October 24, 2014

Segway Accident Results in Lawsuit Seeking Millions in Damages

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier last year, a New York woman was taking a Segway tour of the National Mall when she sustained a nasty fall, shattering her elbow and requiring her to spend three days at George Washington University Hospital. According to one local news report, the accident occurred last fall while the rider was taking a tour with Bike & Roll D.C.

Evidently, the woman was riding her Segway when suddenly the handlebar jerked forward “like a propeller,” and the woman was thrown from the Segway, landing on her elbow, which was shattered as a result. Recently, the woman decided to file suit against Bike & Roll D.C., alleging that it did not adequately inform her of the risks involved with the use of a Segway.

Apparently, several Segway models had been recalled, but the woman was not made aware of this. Additionally, she is having a difficult time determining if she was riding a model that was recalled, since Bike & Roll is not answering her requests for the answer. She is seeking monetary damages around $5 million for her injuries, including medical expenses as well as pain and suffering.

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October 17, 2014

Sam’s Club Recalls “Simply Right” Baby Wipes

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Sam’s Club, the big-box chain owned and operated by the same owners as Wal-Mart, recently recalled a popular brand of baby wipes, fearing that the wipes may actually spread bacteria. In a report by one Fox News affiliate, the brand of the wipes is “Simply Right.”

baby-hand-1439525-m.jpgEvidently, Sam’s Club somehow obtained information that these baby wipes may contain a type of bacteria, B. cepacia. Anyone who purchased the wipes after June 30 may have contaminated product and should return the wipes to a Sam’s Club store as soon as possible for a full refund. Supposedly, Sam’s Club has emailed all purchasers and requested they stop using the wipes and return any remaining products.

The bacteria is not necessarily dangerous to a healthy adult. However, it may present a serious danger to those who have weakened immune systems, or also to children. Considering that the target audience of the product is parents of young children, the potential harm from the bacteria is significant.

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October 10, 2014

Peanut Plant Responsible for Multiple Deaths Due to Salmonella Contamination

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier last month, a federal jury found that a peanut plant owner, as well as two top executives, were guilty of conspiracy and fraud in relation to a salmonella outbreak that was caused by contaminated peanut butter. However, according to a report by one news source, the jury did not get to hear that the salmonella outbreak not only caused many to become ill, but also caused nine deaths.
According to the news report, the jury was not able to hear about the deaths because they were not relevant to the charges that were filed against the peanut plant owner and executives. While the federal prosecutors could have charged involuntary manslaughter, which would have allowed the evidence of the deaths to be presented at trial, they chose not to because they felt that there was a stronger case with just the conspiracy and fraud charges.

However, those who lost family members will be permitted to testify at the sentencing hearing for the defendants.

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October 3, 2014

Woman Sentenced for Fatal Dupont Circle Hit-and-Run

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Back in 2010, a 24-year-old woman was killed as she was getting out of a parked car when a driver struck her in a last-second lane change. According to a report by WUSA 9, the driver of a Lexus SUV was on Connecticut Avenue NW in a lane that would take her through a tunnel under Dupont Circle. At the last minute, she changed lanes and entered a non-tunnel lane.

However, as she did so, she struck the 24-year-old woman getting out of her car. The driver continued on her way, not stopping to see if the victim was hurt. A witness to the accident hopped on a bike and followed the car, eventually getting close enough to get her license plate number. The witness called police, who then showed up at the woman’s apartment complex. The woman was in her vehicle, keys in hand, with a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. The front right headlight was damaged.

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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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