Top Maryland Court Upholds Cap on Pain and Suffering Awards

Maryland’s highest court upheld the state’s limit on jury awards for pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuits Friday.

The 6-1 decision by the Court of Appeals was made in a case that slashed a jury award from $4 million to about $1 million to the Davidsonville parents of a 5-year-old boy who drowned in 2006 in a Crofton swimming pool.

The limits that were first enacted 25 years ago amid arguments that high awards threaten the affordability of insurance for businesses and discourage physicians from entering high-risk specialties. Opponents of the limits will be disappointed that accountability of those who wreck others’ lives has now been severely compromised. [read more]

Toyota Settles Saylor Lawsuit

Toyota Motor Corp. has quietly settled a high-profile lawsuit over a fatal crash near San Diego last year that drew national attention to sudden acceleration in its vehicles and led to massive recalls and an unprecedented apology from its president.

The automaker revealed the settlement in a letter to a California Superior Court judge, but declined to provide any details of the terms, which it is seeking to keep confidential.

By getting the case off its growing plate of legal woes, Toyota can focus on an aggressive strategy to fend off lawsuits with less dramatic evidence, many of which point to potential electronic problems in vehicles. [read more]

Dallas Commentator Wants Harsher DUI Sentencing

Sharon Grigsby, editor at the Dallas Morning News, was upset when she saw the headline: “FATAL DWI nets four years.”

As the story is described, a 26 year old Plano woman got so drunk that she drove on the wrong side of the Dallas North Tollway, and crashed head-on with an SUV. The driver of the SUV, a teenager, was killed, and his best friend injured.

But the woman had a great Dallas DUI attorney who got her “off” with a 4 year sentence. She’ll be eligible for parole in two years. But Grigsby says that even the average sentence in such crimes – 15.7 years – is way too short.

One can argue it both ways. Yes, the victim is dead and isn’t coming back. To his loved ones, it’s every bit as painful as if he were murdered. But 15 years for drunk driving? It’s a matter of opinion…

$12M Settlement Recommended By Judge In Peanut Butter Salmonella Case

Peanut ButterLast year, more than 120 personal injury claims were filed in an outbreak of salmonella poisoning stemming from peanut butter served at a long-term care facility in Minnesota. 45 children became ill and 9 persons died. The cases have been winding their way through the legal system.

The supplier, Peanut Corp., ended up filing for bankruptcy in the aftermath of the disease outbreak. The company’s insurer, Hartford Casualty, however, will be providing money to the victims. The question was: how much?

Last Wednesday, Judge Michael Urbanski came up with a recommendation: in total, an amount of $12 million should be awarded. If the amount is approved by a bankruptcy judge, then the settlement can go forward.

Woman Deafened by Screaming Child, Wins Lawsuit

Screaming Child Causes Deafness, LawsuitIt sounds like an urban legend, but it isn’t: a child sitting on an airplane screamed so loudly that the sound caused deafness in a woman sitting next to him. She sued the airline for failing to protect her health and safety—and won.

We’re not kidding. It actually happened in Australia. An American tourist named Jean Barnard boarded a Qantas flight from Alice Springs to Darwin. Across the aisle sat a three-year-old boy.

Before the plane took off, the boy suddenly leaned over, and screamed at the top of his lungs. [read more]

Lawsuit Filed Against Zimmer, Inc. Because of Durom Cup Failure

Zimmer Durom Cup Failure LawsuitA personal injury lawsuit has been filed by plaintiff Karen Hoggarth against the US’s largest manufacturer of orthopedic devices, Zimmer, Inc. Attorney of record is personal injury lawyer Wendy R. Fleishman of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP.

According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Ms. Hoggarth has suffered extreme pain since having hip replacement surgery in 2008. She will now have to undergo surgery for a second time. The reason for the failure of the first surgery is the “Durom Cup,” a hip implant produced and marketed by Zimmer, Inc. [read more]

Beware “Out of Court” Statements

Beware out of court statements!The "right to remain silent" is familiar to anyone who has watched a crime show on TV.

But plaintiffs in personal injury cases should also be aware that any statements they make at the scene of an accident or elsewhere can, and often will, be used against them.

So if you were in an accident, or injured, or are otherwise thinking of commencing a civil lawsuit, you should know that "silence is [usually] golden" - especially when your attorney is not present to advise you of any potential pitfalls. [read more]

“Emotional Damage” Award To Be Reviewed By Judge

Tom Girsch Scored Big in His LawsuitTom Girsch worked as a high school teacher for the Cedar Valley Catholic Schools. When Girsch, who was divorced, remarried without first obtaining a church annulment of his first marriage, the Archdiocese of Dubuque fired him.

The Catholic Church does not recognize civil divorces, only church annulments. Since Girsch had not obtained one, he was, in the Church’s eyes, “living in sin” with his new spouse and therefore unfit to serve as a role model for high school students.

With the help of attorney Mark Zaiger, Girsch filed a lawsuit...   [read more]

CVS Sued For Alleged Wrong Dosage Causing Injury

In 2009, Santa Barbara resident Charles Stevens was prescribed an anti-diarrheal medicine, Lomotil. Stevens, 70, went to fill the prescription at the CVS pharmacy on upper State Street where the store’s pharmacist, Caroll Petrin, allegedly provided him with a bottle of Warfarin Sodium, a blood thinning medication. Stevens, already on a blood thinner, reportedly suffered massive bleeding and was rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by his wife. [read more]

Girl Run Over by Own Father Gets $24 Million Personal Injury Award

Diana Yuleidy Loza-Jimenez It was a tragic accident. Simon Loza Mejia, a truck driver, was making a routine haul from Oregon to California and back in November of 2004. Because it was the Thanksgiving weekend, he used the drive as an opportunity to visit relatives, and took his 14 year old daughter, Diana, and other family members along with him on the trip.

They stopped for a rest in the area of Mount Shasta. Then Loza Mejia climbed back into the driver’s seat. Diana, however, had not gotten back into the truck. As her father started to drive away, the girl was caught underneath the big rig’s rear wheels.

Her injuries were horrific. Evidence later presented in court indicated that she would require numerous surgeries on her lower body, and that her “private functions” would be affected for the rest of her life.

The case is of particular interest because of the parties involved. No, the girl did not sue her own father, who was heartbroken over the incident. Rather, veteran Sacramento personal injury attorney Robert A. Buccola went after the firm that had hired Loza Mejia, Freeway Transport, Inc. Buccola believed that the employer was legally responsible for any injury caused in the course of business to a third party, even if the person was related to the driver. And he turned out to be right. [read more]

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