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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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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July 16, 2014

General Motors Prepares to Pay Out Big in Relation to the Numerous Recall Lawsuits

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a recent report from the Associated Press, the attorney in charge of compensating the victims of the recent rash of crashes due to the GM recalls announced that there will be no limit to the amount of money GM will shell out to victims and their families. Currently, thirteen deaths have been linked to various accidents due to recalls in GM automobiles over the course of the last year. This figure, however, may be artificially low, as it relies on GM’s own admissions. It is expected that hundreds of other lawsuits will be filed once the specifics of the fund are established.

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The recalls affected a number of General Motor vehicles, but were primarily centered around the Saturn Ion and the Chevrolet Cobalt. Each of these vehicles had ignition switch problems that had the potential to leave drivers with no way to control the vehicle.

The attorney in charge of compensation—who is paid by GM, but is not technically an employee of the company—says that the most recent recalls will not be eligible for the limitless compensation fund, as the company sees the most recent recalls as a separate issue. Additionally, only those lawsuits alleging problems with a vehicle's ignition switch will be eligible for the recovery fund.

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July 9, 2014

Criminal Charges Won’t Be Filed Against Secret Service Agents for Shooting Mother on Capitol Hill; Civil Charges Remain

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Last October, Secret Service agents and Capitol Police officers shot and killed a woman who failed to stop her black Infinity at a security checkpoint and led them on a chase throughout the nation’s capitol. According to an article by the National Journal, the officers and agents will not be prosecuted by the Justice Department. However, the civil charges alleging the wrongful death of the victim still remain.

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According to police documents, the woman failed to stop at a security checkpoint, knocking over a bicycle rack with her car, which knocked down a police officer. From there, she sped away towards Capitol Hill. She drove her car over a curb near the Reflecting Pool, where she was surrounded by officers. She then put the car in reverse and hit one officer. It was at this point that the officers shot the woman. She was shot five times from two different directions. Her 14-month-old child was in the back seat the whole time. The child was not injured, thankfully.

The Justice Department stood by the officers’ decision to use deadly force, explaining that situation fit within the parameters for the permissible use of deadly force. The family of the woman, however, still has a pending wrongful death action against the officers and the police force for using excessive and unnecessary force.

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July 1, 2014

Maryland Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Landowner's Duty in Accidental Drowning Case

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In 2010, a young three-year old boy died when he climbed through a gate and into a swimming pool in his parents’ apartment complex. The family of the boy filed charges against the apartment complex, among others, alleging that they were negligent because they breached "a duty to maintain the Country Place pool in a reasonably safe condition for all residents of Country Place Apartments, and particularly children of all ages."

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At trial, the defendants claimed that they didn’t owe the boy any duty of care (and thus could not be held liable for the accident) because the boy was trespassing when he entered the closed pool. However, the boy’s family pointed to a Maryland law that required all pools be properly fenced in and argued that the defendants were negligent per se for their failure to comply with that law.

At trial, the court died with the defendants, finding that the law creating a duty only came into play once it was established that the person in question was not a trespasser. However, on appeal to the intermediate court, the decision was reversed. That court held that the statutory duty arose regardless of the injured person’s status.

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June 25, 2014

Maryland Court Keeps Out Important Testimony Favorable to the Plaintiff in Hit and Run Accident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In a recent case in front of the Maryland Court of Appeals, the court held that testimony from witnesses that the driver of the car causing the accident fled the scene and then returned a short time later laughing before he then left again, was inadmissible in a claim for damages against that driver.

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In the case Alban v. Fiels, the Albans were an elderly couple who were hit while driving in their truck by Mr. Fiels. The Albans’ vehicle sustained more damages than Fiels, and they were immobilized. In fact, Mrs. Alban was stuck in the car until firefighters came to extricate her.

Mr. Fiels fled the scene but did so down a road that had no outlet. Knowing that the road the driver fled down had no outlet, a nearby witness waited for the driver to return. When he did, the witness noticed that the driver slowed down and then sped off, laughing.

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