Suit: State Allowed Ex-Con to Steal from Elderly Woman
A $500,000 lawsuit has been filed against the state of Washington over the financial exploitation of an 81-year-old woman from the city of Battle Ground. The lawsuit, filed by the woman's guardian, alleges that the Adult Protective Services caseworker allowed an ex-convict to financially exploit the elderly woman. After the caseworker determined that the woman met the legal definition of a vulnerable adult, she granted the girlfriend of the woman's son power of attorney to control her finances, not knowing that the girlfriend had previously been convicted on six counts of securities fraud. Over the course of several months, the girlfriend stole over $117,000 from the elderly woman. The lawsuit was filed Friday in Clark County Superior Court and seeks compensation for the stolen money and attorney's fees and non-economic damages totaling at least $300,000.
Paris Achen, The Columbian 06/18/2014
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Widower Files Suit Against Woman Accused in Crash
The widower of a woman from Rock Hill, S.C., who was killed in a car accident in February, has filed a lawsuit against the woman accused of causing the accident. The accident took place on Feb. 10 when a 36-year-old woman, who was driving while intoxicated, ran into the back of the wife of the plaintiff's car as she was sitting at a stop light, causing her to be hit by an another oncoming car. The first driver was arrested and charged with felony driving under the influence in which death results and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. The lawsuit seeks payment for both the crash that killed the woman and the “conscious pain and suffering” she endured.
Jonathan McFadden, The State 06/18/2014
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Second Lawsuit Over Death of Vt. Man by Taser
A second lawsuit has been filed over the death of a man who was fatally shocked with a Taser by Vermont State Police. The lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court in Burlington by the man's mother and her husband. According to the filing, the man had suffered an epileptic seizure and called to tell the police he felt like killing himself. Four officers and one detective were dispatched and they found the disturbed man, who refused to comply with the officers' request to lay on his stomach. One of the officers subsequently shocked the man with his Taser gun. After being shocked, the man could not be resuscitated and autopsy reports show he died of a heart attack. A previous lawsuit, filed by the victim's girlfriend, was settled out of court in December for $30,000.
Sam Hemingway, Burlington Free Press 06/18/2014
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Calif. School Pays Out Largest Sex Abuse Settlement Per Student
The Moraga School District in California has agreed to pay $14 million to settle a sex abuse lawsuit filed by two women who were sexually abused by a teacher in the 1990s. The case is reported to be "the nation's largest molestation settlement per student," with the two women splitting the settlement. The lawsuit targeted "the district's utter failure to investigate and report allegations of biology teacher Daniel Witters' behavior to authorities in the 1990s." The science teacher accused of the molestation was placed on leave in 1996 and soon after committed suicide by driving his car off a cliff.
Matthias Gafni, Contra Costa Times 06/17/2014
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Justices Reduce $90M Verdict Against Charleston Nursing Home
West Virginia Supreme Court justices on Wednesday reduced a $90 million verdict against a Charleston nursing home to about $32 million, but still called the nursing home’s conduct “reprehensible” and said “corporate profit was emphasized over the needs of residents. In 2011, after a trial that lasted nearly two weeks in front of Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib, jurors found that Heartland of Charleston failed to feed and care for Dorothy Douglas, who stayed at the home for about three weeks. The jurors awarded Douglas’ son and her estate $11.5 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages. In a 4-1 ruling, Supreme Court justices reduced both the compensatory and punitive damages to Douglas’ estate, but said the punitive damages should not be restricted by the cap on medical malpractice damages.
Kate White, Charleston Post Courier 06/19/2014
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U.S. Opens Safety Review of Chryslers
Concern over the safety of ignition switches is spreading beyond General Motors cars. Federal regulators disclosed on Wednesday that they were conducting a review of all the major automakers for ignition-switch problems. The NHTSA announced that it had opened investigations into about 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles over concern that jostling the ignition key could accidentally cut power in a moving car and disable the air bags — a flaw strikingly similar to the one that has thrown G.M. into turmoil and forced it to recall millions of small cars.
HILARY STOUT and CHRISTOPHER JENSEN, The New York Times 06/19/2014
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