Recent Lawsuits/Cases - Part 3

Woman Hit by Patrol Car May Not Receive Settlement

A Vancouver woman who filed a lawsuit after being hit by a Washington State Patrol trooper’s car may not receive the $529,000 in damages she was awarded in the suit. The woman, who had been drinking, was waiting for her brother to pick her up. Thinking the patrol car was her brother’s car, she stepped into the road so he could see her. The police officer did not see her in time and struck the plaintiff with his patrol car. According to state law, “if a person is injured as a result of being intoxicated and a jury finds that the injured person was more than 50 percent at fault, they are not eligible for damages.” Based on an emergency room blood test, the plaintiff’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and the jury determined that she was 58% at fault in the incident. The plaintiff plans to appeal the verdict.

Paris Achen , The Columbian 09/23/2013

Settlement Reached in Discrimination Lawsuit in Maryland

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against Maryland’s Anne Arundel County and a former county executive alleging gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. The plaintiff, a former employee of the county government, claims that a county executive created a “tense working environment” that included berating her hairstyle and also treating female employees poorly. The county has agreed to pay the plaintiff $110,000 plus attorneys’ fees in the settlement.

Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun 09/24/2013

Products

Recall Issued on Baby and Children’s Sunscreen

W.S. Badger Company has issued a voluntary recall on their SPF 30 Sunscreen for babies and children due to microbial contamination. According to the recall, “The products were tested and found to be contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida parapsilosis and Acremonium fungi.” The company tells customers to stop using the product and return it to the original point of purchase for a full refund, or to contact Badger directly.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 09/24/2013

Malpractice

Lawsuit Filed Over Hospital’s Botched Delivery of Breech Baby

A woman whose son suffered brain damage during a vaginal breech delivery has filed a lawsuit against the Seattle hospital, doctors and others. While originally scheduled to have a cesarian section because her son was in breech position, the woman changed her mind when she read that the hospital was offering vaginal deliveries for breech babies. According to the lawsuit, the doctors did not make the serious health risks clear during the consultation. Due to a lack of oxygen during delivery, the boy suffered “catastrophic, permanent and irreversible” injury to the brain and has subsequently been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The lawsuit seeks $25.6 million in damages.

Helen Jung, The Oregonian 09/25/2013

Laws/Cases

Settlement Reached in IA Excessive Force Lawsuit

Woodbury County, Iowa has paid $280,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against them by nine people alleging excessive force. The plaintiffs were attending a party in October 2008 when two police officers, responding to a disturbance call, allegedly used excessive force and harmed one of the plaintiffs. The lawsuit claimed that the officers then arrested the other plaintiffs on false charges to cover up the use of excessive force.

Nick Hytrek, Sioux City Journal 09/23/2013

Fire Company Wants Out of DUI Crash Lawsuit

A volunteer fire company out of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania is requesting that a judge release them from being defendants in a lawsuit over the fatal alcohol-related accident of a 19-year-old boy. The lawsuit, filed by the boy’s mother, claims that the fire company is responsible for the boy’s death because it was their social club that the boy left from intoxicated. The plaintiff claims that the fire company should have stopped the boy from driving, as his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

Matt Miller, PennLive.com 09/23/2013

Ala. Inmate Alleges Sex Abuse in Lawsuit

In a lawsuit filed last Tuesday, a former inmate of a Carbon Hill jail accuses the mayor of sexual abuse. The plaintiff claims that while she was incarcerated, the mayor made sexual comments to her and touched her inappropriately in his office. The defendant “was arrested Friday on 11 counts — including harassment, sexual abuse and soliciting prostitution.” The plaintiff’s attorney says that they hope this lawsuit sheds light on the issue and protects future inmates from similar abuse.

Melissa Crabtree, CBS 42 News 09/23/2013

Former Officer Files Discrimination Lawsuit

A former police officer from Lumberton, Mississippi has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was terminated from her job because of her race and gender. The African-American woman, who had worked for the police department for two years, claims she was performing her duties competently when she was replaced by a white male of lesser experience. “Requesting a jury trial, [the plaintiff] also asks that affirmative action policies be instituted in the City of Lumberton, and that the city issue her a letter of apology.”

Wire Report, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger 09/24/2013

Lawsuit Filed Over Alleged Police Hit-and-Run

A victim of an August hit-and-run accident has filed a lawsuit against two Benbrook, Texas police officers alleging that they crashed into his car and fled the scene. The two officers, who were off duty at the time of the incident, reportedly ran a red light and crashed into a car with four passengers. The officers then exited their vehicle and ran away from the scene. In the days that followed the accident, “both officers resigned their positions with the Benbrook Police Department.”

Monika Diaz, KHOU-TV 09/24/2013

Products

PF Chang’s Frozen Appetizers Recalled

Giant Food has alerted customers of a recall they issued on their PF Chang’s Pork & Leek Dumplings Frozen Appetizers due to undeclared shrimp and Pollock on the label. The product is safe to eat for any consumers “who do not suffer from a Crustacean shellfish or fish allergy.” There have been no incidents reported as of yet. Giant Foods is offering a full refund for the products.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 09/19/2013

Laws/Cases

Settlement Reached in Amputee Lawsuit

A California man who was hit by a bus and had one of his legs amputated has been awarded $15 million in the lawsuit he filed against a transit company. The man was hit by the bus in August 2012 while walking in a crosswalk and his seven surgeries ended in his leg being amputated below the knee. The plaintiff agreed to the settlement right before the jury reached a verdict that would have awarded him $17 million. According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, the $15 million settlement will stand.

Staff Report, The Insurance Journal 09/18/2013

Lawsuit Alleges Mannequin Falls and Injures Woman

A woman has filed a lawsuit alleging she was injured in 2011 when a mannequin fell on her while she was shopping at a Bloomingdale’s store in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The lawsuit says she suffered “severe, painful, and permanent injuries that required medical care and incurred substantial expenses for doctors bills, medications, and the like in an effort to effect a cure and remedy for her condition.” The lawsuit further states that the store was negligent in the construction and maintenance of the display.

Bill Wichert, NJ.com 09/17/2013

Settlement Reached in Police Lawsuit

The city of Bristol, Pennsylvania says they will pay $440,000 to settle a federal lawsuit against them filed by an officer who claims he was harassed and threatened on the job. In his lawsuit, the officer says he was harassed after he refused to lie to help a fellow officer use his police badge to engage “in an inappropriate sexual relationship while on duty.” The plaintiff claims his fellow officers threatened him on and off the job for several years and made false claims against him in retaliation.

Gema Maria Duarte, PhillyBurbs.com 09/18/2013

Background Check Lawsuit Results in $150K Settlement

A class-action lawsuit filed in April against a screening company in Seattle that ran background checks for rental tenants has reached a $150,000 settlement. The background checks the company used to screen potential renters included drug convictions that were older than 7 years. Though the screening company does not admit any wrongdoing, they have agreed to pay $400 to each of the plaintiffs and $32,600 in attorney’s fees and other costs.

Wire Report, The Olympian 09/18/2013

Lawsuit Says AL Mayor Abuses Power

A member of the Lipscomb City Council in Alabama filed a lawsuit in Bessemer Circuit Court in June claiming the city’s mayor “repeatedly and continuously abuses his power.” The lawsuit mentions the allegedly unmerited firing of two city employees. One of the employees was fired by the mayor, reinstated by the city council, and then immediately fired again by the mayor. A trial for the case has been set for November 22.

Jesse Chambers, AL.com 09/19/2013

Products

Frigidaire Recalls Blenders Due to Laceration Hazard

Frigidaire has issued a recall on their professional blenders because of a laceration hazard. The recall states that “the blender’s blade shaft assembly can break during use, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.” The company has received eight reports of incidents, but no injuries have been reported. The recall affects about 14,000 Frigidaire blenders. The company asks that users stop use and contact Frigidaire for instructions on returning the defective product for a free replacement blender.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 09/19/2013

Laws/Cases

Man Files False Arrest Lawsuit Against CT Police

A man filed suit on Wednesday in U.S. District Court against the city of New Haven, Connecticut, a former police chief and others claiming he was falsely arrested after he took a video of police officers. The plaintiff was out riding his bike and taking photos and videos with his phone when he began to record footage of officers struggling with three people. He was then approached by an officer and arrested for “interfering with an officer.” The lawsuit claims that the man’s civil liberties were violated in the incident. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment against the defendants as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Kelly Glista, The Hartford Courant 09/18/2013

Lawsuit Says Company Exposed Workers to Asbestos

An employee at a Missouri electric company has filed a lawsuit against the company claiming it knowingly exposed employees to asbestos and other harmful substances. The lawsuit, filed last week in Missouri’s Jasper County Circuit Court, is seeking class-action status. According to the lawsuit, the electric plant has asbestos insulation around its pipes which contain “dangerous concentrations of asbestos fibers.” The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages “in the form of the costs associated with establishing a medical monitoring program for class members.”

Jeff Lehr, The Joplin Globe 09/19/2013

Sex Offenders File Suit Against CA City

A lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group says that the city of Orange, California has violated the civil rights of sex offenders by requiring them to post a sign on Halloween discouraging trick-or-treaters. Individuals who do not post the sign are subject to a $1000 fine or six months in jail. The lawsuit alleges that the city ordinance, in addition to violating 1st Amendment rights, puts individuals at risk of physical and emotional harm.

Adolfo Flores, LA Times 09/19/2013

NY Paramedic Who Mocked Patients Online Sued

A New York woman has filed a lawsuit against an ex-paramedic after discovering the man took and posted a photo of her online, mocking her for being overweight. According to the lawsuit, the defendant had a Twitter account which he used to post photos of people and say offensive things about black, Jewish, Asian and fat people. The lawsuit also names the city of New York as a defendant.

Jonathan Allen, Chicago Tribune 09/19/2013

Suit Describes Sexual Discrimination Against Women in Restaurant

The former executive chef at a Tennessee restaurant filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday claiming that the restaurant is a hostile working environment for women. The lawsuit alleges that female employees were subject to physical and emotional abuse at the hand of the CEO and other male employees. One claim accuses the manager of “grabbing female servers around the neck and choking them when he became angry.” The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for lost wages and suffering.

Nate Rau, Tennessean 09/20/2013

Former Students Accuse Teacher Of Molestation In Lawsuit

Three former students of El Sereno Elementary School in California filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a teacher who they say molested them. The three girls say that “the psychological injury, illness and suffering” they experienced were “caused by the childhood sexual harassment, molestation and abuse.” The lawsuit says that there are up to 15 victims and also names the Los Angeles Unified School District as a defendant in the case.

Howard Blume, LA Times 09/18/2013

Laws/Cases

Settlement Reached in Amputee Lawsuit

A California man who was hit by a bus and had one of his legs amputated has been awarded $15 million in the lawsuit he filed against a transit company. The man was hit by the bus in August 2012 while walking in a crosswalk and his seven surgeries ended in his leg being amputated below the knee. The plaintiff agreed to the settlement right before the jury reached a verdict that would have awarded him $17 million. According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, the $15 million settlement will stand.

Staff Report, The Insurance Journal 09/18/2013

Lawsuit Alleges Mannequin Falls and Injures Woman

A woman has filed a lawsuit alleging she was injured in 2011 when a mannequin fell on her while she was shopping at a Bloomingdale’s store in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The lawsuit says she suffered “severe, painful, and permanent injuries that required medical care and incurred substantial expenses for doctors bills, medications, and the like in an effort to effect a cure and remedy for her condition.” The lawsuit further states that the store was negligent in the construction and maintenance of the display.

Bill Wichert, NJ.com 09/17/2013

Settlement Reached in Police Lawsuit

The city of Bristol, Pennsylvania says they will pay $440,000 to settle a federal lawsuit against them filed by an officer who claims he was harassed and threatened on the job. In his lawsuit, the officer says he was harassed after he refused to lie to help a fellow officer use his police badge to engage “in an inappropriate sexual relationship while on duty.” The plaintiff claims his fellow officers threatened him on and off the job for several years and made false claims against him in retaliation.

Gema Maria Duarte, PhillyBurbs.com 09/18/2013

Background Check Lawsuit Results in $150K Settlement

A class-action lawsuit filed in April against a screening company in Seattle that ran background checks for rental tenants has reached a $150,000 settlement. The background checks the company used to screen potential renters included drug convictions that were older than 7 years. Though the screening company does not admit any wrongdoing, they have agreed to pay $400 to each of the plaintiffs and $32,600 in attorney’s fees and other costs.

Wire Report, The Olympian 09/18/2013

Lawsuit Says AL Mayor Abuses Power

A member of the Lipscomb City Council in Alabama filed a lawsuit in Bessemer Circuit Court in June claiming the city’s mayor “repeatedly and continuously abuses his power.” The lawsuit mentions the allegedly unmerited firing of two city employees. One of the employees was fired by the mayor, reinstated by the city council, and then immediately fired again by the mayor. A trial for the case has been set for November 22.

Jesse Chambers, AL.com 09/19/2013

Products

Frigidaire Recalls Blenders Due to Laceration Hazard

Frigidaire has issued a recall on their professional blenders because of a laceration hazard. The recall states that “the blender’s blade shaft assembly can break during use, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.” The company has received eight reports of incidents, but no injuries have been reported. The recall affects about 14,000 Frigidaire blenders. The company asks that users stop use and contact Frigidaire for instructions on returning the defective product for a free replacement blender.

Laws/Cases

Lawsuit Filed Against Casino for Drunk Driving Death

The wife of a Pennsylvania man who died in a car accident because he was driving intoxicated has filed a lawsuit against the casino where the man had been drinking. The plaintiff claims that the valet should not have let her husband drive his car when he was noticeably intoxicated. He had a blood alcohol level of .329 percent when he left the casino. The case was previously brought to court and the judge ruled in favor of the casino, but now the Pennsylvania Superior Court plans to hear the case.

Denise Allabaugh, The Scranton Time-Tribune 09/18/2013

Paralyzed Man Shot by Police Files Lawsuit

A Pennsylvania man who was shot by police and paralyzed during a traffic stop gone wrong filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday claiming the officers used excessive force and other civil rights violations. During the routine traffic stop, the officers believed that the plaintiff was another man with whom they had frequent interactions. Believing that the plaintiff had a gun, which he did not, the officers pulled him out of the car and began to beat him. After the car lurched forward and the door closed on one officer, that officer shot the plaintiff in the chest multiple times, paralyzing him from the waist down. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 09/18/2013

Exotic Dancers File $10M Lawsuit Against Clubs
Two exotic dancers from Jersey City have filed a $10 million class-action lawsuit against three New York strip clubs claiming that they were not paid any minimum hourly wages. The plaintiffs say that the only payment they received was in the form of tips from customers. They claim that the club misclassified them as independent contractors. Lawyers in the case have claimed that “the lawsuit could result in 1,000 strippers winning more than $10 million in back wages since 2007.”

Daniel Beekman, New York Daily News 09/18/2013

Settlement Reached in AZ Panhandling Lawsuit

The city of Flagstaff, Arizona and the Arizona division of the American Civil Liberties Union have reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding panhandling. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a 77-year-old woman who was arrested for begging. The settlement says that people can no longer be arrested for “loitering to beg.” From now on, the police will only arrest people if their actions warrant it.

Larry Hendricks, Arizona Daily Sun 09/18/2013

Madison Square Garden Faces Class-Action Suit

A class-action lawsuit, which may include about 500 individuals, has been filed against Madison Square Garden. The lawsuit claims that MSG misclassified workers as “intern” or “student associate” to avoid paying them. The lawsuit claims that these individuals were sometimes asked to work five days a week and that they helped with “ticket and sponsorship sales, administrative projects and logistics pertaining to the organization of sports and entertainment events at the arena.” The suit seeks compensation for unpaid wages dating back to 2007.

Jason Belzer, Forbes 09/18/2013

Products

Recall on Children’s Footed Pajamas

The Children’s Place has issued a recall on their footed pajamas for babies and toddlers due to a violation of the federal flammability standard. The pajamas do not meet the tight-fitting sizing requirements set forth in the federal flammability standard and therefore pose a burn hazard to children. Though there have been no incidents reported, the company asks that the consumers not use the pajamas and seek a refund.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 09/17/2013

Laws/Cases

State Prevents Soccer Club Players from Playing for Their HS Team

Sixteen high school soccer players from Tupelo, Mississippi filed a lawsuit this week claiming a state athletic group’s rules prevents independent club team players from also playing for their high school team. The athletic group’s rule states that only 50% percent of the club players can be on the field at a time for the high school team. The plaintiffs, who are asking the state to stop enforcement, claim the rule has caused some of them to be cut from their high school teams because they were also selected to be on a club team. Defendants listed in the case are Tupelo Public School District and school district officials.

Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle 09/11/13

Natural Gas Company Settles Class-Action Suit

A Pennsylvania natural gas operator has reached a settlement in the class-action suit filed against them by landowners claiming the company deducted huge percentages from their royalty checks. This year, the natural gas operator began making huge deductions in royalties paid to landowners to help pay to gather, compress, market and transport natural gas. The lawsuit filed on Aug. 30 was settled within hours of its filing in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The settlement includes reimbursing landowners and will prevent the corporation from deducting certain percentages of royalty checks in the future.

Ernest Scheyder, Reuters 09/11/2013

Defamation Suit Filed over Post on Website

Four current and former officials in Germantown Hills, Illinois filed a defamation lawsuit on Monday in Woodford County Circuit Court against a woman who posted allegedly malicious comments on a newspaper website. In a comment posted under a pseudonym on the newspaper website, the woman “alleged the plaintiffs and former Village Attorney Greg Bell profited financially from board decisions regarding sewer-connection fees for a Germantown Hills subdivision.” The defendant later posted an advertisement in the newspaper admitting “Everything [she] said about Mr. Bell was false or misleading.” The lawsuit cites libel and is seeking undisclosed monetary compensation.

Nick Vlahos, Peoria Journal Star 09/11/13

Lawsuit Says Gender Discrimination Prevented Promotion

Two Georgia women have filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Muscogee County Sheriff and the city of Columbus claiming they were passed up for a 2010 promotion to captain because they are women. The plaintiffs’ attorney claimed in court that the two women were “imminently qualified” for the position and that the department had a history of promoting only men. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of $21,000 to $23,000 for each plaintiff.

Chuck Williams, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 09/11/2013

Products

Recall Issued on Motorcycle Training Wheels

Cambridge Metal & Plastics has issued a recall on their motorcycle training wheels because they pose a crash hazard to users. The bolts and nuts on the wheel have the potential to loosen, causing the driver to potentially lose control of the motorcycle. There have not been any incidents reported, but Cambridge Metal & Plastics says users should discontinue their use of the training wheels and contact them to have the product repaired free of charge.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 09/11/2013

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Suit Filed over Death of 72-Year-Old Woman

Family members who were passengers in the car of a 72-year-old woman who died Feb. 1 during an accident involving a dump truck filed a lawsuit in Davidson County Superior Court of North Carolina against the driver and the trucking company. The woman lost control of her car after the driver of the dump truck, who was operating the truck with an expired driver’s license, pulled out in front of her. She suffered fatal injuries, dying in her car 45 minutes later. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $10,000 for each of the plaintiffs.

Darrick Ignasiak, The Lexington Dispatch 09/11/2013

Laws/Cases

Child Porn Victim Seeks $150K Per Viewer in Lawsuit

A Pennsylvania woman has filed a class-action suit seeking $150,000 from her adoptive father, 13 jailed men and anyone else who viewed pornographic images of her as a child. The plaintiff was adopted at age 5 by a man who repeatedly raped and sexually abused her on camera. Authorities believe that the 200 pornographic images of her have been viewed about a million times online.

Maryclaire Dale, The Huffington Post 08/27/2013

Officer Made to Shave for Obama Visit, Settles Suit

A former Baltimore police officer has settled a lawsuit filed against the city over his being forced to shave for a 2009 visit by then-President-elect Barack Obama. The plaintiff, who suffers from a skin condition which prevents shaving, was forced to shave without water or a mirror the day of Obama’s visit. The city has agreed to pay $60,000 in the settlement.

Yvonne Wenger, Baltimore Sun 08/28/2013

Suicide Victim’s Mother Files Suit over Bullying

The mother of a boy from East Harlem who committed suicide in 2012 filed a lawsuit this week claiming that bullying lead to the death of her son. The boy, who was small and had a stuttering problem, had been picked on by other students for years. The plaintiff claims that she had a meeting with the bullies and their parents to stop the mistreatment of her son, but he was then subject to even more bullying. The suit names the parents of the kids, the city, the New York City Department of Education and the teachers as defendants.

Staff Report, CBS – New York Local 08/28/2013

Transplant Surgery Gone Wrong, Family Files Suit

A family has filed a lawsuit against the University of Toledo Medical Center of Ohio over a kidney transplant surgery gone wrong. The brother donated his kidney to his sister in an August 2012 transplant when the kidney was accidentally thrown away by a nurse after the surgery. The suit is seeking $25,000 for each family member in addition to the cost of the suit and “any other relief the court deems appropriate.”

Ignazio Messina, Toledo Blade 08/28/2013

NY Cop Harassed over Supporting Rep Candidate

A former Glen Cove, Ny., police officer claims he was harassed by his fellow officers after publicly supporting a Republican candidate. He alleges that the other officers ridiculed him, implied he had a sexual relationship with the candidate and drew obscene graffiti on his desk officer book. The plaintiff has filed suit and is seeking more that $100,000 in damages from the city, police department and others.

Ted Phillips, Newsday 08/28/2013

Class Action Suit against Naked Juice Settled

The class action suit alleging the misuse of health phrases against Naked Juice’s parent company PepsiCo has been settled for $9 million. The lawsuit targets the use of phrases such as “100% Juice” and “All Natural” and claims that the juices contain ingredients that are not all natural and are genetically modified. According to the Naked Juice’s statement on Facebook, they still support their “all natural” claims but will not be using the phrase on their juices.

Rachel Tepper, The Huffington Post 08/28/2013

Laws/Cases

Suit: Police Videotaping Detainees Undressing

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 11 women and one man who claim officers at a Washington police station videotaped them while undressing or using the toilet. The defendants were detained for DUI’s and several say they were patted down in a sexual manner. The suit asks that the court order the videotapes be sealed and that the surveillance cameras be removed from the holding cells.

Christine Clarridge, Seattle Times 08/23/2013

Molestation Suspect Rehired by Former Employer

A lawsuit against a 28-year old California man has been filed by the parents of a girl who says she was molested while attending a summer church camp. The defendant was fired by a San Jose church three separate times for inappropriate behavior with children. The lawsuit alleges when the summer camp asked the church about the defendant, a church official gave him a good recommendation and said she would hire him again. The defendant was arrested in 2011 and “charged with 30 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14” and is awaiting his trial in the criminal case. He is set to appear in court on Monday.

Mark Gomez, San Jose Mercury News 08/23/2013

Kentucky Employer Fails to Pay Health Care Premium

Three Kentucky women have filed a class-action suit against several health care firms claiming their employer did not pay the health care premium, causing the plaintiffs to run up thousands of dollars in medical expenses. The plaintiffs also say employers did not contribute to their 401(k) plans. One of the defendants says her company was dealing with financial trouble and was no longer able to pay for employees’ health care. The defendant claims she borrowed $154,000 to cover the employees’ unpaid health insurance and has laid off about 30 employees to insure sufficient funds in the future.

Jim Warren, Lexington Herald-Leader 08/23/2013

Products

Product Recall on Tea Kettles Due to Burn Hazard

Wilton Industries has issued a recall on Chefmate Tea Kettles. The 2-quart tea kettles pose a burn hazard due to leaking water and steam and the potential of the kettle to melt to the stove. There have been 13 reports of incidents; eight reports of water and steam leaking, four reports of the base melting onto the stove and one of a hot handle. The company asks that consumers return the product to any Target store or contact Wilton for a full refund.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 08/23/2013

Wrongful Death

Shooting of Bodega Worker in NY Prompts Suit

A New York family has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the NYPD after officers shot and killed their 20-year-old son. The man was working at a local bodega when three robbers came into his store; according to the suit, he fled the scene and, while on the run, slammed into a police officer, causing the cop’s gun to “accidentally discharge” and kill him. The officer has been cleared of wrong-doing by the Bronx district attorney, but the suit claims the man was shot “without reason or provocation.”

Wire Report, San Diego Union Tribune 08/22/2013

Wrongful Death Suit Filed over Unsafe Aircraft

A Los Angeles law firm has filed suit against a California-based aircraft manufacturer claiming wrongful death. Since the early 90’s, the company has seen an extensive amount of deaths involving their helicopters. While the defendant claims that the deaths are due to “pilot error,” the plaintiff cites the defective rotor blades and fuel tanks as the cause. The defendant has previously settled five similar suits.

Nick Green, Daily Breeze 08/23/2013

Laws/Cases

Professor Alleges Sexual Discrimination

A professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against her employer, claiming she was subjected to sexual discrimination which caused emotional and physical damage. The plaintiff claims that she was removed from all positions on campus and threatened after she filed a sexual discrimination complaint. The lawsuit is seeking $2 million plus punitive damages.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 08/26/2013

Racial Discrimination Suit in PA Settled

A racial discrimination lawsuit over the termination of a black employee by a Philadelphia hotel operating company has ended in a $47,000 settlement. The company, which has recently filed for bankruptcy, has agreed to pay $38,000 to the fired employee and $9,000 to two other women.

Randall Chase, NBC 10 Philadelphia 08/23/2013

Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination in Galveston Remap

A redistricting play for Galveston County, which has taken away half of the justice of the peace districts, is said to be discriminatory against racial minorities. The decrease in the number of districts aims to save money and increase efficiency, but plaintiffs say the remap “dilutes the voting strength of minority voters.” The lawsuit seeks to halt the use of the new districts in the upcoming November elections.

Harvey Rice, Houston Chronicle 08/27/2013

Barbershop Raids Trigger Civil Rights Lawsuit

A Florida sheriff’s office and a state licensing agency are named in a civil rights lawsuit based on raids on minority-owned barbershops in 2010. Plaintiffs claim unreasonable search and seizure and allege that the raids were based “in whole, or in part, on race.” The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation and punitive damages.

Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel 08/26/2013

Soccer Players File Suit over Hazing

Five soccer players at Maine West High School have filed suit against the school district, principal and coaches, claiming they were subjected to hazing. The plaintiffs allege they were physically and sexually assaulted by teammates and that the coaches failed to report this to authorities. The suit resembles a previous suit filed in 2012 by members of the boys soccer and baseball teams, also alleging hazing.

Jonathan Bullington, Chicago Tribune 08/27/2013

Products

Recall on Kroger Break ‘N Bake Cookies

The Kroger Company has issued a recall on their in-house brand of Break ‘N Bake cookies. The packages of chocolate chip cookies with a “use by” date of November 24, 2013 may contain peanut butter cup cookie dough, instead of chocolate chip. This poses a potential threat to those with a peanut allergy and Kroger is urging consumers to check any previously purchased cookie dough for the affected units.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 08/25/2013

Laws/Cases

WY Woman Files Sexual Harassment Suit

A Wyoming woman alleges she was harassed sexually at the electric company she worked for. The plaintiff says she was mistreated because of her gender and was fired after she filed a complaint about her treatment. The suit is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages and compensation and her reinstatement to her former position or a provision of front pay. It also seeks to prohibit a sexually discriminatory environment at the company in the future.

Kelsey Bray, Wyoming Tribune Eagle 08/25/2013

Paula Deen Lawsuit Reaches Settlement

A United States District Court judge has dismissed the sexual harassment charges in the Paula Deen case, which almost immediately unraveled her career earlier this year. Also part of the case were racial discrimination charges, which were dropped earlier this month.

Kim Severson, The New York Times 08/23/2013

N.J. Prosecutor Files Discrimination Lawsuit

A N.J. Prosecutor is filing suit against the governor’s administration, claiming she was taken out of her long-term position as head of securities-fraud unit and placed into a “dead-end position” because she is a Hispanic woman. The plaintiff claims the move humiliated her and she is seeking undeclared monetary compensation.

Salvador Rizzo, Hunterdon County Democrat 08/24/2013

Products

Dove Recalls Dark Chocolate-Covered Fruit Boxes

Dove Chocolate Discoveries has issued a voluntary recall of a single lot of its Dark Chocolate-Covered Fruit Collection boxes due to an undeclared allergen. The company said the chocolate may contain nuts not listed on the label. The product is sold through the company’s home party business and is not available in stores. There have been no illnesses reported in relation to the recalled candies.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 08/23/2013

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Suit Filed in ATV Accident

A suit alleging wrongful death has been filed over the death of a 15-year old North Carolina boy, run over by an ATV. The boy was hit by another student while walking on his school campus and died in the hospital 10 days later. Authorities deemed the incident an accident, but the suit accuses the driver of operating the ATV at an “unsafe and excessive rate of speed.” Defendants include the school board, a coach and the student driving the ATV.

Clarke Morrison, Asheville Citizen-Times 08/23/2013

Football Player’s Family Claims Wrongful Death

A Frostburg State University football player succumbed to a fatal head injury after running drills in practice in Aug. 2011. His family has filed a wrongful death suit against the NCAA, a helmet manufacturer and team coaches and trainer. This is one of many suits dealing with head injuries filed against the NCAA.

Nathan Fenno, Washington Times 08/22/2013

Laws/Cases

Class Action Suit Filed against Florida for ‘Warehousing’ Mentally Disabled

A Florida state advocacy program claims the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing mentally disabled patients eligible for community treatment with “adequate community placements.” The lawsuit targets the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration. As of Monday, neither agency had been served. The state plans to dismiss the complaint as it “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald 08/22/2013

Suit Involving San Diego Mayor Reaches Settlement

On Wednesday, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and the city reached a proposed settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the mayor’s former press secretary and has seen 18 women publicly accuse him of inappropriate behavior. The San Diego City Council has filed a cross-complaint against Filner hoping to recover any damages the city may incur during the lawsuit. The details of the proposed settlement has not yet been disclosed but will be presented to the San Diego City Council in closed session on Friday.

Marty Graham, Reuters 08/22/2013

KFC Denies Iraq Vet Because of Service Dog

An Iraq War veteran and Ground Zero worker claims employees at a KFC in the Bronx denied him service because of his service dog. The veteran suffers from PTSD and requires the service dog for balance and to ease his panic attacks. Upon entering the KFC he was told that there are no dogs allowed and was denied service. The plaintiff claims the experience “humiliated him and exacerbated his PTSD” and is suing for $1 million in Manhattan Federal Court.

Daniel Beekman, New York Daily News 08/22/2013

61 Suits Filed over Minneapolis Police Brutality

The Minneapolis Police Department is facing 61 lawsuits alleging excessive force, adding to the 110 suits already filed against the department this year. While 51 of the cases were either dismissed or found in favor of the city, the city paid out in the other 59 cases. In the last six years, misconduct cases have cost the city $14 million, including $3 million for excessive force in the death of a homeless man.

Staff Report, Houston Chronicle 08/22/2013