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Advocates Circle Firms

Arthur Law Firm Co., LPA.

 

Barkan Meizlish
Handelman Goodin DeRose
Wentz, LLP

 

Bordas & Bordas, PLLC

 

Crandall & Pera Law

 

Elk & Elk

 

Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty, LLC

 

The Gervelis Law Firm

 

Kisling Nestico & Redick

 

Kitrick, Lewis & Harris Co.,. LPA

 

Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC

 

Leizerman & Associates, LLC

 

Lamkin, Van Eman, Trimble & Dougherty, LLC

 

Meyer Wilson Co., LPA

 

Murray & Murray Co., LPA

 

Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Co., LPA

 

O'Connor Acciani & Levy, LPA

 

Rittgers & Rittgers

 

Rourke & Blumenthal

 

Slater & Zurz, LLP

 

Robert J. Wagoner, Co., LLC

 

Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd.

 

Young and McCarthy LLP

 


 

                       

 

OAJ BLOG CENTRAL

How to Block the Ability to Text/Access Social Media While Driving

Shared by Bey & Associates, LLC

www.beyandassociates.com/blog


Our cell phones give us access to limitless information; however, having access behind the wheel is a serious hazard. Thousands of unsuspecting individuals are injured or killed in car accidents each year as a result of distracted drivers. A significant number of those drivers were using a cell phone to talk, text, or otherwise communicate. When the mind and eyes are focused on reading a text message, there’s no way for a driver to know what’s going on around them.

It’s critical for all drivers to be aware of the dangers of texting or accessing social media while driving. Contrary to what many people say, multitasking is not safe – especially behind the wheel. Fortunately, there are ways to block access to cell phone use while driving. Some phones have built-in applications designed to limit communication access, while other users will need to download an app to block their access.

Eliminating the temptation to pick up your phone and multitask can keep you safe and also encourage family members and friends to prioritize safety when driving. Stopping a couple people from using their cell phones while behind the wheel may seem like a minor step in the right direction, but it’s vital to remember that safety starts at home. It starts with us.

Avoiding Driving Distractions with In-Phone Features and Apps

Depending on the type of phone you have, there are different ways to limit texting and social media access while driving. Whether you’re a parent trying to teach your new driver how to be responsible behind the wheel or are often tempted by the sound of notifications going off, using the applications and programs designed to prevent cell phone use can help to reduce the number of distracted driving collisions.

Apple’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” Feature

With iOS 11 and later, iPhones are equipped with a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. When a phone is connected to a car with Bluetooth capabilities or through a cable, notifications will be withheld while the car is in motion. A default response message can be sent to friends if they text you. If the sender replies to your message with “Urgent,” you will receive their text. In addition to that, the feature locks the iPhone screen to prevent drivers from using their apps.

If you activate this feature, you can expect your phone to stay silent and the screen will remain dark. Certain notifications, like emergency alerts, timers, and alarms, will still be delivered. You can receive phone calls from your Favorites, like with the standard “Do Not Disturb” feature. In the event someone calls you two times in a row, however, the call will come through as usual if you are connected to your car’s Bluetooth. Also, if you are a passenger who is trying to use the phone, you will be prompted to tap “I’m Not Driving” to disable the feature.

To activate this feature, do the following:

  • Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Tap Activate
  • You can choose to have the feature work automatically, manually, or only when connected to the car’s Bluetooth

This feature can be turned off and on in the Control Center. To add it to your control center, you will need to:

  • Go to Setting > Control Center > Customize Controls
  • Tap the green plus symbol next to “Do Not Disturb While Driving”

If you are the parent of a young driver, you can set the features you want your child to drive with and prevent changes being made by following these steps:

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time > Tap Turn on Screen Time
  • Tap Continue > This is My Child’s iPhone. From there, you can follow the prompts to enable restrictions.
  • Tap Continue and create a Parent Passcode
  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions and enter your passcode
  • Scroll and tap Do Not Disturb While Driving > Tap Allow

Android Auto

Android Auto is designed to minimize distractions to help drivers stay focused on the road by providing larger touch targets, a simplified interface, and the help of the Google Assistant. While this app can be accessed with just a phone, there are currently 400 car models that support this feature. An Android phone running Android 5.0 and up will work, but Android 6.0 and up is recommended. You will also need a car mount for the phone and a USB cable. The app can be downloaded on the Google Play store.

To set up the Android Auto app on your phone, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Open the app. Your phone may prompt you to download or update additional apps.
  • Review the terms and conditions.
  • Following the on-screen steps to give the app permission to access your phone’s features.
  • Turn on notifications for the app.
  • If your phone is already paired with your vehicle’s Bluetooth, you can select the device and enable auto launch.

If you are planning on using your car’s display for the app, complete the steps above and on your car’s display select Android Auto.

Apps that Prevent Phone Use While Driving

In addition to the features discussed above, there are a number of apps phone users can choose from that have a similar effect. One of the most popular is called Drivemode. This app allows drivers to ignore calls or texts or provides a safer way to answer calls and hear messages. With this app, users can reply to a text message with voice commands, set up text message auto-replies, automatically launch and close the app with Bluetooth pairing, and set a “Do Not Disturb” mode.

Other popular apps include TextDrive, Driving Detective, and Cellcontrol. The primary feature of TextDrive is an auto-reply for incoming texts. Driving Detective, similar to the Apple feature, puts the phone in a do not disturb mode. The last app, Cellcontrol, is useful for businesses looking to reinforce proper device usage when employees are operating company vehicles.


What’s On Their Minds: Can Ex-Employee Sue the County For Intentional Tort Claim Filed After Termination?

Shared by Marianna Brown Bettman

www.legallyspeakingohio.com


On March 5, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral argument in Marcella King Piazza v. Cuyahoga County, et al., 2017-1649. At issue in the case is whether the immunity exception allowing civil claims against a political subdivision extends to actions brought after the employee has been terminated by the political subdivision. Second District Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Froelich sat for Justice Stewart, who participated in the appellate decision while on the Eighth District Court of Appeals.

Case Background

In 2003, Marcella King Piazza (“Piazza”) began working for the Cuyahoga County auditor’s office. Piazza was later transferred to the County Boards of Revision where she worked as office manager. Subsequently, in August 2010, Piazza was transferred to the Department of Justice Affairs where she worked as a victim advocate. Around the time Piazza was transferred to the Department of Justice Affairs, the Plain Dealer Publishing Company (“Plain Dealer”) began publishing a series of articles about the scandal at the Boards of Revision which cost taxpayers over $400 million, claiming that an investigation was underway into the work habits, favoritism, and mismanagement of the department.

In March 2011, Piazza was terminated from employment with the county. Within two hours of Piazza’s discharge, the Plain Dealer published an online article headlined, “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald fires three employees tied to the boards of revision scandal.” One of those fired employees was Piazza, who had in fact never been disciplined or cited for poor work habits and had no authority over any Board member. Further articles identified Piazza by name, included her photo, and again implied she was part of the Boards of Revision corruption scandal.

In 2015, Piazza filed a complaint against Cuyahoga County (“the County”) and the Plain Dealer alleging false light invasion of privacy. The allegation stemmed from quoted statements of County Executive FitzGerald which Piazza claimed were made with a reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of his statements. The County moved for summary judgment pursuant to R.C. 2744.02. The County also alleged that Piazza’s claim was time-barred. The trial court denied the County’s motion, finding the false light claim was not time-barred nor covered by immunity. The County appealed.

On appeal, the Eighth District, in an opinion authored by Judge Kathleen Keough and joined by Judge Mary Boyle, affirmed the denial of summary judgment. According to the majority, the County is not entitled to political subdivision immunity under R.C. 2744.02 because R.C. 2744.09 (B) precludes immunity when a civil suit involves matters related to the employment relationship, and Piazza’s claims arose out of her employment relationship with the County. The appeals court did not consider the statute of limitations ruling because it was not a final appealable order.

Then-Judge Melody Stewart concurred in part and dissented in part, with an opinion.  She agreed with the majority’s conclusion about the statute of limitations, but not about the false light claim. Judge Stewart interpreted the statutory use of the word “employee” as meaning a person currently employed by the relevant political subdivision. Therefore, the County should be able rightfully to claim immunity from Piazza’s suit because she was not an employee of the County when the county executive’s statements were made.

Read the oral argument preview here.

Key Statutes and Precedent

R.C. 2744.02 (Political Subdivision Immunity)

R.C. 2744.09(B) (Exceptions to Immunity) (Political Subdivision Immunity shall not extend to civil actions by an employee against his or her political subdivision relative to any matter that arises out of the employment relationship between the employee and the political subdivision.)

Fleming v. Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education, 2008-Ohio-1892 (11th Dist.) (A person need not be a current employee at the time claims were filed against a political subdivision to qualify for the political subdivision immunity exception.)

Sampson v. Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, 2010-Ohio-3415 (Intentional tort claims can arise out of the employment relationship with respect to R.C. 2744.09(B). To succeed, a claim must show a causal connection between the tort and the employment relationship. Direct causation is not necessary; indirect causation is sufficient.)

George v. Newburgh Heights, 2012-Ohio-2065 (8th Dist.) (Totality of the circumstances review requires examining events that occurred while a person was employed by the political subdivision and after the employment relationship is terminated.)

Vacha v. City of North Ridgeville, 2013-Ohio-3020 (To determine whether a causal connection exists the court must examine the totality of the circumstances. If no connection exists, political subdivision immunity is appropriate.)

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Electrical Shock Injuries and Their Aftermath

Shared by Crandall & Pera Law, LLC

www.injuryverdicts.com/blog


Electrical shock injuries can happen anywhere - at home or in the workplace. And, electrical injuries can cause significant physical trauma or even death. Serious injuries like these can be both physically and financially difficult to recover from.

Your injuries may be exacerbated further by the stress of trying to pay your medical bills, or trying to manage your finances when you have to take time off work to heal from your injuries. If your accident was caused by someone else's negligence or carelessness, however, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the responsible party.

More about electrical shock injuries

Electric shock accidents, depending on their severity, can result in devastating injuries, including:

  • Burns
  • Catastrophic injury
  • Amputations
  • Loss of vision and/or hearing
  • Death (by electrocution)

Injuries of this type can take a heavy psychological toll in addition to a physical one. Many injury victims may be unable to return to work for a long while - if at all - and are unable to make a living during the healing process. Some patients suffer permanent disability. Between pain and suffering, medical expenses, and the inability to work, many patients find themselves overwhelmed both emotionally and financially.

However, with a personal injury claim, an injury victim has the right to recover damages and losses, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
  • Doctor visits and medication
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other associated losses

How can my personal injury attorney help?

Every situation and claim is unique, so your legal options would depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury. However, here's some general information.

If your electrical shock injury was caused by someone else's carelessness or negligence, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation. Examples might include faulty or open wiring. Or, you may have suffered electrocution due to a defective product. Examples can include things like malfunctioning hair dryers.

You may be able to file a premises liability claim if you were injured via electric shock when you were a visitor on someone else's property (as a guest, visitor, or shopper). These types of claims are filed when injuries are caused by unsafe conditions on someone else's property. When someone fails to protect you from things like live wires or dangerous electricity, they can be liable for your injuries.

Finally, if your loved one died of electrocution, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the accountable party. If the fatal injury happened while your loved one was at work, you may be entitled to death benefits under workers' compensation.


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A Columbus Attorney Discusses the Importance of Monitoring Truck Safety

Shared by Smith Law Office

www.sestriallaw.com/blog


Operating a large commercial truck requires far more skill than commuting to work in a smaller passenger car. Skill is only half the battle. Unlike most passenger vehicle drivers, truckers spend long periods of time on the road. For this reason alone, they are far more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.

Technology may help prevent accidents involving tired truckers. One emerging system, called Lytx, has already proven to effectively monitor the safety habits of truck drivers.

How Lytx works

If you’ve never heard of Lytx before, now is the time to familiarize yourself with it. Not only does it collect data through video telematics to help improve safety, it can also show a driver’s behavior at the time of a crash.

In its State of the Data presentation – which was presented at the American Trucking Association Management Conference and Exhibition in October 2018 – Lytx collected data based on 100 billion miles traveled in large commercial trucks between June and August of 2018.

The data found a connection between driver behavior and the likelihood of being involved in a collision. It pinpointed the top ten driving behaviors commonly observed in truck cabs. These included, in order of frequency:  

  • Driver not wearing a seatbelt 
  • Late response 
  • Following distance of >1 to <2 seconds 
  • Smoking 
  • Following distance of >2 to <3 seconds: 
  • Exceeding speed limit 
  • Drinking or eating while driving 
  • Other violations such as driving over centerline, blocking an intersection, or driving on a shoulder 
  • Using handheld device while driving 
  • Following distance of less than <1 second 

Most of these driving behaviors had declined since the same period in 2017, but following distance of >1 to <2 seconds, exceeding the posted speed limit, and other violations increased in 2018.

Lytx data also found that within a 90-day period, truckers displayed the following behaviors:

  • Collision 
  • Blank stare 
  • Drowsy driving 
  • Driver not wearing a seatbelt 
  • Late response 
  • Failed to keep an out (which means that the driver cut it close to another vehicle, person, or object) 
  • Near collision 
  • Near collision (which was unavoidable) 
  • Aggressive driving 
  • Falling asleep at the wheel 

Wednesday, particularly between 2-4 a.m., was documented as having the most collisions out of any day of the week. Fridays had the highest rate of near-collisions.  

On any given day, the time span with the most collisions was between 11 p.m. - 5 a.m., when drivers are most likely to fall asleep at the wheel. Most near-collisions happened between 1-5 p.m.


Guilty Plea in A “Sun Glare” Case

Shared by Steven Magas | The Magas Law Firm

www.ohiobikelawyer.com


A cyclist was killed in a Boston Heights, Ohio car/bike crash and the motorist was charged with vehicular homicide. Yesterday [1/14/2019] he plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter.

This was a case somewhat similar to the Brecksville, Ohio crash that killed 2 cyclists and maimed 3 others. The Boston Heights crash occurred on September 16, 2018, almost exactly three years after the Brecksville crash killed Matt Billings and Jim Lambert were killed by landscaper Tim Wolf [9/17/15]. Just five years after cyclist Emilee Gagnon was run down by motorist Lynn Smith near Toledo [9/23/2013].

The significance of that mid-late September timeline should not be minimized. That is the time of year when Ohio’s East/West roads line up almost exactly with the sun’s rise/set path. It is also a time of year that the sunsets come a bit earlier, but the great Ohio riding weather continues. It is a time when cyclists are more likely to riding during those first hours of sunrise and last hours of the day’s sun. It is a time of year when “sun glare” cases seem to crop up the most.

The Crash in Boston Heights occurred at 7:45am, after sunrise but while the sun was still low. It occurred on State Route 303. Both cyclist & motorist were eastbound, driving into the rising sun. The report states that the motorist, 58 year old Greg Kostelnik, told police his “windshield began to fog up. At the same time, the motorist’s vision also became obscured by sun glare. The driver reached over and turned on the defrost system” and “rear-ended” the cyclist, 65 year old Nickolas O’Donnell of Stow, Ohio.

As the Police Chief notes in the story Ohio law REQUIRES YOU TO STOP IF YOUR VISION IS IMPAIRED. You don’t just go tootling down the road while blind. You pull over and fix it – or wait it out – NOW.

Since the criminal case didn’t go forward, we didn’t hear any testimony or explanation. No word on a civil claim.

The case was investigated by the Boston Heights Police -not the Sheriff and not OSHP.

The evidence was clear that the Mr. O’Donnell was riding along the right side of the roadway. It was a very typical Ohio “country road” – narrow, paved, straight flat, marked.

Mr. O’Donnell was clearly an avid cyclist. He was decked out with a reflective vest over a bright yellow jacket/jersey, reflective straps, a rear Garmin red light, still operating after the crash. Yes, he had a helmet. He was on a Giant carbon road bike.

Mr. Kostelnik slammed into Mr. O’Donnell at speed – hitting him with the right front corner of his big pickup truck. Despite his “magic helmet” Mr. O’Donnell didn’t have a chance.

Glad to see the case well handled by Boston Heights PD. Sometimes, frankly, the “city level” handling of a big case is somewhat lacking b/c they just don’t get much practice handling complex crash cases. Here, they were able to lock down the evidence and secure a plea of guilty.

Yes, it’s a misdemeanor. Yes, that limits jail possibilities. The facts were that the motorist had a valid license and was not “speeding” or otherwise driving “recklessly”… Now, I and many others would argue that driving “blind” is reckless, but that’s for another day… No evidence here of drugs/alcohol… no evidence of texting or other distraction. For all of those reasons, the prosecutor chose to charge with a misdemeanor.

The memory of the Brecksville case is not one that will go away quickly. There a fellow who made a left turn in a huge pickup across the path of FIVE oncoming riders was ACQUITTED of similar misdemeanor charges… he walked out of court with a Not Guilty finding… after a week long trial. Here, the prosecutor proceeded aggressively nonetheless … and secured the conviction.

Click here to view pictures that go with the post. 


Comatose Patient’s Pregnancy Puts Spotlight on Nursing Home Abuse

Shared by Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA 

blog.lewlaw.com/blog


Shocking headlines from Phoenix, Arizona have gained national attention by showing how serious and appalling nursing home abuse can be.  

At Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix, a female patient in a vegetative state gave birth last month.  The patient, whose name has respectfully been withheld, has been in her comatose condition for an extended period and at no point possessed the capacity to consent to sexual contact. 

Phoenix Police investigating this sexual assault have zeroed in on the nursing home’s male staff and, hopefully, the culprit will be brought to justice.  However, following Hacienda Healthcare CEO’s resignation, questions remain regarding how long and how prevalent this type of abuse may have been at the facility.

Nursing Home Abuse in Ohio

For many families, this story has raised deeply personal questions about their own loved ones.  If nursing home abuse can happen in Arizona, it can happen elsewhere, too.  Including Ohio.

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse occurs frequently in Ohio.  Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA’s lawyers have spent years representing countless patients and families affected by nursing home abuse.  The conditions and errors that make abuse possible are, regrettably, more prevalent now than ever.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

While the Phoenix case highlights just how abhorrent nursing home abuse can be, nursing home abuse can occur in a variety of ways and at varying degrees of severity.  Make no mistake, though: no type or degree of nursing home abuse is ever acceptable.  If you suspect any abuse has occurred, you need to speak to attorney right away.

Broadly speaking, nursing home abuse is any intentional conduct by nursing home administrators or staff that causes injury to residents or patients.  This includes intentional acts and may also include certain neglectful or negligent acts performed intentionally.

Some examples of possible nursing home abuse include:

  • Physical and/or sexual assault by a nursing home employee
  • Theft or financial abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Malnutrition
  • Pressure sores (bed sores)
  • Certain falls
  • Injuries caused by understaffing

While some attempt to limit the definition of abuse, Lowe Eklund’s attorneys take a more realistic approach to protecting your loved ones.  When greedy, profit-driven policies lead to understaffing and injuries occur to patients, that is abuse.  When administrators hire too few nurses to perform necessary monitoring and injuries occur, that too is abuse.

Now more than ever, nursing home abuse occurs not merely because of inappropriate actions of the staff (though, of course, that does still occur and is unacceptable).  Much of today’s nursing home abuse occurs because of a profits-before-patients approach to nursing home care perpetuated by owners and administrators.


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Leaving Your Childbirth in the Hands of the Wrong Midwife

Shared by McKeen & Associates, PC

www.mckeenassociates.com/blog


Midwifery has a reputation of facilitating more natural, homeopathic childbirths. However, many midwives—operating legally in Michigan—actually lack the training to safely manage a childbirth.

One recent case involved a family in Romulus. The mother opted to give birth in her home, for which she sought the help of Helen Stockton—a midwife at Ann Arbor’s Mother Earth Midwifery. Stockton’s improper decision making during the childbirth cost the baby his life.

What went wrong

The baby boy was in frank breech position—a folded V-shape, with his legs and head both pointing upward and his buttocks facing the birthing canal. Such a position is highly dangerous for a delivery—and the midwife should have immediately taken the pregnant mother to the hospital.

Instead, she delivered the baby in this position—causing an otherwise healthy infant to suffer severe brain damage in the process. Three days later, the newborn passed away.

The family of the boy is suing for negligence over the wrongful death of their son. Brian McKeen is representing the family in the suit.

Preventable tragedy

Home deliveries are extremely risky. If something goes wrong, the life-saving medical resources offered in a hospital are simply not available.

In addition, it’s important to understand that the title of “midwife” is inexact. Some midwives are certified registered nurses, have Master’s degrees, work in hospitals and even train resident physicians. However, this is not the case across the board. Many midwives do not possess anything resembling this level of education or experience.

In Michigan—and many other states across the country—so-called “direct entry midwives” are unregulated. Such midwives can enter into the profession directly—without first undergoing any nursing training. Putting such a midwife in charge of a childbirth is hazardous—often resulting in serious birthing injuries including asphyxiation, brain damage and death.


 

Another Person Seriously Injured by Exploding Corona Beer Bottle

Shared by Joseph S. Hartle | Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC

www.lgslaw.net/blog


You may never have heard of a “glass injury” before, but unfortunately, they are very real, and they happen a lot as of late. Yet another man was seriously injured by a Corona beer bottle this month (November), which suddenly exploded and sent shards of glass into his leg. He is the third person in recent months to report to The New York Post that a Corona bottle exploded while he was (reasonably) handling it. As a result, he was thrown onto the ground, passed out, and lost consciousness, with his leg cut and bleeding profusely. His leg then became infected over the next few days, leading to a significant amount of pain and suffering.

In July, the Post covered the story of two men who were partially blinded by Corona bottles. Several individuals who have suffered from glass injuries linked to Corona have not only sued the brewer, but also the bottle manufacturer and distributor for negligence. For example, a 2-year-old boy who was partially blinded after a Corona bottle exploded sued for $46 million 10 years ago in 2007/2008.

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

Some have pointed out that Corona, as a company, skimps on the production process and lacks proper quality controls. According to some sources, this can result from adding too much sugar and carbonation, too early on in the bottling process—an arguably easy mistake to avoid. As a result, things frequently go wrong during the brewing and bottling process, and you can essentially end up with a “grenade” that is waiting to go off.

WHAT IS CORONA DOING ABOUT IT?

As of now, there is no indication that Corona plans to issue a recall or modify their manufacturing processes so that these injuries do not continue to occur, even though several of these individuals are now out of work and left with terrible headaches and other disabilities as a result of being left blind in one eye, and some have been suing the company for at least 10 years now after receiving these debilitating injuries. As a result of this inaction, some restaurants have even decided to stop carrying all Corona items.

Meanwhile, Corona-based companies have been sued for a number of other issues, as well, including allegations that the company forces product distributors to buy more product than they can sell and engages in racial discrimination.  


Was Mount Carmel Tragedy Result of Medication Override?

Shared by Leeseberg & Valentine

www.leesebergvalentine.com/blog


The ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) has published guidelines directed to the prevention of medication errors in hospitals. These were generated in part in response to the seminal 1999 study by the Institute of Medicine, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, which concluded that as many as 98,000 hospitalized patients died annually because of medical mistakes. Subsequent studies, including an authoritative 2016 study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, have concluded the number of patient deaths to be as high as 250,000, or even as high as 440,000 patients annually. Even at the more conservative number, that makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the United States.

These Guidelines are comprehensive and recognize the importance of compliance and adherence. In one specific aspect particularly relevant to the Mount Carmel Hospital overdose deaths, the Guidelines mandate scrutiny over any claimed "emergency" exemptions from drug-safety protocols. This is pertinent to the Mount Carmel cases, because the law firm of Leeseberg & Valentine has obtained information suggesting that Dr. Husel may have persuaded and intimidated hospital personnel, including nurses and pharmacists, in the drug administration chain, and thereby evaded drug safety protocols, by claiming "patient emergencies" required deviation from such safety protocols. This is what allegedly allowed Dr. Husel to order, pharmacists to fulfill, and nurses to administer lethal doses of fentanyl in violation of drug safety protocols. Verification of this information will be sought during formal discovery, including depositions of health care personnel at Mount Carmel Hospital who have been identified as being "involved" in the administration of the lethal doses.

The entire ASHP Guidelines on Preventing Medication Errors in Hospitals can be found here: preventing-medication-errors-hospitals.pdf


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Court Orders OSU to Mediate with Former OSU Students’ Over Sex Abuse Claims

Shared by Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC

www.teamlgm.com/blog


A federal judge ordered that The Ohio State University and survivors of sexual abuse alleged to have been perpetrated by a university physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, should proceed to mediation.

Judge Michael H. Watson stated in a hearing today that he expects Ohio State to take the victims seriously and to turn the trustees’ words of support into meaningful actions. The litigation was brought forward by former students and student athletes who treated with Dr. Strauss. Strauss worked in the school’s medical clinics and was the doctor for at least 14 of the University’s athletic teams between 1978 and 1998.

“This is a major turning point in efforts by former OSU students who have repeatedly been frustrated by OSU’s efforts to dismiss not only their legal claims but in turn, the legitimacy of the abuse they endured while students at Ohio State,” said Jack Landskroner, one of the victims’ attorneys. “A growing number of students have come forward to tell their stories and ask the school to do better. The courage of these former students has made a difference and the Court’s directive to mediate sends a strong message that it’s time for OSU to work toward righting these wrongs. We look forward to working with OSU to these ends on behalf of our many clients.”

Landskroner encouraged other victims to come forward now that they have the opportunity to be heard.

“There is strength – and results – in numbers. Those harmed by the serial abuse of Dr. Strauss while students at OSU can have a voice and an opportunity to participate in the process of finding a path to resolution with OSU while at the same time helping to assure an end to the institutional indifference to sexual harassment and assault of students on campus. We encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to reach out.  Names can be kept confidential where requested, but now is the time to break the silence that so many survivors of this abuse have maintained for decades. It’s time to be heard!”

The case is filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Case No. 2:18-cv-00736-MHW-EPD. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Jack Landskroner and Hannah Klang of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC; attorneys Scott Elliot Smith and Brian Noethlich of Scott Elliot Smith, LPA; and attorney Adele Kimmel of Public Justice, P.C.


Some Truck Drivers Fighting Roadway Fatigue with Stimulants

Shared by Levy Law Offices

www.levylawoffices.com/blog


Truck drivers in Ohio and across the rest of the country are under increased pressure to meet hauling deadlines at all hours of the day. This type of demanding work, especially when extensive driving of long distances is required, can contribute to driver fatigue. Due to the weight and size of trucks, the victims in these accidents tend to be people in other vehicles, passengers and nearby pedestrians or cyclists.

While any type of truck-related collision can have serious consequences for everyone involved, it's longer trips lasting more than 51 miles that tend to result in motor vehicle accidents. Also, one out of every four truck drivers reports having fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once during the past month. What's also raising eyebrows is the increased use of stimulants by some truck drivers looking to stay awake while getting to their long-distance destination.

Nearly 1 percent of truck drivers are using amphetamines, cocaine and similar substances while operating large vehicles that sometimes contain dangerous materials, according to random drug sampling results. Ironically, drivers using stimulants to stay awake as they drive actually have higher driving infraction rates than non-stimulant-using drivers. Part of the reason for this is because drugs that stimulate the body can also cause potentially serious side effects that could affect cognitive and motor functions. Some stimulant drugs also affect attention spans, impulse control and decision-making abilities. And while the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires drug and alcohol testing of drivers on a regular basis, roughly 2 percent of drivers fail these tests.

With motor vehicle accidents involving trucks, there's always the potential for personal injuries. If it's believed some type of negligence on the part of a driver may have been a contributing factor, an attorney may look at results from a driver's past mandatory drug/alcohol tests or check records for hours of service violations that might suggest a driver was likely fatigued. In some cases, it may be possible to take legal action against the company a driver works for or the manufacturer of the vehicle if mechanical flaws were an additional factor.


Merit Decision: Compensatory Damages Cap for Noneconomic Loss Applies in Defamation Action. Wayt v. DHSC, L.L.C.

Shared by Marianna Brown Bettman

www.legallyspeakingohio.com


“We hold that under the plain language of R.C. 2315.18(A)(7), defamation is a ‘civil action for damages for injury or loss to person.’”

Justice Fischer, majority opinion

“Defamation is an injury or loss to reputation, not to person, and therefore the caps on damages in R.C. 2315.18 do not apply when a person is defamed.”

Chief Justice O’Connor, dissenting opinion

“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”

Othello Act 3, scene 3

On December 7, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio handed down a merit decision in Wayt v. DHSC, L.L.C., Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-4822. In a 5-2 opinion written by Justice Fischer, in which Justice DeGenaro concurred in judgment only, and Chief Justice O’Connor dissented, joined by Justice O’Donnell, the court held that the statutory damage cap for noneconomic loss applies to compensatory damages awarded in a defamation action. The case was argued August 1, 2018.

Case Background

Appellee Ann Wayt was employed as a nurse by Appellant DHSC, LLC, which does business as Affinity Medical Center (“Affinity Medical”). Wayt was accused of neglect of duty and falsifying a medical record, and was fired, following an investigation. Following Wayt’s termination, the head nurse at Affinity Medical sent a complaint to the Ohio Board of Nursing which included an accusation that Wayt had engaged in patient neglect.

After she was fired, Wayt applied for many nursing jobs, but received only two interviews and could not obtain a permanent nursing position.

The National Nurses Organization Committee, a union of registered nurses, filed charges against Affinity Medical with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), claiming that Wayt had been fired because of her involvement with the union, which the hospital had refused to bargain with.  The NLRB found in favor of the nurses’ union. The NLRB’s ruling was affirmed by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Affinity Medical was ordered to reinstate Wayt to her former position, and to retract its report to the Ohio Board of Nursing. Wayt did return to her old job, but was belittled by another Affinity Medical employee, who, in front of several nurses allegedly stated that just because she won in court did not mean Wayt deserved to get her job back or that she was a good nurse.

Wayt filed a lawsuit in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that she had been defamed by Affinity Medical and its employees. The jury found that Wayt had been defamed, and awarded her $800,000 in compensatory damages and $750,000 in punitive damages.

Affinity Medical filed a post-trial motion to have the court apply the cap on noneconomic damages set forth in R.C. 2315.18(B)(2) and the cap on punitive damages in R.C. 2315.21(D) to reduce the jury award. The trial court ruled that the statutory caps did not apply to injuries to reputation, and that the cap on punitive damages is twice the amount of compensatory damages awarded, not twice the amount of compensatory damages as capped.

On appeal, the Fifth District Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the decision of the trial court.

Read the oral argument preview of the case here and the analysis of the argument here.

Key Precedent

Ohio Constitution Article I, Section 16 (All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done him in his land, goods, person, or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law . . .)

R.C. 2315.18 (Compensatory Damages in Tort Actions)

(A)(4) “Noneconomic loss” is categorized as any nonpecuniary harm to a person or property and can include, but is not limited to, pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, and other nontangible losses.

(A)(5) “Occurrence” means all claims resulting from or arising out of any one person’s bodily injury.

(A)(7) “Tort action” means a civil action for damages for injury or loss to person or property. “Tort action” includes a civil action upon a product liability claim or an asbestos claim. “Tort action” does not include a civil action upon a medical claim, dental claim, optometric claim, or chiropractic claim or a civil action for damages for a breach of contract or another agreement between persons.)

(B)(2) (specifies caps to be applied in tort actions for compensatory noneconomic damages.)

R.C. 2315.21 (Punitive or Exemplary Damages)

(D)(2)(a) Punitive damages shall not be awarded in excess of two times the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff.)

Smith v. Buck, 119 Ohio St. 101 (1928) (syllabus) (1. The words “personal injury” as defined by lexicographers, jurists and text writers, and by common acceptance, denote an injury either to the physical body of a person or to the reputation of a person, or to both.  2. The words “personal injury” by “wrongful act,” of Section 11519, General Code, comprehend, among other injuries to the person, injury by libel or slander.)

Nadra v. Mbah, 2008-Ohio-3918 (“Bodily injury” covers all actions whose purpose is to recover for an injury to the person whether based in tort, contract, or statute.)

Dunbar v. State, 2013-Ohio-2163 (Legislative intent is not considered when determining whether a statute is ambiguous.)

Tisdale v. Eubanks, 180 N.C. 153 (1920) (One’s reputation is part of one’s person, and injury to reputation, therefore, is injury to person.)

Times Democrat Publishing Co. v. v. Mozee 136 F. 761 (5th Cir. 1905) (At common law, libel and slander constitute personal injuries or injuries to a person.)

 

Click here to continue reading article. 


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Fear of Asbestos-Related Illness Sparked by Discovery at School

Shared by Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA

www.smglegalblog.com


The debate over the dangers of asbestos seemed to have been settled long ago. However, the political climate has again sparked questions as to how dangerous it truly is and whether it can still be used for certain purposes. Still, for people in Ohio and across the nation, the mere mentioning of the word sparks concern that exposure will eventually lead to asbestos-related illness, significant health problems, and almost certain death. Understanding what steps to take when there is a belief that there was asbestos exposure is imperative in a medical and legal sense.

A middle school in Kentucky had a part of its building closed when it was believed that ongoing construction exposed asbestos. The school was undergoing renovation in a conference room and it was believed might have unearthed asbestos. There is no immediate concern that health is at risk, but the staff and families of the students were informed. The release of the substance was said to have been limited to the area in which the work was taking place. That area was closed as the investigation continues and Environmental Protection Agency guidelines are being followed.

When asbestos is discovered in a building, there will be fear. This is true whether it is commercial, residential or public. Of specific concern is when it is found in a school. Because asbestos was once viewed as beneficial in many industries, its presence is common and will often be found during construction projects. The mineral can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, cancer and other health issues. There are no known cures for diseases related to asbestos. When there is a belief that asbestos has been found, those who believe they or their children might have been exposed should remember their rights to seek compensation for any illness that is believed to have been due to asbestos.

Regardless of where asbestos is found, its discovery will initiate widespread fears that it could be elsewhere. This is especially worrisome in a school.


When is a Bar or Club Liable for Causing a Fatal Drunk Driving Crash in Ohio?

Shared by Tittle & Perlmuter

www.tittlelawfirm.com/blog


Drunk driving is a leading cause of fatal car accidents in the Cleveland area. In some cases, a bar or other business that serves alcohol to a driver who causes an accident may also be held liable for damages to the victim or their family. Under Ohio’s Dram shop law, a liquor license holder is responsible if it “knowingly sold an intoxicating beverage” to someone who is already intoxicated, and that person’s intoxication “proximately caused the personal injury, death, or property damage” to a third party.

FEDERAL COURT: INSURER ON THE HOOK FOR $8 MILLION PERSONAL INJURY JUDGMENT

The Dram shop law provides a statutory remedy for victims. But what about common-law claims for negligence? A recent decision by a federal appeals court, Mesa Underwriters Specialty Co. v. Secret’s Gentleman’s Club, suggests that businesses that serve liquor may be held responsible if they fail to stop a severely intoxicated customer to drive away. Furthermore, this liability exists independently of any obligation not to serve a drunk customer under the Dram shop law.

This case arose from the tragic death of a 22-year-old woman, Desiree Snyder, on I-480 in Cleveland. At the time, Snyder was a passenger in a vehicle struck by another man who was intoxicated and driving on the wrong side of the highway. As it turned out, the drunk driver had a blood-alcohol content of approximately 0.265 percent, more than three times the legal limit in Ohio.

In a criminal proceeding, the drunk driver pleaded “no contest” to aggravated vehicular homicide. A Cuyahoga County judge sentenced the driver to 15 years in prison.

Snyder’s family then sued the strip club where the driver had been drinking just prior to the fatal crash. Of note, the family chose to dismiss its Dram shop claim against the club and instead argued common-law negligence. The case was tried in Cuyahoga County court before a judge sitting without a jury. In September 2016, the judge ruled in favor of the family.

In brief, the judge determined that the club “had a common law duty to prevent foreseeable harm to others, including to Desiree Snyder.” The club failed in this duty. The judge noted that the driver was ejected from the club after he assaulted a dancer. In fact, the driver was “physically brought to” management and detained for a period of 15-20 minutes before he was allowed to leave the premises in his car. Given the driver’s level of visible intoxication–not to mention the fact he’d just attacked an employee–the club was therefore negligent. Under these circumstances, the judge said that management should have called the police.

The judge ultimately awarded the family over $8 million in damages. This led to a second lawsuit–the subject of the federal appeals court decision–between the strip club and its insurance company. The insurance company sought a declaration that it was not liable to cover the $8 million state court judgment. But the federal courts ruled against the insurer. According to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal courts had no grounds to second-guess the judgment of the state court, and the language of the insurance policy did not clearly exclude claims for “common-law negligence,” only those brought under the Dram shop law.


Game Manufacturer Hit With Discrimination Lawsuit

Shared by Nilges Draher LLC 

www.ohlaborlaw.com/blog


Riot Games' productions, including the hit "League of Legends", have large numbers of fans in Ohio. However, the company is now facing a class action lawsuit accusing it of gender discrimination in the workplace. The lawsuit was filed by a current employee and a former employee and came after journalists highlighted issues with sexism inside the company. The two women say that they have been denied equal pay and access to promotions on the basis of their gender. They also cite sexual harassment, misconduct and a hostile working environment at the game manufacturer.

The complaint alleges violations of California laws against gender discrimination, including the Equal Pay Act. The women who filed the lawsuit are seeking compensation for lost wages and other damages, and they also want the court to certify the case as a class action for all female employees of the company. Earlier reports about the company mentioned 28 current and former workers, including one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. There are 2,500 employees at the company with a workforce that is 80 percent male.

Women have alleged that female job applicants were denied despite being highly qualified because they did not meet the company's stereotypical image of gamers. Women also said that employment decisions were often made on the basis of "culture fit", but this term was often used to justify promoting men, including those engaged in sexist or aggressive behavior. Women's complaints were allegedly frequently brushed aside or dismissed without any action being taken.

Women continue to face workplace discrimination, even at some of the country's most advanced tech firms. They face sexual harassment on the job, or they may lose out on career advancement due to companies favoring men. Those who have been the victim of such behavior might want to meet with legal counsel to discuss their situations.


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About the Blog
OAJ Blog Central showcases informative blog posts from law firms and trial attorneys throughout Ohio. 

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Recent Posts:
• How to Block the Ability to Text/Access Social Media While Driving
 What’s On Their Minds: Can Ex-Employee Sue the County For Intentional Tort Claim Filed After Termination?
Electrical Shock Injuries and Their Aftermath
• A Columbus Attorney Discusses the Importance of Monitoring Truck Safety

• Guilty Plea in A "Sun Glare" Case

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