Category Archives: Injury Attorney

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.


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.


Murder-Suicide Leads to $8 Million Verdict

In June 2009, something inside James Morrin’s head went terribly wrong.  Something inside him snapped when he shot and killed his wife Alice, then turned the gun on himself while their two children, ages 9 and 15, were at the home.  However, circumstances are a bit different in this case compared to other murder-suicides: a wrongful death lawyer was retained for the killer’s estate and a third party would eventually be held responsible for his death.  In fact, Mr. Morrin’s physician, Carl Koplin, and his employers were found by a jury to be liable in the death of the couple and they awarded the estate over $8 million in damages.  Although the jury found that Koplin was liable for only the suicide of Mr. Morrin, the family’s wrongful death lawyer stated that the murder-suicide “was an indivisible act.”

Morrin and his wife Alice had fallen on rough times and decided it was best to move forward with a divorce.  Alice filed for the divorce in April of 2009 and even changed jobs.  Allegedly, Alice also started dating, unbeknownst to James.  James also began to see a doctor, who treated him for over two months up until the violent incident occurred.  At the time, James also didn’t know that he was putting his trust in a doctor who had no business practicing medicine.  As it turns out, Dr. Koplin is a very sick man.  Unrelated to this incident, he is currently serving four years in federal prison for child pornography.  Not only did Koplin work as a doctor, he is a former Boy Scouts leader who “amassed one of the largest child pornography collections ever discovered in Connecticut.”  Once he plead guilty for the federal crime, Koplin surrendered his medical license.

According to filings in the wrongful death lawsuit, Dr. Koplin and three medical groups that employed him were named as defendants.  The complaint stated that the defendants “failed to exercise that degree of care and skill ordinarily and customarily used by physicians specializing in family practice medicine.”  There are many examples in the complaint, including one very important fact: Dr. Koplin never properly evaluated Morrin’s mental state and failed to recognize suicidal tendencies.  The doctor also failed to perform any type of mental evaluation and never referred Morrin to an alternate doctor who could help him.  Instead, the doctor just prescribed an anti-depressant to Morrin and sent him on his way.  If Morrin’s doctor had performed his job correctly with the care necessary, Morrin may have received the help he needed instead of going off the deep end and ending two lives.  That is exactly the reason this jury found that he was liable and the $8 million verdict was issued.

If someone you know was injured or killed by medical recklessness or negligence, call a wrongful death attorney in your area to discuss your case.  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 South Carolina wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm to schedule your free consultation. One of The Mace Firm’s injury attorneys is ready to speak with you about your case.


Wrongful Death at SeaWorld

SeaWorld Florida has, once again, come under fire for their policies regarding orca whale trainers and their interactions with the whales.  According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), SeaWorld is being fined again for failing to comply with a federal court order and for continuing to “run a workplace with recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”  Speculation into SeaWorld’s practices began in 2010 when an orca trainer was killed during a show with guests present.  Even after the death of a top trainer and a pending wrongful death lawsuit, SeaWorld continued to use the whale in their shows.

The orca whale obtained by SeaWorld named Tilikum was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983 when he was approximately two years old.  Orcas in the wild live with their families for their entire lives, but this orca (Tilikum) had been taken from his family to be used at a marine park.  Capturing orca whales for this purpose seems to be common practice in the industry.  Once Tilikum was captured, he was moved to a holding tank in Iceland before he was transported to a park in Canada.  Once he arrived at the park, he was placed in his new home:  a 35-foot pool.  Keep in mind that Tilikum is a 12,000-pound whale.  As a training technique, food was withheld from the whale and he was made to perform shows eight times per day, every single day.  As Tilikum was not the only orca at the marine park, once the day was over, three orcas would have to share a small metal tank until the next day when the park would reopen.  According to staff members, Tilikum was not treated very well by his tank-mates at night.  He would even have long rake marks all over his body from being bullied by the two other whales.  Over time, this understandably caused tension between the animals and caused Tilikum and other whales to act out.

In 1991, a trainer named Keltie Byrne was walking around the pool where the three whales were swimming.  She accidentally slipped into the pool, which should have been a small mistake, but it actually turned deadly.  When she fell in, Tilikum grabbed her to the bottom of the pool and the two other whales joined in to “toss her around.”  Byrne ultimately drowned and it took two hours to try to retrieve Byrne’s body from the whales.  Little did anyone know that this would be the first of three tragedies caused by an over-stressed and over-worked animal.  Not long after her death, the Canadian marine park closed down and Tilikum was put up for sale.

Once SeaWorld found out that he was for sale, and that he was the largest orca in captivity, they quickly purchased him with the intent of using him for breeding purposes.  SeaWorld was made aware that the whale had been involved in a fatal incident when they purchased Tilikum. Even with his aggressive behavior, SeaWorld continued use him in their breeding program and today, 54 percent of the orcas held there have Tilikum’s genes.  Then, eight years after Tilikum’s initial signs of aggression towards humans, another trainer was attacked and killed.  In 1999, Daniel Dukes, a South Carolina man, had climbed into the tank with Tilikum after the park had closed.  No one really knows what happened to Dukes, however, the next morning when staff arrived at the park, they found Dukes dead, naked and draped over the whales back as he swam around the tank.  Somehow, SeaWorld thought it best to tell the public that the man must have been under the influence and that he died of hypothermia.  Injuries listed on Dukes’ autopsy report point lead us to believe otherwise.

SeaWorld pushed on, though.  Despite the killings, they released statements that the incidents were not the whale’s fault and that the whales kept in captivity are very well behaved and friendly.  So, years later in 2010, Tilikum struck again.  This time, the attack was against top trainer Dawn Brancheau, and again, in front of a live audience.  Dawn was doing a show with Tilikum, but something went wrong when he failed to receive a reward for doing a trick.  Dawn had no idea that because the treat was not given, Tilikum was about to pull her under, scalp and dismember her body.  After this occurred, SeaWorld decided that Tilikum needed to be kept in a smaller enclosure that did not allow him to swim as usual and did not allow him to communicate with other orcas or humans.  Reportedly, he was seen just floating for hours at a time.  This behavior has never been witnessed in wild orca whales.  He stayed in isolation for a year, then returned to performing.

SeaWorld’s records indicate that Tilikum isn’t the only aggressive whale held there.  The park has more than 600 pages of incident reports related to “dangerous and unanticipated orca behavior with trainers.”  What research shows us is that aggression towards humans by orca whales does not happen in the wild, and neither does collapsed dorsal fins.  In fact, less than 1 percent of orcas in the wild have a collapsed dorsal fin.  Research also shows us that orca whales have an expected lifespan similar to humans.  To the contrary, if you ask SeaWorld staff, they will tell you that orcas only live to be about 35 years old and that a collapsed dorsal fin is seen in the wild very frequently.  They will also give any and every excuse as to why these whales are not responsible for any deaths.  That may be true; maybe SeaWorld is entirely responsible.  With all the knowledge of the aggression towards humans, why continue to allow trainers to swim with them?  Even further, why would SeaWorld Florida continue to willfully violate occupational and safety health standards, even after being fined twice?  Today, OSHA is fighting to keep trainers safely distanced from the whales during training and shows.  It appears that SeaWorld is fighting this because keeping the trainers out of the water during live shows would potentially decrease the show’s appeal.  They released a statement, wherein they exclaimed that “the safety of guests and employees and the welfare of animals are SeaWorld’s highest priorities.  OSHA’s enforcement activities and the new citation demonstrate the agency’s continued and fundamental misunderstanding of how to properly and safely care for and work around these animals.”  It is clear that SeaWorld did recognize the inherent risk, but still required its employees to work with the orcas within pool walls where they may have been subject to dangerous behavior.

If someone you know was injured or killed while working in conditions that are known to be dangerous, call a wrongful death attorney in your area to discuss your case.  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 South Carolina wrongful death lawyer at The Mace Firm to schedule your free consultation. One of The Mace Firm’s injury attorneys is ready to speak with you about your case.


Injury Lawyers and Highchair Safety: The Facts

Aside from choking, falling may be the next thing feared most by parents of small children.  Parents and injury lawyers alike cringe at the thought of a youngster falling onto hard floors beneath their highchair, especially when it may have been avoided by following the listed safety precautions.  Sometimes, a highchair may malfunction due to it being improperly manufactured, not due to user error. For instance, the chair’s safety harness may malfunction causing the parent to believe their child is properly restrained and potentially causing the child to fall from the chair.  In fact, over the recent years in the U.S., millions of highchairs have been recalled because they did not meet safety standards.  However, an extremely low percentage of those recalled products are ever returned.

According to a recent study on the subject, approximately 9,400 injuries occur per year due to children aged 3 years or less falling out or off of highchairs.  In addition to that, the study found that the rate of these highchair injuries had increased by 22 percent over the 10-year study period.  Of the injuries sustained by the children, it appears that head injuries were the most common type associated with falling from the highchairs.  One doctor who worked as a researcher for this study is questioning exactly what is going on since “the rate of head injuries has increased by almost 90 percent” within the 10-year study period.  The study also found that the highchair falls lead to more head injuries than falls from chairs with no restraints.  Typically when a child falls from a traditional chair with no restraints, injuries sustained are listed as broken bones, cuts and bruises rather than a potentially serious head injury.

Highchairs are not the only risk related to children; chairs in general seem to be pretty dangerous.  Considering a ten year period, over 40,000 injuries were reported which were related to chairs.  That figure means that each hour, four children are sustaining injuries associated with chairs.  Researchers will now use this data to reveal the causes into the increase in chair-related injuries, which will hopefully cause parents to use more precautions.  Failing to use the chair’s safety features are one of the main causes for injury.  Additionally, not only are the parents failing to properly secure the children, they are allowing them to climb on, stand in and jump off of the chairs.

However, a child’s chair injury isn’t always the fault of the parent.  Sometimes faulty chairs may be the reason an injury is sustained.  Although a law went into effect in 2011 that imposed more strict safety testing procedures on a variety of household items, highchairs included, some parents may be using older models.  Some parents are even unaware that many highchair models have been recalled due to their failure to meet safety standards.  This is why it is important to note the lifespan of highchairs, children’s car seats and the like; over the years, many of these products have been recalled because they are malfunctioning or unsafe to use.  There are tons of resources for parents to double check their equipment to be sure it is safe, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Here are some considerations for parents who are using a highchair:

1.  Be sure your child is able to sit up on his own, this will be the only way he can safely sit in a highchair by himself without falling out unintentionally.

2.  Read up on the latest safety standards.  Currently, all highchair models purchased should conform to safety standard BS14988.

3.  The highchair will need a sturdy, wide base so that it is fully stable.

4. Check and re-check the safety harness.  Always remember to use this safety feature each time your child is in the chair.  Harnesses on highchairs must be compliant with safety standard BS6684.

5.  Always have an eye on your child while he is seated and strapped into the chair.  As we know, children may “rock” their highchairs, making it easier to tip over.

6.  Never place your highchair on any surface which is raised or slippery.

If someone you know was injured due to highchair use, call a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach to discuss your case.  Following your free consultation, should the injury lawyers 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 and interview experts and witnesses for your case.

If you or someone you know would like to file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good injury lawyer in your area. Call an experienced South Carolina accident lawyer at The Mace Firm to schedule your free consultation. One of The Mace Firm’s injury attorneys is ready to speak with you about your case.


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