Author Archives: Russell Mace

Car Accidents in South Carolina

On Monday, December 22, 2014, Miles and Christopher Waddell of Loris were involved in an accident with a drunk driver. Christopher Waddell was driving northbound on Red Bluff Road when Craig Austin Livingston, of Loris was driving southbound and his car crossed the center lane and crashed into the Waddells car. Livingston has been charged with Felony DUI great bodily injury, Felony DUI death, and open container. Christopher Waddell died at the scene and his younger brother, Miles, was transported to the nearest hospital where Livingston was also transported. Miles suffered brain injuries and he is currently in a coma fighting to stay alive.

Christopher, affectionately known as ‘Critter,’ was a loving young man with a wonderful personality. He loved the Lord, was a prayer warrior, read his Bible every day, and was faithful to Loris First Baptist Church. He was very loved by all his friends, family, and his fiancé, Mary Reagan Floyd. It is so sad when tragedies like this occur especially during the holidays.

 Car accidents in South Carolina occur all the time and the majority occur due to negligent drivers. Our Myrtle Beach car accident lawyers are experienced in helping families in situations such as this one. The last thing a victim or family member should be concerned with is how to cover the costs of their loved one’s medical expenses or worse, funeral arrangements. Our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers can assist you through every step of this process. Our attorneys can help you recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitative costs, and any other expenses associated with the incident. No amount of money will take away the pain or bring your loved one back, but the process will often bring some type of closure and hold the accountable party responsible for their negligence.

It only takes one negligent driver for horrible consequences to result. Our personal injury lawyers in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are aware of the dangers on these highways. A foreseeable and preventable tragedy unfolds several times a day somewhere in the United States. Over fifteen thousand people are killed and thousands more are seriously injured in impaired driving crashes in the United States each year. Even more shocking is that half of these deaths and injuries can be attributed to drivers who were coming directly from a beverage licensed premises where they were over-served or allowed to over-consume alcohol. Dram Shop Laws are statutory provisions that hold licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who have caused injuries or death as a result of their intoxication. Here at The Mace Firm, we are advocates for victims and seek to provide them the best representation possible.

If you are considering filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact one of our Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.  You may also contact us online.  Visit our website for more information on wrongful death claims and car accident claims.


Wrongful Death Lawyer on Cobalt Lawsuit

General Motors, like most other car manufacturers, have–at one time or another–been forced to recall vehicles due to a malfunction or other issue that would cause the vehicle to perform improperly. Knowing this, it is hard to understand why GM would fail to place a recall on their popular Chevy Cobalt model for having faulty ignition switches. In fact, GM knew about the faulty ignition switches on the Cobalt models for 10 years before it issued a recall. One year following the release of the Cobalt model vehicle, GM created a “snap-on key cover” to help with the ignition problem. Service stations were told to install the key cover if owners complained. GM finally issued a mandatory recall this year in February. Unfortunately, the recall covers less than 50% of GM vehicles on U.S. roads that may have the ignition switch problem.

A faulty ignition switch has the potential to cause a vehicle’s engine to inadvertently shut off while driving. When this happens, the driver will also lose power steering and power braking abilities. Furthermore, airbags and anti-lock brake safety systems will be compromised. Imagine all these things occurring at the same time, while driving at highway speeds.

6 deaths have occurred as a result of the faulty ignition switch. One wrongful death lawsuit, which has since been settled, involved a nurse who died in a crash on her birthday in 2010. Her 2005 Cobalt’s ignition failed while she was driving about 58 mph. She lost control of the car and skidded into the path of an on-coming vehicle. She had just taken the car in for service the day before the crash happened. Details of the settlement are still confidential due to pending lawsuits involving dealers.

The issue here is that GM failed to properly alert interested parties, such as car dealers, service stations and customers, of the problem with the ignition switch. Their failure to do so has arguably led to 6 deaths. Even though they acknowledged the issue in 2005 via technical service bulletin, dealers were never told to install the key covers on the Cobalt keys before they were sold. Further, the dealers were never told that they needed to alert buyers of the issue with the ignition and its potential hazards. This will likely be a jumping-off point into an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surrounding auto-maker’s policies on timeliness of recalls.

Toyota is another auto-maker that has come under fire for their recall practices. Toyota was actually fined $1.2 billion, the largest penalty of its kind; it is 350 times more than the maximum penalty that the NHTSA can levy on an auto-maker. The fine comes after Toyota admitted that they willingly concealed information and deceived the public about safety issues with some of its vehicles. One attorney in the matter stated “rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware, Toyota made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to members of Congress.” The attorney went on to say that consumers “have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe, and manufacturers must be forthright about safety issues and fix them quickly.” Auto-makers must keep in mind that announcing a recall may damage their organization’s reputation, but deceiving customers makes that damage more lasting. Toyota isn’t seeing the end of their legal troubles anytime soon though, the Securities and Exchange Commission continues their investigation into the company’s recall practices.

When dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit. Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The wrongful death lawyers will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach injury lawyers at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


South Carolina Injury Lawyer Discusses Lawsuit Against Hospital

57-year-old Lynne Spalding was admitted to San Fransisco General Hospital on September 19. She was admitted to the hospital for a bladder infection and appeared to be confused. With patients who appear confused or delirious, it is common practice to either have the patient monitored by staff members or have a bed alarm that alerts staff if the patient has fallen or left their bed. At 10:25 a.m. on September 21, the staff at SF General told police that Spalding was missing from her bed. The staff member incorrectly described the patient to police, stating that Spalding, who is white, was a black female. Spalding’s daughter also spoke with police and stated that he thought her mother’s bed was equipped with an alarm, and that the fact that no one saw her leave the area is strange because the nurse’s station was near by. Even more strange, 10 hours after she was reported missing, a police officer told a colleague in a phone call that “the person was going to be discharged anyway and she decided to take off, and then her daughter made a stink about it, that’s all that was.” But Lynne was still missing.

Finally, on October 1, police began searching the hospital for the woman. They planned to do a second search the following day, but it was cancelled. On October 4, a man discovered a woman lying in the stairwell and reported it to a nurse. The nurse apparently alerted police, but no one conducted a search. On October 8, a building engineer was doing a routine check of stairwells in the hospital and found Lynne’s body. Now, Lynne’s children have filed a wrongful death claim against San Fransisco. San Fransisco owns and operates the medical facility. Since the action names a governmental body as a defendant, the wrongful death claim is a precursor for the wrongful death lawsuit.

According to the claim, which was filed earlier this week, “describes a calamitous array of errors by the hospital and the San Fransisco sheriff’s department.” The sheriff’s department is responsible for providing security services to the hospital. There are numerous claims made against the hospital and police department, including the staff’s failure to follow the orders to have Lynne monitored at all times and failure on behalf of the sheriff’s department to conduct a thorough search for the missing patient. The claim goes further to state that San Fransisco “violated an elder abuse law intended to protect adults admitted to hospitals, was reckless and neglectful, and maintained a dangerous property.” The claim seeks damages for the family’s pain and suffering, loss of affection and attorneys fees and costs.

According to the hospital, they have increased security measures since the missing patient incident. When dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, speaking with an experienced South Carolina injury lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The wrongful death lawyers will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach injury lawyers at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s South Carolina injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


Wrongful Death Lawyer Retained in Fire Lawsuit

Smoke detectors are an important installation in all buildings and homes.  Smoke detectors keep occupants safe by sounding an alarm if smoke is in the area, allowing them time to evacuate in case there is a fire. Sometimes smoke detectors sound an alarm even if the smoke is coming from something harmless, like when we cook food in our kitchens. Although the installation of smoke detectors is usually taken care of by a builder or contractor, individuals are responsible for ensuring the detectors are always in working order.  Even though the detectors notify us when the batteries are weak on each unit, if the consumer fails to change the battery, the smoke detector will not work and will become useless.  Smoke detectors with working batteries are supposed to be checked once each year.

The family of a North Dakota man has filed a lawsuit, with the help of their wrongful death lawyer, for their son James Peyton, 31.  The lawsuit names the building managers, Goldmark Property Management, saying they are responsible for Peyton’s death because they failed to maintain working smoke detectors in the apartment building he resided in.  On January 29, 2012, a fire started in the kitchen of an apartment Peyton shared with his roommate.  Peyton was asleep in the living room when the fire started, but the sound of a smoke detector did not wake him up.  He died as a result of smoke inhalation.  After his death, it was discovered that Peyton and his roommate had complained to management about non-working smoke detectors.  Some of them had actually been removed my maintenance, but had not been replaced.  The only smoke detector that worked in the apartment was in one of the bedrooms.

In a written response to the suit, Goldmark denied any wrongdoing in the accident.  They stated that it “is not the company’s duty to maintain smoke detectors” in the apartment where Peyton died. They went on to say that Peyton’s death was “the result of his fault or the fault of others.” Goldmark did admit that they “had a duty to maintain a safe living environment,” but continued to  deny that they are responsible for what the suit called “negligent and deliberate acts” that lead to the untimely death of Peyton.  The family’s lawsuit is seeking at least $50,000 for medical expenses and expenses related to his memorial and cremation, and at least $50,000 for additional damages such as emotional distress, suffering and loss of companionship.

According to national data regarding smoke alarms in homes, more than 60 percent of deaths caused by a fire in the home were the result of failing to maintain working smoke alarms.  Furthermore, 20 percent of homes are equipped with smoke alarms that don’t work at all.  Sometimes people may fail to replace batteries, or just take the batteries out all together.  There are new technologies focused on this issue, giving consumers the ability to have smoke alarms that work on electricity and batteries, instead of working on batteries alone.

When dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The wrongful death lawyers will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach injury lawyers at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


Police Shooting Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Injury lawyers and wrongful death lawyers alike know it is often difficult to prove fault in wrongful death cases.  This can be especially true if those being accused of the wrongful death are members of law enforcement.  However tough the battle may be for them, the family of Joey Estrada of New Mexico moved forward with their case against law enforcement and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Las Cruces police department.  At first, the story of Estrada’s last day alive sounds like a bit crazy, but something was off about the way Estrada died.  By filing the lawsuit, his family hopes to find answers to their questions about his death.

Estrada had a history of mental illness and lived in a mobile home park on Bronco Way.  On the day he was killed, he was at the mobile home park with his children.  Estrada happened to be drinking that day, and toxicology tests revealed he had smoked some marijuana on the day he was killed.  The details of what exactly happened to cause an officer to take one of Estrada’s children into custody before the shooting are still unclear.  Estrada went into his mobile home and retrieved what looked like an AR-15 assault rifle, but it was actually just a pellet gun.  However, since officers had custody of one child who knew the man did not have a deadly weapon, one big factor in the lawsuit is that the officers “knew or should have known” that Estrada was not armed with a deadly weapon.  When officers saw what they thought was a deadly weapon, they fired bean bag rounds at Estrada in an attempt to get him to put his weapon down and end the altercation.  After being fired at, Estrada didn’t put his pellet gun down, but instead decided to raise and point it at the officers.  That is when all three officers at the scene fired at Estrada, hitting him in his arm and chest.  Then, the officers did something strange: they failed to contact emergency services to help Estrada after the shooting.  He ended up dying from blood loss and damage to his lungs.

The wrongful death lawsuit names the Las Cruces police department, the City of Las Cruces and each of the three officers, Erik Cook, Richard Garcia and Eric Guerra.  Near the end of last year, the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting by the District Attorney.  However, according to the wrongful death suit, the three LCPD officers “exhibited a willful, wanton, deliberate and despicable indifference” to Estrada’s rights during and following the shooting incident.  This will be the fourth fatal shooting for the LCPD in the past four years.

As we mentioned before, wrongful death lawsuits against law enforcement are common but sometimes hard to prove.  This doesn’t seem to matter in the minds of those who have lost a loved one to the hands of someone else, even more so if that person is a law enforcement official.  Take the case of Kayla Moore as an example.  Moore also suffered from a mental illness and when she ever needed any help, a civilian mental health response team would usually assist her.  However, on the night of her death, police officers from the Berkeley PD responded to a complaint made by someone who lived in the same building as Moore.  When police arrived, according to the wrongful death suit, they “engaged in false arrest, used excessive force while restraining Moore and failed to provide adequate medical attention.”  During one attempt to subdue Moore, she stopped breathing and later died.  Her father filed the lawsuit against the police department and will try to prove that the officers “made decisions that lead to Moore’s untimely death.”

When a loved one is taken from a family too soon, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The injury lawyers will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach injury lawyers at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


45 Year Old Murder Leads to Wrongful Death Suit

Wrongful death lawyer in South Carolina discusses lawsuit filed by mother of murder victim, John McCabe, in Massachusetts.  In 1969, John McCabe was a normal 15 year old boy.  It was around the end of  September when he attended the Knights of Columbus dance in his hometown.  When the dance was over, he had no ride home, so John decided to hitchhike.  He was spotted by three older teenagers driving that evening and was “picked up.”  This would be one of the last things John would do before his untimely demise.  John’s family would have to wait almost 45 years to find out what happened to their son.

Allegedly, John wasn’t picked up by anyone with good intentions that night after the dance.  He was forced into the back seat of the vehicle the three teenagers were in, then he was physically assaulted by one of them as they drove around.  Next, the men took John to an open field and tied his ankles to his neck.  They left him there, to teach him some sort of lesson, and returned about 45 minutes later to untie him.  The men didn’t expect to find John unconscious and not breathing.  They got back in their car, vowing to never tell anyone what happened that night.  John’s body was found the next morning by two passersby and authorities were alerted.  No one seemed to know anything about the case, and it went cold until 2008.

That is when the investigation started focusing around three men, Walter Shelley, Ed Brown and Michael Ferreira.  Brown actually came forward before the others, confessing to police investigators that he and his two friends had decided to “rough John up” because they were fighting over a girl.  Ferreira has since been cleared of any murder charges, Brown acted as a states witness, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received no jail time, and Shelley seemed to have been the focus of police attention and he faces charges of fist degree murder.  However, defense attorneys for Shelley argued that Brown was the actual killer.

That aside, as he awaits his sentencing hearing, Shelley’s future is now in question due to a 2012 Supreme Court ruling in a similar case that “defendants who commit murder before their 18th birthday cannot face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole because it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.”  Shelley was three months away from his 18th birthday when the murder was committed.  The court’s decision does apply to all defendants convicted of murder who are under the age of 18, but it does not work as a get-out-of-jail-free card.  The decision simply prevents a mandatory life sentence without parole for those who commit murder as minors.  For Shelley, one likelihood is that he could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.  His sentencing hearing is scheduled for next week.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by John’s 81-year-old mother names all three men and asks for $10 million in damages.  The suit is seeking compensations for the “loss of consortium, pain and suffering, negligence, gross negligence and/or intentional acts in the death of McCabe.”  Mrs. McCabe stated that “it’s not about the money.  I would like to have the whole truth come out.  I want to know what happened to my son.  I promised my husband I would see it through to the end.”  She also stated that police officers for the case did a “remarkable job” in solving the case in 2011, but she is now ready for the civil process to begin.  Since the lawsuit has been filed, the wrongful death lawyer will be able to depose the men involved, under oath, to have Mrs. McCabe’s questions answered.

When a loved one is taken from a family too soon, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The attorney will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call an experienced Myrtle Beach wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Audrie Pott Case

Audrie Pott was 15 years old in September 2012 and getting ready to enter her sophomore year in high school.  One night on the weekend before school was scheduled to begin, she told her mother that she would be spending the night at her friend’s house, but the two girls would actually be attending a party that night.  When she and her friend arrived at the party, they drank whatever they could get their hands on, even stolen alcohol from the local grocery store.  They sipped on vodka and tequila, usually with Gatorade as a chaser, but some were drinking it straight from the bottle.  Audrie was allegedly drinking pretty heavily that night.  That is when things started getting extremely out of hand.

Three boys and one girl, all known to Audrie from school, helped Audrie upstairs into an empty bedroom.  According to court documents, the girl left the room and the three boys started taking off Audrie’s clothes and drawing on her naked body with permanent marker.  The boys admitted to drawing all over the girl, and even admitted to writing inappropriate sexual language on her body in addition to sexually assaulting her.  The boys took photos and video of the assault and distributed them to their other classmates.  It would only be a matter of time before Audrie would find out what was being passed around.  She even pleaded with one of the boys who was present at the time of the assault to delete any photos or video from that night.

Two days following the party, the school year began at Saratoga High School.  Audrie’s friends noticed some cuts on her arm, like she had been self-mutilating, but she seemed happy.  She only missed one day of school on her first week, and even went to a party with some girlfriends over the weekend.  Everything seemed fine with Audrie.  Until two days later when her mother found her in her bathroom unresponsive, she had hanged herself.  Police in the area decided to wait about a week to start an investigation so that students and staff could mourn and grieve properly.  However, before the week was over, one of Audrie’s friends met with administrators at her school regarding what she knew.  She told them about the party and the photos of Audrie that were circulating.  She even told them about some Facebook messages that may contain evidence of who started spreading the images around.

Police started to question some of the people who attended that party and cited three boys with  misdemeanors for their involvement in spreading the images.  When police finally obtained search warrants for the boys, they found that their cellular phones were either broken or had gone missing.  It could be argued that the boys destroyed the phones purposefully so they could not be implemented in any crime that may have taken place.  The Pott family felt that the phone destruction caused an unnecessary seven-month delay in the investigation as “police tried to recover enough evidence to charge the teens with sexual battery and possession of child pornography.”  Following the misdemeanor charge, one of the boys moved to another city and enrolled in a different high school.  The other two remained in the area.

Over a year later, it is still hard to say how many people actually saw the nude images of Audrie.  Attorneys who represent the boys who were criminally charged maintain that their clients “had nothing to do with Audrie’s suicide.”  In Saratoga, there seems to be quite a few people on both sides of this case.  Half think the boys should be punished and that they are responsible for Audrie’s death.  The other half think the boys are only guilty of pulling a stupid prank and that Audrie’s death had other causes.

In April 2013, police arrested the three boys and seized the cell phones they were currently using.  On those phones, police found new photos of other nude teen females and even saw that one of the boys was trying to earn a profit by selling them.  Today, two of the boys are awaiting their sentencing hearings for this case.  The third boy may be moved to adult court and face a harsher sentence than the others.  The Pott family then announced that they would be filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the boys and their families.  They also filed an administrative claim against the Saratoga High School District which alleges that the administrators “were lax in responding to bullying against Audrie.”  Bizarrely, the school stated that the bullying claims were never brought to their attention.

Those who are violated like Audrie was have very little protection under the law.  In fact, “section 230 of the Communications Decency Act effectively means that no Internet provider can be forced to take down content for invading a person’s privacy or even defaming them.”  Sounds a little odd that one can sue, for instance, a national newspaper for invading their privacy or defaming them, but one cannot sue to get their photograph taken off a particular website.  This issue plagues prosecutors across the country since they are unsure of how to protect young women “from not just sexual assault but the magnification of those assaults via the Internet.”

After a loved one is taken from a family too soon, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The attorney will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call an experienced wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Uber

The family of a small girl has hired a wrongful death lawyer to sue taxi company.  Uber is a relatively new type of taxi service used in large cities like San Fransisco and Boston.  The technology company has even expanded this branch of its business into foreign markets like South America and Europe.  By using the company’s mobile application, Uber users can request transportation that will arrive to pick them up in minutes, according to the company’s website.  The application allows users to track the estimated arrival time of their driver, charge the ride to a credit card on file and receive emails about trips taken.  The company is an “on-demand service,” meaning that customers cannot make reservations in advance for a ride.  Uber focuses on making car service more enjoyable and allows drivers to utilize their down-time more effectively and earn extra money.  Once users download the app, they will follow the prompts to complete the sign-up process.  The app even allows users to choose which type of car they will be picked up in, with options like “SUV” and “black car.”  Payments are made through the app as well, including the driver’s tip.  Some cities have a standard for minimum fare for a single ride, and some do not.  The app has started to impact businesses too, with some employers offering Uber credits to their employees each month.

Since the application was launched, Uber has been faced with a variety of issues surrounding regulations.  For instance, in 2012 the Washington DC City Counsel was forced to hold meetings regarding the public’s use of this type of car service and had to formally legalize it with no standard for minimum fares.  Months later, Uber was sued by Chicago taxi and delivery companies for violating laws designed to protect public safety.  Also, in Vancouver, Uber raised its rates to $75 per hour to remain in compliance with provincial regulations.  The same type of violation was discovered in Toronto as well, with officials urging the company to comply with their local regulations.  Moreover, as of the end of 2013, Uber is being sued by some of its drivers who say that the company withheld their tip money.

With the first month of 2014 approaching its end, there is more trouble for Uber: the company is now being sued for the wrongful death of a 6 year old New York girl and for injuries to the child’s mother.  Syed Muzzafar was a driver for Uber in San Fransisco on New Years Eve when he struck the young girl with his vehicle as she waited for him to pick her up.  The lawsuit states that Muzzafar, who worked as a contractor for Uber, was logged on to the company’s app at the time of the accident.  However, Uber and Muzzafar allege that they are not liable for the girls death because the driver was not providing services at the time she was struck.  The lawsuit claims wrongful death, negligent hiring and supervision, negligence with a motor vehicle, and infliction of emotional distress.  The actual amount of damages it asks for is not specified.  Following the accident, the child’s mother had to spend weeks in the hospital and may never have full use of her eye even after having reconstructive surgery.  Following the accident, Muzzafar was arrested on “suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.”  Uber deactivated Muzzafar as a driver for its company following the crash.

The wrongful death suit also states that Uber’s business practices are in violation of the state code which says “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”  The wrongful death lawyer for this case hopes to send a message to the industry that “its reliance on mobile devices while driving is fundamentally flawed.”  He went further by stating that the companies need to make their technology safer by utilizing a hands-free mode for driving situations.

Uber is required to carry commercial liability insurance and the law mandates a minimum $1 million of coverage per incident.  The insurance requirement does not clearly list the rules on whether other activities related to the job were included, such as when the driver is checking on fares via a mobile application.

After a loved one is taken from a family too soon and at the hands of someone else, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The attorney will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call an experienced wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


Fight after USC Game Leads to Wrongful Death Suit

South Carolina lawyers have filed a wrongful death suit following a deadly tailgating incident at a USC football game.  October 8 2010 was a big day for the USC Gamecocks when they were victorious against No. 1-ranked Alabama.  With such a big game on the line, partying among fans and students beforehand was at a peak level.  Some of the partyers never even go into the stadium for the game once the tailgate is over.  That was the case for 20 year old Martin Gasque and another man, who Gasque would briefly meet later, Curtis Simms.

Gasque was a USC fan, Simms followed Atlanta.  Following USC’s win, Gasque got into his friend, Adam Paxton’s large pick-up truck and headed down the highly congested Shop Road.  Fans were all around, either in other vehicles or on foot.  Gasque was yelling out the window of his friend’s truck, cheering with all the USC fans.  Gasque and Paxton are stopped in traffic and this is when another large pick up truck attempts to enter Shop Road.  Gasque exchanges words with a passenger in that truck who is later identified as Curtis Simms.  Simms, wearing his Alabama shirt and cap, exits the other truck as Gasque does the same to meet him in the road.  Witnesses say that Simms, who is over 100 pounds heavier than his opponent, punched Gasque.  It is unclear as to whether Simms hit him once or several times.  Witnesses also say that Gasque never attempted to hit Simms or fight back.  After being hit, Gasque fell to the ground and rolled underneath the pickup truck his friend Paxton was driving.  It was then that Paxton turned his steering wheel to slowly drive off of Shop Road; he didn’t know that Gasque was under his over-sized rear tire.

As Paxton turned his wheel, the back tire ran over Gasque’s chest and head.  Gasque did not survive the severe trauma to his upper body.  Once an autopsy was performed, it was revealed that Gasque’s blood-alcohol content was .23 at the time of his death.  This is more than three times the limit of what is considered legal impairment.  However, Simms was ultimately charged in his death and the case went to trial.  During the trial, Simms’ attorney argued that Paxton was to blame for Gasque’s death, not his client.  Simms was later sentenced to five years imprisonment and his case is currently on appeal to the S.C. Supreme Court.  Simms sentence was later reduced to three years once his South Carolina lawyer drafted a motion to the judge saying the original five-year sentence was too severe.  Now that a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in this matter, Simms is the only defendant named who has not officially answered it.

The purpose of filing the lawsuit is to shed more light onto the marathon drinking tailgaters participate in and to hold those responsible for controlling the tailgate parties for potentially dangerous behavior.  The wrongful death lawyers stated that “we think this lawsuit is primarily focused on the responsibility owed to the public surrounding the partying and drinking atmosphere, particularly at USC football games, when there is a virtual nonstop party for hours and hours in various parking spaces leading up to a big game.”  Under dram shop laws, bars and establishments are already being held responsible if a patron is over-served, leaves the bar and injures or kills another person.  If this wrongful death suit is successful, it will “break new legal ground” since no similar case has been heard in South Carolina.

The lawsuit names many people including Simms and Paxton.  Additionally, it names Dustin Lindsey, Edward Snow, Debra Snow and Richard Lauber.  Lindsey invited Simms to a tailgate party where alcohol was served; the Debra Snow, Edward Snow and Lauber owned and managed/operated the Shop Road property where the tailgate party occurred.  Lindsey is a former football player for USC and had decided to lease a space for the tailgate party from the Snows on the day of the game.  Each defendant named in the suit has denied any responsibility for the death of Martin Gasque.  In their court filings, the defendants raise many defenses, but the main defense is that Gasque, by his heavy drinking, “was wholly or in part the cause of his own death.”  One attorney for a defendant in the case stated in his answer that his client “is not liable to the plaintiff…in any way.”

As in many civil actions, this particular case has a long way to go.  The South Carolina lawyers know that they want to convey to the public, when all is said and done, those who hold tailgate parties have a “duty of care to the public” when they are serving alcohol.

After a loved one is taken from a family too soon and at the hands of someone else, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The attorney will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call an experienced wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.


Wrongful Death Lawyer Files Suit for Family of NC Man

In September 2013, 24 year old Jonathan Ferrell is a former Florida A&M football player who was about to turn 25 and engaged to be married.  His family called him “the shepherd” because he was always looking out for those around him.  On September 14, 2013 around 2:00 a.m., Ferrell dropped off a co-worker and began traveling home.  It is unclear why, but Ferrell’s vehicle veered off the roadway and crashed.  He was alive after the incident and had enough strength to kick out one of the windows to escape the wreckage.  Then, he began to walk to find help.  Ferrell walked about a half-mile until he finally reached some houses where he expected to knock on a door and ask for help.  Ferrell had no idea that the had probably knocked on the wrong door.  Inside the home, a woman with her infant waited for her husband to arrive home from work.  When she heard some noise outside the front door, she expected that it was him.  Instead when she opened it, there was Ferrell.  The woman was startled and quickly shut her door, then she alerted police through her home security system that “there’s a guy breaking in my front door.”  According to the family’s wrongful death lawyer, Ferrell was never attempting to harm the woman or break into her home, and the events that followed should have never played out in such a deadly manner.

Once the woman contacted police about the potential burglary in progress, they made their way to the home.  Officers approached the home with caution.  Once Ferrell noticed the officers, he allegedly ran towards them, likely to get help for his injuries from the crash.  One officer used his taser to attempt to stop Ferrell from approaching them, but he did not stop.  This caused officer Randall Kerrick to feel as though he needed to protect himself by drawing his firearm and unloading 12 shots.  Of those shots, 10 of them hit Ferrell — 8 in the chest, 1 in his left arm and the last in his abdomen.  With Kerrick being the only officer to draw his weapon, in addition to the lack of evidence that Ferrell did anything wrong, the officer was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter.  This charge means that Kerrick “acted with imperfect self-defense.”  The department did an investigation which revealed that “Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive.  Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”

According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family, “Ferrell never behaved in a way that met the Charlotte police standard of ‘aggravated active aggression’ required to justify the use of force.”  The lawsuit goes on to accuse Officer Kerrick of several mistakes which lead to the incident.  Those include failure to identify himself as he approached, using “stealth and surprise” while approaching Ferrell with is gun drawn, and failure to notice that Ferrell was, in fact, complying with his commands.  Furthermore, as Ferrell lay mortally wounded on the ground, he remained handcuffed.  The family’s wrongful death attorney compared the incident to “when you go hunting for game.”  The attorney went on to say that Kerrick “was a murderer who was acting while on duty.  Taxpayers were paying him, and he murdered someone.”  Not only does this lawsuit seek monetary damages, the attorney plans to “use subpoena power” to make police release records that have been kept from the family.  One of those items is the police dash-cam video from the night of the incident.  The dash-cam video has not been released to the public as the officers trial and this suit is still pending, but it is said to clearly show that Ferrell was not in possession of a weapon and that Officer Kerrick used excessive force.  Kerrick is the first Charlotte police officer in 30 years to be criminally charged in connection to a shooting while on-duty.

After a loved one is taken from a family too soon and at the hands of someone else, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit.  Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss.  The attorney will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call an experienced wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s Charleston injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.