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Shoddy construction is being blamed for several injuries sustained when a wooden dome used as a climbing obstacle in a race collapsed last fall in St. Francisville, Louisiana in October of 2016. Witnesses mentioned that there were between 20 and 30 people on the dome. The dome was the third of 12 obstacles of the Warrior Dash obstacle race. At one point, it started to sway to the side, and then slowly crashed to the ground. The Warrior Dash races are held in cities around the country. They feature several obstacles, which often will include ponds, mud, and large objects that participants must climb and crawl over. The races are organized by Red Frog Events.


The obstacle in question is called the Diesel Dome, which is promoted on Red Frog’s website as a 30-by-50 foot wooden dome “with views of the ground that will ignite your vertigo.” Participants in the race had noticed that the structure appeared to be structurally unsound several hours before it collapsed. One participant said that the structure started to lean, then it slowly collapsed by falling to the left. Those that were injured didn’t get treatment for 10 to 15 minutes, the participant said, “because nobody from the event staff knew anything was wrong. The operations manager for Acadian Ambulance, Justin Cox, said that three of the patients were airlifted and seven more were taken to the hospital in ambulances from the event site at the West Feliciana Sports Park.

In August of this year, nearly a year after the accident, authorities filed five arrest warrants against Red Frog, accusing the company of shoddy construction and failing to follow safety procedures, including checking on construction, monitoring each obstacle during the race, and having a staffer at each obstacle to monitor safety. “It truly is a thousand wonders that other structures did not fail,” said Brant Thompson, Louisiana’s deputy state fire marshal. He said that there were young children stationed near the obstacles. They were given radios and told to keep an eye on safety, but they were never given instructions regarding how many people should be allowed on each obstacle at a time. Asked for clarification, he said many safety monitors were about 13 or 14 years old. Thomson also stated that the obstacle included construction defects, such as using smaller boards than were specified in the original plans and nails that were inadequate for the type of lumber that was being used. When boards became detached from the mainframe, they simply patched them up but did nothing that would hold the load of the participants on the platform. In total, five Red Frog employees have been charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of negligent injury, while two employees—contractors Marcus M. Edwards and Daniel L. Lauren—also face one felony charge each of “engaging in contracting without authority.”

A Michigan woman who slipped and fell at a friend’s holiday party is taking her case to the state Supreme Court to clarify the responsibilities of property owners when they welcome guests into their home. Susan Blackwell, the plaintiff in the case, missed an 8-inch step when she stepped into an unlit room at a coworker’s home on December 14, 2013. She arrived at the home of Dean and Debra Franchi for a dinner party they were hosting. When she entered the home and proceeded to the mudroom to hang up her purse. An approximately 8-inch drop-off exists between the hallway and the mudroom. Unaware of the step, Blackwell fell, which resulted in injuries.

A Pending Decision Regarding Liability

The justices of the Michigan Supreme Court are deciding whether the homeowners should have informed Blackwell about any risks when she arrived at the party. Her original lawsuit was dismissed by an Oakland County judge, but the state appeals court reversed the decision, stating that a jury should determine whether the danger at the home was “open and obvious.” The “open and obvious” doctrine holds that if a dangerous condition is open and obvious to a reasonable person when the plaintiff was injured, then the defendant is not liable warning the plaintiff because the plaintiff could have discovered the condition and avoided it. The defendants’ attorney argues that Blackwell should have presumed danger when she saw an unlit room. The plaintiff’s attorney said it was the step that was dangerous, not the darkness, claiming that the plaintiff would not have been able to see the step even with the light on.

Millions of people frequent amusement parks every year to enjoy a fun day with family or friends. Unfortunately, once in awhile, a day at the theme park can lead to a serious injury. A Pennsylvania man has sued a theme park for negligence after he claims that he contracted an eye-eating parasite on one of its water rides. Robert Trostle claims that he contracted the parasite microsporidia in his left eye from being splashed on the “Raging Rapids” ride at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood amusement park this summer.

Stating a Case for an Amusement Park Injury

In his complaint, Mr. Trostle said that his eye became itchy, red, painful, and sensitive to light in the days following his ride on the Raging Rapids, which simulates white-water rafting. He was given antibiotics after being diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), but his symptoms continued to get worse, his lawsuit claims. He underwent “an extremely painful surgery where the parasite was scraped out of the eye with a surgical scalpel,” after being diagnosed with microsporidia keratitis, according to the complaint.The lawsuit also claims that the Raging Rapids ride’s water was “dirty, stagnant, and sludge-like,” and said that the park failed to adequately regulate, inspect, and filter the water.

In November, a Pennsylvania jury awarded a victim over one million dollars for injuries suffered after he was sideswiped by an energy exploration water truck. The case is a reminder that accident victims do not have to suffer in silence but should pursue monetary compensation for their physical and mental anguish.

Hit and Run

The victim, Rocco Mazzei, had been driving on U.S. 50 near the Harrison and Doddridge line when he pulled five feet off the highway to talk on his cell phone. At that point, he was sideswiped by the energy exploration water truck whose driver did not stop.

Over the past month, the topic of sexual assault has received heavy media attention after it was revealed that a major Hollywood producer had allegedly been sexually assaulting actresses for many years. After this initial revelation, the floodgates of sexual assault allegations seemed to have been opened, with accusations being leveled against other Hollywood celebrities, business executives, and even a former president. These types of incidents are normally handled through the criminal law system, but there are several avenues in which the victims of sexual assault can also recover through civil actions.

Below, we’ll take a look at the differences between criminal and civil actions for sexual assault and then examine a few types of civil actions that are available to victims.

Difference Between Criminal and Civil Actions for Sexual Assault

Paige Gasper, a 21-year-old student at Sonoma State University in California, has filed the first of what is likely to be many lawsuits relating to the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1. The shooting, carried out by Stephen Paddock, left 58 people dead and 500 more wounded in the worst mass shooting event in United States History. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Clark County District Court, named several defendants, including Mandalay Bay and its owner, MGM Resorts; Live Nation, the concert promoter; and the maker of “bump stocks,” the device Paddock used to make his guns mimic automatic weapons. Since Gasper’s lawsuit, there have been at least two more filings in the same court over the shooting: a class-action claim by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence against the manufacturer and sellers of bump stocks in Nevada, and a petition asking the court to take control of Paddock’s estate.

Gasper was with a group of friends the night of the shooting when she was shot in her right underarm. After she was trampled by others trying to escape, another concert attendee took her to a truck that raced her and a group of other people who had been shot to a hospital. She was the only passenger who survived. After being treated for fractured ribs and a lacerated liver in an intensive care unit, Gasper returned to her family in California, where she is still recovering. Her lawsuit claims that MGM Resorts “breached their duty of reasonable care” and failed to keep the hotel “in a reasonably safe condition” because it did not monitor people coming into the hotel and did not respond quickly enough to Jesus Campos, a security officer whom Paddock shot and wounded about six minutes before he began firing on the concert crowd. It also claims that MGM, which also owns the concert venue, and Live Nation did not design, build, or mark adequate emergency exits and failed to “properly train and supervise employees in an appropriate plan of action in case of an emergency.”

Although the victims’ need and the public’s demand for justice, in this case, are high, the plaintiffs in these types of cases face an unfortunately high bar to recovery. Lawsuits after mass shootings have largely struggled, due to a federal law that shields gun manufacturers and sellers from civil claims brought by victims of gun violence. Congress passed the law, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, after significant lobbying from the National Rifle Association in 2005. While liability against MGM and Live Nation will be fairly easy to establish, a decision placing liability on gun manufacturers would be “unprecedented,” according to Timothy D. Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University. “No plaintiff has ever obtained an unreversed jury verdict in a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer for an injury arising out of the criminal use of a weapon,” Lytton said. “The argument,” he added, referring to the justification of the 2005 law, “is that the industry’s not responsible for gun violence — criminals are responsible.”

NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson has told a congressional panel that before parents sign their children up to play football, they should be informed that the sport can cause long-term neurological damage, even to players who do not have obvious concussion symptoms. Carson, other former NFL players, and brain injury researchers spoke at an October 13th forum organized by House Democrats to explore what, if anything, Congress can do to make the nation’s most popular spectator sport safer for its players.

The congressional forum is the latest in a string of high-profile inquiries into the physical effects that football can have on its players. The largest study of this kind was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers from Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System. Researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players at all levels and found that nearly 88 percent of the brains, 177, showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The study’s most concerning finding was that three of 14 who had played only high school football had CTE, as did 48 of 53 college players. This study indicates that the effects of CTE on football players are being felt far beyond the professional realm, and at all levels of play.

Carson, who is a former linebacker who made nine Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl in his 13-year career with the New York Giants, now devotes much of his time to raising awareness of head trauma and said that he will not allow his eight-year-old grandson to play football. “Every parent should be informed. They should be informed as to what risks they are subjecting their kids to,” said Carson, who was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in 1990. “Understand that your child could be subject to a neurological injury that could affect them for the rest of their lives.”

When a person is injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the injured person has an obligation to take reasonable steps to minimize the effects of their injuries. This is known as the “plaintiff’s duty to mitigate damages.” This rule denies a personal injury plaintiff the right to recover any part of his or her damages which the court or a jury finds could reasonably have been avoided. A personal injury plaintiff’s obligation is to act in a way that an ordinary, reasonable person would have in a similar situation. Further, an injured person must act in good faith and with due diligence in the exercise of ordinary care and reasonable judgment when selecting a doctor or treatment for his or her injuries and in seeking alternative employment. A defendant in a personal injury suit will often attempt to reduce the number of damages that the plaintiff can recover by showing that the plaintiff failed to take reasonable steps to reduce his or her loss following the injury.

Below are four of the most common ways that personal injury plaintiffs can inadvertently sabotage their damages awards.

  1. Choosing Not to Have Surgery

Before we get into the specifics of how to give a deposition, it might be helpful to explain what a deposition is. During the pre-trial stage of the litigation, each side must go through a process called “discovery” to learn facts and gather evidence that will deter define their strategies and avoid delays once the trial begins. Depositions are a part of the discovery process. At a deposition, the opposing side’s attorneys will ask the witness, or deponent, a series of questions about facts and events related to the lawsuit, and the entire deposition will be recorded word-for-word by a court reporter. The reporter is present throughout the session and will produce a transcript at a later time. All parties to a case may attend a deposition, including the deponent’s attorneys. The attorneys for the deponent may make objections to some of the questions being asked by the opposing counsel, but, generally, the deponent is obligated to answer all questions.

A deposition could be as short as an hour or as long as a week or more and, depending on the facts of the case, can be quite stressful for the deponent. As such, it is important that the deponent and his or her lawyer prepare adequately before a deposition. Below, we’ll share a few tips that will help your deposition go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Always tell the truth: This is the most important element to any deposition. Lying in a deposition constitutes perjury, which is a felony. It can also damage your case if the truth comes out later at trial.

Millions of people go out for dinner or a beer every day without incurring an injury from the food they are consuming. When you go out to eat at a restaurant, you put your trust in the hands of the bartender or chef on duty. One thing that you would not expect is to leave with an injury derived from ingesting a dangerous chemical. A man whose esophagus and stomach were severely burned when he drank a beer tainted by a caustic chemical at an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino restaurant has been awarded $750,000 by a jury. The jury awarded the man, Richard Washart, $650,000 for pain and suffering and $100,000 for emotional distress caused by the accident, according to his attorney Paul D’Amato. The incident occurred at McCormick & Schmick’s, a popular chain of seafood restaurants, inside Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City.The chemical in question was a caustic agent that the restaurant used to clean its beer tap lines.

Washart, who is a former Ocean City, New Jersey police lieutenant, said he took a sip of the beer he had been served and noted that he immediately felt a burning pain in his mouth, throat, and stomach. After this, he went to the bathroom, where he experienced the first of six rounds of projectile vomiting. He tried to drink water from a faucet but was unable to do so because of the pain in his mouth and throat. A short time later, he began vomiting blood and was taken to a hospital. A doctor informed him that he had never seen a patient survive with such severe burns to their esophagus and stomach.

McCormick & Schmick’s shifted the blame for the incident to the company it uses to clean its beer lines, Kramer Beverage Co., which denied being at the restaurant when Washart drank the beer. Washart’s attorney also faulted Kramer Beverage, noting that the company doesn’t follow industry recommendations to use pH testing strips that cost 15 cents each to check beer after lines have been cleaned. But he also said the restaurant violated New Jersey’s Adulterated Food Act by serving a tainted brew.

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