Pain In The Ass

When Van Nuys resident Yvette Castello made what she thought was a routine trip to Costco, she ended up leaving with a lifetime of pain and suffering rather than a lifetime supply of dish soap. While walking into the store’s main entrance, Yvette was forced to traverse a slippery mixture of cleaning detergent and water created by a Costco subcontractor who was performing a messy porta potty cleaning job immediately next to the entryway. The slick trails and pools of liquid and soap caused Yvette’s feet to slip out from beneath her sending her feet in the air as she came crashing down onto her back. The painful fall caused serious injuries to her lower back that would cause her pain and discomfort for years to come. Had Costco and So Cal Sanitation adhered to proper safety standards, they could have prevented Yvette years of pain, discomfort and an expensive and debilitating back surgery. Yvette took Costco and the subcontractor to court, maintaining that Costco and So Cal Sanitation failed to warn pedestrians about the hazardous condition outside of the store that caused her injuries. After 4.5 hours of deliberation, a civil justice jury ruled in favor of Yvette finding Costco & So Cal Sanitation negligent for failing to warn their customers about the unsafe conditions. If only there were a store where someone could find signs in bulk.

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School District’s Deadly Decision

Why did the student cross the 5 lane highway? Because the School District put an illegal bus stop there. Unfortunately for the 15 year old boy on his way to school, he didn’t make it to the other side. It’s true, Chaffey Joint Union High School District created an illegal bus stop without seeking the approval from the district superintendent forcing students to put their lives in harms way on their way to school each day. During the case against the district, County Superior Court Judge Brian S. McCarville also found that the district had been on actual notice of the dangerous condition for many months and failed to protect against it, even though it would not have cost any money. To make matters worse, the judge also discovered that the school district hid and destroyed evidence in the hopes of avoiding responsibility and liability in the case. After four and half hours of deliberation, a civil justice jury found the school district 100% liable ruling in favor of the mother of the 15 year old victim. Maybe the folks at the school district will look both ways before trying to cross that road again.

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Health Insurance Fail

Finding out you contracted Hepatitis C is terrible news, but finding out your insurance carrier won’t pay for the cure is even worse. That was the case with Shima Andre when Anthem Blue Cross denied her request for one of only two drugs that can permanently kill the debilitating virus. In fact, a whopping 94% of requests in California are denied by insurance providers due to their 95K price tag. Several lawsuits have been filed against insurance carriers accusing them of withholding a cure for Hepatitis C based on profits. As long as prolonged sickness and treatment is cheaper than the cure, it seems that the insurance companies have no interest in providing their clients with the cure to a crippling and life-threatening disease. And you thought dealing with your HMO would be the death of you.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

We know AT&T wants to “Rethink Possible” but that doesn’t mean the law. When former AT&T employee Angela Hernandez took a medical leave protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), she had no idea her employer would end up using it to discriminate against her. In 2012, Angela Hernandez exhausted her maximum leave hours covered by FMLA, a federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical reasons. Unbeknownst to her at the time, doing so made her a target for upper management who singled out and terminated employees protected by FMLA guidelines. After a 21 day trial, a civil justice jury ruled in favor of the Angela on all counts… Hey AT&T, can you hear us now?

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Double Decked

We may assume that the companies we give our hard earned money to have our safety in mind, but Starline Tours didn’t apply safety standards until it slapped one of their customers in the face. While walking to use the bathroom downstairs atop a double decker tour bus, Lauren Guerra was struck in the face by a tree branch and sustained serious injuries to her eye and face. Permanent injuries included misalignment of her eyes, the inability to look down with her left eye, and double vision. A civil justice jury found Starline Tours 100% liable for the accident due their failure to ensure the safety of their passengers forcing them to pay out for the excessive damages that will surely have them seeing double too.

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Crying Fowl

Pointing the finger at the victim of a crime is nothing new, but when the people doing the blaming are the very people responsible for the victim’s safety and well-being, you’ve reached a new low. This was the case at Kern Valley High School in an incident involving a student, a chicken suit and a pep rally that went terribly wrong.  Yes, you read right, a chicken suit. Read on, cluck and duck. During a football pep rally, Kern Valley High student Mitch Carter was asked by the school to wear the costume of the mascot of the school’s rival during a skit. Once the skit started students jumped on Mitch in his chicken suit, hitting him and knocking him over. Mitch frantically tried to stop the performance and told a school administrator enough was enough. The administrator’s answer to the scared student in the chicken suit? A scolding and warning that if he didn’t keep going he’d have to pay the $75 it cost to rent the chicken suit. Mitch did what he was told and shortly after continuing the skit before the excited mob, at least a dozen students rushed the gym floor, jumped on Mitch, punching, kicking, and leaping onto a dog pile that left him seriously injured with a traumatic brain injury. There may be a chicken suit involved, but it’s not funny, it’s disgusting that during trial the school district tried to blame the incident on the victim instead of Kern Valley High immediately owning up to its mistake. They went so far as to accuse Mitch of falsifying his brain injuries (verified by 103K in medical bills) for his own financial gain. After only an hour of deliberation, a civil jury unanimously decided that the Kern High School District acted negligently by allowing the students to violently pile on top of their classmate. Have something to add to the story? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Adding Insult to Injury

GEICO might get you on the hook for 15 minutes or less, but they also may jerk you around in court for 3 years or more after you get in an accident. This was the case with a 27-year-old Los Angeles resident who was in a head-on collision so severe that the other driver died. The GEICO insurance customer thought he was protecting himself by purchasing $100k in underinsured/uninsured coverage. However, after the serious accident, when he requested that GEICO pay him the $100k for the coverage he paid the premium for, GEICO refused. Although the permanently injured man provided GEICO with all the requested information, GEICO still refused to give him the benefits he paid for. After a great deal of stress and intentional delays on GEICO’S behalf, the injured man had no choice but to spend thousands of dollars in costs in order to bring the case to an arbitration. During the arbitration, GEICO employees admitted that they treated negotiating with the 27-year-old injured party, their insured paying customer, as a game. GEICO made only extremely low-ball offers, and when their insured refused to take anything less than what he was owed, GEICO stopped all negotiations because they claimed they did not want to negotiate against themselves. Who knew when you bought insurance to protect yourself that your own insurance company would do everything they could to screw you. Luckily the justice system ruled against GEICO and ordered them to pay for the damages caused to their own insured. Maybe GEICO wishes they spent more than 15 minutes negotiating with their insured, and actually paid him what he was owed.

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Shower Shocked

Think a cold shower in the morning gives your body a shock? Imagine adding a current of electricity through your body to your morning routine. That’s exactly what Southern California Edison was responsible for doing to Redondo Beach resident, Simona Wilson. From 2011 to 2013, stray voltage running through the ground from a nearby substation subjected Simona and her three young kids to “recurrent electrocution” that caused her a variety of health effects. Edison knew of the problem and made no real effort to correct the issue until Wilson moved out of her home. After a couple years in and out of court, a civil justice jury ruled in favor of Wilson sending Edison its own shock. No word yet on how much she saved on her energy bill from all of the lights turning on each time she entered a room.

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Waiting In Vain

There’s a long wait to get proper medical treatment and then there is an Anna Rahm at Kaiser wait to get medical treatment. After seeing multiple doctors at multiple appointments to request an MRI for alarmingly increasing back pain, Kaiser patient Anna Rahm had to wait over 3 months to receive the MRI she needed to be properly diagnosed with a quickly spreading cancer. At that point, the necessary treatment was the amputation of her right leg and the removal of half of her pelvis. A civil justice jury unanimously agreed that the insurance company had breached the standard of care. And you thought your insurance cost an arm and a leg. (Too soon?)

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Up In Smoke

On what seemed like a routine drive at the time, Jennifer Ries and her husband were heading to the airport when a faulty e-cigarette battery exploded sending flaming chemicals into Jennifer’s passenger seat and lap. Hoping to recharge the battery so that she could light up later, the faulty battery overheated and detonated shortly after being plugged in to the car’s charger. After catching on fire with nowhere to go, Jennifer attempted to jump out of the still moving car. Due to the quick thinking of her husband and his ice-cold latte that he used to extinguish the fire; she lived to tell about it. A civil justice jury found the electronic cigarette’s distributor, VapCigs, liable for distribution of a product that failed to conform to reasonable safety standards. We’re not sure about you, but the fact that faulty products like this are being sold for profit really burns us up.

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