The General Manager of the American Airlines Center and has released statements regarding an accident involving a toddler at a July 30 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show.
According to AAC General Manager Dave Brown, a two-year-old girl and her parents were leaving their seats during intermission in the 200 level when the girl slipped from her father’s hands. According to reports, witnesses say it seemed that her father tripped or lost control when she fell to the Plaza Level below.
Reports state that the girl was unconscious at first, but witnesses reported hearing crying as paramedics attended to her injuries. She was transported to Children’s Medical Center and is reportedly listed in critical condition. The family has since released a statement of their own, thanking the good Samaritans and professionals who came to their aid, and reassuring the public that their daughter was recovering well in the ICU.
Safety can be compromised easily during public events at sports arenas and event centers due to the large volume of attendees. These facilities must take security and safety precautions to ensure guests are safe throughout any event. If the facility has safety hazards such as slippery walkways, broken stair rails, or loose fixtures, a patron can become injured during high traffic periods before and after performances.
While it’s not clear in this case if any party was negligent, injuries that occur at a public arena may be related to the facility’s failure to keep the premises in good repair and free of hazards. Assault or other criminal actions may also fall under personal injury liability if the center fails to provide adequate security to keep guests safe from unruly spectators or bystanders.
Car services such as Uber and Lyft have grown in both popularity and profit recently. Both companies pride themselves of making it easier for people to get a car to their location when they need. However, the more people using these companies opens up for more people to be involved in an accident in or with an Uber or Lyft vehicle. When the accidents happen, who is liable?
Uber and Lyft are both run on apps that allow passengers to tell a car when and where to pick them up. Many customers find these services more reliable than cab companies and enjoy the convenience their mobile app offers. The use of a mobile app as well as the comfort that people can rely on the car to be there has made Uber and Lyft grow in popularity in various cities.
Despite its business success, Uber has started coming under fire for accidents involving their vehicles. In San Francisco on New Years 2014, 6-year-old Sofia Liu was killed when she was struck by an Uber driver waiting for a fare. Uber said that at the moment of the accident it was not technically an Uber car that struck her because there was no fare. However, Uber works by having drivers log in to the app. So even without a fare, the driver is on the Uber clock.
In this case, the driver ended up taking the fall for the accident even though at the time he was on the clock for Uber. There are various other lawsuits facing Uber, including sexual misconduct from drivers. When issues like this come up with taxi companies, both the driver and the cab company are held liable. However, Uber drivers are not technically employees of the company, making the company exempt from any issues they cause. Drivers of Uber are independent contractors, keeping Uber safe from the legal ramifications of their actions.
To many, these transportation services are a convenient, fun way to get from A to B. They provide a necessary service to people and have, so far, avoided taking blame when their company’s drivers cause harm to others. As Uber grows in popularity, it faces scrutiny against its business practices, primarily its use of uncertified, independent contractor drivers.
For Uber to remain a service people can rely on, it needs to take the blame when its employees cause harm, injury or death to anyone, passenger or not.
The tens of thousands transvaginal mesh cases have come to be one of the longer-running mass tort litigations in the history of such suits. These cases are more than 50,000 in number, and span the United States court system. Common to all of these cases are the complaints by affected plaintiffs of complications following the use of transvaginal mesh products to treat pelvic organ prolapse (when organs drop against the wall of the vagina) or female stress urinary incontinence. Among the various complications that have been complained of include pain during sex, erosion of vaginal tissue, infection, and even death.
In one of the most massive pre-trial consolidations of mass tort litigations in U.S. federal court history, pre-trial proceedings in seven different multi-district transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been consolidated before Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia. Judge Goodwin will be overseeing discovery in these proceedings in order to avoid duplicative discovery in the various MDLs, to avoid conflicting rulings from judges and generally to increase the overall efficiency of the process. Also pursuant to these goals, bellwether programs have been established where certain cases will proceed to trial earlier in order to determine various aspects of these cases, how they will proceed to trial, and perhaps even if they will proceed to trial at all.
Several Bard Avaulta transvaginal mesh lawsuits are among these bellwether trials, and three have been set for trial dates in federal court beginning in July 2013. One has ended in a $2 million damage award, including punitive damages intended to punish Bard Avaulta and deter future indiscretions, another has settled, and a third originally scheduled to begin in November 2013 has been delayed several times and will now commence on May 19, 2014.
Of course, the bellwethers are only just the beginning, and now Judge Goodwin has outlined a procedure for 200 cases to go through case-specific discovery no sooner than 2015. The parties have been instructed to select cases that will proceed to trial within this next batch of 200, and at that point the parties will spend the remainder of 2014 in discovery on those cases so that trial can commence in 2015 after dispositive motions have been filed. Selection of these cases will be informed by considerations somewhat different from those of the bellwether cases, as the latter are perhaps more instructive in determining the outcome of later cases. This next batch of 200 will have a much more impactful financial outcome as opposed to a legal one, and will force the litigants to address slightly different concerns in selecting the cases that will next proceed to trial.
That said, many of these cases will find themselves back in U.S. District Courts throughout the country if and when Judge Goodwin determines that they be remanded for purposes of proper venue. At that point, the specific factual issues in each of these cases will be addressed before a fact-finder, unless the cases find their way to settlement before that time.
Ultimately, these TVM cases will not be disposed of for years to come, but with the three Bard Avaulta cases nearing resolution, they are certainly well on their way. Whether the third Bard Avaulta bellwether litigation will have substantial legal implications for the later cases to come remains to be seen.