Parents Matter When It Comes to Teen Driving

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, killing more than 5,000 each year. More than 7,000 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in 2007, government data show. More than 3,000 of these deaths were teen drivers, and more than 250,000 teen drivers were injured. Two articles in the October 2009 edition of Pediatrics magazine offer advice to parents to help reduce teen driving accidents.

First, do not give your teen his or own car. Second, be involved and authoritative; give clear driving safety rules and offer support. The studies show that it’s not … Read the rest

Village Denied Summary Judgment in Domestic Violence Suit Alleging Violation of Due Process Rights by Police Department

Holding a municipality liable in negligence for personal injuries sustained as a result of a third-party is often a difficult task because the plaintiff must show a “special relationship” between the plaintiff and the police department – a multi-prong test that is difficult to satisfy. The plaintiff circumvented these problems by bringing a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging violation of her Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the victim of domestic abuse alleged sufficient facts from which a jury could find that it had implicitly but affirmatively sanctioned abuse … Read the rest

Federal Government Studying Harm Restraints and Seclusion in Schools and School Buses Cause Children and Teens

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report this past spring, concerned about children’s’ safety and welfare, highlighted allegations of abuse and the potentially deadly consequences of using certain forms of behavior management, often times for special education students.

Although GAO could not determine whether allegations were widespread, GAO did find hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death related to the use of these methods on school children during the past two decades. Examples of these cases include a 7-year-old reportedly dying after being held face down for hours by school staff, 5-year-olds allegedly being tied to chairs with bungee cords … Read the rest

More Support for Federal Law to Reduce Highway Funding Available to States That Do Not Prohibit Text Messaging While Driving

This past summer a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to require states to adopt federally set minimum penalties for writing, sending, or reading text messages while driving. The bill requires states to pass laws prohibiting text messaging or forfeit 25 percent of highway financing, which would amount to losing hundreds of millions in federal transportation funds. States would have two years to comply and could recover lost funds once they passed acceptable laws.

A companion bill has been introduced in the House. The Senate bill is called the Alert Drivers Act of 2009 and is also known … Read the rest

First Department Debates How Much Effort Court of Appeals Requires a Worker To Make To Search For Safety Devices At The Construction Work Site

In Cherry v. Time Warner, Inc., — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 2497974 (1 Dept. August 18, 2009), the plaintiff was securing sheet rock to the ceiling on the third floor when he fell off a baker’s scaffold onto the concrete floor eight feet below. The scaffold measuring approximately two feet wide by six to eight feet long had guardrails on only two of its four sides.

The Appellate Division, First Department was called upon to decide whether safety guardrails were in place on the scaffold from which the plaintiff fell and if they were not in place, whether they … Read the rest

Should Television Ads for Chantix Be Required to State That Its Side Effects are the Subject of an FDA Black Box?

Yesterday morning an advertisement for smoking cessation drug Chantix came on my television. The ad featured a man extolling how much better his life is now that Chantix (and support, slips in the ad) has helped him kick his smoking habit. Then an announcer came on and read, for what seemed like an extraordinary time for the disclaimers usually heard on drug commercials, a litany of side-effects and warnings. These warnings included suicidal thoughts, personality changes, and skin rashes. The announcer did not state, however, that many of the side-effects announced are the subject of a FDA-mandated black box … Read the rest

Nassau County’s Red-Light Cameras Catch Red Light and Right on Red Violators: Will They Really Improve Traffic Safety or Mostly Generate Revenue for the County?

Beginning on Thursday, August 6, 2009, Nassau County on Long Island initiated a red-light camera program, with cameras placed at two intersections to videotape motor vehicles running red lights and send tickets to the vehicles owners. It has now come to light that the cameras are not just catching red light violators they are also issuing $50 “robo-tickets” to motorists who make right turns on red without coming to a full stop. And the 19 legislators who voted unanimously for the red-light camera program are claiming that they are shocked, shocked to learn this.

Studies including one by Congress have … Read the rest

Personal Injury Lawsuits in Dallas Cowboy Roof Collapse; Low Scoreboard OK for this Season

A Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant paralyzed and a special team’s coach whose neck was broken in the May 2, 2009, collapse of the team’s practice facility due to high winds filed separate lawsuits against the Pennsylvania-based company that built the structure and several other companies involved in the construction and maintenance.

Cowboys scouting assistant Rich Behm was paralyzed from the waist down and 11 others were injured when the structure was toppled in high winds. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillas suffered a broken neck in the collapse. Summit Structures, the company that built the practice facility. Summit, an engineer, and … Read the rest

New York City Launches International Design Competition For A Safer, More Appealing Sidewalk Shed of the Future

Sidewalk sheds are typically wooden structures (nowadays usually painted blue) built over public space to protect pedestrians during construction activity. Walking around Manhattan while trying to avoid walking under a sidewalk shed can be a true challenge. There is currently more than 6,000 sidewalk sheds installed and in use today at New York Citys buildings and construction sites, spanning more than 1,000,000 linear feet.

A lawyer for insurance companies once told me that because he has defended so many cases in which a pedestrian or construction worker was injured due to a collapse or other calamity involving a sidewalk shed, … Read the rest