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March 2015 Archives

Domino's Traumatic Brain Injury And Wrongful Death Lawsuit Overturned

A Texas jury has overturned a $32 million judgement against Domino's in the case of a delivery driver crashing into another vehicle, causing traumatic brain injury and death.

In August 2012, Ruth Christopher, 65, and her husband Devavaram Christopher, 70, were hit by a Domino's delivery driver who had hydro-planed and crashed into their car on Major Dr. Police found that wet pavement and a bald tire caused the delivery driver to hydroplane into traffic. Ruth died shortly after the accident and Devavaram was left with a permanent traumatic brain injury.

In Reed Smith Legal Malpractice Suit, Plaintiff Argues Mandatory Arbitration Clause Unenforceable

In his legal malpractice suit against Reed Smith, the owner of a Philadelphia mansion destroyed by fire claims the firm's mandatory arbitration clause can't be enforced.

Plaintiff Jerald S. Batoff responded last week to preliminary objections of Reed Smith that argued Batoff's

legal malpractice case against the firm should be removed from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to private arbitration.

Attorney Confict Of Interest Spurs New Trial In Murder Case

26 years ago, Antwon Dennis was convicted of murder, having been represented by a lawyer hired by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office. A judge has ordered a new trial, siting an attorney conflict of interest that endangered the defendant's right to counsel.

"In this instant action, there was a conflict of interest which at least created a substantial risk that the defendant's confidence would be abused," Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice ShawnDya Simpson wrote in

People v. Dennis, 12843/1989.

Over 100 Ignition Switch Defect Lawsuits Filed Against GM

Ignition switch defect lawsuits against General Motors claiming injuries and deaths are pending in courts throughout the U.S. 

The company has already offered settlements to the families of the 52 killed in ignition-switch-related accidents, and to 79 injured plaintiffs as well, through the GM settlement fund. These other over 100 lawsuits were filed separately from the fund, however, and are still pending in courts around the country and in the MDL in the Southern District of New York.Another over 100 so-called "economic" lawsuits seek class action status, with plaintiffs claiming that GM's mishandling of the defect affected the worth of their vehicles, reducing their resale value and costing customers and dealerships money. About 20 more such lawsuits have been filed in Canada. GM Recalls Increased in 2014 GM began recalling even more vehicles in February 2014, when it pulled back over 750,000 Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles because of problems related to the ignition switches. Some of these switches had been found to turn off on their own, without warning, robbing brakes, steering, and air bags of power. When this occurred during an accident, it could prevent the air bags from deploying, resulting in serious and sometimes fatal injuries to vehicle occupants. Once the recalls began, it seemed there was no end. GM expanded the first one in later February to include 1.6 million cars, and again on March 28 to include an additional over 820,000. By the end of 2014, the manufacturer had recalled more vehicles in a single year than any other automaker in history. Still, critics said the recalls were too little too late, as evidence revealed that GM had been aware of the problem for at least a decade prior to taking meaningful action. GM Still Pulled a Profit According to CBS News, GM still pulled a profit in 2014 despite the recalls, which were estimated to cost $2.8 billion for replacement parts and death and injury claims. The drop in gas prices and rising economy resulted in more buyers for their trucks and large SUVs. Recall costs are expected to continue to increase in 2015, however, as more people file claims against the company seeking compensation for ignition-switch related injuries and deaths, and economic losses. The company is also still under federal investigation, which may result in additional fines and criminal penalties depending on the findings. Will GM Economic Lawsuits Go Forward? According to the Wall Street Journal, GM intends to fight the "economic" lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who believe they should be compensated for monetary losses. Part of the issue is that GM went bankrupt in 2009. GM says once the sale to the U.S. government was approved (in the bail-out), it discarded its lawsuit liabilities. It also claims that its vehicles have not lost value, as plaintiffs claim. Plaintiffs argue that GM should still be on the hook for reduced-value claims as car owners were not informed of the ignition-switch issue before the bankruptcy went through. Originally posted by Eric T. Chaffin on westvirginia.legalexaminer.com. Ignition Switch Defect Lawsuits - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

AT&T Lawyers Missed Deadline To Appeal $40 Million Verdict

Finding AT&T lawyers' missed their 30-day window to appeal a $40 million patent lawsuit verdict, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling preventing appeal due to the missed deadline.

The ruling is a major black eye for AT&T’s lawyers at Sidley Austin and Davis Cedillo & Mendoza, Inc., who missed their 30-day appeal window, and a cautionary tale for lawyers everywhere.

First Bellwether Trials for Granuflo and Naturalyte Lawsuits To Start In Early 2016

Lawsuit settlement funding company Legal-Bay has announced that the first two bellwether trials of Granuflo and Naturalyte lawsuits will take place in January and February of 2016. 

 According to Drug Watch, over 1,800 lawsuits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) under U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock in the District of Massachusetts. The first trial is set to start on January 11th, 2016, with the second bellwether trial starting on February 16th, 2016 (In re: Fresenius GranuFlo/NaturaLyte Dialysate Litigation, MDL No. 2428). The lawsuits against Fresenius Medical Care Inc. claim that the company knew of the danger in their products and failed to adequately warn and inform the public, and there are also allegations that they neglected to warn health care providers as well as properly train them on how to use these dialysis products safely. The lawsuits allege that Fresenius Medical Care failed to warn dialysis clinics - outside its own Fresenius clinics - of potential Alkali Dosing Errors. Claims against Fresenius Medical Care include patients who have suffered injury or death as a result of using GranuFlo and/or NaturaLyte products during hemodialysis. GranuFlo and NaturaLyte are dialysates used in thousands of dialysis centers to treat patients with kidney disease or failure. Potential injuries and complications from GranuFlo and NaturaLyte products include: heart attack, cardiopulmonary arrest, stroke, and death. A version of this content was originally posted by PR Newswire on Sys-Con.com.  Granuflo and Naturalyte Lawsuits - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles  

California Firm Reaches Settlement In Legal Malpractice Case Over $1 Billion Ponzi Scheme

Sedgwick has reached a tentative settlement in a legal malpractice case which alleges the firm caused $210 million in investor losses due to its involvement in a Ponzi scheme.

A spokesman for the San Francisco law firm, which put off a March 3 trial to begin settlement discussions, confirmed that an agreement had been reached. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

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Woman Sues Firm For Alleged Attorney Negligence In Workplace Injury Case

A Texas woman who sued a nursing home for an on-the-job injury has filed suit against the lawyer who represented her, as well as his firm, alleging attorney negligence led to her losing the case.

Among several things, plaintiff Daysi Castillo alleges that attorney Stephen Paul Carrigan failed to timely file a required expert report and that he initiated settlement negotiations without her authorization, and she alleges that neither Carrigan nor the firm ever explained to her what happened with the lawsuit.

Woman Sues Lawyer, Firm For Reported Malpractice In On-The-Job Injury Case

A Texas woman who sued a nursing home for an on-the-job injury has filed suit against the lawyer who represented her, as well as his firm, alleging the defendants' negligence led to her losing the case.

Among several things, plaintiff Daysi Castillo alleges that attorney Stephen Paul Carrigan failed to timely file a required expert report and that he initiated settlement negotiations without her authorization, and she alleges that neither Carrigan nor the firm ever explained to her what happened with the lawsuit. Castillo brings a negligence cause of action against Carrigan and Carrigan, Cook & Anderson and seeks unspecified damages and interest from Carrigan and Carrigan Cook. Plaintiffs attorney Clay Crawford, of Crawford Law Firm of Houston, said that while he cannot yet estimate Castillo's damages, "she had hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills, and the damages in the legal mal [suit] would be related to that."   Carrigan did not return two telephone messages left at his office or respond to an email seeking a response to the allegations. His partners in Carrigan Cook also did not immediately respond to an email each requesting a comment on the allegations in Castillo v. Carrigan, which was filed on Feb. 25 in the 125th District Court in Harris County. In the original petition, Castillo alleges that she severely injured her back on Aug. 8, 2011, while at work at the nursing home, and she hired Tinsley & Tinsley of Conroe on Sept. 22, 2011, to represent her. She alleges that Paul Tinsley filed a lawsuit on her behalf in Montgomery County on May 14, 2012, but he referred the matter to Carrigan on July 25, 2012. On Aug. 27, 2012, Castillo alleges, County Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Claudia Laird entered an order substituting Carrigan as attorney of record and set the suit for trial on Jan. 22, 2013. Castillo alleges that on Oct. 23, 2012, Laird ordered the case abated pending arbitration, but it went to mediation May 20, 2013. She alleges that mediation was unsuccessful. On May 28, 2013, Carrigan advised Castillo that he had established a new firm, Carrigan, Cook & Anderson, and she executed a new contract with Carrigan Cook. On Sept. 23, 2013, Laird lifted the abatement because the arbitration had not occurred, and set the suit for trial on Dec. 16, 2013, Castillo alleges. However, on Oct. 30, 2013, Castillo alleges, the nursing home filed a motion to "dismiss the arbitration with prejudice" because more than 120 days had passed and Castillo had not filed an expert report under Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code Section 74.351(a). She alleges that Section 74 requires a nonpatient hospital employee who is suing an employer to file an expert report. She alleges that the statute also calls for the court to award attorney fees against a plaintiff if an expert report is not filed, and the nursing home's lawyers sought $13,500 in fees. She alleges that the report was due on Sept. 12, 2012, and "it is indisputable that Mr. Carrigan was the attorney in charge of the lawsuit when the deadline ran." Castillo further alleges that Carrigan and Carrigan Cook failed to make a trial announcement on Dec. 10, 2013, so the trial judge dismissed the case for want of prosecution. Castillo alleges that unknown to her, shortly after the nursing home filed the motion to dismiss, "Carrigan began a settlement dialogue" with a lawyer for the nursing home, and he proposed a settlement agreement calling for the nursing home to dismiss its claim for attorney fees in exchange for Castillo dropping her claims. "This behind-the-scenes negotiation was not authorized by Ms. Castillo. Ms. Castillo never signed the settlement agreement," Castillo alleges in the petition. Castillo alleges that the nursing home "finally quit" asking for signed settlement documents, "apparently satisfied that the case had been dismissed" and that the statute of limitations would prevent her from reasserting her claims. "Mr. Carrigan and CCA were not forthcoming with a candid explanation of how Ms. Castillo's case was lost," she alleges in the petition. However, this is how Castillo's attorney, Crawford, sees it: "It's a pretty simple case. You have a Chapter 74 deadline. It's a hard deadline, and he missed it." A version of this content was originally posted by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys on texaslawyer.com. On-The-Job Injury - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

Former Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Legal Clients

Mike Berlon, attorney and former chairman of the Georgia Democratic party, has entered a guilty plea to charges of defrauding legal clients. 

The 55-year-old, set to be sentenced May 6 and possibly facing jail time, agreed in a plea deal signed last week to pay more than $2 million in restitution to 14 victims. Berlon, who was reportedly pressured into leaving the party in 2013 by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, took the money under the false pretense that he would create trusts for them and instead used it for personal expenses, authorities have said.

Canadian Restaurant Mogul Sued For Serious Personal Injuries In Alleged Florida Sexual Assault

Ronald Joyce, founder of major Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton's, is being sued by a woman over serious personal injuries suffered during an alleged sexual assault by his son on a yacht docked in Fort Lauderdale.

Tim Horton's is a multibillion-dollar fast-casual restaurant chain. In Canada, it's like the equivalent of Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Subway all rolled into one. Tim Horton himself founded the largest Canadian fast casual restaurant more than 50 years ago in Ontario, along with a partner, Ronald Joyce. Miami-based Burger King bought the company last August for $11.4 billion. Although Joyce sold his piece of the company back in the 1990s, Tim Hortons carries his legacy. [caption id="attachment_1057" align="alignleft" width="300"] The Destination Fox Harb'r Too[/caption]   Now, Joyce is being sued in a Canadian court over allegations of sexual assault committed by his son Steven on a mega-yacht last October, according to a lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Feb. 20. The lawsuit alleges that Joyce's son, Steven, sexually assaulted a woman October 24 aboard the 160-foot Destination Fox Harb'r Too yacht when it was docked at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale. Canada's National Post reports that the accuser, Elizabeth Kelly, had been in an on-and-off relationship with the younger Joyce for several years and was in Fort Lauderdale celebrating her 50th birthday aboard the yacht with her friend. The lawsuit alleges that at 4 p.m., Steven Joyce and Kelly were in a stateroom and, as the National Post reports, having consensual sex. A while later, when Kelly's friend came to check on her, Joyce asked if she wanted to join him and Kelly in bed, but she refused. Steven allegedly grabbed the friend's arm and tried to pull her into bed with the couple. In the ensuing struggle, Steven and the friend both fell onto the bed, "catapulting" Kelly to the floor and eventually she injured her left hand. Later that night, Kelly and Steven Joyce took a dip in the hot tub. When Kelly exited the tub, without warning and explanation, Joyce forced Kelly face-down on a chaise lounge chair and subjected her to "vicious sexual battery" during which she begged him to stop, the lawsuit says. The attack left Kelly with "serious and permanent personal injuries and impairments," the lawsuit says, alleging that the attack left her with "rectal tearing and bleeding", trauma and psychologically manipulated. Kelly reportedly claimed that Steven Joyce apologized to her the next day. She never reported the incident to police and only sought attention from medical staff, the National Post reported. But when she got back to Canada, she filed a lawsuit against both of the Joyces, realizing that more damage was done to her than previously thought. She is asking for $5.7 million in damages. Ron Joyce was not there, but because he and M.V. Ships Agencies are listed as the owners of the yacht in the lawsuit, Kelly alleges that they are at fault for failing to keep the yacht in a safe environment. Kelly told the National Post that she sent a letter to the Joyces asking for reparations for medical costs before filing her lawsuit, but never received a response. Ron Joyce thinks he is being targeted because of his wealth. Joyce told media outlets that Kelly's claims have no merit and has 40 days from the filing date to file a response. A version of this content was originally posted by David Minsky on blogs.browardpalmbeach.com. Full article here. Serious Personal Injuries - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

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