December 2009 News - The New York Personal Injury Law Blog

The New York Personal Injury Blog

December 2009 Archives

Arson Witness Wanted For Questioning

Recently, there was a fire in Brooklyn that claimed the life of one person, Sofia Olivo, and injured five others. In connection with this case, the NYPD is looking for a man that they believe may have witnessed something crucial to their investigation. 

 
Is there any way that a witness could be included in a personal injury lawsuit? 

Clown's Personal Injury Against NYPD Flops

This to me is further proof that clowns are menacing.

Recently, a New York City clown who was suing the NYPD for emotional and physical injuries lost his case. He claimed that the officers had used excessive force when they arrested him for having a suspicious device that would later turn out to be a balloon inflater. They were ready for him after being notified when he left a second device at a Starbucks the previous day.

It doesn't take clown college to figure out that you don't leave a "suspicious package with tubes and wiring" at a popular location (as reported by the AP). This city has seen too much to assume that such a foreign and discarded thing isn't dangerous or explosive. We live in a time where you can't be too safe, and I believe that these officers were acting for the safety of everyone who entered that Starbucks.

Engineer Lies About Safety Check For Balcony

A member of the FDNY may have a personal injury case stemming from the collapse of a balcony one year ago. Vasilios Kourkoumelis, 34, a licensed engineer, was supposed to make sure that the balcony was up to code. He signed off on the structure without ever inspecting it.

When there was a fire, Andrew Shierer, a firefighter, was battling the blaze when the balcony collapsed and Shierer fell 30 feet. The NY Daily News reports that even though the fall was substantial, Shierer escaped with an injured shoulder.

What needs to be proven for a negligence case?

Hotel Worker Accused Of Raping Guest

Tourists visiting New York will be more weary after reading this story.

At the Dream Hotel, Jaime Marin Lopez Mendoza, 27, has been accused of raping a guest while she slept

NY 1 reported that a 28-year-old woman and her boyfriend were very drunk, and Mendoza helped them back to their room. Later on, the woman claims that she woke up to Mendoza raping her. 
The idea that a person could be raped while they sleep is incredibly frightening. In Pennsylvania there was a case of a woman being raped in her sleep.
 
However, there have also been cases that have emancipated the accused. In the New York Criminal Law Blog, there is an article about how William McCaffery was cleared of rape charges after his accuser admitted to lying

 

This case will be monitored for further updates.

New York Injury Lawyer Says Spa Disabled Client's Butt

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A New Yorker is suing a spa for "disabling injuries during a procedure to augment her unflattering buttocks" (NY Daily News). Tania Solis is suing for medical malpractice. Her New York personal injury lawyer is saying that the Bell Stetika Spa lacked "skill and competence."

If they are gong to take the spa to court for medical malpractice, they will need to prove negligence or that the spa was at fault for her "injuries."

This case will depend on what exactly her injuries are. In the news article, she describes them as "disabling injuries," but she does not elaborate any further.

The injury itself is important because in order to prove negligence or fault, you have to know what the injury is and how it could have been caused.

EMTs Claim They Were Never Asked To Help Rennix

There are new developments in the case of two EMTs, Jason Green and Melisa Jackson, who left Eutisha Rennix untreated which may have led to her death and the death of her unborn baby.

The EMTs that were in Au Bon Pain when Rennix began to have trouble, claim that they were "never asked to examine her or told the extent of her condition;" they were "only asked to call an ambulance" (as reported by NY1). 
 
Their lawyer also claims that none of the other employees seemed too concerned about Rennix, so the EMTs did not think that the situation was life-threatening. 
 
 

Can I Sue If The Defendant Died?

In a recent crash, that was fatal to four men and left 2 men in critical condition, police believe that speed  was the main factor. CBS 2 News reports that Wilmer Hernandez, 31, Jesse Maldonado, 19, Erlin Rubio, 24, and Jose Rivers, 31, all perished in the accident.  

The force of the accident was so great that when one of the cars hit another vehicle and a tree, "the car split in half on impact."

If speed was the factor that caused this collision, could the families of the victims (and the surviving victims themselves) could hire a New York injury attorney to sue the person responsible?

A Way To Make NY Taxi Drivers Pay: Taxi Hack

A new website has been launched in the fashion of Holla Back NY, in which people can post descriptions of the cab drivers and what they did or didn't do. Taxihack.com is the place for people to vent about poor or distracted taxi driving

 
While New Yorkers are encouraged to dial 311, to voice an official complaint, Taxi Hack allows other people to view the "warnings."
Just like Holla Back New York, Taxi Hack was made out of necessity. Enough people were feeling victimized, so they created a way for the victims to regain power and fight back. There are many examples for why a person would need to vent on Taxi Hack and contact a New York personal injury attorney.

Injury Possible From Expired FDNY Equipment?

New York injury lawyers might have a medical malpractice issue to deal with now that the "FDNY has canceled regular maintenance on the life-saving machines [defibrillators]." The NY Daily News reports that the LifePak 12 defibrillators, in the Advanced Life Suppor ambulances (ALS), that used to receive a tune up every 6 months will no longer be having that service.

Now, the ALS coordinators have been told by the Assistant Chief of EMS John McFarland to "keep all expired LP12s in service."

Hmm... I know that budgets are tight, but do we have to cut the program that would make sure that one of the most necessary pieces of equipment in an ambulance works?

While the FDNY says that the cancelled service is nothing to worry about since the repairs every six months was more than the manufacturer required, the term "expired" does not create a positive image.

Train Delayed: Can The Weather Erase Human Blame?

NBC New York reported that "150 people were stranded on a Long Island Rail Road train for more than five hours by a combination of snow drifts, icing, traffic problems, and equipment failure due to weather."

While the snowstorm last week was a mighty blizzard, does that mean that a train should be that delayed? Could anyone be held accountable for such a huge waste of time or is it out of everyone's hands? 
Well, in this case, since no one was injured, a personal injury case might be a waste of time as well. If, however, someone had a panic attack during the long wait or the train had jolted on the tracks causing the people inside to get bumped and bruised, then there could be a personal injury case. Or if the amount of time in the cold train car had contributed to the person getting an illness, that might be an injury as well. But would a New York personal injury attorney stand a chance against Mother Nature?

EMTs Accused Of Refusing To Help A Dying Woman

The FDNY and the city of New York is beside itself after two EMTs have been accused of leaving a cafe and a woman in need. Eutisha Rennix collapsed in the restroom and NBC New York reports that when people asked the EMTs to help, they allegedly said that they were on break and to call 9-1-1 as they left. Rennix died that morning along with her unborn baby.

EMTs as well as other medical professionals swear to do their best to save lives and respect their patients as they take the Hippocratic oath.
 

NY Fire Victim Plans To Sue City

In this personal injury case there might be several reasons why Shafj Ahammed would be suing New York. With the help of his New York personal injury attorney, Ahammed's main injury is that he is now suffering from depression because he was not able to save one of his neighbors. 

NY 1 reports that tenants perished in the fire. Ahammed has filed his notice of claim, which if approved, will move him on to the civil trial against the city.  

NY At Fault For Teen's Softball Injury?

In the case of a student suing her high school softball coach, Brown, for not properly teaching her how to slide, Alina Cerda, 15, is also suing the city. She claims that Brown's poor lesson resulted in her breaking her ankle while sliding in the mud.

Could this become a slip and fall case? This would be a tricky one to prove since the entire purpose of a slide is to fall. Plus, if the city is found at fault for a slip and fall, then would the coach would be completely off the hook since no amount of training would have made a difference?

Since it has not been specified yet, we can only guess. The most likely reason that the city is involved is because of the condition of the field.

Can An Attorney Protect Our Pets?

The neighbors of Sharon McDonough may have another chance at answers.

 

The woman who was found to have 20 dead dogs buried in her backyard, has had more secrets unearthed. CBS News reports that an additional 22 animals have been found buried in the same backyard.

 

When the officers were investigating the area for the first time, neighbors were concerned that their missing pets were the ones buried in the yard. While the police say that it was "highly unlikely" that the animals found in the yard belonged to the neighbors, if it turned out that Sharon McDonough did kill their pets and bury them, what could she be charged with in a civil case? 

Teen Sues Coach For Poor Slide

Another teen is suing for a school-related sports activity. Earlier this season, a teen sued his school of a dodgeball incident, now Alina Cerda, 15, is suing the city and her high school softball coach for not teaching her how to slide correctly.

Cerda injured her ankle needing "six screws and a metal plate" after sliding into a "mudding base path" (NY Daily News). In addition to the physical therapy and the surgery, her New York personal injury attorney may add pain and suffering for missing out on her freshman season: her team went to the playoffs that year.

Does Cerda have a strong personal injury case?

NY Autistic Man Wins Settlement Against NYPD

A New York, autistic man has been given a settlement of $340,000 after spending over a year in prison for a crime that he did not commit. Ozem Goldwire, 31, was interrogated by NYPD detectives for 21 hours without counsel, which led to the false confession. The NY Daily News reports, "warned that he wouldn't be released if he did not confess, Goldwire wrote a statement claiming he strangled his sister."

His New York lawyer fought to have him released from prison and to have the NYPD held responsible for this miscarriage of justice.

But the question is, was the law followed?

Bedbugs Bad Enough For Injury Attorney?

The last thing that patients at a psychiatris hospital need when they feel like there are bugs crawling on their skin is to actually have bugs crawling on their skin. The new Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, NJ, is the battling a bedbug infestation.

CBS News reports that the $200 million hospital that just opened last year spotted bedbugs on Nov. 11. While no patients have been bitten, and the hospital is aggressively handling the situation with an extermination company that uses dogs that "sniff out" the bedbugs, could the new facility be handed a lawsuit?

It seems like, with over 500 beds on the premises, there might be are a number of lawsuits if the biting were to begin; however since there have been no reported cases of bites, is there any way to claim a personal injury? 

Post Office At Fault For Rats?

Do citizens have any say when they are not the first to open their packages. While it is against the law to open another person's mail, the criminals here are rodents: biting their way through packages at the Cooper Station Post Office. NY 1 reports that some customers are finding their packages chewed, the contents nibbled, and extra "presents" left inside, with their perishables

The people are furious and demand that the Post Office cleans up their act. Do people have any legal rights when it comes to their packages?

What To Do If Assaulted On The Subway

If you are riding on the subway and a man exposes himself to you, masturbates in front of you, or does a number of other lewd, sexual acts, what should you do?

All too often, women are being sexually assaulted on the subway only to have the pervert walk into the crowds and escape.

One of the best things that you can do (in my opinion) to stop the assault and to provide evidence that would aid in his arrest would be to take a picture. So many phones have cameras built into that he may not even know that you are taking the picture. Just have the phone in camera mode, slowly tilt it so it covers the perverts face, and shoot. Then you can take pictures of what he is doing.

Sweatshirts Recalled: Injury Lawyer Needed?

Just before Christmas, there is another recall of a children's product. Certain sweatshirts have been deemed a "strangulation risk" by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

NY 1 reports that 1,200 Hello Kitty Zip Up Hoodie Sweatshirts and 12,000 Virginia Beach-based Sunsations sweatshirts are being recalled because of their drawstrings that go through the hood. If you have purchased the sweatshirts, remove the drawstrings as soon as possible and call the CPSC hotline at 800.638.2772.

Subway Assault Victims Closer To Personal Injury Cases

Recently, Council Member Jessica Lappin introduced a bill that would "require the NYPD to collect data on complaints of sexual harassment on the subway system" (Holla Back New York City).

This would include instances of inappropriate touching, public masturbation, groping, and other offenses. By collecting all of the data, Lappin believes that this "will help police better target areas with a concentration of sexual assault complaints, and will assist women in making informed decisions when traveling on the subway."

The more information that is available, the safer it will be to ride on the subway.

Also, by having this system in place, it will aid the NYPD in apprehending these perverts.

Students Hit By Driver With Suspended License

Another personal injury case may be in the works for two students who were hit by a car on their way to school. The two teens were struck in Brighton Beach before the start of school. NY 1 reports that the driver Oliver Black, 54, is facing charges of "driving with a suspended license and having an unregistered vehicle" and vehicular assault. 

 

Both Elizabeth Lopez and Brian Rosario, 17, had to be treated at a hospital. Luckily, their injuries were non-life-threatening. 

 

It seems like if  they filed a suit, it would depend on many things including where they were walking. If they were on the sidewalk and the car jumped the curb to hit them, or if they were in the cross walk, then their case might be a slam dunk; however, if they were jaywalking, it might be harder for them to prove that Black was at fault. 

Another Baby Bed Recall

Another recall is in the works for a baby product. The "Amby Baby Motion Bed" has been recalled by the government because the CPSC warns that it might cause a child to suffocate. Two babies have already suffocated while in the hammock-like bed. The AP reports that over 24,000 of them, that were made between 2003 to 2009, have been recalled.

Parents are urged to call for a free repair kit: 866.544.9721 or AmbyBaby.com.

Sick Students: Who's To Blame?

Students of three New York schools are getting the day off of school but not for a snow day: a mystery illness. NY 1 reports that one school has 53 students and 6 faculty members that have contracted the sickness, which is "vomiting, diarrhea and low grade fever." In order to snuff out the virus, three schools have been closed, a deep cleaning is underway, and parents are cautioned to lay low for 48 hours.

 

Once the trigger for the illness is discovered parents may be able to hire a New York injury lawyer for a personal injury case. The question is, who will be facing off against the families?

 

When an illness sweeps through a school and is so powerful that it infects so many students, would the school itself be at fault? That might depend on if the school knew about whatever the trigger was. If, for example, they received a shipment of meat that was expired, but they prepared it anyway, then they might be at fault for their negligence. 

Defamation Case Out Of A Rumor?

In a recent story printed by NBC New York News, two high school teachers were sent to reassignment centers after being found together "undressed" in a classroom.

It was reported that they were in the classroom at night, while there was in assembly going on, and a janitor caught them. They are currently being investigated for employee misconduct. Based on the outcome of the investigation, the two may lose their jobs.

 

One of the people who commented on the story wrote that it was all a rumor. Remembering high school, I don't find it hard to believe that a rumor could have taken over the school. If this is true, and the allegations against them are false, could the teachers sue for defamation?

Defamation Q And A

In a recent entry, we went over the basics of libel and slander. Since there are a lot of specific instances that involve these defaming torts, I did some research to dig up more information on what really constitutes defamation. Here are a few specific questions, and sources where you can find more information about that particular aspect of the law.

From who can sue and for what, these resources might make you feel more confident about your rights and how you are protected.  

Hospital Injures Man By Throwing Out Ear

A man is suing New York City after a piece of his ear was thrown out once he arrived at Montefiore Medical Center. Eduardo Garcia, 67, had the piece of his ear, but once they arrived at the hospital, the New York Daily News reports that it posed a "potential risk of contamination or infection" so it had to go.

Now, Garcia is upset that the medics took away his option of trying to have it reattached. But who is really at fault here?

Libel and Slander Lesson

In a town like New York City, many of the personal injury lawyers have to deal with cases that involve libel and slander. Here, there are so many people that it is easy to get lost, so a name means everything. It is the difference between a Gucci purse and a Got-cha purse. 

To better understand what you can sue for, I did some research and found some sources that explain what libel and slander really mean, and how to sue someone for libel or slander in NYC.

NYPD Horse In Personal Injury Case

In a New York City personal injury case, a New Jersey woman is claiming that a NYPD horse bit her leaving "permanent injuries." Mr. Biggs, one of the horses in the New York Mounted Unit, is accused of biting the woman on her forearm.

Since there are not many cases of horses biting and attacking people in New York City, there don't seem to be clear laws on how to handle it. For the following, I will relate the case using the laws designed for dogs, not because the animals are similar in mannerism, but because these laws are more specific.

Artist Or Criminal: Subjects Don't Know She's Watching

A new collection of photographs titled "Stolen Moments" is getting a lot of attention because the people in the pictures are not aware that they are being watched. NBC News New York reports that Yasmine Chatila, the photographer, studies her subjects by looking through their windows. She takes a number of shots, then she edits the landscape and the people so they cannot be recognized.

This has many New Yorkers uncomfortable thinking that someone can take pictures of them inside their home and it isn't illegal.

Where does art end and breaking the law begin?

Monserrate: A Warning About Domestic Violence

New York Senator Hiram Monserrate is believed to be getting off too easy after assaulting his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo. NBC New York reports that even though he was convicted of a misdemeanor in the third-degree for reckless assault, he will not spend a single day behind bars.

If Giraldo had wanted to hire a New York injury lawyer to take Monserrate to civil court, she would have more than enough evidence to take him down: a video of the assault and a hospital visit. The problem is that she claims it was an accident, and she even wants the order of protection removed so they can be together.

Zhu Zhu Pets: In The Clear

In a recent article, I discussed the questionable safety of Zhu Zhu Pets. Well, I am happy to report that the CPSC has cleared the robotic hamsters of all charges. "Mr Squiggles has been exonerated" said the senior vice president of sales Bruce Katz.

The AP article detailed that the group GoodGuide.com tested the toy with a method that is not recognized by the CPSC. Apparently, they used a "special gun" that uses X-ray technology to gage the amount of lead, antimony and other chemicals.

Medical Malpractice For Plastic Surgeon

New York injury lawyers may have full schedules from one doctor's medical malpractice.

A New York plastic surgeon had her license suspended and her office in Connecticut closed because of horrendous conditions. Among many of the office's indiscretions, there were reused suture sets that had blood and other fluids on them, rust on a sterilizer machine, and animal excrement on some of the equipment.

 

Zhu Zhu Pets: Hamsters In Danger Of Recall?

The insanely popular Zhu Zhu Pets, may bring more than joy if they are under the tree. The group "Goodguide.com" says that the pet hamsters contain antimony which "can cause health problems"  (ABC 7 News).

What are the facts that every parent needs to know?

NY Man Saved From Cesspool Uninjured

In Long Island, Edward Matos is lucky to be alive after a cesspool opened up below his feet and dropped him into chest-deep sludge. ABC 7 reports that if it wasn't for his older children, who pulled him out as quickly as possible, Matos could have succumbed to the methane gas.

If this had been another scenerio, such as if it had been a neighbor who fell in, would they be able to file a personal injury claim against the Matos family?

Personal Injury When Denied Necessities?

Residents of a New York building may be wise to contact a New York personal injury attorney. The tenants have been without gas and hot water for a month reports NY 1 News. That means that what they have to look forward to when they get home is a cold shower and no stove to cook dinner on.

Would the tenants be able to sue the owners of the building for taking so long to do the repairs and denying the tenants their basic necessities?

Teen's Personal Injury Over Free Speech

In Camden, New Jersey, a teen is suing her school  with the help of a personal injury attorney, for violating her right to protest.

The student was planning on showing her support during Pro Life Day, which would consist of her not speaking (except when she is called on in class), wearing an arm band that had "life" on it, and handing out anti-abortion pamphlets.

After reading the story in the New York Daily news about the NYC Transit driver, Jeremy Philhower, who hit Seth Kahn while he was jaywalking, I decided to look up how the jaywalking problem is being handled in the city.

First, I googled, looking for the law and how much of a fine it would be. Imagine my surprise when it couldn't be found on the internet. The entire internet was only sprinkled with little "I think it's a law" or "my cousins cousin got one back in the early 90s."

Where were the facts?

Pomeranian Brings Personal Injury To Man And His Sex Life

So a guy and a dog walk into a bar. Then the guy trips over the dog and sues the restaurant for damages to his sex life.

The man's New York injury attorney doesn't think it's that funny either.

The 81-year-old Irving Grossman was in Austin's Steak and Ale House when he claims that an "unleashed Pomeranian" made him injure his knee. Wearing the brace for two months is what caused the downfall of his sex life. Now he is suing for personal injury.

Dodgeball Injuries: Another School Personal Injury Case

Recently, it seems that so many personal injury cases are about students being injured at school; either by the safety officers  or their friends.

In this case, a New York personal injury attorney would argue that the school is in the wrong for their poor choice to wrangle over a hundred students into the gym and whack each other with soccer balls. In their defense, it was raining out, so they were trying to protect the children from colds... So they had them pummel each other inside.

Mall Mob: Personal Injuries Suffered

There may be several personal injury cases stemming from a New York mall mob.

The kind of unbridled mayhem that was once reserved for rock legends like the Beatles or Elvis has now been taken over by tween boys with Disney affiliations and lovey-dovey pop tunes. When Justin Bieber was scheduled to meet and greet at a Long Island mall, a sea of over 3,000 fans (and their parents) showed. That's when the scheduled attraction changed, to a mob scene.

NY Bans Drop-Side Baby Cribs

Parents of New York, and the country, will have one less thing to worry about when their kids are settled in their crib, as long as it isn't a drop-side crib.

A recall of over 2.1 million cribs is the largest recall in US history reports the ABC 7 News. Any drop-side crib that was manufactured between 1993 and October of 2009 is on the recall list. Because of the danger that these cribs impose, "Suffolk County has become the first municipality in the nation to ban the sale of drop-side baby cribs."