October 15, 2014

RECALL: Chrysler Recalls 184,000 Vehicles for Airbag Problems

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this week, the American auto manufacturer Chrysler issued a recall of about 184,000 of its vehicles due to issues related to their airbags. According to a report by the Detroit News, the defect in the vehicles’ airbags was the same type of defect that caused Ford Motor Company to recall approximately 850,000 vehicles earlier this year.

Evidently, the recall affects 2014 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango. The problem is that the vehicles may have internal electrical short-circuits that interfere with the airbags deploying. In other words, the airbag may not deploy when it is supposed to.

In some cases, Chrysler is reporting that the issue may cause the “airbag” light to illuminate on the dashboard of the vehicle.

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October 8, 2014

Baltimore Boy Awarded Over $2 Million in Lead-Exposure Case

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in a Maryland court, a 17-year-old Baltimore boy was awarded over $2 million by a jury after a case involving lead exposure. According to a report by WBALTV, the boy suffered permanent brain damage from lead exposure that occurred while he was living in a Baltimore house between the year of his birth in 1997 and 2001.

According to court documents, the owner of the house had not painted the house in many years, leaving a coat of lead paint exposed on the interior of the home on the 1600 block of East 25th Street in northeast Baltimore. The jury ended up finding the owner of the building as well as the property manager negligent for failing to keep the house up to code.

At trial, the boy’s attorneys submitted evidence that showed the following:

  • The loss of four to five IQ points, as well as cognitive deficits, attention problems, and learning and behavioral issues;
  • Last year, the boy had a 1.0 average GPA, was taking bridge classes, and was taking other measures to graduate on time, although it didn’t look likely; and
  • The boy was tested for lead exposure and had more than double the amount of lead in his blood that qualifies as “lead exposure.”

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October 1, 2014

Maryland’s “Move Over” Law to Expand in Near Future

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Currently, it is the law in Maryland that any driver passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road must move over one lane in order to help prevent an accident. This legislation was passed in the wake of a nationwide trend of accidents involving emergency workers assisting (or ticketing) motorists on the side of the highway.

However, a new law that went into effect on October 1 will extend the category of protected individuals to tow-truck drivers as well as emergency personnel. As it turns out, a number of tow-truck drivers have lost their lives in accidents caused by passing motorists getting too close—much too close, in fact.

In one account, described in a recent article by CBS Baltimore, a tow-truck driver was on the side of the road on Route 100 helping a disabled motorist when he was hit by a car. The car didn’t stop and left him for dead. He left behind a wife and two young children.

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September 23, 2014

Official Death Toll in GM Recalls Reaches 19

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

If you have been reading the news lately, you may be familiar with the various recalls that the car-manufacturing giant GM has made in the past year. The death toll in the GM recalls started off below 10, hovered around 13 for awhile, but now has been increased to 19, according to a recent report by the Daily Record.

The Recall

The GM recalls have been based on a number of faulty parts that were used to manufacture several of the company's most popular models, including the Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion. Often, what would happen is that the car would shut down while being driven, leaving the driver with no control of the vehicle. Unfortunately, many of these incidents resulted in serious injury or death.

Initially, after the first round of recalls, the death toll stood at 13 for several months. However, the man hired by GM to keep track of all the claims against the company recently told reporters that the official death toll is at 19 and may go higher from there. GM has currently set aside $400 million to pay victims and their families, but that number may increase to $600 million as the number of potential plaintiffs increases.

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September 16, 2014

Vaginal-Mesh Lawsuit Results in $3.27 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Recently, Johnson & Johnson was determined to be liable to a woman after she suffered serious injury as a result of using the company’s vaginal sling product. The jury returned a verdict in the woman’s favor for $3.27 million after it determined that the product was negligently designed.

According to a report by the Daily Record, the woman had a vaginal sling implanted in order to help with her incontinence. However, shortly after the sling was installed, she noticed that sex was painful, and there was considerable pain near her groin. She then had to have another surgery later that year to remove the implant.

The company faces over 30,000 other lawsuits claiming that the negligently designed vaginal implants cause injury to the female organ and tend to make sex more painful. Many of these lawsuits have been consolidated by the federal court system in order to make the process easier on the justice system. As a result, however, the plaintiffs are usually bound by the single judge's determinations. For example, the judge recently determined that, while women may be eligible for compensatory damages, the company cannot be required to pay punitive damages for the negligently designed products.

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September 9, 2014

Philadelphia Woman Sues Ocean City for Negligently Maintained Sidewalks

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this summer, a woman from Philadelphia was visiting Ocean City, Maryland with her family when she fell out of her wheelchair and fractured her arm. According to a report by DelmarvaNow, the woman is claiming that the city was negligent in its maintenance of the sidewalk and that she deserves compensation for her injuries as a result.

Evidently, the woman was visiting the boardwalk with her family around 8:00 in the evening. On their way back to their rental condo, the woman was being pushed by her daughter when the family decided to cross from east to west across Philadelphia Avenue.

As the woman’s daughter was pushing her across the street, the woman’s wheelchair suddenly stopped when it hit a raised piece of a rubber warning mat on the ramp on the other end of the intersection. The jolt caused the woman to fall out of her wheelchair and fracture her arm as a result.

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September 2, 2014

Doctor Allegedly Sexually Assaults Second Patient

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this year, a Maryland physician had his license suspended when reports surfaced that he had sexually assaulted a female patient. Last month, another report was made that the doctor assaulted another patient in a similar manner. According to a recent article by one local news source, the second patient is seeking damages in excess of $1.5 million and has named both the doctor and his employer, the MedExpress Clinic.

Evidently, the doctor had been convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint in Florida several years ago. However, since he did not disclose the nature of the crime to the licensing board and only disclosed that he had been convicted of “assault” while under the influence, he was still permitted to be licensed as a physician.

The patient, who is suing the doctor and the clinic that employed him, claims that the hospital should have conducted a further background check into the doctor’s past before putting him in a position where he will be alone with female patients.

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August 27, 2014

Roller Coaster in Maryland Stalls, Trapping 24 People 75-Feet in the Air for Four Hours

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month at Six Flags America, a roller coaster stalled in mid-air, trapping those aboard for four hours while emergency crews tried to reach them and bring them to safety. According to a report by US News and World Report, the “Joker Jinx” came to a complete stop just before reaching its highest point. The riders were stuck on the coaster 75 feet in the air.

According to a Six Flags spokesperson, the roller coaster has a sophisticated safety system in place that stops the ride whenever there is any safety concern. Therefore, the ride didn’t technically break down but stalled to prevent an unsafe situation. As far as Six Flags is concerned, there was no breach of safety, and the riders were never in danger. However, it probably didn’t feel that way for the two dozen people on the ride at the time.

Luckily, no one was hurt, even though it was a hot day and the riders were stuck in the sun for hours. Emergency crews were able to climb up the coaster and take down all the riders before anyone suffered any serious adverse condition.

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August 20, 2014

Woman Who Lost Husband and Two Sons When Home Depot Collapsed Sues Under Negligence Theory

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Back in 2011, a massive tornado swept through Missouri, ripping apart most buildings and homes in its way. One building that was destroyed was a Home Depot home-improvement store. Tragically, dozens of people were trapped inside as the 100,000-pound walls to the store fell. Eight died. In fact, all but 10 of the 73 walls fell inward as the roof was ripped off the store.

Employees told customers to head towards the store’s training room, where they should remain safe. However, as one woman’s husband and two children made their way to the training room, the walls of the store fell on them, crushing them instantly.

The Missouri woman who lost her family in the storm accident recently filed a claim against Home Depot, the store’s designer, and the property owner, a Maryland-based company. The suit alleges that the building was not up to par back when it was built in 2001 and that, had it been constructed properly, the walls would have fallen to the outside rather than fall in on unsuspecting customers.

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August 13, 2014

Maryland State Trooper Shoots Pit-Bull After She Was Bit

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this year in July, a Maryland State Trooper was responding to a call in Mechanicsville when she was attacked by the homeowner’s pit-bull. According to a report by a local news source, the officer was responding to a call regarding a unconscious person inside a home. As the officer entered the home, the dog charged at her.
The officer dodged the dog’s first attack, but it retreated and then came back a second time. In its second attack the dog managed to take away the officer’s baton and bite the officer in the foot. In response to her threatened safety, the officer fired a single shot at the animal, wounding it. The pit-bull then retreated.

The dog ran off after being injured, and police tried unsuccessfully to locate it. Neighbors told responding officers that this was not the first time that the dog had attacked someone.

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August 6, 2014

Baltimore Sun Report Shows Patient Care Lacking and Events Often Unreported

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a recent article by the Baltimore Sun, the paper considers the growing problem of patient safety in hospitals and nursing homes across the State of Maryland. One of the biggest problems with the current system, the author argues, is that it does not require hospitals to disclose errors they make unless those errors result in a lawsuit or if regulators happen to catch the hospital covering up the mistake.

This sort of self-regulation, of course, is not in the interest of prospective patients, who need as much information as possible before making a decision about which hospital to go to for surgery.

The article also points out some startling statistics, including:

  • Medical errors kill over 400,000 Americans each year;
  • Approximately 4,000 Marylanders who are admitted to the hospital each year develop bedsores that progress to an advanced state;
  • The Maryland Health Care Commission identified over 400 cases of blood-stream infection in 2012 alone;
  • According to one government study, hospitals fail to report up to 85% of their mistakes each year;
  • One-fifth of doctors admit to having not disclosed an error to a patient for fear of a lawsuit;
  • In 2013, there were 223 reported “adverse events” (medical mistakes) in Maryland hospitals.

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July 23, 2014

Hopkins’ Gynecologist Videotaped Patient Exams, Resulting in $190 Million Class-Action Settlement

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a truly disturbing case out of John Hopkins, a gynecologist was found to have videotaped the last 25 years of patient gynecological exams. According to a recent article by Bustle.com, roughly 9,000 former patients joined a class action lawsuit, suing the doctor for malpractice. Evidently, that lawsuit has just recently been settled for a total of $190 million. The settlement is the largest of its kind.

Evidently, a search of the doctor’s home in Towson revealed an elaborate system set up to store the 25 years' worth of images. It is estimated that there were over 1,200 photographs and video clips discovered in the doctor’s home. However, there is no indication that any of the evidence found was for anything but personal use, meaning that it is not believed that they have been uploaded to the internet.

After the charges were filed, the doctor was found dead in his basement. Investigators believe that he took his own life after the evidence against him came to light.

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