Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I have to sign a release allowing the insurance company to get my medical records?”

 

After Sgt. Matthew Kohr bought a venti-sized cup of his favorite coffee blend—called “Something Special”—from his favorite barista at his preferred Starbucks location in Raleigh, North Carolina, he received something unexpected and—he alleged in a lawsuit against the coffee chain—life changing.

Starbucks Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Trial AttorneyKohr, a Raleigh police officer, sought $750,000 from Starbucks after he was served coffee in a cup with no sleeve and an improperly secured lid. Kohr said the lid popped off the coffee and the cup collapsed. The hot coffee spilled on Kohr’s lap, burning his inner thigh and the tip of his penis, according to the Los Angeles Times. The burn caused such severe stress that it activated Kohr’s Crohn’s disease, “which required surgery to remove part of his intestine,” according to ABC 11.

Kohr was sitting in the Starbucks store when he sustained the burns. “I wanted to beat my chest and scream,” he testified last week during a jury trial in the Tar Heel State’s capital. The store was filled with customers, however, Kohr, said, so he ran to the bathroom, where his partner poured cold water on his leg. A burn and blisters had already formed.

The third-degree burns left Kohr “clinically depressed, anxious, sleep-deprived and unable to enjoy every day life,” his lawsuit alleged. The injury also affected his relationship with his wife to the point that she lost consortium—or her legal right to the “company, affection and assistance” of her spouse.

Starbucks’ lawyer blamed Sgt. Kohr for spilling the coffee. “How does someone who knows their coffee is hot, who has had fifty cups of free coffee in the last two months, how does that person spill their coffee?” the lawyer asked the jury. She also pointed out that Kohr drove from the Starbucks to a police lot, then drove his truck home, where his wife photographed his injury. Significantly, the lawyer said, Kohr waited over two hours before seeking medical attention.

Starbucks also pointed out that while it serves more than four billion cups of coffee per year, less than sixty damages claims have been filed against the company. The company argued that Kohr’s depression was caused by steroids he took to treat his Crohn’s disease, and that his Crohn’s disease was not related to the coffee spill.

Following a week of testimony, a jury deliberated for approximately four hours, returning with a ten-to-two verdict in favor of Starbucks. The verdict means that Kohr gets nothing.

Kohr’s lawsuit sparked comparison to the famous 1994 Liebeck v. McDonald’s, a case in which a New Mexico jury awarded a 79-year-old customer $2.86 million after spilling hot coffee in her lap. That case became “the poster child of excessive lawsuits,” according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://abc11.com/news/starbucks-not-liable-for-raleigh-police-officers-burns/713613/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-starbucks-lawsuit-20150512-story.html

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consortium

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article20665194.html

 

 

Image Credit

“Starbucks in WashingtonDC”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Starbucks_in_WashingtonDC.jpg#/media/File:Starbucks_in_WashingtonDC.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” If an incident report was filled out, do I have a right to receive a copy?”

 

Gamblers and boxing fans are crying foul after what has been billed as boxing’s richest bout, held last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. Undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. defeated Manny Pacquiao in a twelve-round decision.

Tom Brady Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Civil AttorneyAfter the fight, fans learned that Pacquiao revealed—just prior to the bout—that he had suffered a shoulder injury. According to Time, Pacquiao is expected to undergo surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, which is likely to keep him out of the boxing ring for as long as a year.

The revelations about Pacquiao’s injury caused Francisco Aguilar, the chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, to question why Pacquiao failed to publically disclose the injury before the match. Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, took the blame for checking “no” on a pre-bout form that asked whether the fighter was injured, calling it “an inadvertent mistake.”

That explanation did not suit plaintiffs Staphane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran. They sued Pacquiao, Top Rank, Inc., Koncz, promoter Robert Arum and a number of other defendants in federal court on Monday, claiming they should be reimbursed for sums they paid either for tickets or for pay-per-view packages used to view the bout. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all individuals who purchased tickets or pay-per-view packages or who placed wagers on the bout, claiming that Pacquiao’s injury was fraudulently concealed.

If Vanel’s and Rahbaran’s lawsuit holds up, fans of the National Football League’s New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady may be in for a rocky summer. After complaints registered by the Indianapolis Colts following their loss to the Patriots in last season’s American Football Conference Championship game, league officials launched an investigation into whether game footballs were intentionally deflated.

In the media whirlwind that followed the Colts’ allegation, audio surfaced from a 2011 interview in which Brady said he liked throwing deflated balls. Media outlets called the incident “deflategate” after the famous scandal involving Washington D.C.’s Watergate office complex that torpedoed Richard Nixon’s presidency in the mid-1970s.

After a nearly four-month investigation, league officials concluded that at least two Patriots equipment managers were involved in deflating footballs before the game against the Colts. Text messages exchanged between the equipment managers appeared to show that Brady was aware of efforts to deflate balls.

If Brady and at least two members of the Patriots staff were involved in a conspiracy to deflate footballs for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage, then it follows—based on the suit against Pacquiao, et al.—that football fans and gamblers were swindled not only by the delating action but also by the fraudulent concealment of the deflating of balls. They too might argue that they are entitled to reimbursement for sums expended on a game whose outcome was artificially affected by the actions of Brady and others in the Patriots organization.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://time.com/3848142/manny-pacquiao-floyd-mayweather-lawsuit-shoulder-injury/

http://www3.8newsnow.com/2015/uploads/server/php/files/manny.pdf

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/2015/05/06/read-the-texts-that-suggest-tom-brady-knew-about-deflategate/RvOL44sKCsjUnG6IlSrLGJ/story.html

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24980832/tom-brady-in-2011-i-like-deflated-footballs

 

 

Image Credit

“Tom Brady 2014″ by Jeffrey Beall – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tom_Brady_2014.jpg#/media/File:Tom_Brady_2014.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What exactly is a wrongful death claim?”

 

Police are looking for someone who decapitated a thirteen-year-old deaf-and-dumb service dog.

Injured dog Charlotte Injury Attorney Mecklenburg Accident LawyerShirley and Dennis Morrow—the dog’s owners—said a family friend who was helping them search for the dog located the animal’s body—sans its head—last Thursday. The Morrows allege that someone entered their fenced-in yard in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and stole an ax, a sledgehammer, a shovel and a propane tank.

Sadly, they say, whoever stole the items likely stole the head off their beloved pooch—named Libby. Investigators say the dog’s head has not yet been found. Cleveland County Animal Control officers found the animal’s collar while searching the Morrows’ yard on Friday.

The Tri-County Animal Shelter is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for the killing. Meanwhile, officials with the Kings Mountain Police Department say they have few leads as to the identity of the killer. The Morrows say they are keeping a watchful eye on their other dogs.

“You don’t think something like [this] would happen in a small town,” Dennis Morrow told the Charlotte Observer. The Morrows live in a residential area of Kings Mountain not far from the city’s downtown area. Kings Mountain is a small suburb of nearby Charlotte, North Carolina.

The perpetrator—if found—faces charges of burglary, larceny and animal cruelty. Prosecutors would likely charge the perpetrator with Felonious Cruelty to an Animal—nicknamed “Susie’s Law”—a relatively new law that strengthened criminal penalties for individuals who inflict particularly heinous acts of cruelty upon animals.

Civil actions brought by aggrieved pet owners against those who kill their pets by negligent or intentional conduct are available in North Carolina. Some states—California and Illinois—allow aggrieved pet owners to recover damages for the “peculiar value” of a lost pet, comparing pets to “other unique and irreplaceable items.” Courts in California, Hawaii, Florida, New York and Oregon have upheld damages awarded for emotional distress inflicted upon a pet owner as a result of a pet’s killing.

Unfortunately, courts in North Carolina have not recognized the “unique and irreplaceable” value of pets as justifying an award of damages beyond their market value. The market value of a dog is, in most cases, quite modest—at most a few hundred dollars. North Carolina courts have also not, to date, recognized an emotional distress claim arising from the killing of a pet, although some legal scholars believe a 1913 case—Beasley v. Byrum—authorizes emotional-distress damages in intentional-pet-killing cases.

Since the perpetrator in the Morrow case, by all accounts, intended to kill “Libby,” the Morrows could seek punitive damages in a suit against the perpetrator. Punitive damages can be awarded in cases in which a perpetrator evinces “willful, wanton or malicious” conduct. A judge or jury could set a punitive damages amount sufficient, in the view of the judge or jury, to punish the perpetrator for his or her wrongdoing.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067342/Family-finds-blind-13-year-old-rescue-dog-decapitated-yard.html

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/community/news-alliance/wbtv-news/article20165181.html

https://www.google.com/maps/place/S+Gaston+St,+Kings+Mountain,+NC+28086/@35.2433862,-81.3303487,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x8856e7e1e76252f3:0x5530caec347ce9de

http://www.wcnc.com/story/news/crime/2015/01/26/police-nc-man-shot-killed-dog-that-wouldnt-stop-barking/22367003/

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/dog-book/chapter9-6.html

http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2368&context=faculty_scholarship

https://casetext.com/case/beasley-v-byrum

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microphthalmia_in_half_blind_dog.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

 

Legal bills have made the business of “Punkin Chunkin” uncertain, but Punkin Chunkin president Ricky Nietubicz said he is committed to holding the annual pumpkin-flinging event at Dover Motorsports, Inc. in the State of Delaware’s capital.

Pumpkin Flying Charlotte Injury Law Firm Mecklenburg Wrongful Death AttorneysState lawmakers in the Diamond State are worried a 2013 lawsuit brought against Punkin Chunkin and Wheatley Farms—the pumpkin-chucking fest’s old venue—will force chucking organizers across state lines.

The annual chucking—three-decades old—is just what the name portends. Participants chuck pumpkins as far as they can. Wolfman Joe Thomas’s Punkin Chunkin winning shot last year traveled more than 3,000 feet.

After pumpkins are chucked by participants, spotters ride all-terrain vehicles into the fields where the pumpkins land to measure the distance of the chucks. Daniel Fair worked as a spotter at the old Punkin Chunkin venue at Wheatley Farms in Delaware.

As Fair was riding out to measure a chuck, the all-terrain vehicle he was riding hit a hole in the ground, causing a crash that he alleged caused injuries to his spinal cord that make it difficult for him to walk and caused him to lose his job as a tug-boat worker, according to DelawareOnline.com.

Fair sued Punkin Chunkin and Wheatley Farms in October 2013, seeking at least $4.5 million in damages. Punkin Chunkin and Wheatley Farms denied that they were liable for Fair’s injuries.

Punkin Chunkin’s president and others complained publically about the mounting legal bills in Fair’s suit. State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, seized on Punkin Chunkin’s complaints about the legal bills and filed in the state legislature what he dubbed the “Punkin Chunkin bill.”

The bill would cap pain-and-suffering damages at $1 million in personal injury lawsuits that are brought against nonprofit entities that sponsor annual special events. The legislation would have no effect on Fair’s suit, but Sen. Pettyjohn said he wanted to protect nonprofits like Punkin Chunkin from future claims brought by injured parties.

The bill was jettisoned after Michael Malkiewicz, a Dover lawyer and a member of the legislative committee of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, testified before the state’s Senate Executive Committee. Malkiewicz defended uncapped damages claims in the appropriate cases, and said “fair” and “conservative” Delaware juries are capable of determining appropriate damage awards.

Sen. Pettyjohn said the Trial Lawyers Association was a powerful lobbying group and had lobbied hard to push back against the proposed legislation. The jettisoning of the bill came along party lines, with four Democrats in the Senate Executive Committee voting to table the measure and two Republicans voting in the measure’s favor.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/firststatepolitics/2015/04/01/punkin-chunkin-legislation-defeated/70793432/

http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/delaware/state-nickname/first-state

http://punkinchunkin.com/

http://delaware.newszap.com/southerndelaware/128226-104/sen-pettyjohn-seeks-co-sponsors-for-punkin-chunkin-bill

 

 

Image Credit

“Pumpkin chucked from trebuchet in ohio” by Room 237 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pumpkin_chucked_from_trebuchet_in_ohio.jpg#/media/File:Pumpkin_chucked_from_trebuchet_in_ohio.jpg

 

 

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If you cannot figure out what a “Gronking” is, you can read between the lines or you can order a copy of Lacey Noonan’s “risqué erotic e-book” A Gronking to Remember and find out for yourself. The e-book is selling for about the same price as a cup of black coffee from Starbucks.

Rob Gronkowski Mecklenburg Injury Lawyer North Carolina Civil AttorneyThe book bills itself as the first “in the Rob Gronkowski Erotica Series.”

Rob Gronkowski, if you do not know, is a 25-year-old wide receiver for the National Football League’s New England Patriots. The six-and-a-half-feet-tall, 265-pound star caught six passes in the Patriots’ Super Bowl win last season, including 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady.

Since the close of the football season, Gronkowski has appeared on numerous television shows and is pushing a line of products, including the erotica series featuring his likeness. He appears to be spending his time in a more wholesome manner than former teammate Aaron Hernandez. Gronkowski and Hernandez were both drafted as wide receivers by the Patriots in 2010.

In 2012, Hernandez told ESPN that he and Gronkowski had a lot in common. “We found out we both like to have fun and were a little bit immature,” Hernandez told the sports-news network. Six months later, prosecutors allege, Hernandez murdered two men in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub. The ex-player was convicted of a separate 2013 murder two weeks ago.

Gronkowski’s off-the-field actions appear to be far more lighthearted. The star has burnished his image as a free-wheeling party animal and goofball, appearing in stints on shows like Jimmie Kimmel Live and SportsNation… and appearing in erotica.

A Gronking to Remember tells the story of “the normally sheepish Leigh,” who wanders into the television room one afternoon and finds her husband “Dan” and friends watching football. Leigh sees Gronkowski score a touchdown and then perform his patented “Gronk Spike,” described as a “notorious monster smashing” of the football.

Witnessing the “Gronk Spike,” of course, “jettisoned jiggling ribbons of electric jelly through” Leigh’s body, and melted her “knees like two pads of margarine.” The book goes on to chronicle Leigh’s lustful dreams about Gronkowski and, well… Gronking.

Leigh is not a real person, but the cover of A Gronking to Remember features a real woman and her husband. The pair, a couple from Miami County, Ohio, allege that their engagement photo was used—without their permission—as the cover art for A Gronking to Remember.

That led to untold amounts of ridicule and shame from people who recognized them, they allege in a lawsuit pending in federal court against the book’s author and companies that have sold and distributed the book online.

While the couple acknowledge that they may have uploaded the photo online, they allege that it “was appropriated by the [A Gronking to Remember] Defendants for commercial gain without the permission of the Plaintiffs.”

At least one online retailer, Amazon.com, has argued that since the book was technically self-published, it had no control over the content and cannot be held liable for the actions of independent third parties. It has also argued that the couple assumed the risk of others using their photo by sharing it online.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3059868/Couple-sues-engagement-photo-used-cover-softcore-porn-book-Gronking-Remember-without-permission.html

http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=400749027

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/7476288/rob-gronkowski-aaron-hernandez-two-kind

http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/aaron-hernandez-murder-case-timeline-051414

http://www.amazon.com/Gronking-Remember-Gronkowski-Erotica-Series-ebook/dp/B00RN7TNHE

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/a-gronking-remember-becomes-memorable-791678

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rob_Gronkowski_2014.jpg

 

 

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A man exposed to a substance used in food flavorings to mimic the taste of butter has been awarded $2.6 million by an Orange County, California jury.

Food Processing Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Civil AttorneyThe man, Tanu Vatuvei, contracted bronchiolitis obliterans after exposure to diacetyl, a substance that is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process but which can also be chemically synthesized by manufacturers. Diacetyl has long been used by food-processors to mimic the taste and texture of butter, notably in microwaveable popcorn and in other snack foods.

Writing for the Legal Examiner, Jacob Plattenberger explains that food-processing chemicals like diacetyl can be volatile. When they are heated and evaporate, they can easily be inhaled. Powdered forms of the chemicals can also be inhaled through dust created during the food-production process.

Plattenberger cites a study from the Centers for Disease Control showing that workers in a plant in the Netherlands who helped manufacture diacetyl suffered from the same types of lung ailments as workers in plants that produce microwaveable popcorn. Plattenberger expects to see more workplace-diacetyl exposure cases.

Vatuvei worked for nearly ten years at Mission Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., a manufacturing plant outside Los Angeles, California. He alleged that exposure to diacetyl left him with just forty-percent lung capacity. Doctors have said he will eventually need a lung transplant.

While a California jury was swayed by Vatuvei’s diacetyl-exposure claim—awarding him $2.6 million in damages—diacetyl exposure claims outside of the workplace have not met with as much success.

In 2011, David and Barbara Stults brought suit against New York-based International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc. alleging that deeply inhaling the vapors from freshly popped microwaveable popcorn caused David Stults to develop bronchiolitis obliterans and rheumatoid arthritis.

In 2014, a federal jury cleared International Flavors of any wrongdoing. The Stults’s appeal of that decision is pending.

Wayne and Mary Watson won in 2012 the only known successful “popcorn lung” lawsuit brought by consumers against food makers. Their $7.2-million jury award was later reduced on appeal, and they ultimately settled with Illinois-based Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. while further appeals were pending.

Workers in the food-production industry have litigated successful “popcorn lung” claims against food manufacturers for over a decade. In 2004, a jury awarded a 32-year-old worker from a Missouri-based Gilster-Mary Lee plant $20 million after he developed lung ailments as a result of workplace diacetyl exposure.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional conduct, it is essential that you contact one of the experienced personal-injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina today. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author                                                                 

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

As a board-certified Family Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold’s professional practice focuses on Family Law actions such as divorce and child custody, although his practice encompasses a wide range of civil practice areas.

Mr. Arnold is a member of the North Carolina State and Mecklenburg County Bars, and is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in Federal District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://chicago-land.legalexaminer.com/defective-dangerous-products/2-6-million-verdict-awarded-in-diacetyl-exposure-case/

http://www.law360.com/articles/638574/flavor-maker-denies-popcorn-lung-claims-in-8th-circ

http://www.law360.com/articles/569282/jury-clears-butter-flavor-co-in-popcorn-lung-trial

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-man-wayne-watson-wins-7-million-in-popcorn-lung-lawsuit/

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grandi_fish_processing_conveyor_belt3_2011.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

A student at New York City’s Columbia University has brought suit against the Ivy League school, alleging that it tolerated and even encouraged the defamatory words and actions of a young woman who claimed she had been raped by the student.

Emma Sulkowicz Charlotte Injury Attorney North Carolina Harassment LawyerThe student, Paul Nungesser, was accused by Emma Sulkowicz of being a “serial rapist” and told authorities he assaulted her after a class. Authorities investigated Sulkowicz’s claims and rejected them, according to the Daily Mail. The New York Post has reported that Nungesser and Sulkowicz were close friends and sexual partners before the allegation.

After the accusation, Nungesser alleges, Sulkowicz began toting a mattress around campus as a symbol of “her status as a victim and [to] remind everyone [that] her alleged attacker remain[ed] on campus.” The university permitted her to take the mattress “into classes, the library and campus-provided transportation.” Nungesser also alleged that a university-owned website presented Sulkowicz’s rape allegation as factual.

New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand invited Sulkowicz to the 2015 State of the Union address in the nation’s capital. The New York Times called Sulkowicz “a woman with a mattress, refusing to keep her violation private, carrying with her a stark reminder of where it took place.”

With the help of her professor, Jon Kessler, Sulkowicz—who majored in visual arts—turned her mattress-toting into a senior thesis called the “Mattress Project,” according to the Daily Mail. As a part of the project, Sulkowicz has continued to publically parade the mattress, calling for Nungesser’s arrest, the Daily Mail reports.

Nungesser was cleared by a university court, and Sulkowicz actually declined to press criminal charges.

Nonetheless, aside from making life “unbearably stressful,” Nungesser alleges, Sulkowicz’s success at garnering publicity for the “Mattress Project” has resulted in media reports in 35 countries. At Columbia, Nungesser claims, he is considered a “serial rapist” and “has been subjected to severe, pervasive… and threatening behavior by Columbia students.” Nungesser—who is a German citizen—said Sulkowicz’s plan to bring her mattress to graduation may prevent his family from traveling from Germany to New York City to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Nungesser names Columbia, its board of trustees, President Lee C. Bollinger and Professor Jon Kessler as defendants. He seeks damages for “gender-based harassment and defamation.”

Sulkowicz told the Daily Mail that Nungesser sued Professor Kessler for allowing her “to make an art piece.” She described the “Mattress Project” as “an artistic expression of the personal trauma” that she has experienced at Columbia.

Sulkowicz said that after she reported the alleged rape in 2013, investigators botched the investigation. Sulkowicz and 22 other students sued Columbia in 2014 alleging the school failed to properly investigate sexual assault claims and mistreated assault victims.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3053354/Male-student-sues-Columbia-University-failing-protect-classmate-publicly-branded-rapist.html

http://nypost.com/2015/02/08/columbia-mattress-rape-case-is-not-justice-its-shaming-without-proof/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/nyregion/accusations-over-assault-at-columbia.html?_r=0

http://columbiaspectator.com/news/2014/04/24/students-file-federal-complaint-against-columbia-alleging-title-ix-title-ii-clery

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emma_Sulkowicz_(cropped).jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “The insurance adjuster is saying I am partially negligent what does that mean?”

 

Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. bills itself as a company full of people who have a passion for carrying out the company’s mission of being a good neighbor.

Hurricane Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Car accident attorney“From community involvement to disaster response,” the company boasts on its website, “State Farm is committed to supporting the neighborhoods it serves and the neighborhoods our associates call home by helping to build safer, stronger and better educated communities.”

Jim Hood, the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi, does not think State Farm has been a good neighbor to Mississippi or its residents. Hood is spearheading the Magnolia State’s lawsuit against State Farm over millions of dollars lost as a result of the company’s “malicious” denial of Hurricane Katrina wind-damage claims.

In the lawsuit, the State of Mississippi contends that it paid State Farm $522 million through a Homeowners Assistance Program set up to help homeowners affected by Hurricane Katrina, which swept across states including Mississippi along the Gulf of Mexico in September 2005.

Although the state gave State Farm what would have amounted to “76,673.59 per policyholder” to help offset losses, State Farm only paid the policyholders an average of $14,494.62, allegedly pocketing the rest of the cash. The company aggressively denied claims, first characterizing the hurricane as a “water event” in order to avoid paying claims it said were caused by wind damage.

The company pressured engineering firms to alter reports on the cause of damage to homes. When engineers found that wind had caused the damage, State Farm stopped ordering the reports. A federal jury found in April 2013 that State Farm engaged in fraud by attributing wind damage to a tidal surge in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two State Farm insurance adjusters.

The State of Mississippi’s lawsuit accused State Farm of fraud, negligence and breach of contract, according to the Biloxi Sun-Herald. Jan Schaefer, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi attorney general’s office, said State Farm’s actions harmed Mississippians more than any other insurer following Hurricane Katrina.

“State Farm in effect converted a program designed to help Mississippians who were devastated financially by [Hurricane] Katrina into a subsidy for itself,” the Magnolia State alleged in its suit against the company.

Attorney General Hood could not specify how much the State of Mississippi lost as a result of State Farm’s alleged fraud, but said the Homeowners Assistance Program’s public accounts had paid “hundreds of millions” which, in turn, should have been paid by State Farm to homeowners who suffered damage.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.sunherald.com/2015/04/21/6187338/mississippi-ag-files-suit-against.html

https://www.statefarm.com/about-us

https://www.statefarm.com/about-us/company-overview/company-profile/state-farm-companies

http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/mississippi/state-nickname-state-quarter/magnolia-state

http://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2015/04/mississippi_files_katrina-rela.html

 

 

Image Credit

“Katrina-noaaGOES12″ by NOAA – http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/hurseas2005/Katrina1515z-050828-4kg12.jpg as linked by http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/index.cgi?page=items&ser=109660&large=1. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katrina-noaaGOES12.jpg#/media/File:Katrina-noaaGOES12.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What should I do if I have been injured by another party but I can’t afford a lawyer?”

 

A group of some 40 students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington claim that a professor’s posts on his blog and personal web pages constitute harassment.

Freedom of speech Charlotte Civil Lawyer North Carolina Injury AttorneyThe students claim the professor—criminology and sociology professor Mike Adams—has crossed the line and want something done about it.

According to Slate.com, Adams is a regular contributor to the conservative web site TownHall and has published books including Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” on Campus and Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel.

Adams made headlines in 2010 when he sued UNCW, alleging that his application for promotion to full professor was denied because of outspokenness on conservative causes.

In his lawsuit, Adams alleged that his engagement with the community—his speech—was “a substantial or motivating factor” in the University’s decision not to promote him. That, Adams alleged, violated his right to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The courts agreed. In 2011, the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals ruled that Adams’ blogs and statements on web pages and elsewhere were protected by the First Amendment. Punishing him for exercising his right to free speech, the court ruled, violated the First Amendment. “No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of public employment.”

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, hailed the Adams decision as a bulwark against recent efforts by colleges and universities in the United States to censor and limit the speech of students and faculty alike.

Adams was awarded $50,000 in back pay by the university in 2014; the university paid his lawyers $615,000.

The trouble did not end for Adams, however. On his web pages, the professor characterized pro-abortion protestors on UNC-Wilmington’s campus as “animals” who should be caged, according to the Daily Caller.

That offended Hannah Gilles, a member of the Feminist Student Alliance and one of the 40-or-so students who spoke out against Adams. “We were really insulted by being called animals,” Gilles told WWAY.

A spokeswoman for the university said that Adams’s speech was protected by the First Amendment, but student Mikaela Flemming wondered where free speech ends and harassment begins. “Does that mean we have to wait until there is a direct threat?” she asked WWAY.

Quoting Lukianoff, Rebecca Schuman wrote nearly a year ago in Slate that “We must learn to take a deep breath when we hear speech that deeply offends us and remember the principles at stake.” Schuman wrote that she disagreed with Adams’ stances on issues but was glad he won his free-speech case.

Writing for the Daily Caller, Eric Owens found it ironic that UNC-Wilmington students protested against Adams but appeared to be okay with the poetry of English professor Allesandro Porco, who wrote an entire book of poems devoted to “the anal queen” of pornography.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/22/feminists-go-after-conservative-professor-ignore-professor-who-writes-gang-bang-poetry/

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/05/mike_adams_unc_wilmington_conservative_professor_wins_academic_freedom_lawsuit.html

http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/News/PRDetail/3901

https://www.thefire.org/author/greglukianoff/

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Washington_freedom_of_speech_quote.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

Many people who are injured as a result of the negligent or intentional conduct of a third party wonder if the law provides any remedy for their loss or injury.

Dont be a bully Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Wrongful death attorneyIn general, if the question is, Can I sue? The answer is Yes. On the flipside, can a person or business sue you? Again, the answer is Yes.

A person or business can sue for just about anything. Whether a lawsuit sets forth a cognizable cause of action is another matter. If a lawsuit fails to set forth a cognizable cause of action, it is subject to being dismissed by a court long before a jury can ever delve into the issues in a case.

So what is a cognizable cause of action? Cognizable means “recognized.” Do the courts recognize the cause of action you are bringing or which has been brought against you? Answering that requires an understanding of what, exactly, a “cause of action” is.

A cause of action is, generally, the facts and law that underlie a person’s or business’s claims in a court of law. If the person making the claims—the claimant—lacks the requisite facts or law to support a claim, the claim is subject to dismissal by the court.

Of course, most claimants are familiar with the facts of a case; even if a claimant was rendered unconscious, in most cases a witness or witnesses can testify to what occurred.

In addition to the requisite facts, however, it is necessary in most personal injury cases to have an understanding of the types of causes of action available to claimants. The most common type of personal injury claim is a “negligence” claim. A common fact pattern is as follows: Driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care; Driver breached that duty by running a red light; Driver struck pedestrian, who was walking in the crosswalk; pedestrian was injured as a result of Driver’s negligence.

In order to survive dismissal, the pedestrian must demonstrate that the Driver had a duty, breached the duty, and as a result of the breach caused injury to the pedestrian. Failure to allege these facts can result in dismissal of the pedestrian’s case.

Negligence actions arise out of the common law—a set of legal traditions dating back to British Common Law. Most lawyers learn the basics of common-law causes of action in law school and hone their pleading and litigation skills in practice and by learning from their peers and elders.

Sometimes states create new causes of action by passing a statute—or law—that gives people the right to sue for an injury. Other times—as in the case of a new anti-bullying statute passed in California—written laws contain language that does not make it clear as to whether a person affected by the law can bring a cause of action in a court of law.

California has acted to end bullying in the workplace by mandating anti-bullying training and education of employers and supervisors. The law is ambiguous as to whether a failure to provide such training and education would give rise to a lawsuit brought by an employee who alleges workplace bullying.

This is where lawyers move the law forward. A lawsuit will likely be brought on behalf of a bullied employee. A court will decide whether the new law provides a cause of action, an appeal will be made, and then an appellate court will decide whether the new law provides a cause of action.

If the legislature does not like the result, it will change the law to either eliminate the cause of action or to explicitly provide it.

The bottom line is, Can you sue? Yes. Will your lawsuit survive? Give me a call, and we will figure that our together.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/californias-anti-bullying-statute-wha-13293/

 

 

Image Credit

“Dont Bullying” by Alejandrasotomange – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dont_Bullying.jpg#/media/File:Dont_Bullying.jpg

 

 

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