September 2012 News: The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

September 2012 Archives

Go Suck on a Lemon: How to Use PA's Automobile Lemon Law

Whoever said to take the lemons in life and make lemonade obviously didn't have a lemon of a car, because there's nothing you can do with that type of lemon but dump money and time into it. Luckily, Pennsylvania has lemon laws to protect consumers.

The most well-known type of lemon law protects against cars that break down after being purchased brand new. Now the protections are expanding into other fields. Pennsylvania also has a "puppy lemon law," which is meant to stop breeders and pet shops from selling sick animals.

So how do you make these laws work for you?

Peanut Butter Salmonella Recall Expands Beyond Trader Joe's

So you probably heard about the Trader Joe's peanut butter recall over the weekend. However, Salmonella doesn't like to limit itself to just one store or just one product.

Now the company that provides Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter, Sunland Inc., is recalling 76 other types of peanut butter and nut butters, according to the Associated Press. The other butters were recalled because they were processed by the same equipment as the tainted Trader Joe's brand. Currently, Sunland's plant in New Mexico is being inspected by the FDA.

Which company could potentially be liable for causing customers to get sick?

CNN's Release of Christopher Stevens' Diary Invasion of Privacy?

In the age of the 24 hour news cycle, reality television, and over-sharing on Twitter and Facebook, is it still possible to have any sliver of actual privacy? Well, of course there is. No one is forcing you to share where you had lunch and exactly what your lunch looked like to your friends and family, or in the case of Twitter, to an innumerable amount of strangers.

Even public figures have a right to privacy. The issue is pertinent because of the recent death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya. After his death, CNN found his personal diary and after promising his family not to do so, reported on its contents, according to the Associated Press.

Could Stevens family sue CNN for its use of information found in the diary?

Sugarhouse Casino Winners Robbed After Cashing Out: Premises Liability?

The word is that the house always wins in the casino business. But what happens when someone is robbed of their casino winnings? Does that mean no one wins? One supposes the thief wins, but many of them are on surveillance video, so their winning streak might not last either.

These questions are raised because of the spate of robberies at the Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia. So far there have been four incidents where people have been robbed after cashing out at the casino, according to WCAU-TV.

Vacant Lot Cleanup Raises Liability Issues for Philadelphia

So what would you think if someone told you that they had cleaned up a part of the city that was an eyesore? You'd probably be pretty happy, especially if it was in your neighborhood, wouldn't you? It's not like there's a section of the Philadelphia Daily News that asks citizens what part of town they want cleaned up or repaired... Oh wait, there is.

So why is the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority so bent out of shape over liability for the cleanup of a vacant lot in Point Breeze? It seems that Ori Feibush took it upon himself to spend $20,000 to clean and improve the lot after multiple attempts to purchase the lot from the city, according to the Daily News. (The city, however, claims Feibush had never expressed any interest in the lot before September.)

Now City Controller Alan Butkovitz is criticizing the Redevelopment Authority by calling its response unreasonable. He's calling for city agencies to help citizens make improvements to city-owned eyesores, according to the Daily News.

But what about the Redevelopment Authority's liability concern?

Penn State's Creamery Recalls Ice Cream Over Pieces of Plastic

After the Jerry Sandusky debacle, everyone was hoping that Penn State would catch a break from bad press. Instead, the school was hit with this latest scoop: Customers at Penn State's Berkey Creamery allegedly found bits of plastic and even a penny in their ice cream, according to the Centre Daily Times.

The university is erring on the side of caution and pulling all the ice cream that was produced between May 16 and Aug. 11, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The recall was prompted after a criminal investigation into reports of plastic allegedly found in ice cream sold at the Creamery. The school's own investigation found that the foreign objects somehow entered the ice cream after the ice cream was produced in its facility.

So far, there are no reports of injury. But if someone had been hurt, would the Creamery be liable?

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusting Cop Sues for Alleged False Arrest

When there's something strange in your neighborhood, you usually call the cops. Back in the 80s, we called the Ghostbusters. Many people must have been influenced by that movie (or numerous other ghost stories) because there have been many television shows and movies about haunted buildings and people who try to find evidence of ghosts.

Chester police officer Diane Briscoe moonlights as a "semi-professional paranormal investigator," tracking reports of ghosts and sprites, according to The Pennsylvania Record. Briscoe and her sons were investigating a supposedly haunted house in Upland in 2010, when cops busted them in the same way they were trying to bust the ghosts.

Briscoe and her sons were charged with trespass and disorderly conduct even though they had permission to access the house, along with the keys, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. The charges were dismissed and now Briscoe is suing for false arrest and assault.

Is she likely to recover?

Save Your Receipts! Racial Slur on Hooters Receipt Leads to Lawsuit

We hope the receipt that Philadelphia man Kisuk Cha received from a New York City Hooters restaurant was not for a business meal, as it's probably something he would like to forget. The receipt has now become the basis for a lawsuit against the Hooters chain, according to CBS 3.

Cha claims that when he was at Hooters with his girlfriend, he noticed a server glancing at the computer and then at his table while giggling. Once he received the check he noticed that in the place meant to identify the customer the word "chinx" had been printed, according to the New York Daily News. Once Cha filed his lawsuit, the employee (not the named server on the receipt) who typed in the description admitted to the deed and resigned.

Will Cha's racial discrimination case succeed?

UPMC Sued for Hepatitis Infection Linked to Rogue Med Tech

It rhymed in a Beck song that questioned on his R&B concept album "Midnight Vultures," but it's no joke. Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver and may go undetected for up to six months. Sometimes, symptoms of infection do not show up at all.

Unfortunately for Linda Ficken, she was infected with Hepatitis C while being treated at a hospital in Kansas. Ficken's lawsuit blames the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for hiring the rogue med tech accused of spreading the infectious disease, according to Courthouse News Service. The technician, David Kwiatkowski, is suspected of infecting syringes after he used them to inject himself with drugs.

Kwiatkowski allegedly worked at a series of hospitals across the country after he was fired from UPMC. But if it was Kwiatkowski who was allegedly responsible for the actions that infected people, why would the hospital be sued?

Man Locked Inside LA Fitness Slips and Falls in the Dark

The gym is a place that many go as a place to try and work off some pounds or work out the stress. In any case it is usually somewhere that you are at least a little self-conscious, because even if you are one of the best exercisers out there, there is always someone that is a little more fit.

Unfortunately for Boris Nikolaevsky of Hatboro in Montgomery County, his visit to LA Fitness was allegedly made more humiliating when he was locked into the locker room with the lights turned out. That allegedly caused him to slip and fall in a puddle of water, as well as set off the alarm when he left the building, according to The Pennsylvania Record.

Nikolaevsky is now suing LA Fitness. Will his lawsuit be successful?

Atlantic City's Golden Nugget Sues Over Unshuffled Playing Cards

After what seemed to be an unprecedented winning streak at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, where 14 players won a total of more than $1.5 million, the casino is looking to get its money back, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. On its face, this looks like a case of the casino being a sore loser, but look closer and it is more like an enormous product liability case.

So far, it's been reported that Gemaco, a Missouri-based playing-card manufacturer, failed to shuffle its playing cards before shipping them to the Nugget, according to the Daily News. Once the cards arrived at the Nugget, no one there shuffled the cards either, so when they hit the mini-baccarat game table the players were able to notice a pattern. That pattern played out for more than two and a half hours.

A judge last week ordered the Golden Nugget to allow the winners to cash in their chips, and the Nugget's owner said he wouldn't appeal. But the casino may still have an ace up its sleeve in a defective-product lawsuit against Gemaco.