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Insurance Company Mischief: Be Your Own Doctor

For some people, you had better be right in your decision to go to the ER. If not, as the Associated Press reports, you could be stuck with the (substantial) bill.

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As described in the AP report, a woman had a ruptured ovarian cyst, which "forced her to the floor," presumably in pain, in her kitchen. Upon the advice of her physician neighbor, she went to the ER, only to find out that ruptured ovarian cysts don't count as emergencies.

The Engine Blowout of a Delta Flight to Cleveland

"It felt like the plane was going down, and below us were mountains. And then it got worse." - Joe Rexrode

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A loud screech. The smell of burning oil. Concerned flight attendants clutching emergency manuals.

When something bad happens during a flight - anything, really, from a minor mishap to a major malfunction - it's a reminder that we haven't completely conquered the skies. Everyone knows, at least subconsciously, that air travel isn't 100 percent safe. Sometimes things go poorly.

Law School in Session: The Second Lesson about Personal Injury

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In the first lesson, we talked about how the technical name for personal injury law is "tort law," what a tort is, and the elements of negligence. (Negligence itself is defined as the failure of a person or company to use reasonable care regarding others' safety.)

In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff must show:

  1. that the defendant breached the duty of care;
  2. causation between the defendant's breach and the accident or mishap; and
  3. that the plaintiff was actually injured.

In short, these elements are known as breach, causation, and damages.

Your Phone Bill: Fight Unfair Taxes

Join our class action. Get started today by sending us an email.

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Taxation without representation is the opposite of liberty.

Residents of the City of Alameda could be entitled to a payment for taxes which are believed to have been unlawfully collected on their cellular phone bills.

Drunk Driving in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles County in 2014 during the July 4 holiday weekend, there are 45 mapped collisions in which alcohol was a factor (Berkeley Transportation Injury Mapping System)

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Does Los Angeles have a DUI problem?

In a LA Weekly piece dating back to the end of 2012, the headline provocatively accuses everyone in L.A. of driving drunk "all the time." Ignore the deliberate click-bait nature of the headline. Everyone is too strong a word. It doesn't accurately describe Los Angeles drivers, as much as people complain about them.

But the author has a point: "Over a thousand Angelenos got DUIs the week of July 4th [in 2012]. Seriously, Los Angeles. We need to talk. Why must you weave a dangerous game of Russian roulette along the freeways and boulevards every weekend?"

We may (or may not) have a DUI problem, but in a place like Los Angeles, where car culture and drinking culture collide, driving under the influence leads to frequent, often deadly crashes.

Stopping the Driverless Car from Committing a Hit and Run

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After a crash, some drivers are tempted to flee, to hit and run, depending on the circumstances (like driving drunk and fearing criminal charges). Self-driving cars - unless they become self-aware - won't have that temptation. According to Recode, Alphabet (a.k.a. Google, although Google is technically a subsidiary) is working with the police on how to deal with self-driving cars that get into accidents and mishaps.

California Reduces Punishment for HIV Exposure


In our post on the basics of tort law published on Oct. 2, we briefly mentioned unwanted physical touching as one example of wrongful behavior. Somewhat related is unwanted STDs, so to speak, and on that note, CNN reports that California has lowered the penalty for knowingly exposing someone to HIV. Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 239 on Oct. 6 and the bill will become law in 2018.

The Infamous 'Erin Brockovich' Case over Polluted Groundwater in Hinkley

Erin Brockovich, famed environmental activist

A law clerk by the name of Erin Brockovich rose to fame over her efforts to uncover the reason why so many Hinkley residents were getting sick (and has since gone on to work on other significant environmental and toxic tort cases, often with Girardi | Keese). Her efforts were portrayed by Julia Roberts in the film Erin Brockovich.

As Ms. Brockovich brought to light evidence that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. used toxic "chromium 6" and that it appeared to have been absorbed into groundwater after illegal dumping, the lawyers of Girardi | Keese stepped in to assist Ms. Brockovich and her law firm. In 1996, we helped obtain a $333 million settlement for the residents of Hinkley (and later a second $300 million settlement for additional Hinkley residents with the same personal injury claims).

Ford's Defective Seatbelt

The jury returned a $45 million verdict

This was a products liability case involving our young client, only 12 years old at the time, paralyzed in a crash because of a defective seat belt.

Sadly, cases involving defective seat belts aren't uncommon, and there are similar cases involving Ford Motor Company and other automakers.

Equifax Update: Congress Gets Its Turn with Ex-CEO Richard Smith on What Went Wrong

"Four meetings a year to defend hundreds of millions of people's crucial personal information gets you exactly the type of security posture Equifax had." - Wired

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Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith got his Congressional grilling on Oct. 3 - a hearing that has become almost the inverse of the American dream for people (often powerful or successful people) who have ostensibly achieved it - those who are called to publically testify to account for misbehavior, wrongdoing, negligence, or all of the above.

In Smith's case, the evidence points toward negligence, when considering the Equifax breach.

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