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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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June 26, 2014

Staffer to US Senator Dies as a Result of a Hit and Run Accident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Last week, a staffer to US Senator Mark Kirk died from complications that arose about a month after she was the victim of a hit and run accident in the DC area. According to a report by 4 NBC Washington, Lisa Radogno, daughter of Republican leader Senator Christine Radogno, was injured last month when she was crossing at a crosswalk. She sustained injuries to her knee and wrist but returned home from the hospital and then took a short leave before coming back to work for another senator as an executive assistant.

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Evidently, Ms. Radogno died last week of a massive pulmonary embolism, a condition that was allegedly caused by the accident about one month earlier. The driver of the hit and run accident was never arrested because police have yet to locate him.

Hit and Run Accidents in the DC Area

Unfortunately, this is not the first—nor will it be the last—hit and run accident in the DC area. Each year, there are several deaths that are caused by hit and run accidents in the DC area. While this accident is slightly different because the victim didn’t die until almost a month after the accident from complications, the hit and run driver can still be held legally responsible for the death.

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June 19, 2014

As Bike-Sharing Catches on in DC, the Instance s of Head Injuries Increase

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The recent phenomenon of bike-sharing has caught many of the nation’s largest cities by storm. Rather than purchase a bike to travel around the city, bike sharers opt to pay a fee to use bikes at stations around the city. In most cases, riders can pick up a bike at one location and drop it off at another, making the system very convenient for commuters, shoppers, or those just looking to see the sights.

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However, a recent article explains that the convenience may come at a cost. As bike shares pop up around the country, the instances of bike-related head injuries are increasing as well. The most cited reason is that, while the bike shares offer bikes, riders must bring their own helmets, something many riders are not doing.

The Study

An NPR article cites a study that looked at Montreal as well as four U.S cities, including Washington DC, both before and after the bike-share program was implemented. The result was a 14% increase in the proportion of head injuries compared to the total number of serious biking injuries. The bottom line is that a larger percentage of bike-related accidents are involving head injuries than before.

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June 12, 2014

Nap Nanny Responsible for Another Infant Death

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A few years back, a product that seemed like a godsend for parents with children who could not fall asleep in cribs was released to the market. It was called the “Nap Nanny,” and it was a kind of seat that an infant could sit in to help it fall asleep. It mimicked the cozy, cradling position of a mother’s arms. However, reports began to come in that the Nap Nanny was not as safe as originally thought. One by one, reports of infant deaths came in. Evidently, due to a design flaw, infants could fall off the side of the Nap Nanny and get stuck between the seat and the side of the crib.

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According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Nap Nanny is responsible for more than 90 incidents and five deaths. In 2012, the agency instituted a mandatory product recall, pulling the unit from all primary markets. However, the product has still been available at secondary markets, such as garage sales, online marketplaces, and thrift stores.

Yet Another Death Due to the Nap Nanny

According to an article by the Daily Record, just a few months ago in March, the Nap Nanny claimed its latest victim, an eight-month-old baby. The child’s parents set the baby down for bed and came back to check on him a few hours later. They found their child dead, stuck between the Nap Nanny and the side of the crib.

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June 5, 2014

Pennsylvania Construction Workers Injured When Trench Collapses on Them

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Just a few weeks ago in May, two construction workers were trapped in a trench when the trench collapses around 1 p.m. in the afternoon. According to a report by the Times Herald, the men were working on a project at the Valley Forge Sewer Authority when the dirt wall of the trench just gave way, trapping the two men under a pile of dirt.
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After emergency responders pulled both men from the trench, they noticed that the men had both been injured in the collapse. They were each taken to local hospitals; one man was suffering breathing problems, and the other from injuries to his leg.

One trench worker told reporters that there had been other collapses since he had been assigned to work on the trench a few months ago. At the time the article was published, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was on the way to determine if the workplace was indeed safe at the time of the accident and to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident.

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May 27, 2014

Popular Office Toy, Buckyballs, Voluntarily Recalled Facing Lawsuit

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month, the president and creator of the of the popular desk toy, Buckyballs, recalled the product after facing a lawsuit from a federal agency that threatened to hold him personally liable for the damages caused by the product.

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What Are Buckyballs?

Buckyballs are high-powered magnetic balls that can be stacked into almost any shape. Once they are placed together, they are difficult to separate due to the extremely high-powered magnets used in the balls.

The Danger of Buckyballs

According to a report by the Washington Post, the danger of the product was that children could ingest several of the high-powered magnets and then suffer internal organ damage when the magnets “connected” with each other in the child’s body.

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