False Arrest and Imprisonment Trial Against Agnes Scott College Set to Begin Next Week

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Oct 6, 2016 10:20:54 AM

Stock photo.

Decatur, GA—A jury next week is scheduled to consider whether an Atlanta-area women’s college is responsible for the role its campus police played in a sexual assault investigation that a former University of Tennessee student claims led to her false arrest, imprisonment, and a beating by inmates. Hartley v. Agnes Scott College, 11A36461-4.

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Topics: Tort, Georgia, Hartley v. Agnes Scott College

Barroom Parking Lot Brawl Ends Five Years Later in Plaintiff's Verdict

Posted by Steve Silver on Jul 16, 2015 12:04:00 PM

Atlanta—An altercation that began in the parking lot of a Mexican bar/restaurant in Cumming in July, 2010, ended in Fulton County State Court this week when, following a bench trial, Judge Jay Roth entered a judgment against the two remaining defendants in the case. Jacqueline Shelley v. Douglas Todd Laponzina and Desiree Anglin (12EV015068).

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Topics: Tort, Georgia, Assault, Shelley v. Laponzina

Experts Dispute Whether Smoker Suffered From COPD in Florida Tobacco Lawsuit

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Sep 3, 2014 3:23:27 PM

Defense witness Dr. Timothy Cole testifies that he believes Paul Baum suffered from a rare cartilage disorder rather than smoking-related COPD. Click here for the video.

In their last day presenting evidence, opposing counsel sparred over whether Paul Baum, the deceased smoker at the heart of an Engle progeny tobacco suit, died from smoking-related respiratory disease or a rare cartilage disorder unrelated to his smoking. Baum v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Dr. Timothy Cole, a diagnostic radiologist and witness for the defense, walked jurors through Baum's CT scans, detailing what he considered were tell-tale signs of relapsing polychondritis, a cartilage disorder that Cole believes affected Baum’s trachea and restricted his breathing. Cole told jurors that thickening of portions of Baum’s trachea, combined with tracheomalacia, or flaccidity in the tracheal wall, were hallmarks of relapsing polychondritis.

“This is the only thing that you’re going to see increased thickness of the (cartilage of the tracheal wall) and tracheomalacia,” Cole said.

Baum, a smoker for 50 years, died in 2012, of what had been diagnosed nearly 20 years earlier as chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Paul Baum’s widow Rachel is suing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris Tobacco Co, and the Liggett Group, claiming Baum’s smoking addiction caused the COPD that ultimately killed him. However, the tobacco manufacturers argue that Baum’s respiratory problems were misdiagnosed as COPD. Instead, they contend Baum suffered from relapsing polychondritis, which inflames cartilage in those it affects and which is unrelated to smoking.

On cross-examination today, Rachel Baum’s attorney Amanda Kessler questioned Cole about the rarity of relapsing polychondritis. Cole acknowledged that the disease affects only about 3 out of every million people, and that conversely, COPD, a more common disease tied with smoking, often causes tracheomalacia.

Cole also testified that none of Baum’s 29 CT scans mentioned relapsing polychondritis and none of Baum’s physicians diagnosed Baum with the disease. “But I had an advantage over the other doctors because I got to see every one of his CTs,” Cole said.

Baum's diagnosis of COPD is a key to plaintiff's membership in the Engle class, making the issue critical to the case.

Kessler closed the day by calling Dr. Steven Karidas, a Miami radiologist who rebutted Cole’s diagnosis of relapsing polychondritis. Karidas told jurors that the disease, though rare, was generally easy to diagnose. Karidas also testified that Baum’s CT scans showed thickening of both the cartilage and membrane of Baum's trachea, which he said would rule out relapsing polychondritis.

Both sides are expected to make closing arguments tomorrow.

Related Information

Watch live and on-demand video of the trial.

Read Engle Progeny Review for the Week of August 25.

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Topics: Negligence, Tort, Engle Progeny, Tobacco Litigation

Million dollar verdict in Nikki Beach Club bar brawl trial

Posted by msch on Nov 14, 2011 9:30:00 AM

A Florida jury awarded plaintiff, David Milian just over $1 million Thursday afternoon in his suit against Miami nightspot Nikki Beach Club. Specifically, the jury awarded $150,000 for loss of earnings, $100,000 for hospital and medical bills from the past and into the future, and $800,000 for pain suffering and mental anguish.

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Topics: Court Video, Negligence, Tort, Verdict, CVN

Plaintiff seeks damages after losing a limb in sport boat accident

Posted by msch on Nov 14, 2011 9:00:00 AM

Robin Listman lost her leg in 2001 when she jumped out of an Outboard Marine Corporation ‘Four Winds’ sport boat and struck her leg against the unguarded propeller of the boat. The plaintiff claims that the manufacturer’s failure to include a propeller guard constituted a failure in the design, that is, constituted a defective product.

William Jeanney, the plaintiff’s attorney, noted that approximately 45 people per year were dying from being struck by a boat propellers in 1978. He added that not only was Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) aware of the propeller-related injury statistics, propeller guards were available and on the market for just this purpose.

Defense attorney responded that the propeller had functioned appropriately under the circumstances and that the danger could not be considered ‘unreasonable.’

“This is not a case where the propeller snapped off flew through the air and bopped somebody in the head or the propeller blew up and caught fire,” McNally said. “This is a propeller that is designed to push a speed boat through the water smoothly and efficiently.”

McNally added that “prop[eller] guards don’t work,” asking a rhetorical question to illustrate his point.

“Why don’t any of the boats have prop guards on them now? Is it because all boats defective and dangerous?” he asked. “Of course not. Boats don’t have prop guards on them because they don’t work, they’re dangerous, they’re not required … and in fact independent researchers have recommended that prop guards not be used.”

Both attorneys cited previous OMC development of potential propeller guard prototypes, all of which were terminated for various reasons, to support their arguments. McNally argued the termination of the projects indicated propeller guards do not function well while Jeanney argued that their existence belied the defense’s claim that such guards are unnecessary or ‘dangerous.’

Jeanney asked an engineer to develop a propeller guard that would have prevented Listman’s injury without hindering performance, which they claimed to have done in under 40 hours. “They had the knowledge, the resources, the ability, and the budget to do this,” Jeanney concluded. “It could have been done and it should have been done.”

McNally claimed that Kevin Listman’s use of a different OMC boat “50 times a year” shows that the boat in question — the boat that maimed Robin Listman — is not defective or dangerous.

“He still uses the boat, he uses it with the Listman children,” McNally said. “Mr. Listman does not think that his boat, another OMC boat, is dangerous or defective.”

Jeanney concluded by describing the consequences Listman suffers as a result of the loss of her limb, including issues with the prosthetic limb and medical bills totaling over $200,000.

McNally said in response that the plaintiff lawyers “want millions of dollars,” but that evidence would prove that the boat was not in fact dangerous or defective.

“She will go home with no money,” he added. “It seems a little bit harsh but if that’s what the law requires and what the evidence shows, that’s what you need to do.”

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Topics: Negligence, Products Liability, Tort, Safety