The rights of the elderly, particularly those who have suffered abuse, neglect, or assault in a nursing home, may be seriously impacted in the near future. Last year, as President Obama’s final term was winding down, his administration stopped allowing nursing homes that receive federal funding from requiring that their new residents sign a binding arbitration agreement. Binding arbitration agreements prevent plaintiffs — in this case the elderly residents — from ever taking the nursing homes to court. Instead, the residents would be forced into an out-of-court arbitration conducted by an industry-friendly arbitrator.
In the wake of the many allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, victims of such misconduct are coming forward in unprecedented numbers. With the “#MeToo” movement trending on social media, a stunning number have shared their stories, revealing a problem endemic to not just the entertainment industry, but also to the world at large. While perpetrators undoubtedly deserve to face criminal charges for their crimes, victims don’t have to rely solely on a jury to find justice: civil recourse can be used to hold abusers accountable.
In 2010, a nursing student and her friend were drugged and raped by a member of a Saudi prince’s entourage at the Plaza Hotel. The unnamed Jane Doe endured a great deal of suffering after the incident, including a suicide attempt and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. She withdrew from nursing school and lost her job, and has been unable to maintain full-time work since the attack.
Since Labor Day, the city has experienced an uptick in bicycle-related accidents. In mid-September, a female cyclist was fatally struck by a box truck in Tribeca. Several days prior, a Citibike rider was run over in Midtown and suffered injuries to her leg. Earlier this month, a cyclist struck a child near Central Park West. The child was taken to Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s in serious condition.
On November 5th, daylight savings will end, meaning twilight will descend upon the city earlier in the day, and the potential for biking accidents will increase. These accidents don’t just put cyclists at risk; reduced visibility is a hazard for pedestrians, as well. For these reasons, it’s wise for all travelers to review the laws and best practices for biking in the city.
Former Georgia health commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald was recently named the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Trump administration. Almost immediately, critics raised concerns about the 71-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist’s history. During Fitzgerald’s tenure as Georgia health commissioner, she had the Herculean task of combatting the state’s child obesity rates. To her credit, Fitzgerald succeeded in bringing the state down from second to seventeenth in child obesity. To do so, however, Fitzgerald formed a less-than-wholesome alliance with Coca-Cola, a company many would argue is, in part, responsible for the United States’ obesity epidemic.
Fitzerald’s actions do make sense, to some degree. After all, not only was combatting the child obesity rate a daunting challenge: there was also the question of sourcing money to do so. Fitzgerald helmed a program called Power Up for 30, which encouraged schools to give children 30 more minutes of exercise every day, and was almost entirely paid for by Coca-Cola.
It is widely believed that state courts are drowning in lawsuits. Many corporate lobbyists would have you believe that tort lawsuits are on the rise, when in fact the opposite is true: tort lawsuits have declined sharply in recent years.
In 2015, less than two people out of 1,000 filed tort lawsuits, and tort cases accounted for just four percent of civil filings in state courts. Compare this to 1993, when roughly 10 people per 1,000 filed tort lawsuits and tort cases made up 16 percent of those filed. This downward trend has raised some concern among judges. If victims are no longer filing tort lawsuits, perhaps they no longer see the courts as a legitimate avenue for finding justice in civil cases.
A collision between a personal vehicle and a big rig can be devastating. Those involved may experience injury or death, while their loved ones are tasked with caring for them (if they’re lucky), or making arrangements for a memorial service (if they’re not). Under such tragic circumstances, the victims and their families should be provided with fair and adequate compensation to aid with their expenses. However, many commercial trucks carry the absolute minimum amount of insurance coverage— and typically, that’s not nearly enough.
The federal minimum for liability insurance for truckers is $750,000. Although that may sound like a lot of money, the damage that tractor trailers inflict in a collision often dwarfs this minimal sum. Congress set the minimum at $750,000 back in 1985, and has not been changed it since. It has not even been adjusted for inflation. If it were, the minimum would now be $2.2 million. Needless to say, the victims of collisions caused by negligent truck drivers are increasingly finding themselves fighting for compensation that is woefully insufficient to cover their medical bills.
Susan Kalitan was undergoing carpal tunnel surgery in a Florida hospital when the anesthesia tube administered by her doctor punctured her esophagus. Susan awoke after the surgery and immediately told her doctors that she was experiencing severe pain in her back and chest, but they dismissed her complaints. The doctors gave Susan pain medication and sent her home.
The following day, a neighbor found Susan unconscious in her home. Susan was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery and was put in a medically induced coma for several weeks. The treatment saved Susan’s life, but to this day she experiences significant pain and struggles to live a normal life.
Susan filed a lawsuit against the North Broward Hospital District and other liable parties in 2008. She was awarded $4 million in non-economic damages. However, when it came time for Susan to receive her compensation, it was reduced to a fraction of the original number.
It is not unheard of for companies go to extreme lengths to avoid paying taxes. From the collapse of Enron to the leaking of the Panama Papers, stories of corporations violating laws to avoid taxes are constantly in the news. Fortunately, a little-known law has given the U.S. government a powerful tool to uncover these crimes, recover ill-gotten gains, and reward the “whistleblower” at the same time.
The False Claims Act, aptly nicknamed Whistleblower Law, rewards citizens for informing the government when they have evidence of corporations committing fraud. Under the False Claims Act, these whistleblowers are eligible to receive 15 to 30 percent of the amount the government recovers.
It seems as though every time we turn on the news, we’re met with another story about an auto recall. Some of the most infamous include GM’s faulty ignition devices, responsible for the deaths of at least 169 Americans, and the defective airbags manufactured by Takata, which killed 14 and injured over 180 Americans. In 2016 alone, 53.2 million cars were recalled.
It is illegal to sell new cars if they have not been repaired after a recall. However, there is no federal regulation that specifically prohibits used car dealers from selling recalled vehicles as “safe”— even if they have not been repaired.
Mayor Bill de Blasio brought the Vision Zero plan to New York City in 2014, with the goal of reducing the number of deaths caused by traffic collisions to zero by 2014. While the first two years of Vision Zero led to fewer traffic deaths, the initiative has not been as effective as many New Yorkers hoped.
Every day, auto collisions still occur by the hundreds throughout New York, totaling 53,000 since the start of 2017. Last year, the city actually saw a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths.
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