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June 2012 Archives

Don't Worry, Your Rat's in the Mail

Finally, the mail has arrived. You're hoping it's that new pair of fuzzy slippers you got on sale from Amazon. You reach in the box and feel something fuzzy, but it's not a slipper, it's a rat!

This may sound insane, but it's based on the recent resignation of MBTA Transit Police officer Gregg Thorpe, who is linked to an incident where a Boston man was mailed dead rats, according to the Boston Herald. Apparently, Thorpe resigned after being on suspension for his link to the dead rats and then being found with a known lady of the night in a Logan Airport parking lot.

There seems to be a lawsuit here, let's see what the options are.

Breast Milk Warmer: Designed with an Attorney?

If you are a new parent, you know all about the plethora of products out there to help make your time with a newborn and infant easier. These products are usually great, until they’re not.

A new product developed by MIT grads Kailas Narendran and John McBean has been specifically designed to avoid personal injury to the user and to the baby, reports the Boston Herald. The new breast milk warmer heats milk in a bottle or bag without reaching temperatures that could cause a burn.

While the two inventors probably had only function in mind, it seems like they had a lawyer with them while designing the product.

Green Line Trolley Crash Worth $1.2M for Neck Injury

In 2009, MBTA trolley operator Aiden Quinn allowed the Green Line trolley he was piloting to slam into the back of another trolley in an underground tunnel. The accident caused injuries of nearly 50 passengers on the trolleys, including a neck injury sustained by Colleen Fyffe.

Fyffe filed a negligence suit against MBTA claiming injuries prevented her from returning to work with Delta airlines after the accident, and was awarded $1.2 million, reports The Associated Press. Quinn admitted to texting his girlfriend at the time of the accident and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence.

Even so, Joe Pesaturo, MBTA spokesman told the Boston Globe that the T would be appealing because 9 of 24 lawsuits arising out of the accident have settled for an average of $31,000 each.

What could an appeals court decide to do?

First Total Artificial Heart Implant in New England; Who's Liable?

In February 2012, the Brigham and Women's Hospital became the first in New England to complete a total artificial heart implant on a patient, reports the Boston Globe. While it is a milestone, the transplant is only meant as a bridge between James Carelli's heart and a donor human heart.

Since Carelli also needs a kidney transplant, he must stay in the hospital while he has the artificial heart, according to the Globe. This advance in technology raises the issue of who will be liable in a future when more people have man-made organs that can potentially fail.

Hebrew National Hot Dogs Not Kosher? Blasphemy! Lawsuit!

A lawsuit has been filed against ConAgra Foods claiming that its Hebrew National hot dogs are not kosher as labeled and advertised, according to The Associated Press. The claim is that employees at a third-party kosher certifier saw non-kosher procedures being used for the meat going into the hot dogs. The suit continues to say that the certifier then did nothing but fire those that witnessed the non-kosher procedures.

Plaintiffs in the case are suing on a theory of negligence and state consumer fraud laws, according to Reuters. Plaintiffs' attorney made the statement that the action is an invisible fraud, because it is impossible for consumers to discover the difference without someone on the inside.

So what are the chances of a negligence claim being successful here?

Wes Welker Tackled Off the Field, Battery?

Wes Welker, the Patriots' wide receiver, was out in Colorado just trying to have some fun by crashing a party associated with the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, according to the New York Post. Welker and his buddies tried to get into the PatrĂ³n tequila sponsored event, like anyone would, and were asked to leave by security.

After security was unsuccessful in asking nicely, they were forced to physically restrain Welker and his group to break up a potential fight, reports the Post. The police did not arrest anyone in the group, as it is likely the excuse "the guy's getting married, we're just trying to have a little fun" was used to great success.

Wareham Wife Could Recover for I-495 Accident that Took Husband

In an unfortunate turn of events, Christopher Elicier was killed driving north on I-495 in Wareham when Phendy Pamphile slammed head on into his car while driving south in the northbound lane, according to the Boston Herald. The 43-year-old Elicier was on his way to his late shift at Taunton State Hospital, when his failure to arrive prompted his employer to call Elicier's wife, Cathleen Elicier.

Mrs. Elicier attemped to call her husband on his cell phone and when he did not respond, she went out to try and find him, according to the Herald. When Mrs. Elicier retraced her husband's route, she found the crash scene and saw the carnage, according to WCVB-TV. While police have not yet charged Pamphile, the Elicier family has a chance to recover financially for a loss that can never be fully compensated.

Hepatitis Outbreak Linked to Drug Diversion by Worker

In mid-May an investigation began when four patients from the Exeter Hospital's cardiac catheterization lab were diagnosed with hepatitis C in an apparent hepatitis outbreak, reported
The Associated Press.

In the second week of June, the investigation concluded that the most likely cause was a health worker at the hospital had engaged in what is called “drug diversion,” reports the AP.

Drug diversion means that the employee was using the drugs intended for a patient, and then re-using the syringe to administer the medication to the patient, according to the Boston Herald.

Seabrook Accident: No Godzilla Yet, But Potential Liability

When you hear about a Seabrook accident, maybe the first thing on your mind is, "grab the kids, we're out of here." Luckily, the accident that occurred on June 13th was the spill of ammonia hydroxide, a common industrial cleaning chemical, reported WBZ-TV.

The spill caused a safety alert in the administration building of the power plant, which is enclosed in the protected area of the plant, according to WBZ.

The alert level is named "unusual event" and is the lowest level of alert, which was then communicated to the public as "an alert," according to the Boston Herald. While the Seabrook firefighters were prepared for the worst, all that was required was a spill clean-up and ventilation of the exposed area, reports the Herald.

Can The Cyclist Hit on Bourne Bridge Recover Damages?

On Monday morning, a bicyclist crossing the Bourne Bridge northbound was run over by a tractor-trailer, according to the Boston Herald. State Police reported that the 56-year-old man lost control of his bike and fell into the path of the oncoming truck, according to the Boston Globe.

The accident closed the bridge for an hour as rescuers carefully removed the man from underneath the wheels of the truck cab, reports the Globe.

On June 7th, a drunk man fell onto the tracks at the Haymarket station on the Green Line, according to the Boston Globe. The man stumbled out of the train and then fell underneath, at which point the doors to the train closed, the Globe reports.

At that point, one woman banged on the train door so that it would stop and 6 or so other passengers worked together to get the man off the tracks, writes the Globe. The man was not hurt in the incident where the fall and Good Samaritans were caught on a surveillance camera, according to WBZ-TV.

Pregnant Woman Hit by Car on Due Date

On the first day of June in Attleboro, Danni Bultemeier was due to give birth, but instead was hit by a car that jumped the curb, according to WBZ-TV. Luckily for Bultemeier, 14-year-old Alycia Leblanc pushed her away from the full force of the impact, reports WPRI.

The two were in line outside a food pantry when the car plowed into the group, reports WBZ-TV. WBZ continues that Bultemeier remembers being up on the hood of the car with her feet at the bumper and then sliding off onto the ground.

Would a Zombie Apocalypse Affect Wrongful Death Claims?

If there's been anything you've read on the Internet, it's probably that the zombie apocalypse is upon us. There are articles about how to survive it, what foods to eat, and finally a response from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) letting us know that there is no such thing as a zombie apocalypse.

According to Time, much of the hype has been stemmed from the rash of human body eating and mutilation crimes reported in a very short time span. There was the bath-salts face eating, then there was the man that stabbed himself and threw his intestines at police, and of course, the student in Baltimore that ate his roommate's heart and brain. And those were only some of the incidents that started this whole zombie thing.

So what would a zombie apocalypse mean to the personal injury world?

Banana Boat Not Fun in the Sun When Sunscreen Catches Fire

Stow resident Brett Sigworth, accidentally immolated himself after applying Banana Boat spray on sunscreen before tending his grill, reports WBZ-TV/

Sigworth was not making a political statement in burning himself. Instead he sprayed himself with sunscreen, rubbed it in for a few seconds and then walked to the grill when flames made the sunscreen catch on fire, engulfing Sigworth’s upper body.

WBZ also reported that Sigworth’s doctors said that if he had been on fire for any longer he would have sustained 3rd or 4th degree burns instead of the 2nd degree burns he has now. Sigworth thanked his friends for their quick response to his dilemma.

Now, he has retained a lawyer.