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CIVIL RIGHTS Denied aid, jailed deaf man settles with jail New Jersey’s Mercer County Detention Center on Nov. 20 agreed to pay $175,000 to settle a civil rights suit brought by a formerly incarcerated deaf man. Ronald Chisolm, 33, was handcuffed and arrested on a misunderstanding regarding an open bench warrant. Despite requests for an interpreter and a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), none were provided by the center and Chisolm was placed in solitary confinement because a nurse, who couldn’t communicate with him, thought he was a security risk. After four days of no contact, the center allowed Chisolm access to a TDD. He was removed from solitary the next day and, after six days at the center, he was released. Chisolm v. McManimon, No. CV-95-991 (D.N.J.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Clara Smit, East Brunswick, N.J.; Marc Charmatz, National Association of the Deaf, Silver Spring, Md. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Ashley Hutchinson, Mercer County Council, Trenton, N.J. EMPLOYMENT Worker denied recovery on sex harassment claim A social worker who claimed aggravation of pre-existing post-traumatic stress as a result of sexual harassment by her supervisor was denied recovery by a New Jersey jury on Nov. 24. Deborah Flizack, 35, worked at the Good News Home for Women in Flemington, N.J. Flizack claimed that after a staff meeting, supervisor Ernestine Winfrey cornered her in the lunch room, and said, “Are you still pissed at me because if you are, then I am going to look into those big blue eyes and pat those white titties,” and then proceeded to fondle her breast. Flizack sued Winfrey and the Good News Home. Winfrey denied the allegations. Flizack v. Good News Home for Women, No. HUN-L-430-99 (Hunterdon Co., N.J., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Elizabeth Zuckerman, Zuckerman & Fisher, Princeton, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Gary M. Price, Buttafuoco, Arce & Price, South Plainfield, N.J.; Richard Wischuson, Law Office of Richard Wischuson, New Providence, N.J. HEALTH LAW Award against predatory health insurer is trebled An Oregon federal jury has found a Bellevue, Wash., hospital operating company guilty of predatory behavior. Because the jury’s Oct. 31 award was trebled under Oregon law, the defendant, PeaceHealth, must pay $16.2 million in total damages. McKenzie-Willamette Hospital of Springfield, Ore., accused PeaceHealth, which operates competing area hospitals, of attempting to monopolize the provision of certain areas of medical care by offering discounts to insurers on services not provided by McKenzie-Willamette, in exchange for the insurers excluding McKenzie-Willamette from participation in preferred provider plans. PeaceHealth contended that its behavior was merely competitive, and not predatory or exclusionary. The verdict originally consisted of $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $9.2 million in punitives, but state law mandates tripling compensatories and erasing the punitives. McKenzie-Willamette Hospital v. PeaceHealth, No. 02-6032-HA (D. Ore.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Thomas Triplett, William Crow and Nancy Erfle, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, Portland, Ore. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: James Sneed and Linda Holleran, McDermott, Will & Emery, Washington; Peter Glade, Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf, Portland, Ore. IMMIGRATION LAW Detainee’s claim of illegal imprisonment rejected A native of Guinea jailed for allegedly presenting a fake French passport failed on all his claims that had alleged false imprisonment and civil rights violations. Malik Jarno claimed to be 16 and sued on claims of false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He also sued jail officers and officials on allegations he was pepper sprayed and beaten. The officers said pepper spray was used to quell a group of detainees and was not aimed at Jarno, and that excessive force was not used. Additionally, information indicating that Jarno was older than 18 surfaced during discovery. A jury found for three officers who went to trial. All other charges were previously dismissed. Jarno v. Lewis, No. 021622A (E.D. Va.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Paul Kiernan and Jennifer Mason, Holland & Knight, Washington; Denise Gilman and Eliza Platts-Mills, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Washington DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Carlyle Wimbish III and Margaret Hardy, Sands Anderson Marks & Miller, Richmond, Va.; Dennis Barghaan, U.S. attorney’s office, Alexandria, Va. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Physician not liable for botched IUD removal A Texas doctor accused of malpractice because the attempted removal of an intrauterine birth-control device was unsuccessful was cleared by a state jury on Nov. 13. Enedelia San Miguel, in her 50s, underwent the surgery after having the IUD for more than 20 years. During the surgery, Joseph Kilianski accidentally cut her uterus and her small bowel, and was not able to remove the IUD. Kilianski argued that the surgery was very difficult because the IUD had become imbedded in the uterine wall over time. San Miguel v. Kilianski, No. 01-8872-E (Dallas Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Manuel Rios Jr. and John Lozano, Law Office of Manuel Rios, Dallas DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jeffrey M. Kershaw, Chamblee & Ryan, Dallas PREMISES LIABILITY Workplace trip-and-fall settled for $550,000 A woman who tripped over the saddle of a roll-down metal door that separated her company from another from which it subleased space will receive $550,000 under a Nov. 12 settlement. Dana Clements, 32, worked for Epstone Inc. in the Leeds Terminal building in Kearny, N.J. She caught her foot on the slightly raised metal saddle and tripped, landing on her knee and wrenching her back. She claimed that the saddle plus dim lighting were to blame, and sued Jacobus Inc., the building owner, and Alden Leeds Inc., the sublessor. Jacobus’ insurer paid the settlement. Clements v. Leed Terminal Inc., No. MON-L-3599-00 (Monmouth Co., N.J., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: John McDermott II, Maggs & McDermott, Brielle, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Karen Quinn Sopko, Sherman & Viscomi, Somerset, N.J. SCHOOLS Education board settles First Amendment suit An Ohio board of education settled a First Amendment suit brought against it by four high school students for $35,000 on Nov. 12. The four students were editors for Wooster High School’s newspaper. A day before one of the issues was to be distributed, Wooster High School’s superintendent confiscated the entire issue. The students claimed this violated their right to freedom of the press. The school board argued that it pulled the issue because an article in the newspaper concerning student-athlete drinking was potentially defamatory. The paper was later distributed, with the article under dispute blacked out. Droudt v. City of Wooster School District Board of Education, No. 5:03-CV-62 (N.D. Ohio). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Ken Myers, Cleveland DEFENSE ATTORNEY: David K. Smith, Britton, Smith, Peters & Kalail Co., Cleveland WRONGFUL DEATH Man’s estate settles with beer distributor The estate of a pedestrian who was thrown 150 feet to his death when he was struck by a drunken driver settled his dram shop claim against a beer distributor for $750,000 on Nov. 10. Joseph Lupini, 28, was standing next to his broken-down car on an Archbald, Pa., highway when he was struck by a pickup driven by Daniel Drake, who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide. Before the accident, Drake had been drinking at Philips Manor, a Teckville, Pa., bar, and purchased a 30-pack of beer from Hamlin Distributorship in Pennsylvania. Lupini’s estate did not pursue claims against Drake and Philips Manor because they were uninsured, but claimed Hamlin Distributorship sold alcohol to Drake while visibly intoxicated. Estate of Lupini v. Hamlin Distributorship Inc., No. 2000-CV-1807 (Lackawanna Co., Pa., Ct. C.P.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Timothy G. Lenahan, Lenahan & Dempsey, Scranton, Pa. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: John Hendrzak, Law Office of John Hendrzak, Center Valley, Pa. 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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