Tag Archives: Wrongful Death

The Unintentional Message Of The “Worst” Drug And Device Court Opinions

[Update: Drug & Device Law has also released their list of "best" cases, and so I have responded.] First, a bow to my opponent. I reference the pharmaceutical company defense lawyers from Dechert at Drug & Device Law a lot here on this blog even though, as a plaintiff's lawyer, I'm always on the other side from them (one might even say they're on the wrong side of the law) because they write a great blog. They write detailed, passionate arguments about substantive issues of law, and they link liberally, involving others in the conversation. It's not that I haven't noticed you ... Continue Reading

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Anesthesia Complications In Routine Surgery

The lines between conscious sedation, monitored anesthesia care, general anesthesia, and life-threatening central nervous system depression are blurry and thin.  As the death of Michael Jackson and prosecution of his personal physician has brought back into the spotlight (I hope), anesthesia medications like propofol are frighteningly dangerous if used improperly.  It's not like taking an antihistamine and going to sleep for a couple hours. Even the "long acting" procedural sedation agents like Versed and Fentanyl work for at most an hour, whereas the short-acting agents like Propofol last for only a couple minutes.  They have to be constantly administered and the patient has to be constantly monitored. ... Continue Reading

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Examining The Annie Le Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Yale University

As a Yale alum, I was shocked and horrified by the death of Annie Le, a Yale School of Medicine student murdered just a week before her own wedding. Like the Petit family murders, the crime was just a depraved act by a stranger, despite attempts by some to downplay it as a "crime of passion" or "workplace violence," as if any rape-murder were less evil if the perpetrator had delusions of attachment at the time of the crime or if they happened to be employed by the same company. She was targeted and it was murder; we know that from the ... Continue Reading

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Did Ryan Dunn’s Passenger Assume The Risk Of Riding With A Drunk Driver?

Big news across the internet yesterday after "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn and a passenger died in an early-morning one-car crash out near West Goshen, Pennsylvania: Dunn, 34, of West Chester, was reportedly driving his 2007 Porsche at 2:38 a.m. on the Route 322 bypass westbound in the area of Route 100 when he went off the road, according to statement issued Monday morning by West Goshen Township police. Police said that upon arrival they found the car off the road in the woods engulfed in flames. Scorch marks were still visible at the scene just before noon on Monday, as ... Continue Reading

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Another Falsified Logbook, Another Preventable Truck Accident Death

Like with the patient safety violations at Gosnell's clinic, I hate seeing articles describing tragedies that mirror my cases, tragedies would have been avoided if we simply had better laws or law enforcement. Like the article in today's Inquirer: A truck driver who plowed his 77,000-pound rig into an Infiniti on the Schuylkill Expressway in 2009, killing a Fort Washington man, was charged by federal prosecutors yesterday with lying about breaks he was supposed to take on the road. Authorities said that Valerijs Nikolaevich Belovs, 57, of Northeast Philadelphia, falsified his driver daily logbooks between Dec. 20, 2008, and Jan. ... Continue Reading

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In Wrongful Death Cases, “Survivors” Means All Of Them, Even Those Born Posthumously

Over at the WSJ Law Blog: A factual situation: A woman gets pregnant. Six weeks later, the father is killed in an accident. The legal question: May the child of the father, who was still very much in utero when the father was killed, later bring a wrongful-death action against his father’s killer? The answer to this question is — at least should be — obvious. When a person dies as the result of someone else's negligent, reckless, intentional, or otherwise wrongful conduct, two legal claims arise. First, there's the "survival" claim, which represents the claim the decedent would have had if ... Continue Reading

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Tort Reform and the Politics of Assumption of Risk at Notre Dame

Readers here are doubtlessly familiar with the tragic death of Declan Sullivan. Unfortunately, Declan's death was not, in the big sense, unusual: every day, people die in the course of jobs they suspect to be dangerous. The intense media focus on Declan's case, however, gives us a unique opportunity to explore the serious — and usually unknown to the public — issue of when an employer bears responsibility for the apparent risks of the job. Back in the Gilded Age, the doctrine of "assumption of risk" routinely precluded employees (really, anyone) from suing the major corporations which caused their injuries. If ... Continue Reading

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E.D.Pa. Shoots From The Hip In Assessing Value of Medicaid / Medicare Lien In Personal Injury Settlement

One of the big issues that's been floating around the personal injury / wrongful death world over the past few years is the extent to which states can recoup the money they spent on an injured person's care if that person later sues the person who caused the injury and obtains a settlement. The Supreme Court gave us a partial answer in Arkansas Dept. of Health and Human Servs. v. Ahlborn: There is no question that the State can require an assignment of the right, or chose in action, to receive payments for medical care. So much is expressly provided ... Continue Reading

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Why Was The “Reptile” Trial Advocacy Book Admitted Into A Wrongful Death Trial?

At the Fulton County Daily Report: For $95, plaintiffs lawyers can buy a book that teaches them how to appeal to jurors' basic survival instincts, those that emanate from humans' "Reptilian" brains. ... But in a DeKalb County wrongful death trial last month, [Plaintiffs lawyer Don] Keenan found that defense lawyers will also buy the book, "Reptile: The 2009 Manual of the Plaintiff's Revolution" -- and use it against him. Representing a movie theater and a security company accused of not doing enough to prevent a fatal gang shooting in the theater parking lot, W. Winston Briggs and Matthew G. ... Continue Reading

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Blackwater Settles Iraqi Racketeering, Alien Tort Statute and War Crimes Act Claims

JURIST Paper Chase reports: US security firm Blackwater [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday reached a settlement agreement in seven federal lawsuits filed by Iraqi citizens. The suits claimed that Blackwater, now known as Xe, created a reckless culture [AP report] that resulted in numerous deaths, including the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians [JURIST reports] in September 2007 and the 2006 killing of an Iraqi guard. The suits accused Blackwater founder Erik Prince of personal responsibility. The terms of the settlement have not been made public, but Xe said in a statement that it is "pleased" with the resolution. The settlement ... Continue Reading

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