Recent Lawsuits/Cases - Part 7

Suit: Officers Accused of Planting Drugs

Three Pennsylvania residents have filed a lawsuit against several officers of the Philadelphia Police Department, claiming they planted drugs during an illegal search to arrest the plaintiffs. The charges were dropped shortly after the arrests, and six officers were removed from the narcotics unit. Since December, prosecutors have been forced to dismiss more than 260 criminal cases involving these same officers, all of whom have since been transferred to other units.

Mark Fazlollah, Philadelphia Inquirer 01/31/2013

Clovis, Calif., Settles Suit with Police Officer

The city of Clovis, Calif., has settled a lawsuit with a local police officer over a 16-month suspension handed down allegedly over a single isolated incident. In the suit, the former sergeant claimed he was suspended as part of retaliatory efforts by the department after he helped a female co-worker file a complaint against the department. As part of the settlement, the plaintiff will not return to his old position but will be allowed to seek work with another law enforcement agency.

Pablo Lopez , The Fresno Bee 01/30/2013

$14 Million Awarded over Cop’s Death in Louisiana

A Terrebonne, La., Parish jury awarded $14 million to the family of a local motorcycle deputy who was killed two years ago while escorting a Mardi Gras float. The driver of the truck pulling the float signaled for another car to turn in front of him at a four-way stop; the car drove around the float and ran head-on into the victim, causing his fatal injuries. The jury found the float truck driver 95 percent responsible in the lawsuit.

Dee Dee Thurston, Houma Today 01/30/2013

Hotel Sued After Boy Injured by Falling Wall Tile

An Oklahoma woman has sued the Comfort Inn & Suites in Galveston, Texas, claiming her son suffered permanent injuries when he was hit by a falling wall tile. The boy, 8, was struck in the head, chest and leg by the tile, causing him “severe pain, disfigurement and impairment.” The lawsuit is seeking damages for medical bills and mental anguish.

Robert Stanton, Houston Chronicle 01/30/2013

Hotel Sued After Boy Injured by Falling Wall Tile

An Oklahoma woman has sued the Comfort Inn & Suites in Galveston, Texas, claiming her son suffered permanent injuries when he was hit by a falling wall tile. The boy, 8, was struck in the head, chest and leg by the tile, causing him “severe pain, disfigurement and impairment.” The lawsuit is seeking damages for medical bills and mental anguish.

Robert Stanton, Houston Chronicle 01/30/2013

Hospital: Fetuses Are Not People

A Colorado Catholic hospital has argued it should not be held liable for the death of twin fetuses because “the fetuses are not people.” The plaintiff, whose wife and unborn children died at St. Thomas More Hospital in 2006, claims the hospital should have performed an emergency cesarean section to save the twins. A state district court and appeals court have sided with the hospital; the case is now heading to the State Supreme Court.

Bob Smietana, USA Today 01/24/2013

Suit Filed over Lance Armstrong Books

Cyclist Lance Armstrong has been hit with a class-action lawsuit filed by customers who purchased his inspirational books before he admitted to using steroids. The suit claims that Armstrong vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs in both books, deceiving readers.

Chris Megerian , LA Times 01/23/2013

Company Ignored Internal Reports About Hip Device Failures

Newly disclosed court documents show that Johnson & Johnson had estimated that nearly 40 percent of all the company’s metal hip implant devices would fail within five years. The New York Times reports that the company sat on this information during a 2010 recall and played down similar findings from a British implant registry. A trial focused on the failed hip plant devices is scheduled to begin Friday in California Superior Court.

Barry Meier, The New York Times 01/22/2013

Suits Claim Subway Subs Not Actually 12 Inches Long

Two lawsuits have been filed against sandwich company Subway, claiming the company’s “footlong” sandwiches actually measure less than 11 inches. The suits accuse Subway of “fraudulent, deceptive and otherwise improper advertising, sales and marketing practices.” Attorneys for the lawsuit say they hope to combine both suits into one at the federal level and are seeking class-action status.

Rob Manker, Chicago Tribune 01/24/2013

Students Abused, School Didn’t Report it To Police

The families of three young girls have filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Rock Church Academy, claiming they were molested by one of their teachers. The lawsuit contends that despite the fact that the school was notified that the teacher had been seen alone with two of the victims on his lap in a darkened classroom during “movie day”, the school did not call the police or conduct an investigation. The alleged victims are in elementary school.

Dana Littlefield, San Diego Union Tribune 01/17/2013

Va. Company to Replenish Lost 401(k) Money

A company in Virginia Beach has agreed to settle a lawsuit over illegal 401(k) withholdings and will put more than $77,000 back into employee retirement plans. The suit claimed the company deducted money from employee paychecks that was to be placed into retirement plans over a four-year period starting in 2007 but never actually was. This constituted a violation of the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Philip Walzer, Virginian Pilot 01/14/2013

Tenn. Pastor Accused of Abuse in Lawsuit

A church pastor in Nashville, Tenn., has been accused in a lawsuit of physically abusing a woman for over 25 years. The pastor, who has been a vocal supporter of corporal punishment, allegedly began abusing the woman when she was a child, continuing on well into her adult life. The pastor is also named in another suit, along with the church, accusing them of covering up sexual abuse at a Christian school in Maryland.

Bob Smietana, USA Today 01/16/2013

Psychiatrist Named in Suit of Aurora Theater Killings

The widow of one of the victims in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater killings has filed a lawsuit against the Colorado University psychiatrist who was treating the alleged killer. In the suit, the woman claims the killer told his psychiatrist that he “fantasized about killing people” a few days before the incident and should have been put on a 72-hour psychiatric hold. The suit says the doctor “rejected” the idea of putting the man on a hold when it was proposed by a campus police officer.

Tom McGhee, Denver Post 01/16/2013

E. Coli Death Prompts Suit over Infected Beef

The family of a man with Down syndrome who died in 2010 from eating food contaminated with E. coli has filed a lawsuit against three beef companies and a group of retailers for their roles in selling the product. The suit says the negligence of all the defendants resulted in the death of the man. Federal officials have not been able to pinpoint the precise source of the contaminated beef, but Minnesota health officials say it came from a plant in Kansas.

Mike McGraw , Kansas City Star 01/16/2013

Suit: Police Officers Savagely Beat Man

A Louisville man has filed suit against two local police officers who allegedly beat him severely during an incident in December. In the suit, the man claims the defendants approached him “aggressively” without identifying themselves as cops, and he threw the first punch in self-defense. The plaintiff says the officers broke his nose and he has had three surgeries to correct breathing problems associated with the injury.

Mark Vanderhoff, Louisville Courier Journal 01/16/2013

Employee Fired over Alcoholism, Suit Says

A former employee of the city of Lakewood, Ohio, has filed a lawsuit against the city after he was fired for consuming alcohol during one of his shifts in March 2012. In his suit, the man claims the city did not take into account his alcoholism when he was fired; alcoholism is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the suit points out. “For almost 26 years, [the plaintiff] was a loyal, longtime employee,” his attorney said, but the city failed to give him the same consideration and treatment opportunities as other employees received.

Ed Carroll, Cleveland Leader 01/03/2013

Georgia Farm Settles Employee Lawsuit

A Georgia vegetable farm has agreed to settle a $500,000 lawsuit with a group of former employees who were allegedly discriminated against because of their race. The lawsuit claimed the defendant “fired most of its seasonal African-American workers between 2009 and 2011 and kept most of its Mexican employees.”

Wire Report, Atlanta Journal-Constitution 12/13/2012

Pittsburgh TV Station Settles Lawsuit

A Pittsburgh television station has settled a lawsuit with a local woman whose photo was wrongly displayed on a local newscast in a story about a kidnapping. In 2010, the station improperly identified the plaintiff as the woman charged with kidnapping, when in fact it was her daughter who was facing charges. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Rich Lord , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 01/02/2013

Columbia Recalls More Heated Sports Jackets

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of an additional 33 Columbia sports jackets with battery packs due to fire hazard. In November 2011, Columbia initially recalled about 220 jackets with the battery-powered heating systems after receiving a report of a battery pack overheating. There have been no injuries reported in association with the recalled jackets.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 01/11/2013

Suit Filed over Fatal December Plane Crash

A lawsuit has been filed against a company owned by the late singer Jenni Rivera, naming the company a defendant in a suit filed on behalf of four members of her entourage who died along with the star in a December plane crash. The suit names Starwood Management, Jenni Rivera Enterprises and two other companies in the suit, saying they are responsible for choosing the 43-year-old Learjet that crashed into mountains in Mexico. The suit is seeking punitive damages against the current owners of the aircraft as well as the previous owner, who sold the plane last year.

Adolfo Flores, LA Times 01/11/2013

Woman Sexually Harassed by Pastor, Suit Says

An employee at a Tacoma, Wash., church has filed a lawsuit against the church pastor, accusing him of sexually harassing her for a number of years. In the suit, the plaintiff says the pastor made “frequent unwanted sexual advances toward her, engaged in unwanted physical touching, told her about his sex life in grotesque detail.” The woman also says regional church officials were aware of the harassment and did nothing to stop it.

Adam Lynn, The News Tribune 01/10/2013

Read Article: The News Tribune

Burger King Franchisee Settles Harassment Suit

A large Burger King franchisee has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a 14-year-long sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit, filed by female employees in dozens of Burger King restaurants owned by Carrols Corp., claimed the plaintiffs were subjected to “obscene comments, unwanted touching, exposure of genitalia, strip searches and rape.”

Wire Report, Seattle Times 01/10/2013

Supreme Court Sides with Nike in Trademark Suit

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Nike Inc. by prohibiting a smaller rival from suing the company over a trademark challenge. The issue stemmed from a suit Nike filed against the smaller company of trademark infringement. This prompted the smaller company, Already LLC, to counter-sue to void the trademark. In the court ruling Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that when Already LLC refused to drop their suit after Nike dropped theirs, it created an atmosphere that may encourage companies to “use litigation as a ‘weapon’ rather than as a last resort to settle disputes, which could discourage innovation.”

Staff Report, Chicago Tribune 01/09/2013

‘Storage Wars’ TV Show Fixed, Suit Says

A former star of the television show “Storage Wars” has filed a lawsuit against the show, alleging it to be “rigged” by producers. In the suit, former show regular David Hester claims that “A&E regularly plants valuable items or memorabilia” in storage lockers. When Hester complained about this practice, the suit says, he was fired from the show. He is seeking at least $750,000 in damages.

Staff Report, Reuters 12/11/2012

Suit Filed over Hit-And-Run Accident in Chicago

A lawsuit has been filed against a Chicago EMT who allegedly was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident and fled the scene without offering aid. According to the suit, the defendant was speeding and frequently changing lanes down West Touhy Avenue when he struck a man walking down the sidewalk. He then allegedly fled the scene without stopping. The lawsuit, filed by the family of the victim, is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

Jennifer Delgado, Chicago Tribune 12/11/2012

Mattresses Recalled due to Flammability Standards

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of more than 1,500 mattresses from American Mattress Manufacturing due to a failure to meet federal flammability standards. The mattresses were sold December 2010 through September 2011 in Alabama and Georgia.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 12/14/2012

Suit: Girl Raped While Working for Houston Opera

A south Texas woman has filed a lawsuit against the Houston Grand Opera, claiming she was raped by a fellow cast member during rehearsals for a production in which the two had been hired as extras. The woman was 16 at the time of the alleged assault, and she says she was raped multiple times in “her dressing room, the men’s restroom and inside a practice room.” Charges were filed against the defendant, but were dropped after a grand jury failed to indict him.

Robert Stanton, Houston Chronicle 12/13/2012

Officer Injured in Inmate Brawl Files Lawsuit

A prison guard in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, has filed a lawsuit against the county after he was injured while trying to stop an inmate fight. The suit accuses county and jail officials of ignoring staffing deficiencies that created safety risks for guards. During the brawl the plaintiff suffered permanent injuries that make him unable to work.

Harlan Spector, Cleveland Plain Dealer 12/14/2012

Walgreen Co. Pays to Settle Waste Dumping Suit

A California judge has ordered pharmacy giant Walgreen Co. to pay $16.57 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged environmental violations. The suit, filed by a group of state district attorneys, accused the company of “illegal waste disposal and improper handling of confidential medical information.” Some of the waste allegedly discarded included bleach, aerosols, pesticides and paint, the suit claimed.

Staff Report, San Jose Mercury News 12/13/2012

Delaware Officers Accused of Excessive Force

A Delaware man has filed a lawsuit against two Seaford police officers who allegedly shocked him with a stun gun and handcuffed him during an arrest in which officers mistook him for someone else. In the suit, the man claims officers refused to “tell him what he had done wrong” and tased him only 14 seconds after approaching the vehicle, according to police video. The officers are accused of excessive force and malicious prosecution.

Sean O’Sullivan , Delaware Online 12/18/2012

Vermont School District Settles Bullying Lawsuit

The Burlington, Vt., school district has agreed to settle a $25,000 bullying lawsuit with a former middle school student. The boy had his arm broken by a fellow student on a bus in 2010 and alleged in the lawsuit that the school “did not provide adequate supervision on the bus.” As part of the settlement, the school will work to make presentations to students against bullying and harassment.

Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press 12/20/2012

Scranton Student Bullied By Teacher, Suit Says

Parents of a former Scranton, Penn., student have filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming their son was “repeatedly bullied and harassed” because he is black. The alleged abuse took place when the boy was in the second grade at the hands of his teacher, who “punished him more than white children with similar behavior in the class.” Despite multiple meetings with the teacher and school officials, the parents said nothing was done to prevent further abuse.

Sarah Hofius Hall, The Scranton Time-Tribune 12/20/2012