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Defective Airbags

Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Jacksonville, Florida resident Patricia Mincey, who has sued Jacksonville-based Honda Motor Company, Duval Motors and Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corp., which made the defective airbags that her vehicle was in possession of, which caused her back to break after said airbags had exploded during a crash two years ago and made her a quadriplegic, recently passed away.

Mincey’s case against the companies would be rescheduled for trial on Aug. 15, 2016 in Duval County.

Attorneys for the family said they had uncovered overwhelming evidence that Takata falsified test results regarding their airbags, but never informed Honda about said test results, and that what the attorneys discovered gave credence to their lawsuit alleging that Takata knew about the defective airbags in 2001 and Honda learned about them in 2004, but neither of the companies immediately issued a recall.

Palm Beach Gardens attorney Ted Leopold, who is employed at a Washington, D.C. law firm that is handling the case, said Mincey’s death is related to the 11 fatalities he knows of which had been the direct result of the defective airbags in the Hondas manufactured in the United States, noting, “Takata knew that millions of vehicles would be driven with defective airbag inflators and vehicle occupants would be killed, or, like Patricia Mincey, seriously injured…the only thing the company did not know was the names of the people who would be killed or injured and the date those incidents would occur.”

According to documents analyzed by Reuters, Takata’s plant in Mexico had a defect rate that was “six to eight times above” acceptable limits, meaning there had been around 60 to 80 defective parts for every 1 million airbag inflators shipped.

Takata, meanwhile, denied allegations that they had prior knowledge of such defects, and said that such reports ae “fundamentally inaccurate” and “unfairly impugned the integrity of Takata and its employees”.

Attorneys at Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller and Overbeck, P.A. say that Takata is currently facing civil fines of $14,000 per day for not cooperating with federal investigation regarding the defective airbag inflators. As of April 14, 2016, there are still 85 million Takata airbag inflators in the U.S. that have yet to be called, information on the website of the LaMarca Law Group, P.C. shows.

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Open Carry/Gun Laws

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Gun Control | 0 comments

Texas Attorney General Kenneth “Ken” Paxton, Jr. called out Dallas County for disallowing the carrying of firearms at a facility that housed courts, but he did not do so when Austin City Hall made the similar move.

There has been instituted a new law in the state of Texas last year that allow its residents to question the “no gun” signs that government entities post within their vicinity, especially if said firearms are concealed guns, giving teeth to a 2003 law that solidifies the right of handgun license holders to carry guns at most state or local government property. And so, when Paxton served Dallas County with a notice of violation, it is expected that the city of Austin would receive the same notice of violation. It didn’t.

What happened was, unlike Dallas County, the city of Austin took down its “no guns” sign at its city hall, even if it kept its gun ban in place in the building which housed its courthouse. Because the notice of violation specifically focused on the “no guns” sign, when Austin took down their sign, technically, they had complied with the ordinance of doing away with the gun ban.

Also, they can be said to not be violating any new law, because the exception in the law for where guns can be banned is the “premises of any government or court offices utilized by the court”.

Some residents argue that this provision allows gun ban on any building utilized by the court – meaning, the whole building, and not merely the part of the building which utilizes the court, is subject to the gun ban. Some residents want a narrower interpretation of the new ruling.

Paxton, a Republican, is of the opinion that government buildings cannot ban guns just because a part of their location is used by the courts or has a court-like function, meaning he might not agree with how Austin interprets the new law, attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter say.

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Court Reporting: A career to be considered

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in Court Reporting | 0 comments

Court reporting is a job that offers a lot of flexibility, opportunities, and career growth.

In a demanding and highly-valued job such as this, more and more people are being called to take a crack at it. They are afforded more leeway, given more incentives, and allowed more liberties. For instance, any person who graduated from a four-year college course can become a court reporter, and a fresh graduate can apply for the post. They can work from home, formulate a working schedule that would best fit their lifestyle, and experience employment opportunities in more than just courtrooms.

Those who do not have a college degree are not discriminated against. High school graduates can become stenographers or court reporters with little training, while more seasoned employees can also get themselves a more challenging job at courthouses.

Tri-C court reporting and captioning program manager Kelly Moranz said there are not a lot of people who have a personal interest in jobs leaning towards court reporting, noting, “People don’t usually roll out of bed and say they want to be a court reporter.”

According to Stratos Legal, one reason for the lack of interest of people in these jobs is the fact that they are not aware that being a stenographer does not necessarily mean spending your life sitting in court recording live testimony. Other people graduate to taking depositions in law offices, or providing the transcript for closed captioning for live press conferences, television, and sporting events, among others.

The captioning and court reporting program at Cuhayoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio provides certification for students who have completed between 18 months and three years of training, depending on how much they can commit and how badly they want to climb up the court reporting ladder.

Starting salaries for court reporting are between $45,000 and $55,000 a year, with more enthusiastic reporters making as much as $100,000 per year.

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Apple vs. Android: What do lawyers use?

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Mobile Apps | 0 comments

Recent research has identified that attorneys in America are more likely to use an iPhone over other phones to go about their daily lives as purveyors of justice, whose tasks include storing the names and numbers of clients, judges, and witnesses relevant to their cases; conducting various researches into matters that might have an impact on their case; scheduling events in their personal and professional lives in their calendar; and maintaining communication with their firm.

In fact, the American Bar Association‘s 2012 Tech Survey shows that of the 89% of American lawyers who use a smartphone to facilitate their practice, 31% use a BlackBerry and only 16% use an Android; 49% of them use an iPhone.

Why do American lawyers prefer the iPhone? One factor might be because with other smartphones, one cannot download apps from third-party websites. Also, an app accessed in an iPhone can be used on an iPad and a Macbook, providing the user with flexibility, versatility, and accessibility.

An iPhone’s settings also have the ability to block some of an app’s intrusive processes of gaining personal information from your phone.

An iPhone also has the all-powerful iCloud, which can be pretty convenient when accessing emails or valuable documents, especially if one is in out-of-the-way places and has no time to go back to the office to grab that file. However, like with the BlackBerry and Android, the iCloud requires you to agree to term of service that states that “Apple may access, use, preserve, and/or disclose your Account information and Content to law enforcement authorities, government officials, and/or a third party, as Apple believes is reasonably or necessarily appropriate”, meaning Apple can use your information for reasons they see fit.

Finally, an iPhone has a long-lasting battery life and performance. An iPhone can function up to 10 hours, depending on gravity of usage. To contextualize, the iPhone can play music non-stop for 40 hours and remain on standby for 225 hours. Be warned, though, that heavy browsing quickly drains an iPhone’s battery.

According to Big Momma Apps, it is important that a law firm should have an app that provides information about itself, not only as means for advertisement, but also to perpetuate accessibility and communication continuity with its clients.

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Limousine Car Accidents

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

Edgerton, Wisconsin-based limousine company Lyons Limousine and 20-year-old Janesville resident and driver Aaron Nash are being sued by 45-year-old Michael Johnson and 53-year-old Robert Rosa, both of Fitchburg, who are among those injured in a fatal accident that occurred on March 25, 2016 as Nash was driving Johnson, Rosa, 53-year-old Monona resident Terri Schmidt, 59-year-old Monona resident Kevin Schmidt, 61-year-old Verona resident Louis Corning, and 64-year-old Verona resident Donald Corning to Chicago, Illinois’ O’Hare International Airport for a vacation in Mexico.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Cook County Circuit Court last Thursday, April 14 and which alleges five counts related to personal injuries received from negligence, also identifies Lyons Limousine owner Patrick Lyons and another company Nash works for, Zenith Limousine, as defendants.

The limousine flipped over and killed Terri Schmidt when Nash hit a construction barricade on the Illinois Tollway near Elgin. Police said Nash told them that he was blinded by the sun, causing him to not see the traffic pattern.

According to federal law, a person needs to be at least 21 years old to be allowed to drive commercial vehicles such as limousines. Federal authorities said on Tuesday, April 5 that they had shut down the operations of Lyons Limousine after investigations into the deadly accident uncovered that it was guilty of several violations.

According to the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Lyon Limousine’s use of unqualified and underage drivers with poor driving records, lack of inspection, repair and maintenance records, and complete disregard of the hours-of-service regulations substantially increases the likelihood of death or serious harm to drivers, passengers, and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately”, with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman Duane DeBruyne adding, “The immediate aspect is the company is not allowed to operate”.

The website of the Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group says that since limousines are large vehicles with a wide turn radius, they probably are susceptible to big blind spots. Also, because of its size, limousines have a smaller space or room with which to stop in case its driver followed the vehicle preceding it too closely, or if its driver gets distracted by the phone or the global positioning system; this means limousines are more prone to crash as compared with smaller vehicles, adds the website of Karlin, Fleisher, and Falkenberg.

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Personal Injuries: Strange Personal Injury Cases

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Attorneys at Williams Kherkher say on their website that personal injury accident cases filed and heard in various courts are usually serious matters, most of the time concerning the lives of people who have been affected by the negligent actions of other individuals or parties.

However, some people have a loose definition of personal injury, according to Goings Law Firm, LLC. Below are some examples of people who have filed bogus claims, whether they be intentional or not.

A 57-year-old woman who willingly visited a Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights haunted house filed a personal injury lawsuit, claiming she suffered undue fright because a chainsaw-wielding employee of the haunted house did not stop his scare tactics even as the woman slipped and fell as she was trying to run away from him. The case was dismissed because the woman alleged mental and psychological trauma; however, if she had incurred injuries due to her fall and her lawsuit was all about negligence on the part of the haunted house for failing to properly ensure the safety of its structure, the case would have been considered by the courts.

A woman in Israel sued a television news station because a weather reporter had failed to forecast the weather conditions correctly, causing her to dress inappropriately. The woman was awarded $1,000.

A New York man bit into his Subway sandwich and found a serrated knife inside his bread. He didn’t sustain any injuries from the move, but he did say that he fell ill after biting into the part of the sandwich that had been contaminated by the knife. He was awarded $20,000 but initially sued for $1 million.

The parents of a 27-year-old man sued Sea World after their son was killed when he snuck off after hours into the theme park, entered a killer whale’s tank, and swam with it. The case never went to trial because the parents of the deceased dropped their lawsuit.

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Insurance Bad Faith

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Insurance | 0 comments

In a panel rehearing petition on March 21, 2016, Richmond, Virginia-based Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. said that the three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit made an error in overturning an Alabama federal judge’s summary judgment ruling for Atlantic that says the company did not deny a yacht owner’s claim in bad faith by applying constructive knowledge rather than actual knowledge, which is standard to finding bad faith in insurance cases.

The appeals court ruled on Feb. 29, 2016 that Atlantic should have had prior knowledge that reports on fire damage to Mr. Charlie of Mr. Charlie Adventures LLC – a yacht which was insured by Atlantic. However, Atlantic contended that the “should-have-known” standard is used for negligence cases, but bad faith requires a standard that the person or party that allegedly committed the alleged bad faith action actually has proper knowledge that the information was bad.

In its petition, Atlantic said that the yacht pilot Kim Kornegay “did not produce, and the court made no finding that the court produced sufficient evidence that Atlantic had actual knowledge that it lacked a debatable reason to deny coverage or intentionally failed to determine whether it had a debatable reason.”

The case was an offshoot of a fire that had occurred in the engine room of the Mr. Charlie being operated by Kornegay in March 2013, which caused the boat to completely burn down to the water line. Kornegay then filed a claim with Atlantic under a policy that provides that the insurer would not pay for damage caused by wear and tear, deterioration, marine life, or the failure to maintain the boat in good condition.

Atlantic informed Kornegay in September 2013 that it was denying the claim after Guy Plaisance and Gary Jones, two experts that the insurer hired to make an investigation of the fire, said that the fire was caused by growth of marine life on the yacht that caused the blockage of the intake of water, which would have cooled the engine and the exhaust system. After that, Atlantic asked for a declaratory judgment from an Alabama federal judge, stating that the coverage denial was correct.

The website of Smith Kendall, PLLC say that the institution of punitive damages to insurers who deal in bad faith practices is important as it acts as a deterrent for insurers to not engage in such unlawful and unfair practices and conduct business dealings fairly, provided that punitive damages are significant enough to warrant obedience of the law.

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