The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

November 2012 Archives

FDA Provides Dirty Details on Producer of Recalled Peanut Butter

The information leaking from the Food and Drug Administration’s investigation of Sunland, Inc., the producer of the peanut butter that was recalled about two months ago won’t immediately bring to mind visions of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, but it might prove useful in a products liability lawsuit against the peanut peddler.

After the tainted Trader Joe’s peanut butter was pulled, followed by dozens of other brands’ peanut butter and Tahini, including those made for Target, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Earth Balance, Sunland ceased operations at the plant voluntarily. Forty-one people in twenty states were sickened.

Single Unemployed Mom Sues City, Airline, for $100k in Parking Tickets

Us broke folk know exactly how it goes. You buy a car for less than a grand. It breaks. It’s not worth fixing. As this blogger’s mother once said, “it’s a disposable car.” Buy ‘em, drive ‘em, dump ‘em.

Except we learned the hard way that when you dump the car, it gets parking tickets. After it gets enough tickets, it gets towed. You get charged for the tickets, the tow, the impound fees, storage fees, and collection fees. Sometimes, you even get charged a fee for the damn Denver boot.

Hobbs' Lawsuit Proceeds Against Lake County Prosecutor

In 2005, Jerry Hobbs discovered the body of his 8-year-old daughter Laura and her 9-year-old friend, Krystal Tobias, in a Zion park. The tragic discovery was made worse when police kept Hobbs in custody for over twenty-four hours and repeatedly accused him of stabbing the girls.

Eventually, Hobbs confessed. In that confession, he admitted that he beat his daughter when she refused his orders to come home, and when 9-year-old Tobias rushed toward him with a knife, he disarmed her and killed them both, reports the Chicago Tribune.

That all turned out to be false, and was the byproduct of a coerced confession that was allegedly supervised by the Lake County Prosecutor's office.

In 2007, defense attorneys learned that semen was found in Laura's body. Initially, prosecutors argued that the semen got in to her body because she played in an area where couples snuck away for frolics in the forest.

Will Verdict Against Abbate, Chicago, Lead to More Lawsuits?

Late last week, the verdict in the Anthony Abbate lawsuit sent a clear message to the Chicago Police Department: the informal "code of silence" must go. It also resulted in more than a message: $850,000 was awarded to the bartending victim, Karolina Obrycka. In total, the lawsuit is expected to cost over $5 million, thanks to years of legal fees.

The Chicago Tribune argues that the time has come to concede defeat and pay up. However, there is a good reason to continue the fight: issue preclusion.

Safety Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is an American tradition. While some may debate the value of a day where retailers slash prices and watch consumers fight over cheap crap like starving peasants fighting over a loaf of bread, the day of deals has been around for decades and will continue as long as there is a demand for clearance-priced goods.

While Black Friday has been around for decades, in recent years, the combination of a poor economy and gamesmanship amongst retailers to offer better and better "doorbuster" deals has lead to an escalation of demand. People wait outside, all night, in the freezing cold, to be the first inside. Mobs stampede workers to death and cause miscarriages. One shopper even pepper-sprayed fellow deal-seekers last year.

Black Friday, my friends, has become a dangerous riot. If you decide to brave the crowds, here are a few tips to decrease your chance of becoming a victim of the frenzied mobs.

Instead of Frying the Turkey, How About Baking or Infrared-ing it?

Frying a turkey is dangerous. You’ve got a partially frozen turkey, dripping with icy water, and an overfilled fryer with an exposed flame. Even if the oil doesn’t overflow and catch fire, the spatter from the cold water and hot oil is sure to burn your appendages. We won’t even talk about the relatively low flash point of oil that could lead to spontaneous ignition.

There are safer ways to cook a turkey. For one, there’s the traditional method of baste-and-bake. Sure, you’ll have to re-baste it in its own juices every twenty minutes, or else risk turkey-leather, but at least the oven is far less likely to explode and burn your house down. Because that just leads to lawsuits and tears.

What Do I Do After a Car Accident? Check the Checklist

Car accidents look so sweet on television. Squeal, crunch, flip, engine fire, good times. It's not like that in real life however. Some idiot blasts through a stop sign, T-bones your freshly cleaned cherry red classic car, and the airbag pops you in the forehead.

Try remembering proper post-crash procedure after that. You'll probably be thinking of the wasted car wash.

Fortunately, you don't have to. FindLaw's newest guide is so simple and obvious that it is absolutely freaking brilliant. We've given you lots of information about what to do after a car accident, but you can't exactly Google our blog on the side of the highway. The folk upstairs have distilled that information into a handy pamphlet-checklist.

Nestle's Nesquick Recalled for Salmonella: Not Their Fault?

Another day, another food recall, right? Today, Nestle USA announced a recall of Nesquick chocolate powder because of a possible salmonella contamination, reports FOX Chicago. Apparently, Nestle's supplier of calcium carbonate issued it's own recall, which had a domino effect on Nestle's chocolaty drink.

This recall seems to be especially important to pay attention to, as Nesquick is marketed to children. Salmonella is especially dangerous to those with compromised or undeveloped immune systems, including the elderly, pregnant women, and of course, young children. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.

Hyundai and Kia Face Class Action Over Inflated MPG Numbers

Hyundai and Kia, the Korean car brands that have gone from econobox afterthought to mainstream market force are facing a class action lawsuit that accuses them of inflating their fuel economy estimates.

We all know that the sticker on the window that promises 40 miles per gallon is, shall we say, optimistic, right? So what is this lawsuit about?

More Chinese Supplements Laced With Prescription Drugs Recalled

Herbal medicine is quite often ineffective and mislabeled crap. If you need proof, look no further than the wave of "all natural" herbal supplements that have been recalled by the FDA over the last year. Nearly every recall involved a Chinese-made supplement that promised herbal remedies for weight issues, erectile dysfunction, or arthritis. Instead, it turns out that the miracle "natural" cure was laced with a prescription drug.

That's because prescription drugs work. Sure, they may be dangerous, like sibutramine, which is an appetite suppressant that was taken off of the market in 2010 because it substantially increases blood pressure and/or pulse rate and can lead to issues for those with existing heart problems. But it does suppress the appetite (not just by killing you either) and by extension, helps you lose weight.

Second Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Marriott Outbreak

Over the summer, a deadly outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at the J.W. Marriott in Chicago's South Loop infected at least 10 people. Three people died. Estimates of the number of people exposed are as high as 8,500. Now, a second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Marriott International and Prime Group, Inc., the group that managed the hotel.

The bacterial infection is caused by exposure to water vapor that carries the bacteria. The symptoms, such as headache, fever, chills, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, mimic those of pneumonia, making diagnosis more difficult. Most people do not become ill upon exposure, but those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, are more vulnerable. The fatality rate is between 5 percent and 30 percent.

ABC Jabs Back in 'Pink Slime' Libel Lawsuit

Anyone remember that “pink slime” nonsense that happened earlier this year? ABC reported on some gross-looking beef (though if it was strawberry soft-serve, we’d be down) and then every other outlet picked up the story. Eventually, companies fled from the supplier en masse and the supplier filed for bankruptcy.

The meat product was perfectly legal and posed no health risks by the way.

Last month, Beef Products, Inc. sued ABC for defamation on the theory that coining their product “pink slime” misled consumers into believing that the product was unhealthy and unsafe. ABC’s month-long coverage, which included 11 broadcasts, 14 online reports, and social media coverage, allegedly led to BPI losing over 80 percent of its business.