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Chicago Personal Injury News Blog

Landlord pulls the plug on electric car charging

August 02, 2012|Janet Portman | Rent It Right Q: I just bought an electric car, which needs to be charged every night. I have an assigned place in the garage in my apartment building, which is conveniently next to an outlet. I've been using an extension cord to plug the car in at night, but have just been told that I can't do this anymore. My lease doesn't say anything about not accessing the outlets. Aren't I allowed to do it? A: It does seem rather unsporting of your landlord to stymie your attempts to keep an environmentally friendly car charged up....

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Illinois employers barred from asking job applicants to hand over social networking passwords

By Associated Press, Published: August 1 CHICAGO — Seeking to guard the privacy rights of the social networking generation, Illinois is making it illegal for employers to ask job applicants for passwords to their online profiles. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law Wednesday at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where several students lamented that online snooping by bosses has caused some to lose out on jobs and forced others to temporarily deactivate their online profiles. Illinois is only the second state to have such a law on the books, and it leaves no exceptions — even for openings that require thorough background checks. Illinois...

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A 50-Cent Fix that Could Have Saved Lives

Posted by: Christopher Scholl Those who attack the civil justice system in the name of so-called “tort reform” frequently don’t bother with facts. That has been proven again by the Wall Street Journal in an editorial on gas can litigation. Had the Journal’s editorial writers done a little bit of homework before making their argument that a manufacturer of gas cans was being picked on by lawyers, they would have learned about the 50-cent fix that could have saved thousands from serious burns and death. The consumer gas cans manufactured by Blitz USA are lacking something called a “flame arrestor.” It’s a simple...

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Ohio unveils nursing home anti-drug abuse effort

By: ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS COLUMBUS, Ohio - Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced a plan to combat the theft of prescription drugs in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The initiative is one of several state efforts aimed at reducing the abuse of prescription painkillers, which has led to record numbers of accidental overdose deaths. DeWine said a letter going out next week to all care facilities in the state reminds them of their obligations under law to report suspected illegal activity and lets them know of assistance available from the state to prosecute prescription drug theft. Ohio unveils nursing home anti-drug abuse effort...

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Vulgar Language Must Be Viewed in Context in Sexual Harassment Case: Court

by Judy Greenwald Published: July 27, 2012 Pejorative terms do not automatically establish sexual harassment, but they do need to be viewed in context, says a U.S. appellate court. However, in Kimberly Passananti vs. Cook County, there was sufficient evidence to establish harassment based on the intended use of the word "bitch," the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its July 20 ruling, which partially overturned a district court ruling in the case. Said one attorney, in cases where off-color language is used, the ruling signifies the importance of finding out 'how that language was used to determine what steps the...

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ACLU attorney: Blocking Chick-fil-A over gay marriage ‘viewpoint discrimination’

July 26, 2012 By: Joe Newby Although the ACLU strongly supports same-sex marriage, a senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois warned that if Chicago bans Chick-fil-A over the religious views of its management, it will be engaging in "viewpoint discrimination," Fox News reported Thursday. “The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” said ACLU senior attorney Adam Schwartz. “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint...

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Parents sue over daughter’s death at hotel

Chicago schoolteacher died after sliding down railing at Palmer House Hilton July 26, 2012 The parents of a Chicago schoolteacher who fell four stories to her death at the Palmer House Hilton have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, alleging the hotel and promoters of a Halloween party did not take enough security measures during the event almost two years ago. In the suit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, James and Deborah Duskey alleged the hotel and Surreal Chicago and Adrenaline Y2K, the event promoters, didn't hire enough security personnel and failed to warn their daughter, Megan, of the dangerous stairwell during the...

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Bicyclist killed after colliding with ice cream truck

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE July 13, 2012 8:44AM A bicyclist died Thursday night after she collided with an ice cream truck a few blocks away from her home in the South Side Chatham neighborhood. The 23-year-old woman was riding a bike in the 8700 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue when she collided with a truck about 8:40 p.m., police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. The woman -- identified as Caprice Cunningham, of the 8600 block of South Ingleside Avenue, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office -- was on a 10-speed bicycle eastbound on 87th Street and crossing in front of...

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Family of motorcyclist killed in crash sues city

June 25, 2012|By Naomi Nix | Tribune reporter The mother of a motorcyclist who died in an accident last June filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the city was negligent in its placement of a traffic-control device. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court says a sign gave motorists inadequate notice that the southbound lane of Harlem Avenue near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue was closed for construction, contributing to a fatal motorcycle crash. Ronald Bizeau Jr. was riding his 1998 Suzuki motorcycle south on North Harlem Avenue on June 29, 2011, when he struck the sign, police said last year. Family of motorcyclist...

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Special Report: Wisconsin companies insulated from stiff penalties in worker deaths

Photo: Ace Work Gear Job foremen across the country fear running afoul of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but the federal regulatory agency’s power is more image than reality. A Gannett Wisconsin Media review of 240 workplace fatalities in Wisconsin over 11 years shows OSHA imposes tiny fines on companies whose employees are killed on the job, and often negotiates even smaller penalties than originally issued. Workers’ families are often shocked by the outcome of the investigation, which by law isn’t designed to assign blame or impose huge punitive fines. Families also are stunned to realize they have no right to sue...

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Get Schooled Letter to Gwinnett: Look deeper into student sexual harassment

3:48 am July 20, 2012, by Maureen Downey Carolyn Garfein of Alpharetta is national president of the American Association of University Women. By Carolyn Garfein From our nation’s top college campuses to small towns in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and, yes, Georgia, the painful stories of children and teens experiencing bullying and sexual harassment have filled the news, leaving parents, educators, and community leaders with many questions and few answers. Last year, in an attempt to shed some light on the issue, the American Association of University Women surveyed students in grades 7–12 and published the results in a report confirming many of the headlines...

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Reedsburg McDonald’s harassment suit settled for $1 million

Kim Lamoreaux, Times-Press The Reedsburg McDonald's will pay $1 million to three former employees who sued for sexual harassment. Ten women will split $1 million in a settlement reached this week over sexual harassment of employees at the McDonald’s in Reedsburg. Poynette-based Missoula Mac Inc., the owner and franchisee of 25 McDonald’s, was ordered to pay the women who were harassed and carry out a number of corrective actions, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Missoula Mac, however, no longer owns the Reedsburg McDonald’s; it sold the restaurant late last year to Lorrie Gorichs of Sauk...

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Lawsuit filed by family of teen killed in fall at shuttered hospital

July 19, 2012|By Naomi Nix | Tribune reporter The family of a 16-year-old boy who died after falling from the second floor onto the concrete floor of the former Ravenswood Hospital building has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the building’s owners. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that the building’s owner, Lycee Francais de Chicago, failed to maintain the site in a safe condition when Jose Morales fell through a hole in the second floor of the building earlier this month. The lawsuit also names American Demolition Corporation. On July 2, Morales and two other boys, both 17,...

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Family files wrongful death suit against Illinois company in fatal crash

July 17, 2012|By Naomi Nix | Tribune reporter A family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against an Illinois construction company after one of its drivers was involved in a car crash in Lee County in western Illinois last year that killed three of their relatives. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court alleges that Martin & Company Excavating was negligent when Nathan Merrill drove a company car at a high speed through a stop sign and struck and killed the driver of another vehicle and two of his passengers. Both Merrill and the company are named as defendants. Merrill was driving...

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Cook County court staffer held on $750,000 bail for allegedly shredding court files

BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter/rhussain@suntimes.com July 20, 2012 6:28PM A veteran Cook County Circuit Court employee was ordered held in lieu of $750,000 bail Saturday for allegedly taking court files from work and then shredding them at her kitchen table. Authorities didn’t know the quantity of the data that Jeannette Neibauer allegedly destroyed nor did they know how long they suspect it’s been going on, said Cook County Sheriff’s spokesman Frank Bilecki. After Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office was alerted about Neibauer’s activities, the sheriff’s office started its investigation ten days ago, Bilecki said. Cook County court staffer held on $750,000...

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US Department of Labor Finds 2 Companies in Violation of Federal Railroad Safety Act

Chicago IL (WorkersCompensation.com) – The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered two railroad companies to pay three workers a total of $650,729.14 in back wages and damages for retaliating against them for reporting workplace injuries and safety concerns. The orders resulted from investigations conducted by the Chicago office of the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which were initiated upon receiving complaints from the employees. "It is critically important that railroad employees in the Midwest and across the nation know that OSHA intends to defend the rights of workers who report injuries and safety concerns," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary...

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Construction Worker Slaps Teamster Union Bosses with Federal Charge for Job Discrimination

Teamster union officials obstruct worker from getting work Chicago, IL (July 19, 2012) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a nonunion Chicago-area construction worker has filed a federal charge against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and two of its local affiliate unions for discriminating against him on account of his union membership status. Construction worker John Lugo filed the charge against the Teamster Local 697 and Teamster Local 601 unions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday. Because Teamster union bosses claim monopoly bargaining privileges over all the workers in his workplaces, Lugo, who refrains...

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Chicago Trampoline Centers Sued Over Injuries

By Andrew Chow, JD at FindLaw.com Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:10pm EDT Two suburban Chicago trampoline centers are being sued for injuries to children after employees allegedly failed to follow safety rules. In both cases, the children ended up with broken legs, Chicago's WLS-TV reports. Separate lawsuits by the injured kids' parents blame workers at the indoor trampoline centers for causing the injuries. The suing parents likely signed liability waivers before their children took to the trampolines. But do those waivers cover the types of injuries the lawsuits are alleging? It appears they probably do, but the parents' personal injury lawyers will likely argue...

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Troubled New York Hospitals Forgo Coverage for Malpractice

By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS Published: July 15, 2012 264 Comments Every hospital makes mistakes. But some New York City hospitals may not have enough money to pay for them. Several of the city’s most troubled hospitals are partially or completely uninsured for malpractice, state records show, forgoing what is considered a standard safeguard across the country. Some have saved money to cover their liabilities, but others have used up their malpractice reserves, meaning that any future awards or settlements could come at the expense of patients’ care, and one hospital has closed its obstetric practice, in part out of fear of lawsuits. Troubled New...

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NYT: ALEC is a fraud on taxpayers

Posted by: Katie Gommel Today the New York Times calls out the shadowy corporate front group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on its tax-exempt status as a nonpartisan charity despite ALEC’s clear pro-corporate, anti-consumer mission. ALEC has been working behind the scenes for decades to push legislation with one clear purpose—provide immunity for their corporate donors by limiting Americans’ access to the political process and our nation’s courts. ALEC-sponsored legislation includes voter ID laws that disenfranchise whole groups of voters and laws that grant immunity to manufacturers of deadly products like asbestos and pharmaceuticals that harm and kill patients. AAJ...

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City questions injuries, but cop wins top disability benefits

By TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters tnovak@suntimes.com cfusco@suntimes.com July 16, 2012 12:46AM Weeks after she leveled sexual harassment charges against some co-workers 19 years ago, Chicago Police Officer Kimberly Miller-Shemash suffered what turned out to be a career-ending injury when someone didn’t replace the lug nuts on her squad car. Challenged over the severity of her injuries, she had to sue the city to get a lifetime of disability benefits from the squad-car mishap — a deal that would become one of the richest ever given to an injured Chicago cop. She also ended up filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against...

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Northwest Community’s top doc lacked medical license

By Andrew L. Wang The top doctor at Northwest Community Hospital wasn't licensed to practice medicine, an embarrassing setback for a medical center that has struggled after missing out on the health care merger boom. Dr. Leighton Smith left his position this month as chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at the 496-bed hospital, where his duties included setting policy and managing...

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Wet Seal sued by ex-managers for alleged racial bias

July 12, 2012|Jonathan Stempel | Reuters (Reuters) - Wet Seal Inc has been sued by three former employees who accused it of discriminating against black store managers because they did not fit the image the U.S. retailer, which sells clothes for young women, wanted to convey. According to a complaint filed Thursday in a federal court in Santa Ana, California, "the most senior executives" of Wet Seal adopted a "policy and practice" of discriminating against black store managers at Wet Seal and Arden B stores from at least 2008 because those workers did not fit its "brand image." Wet Seal in a statement...

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Wells Fargo, Justice Department settle discrimination case for $175 million

By Ylan Q. Mui, Published: July 12 In one of the largest fair- lending payouts in history, Wells Fargo agreed on Thursday to spend at least $175 million to settle federal accusations that it steered black and Latino borrowers into high-cost loans and charged them excessive fees. The settlement with the nation’s largest home mortgage lender is rooted in a lawsuit filed four years ago by Baltimore over fair-lending violations. It culminated Thursday in what federal officials called “systemic discrimination” spanning 36 states and involving more than 34,000 minority customers over five years. “This is a case about real people — African American...

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Former FOP Secretary Sues Union For Sexual Harassment

CHICAGO (CBS) – A woman who was a secretary for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police has filed a federal sexual harassment suit against the union. The lawsuit goes into some salacious detail, using words we cannot use. It accuses FOP attorney Paul Geiger of asking then-secretary Marie Marrero, “How do you like this” as he “showed her a Facebook picture of him shirtless and flexing.” Marrero’s attorney, David Lee, said Geiger harassed Marrero in other ways. Former FOP Secretary Sues Union For Sexual Harassment...

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Brother of victim files wrongful-death suit in Lakeview taxi accident

July 10, 2012|By Naomi Nix | Tribune reporter A relative of an 86-year-old pedestrian who was fatally struck by taxi last year in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against the driver and cab company. Brian Kier says Mohammed Ahmed was negligent last August when he failed to yield to Coral Kier while she was walking across Sheridan Road, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit also names Yellow Cab Affiliation Inc. as a defendant. Ahmed was traveling west on Briar Place Aug. 22 when he tried to turn left on Sheridan. His cab then hit...

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Florida A&M president resigns over hazing death

In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday, Champion's parents alleged that FAMU leaders tolerated hazing that had hospitalized three other band members and was implicated at least 107 other incidents since 1983. They also alleged that the university failed to act three days before Champion's death on a proposal by the school's dean of students to immediately suspend the band in an effort to tackle the hazing problem. Champion's mother, Pamela, welcomed Ammons resignation at a press conference in Orlando late Wednesday. "They (FAMU) need to clean house and that's the only way to move forward," she said. Florida A&M president resigns over hazing...

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Family of motorcyclist killed in crash sues city

June 25, 2012|By Naomi Nix | Tribune reporter The mother of a motorcyclist who died in an accident last June filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the city was negligent in its placement of a traffic-control device. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court says a sign gave motorists inadequate notice that the southbound lane of Harlem Avenue near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue was closed for construction, contributing to a fatal motorcycle crash. Ronald Bizeau Jr. was riding his 1998 Suzuki motorcycle south on North Harlem Avenue on June 29, 2011, when he struck the sign, police said last year. Family of motorcyclist...

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“Talent” Contestant Sues Hotel in Wife’s Death

A contestant on "America's Got Talent" files a wrongful death lawsuit against the Biltmore Hotel in connection with his wife's 2010 death at the LA landmark By Jason Kandel Monday, Jul 9, 2012 | Updated 7:24 PM CDT A wrongful death lawsuit against the Biltmore Hotel moved forward on Monday when a man whose wife was found dead at the LA landmark during an audition for “America’s Got Talent” alleged the hotel destroyed evidence to cover up the slaying of his wife. The allegation comes as part of a lawsuit filed by Joseph Finley in March 2011. The body of his wife, Laura, was...

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CIA cracks down on sexual harassment in its ranks

Spy agency reacts to complaints of sexual harassment by women working in CIA war zones. Former officers say trysts are part of the agency's culture. By Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times July 4, 2012, 3:04 p.m. WASHINGTON — Spurred by complaints from women working for the CIA in war zones, the spy service is stepping up efforts to enforce what it calls a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment by supervisors and co-workers. David Petraeus, the CIA director, sent a message to agency staff members last month to emphasize the initiative. He ordered a team of managers to meet with senior officers at stations...

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