The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

January 2010 Archives

Jury Clears Doctor In Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The Republican Herald reports that a man in Luzerne County who claimed that he contracted a bone infection in his left thumb is sorely disappointed. The jury in Schuylkill County ruled that Mr. Dennis J. Kowalick should receive nothing from his medical malpractice lawsuit. Mr. Kowalick claims that the medical malpractice occurred back in 2002. The lawsuit was filed on April 26, 2004. Any  would tell you that this case is just plain strange.

The Republican Herald reports that Mr. Kowalick came into the Ashland Regional Medical Center (now the Saint Catherine Medical Center Fountain Springs) in 2002 with a damaged thumb. Apparently, someone had bitten his left thumb.

ACORN Video Prompts Lawsuit

An ACORN employee has filed a civil lawsuit against James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles for the personal injuries that their video caused her.

The lawsuit that was filed on Thursday states that the filmmakers "caused emotional distress, harm and injury" to Katherine Conway-Russell when they showed their "illegally recorded" video to the public (). Conway-Russell, is employed at the ACORN branch in Philadelphia. The video is discussed below by CNN.


Two DE Men Claim Cops Assaulted, Tazed Without Cause

Just outside of Pennsylvania, in Wilmington, Delaware, two men filed lawsuits that claim that they were assaulted without cause. Both of the separate incidents occurred in 2008 ().

reports that the first alleged victim, Chad Tylecki, was waiting for his mother off of Savannah Road when police approached him. His , Patrick Geckle, claims that Tylecki "offered absolutely no resistance" when he was asked to walk out of the marsh and closer to the police. Once he was near, the suit states that they "violently pushed his face into the asphalt" and had him handcuffed and shackled. Tylecki claims that while he was at the hospital to be treated for the cuffing incident, they tazed him (still shackled) when he refused to give them a blood sample.

PA Family May Sue Police For Wrongful Death

In Norristown, Pennsylvania, the family of a deceased man filed court papers, which might mean that they intend to sue police in a wrongful death lawsuit.

reports that the PA personal injury attorney representing the family of Sean Edelman filed a writ of summons, which "preserves a party's right to sue in the future and usually is filed before statute of limitations expire." While writs aren't specific, this one did list "wrongful death and related" as the reasons for why they might be going forward with a civil claim.

In a from January 28, 2008, the Montgomery County District Attorney, Risa Vetri Ferman, described the incident.

McCullom Lake Suing For Cancer

A Pennsylvania courtroom will hold a civil trial against Rohm and Haas for the wrongful death of Franklin Branham.

reports that, "Thirty plaintiffs to date claim that decades of pollution, most notably carcinogenic vinyl chloride, caused brain and pituitary tumors in McCullom Lake and the neighboring Lakeland Park subdivision in McHenry."

An earlier report by the stated that in 2006, at a town hall meeting, the community listened as the county health department explained that the high number of people suffering from cancer in the area was "not statistically significant." They went on to say that the leaked chemicals had not gone into the town's water supply. Their proof that the town was free of danger was on a slide "with a chemical company's logo in the corner of the image."

New Law Concerning Car Ice

New Jersey has enacted a new law that is aimed at protecting motorists from car ice.

While other states, including Pennsylvania, have entertained the idea, New Jersey is the first to act on it. It will be enforced in the winter of 2010-2011.

details the new law.

Woman Injured From Dog Attacking Face

Recently, a woman was the victim of a dog attack in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

reports that Danielle Leven and Kelly Morgan went to pick up their friend Nikki Votta when the attack occurred. After Leven was at the front door, she "opened the storm door and then the front door a crack to yell to Votta." At the time, Votta was in the shower and her dog was out of his cage.

Votta claims that she was able to hear Leven, so she yelled for her not to come in until she put the dog away; however, Leven claims that she did not hear her friend's instructions.

Computer School Closes, Students Sue

The state of Pennsylvania is suing ComputerTraining.com Inc. for closing and not refunding the students' money. In December, the computer training school closed due to financial difficulties, taking nearly $2 million in tuition with it.

The Pennsylvania attorney general, Tom Corbett, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the former students in an effort to return their money. He also hopes that this lawsuit will ban ComputerTraining.com from operating in the state. Corbett believes that the company is at fault because "the schools should have known they were taking money but probably weren't going to be able to provide services" ().

Late Worker's Family Sues For Wrongful Death

The family of Vincent Smith II has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Camden chocolate plant: Lyons & Sons Inc. and Cocoa Services.

Smith was a temporary worker at the plant who fell into "an eight-foot mixing and melting tank" (). While he was inside of the 120-degree liquid, a rotating paddle hit him on the head. The man speaking on behalf of the family, Thomas R. Kline noted that not only were there no guardrails, warning signs, or dry footing, but there was also "no emergency shutoff on the platform above the vat, and there was no gear for others to attempt a rescue."

Kelly Loses Defamatory Lawsuit

Kelly lost his defamation lawsuit against Paul Corbett, the man who made hundreds of fliers claiming that Kelly was, "promoting sodomy to our youth."

reported that Corbett went after Kelly because he voted to have the Boy Scouts pay $200,000 a year as opposed to the $1 a year plan that they originally had. The reason why the organization's rent was brought up is because by banning gay men and boys, the group was disobeying the city's anti-discrimination law.

Women Sentenced For Feeding Victim Human Feces

In personal injury cases, a common lawsuit stems from nursing home abuse.

In a recent criminal case, two women who were accused of feeding feces to a mentally challenged woman, were sentenced to between 30 days to one year in prison. Also, they will each have to pay a fine of $300.  

The reports that Kimberly Holzlein, 27, pleaded guilty to negligence, and Jill Hillard, 36, pleaded guilty to attempted negligence. The two were employees at the Arc: "the world's largest community-based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities" ().

 

Another Toyota Recall: 2.3 Million Cars

Toyota is having their second recall in four months. This time, the automobile company is recalling 2.3 million U.S. vehicles: the first recall was for 4.2 million cars (ABC News).

The specific vehicles are as follows:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4,
  • 2009-2010 Corolla,
  • 2009-2010 Matrix,
  • 2005-2010 Avalon,
  • 2007-2010 Camry,
  • 2010 Highlander,
  • 2007- 2010 Tundra,
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia ()

Officer Sues Amtrak For Shot Foot

An Amtrak police officer, with the help of his  is suing the railroad because he claims that they are liable for his injured foot.

reports that the incident occurred while James Bullard, 65, was in line at McDonald's. The suit claims that the 29-year-old veteran for Amtrak tried to remove an unruly customer: A 30-year-old woman, who witnesses believed was homeless. She was arguing with an employee who would not refill her coffee cup.

As Bullard attempted to move her out of the McDonald's, she allegedly grabbed his gun, removed it from the holster and shot him in the foot.

Wrongful Death Suit Against Tyreke Evans

In Delaware County, PA, the  of Marcus Reason's family filed a wrongful death suit against Tyreke Evans and three other men for the death of their son.

recounts Reason's murder: In 2007, Jamar Evans, Tyreke Evans' cousin, shot and killed Reason while Tyreke was driving. Jamar sat in the passenger seat when he fired. After he gunned Reason down, Tyreke Evans drove the car away from the scene.

Free Speech Or Child Pornography?

In Philadelphia, a landmark decision is being made in terms of whether three girls are guilty of child pornography or practicing their right of free speech.

Fox News explains that it all started when two photos appeared in students' cell phones. One of the pictures was of two 12-year-old girls in their training bras. The other was of a 16-year-old getting out of the shower, topless. 

The concerned county officials spoke with 12 students in all to address the problem of : sending and receiving sexually explicit pictures and texts via cell phone.


The PBA Fights Back With Defamation Lawsuit

A is filing a defamation suit on behalf of the Camden jail officers, over statements that accuse them of vandalism. As discussed in a previous article, the Freeholders, county officials of New Jersey, have experienced some negative reactions regarding one of their plans. Once the Freeholders publically announced their idea to privatize the Camden jail, they have experienced acts of vandalism such as fires and slashed tires.

In response to the attacks, county officials have been speaking up and pointing the finger.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, reports that the suit is against the director of the Freeholders, Louis Cappelli Jr., and the County Administrator Ross Angilella. Most notably, Cappelli has said that "rather than working with us to solve these problems for the taxpayer, it appears that some [corrections officers] have chosen instead to act like the inmates they claim to be the most adept at guarding."

First Day Of Deliberations: Kelly's Defamation

In the last day of testimony for Councilman Jack Kelly's defamation trial, Corbett admits to why he distributed the flyers. As discussed in a previous article, Kelly is suing Corbett for defamation.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports that Corbett was appalled after "City Council voted in 2007 to force the local Boy Scouts chapter to move its headquarters off city-owned land unless the group stopped violating the city's anti-discrimination law by banning homosexuals."

Day One Of Councilman Kelly's Defamation Trial

As of yesterday, the defamation trial of Councilman Jack Kelly had all of the excitement of a circus.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the suit asks if Paul D. Corbett, 80, is guilty of defamation for distributing pamphlets that say Kelly supports, "the homosexual agenda which would promote sodomy to our youth." Kelly believes that his narrow victory of only 123 votes, after a recount, was caused by Corbett's slanderous pamphlets.

Was 9-Year-Old Victim Of Hit And Run?

In a heartbreaking case, a 9-year-old-boy is dead and a 17-year-old girl has yet to be charged with his death.

Tommy White Jr. was playing with his new scooter when he was struck by a car. It is still unclear if the driver fled the scene or how she was identified, but the News Journal reports that after she struck him, she dragged him for at least a block before she stopped.

As one witness stated, after a group of people had chased down her car and told her that she was dragging the boy, she said "I'm leaving." It is still unclear whether she left or not.

There are many difficult questions about this case: Was the driver aware that she hit White? Was she aware that he was under the car? Did she continue to drive in an attempt to flee the scene?

Man With TB On Philly Flight

Over the weekend, a man who was infected with Tuberculosis (TB) was on a US Airways flight that went from Philadelphia to San Francisco. NBC Philadelphia reports that even though the man was on the "Do Not Board" list, he still managed to get on the flight. He was quarantined once he arrived at the destination; however, that was after being on a plane with other passengers for six hours.

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that "there is little-to-no risk of exposure on a flight less than eight hours" so the other passengers need not worry about contracting the disease, it is still unsettling that he was able to get on the flight. What if the flight had been to Hawaii? What would the TSA have done then?

Lawsuit Over Grown Breasts

In Philadelphia, 10 lawsuits were filed after 10 young men experienced side effects from taking Risperdal and Invega. These antipsychotic medications left some of the men who took them with "rapid weight gain and breasts" (reports the Philadelphia Inquirer).

The article goes on to talk about how the firm that is handling the case is expecting to file for as many as 20 to 30 more plaintiffs once they come forward.

These side effects may not be life-threatening, but they are emotionally damaging.

Stephen Sheller, one of the handling the case said that some of the plaintiffs grew a D cup from the medication. At least one of the boys will have to have his surgically removed. The negligence suit claims that he was suffering from "mental anguish" and "embarrassment" (Inquirer).

PA Man, 64, Comes Forward About Sexual Abuse From Rev.

A Philadelphia man has finally come to terms with having been molested as a child, and now, he is seeking support and answers.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports that John Katubi, 64, claims that he was fondled and had oral sex performed on him by his uncle, Rev. Robert Gaghan, when he was a child. Katubi believes that this one-time event, is the cause of his problems and that other victims need to stand up.

In a possible protest, Katubi stood outside of the school that his uncle used to teach at before his death in 1989: Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School. Katubi is hoping that the school will notify alumni of Gaghan's alleged actions and that his awareness will prompt other possible victims to come forward.

An abbey spokesman said that Katubi's allegation was "credible" after they had it investigated. Katubi was offered $2,000 a year for 10 years for counseling, but his lawyer claims that that is not enough.

Katubi explained the reason for why it took him so long to come forward: "I realized I had problems, but the cause [for them] I realized about a year ago."

Defamation Case Against PA Museum

A civil trial is underway in Philadelphia regarding one man's lost wages and lost credibility.

The Philadelphia News describes the events that led up to the trail.

Joel Avery used to work for the African American Museum in Philadelphia as a public-relations consultant. He claims that he was promised a raise by his boss Romona Riscoe Benson, and that she failed to deliver. For whatever reason, Avery sent copies of their discussion about the raise to six members of the museum board.

When Benson learned that he sent the discussion to other people, some who she thought were outside of the museum, she sent out a letter of her own saying that Avery was unprofessional. She also had it sent to nine board members.

It turns out the anyone outside of the museum did not receive the first email about the discussion from Avery.

Rev. Sues Lawyer For Failed Case

Sue not lest ye be sued.

When Rev. David Moyer was fired, he tried to sue his bishop in 2008. Since that failed, Moyer has now filed another suit: this time it is against his own lawyer.

John Lewis is being sued by his "friend" for malpractice in how he represented Moyer in his suit against the diocese. Moyer claims that "John Lewis and the firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads failed to adequately represent Moyer in the unusual trial against Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. and then failed to file an appeal when the jury rejected their claim" (the Inquirer).

Needless to say, many of the parishioners are not happy with this turn of events. The Inquirer reports that "as many as 40 other parishioners have left the church, which lists 155 households as members."

Husband Strangles Wife Of 60 Years

In a terrible case, after 60 years of marriage, an 80-year-old husband strangles his 75-year-old wife. The Inquirer reports that Rudi Adolph Koos was angered when his wife, Waltraud "walked in and began laughing at him and calling him names because he had recently accused her of having an affair."

Claiming that he "lost it," Rudi strangled her to death. Then soon after, he called the police. 

He did not lie or invent a story to explain the tragic murder. As the Inquirer states, he simply said, "I killed her. I did it with my hands."


Student Sues For Strip Search

West of Philadelphia, in Lancaster County, a former student is suing the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (CTC) for being strip searched.

The Intelligencer Journal reported that Jonathan M. Aponte claims he suffered emotional damage and humiliation while his rights were being violated. In the suit, he is seeking $150,000 in damages for his "emotional distress."

Both sides of this case have very different opinions about what happened including the date. They can't even agree on what day the search occurred. Oddly enough, the two dates that each side claims are not even close together: the defense claims that the incident happened on Oct. 9, and the plaintiff, Sept. 6.

Woman Sues Over Toilet Explosion Injuries

In one of the more unusual negligence lawsuits, a woman from Onley is suing for injuries that she suffered when she was thrown off of an exploding toilet.

Nikita Fulton's suit claims that "excess water pressure caused the toilet to explode causing plaintiff to be thrown from the bathroom stall, thereby causing her severe and permanent injuries" (Philadelphia Daily News). 

The article lists those injuries as "thoracic and lumbar spine sprains and strains and sciatica problems on her right side, and other ills."
 

Mother Left Child At Chuck E. Cheese's

In Pennsylvania, a woman was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after she left her daughter at Chuck E. Cheese's. The Patriot News reports that the 4-year-old girl told police in the restaurant at 3:45 p.m. that her mother had left without her.

FindLaw defines child endangerment, also known as child neglect, as when "parents or legal guardians willfully fail to meet a child's basic needs including food, shelter, clothes, medical treatment, and supervision."

It seems that many parents reading this article claim to have left their child at Chuck E. Cheese's for a party and returned later to pick them up. They don't think that they have done anything wrong, but there seems to be a difference between their examples and what the girl's mother did.

Based on the news article, Lashonta Terry, 34, picked up her daughter "after police informed her of her daughters location." The wording would imply that Terry did not know where her child was.

DNA Evidence Produces Criminal

Finally, an arrest has been made in a murder investigation that began in 2007. With the help of DNA evidence, Joseph Eli Moss has been charged with the stabbing of Edward Sides. 

Northwest of Philadelphia, in Pottstown, Edward Sides died after "suffering from multiple stab wounds to his neck and torso" (ABC 6 News). The only evidence that the police were able to find was a butcher knife and a jacket (both bloody).

Through DNA testing, it was determined that the blood belonged to Sides. As additional evidence, Moss's DNA was also found in "the inside sleeve and collar portion of the jacket."

To have the DNA found in those areas makes it very likely that the jacket was worn by, and furthermore belonged to, Moss.

Student Hit By Principle's SUV

North of Philadelphia, in East Rockhill Township, PA, a high school student was struck by an SUV. The 15-year-old boy was hit when he stepped onto the road.

ABC 6 reports that Dr. Margaret Kantes, "the principle of Pennridge North Middle school," was the one driving the SUV. Kantes stayed with the student after the accident, and "rendered aid" until the paramedics and police arrived.

The boy received serious head injuries from the collision. It is not clear whether it was a brain injury. As of now, his condition is stable.


Newark Airport Lockdown: Can Passengers Sue?

At Newark Liberty Airport, Terminal C, thousands of passengers had to be rescreened when a man went the wrong way through a security checkpoint last night. All of the passengers, even the ones that were on planes, had to go through security again as they searched for him.

As of this afternoon, he still has not been found.  

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stated that the man walked through the area at 5:20 p.m., but as one passenger says, "It was 7 p.m. when we were stopped at the entrance of C3" (as reported by the Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk).

If this account is accurate, then they did not being searching for him until nearly two hours later.

Who is to blame for these delays?

Weekend Brawl Leaves 3 Stabbed And 20 Arrested In NJ

Over the weekend, a brawl sent three teens to the hospital and 20 people to jail

The AP reports that at around 2 a.m., a group of about ten teens came to a home where there was already a large number of teens. The two groups fought resulting in Maor Azoulay, 18, Arsen Musalaev, 20, and Eduard Ostrovsky, 18, being stabbed. 

Out of the 20 people arrested for rioting, it is still unclear which ones were responsible for the stabbings.