A Pittsburgh man convicted of a 1988 murder has been freed after DNA evidence cleared him of the crime. Drew Whitley, had been convicted of second-degree murder in a shooting incident at the local McDonald’s restaurant.
Whitney is suing six former detectives in Allegheny County alleging he was targeted because he was black. Whitney said that detectives ignored evidence that should have exonerated him before his case had gone to trial.
In a similar case, a Boston man is suing police after being freed by DNA evidence after he spent 12 ½ year in jail on a rape conviction. Anthony Powell also alleges that police ignored evidence in the case and acted in bad faith in regard to the results of the forensic tests that cast doubt on his guilt.
A Rock Hill, South Carolina woman has settled in a $1.775 million lawsuit with Piedmont Medical Center, when doctors at the center administered the wrong drugs during a second heart bypass surgery. According to the medication error lawsuit, Lidocaine was mistakenly given to Herbert Cogan before surgery instead of Hespan.
Mr. Cogan died within minutes of receiving the wrong medication according to the lawsuit. The hospital had also been charged with a cover-up as Mr. Cogan’s original death certificate stated that he died of natural causes. Mr. Cogan’s body was later exhumed and the cause of death was stated as death due to cardiac arrest brought on by receiving incorrect medication.
Plaintiffs in the U. S. and Canada have launched pet food lawsuits against Menu Foods Corporation in product liability claims. The tainted pet food, sold under 92 different brand names including Iams has led to the deaths of 14 pets to date. Menu Foods is recalling 60 million cans and packets of the tainted pet food in one of the largest product recalls ever.
Menu foods “cuts-and-gravy” style food is sold at outlets such as Wal-Mart, PetSmart and Safeway and was pulled off the shelves on March 6, 2007. A Chicago woman, Dawn Majerczyk is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit in the U. S. who filed suit after losing her cat, Phoenix to the tainted food.
A Canadian woman, Amanda Whiting has also filed a pet food lawsuit in the Canadian courts since her kitten has been diagnosed with kidney failure from eating the pet food. Toronto law firm Himelfarb Proszanski LLP is investigating the possibility of bringing forward a class action lawsuit in this case as well.
Two years after Maytag settled a lawsuit with two million consumers over its Neptune washers, another Maytag recall is looming. The Neptune washers were plagued by mold, mildew and offensive odor according to the consumer affairs lawsuit.
Today, Maytag-Samsung Electronics is recalling 250,000 Maytag and 20,000 front-loading washers worldwide. Because of a product defect, water leakage into the washing machines’ electrical connections could cause electric shorts and start fires.
So far, Maytag has received five reports of incidents involving small fires contained within the washers. No injuries or fires outside the washing machines have been reported yet. As the recall develops, however, there may be many product liability lawsuits coming out of the woodwork because of the scale of the recall and the potential for damage to person and property.
Maytag is not the only large appliance company under fire for product liability claims. Whirpool is alleged to have given customers the cold shoulder for years over complaints about their side-by-side refrigerators leaking water and causing damage to food and floors. Plaintiffs in Arkansas are seeking class action status in federal court against Whirpool and seeking upwards of $5 million.
Los Angeles County is considering settling a claim for $600,000 in a case where a lifeguard drove over a 19-year-old man in June 2005 at the Santa Monica Beach. The sunbather, Jesse Pace received injuries to his shoulder, chest and hip, requiring surgery and a 7-day hospital stay. Lifeguards are required to check around their vehicles before putting the gear into drive.
Safety procedures for lifeguards in vehicles have been called into question as at least five sunbathers have been driven over by lifeguards within the past five years on Los Angeles County beaches. Last year there was a similar lawsuit filed in Venture County as a female sunbather was killed when run over by a lifeguard. The surviving family is suing for $10 million.
Three major tort reform bills have passed the Oklahoma State Senate. One bill, SB 824, is authored by Democratic State Senator Susan Paddack, which protects doctors against frivolous lawsuits. The bi-partisan bills passed an evenly divided Senate and now make their way to the House.
The other two lawsuit reform bills, SB 1024 and SB 507 are sponsored by republican senators, Owen Laughlin and Cliff Branan, respectively. SB 1024 helps teachers and educators maintain discipline in the classroom without fear of lawsuit.
SB 507 was written initially to protect volunteers and others who help charitable organizations remain exempt from liability when helping in emergency situations such as transportation needs. Democratic Senator Jay Paul Gumm, then tacked on a seemingly unrelated amendment to this bill to protect firearm manufacturers from liability from criminal use of their weapons.
Tort reform has been a hot button issue in recent times, pitting Republicans and Democrats against one another in sometimes quite contentious battles. Many see tort reform as means to redistribution of wealth within this country while others view it on purely ideological basis. It is refreshing, however, to see politicians working out common sense tort reform issues on a bi-partisan basis that will benefit the most people possible.
In Missouri, a Jackson County jury awarded plaintiffs in a class action suit $17 million in damages against American Family Mutual Insurance Company for using aftermarket (non-OEM) parts in their vehicles. In a case that combines both elements of products liability and fraud, the suit alleged that the aftermarket crash parts that were used were of substandard quality and constituted a safety hazard. The suit also alleged their was a failure to disclose the extent that non-OEM parts were being used.
In 2005, insurance giant St. Farm Mutual faced a similar and larger lawsuit tabbed at $2 billion for using inferior aftermarket parts and failing to disclose the extend to which these parts were being used. The suit also alleged that it was St. Farm’s internal policy to use non-OEM parts on identified groups of people who most likely would not challenge the use of such parts or the insurance company’s practices in court.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a defamation of character lawsuit against the Ames Tribune newspaper go forward. The lawsuit, according to the Associated Press is being brought by a former freelance writer for the paper, Todd Stevens.
The lawsuit involves a negative article in 2002 about the Iowa State University athletics department, written by Stevens, which editors at the Ames Tribune then declined to print. At issue are alleged comments by the editors that Stevens rarely attended the events about which he wrote.
While it is not easy to sue the government, litigation over conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the future, is indeed possible. President Bush called the conditions at Walter Reed an example of medical negligence. Others have used stronger terms to declare the deplorable conditions at the hospital.
Major General George Weightman was fired last week as commander of Walter Reed as news reports surfaced about black mold, rats and peeling paint within the facility. Bureaucratic red tape, overwhelmed and under trained staff and failure to inform higher ups in authority have been blamed for the unacceptable conditions.
President Bush has signed an executive order to create a bipartisan commission to review conditions at Walter Reed and other similar facilities nationwide. It remains to be seen how many Walter Reed lawsuits will be filed in the weeks and months to come as the investigation unfolds.
The last blog posting was in regard to a lawsuit over a sperm bank in New York that had lost several embryos. This brought to mind that there are several other lawsuits over sperm lately in the news that needs to be discussed.
For instance, the paternity of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby DannieLynn, may actually be from Smith’s late husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall. It has been rumored that Marshall’s sperm was frozen before his death and used to impregnate Smith.
In another case, a Los Angeles man is suing a sperm bank for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress when he discovered a concealed camera in the ceiling of the private sperm donation room.
A man in Portland, Oregon is suing a sperm bank, when the company allegedly gave the sperm he was saving for his fiancé to the wrong woman. The $2 million lawsuit is being brought against Oregon Health & Sciences University.
A New York woman is suing a midtown sperm bank for giving her the wrong sample. Her late husband had donated his sperm when he had cancer and she conceived a child after his death. The white couple had a black baby, who is now 4-years-old and has been subjected to taunts.
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