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July 2017 Archives

Honda Accord Recall

Japanese automaker Honda is recalling 1.5 million recent Accord models globally to prevent engine fires after discovering a defect with the vehicle's battery system. Honda stated it had linked four reports of engine fires to the defect. The recall affects 1.15 million cars in the United States from the 2013 through 2016 model-year.

Overserved Patron Causes Catastrophic Collision

Two bars in Austin, Texas are facing a lawsuit containing allegations of overserving a patron prior to her exit. One of the bars is part of the well-known, historic Driskill Hotel. The other is a popular bar located on West Sixth Street, the Star Bar.

Elite US Gymnast Sues USA Gymnastics and Olympic Committee for Sexual Abuse Coverup

An elite US gymnast who was training at the Huntsville, Texas, Karolyi Ranch training center, is suing for negligence, negligent hiring, and intentional infliction of emotional distress after alleging years-long sexual abuse by the national team doctor, Larry Nassar. According to the lawsuit, the parents argue that both the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Gymnastics (USAG) bear responsibility because they owed their daughter "a special duty of care" at the time the alleged assaults occurred.

Ten-Year-Old Boy Crushed by Driveway Security Gate

On February 18, 2017, Aiden, then ten-years-old, was visiting his friend at 5500 Shoal Creek Boulevard. He slid into a gap between the home's security gate and a stone wall. His finger triggered the gate, which opened and crushed him between the gate and wall. Ultimately, Aiden was choked until he was brain dead. He was transported to the hospital, where he died five days later. The autopsy report detailed the cause of death as asphyxiation. Aiden's parents, Jennifer Rodriguez and Manual Criado, have filed suit against several parties, including the gate's manufacturer and the homeowner. They are claiming over $1M in damages.

Honda Recalls 1.5 Million Accord Models

On July 14, 2017, Honda announced that it is recalling 1.5 million recent Accord models globally in response to a defect with the vehicle's battery system. The Japanese automaker reached this decision after investigating four reports of engine fires and linking them to the same defect.

Two Incidents Halt Operations on the Hebron Offshore Platform

On June 3, 2017, it was announced that the sizeable Herbon oil platform started its two week journey from Bull Arm, St. John's, to the Grand Banks. Eight tow vessels were used to carry the massive platform to its destination.

Texas gets a 'D' in the National Safety Council Safety Report

According to the "State of Safety" report by the National Safety Council, Texas is one of 26 states which received either a 'D' or an 'F' for overall safety. According to the report, in 2015 a total of 10,208 deaths occurred in Texas. Of that figure, 3,722 fatalities occurred on the road, 6,020 fatalities occurred in the home and community, and 460 fatalities occurred in the workplace.

Will the Success of Self-Driving Cars Depend on Infrastructure Improvements?

It seems that the ultimate success of the autonomous car revolution may actually depend on an infrastructure overhaul with repainted lane stripes and embedded roadway sensors capable of transmitting warning signals to vehicles.

Uber Drivers Work Dangerously Long Shifts

According to recent reports, a combination of dropping fares, profitable incentives, and a lack of caps on the number of hours drivers can work during one shift has led some Uber drivers to work dangerously long shifts. Uber reports that only seven percent of its drivers work more than 50 hours per week, while more than half of its drivers use the Uber app less than ten hours a week. However, other sources report that it is not uncommon for Uber drivers to work up to 16 hours a day. Unlike Uber, some ride-hailing services limit the number of hours its drivers can work during a shift. For example, Lyft shuts off its app after 14 hours and requires drivers to wait six hours before they can access the app and begin driving again. In addition, Uber drivers reportedly receive notifications when they are not picking up enough passengers. Uber also offers incentives such as bonuses for completing a certain number of rides within a given timeframe, which can encourage drivers to continue driving despite fatigue.

Brown Family Settles with the City of Ferguson

The family of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was fatally shot in 2014 by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, reached a settlement with the City of Ferguson after more than two years of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The judge agreed to keep the settlement sealed in order to keep the individuals involved in the case safe.

Four Women Sue Day Spa for Privacy Rights Violations

Four women who were patrons at a huge Dallas-area day spa in June are suing for privacy rights violations after staff spied on and harassed them in locker rooms. According to the lawsuit, male staff members photographed and spied on the women in and out of their bathing suits throughout the facility.

Tank Battery Explosion Raises Safety Concerns for Oil and Gas Extraction

One worker has died and three remain injured as a result of a recent tank battery explosion in Mead, Colorado. The explosion occurred after the workers completed upgrades to the tank battery. A tank battery is a group of connected tanks that receive produced crude oil from a well. The owner, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., stated that the Mead facility was not in service at the time of the blast.

Defective Airbag Manufacturer Files for Bankruptcy

Overwhelmed by airbag recalls and lawsuits, Japanese based company, Takata Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in both Japan and the United States on Monday, June 26, 2017. The airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. used inflators powered by ammonium nitrate that caused the airbag to explode upon deployment, sending pieces of metal shrapnel into drivers. These faulty airbags were responsible for the deaths of 16 people. In addition to the fatalities, Takata is responsible for at least 180 injuries and is having to deal with the largest automotive recall in the history of the United States. So far 100 million airbags equipped with the faulty inflators have been recalled worldwide, including 69 million in the U.S., affecting 42 million vehicles.

Hospital Pays $2.3M in Medical Malpractice Suit

Joshua Jackson was born at home nearly 12 weeks prematurely. He was taken to The Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. There, according to the lawsuit, nurses improperly inserted a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), which is a type of intravenous line. The misplaced line remained in place for nearly a week. While the line was in place, Joshua's arm showed signs and symptoms of impeded blood flow. Eventually, "Baby Jackson's left hand was...found by nurses to be shriveled and with black fingertips," according to the lawsuit.

Texas Supreme Court Weighs in on Post-Judgement Claims Against a Defendant's Insurer

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion in Great American Insurance Company v. Hamel clarifying the circumstances where an insurer who refuses to provide a defense to its insured may be held accountable for a judgment successfully obtained against its insured. In the underlying case, homeowners sued their builder for failing to construct their home in a good and workmanlike manner. They claimed that defects in workmanship caused water damage. The builder's insurance company refused to provide the builder with a defense to the homeowner's claims. Prior to trial, the homeowners and builder agreed, in effect, that if the homeowners were successful, then the homeowners would not seek to collect on the assets of the builder.

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