The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

October 2010 Archives

German automaker BMW recalled roughly 130,000 cars with twin-turbo engines just hours after ABC News aired a report about potential problems with some of its cars. In an unrelated action, BMW also is recalling more than 20,000 2008 X5 SUVs.

The affected vehicles, twin-turbo models from the 2007 to 2010 model years, "may experience a failure of the high-pressure fuel pump" that could cause "reduced engine performance," BMW said. The carmaker said it will outfit 40,000 of the vehicles in the BMW recall with a new high-pressure fuel pump.

The fuel pump defect causes affected vehicles to shake and suffer sudden decreases in engine power.

13 Halloween Safety Tips

While Halloween is about embracing the scary side of life, there's nothing fun about getting hurt. The Orlando Sentinel culled some pearls of wisdom from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control intended to help its readers trick-or-treat safely this weekend.

No one wants to spend the next day meeting with Chicago injury lawyers; so check out the following tips for Halloween safety:

The Belleville News-Democrat reported on the case of John Grinston, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity after being charged with stabbing his wife to death in 1997. But the paper used a photo of Keith Grinston, John Grinston's brother, to identify the murderer who was ruled insane, the Riverfront Times reported.   

The photo has since been removed (it accompanied the first linked article, above) but now-plaintiff Keith Grinston claims they used his photo to illustrate stories about his brother twice before but ignored his efforts to correct them. He sued the paper for defamation and is seeking punitive damages for emotional distress and humiliation.

Motorcycles are hardly the safest mode of transportation but bikers often acknowledge that and take their chances anyway. However, Chicago firefighter Jim McMahon claims a collision that left him paralyzed was the result of a defective Harley-Davidson, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The crash happened six years ago as he was riding his Harley on the Arizona interstate with some of his Chicago firefighter friends. The trial began earlier this week in a Cook County courtroom.

Adam Josephs, a Toronto police officer, filed a lawsuit against YouTube (which is owned by Google Inc.) in connection to an alleged online defamation, as reported by the National Post. He's seeking the identity of someone who posted a satirical video of him, as well as the names of 24 people who commented on the video.

"Officer Bubbles" became Adam Josephs' nickname after a video was posted on YouTube of him threatening to arrest a young woman for assault if one of the bubbles she was blowing were to touch him. The video, taken during the protest during this summer's G-20 summit in Toronto, galvanized the belief by protestors that officers used excessive force.

The lawsuit filed against the producers of the film "Transformers 3" on behalf of Gabriela Cedillo, who was left permanently brain damaged after an accident during the filming of a stunt, is still moving ahead.

But the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration cleared the producers of violating workplace safety rules, the Chicago Tribune reported. The state agency called the accident "unforeseeable" last Wednesday and will not fine the production company, according to IOSHA spokesman Marc Lotter:

Beverly Munguia was awarded $5.67 million by a federal jury for injuries sustained after slipping and falling in a McDonald's fast food restaurant on the island of Maui, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

According to the article, the 59-year-old Texas woman fell on her buttocks on Nov. 25, 2007 and sustained a burst compression fracture on one of her vertebra. Michael Cruise, her attorney, said his client's L1 vertebra lost 90 percent of its height.

A recently released National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) report stated that more "slip and fall" claims against businesses are being scrutinized for potential fraud, CBS Atlanta reported. Such claims are typically filed against a business or property owner for allegedly failing to maintain a safe environment.

Some of the fraudulent claims can be blamed on crime rings that stage slip and fall accidents, said Joe Wehrle, CEO and president of NICB.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Rodrigo Carraminana, former director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Latino Cultural Center and a math professor, has filed a defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit against the school newspaper and its former editor. 

University newspaper Chicago Flame ran a front-page story on May 3 about an internal audit of the center, claiming Rodrigo Carraminana made nearly $29,000 in dubious expenditures in 2008 and part of 2009. Reporters said they based the article on "portions of the audit report."

Chicagoan Gabriela Cedillo thought working as an extra on the set of another "Transformers" sequel would be one small but important step toward her dream of becoming an actress. But it turned into a nightmare during a stunt gone wrong; now her family has sued Paramount Pictures for negligence, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

She reportedly has no memory of the accident that left her unable to walk or speak. Gabriela Cedillo was struck in the head by a severed tow cable that smacked into the hood of her car and then through her windshield during the filming of a stunt in Chicago on Sept. 21.

It looks as if "Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast member Danielle Staub and ex-husband Kevin Maher won't be airing their dirty laundry in a court of law after all, according to Fox News. The tabloids are probably more than a little disappointed at the news that the two parties have settled their suit, especially since Kevin Maher had promised fireworks.

Kevin Maher filed the suit, claiming she lied when she wrote that he raped her on a bed of broken glass at gunpoint and killed her dog. The settlement came just one day before Danielle Staub was scheduled for a deposition, in which she would have to answer questions by opposing counsel.

In the wake of 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi's suicide following the online taunting of other students, ABC reported that cyber bullying is once again front and center in the national debate. Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after learning that fellow students streamed a video of him and another male student having a sexual encounter.

The student's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and student Molly Wei recorded his same-sex encounter via Web cam and broadcast it online. They later tried to do it again a few days later for a second liaison. Dharun reportedly also bragged about his stunt on Twitter. They were charged with invading the deceased student's privacy.

Each faces a prison sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted of distributing sexual images without consent.

A New York judge's recent ruling on the privacy of material posted on Facebook or MySpace also has nationwide implications. The Suffolk County judge in an injury lawsuit ruled that social network data presumably protected by privacy settings can be accessed and used as evidence in court, according to a Wall Street Journal blog.   

The ruling was based on an interpretation of the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), which which is in the process of being updated by lawmakers, according to Forbes.