Florida Judges Should Not Be Facebook Friends With Lawyers Who Appear Before Them – OK to Be Fans During Judicial Elections

Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has ruled that judges should no longer “friend” on Facebook lawyers who appear before them. The committee ruled that online “friendships” could create the impression that lawyers are in a special position to influence their judge friends. The committee did conclude that a judge can post comments on another judge’s site and that during judicial elections, a judge’s campaign can have “fans” that include lawyers. Social networking sites such as Facebook were found to be troublesome because the judge selects the lawyer as a part of the group, and has the right to approve or … Read the rest

Court of Appeals Broadens Construction Worker Safety Statute to Apply Where Worker Neither Fell Nor Was Struck By Falling Object

There is a line of cases requiring that a construction worker either fall or be struck by a falling object in order for there to be considered a gravity-related risk so as to invoke the absolute liability provisions of Labor Law 240(1) (New Yorks Scaffold Law). No more. In Runner v. New York Stock Exchange, Inc., — N.E.2d —-, 2009 WL 4840213 (decided December 17, 2009), the worker did not fall. Nor was he struck by a falling object. Instead,the worker was injured because a makeshift counterweight system proved insufficient to control the force gravity exerted upon an 800-pound reel … Read the rest

Youth Concussions Continue to Receive Attention from National and Local Legislatures

The sports pages the last several months have been filled with reports of Congressional hearings and testimony concerning concussions and the National Football League particularly the long-term health effects of head injuries on players. Years ago when people thought about football players injuries, the attention was focused more on injuries such as knee injuries and other effects on bone structure, such as arthritis. When I was in law school, research I undertook in connection with a project revealed statistics that showed that the life expectancy of professional football players was lower than the general population because of such injuries.

On … Read the rest

Salomon Recalls Ski Bindings Due to Unexpected Release, Fall Hazard Would Be Liable Notwithstanding Skiers Waiver or Release

With the onslaught of cold weather and the forecast for snow, one feels the urge to hit the ski slopes. One of the most trustworthy names in ski bindings for many, many years is Salomon. But last month the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Salomon, announced a voluntary recall of about 10,000 alpine ski bindings and directed consumers to stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

The manufacturer has received two reports of injuries, including a broken leg and a knee injury. The hazard is that the toe component of the ski bindings could fail to … Read the rest

NYC Administration for Children’s Services Denied Dismissal of Suit for Wrongful Death of Infant Killed by Mothers Companion

Gotlin v. City of New York, — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 3681839 (Supreme Court, Kings County (October 27, 2009), arises out of the wrongful death of Hailey Gonzalez, an infant, in August 2007 while under the supervision of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).

The plaintiff, Gary D. Gotlin, Richmond County Public Administrator, alleged that Hailey Gonzalez was killed by Edwin Garcia, the companion of her mother, and that ACS, which was charged under a Brooklyn Family Court order with supervising the child’s home, had a mountain of evidence confirming that Hailey’s mother repeatedly placed herself and … Read the rest

U.S. PIRG Releases Its 2009 Report of Toy Hazards And Launches Interactive Smart Phone Tool and Website For Shoppers

The 2009 Trouble in Toyland report is the 24th annual Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

This years report focused on three categories of toy hazards: toys that may pose choking hazards, toys that are excessively loud, and toys that contain the toxic chemicals lead and phthalates. This years report is interesting because it is the first year that any effect would be felt from The Consumer Product Safety … Read the rest

Absence of Seat Belts in School Buses Has Little Carryover Effect to Personal Motor Vehicles in Elementary School Children

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a”White Paper” in October of 2009 to explore the proposition that the lack of seat belts on school buses increases the likelihood that elementary school children, specifically children 5 to 10 years old, will not use seat belts in personal vehicles. The paper found limited evidence of a carryover effect of no seat belts on school buses to seat belt use in personal vehicles. Parents and mandatory seat belt laws seem to play the most significant role on children’s seat belt use in personal vehicles.

Previously, in 1986, NHTSA funded a study … Read the rest

Thanksgiving Week Not a Week for Two Laborers to Give Thanks to the Court of Appeals – Part 2

In Affri v. Basch, — N.E.2d —-, 2009 WL 4030863 (November 24, 2009), the plaintiff was a neighbor of the defendant homeowner for whom he had previously provided handyman work. This time the plaintiff was performing renovation work including installing appliances. Plaintiff fell from a ladder while installing a vent on the roof and suffered injuries that required several surgeries.

The defendants moved for summary judgment contending that the situation fell under the one or two-family dwelling exception of Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6). These sections except from its provisions owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but … Read the rest

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