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COMMUNICATIONS Online business settles Missouri no-call suit An online business accused of violating a Missouri law prohibiting telemarketing to certain people, on Oct. 3 agreed to pay a fine and to discontinue calling Missouri residents. The Missouri attorney general’s office claimed that, between March and July 2003, telemarketers for Family Trip Travel.com, which sells Florida vacation packages, called Missouri residents whose telephone numbers were on the state’s no-call list. The state sued the Margate, Fla., business and its owner for violation of the state no-call law. The defense argued that the state law was pre-empted by the federal do-not-call law. The company is to pay a $7,500 civil penalty. State of Missouri v. Family Trip Travel.Com Inc., No. 03 CV 167333 (Boone Co., Mo., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: M. Steven Brown, Missouri attorney general’s office, Jefferson City, Mo. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Pro se EMPLOYMENT Man gets $250,000 on gender, retaliation claims A Florida man who raised gender discrimination and retaliation claims against a government agency was awarded $250,000 by a state jury on Oct. 27. Jeffrey Gallagher, 52, worked for the administrative department of the Manatee County, Fla., Parks and Recreation Department as an office assistant. He claimed that he was assigned a desk in the hallway and that his requests for a promotion and an office were refused because he is a male. Gallagher also claimed that after filing the second of two internal grievances alleging mistreatment by his female supervisor, he was transferred to the less desirable maintenance department. The county argued that the promotion went to a more deserving employee and that the transfer occurred almost two years after the first grievance. Gallagher v. Manatee County, No. 2001-CA-1254 (Manatee Co., Fla., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Kendra Presswood, Bradenton, Fla.; Kathleen Kirwin, Tallahassee, Fla. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Robert Eschelender, Manatee County attorney’s office, Bradenton MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Delay in alarm response results in $20M award A 19-year-old intensive care unit patient who sustained a permanent brain injury after a nurse failed to answer his alarm was awarded $20,015,000 by a state jury on Oct. 24. Hugh Gallagher, a college freshman, was in Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, recovering from a suicide attempt, when an obstruction in his trachea caused his heart rate to plunge and set off his alarm. The alarm allegedly went unanswered for four to six minutes. Gallagher sued the hospital. The hospital argued that the nurse responsible for Gallagher’s care was busy with another patient, whose alarm had also sounded, obscuring the sound of Gallagher’s alarm. Punitives of $15,000 were assessed against the hospital for altering medical records. Gallagher v. Temple University Hospital, No. April Term 2001 002643 (Philadelphia Co., Pa., Ct. C.P.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Shanin Specter and Andrew S. Youman, Kline & Specter, Philadelphia DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Charles A. Fitzpatrick III, Mylotte, David & Fitzpatrick, Philadelphia NEGLIGENCE Attorney injured giving blood awarded $800,000 An attorney injured while giving blood is entitled to $800,000 in compensatory damages, a federal jury found on Oct. 23. Robyn Fairshter, 32, alleged that while giving blood at an Annandale, Va., location set up by the American National Red Cross, a newly hired technician who had been the subject of complaints failed to follow procedures and injured her left arm and hand during her donation, causing her to develop reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a permanent pain syndrome. Fairshter sued the Red Cross for negligence and negligent hiring. The Red Cross admitted negligence, but denied that Fairshter suffered from RSD, claiming that she suffered ulnar nerve entrapment resulting from some other trauma. Fairshter v. American National Red Cross, No. 03-246-A (E.D. Va.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Michael E. Barnsback, Hillary Collyer and Bernard J. DiMuro, DiMuro, Ginsberg & Mook, Alexandria, Va. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Richard E. Jordan, Hamilton and Hamilton, Washington Handicapped passenger hurt on bus wins award A passenger in a wheelchair on a bus for the handicapped who was injured when the driver slammed on his brakes was awarded $158,890 (including costs) by a California jury on Oct. 16. Maria Velazquez, 28, who was born both physically and mentally handicapped, was being transported home from her job doing small-item packaging at a government-funded center. She sued Laidlaw Transit Inc., contending that the bus driver failed to secure her in her wheelchair. As a result, when he had to stop suddenly, she was thrown forward. The defense denied the allegation. Velazquez v. Laidlaw, No. BC282928 (Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Michael F. Moran, Law Offices of Michael F. Moran, Tustin, Calif. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Christopher P. Wesierski, Wesierski & Zurek, Irvine, Calif. PRODUCTS LIABILITY Franchisee liable for Big Mac with rat poison A customer who claimed to have suffered food poisoning after eating a Big Mac at a Philadelphia McDonald’s was awarded $77,505 by a Pennsylvania arbitrator on Oct. 3. While eating the burger, Bradley Stoop, 38, noticed a foul taste, removed the top bun and saw a green, crystalline substance mixed into the special sauce. Stoop submitted half of the burger to a laboratory, which allegedly determined the substance to be rat poison. Stoop was later treated at the hospital for the food poisoning, which had accompanying nausea, gastrointestinal distress and periumbilical pain. The arbitrator found the franchise’s owner, Micale Management Corp., liable for serving a defective food product, but not McDonald’s Corp. Stoop v. Micale Management Corp., No. 1299-2416 (Philadelphia Co., Pa., Ct. C.P.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: David L. Kwass and Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, Philadelphia DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Byron Milner, King of Prussia, Pa. Building-material maker liable for site collapse A construction worker injured in a building-site collapse was awarded $24.3 million in damages by a state jury. The Oct. 23 award on a products liability claim included $15 million in punitive damages. Terry Staskal and his wife sued Symons Corp. of Des Plaines, Ill., the manufacturer of forms used to support wet concrete, after freshly poured forms collapsed on him, trapping him for three hours and causing permanent injuries to his legs and one foot. They claimed that the forming system and shoring plan provided for the building Staskal was working on was improperly designed and tested. Symons blamed the collapse on Staskal’s employer, Kraemer Bros., for changing the design plans. The jury found Symons 80% liable and Kraemer, a nonparty because it paid workers’ compensation benefits, 20% liable. Staskal v. Symons Corp., No. 30107 (Dane Co., Wis., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Eric Farnsworth, DeWitt Ross & Stevens, Madison, Wis. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: John W. Patton Jr., Rusin Patton Maciorowski & Friedman, Chicago TORTS Hotel hit with verdict for manicure infection A hotel guest who claimed a staph infection in her thumb was caused by a hotel manicurist using unsanitary equipment was awarded $847,267 by a federal jury on Oct. 9. Julie Lofink, 63, was a guest at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. There, Lofink went for a manicure. The spa manicurist allegedly pushed the cuticle on Lofink’s right thumb in too far, causing her to scream. After returning home to Aiken, S.C., the pain increased and she eventually developed osteomyelitis, requiring two surgeries. She and her husband sued the hotel, alleging that the manicurist failed to meet the hotel’s safety standards by not keeping the instruments in a sanitary bag. The hotel argued that its spa is sanitary, and that Lofink did not contract the infection from the manicure. Lofink v. The Breakers Resort, No. 02-CV-80588 (S.D. Fla.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Marc L. Brumer, Brumer & Brumer, Miami DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Kathryn L. Tignor, Adams, Coogler, Watson, Merkel, Barry & Kellner, West Palm Beach, Fla. More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch National Reporter or at www.VerdictSearch.com. To submit a case, call (212)313-9057, fax (212)313-9145 or use the form at www.VerdictSearch.com/submit. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call (800)832-1900.

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