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28Apr, 15

A woman filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Monday against Southwest Airlines, claiming crew members mistook her husband's medical emergency for unruly behavior aboard a California flight and didn't assist him. Richard Ilczyszyn, 46, was found unconscious after the flight from Oakland to Orange County landed last year, and he died the next day at a hospital, according to the lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court by his wife, Kelly Ilczyszyn, herself a Southwest Airlines flight attendant. He had suffered a blood clot. Southwest Airlines said in a statement that it was saddened to learn of the death, but its flight attendants handled the incident "appropriately and professionally." Ilczyszyn ran to the bathroom about 10 minutes before the September 2014 flight was set to land, according to the lawsuit, which also names his three kids as plaintiffs. The suit seeks unspecified damages. Crew members heard him crying out in pain, opened the bathroom door, but then closed it again and treated the incident as a passenger disruption, the suit says. "They just misread this, sat on their hands and this family has to suffer as a result of their particular negligence," said the family's attorney, Browne Greene. Orange County sheriff's officials boarded the plane after it landed, but the crew had wrongly told them a passenger had barricaded himself in the bathroom, so they decided to get everyone off before opening the bathroom door, the suit says. The process took about 30 minutes, and Richard Ilczyszyn was found unconscious. Southwest Airlines said the crew tried to reach him to provide assistance and the pilot arranged for first responders to meet the flight when it landed. The lawsuit says the first responders did not include paramedics. Doctors determined Richard Ilczyszyn had been deprived of oxygen to his brain for about 33 minutes while on the plane, according to the suit. Ilczyszyn was a financial trader who appeared on CNBC.

12Jan, 15

Los Angeles, CA: About 52,000 units of the SKLZ Recoil 360™ All-Position Resistance Trainers are being recalled following reports of serious injuries. A weld on a ring on the resistance trainer’s belt can break during use and cause the resistance trainer’s flexible cord to quickly and unexpectedly retract and hit an exercise partner who is holding the other end. This recall involves the SKLZ Recoil 360™ All-Position Resistance Trainers, which is a leash-type device that provides resistance during exercise. The resistance trainer consists of a belt, an 8-foot flexible cord attachment leash, a safety handle and a storage bag. “SKLZ” followed by an arrow is printed on the belt. Users wear the belt, which is connected to the flexible cord. The safety handle, connected to the flexible cord, is held by a coach or partner to provide resistance while the user runs, jumps or shuffles. In lieu of a coach or partners, the safety handle can be connected to a sturdy stationary object like a fence or post. Belts with the arrow before the “SKLZ” are not included in this recall. There have been three reports of the weld on the resistance trainer breaking and resulting in serious injuries, including blunt trauma to a lower leg, a puncture wound and a laceration. The items were sold at Academy LTD, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other sporting goods and fitness stores; sporting goods and fitness catalogs; and online at SKLZ.com and Amazon.com from January 2013 through December 2014 for about $40.

18Dec, 14

Edwardsville, IL: A native of Puerto Rico was recently awarded a record $7.5 million settlement in a back and neck injury lawsuit following the sudden explosion of an air tank aboard a marine vessel that was docked for repairs. Plaintiff Edward Perez-Mossetty was seriously injured in the explosion. Back and Neck Injury Plaintiff Scores Record .5 Million Jones Act SettlementAccording to an account in The Telegraph (11/19/14) of Alton, Illinois, the then-37-year-old was affecting repairs aboard the vessel on behalf of defendants American Tugs Inc. and an unnamed boat company based in Alton, Illinois. The plaintiff was in the engine room that also housed an aging air tank that was exhibiting signs of thinning and pitting. According to court records in the back injury compensation claim, the tank had been installed without a working pressure relief valve and was normally operated in an automated fashion, with the air compressor automatically shutting down when the desired pressure within the tank was reached. However, on the day of the accident, employees had been operating the compressor in manual mode as the compressor had been shutting off too soon. On the day of the accident, pressure within the tank had built up to a level that the pitted walls of the tank could not withstand. The ensuing explosion - akin to a balloon popping when the air within builds up to a force the walls of the balloon cannot withstand - caused Perez-Mossetty to be thrown into the air. He landed on his neck and sustained serious back and neck injuries from which, in spite of surgical intervention and months of rehabilitative treatment, he has failed to fully recover. The accident occurred in 2009 aboard the MV Alejandro. The back and neck injury lawsuit was brought in 2010 under the Jones Act, general maritime law and common law negligence, according to the report. An investigation by the US Coast Guard, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Illinois Boiler Inspector confirmed the pitted and weakened condition of the tank (due to water accumulation over time, according to the report), and the absence of the pressure relief valve. Officials noted that there would have been plenty of opportunity for the defendants to install the proper pressure relief valve over the many years the tank remained in the engine room of the vessel. The plaintiff’s neck injury lawyer noted that Perez-Mossetty suffered a serious neck injury when he landed after being thrown into the air from the explosion. The plaintiff suffered partial paralysis and serious motor and sensory impairments. He requires assistance to walk and to maintain daily activities. Perez-Mossetty also remains in constant pain and will require assistive devices and ongoing medical care and treatment going forward for as long as he remains alive. He can no longer work. Perez-Mossetty had initially sought $46 million when the neck injury compensation claim was filed in 2010. That amount notwithstanding, the $7.5 million settlement was described in the report as a record amount.

1Dec, 14

November 30, 2014, 08:00:00AM. By Heidi Turner Washington, DC: An executive for the company that manufactures airbags involved in recent airbag recalls, airbag-related deaths and airbag failures has said there is no need for a nationwide recall, despite growing calls for such a recall to occur. Meanwhile, some news outlets are reporting that airbag lawsuits are being confidentially settled, making it difficult for plaintiffs in pending lawsuits to rely on previous cases for information. Calls for Nationwide Airbag Recall Increase As Some Lawsuits Are SettledAccording to Bloomberg (11/20/14), an executive of Takata Corporation gave an apology at a US Senate Hearing and apologized for situations in which three deaths were linked to the company’s airbags. Two more deaths are currently being investigated and a third may also be linked to faulty airbags. Takata makes airbags for a variety of automobile manufacturers, including Honda Motor Co., who has faced lawsuits concerning its use of Takata airbags. At issue with the airbags is an inflator compound - ammonium nitrate - that can break down and deploy with too much force when exposed to a high humidity or temperature changes, according to the New York Times (11/19/14). That force can result in metal components of the airbag breaking and being sent into the vehicle’s cabin, causing serious and sometimes fatal injuries to occupants. So far, globally more than 14 million vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled. A lawsuit has been filed by the family of Hien Tran, who died after a September 29 crash in which debris from a vehicle’s airbag caused fatal injuries. According to Reuters (11/17/14), Tran’s injuries so closely resembled stab wounds that investigators initially considered her death a homicide. The lawsuit alleges Honda and Takata failed to warn vehicle owners about the potential risk of airbag failure, despite recalls and reports of incidents linked to the airbags. Other lawsuits have been filed, but Bloomberg (11/17/14) notes that confidential settlements reached in some of those lawsuits prevented relevant information from being revealed, meaning clients in pending lawsuits do not obtain access to that information. According to Bloomberg, in at least five lawsuits, settlements were achieved before information came out in court. Meanwhile lawsuits seeking class-action status have reportedly been filed against Takata and Honda. In these cases, according to StarNews (11/19/14), the plaintiffs have not suffered injury but are suing for out-of-pocket expenses and damages linked to fixing their vehicles’ airbags. Lawsuits allege Takata and Honda officials knew or should have known about problems with the airbags and failed to take proper corrective action.

19Nov, 14

By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Amusement park operator Six Flags and a German roller coaster maker have reached a settlement with the family of woman who was killed last year when she plunged to her death from a roller coaster at a park in Texas, they said in a statement. Six Flags and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides of Germany reached the deal with the family of Rosy Esparza. Her family had been seeking more than $1 million in damages but terms of the settlement were not disclosed, a lawyer for the Esparza family said on Wednesday. "The Esparza family is very pleased with the settlement and appreciates the condolences offered by Six Flags and Gerstlauer," Frank Branson and Garret Chambers, attorneys for the family, said in a joint statement released on Tuesday with the companies. The two companies were not immediately available for comment. Police said Esparza, 52, fell from the car in which she was riding on the 150-foot-high (45-meter-high) Texas Giant roller coaster at the Six Flags Over Texas Park in the Dallas suburb of Arlington in July 2013. Esparza's relatives had filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September, alleging the park was negligent in not having an adequate restraint system. Investigators looking into the accident ruled out mechanical failure as a reason for the accident, the park said. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz)

10Nov, 14

November 6, 2014, 10:30:00AM. By The National Trial Lawyers The survivors of 52-year old security guard were awarded $10.5 million after he was killed by a CBS van that was transporting passengers. CBS Pays .5M to Survivors of Guard Killed on NCIS SetJulio Vilamariona had emigrated from San Salvador, El Salvador, in hopes of providing a better future for his wife and three daughters. Villamariona was securing the set of the CBS detective show NCIS. The driver of a 15-passenger van, Ralph Blunt, was transporting employees at CBS studios, when he passed out and crashed into Villamariona, killing him instantly. CBS admits, then denies liability At the outset of the case, CBS issued an apology statement addressing the friends and family of the victim, and showing its sincere condolences. However, when it came time to defend the case, CBS changed its agenda. At trial, CBS asserted that the driver’s medical emergency was completely out of its control, therefore, making it not liable for the accident or the death. A few days before the trial began, CBS had “admitted that they were the sole party responsible for the death,” according to plaintiff attorney Brian Panish. But when it came to trial, it denied all claims of liability. Plaintiffs attorneys Panish Shea & Boyle proved that CBS was liable for its employee’s negligence. CBS attorney Dana Alden Fox in his closing argument stated, “the plaintiffs are deserving of damages, but not as much as Panish was seeking on their behalf.” However, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs granting them $10.5 million. The family was grateful for the amount they received in damages however, but Villamariona’s oldest daughter said, “No one will understand the emptiness we feel.” Attorney Panish stated, “I am so proud of the surviving family members and the jury for standing up to a powerful entity like CBS.”