the department of cardiovascular sciences at Houston Methodist Hospital, published his findings in the current issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

Drugs such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid are in the drug class known as protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) and, in lab studies, were associated with a 25 percent increase in a compound known to be a cardiovascular risk, according to NewsMax. PPIs are expected to have the same reactions in humans, according to the research

Cooke and his team continue their research in the hopes of strengthening these conclusions, according to NewsMax. “There’s going to be more information coming out that will, in my opinion, raise concerns about the long-term effects of proton pump inhibitors and risk of heart damage,” Cooke told Forbes.

According to Cooke, patients with a family history of heart disease or other risk factors, should consider avoiding PPIs. “I’d tell people, if there’s something else they could be taking that would effectively control their symptoms … maybe that would be better,” he told Forbes.

Prior research suggests that PPIs can lead to pneumonia and intestinal infections, according to Consumer Reports.

To read the complete article, please click here: https://www.newsinferno.com/?p=44975