September 25, 2014

Maryland Mother Sues Airport Baggage Belt Manufacturer After Losing Her Child

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a tragic accident that occurred in a Spanish airport in September of last year, a young mother lost her daughter in an accident involving an oversized baggage belt. According to a report by one news source, the family were on their way to a Mediterranean beach vacation, flying from London into Spain, when the accident occurred at the Alicante-Elche Airport.

Evidently, the mother was carrying her child in a car seat when she needed to free up a hand to pick up some other luggage. She set the car seat with her child in it on a stationary luggage belt used for oversize luggage. At the time, it was not on and was not moving. However, the weight from the car seat caused the belt to start up, tossing the young child from her car seat.

The baby was caught between two belts and eventually died from head injuries she sustained as a result.

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September 18, 2014

Amusement Park Safety in Ocean City and Premises Liability

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a recent article published by Delmarva Now, one inspector for an amusement park in Ocean City, Maryland discussed the safety of the rides, his job in keeping them safe, and what happens when there is a safety issue.

The article explains that, each year, inspectors are charged with going through all of the rides and making sure that they are safe for the public. However, despite their periodic inspections, problems do arise that can threaten the public's safety. For example, below is a list of the repairs that were required to be made just last year:

  • Corroded lap bar on the Tornado ride, Jolly Roger at the Pier (May 23);
  • Repair self-locking latch, replace cotter pin, tape torn padding, Zipper at Trimper's (April 8);
  • Replace corroded steel flooring, Pirate Ship ride at Trimper's (April 21);
  • Replace bad steel on trailer and track connections, Sooper Jet at Trimper's (April 22);
  • Keep two seats out of service until pin cover repaired, Giant Wheel at Jolly Roger at the Pier (May 1); and
  • Replace worn seat belts and have electrical wires properly covered, bumper cars at Jolly Roger on Coastal Highway (May 20).

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September 11, 2014

Fairfax, Virginia Police Department Sued After Fatal Shooting

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month, the long-time partner of a man who was killed by the Fairfax Police Department filed suit against the Department seeking $12 million in damages for her loss. According to a report by CBS DC, the lawsuit that was filed in federal court claims that the police chief and three unnamed officers engaged in wrongful conduct that was grossly negligent and caused the wrongful death of her loved one.

Evidently, back in August of this year the woman called 911 during an argument that the couple was having. At some point during the encounter, police shot the woman’s partner in the chest despite several witness reports that he was unarmed. The man died shortly after. The cause of death was officially listed as loss of blood.

The woman told reporters that she filed the suit to get some answers for herself and for her two teenage daughters. The Fairfax Police Department has thus far refused to discuss the case, or to say whether it believes that the shooting was justified.

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September 4, 2014

New Report Finds over 60 Virginia Children Have Died in Daycare Facilities Since 2004, Lack of Oversight Blamed

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier last month, a Washington Post article was released, summarizing the data that researchers had accrued regarding the safety of daycare facilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the safety of the facilities as a whole. The results were terrifying, showing that 60 young children have died while in the care of daycare providers in the last 10 years alone.

According to the report, the lack of regulation surrounding home-daycare facilities is at least partially to blame for the high number of deaths. In fact, approximately 43 of the 60 deaths over the past 10 years occurred at these virtually unregulated daycare facilities. Home-daycare facilities are not regulated by the Department of Social Services’ licensing division, which oversees all licensed facilities.

This means that the Department is not able to look into the kind or level of care that is being provided until there has been a complaint filed. Of course, at this point it is often too late to do anything. Virginia is one of only a few states that does not regulate home-daycare providers.

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August 28, 2014

Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against County After Police Chase Teen to His Death

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this week in Prince George’s County, a teen was killed when he crashed his dirt bike into a tree after running from police. The family of the teen has recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Prince George’s County, seeking $20 million in damages.

According to a report by the Washington Post, two teens were riding on a Kawasaki dirt bike in an apartment complex when an officer began to tail them. The officer claims that he suspected the pair were involved in a recent armed robbery. As the officer initiated a traffic stop, the teens fled. The officer pursued the teens across county lines and into Washington DC. Once in DC, the teens crashed the motorcycle into a tree. The driver of the motorcycle died as a result.

The deceased teen’s family is claiming that the officer did not have the authority to pursue the teen, citing to recent changes in Prince George’s County police protocol. Pursuant to police protocol, an officer can only chase a fleeing suspect when he or she suspects the suspect of certain enumerated crimes. While riding a dirt bike on public roads is illegal, it is not one of the crimes listed. Moreover, the officer did not have police authority in the District of Columbia, once the teens entered that jurisdiction.

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August 21, 2014

Misplaced Construction Sign Results in $100,000 Settlement with St. Louis County

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Back in 2012, a Missouri high-school girl lost her life in a traffic accident when she was broadsided by another vehicle as she crossed a four-lane road. The four-lane road was under construction as she was attempting to cross it, and there was evidence submitted that it was difficult to see oncoming traffic because of a construction sign that had been placed there by road crews.

According to a local report, the girl’s family looked to St. Louis County, who hired the allegedly negligent crew, for answers. Just this past week, the County Attorney for St. Louis County approached the County Board and asked for them to approve a $100,000 settlement in order to avoid the ongoing cost of litigation. He claimed that it was a “reasonable amount given the facts and circumstances” of the case.

The lawsuit also named other parties, including the two construction companies who were in charge of the project. The specific theory of liability asserted that the crews were negligent for placing a road sign in the way of motorists’ view, essentially blocking their direct view of oncoming traffic. Furthermore, the suit alleged that the construction crew and the county government actually ignored warnings that the intersection was unsafe due to the placement of the sign.

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August 14, 2014

Vile Conditions in DC Hospital Leads to Jury Verdict for Former Employee

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a truly disgusting and alarming story out of DC, a former employee of a local DC hospital has received a jury verdict for $237,000 for the emotional distress she suffered when she was bitten by a rat while working with cadavers. According to a report by the Huffington Post, the woman was working at Providence Hospital in Washington DC when the events took place.
Evidently, the woman was working as a contract employee with the hospital and was responsible for working with cadavers in some capacity. While employed at the hospital, she recalls seeing rats chew through body bags and enter bodies through the anus and vagina.

At some point during her employment, she was preparing a cadaver when she thought she saw a feminine product in one of the bodies. As she tried to remove it, it became evident that it was actually a rat. The rat, startled from having its tail pulled, bit the woman, sending her to the hospital. The woman claims that these conditions have been going on for years but had been effectively covered up by hospital administration.

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August 7, 2014

Trailer Accidents on the Rise in the DC Area; Leads to New Legislation

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

After a rash of several tragic accidents involving trailers popping off their hitches, Maryland lawmakers decided to pass a new law that regulates trailers more strictly, hoping to decrease these tragic incidents.

According to a report by NBC Washington, more people use trailers in the summer months, whether it be to tow boats, motorcycles, or yard waste. These trailers—some of which are “home made”—have the potential to be extremely dangerous to other motorists on the highway, especially on roads with higher speed limits and bridges.

That is exactly what happened to one man and his son, both of whom died on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The person in front of them was driving a home made trailer that had a 2” ball hitch receiver. However, the truck they were in had only a 1-7/8” ball hitch, so when the truck went over a bump, the locking mechanism wasn’t adequate to hold the trailer on the hitch, sending it flying. Both the man and his son, as well as another driver, lost their lives in that tragic accident.

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July 31, 2014

DC Court of Appeals Determines Hospital Is Liable for Conduct of Temporary Nurse

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior”—Latin for “let the master answer”—is used to hold employers liable for an employee’s negligent behavior. For example, if someone is injured because an amusement park employee negligently operated a ride, the doctrine would allow the injured party to name both the amusement park employee as well as the amusement park itself in the lawsuit, seeking damages from each.

This is a very critical doctrine for DC personal injury plaintiffs because it allows them to name defendants in a lawsuit that might actually have the money to pay for the damages the accident victim sustained. To use the example above again, the amusement park employee may be an 18-year-old with little to his name. The amusement park, therefore, would provide the plaintiff with a better chance of actually collecting what he or she is owed.

In a recent case in front of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the court held that a temporary nurse is to be considered an “employee” for the purposes of defending a suit alleging that the nurse was negligent.

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July 24, 2014

Recent Report Takes a Look at DC Car Accidents

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a city that is occupied by drivers from several surrounding states, the question often arises, “who causes most of the accidents in Washington DC?” An article by the Washington Post takes a look at a recent study released that analyzes some of the traffic and accident data in the nation’s capitol.

Although Washington DC shares a border with Maryland and Virginia, and is a popular tourist destination, the number one group involved in accidents in DC is, in fact, DC residents. In second place are Marylanders, causing about one-third of the accidents in the nation’s capitol.

Tourists and drivers from Virginia are actually responsible for very few accidents, given the high prevalence of both populations.

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July 17, 2014

Widow Sues Healthcare Company After Her Husband Dies Due to Malfunctioning Medical Equipment

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

arteriography-391479-m.jpgEarlier this month in Louisiana, a woman filed a lawsuit against a local healthcare company alleging that the company provided her husband with faulty medical equipment leading to his death. According to a report by a local Louisiana news source, the woman’s husband was undergoing home dialysis for a kidney condition. Da Vita, Inc. was providing the equipment for the treatments.

One day, the man called Da Vita, explaining that he could not stop the machine’s cycler and the procedure lasted almost two hours longer than it should have. The company did not offer any assistance to the man.

The next day the man left for a fishing trip and collapsed within 15 minutes of leaving home. He eventually died. Doctors determined that the man had low levels of vital nutrients in his blood.

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July 10, 2014

Report Links Energy Drinks to Dozens of Deaths

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Energy drinks are a craze of the most recent generation. They advertise the ability to stay up later, work out longer, study harder, and maintain focus for prolonged periods of time. However, a recent study claims that several energy drinks still out on the market today have been linked to dozens of deaths.

According to a recent report, the FDA has endorsed a claim by the Center for Science in the Public Interest that linked energy drink consumption to 34 deaths in the United States. Of those deaths,

  • 22 have been linked to 5-Hour Energy;
  • 11 have been linked to Monster; and
  • 1 has been linked to Rockstar.

Doctor Stacy Fisher, Director of complex heart diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine explained, “As I see in my medical practice, energy drinks are clearly causing symptomatic arrhythmias, . . . These new reports of deaths and other injuries raise the level of concern about the adverse effects of energy drinks."

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