Nearly 30 Passengers Die After Boat Accidents in Senegal and Gambia

We will be doing some travelling today for the daily post.  Almost 30 people have died in Senegal and Gambia after two boat accidents.  For reference, the image to the left displays the locations of Senegal and Gambia, two western Africa countries positioned along the coastline.

Twenty-one passengers died on Monday night after the “traditional flat-bottomed boat overturned off Bettenty, a central Senegal island area.”  Of the 72 people on board, all but two were women.  51 of the passengers were rescued after the boat flipped over, however, because of a lack of life jackets and a lack of ability to swim, 21 of the passengers died. The 72 passengers were “on their way to look for seafood, and the incident occurred in a coastal are
a well known for delicacies like oysters, where tourists flock in large numbers.”  The boat that they were using was a pirogue, which allows them to travel between islets and mangroves. 

The other disaster happened in the River Gambia on Monday night.  The Banjul police spokesman, Foday Conta, reported, “Eight fishermen died yesterday night after their boat capsized…in the Upper River Region of the country.  They were on board a fishing canoe.”  The River Gambia flows right through the middle of Gambia.  Some media sources reported that their canoe capsized due to high winds while others claimed that the boat was overloaded. 

Maritime accidents in Senegal and Gambia are “often deadly as fishermen and ordinary citizens use canoes or makeshift boats to travel.” 

While it may be difficult to compare maritime laws between different nations, it is important to know what to do in an emergency.  Click here for some great information about what to do in a legal situation while on the water.  The maritime page goes into great detail on a variety of legal remedies, the different forms on compensation for a seaman injured aboard a ship, and more.  Attorney shareholder, James Gooding, is also a great source for any maritime related injury case questions or concerns.  Feel free to reach out to him by his personal email listed on his profile page or by phone at 206.448.1992.


For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4445056/Almost-30-die-Senegal-Gambia-boat-accidents.html


Lawsuit Granted to Proceed Over UCSB Student Death

A lawsuit filed after the death of a University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) student was ruled to proceed last week by Judge Thomas Anderle. On May 4, 2015, Sierra Markee-Winkler “fell to her death from the cliffs of Sea Lookout Park in Isla Vista,” one year later, a lawsuit was filed by Siobhan Markee and Lon Winkler against “the County of Santa Barbara, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, the Regents of the University of California, the State of California, and the California Coastal Commission for not ensuring the safety of the park they controlled where their daughter fell.” The lawsuit claims that there were no visible barriers preventing people from going to the edge, no warning signs, and no lighting for the area at night. 

The night before Sierra fell to her death, it has been reported that she was drinking and celebrating throughout the day at a festival and around 1:30 a.m., she got in an argument with a roommate.  She then left to calm down and later borrowed a woman’s phone to tell a friend that she was going to the park and that she was okay.  The following morning, a person found her on the beach below the park. 

The judge’s “ruling pertained to a motion made by the defendants who argued the plaintiffs’ claims were not substantial enough to warrant a trial.” The defendants did not believe that there was enough evidence saying that Sierra fell from the park.  In addition, they claimed that if Sierra did fall from the park, “the risk was obvious and they were not responsible for the park’s natural conditions and hazards.”

The judge allowed the case to proceed because of the presented evidence and “he suggested the park might not be considered natural, as the County of Santa Barbara had overseen significant changes to it.”  In the early 1980s, the county imported sand so that they could make the park more “beach-like,” which could have resulted in extra erosion.  Judge Anderle has ordered both parties to participate in mediation and according to the family’s attorney, “there will be a trial if the mediation does not result in an agreement.”

Since Sierra’s death, 10 people have fallen from the Isla Vista cliffs.  UCSB has created a $70,000 Community Fence Project to make the park safer and have more visible fences and signs.


For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.independent.com/news/2017/apr/21/lawsuit-continues-over-ucsb-student-cliff-fall-dea/


Crane Cable Snaps Dropping Debris Throughout Seattle Construction Zone

Earlier this month, at a construction site near Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, a crane cable snapped dropping debris throughout the construction zone and onto a passerby’s bicycle.  Amazingly, no one was hurt during the process, however, it was reported by a local union that the construction area had unsafe worker conditions.  The “construction began last year on the eight-story building, which will include about 150 apartments above retail shops.” 

Catherine Miller, the owner of a nearby store, told press that the construction crew “really dodged a bullet.”  The materials that were dropped from the snapped cable crashed through the top floor and were scattered around the facilities.  The Washington Department of Labor and Industries have opened an investigation and have brought in a crane specialist to further analyze the situation; the department claims that it can take up to six months to officially determine what happened to the crane. 

Pedro Espinoza, “a senior organizer for the local carpenters’ union, said the union already had been protesting safety standards and other concerns at the job site before the crane accident…  Workers had picketed with signs a couple times in March.”  He continued to report that many of the workers have not been trained with any safety precautions and claims the workers are, “basically left on their own.” 

Working in construction can be very dangerous.  According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, a total of 70 people have died “on the job in Washington state in 2015,” nine of which were working construction.  In addition, the injury rate of full time construction workers in the state of Washington was doubled in comparison to the national rate.

GLP Attorneys has a large amount of experience in dealing with construction injuries.  Our Construction Injuries page goes into detail on topics like who to file a claim against after injury, seeking medical treatment, opening an L&I claim, and more. Please call or email any one of our 8 locations if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.  

For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Files/DataStatistics/blsi/FATAL2015CFOIWA.pdf

Source: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/crane-mishap-sends-debris-crashing-through-seattle-construction-site-where-workers-had-raised-safety-concerns/


Aspen Plane Crash in 2014 Recently Blamed on Pilots’ Actions

On January 5, 2014, in Aspen, Colorado, a jet aircraft crashed while attempting to land killing one and injuring two.  The pilots had difficulty landing the plane because they were attempting to land at a high altitude with heavy tail winds.  Recently, it was discovered that the two pilots “had little experience in the type of plane they were flying.” 

The National Transportation Safety Board announced that the “pilots’ failure to control their Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger after an unstabilized approach likely caused the crash… Contributing to the accident were the flight crew’s decision to land with a tailwind above the airplane’s operating limitations and their failure not to conduct a go around when the approach became unstabilized.” The report was released last week, in turn, revealing that the pilots were inexperienced.  The plane was recorded to have experienced winds forcing it back and forth and a voice recorder in the cockpit caught the co-pilot, Sergio Carranza Brabata, saying in Spanish, “This is screwed.”

Directly after the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport’s control tower told the pilots to, “Go around. Go around. Go around,” the plane nosedived back into the runway.  Moises Carranza, the head pilot of the plane, completed training only a couple months before the crash.  Carranza had recorded that he has had extensive experience flying other planes, like the Airbus 320 series, but had less than 14 hours of total flight time with this particular model. In addition, the co-pilot only had a “limited certificate to fly the model involved [in] the crash, according to the NTSB.”

The final crash report explains that “additional flight time would have increased the crew’s familiarity with the airplane and its limitation and likely improved their decision-making during the unstabilized approach…further, the captain stated that he asked the passenger, an experienced CL-600-rated pilot, to accompany them on the trip to provide guidance during the approach to the destination airport.  However… [he] was unable to reach the aircraft controls, [and therefore] unable to act as a qualified pilot-in-command.”

The weather at the Aspen airport is known to make flying conditions treacherous.  Since the crash, the airport has taken extra precautions and shortened the average wind-speed condition updates from every two minutes to one, despite them updating the plane the day of the crash every one minute.

For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/23/aspen-plane-crash-2014-blamed-pilots/


New Lawsuit Claims Wrongful Death in Soybean Explosion

A lawsuit was filed last Friday by the family of an employee who was killed in a Volga soybean plant explosion.  The suit alleges “that the company’s negligence and carelessness caused his death.”  The lawsuit claims that Randy Lee Satter, the 39 year old man, was given a “hot work permit” which allowed him to “drill, cut, grind and weld in [the South Dakota Soybean Processors plant in Volga] during the construction of the catwalk.”  Satter was sent there after his employer was contacted and hired to construct a catwalk spanning an industrial tank.  While Satter was building the catwalk, the tank exploded launching him into the air “causing Satter to fall 30 feet. He died as a result of injuries from both the explosion and fall.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation and concluded that both Satter’s employer, CCM Welding Repair and Fabrication, and the Soybean Processors should be held responsible for the tragedy.  CCM Welding Repair and Fabrication are stationed in Minneota, Minnesota. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration claimed that the “controlling employer did not assess and identify that the material within the tank produced flammable vapors and failed to warn the contractor performing the welding activities.”  They failed to identify the flammability levels “through the use of atmospheric direct reading instrumentation during an initial assessment or continuous monitoring to ensure the material within the tank would not produce flammable vapors that could result in a fire or explosion.”  The Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration has fined CCM $11,200 and have closed their case; $25,510 has been fined to the Soybean Processors after the investigation brought seven violations to light, the company has appealed the citations.  The suit claims that Satter’s death has not only caused economic loss to the family, but the loss of “Randy’s love, support, comfort, aid, counsel, society, companionship, guidance and services.”

Several factors must be taken into consideration for a wrongful death suit to be filed.  Our Wrongful Death page has more information on topics like who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, who the Statutory Beneficiaries are, and other commonly asked questions.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact any one of our eight offices if you have any questions.


For more information on this lawsuit, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.argusleader.com/


$3 Million Granted to Widow After Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Firm

On July 15, 2010, Stewart Dolin died after stepping in front of a train.  Stewart had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and was prescribed paroxetine; GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil – a brand name version of paroxetine – did not warn their “doctor of the drug’s increased risk of suicidal behavior, leading to his death.”

Stewart was a successful, 57 year old corporate attorney and partner with the Reed Smith law firm.  After the verdict announced the results, Wendy Dolin, Stewart’s wife, told press, “This for me has not just been about the money.  This has always been about awareness to a health issue, and the public has to be aware of this.”  GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plans to appeal after what they believe was a disappointing verdict. 

The lawsuit alleges negligence and wrongful death against the generic drug manufacturer and the distributors, however the U.S. District Courts ruled that the distributors are to be released because they never had control of what was printed on the label.  Wendy “now advocates for patient safety and aims to raise awareness about akathisia, a state of restlessness or anxiety that sometimes occurs as a side effect of certain antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs.”  Dolin’s attorneys reported that they were pleased to present their findings to the courts and to reveal their information to the public. 

Wendy has created a “nonprofit organization, the Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation, in memory of Stewart Dolin.”  The Dolin family stood together in a time of distress and believe that “Sterwart would be very proud of [them]… and how [they have] all stood together and made a difference, that we didn’t allow this injustice.”


For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-paxil-suicide-lawsuit-verdict-met-20170420-story.html


Victim’s Son Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the Driver of Pickup in Texas Killing 13

In March 2017, a pickup truck hit a church van head-on killing 13 of the van passengers.  The van was carrying elderly people coming from a church retreat; all but one passenger on the van died after the pickup veered into their lane.  People called 911 three times prior to the crash reporting erratic driving from the 20 year old, Jack Dillon Young.  Officers were sent out to search for the truck but were unable to locate it in time.

Recently, “the son of a man in the Uvalde bus crash has filed a lawsuit against the pickup driver who told a witness he was texting when he hit the New Braunfels church bus.” Ross Allen, the victim’s son, filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this week against Young and Young’s father.

Investigations are being held by the Department of Public Safety and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  The NTSB is hoping to be given the opportunity to interview Young in the near future.  According to the lawsuit, Young was driving while intoxicated the day the crash occurred.  The suit claims that he was driving while on prescription medicine and under the influence of marijuana.

Allen is seeking more than $1 million in damages claiming that Young was negligent in driving the truck intoxicated.  The suit also claims that his father was negligent in letting him drive the truck in his son’s current conditions.  

In the state of Washington, the Courts look at a variety of factors while determining if a driver was negligent in initiating a collision.  There is a list of common factors that are taken into consideration here.  Our Automobile Collision page also has information on Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and goes into detail on health insurance coverage, worker’s comp. coverage, and more.


For more information, follow the link below:

Source: CNN: Texas Church bus crash: NTSB wants to interview truck driver

Source: Statesman: Son of victim files wrongful death suit in Uvalde bus crash


The Limits of Limited Liability with Maritime Accidents

A San Francisco Bay ferry collided with a speedboat in February 2013 killing the operator, an Oregon resident.  The ferry had roughly 500 passengers aboard when it crashed into the speedboat.  A second passenger on the motorboat, the owner of the vessel, was sent to the hospital with injuries.  “In the jury trial, claimants’ closing arguments were that the ferry captain was distracted by a cell phone call and did not see the speedboat.” 

The operator of the ferry, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District – referred to as Golden Gate – filed a petition to limit liability, a frequent strategy in many maritime accidents.  If the “bid to limit liability is successful, they are basically only on the hook for the post-casualty value of the vessel.” 

The court, that December, “rendered its decision on Golden Gate’s petition to limit liability.”  One could assume that a cell phone call is outside the control of a ship owner, whereas responsibilities like engine maintenance/inspection, safety drills, etc. would fall within their control.  However, “courts tend to look beneath the surface in limitation proceedings.”  In this particular situation, the court saw that it was not simply “a spontaneous phone call.”  The court found that the operator of the ferry failed to meet the legal burden in showing a lack of knowledge – if this was not the case, the court would have enabled limiting liability.

One of GLP Attorneys’ many specialties is maritime law.  With Washington’s economy having a strong focus in the maritime industry and culture, accidents are bound to happen.  If you know anyone that has been in a maritime accident and would like to learn more about the Rights and Remedies of a Seaman, the Unseaworthiness Doctrine, the Jones Act, or more, Maritime Injuries is a great place to start! Always feel free to contact us if you have any questions at 206.448.1992 or at attorneys@glpattorneys.com.

For more information, follow the links below:

Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/2013/02/18/san-francisco-oregon-man-killed-in-motorboat-collision-with-ferry/

Source: https://www.workboat.com/blogs/maritime-matters/cellphone-call-accident-limits-limited-liability/


Deadly Drugs Misused in U.S. Nursing Facilities

Bobby Glenn Tweed, a 78-year-old diagnosed with dementia, was put in a nursing home in January of 2013.  Only ten months later, Tweed died because he was given psychotropic drugs without his family’s consent by the facilities.  Several nursing homes have been found to administer psychotropic drugs to residents and patients “whom they see as disruptive or at risk of harming themselves.” However, several experts and reports have determined that this is often done in understaffed nursing facilities that find it can make the work load more convenient for employees.

Kelly Bagby, the leading attorney working with the AARP Foundation Litigation, said that after AARP heard about Tweed’s death, they “started hearing from people all over the country whose loved ones suffered because they had received these drugs often without consent.” AARP released a report, AARP Bulletin, in their July-August 2014 issue, explaining the danger and use of psychotropic drugs.

The AARP Foundation attorneys, along with Tweed’s family, reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit filed against the nursing care facilities and those responsible for the care of Bobby Tweed.  There are several other cases that are currently pending across the United States that are similar in nature.  Bagby told press, “These lawsuits are among the efforts of AARP Foundation to help address this nationwide health crisis… what happened to Mr. Tweed has happened to countless others.”

GLP Attorneys had worked with several nursing home abuse/neglect cases and believe that it should not be tolerated whatsoever.  Our Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect page has more information on the Vulnerable Adult Statute (VAS), who qualifies as a vulnerable adult, examples of abuse/neglect, filing a report, etc.  If you have any further questions, reach out and contact us either by email/phone listed here, a Facebook message, Twitter message, or any way that is most convenient.  


For more information on the case, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2017/wrongful-death-lawsuit-nursing-home-fd.html


Ex-San Diego Mayor’s Lawsuit After Wife Falls on Sidewalk and Ruptures Breast Implants

The former mayor of San Diego, Roger Hedgecock, and his wife have filed a lawsuit against the city after she fell while walking on a damaged sidewalk in 2015.  After the fall, the couple realized that the “damaged sidewalk…allegedly ruptured her silicone breast implants and eventually required replacement surgery.”  They are seeking an unspecified amount but have claimed that the damages they have suffered “are well in excess of $25,000.”  The Hedgecock couple claims that the city of San Diego has behaved with carelessness and negligence in not recognizing the 2.5 inch concrete raise caused from a tree trunk. 

The case is set to go to trial later this year – this is considered to be unusual because the city has normally settled outside of court.  Two weeks after Mrs. Hedgecock fell over the sidewalk, she went to a medical clinic after experiencing “persistent chest pain and breast deformities.”  She learned that both of the implants ruptured, resulting in silicone mixing into her bloodstream.  The implants had to be removed in what was considered a “grueling procedure” and needed weeks to recover.  Roger Hedgecock is the co-plaintiff “because he suffered ‘the loss of support, service, love, companionship, society, affection, relations and solace from his wife.’”  The lawsuit claims that he had to stay home in order to help his wife recover, encouraging him to seek compensation for loss of income and consortium with his wife.

There have been several cases over the last two years involving sidewalk falls including a case ending in San Diego paying nearly $5 million “to a bicyclist launched 28 feet by a raised sidewalk.”  Councilman David Alvarez hopes to change the current city-wide policy.  He wishes that the city become responsible for falls “unless it is determined that the damage was caused by the adjacent property owner or a third party.”


For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-hedgecock-breast-implant-20170412-story.html