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GOVERNMENT Foster child settles sexual assault claim against N.J. A former foster care child who was subjected to repeated sexual assaults by another foster child in the home where he was placed will receive $950,000 in a settlement with the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). The plaintiff, identified as E.B., was 11 when he was placed in the home of, and shared a room with, another foster child, age 16, and known by DYFS employees to be a sex offender. E.B. sued DYFS and numerous DYFS employees, and the foster parents, who defaulted. DYFS contended that its placement of the boys and postincident treatment of E.B. were appropriate, but on Dec. 12, 2003, the agency agreed to settle. The child who assaulted him is currently serving an 80-year sentence for a 2000 kidnapping and sexual assault. E.B. v. New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, No. 00CV-3100 (D.N.J.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Joseph C. Grassi and Suzanne Pasley, Barry, Corrado, Grassi & Gibson, Wildwood, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Paul Stevenson, Raymond Barzey and Joseph Picillo, office of the attorney general, Trenton, N.J.; Mark W. Catanzaro, Moorestown, N.J. PRODUCTS LIABILITY Tractor-trailer rollover results in $15.5M award A man who lost his left arm in a tractor-trailer rollover was awarded $15.5 million by a Pennsylvania jury on Dec. 24, 2003. H. Ryan Hutchinson was driving a Freightliner FLD 120 truck when, while negotiating a curve on an on-ramp, he struck the guiderail, went down an embankment and plowed into a stand of trees. His left arm had to be amputated above the elbow and he now wears a mechanical prosthetic. He sued Feightliner LLC of Portland, Ore., for products liability, claiming that the cab was not crashworthy and that the cruise control system was poorly designed because it failed to disengage when he applied the brakes. Freightliner said that Hutchinson was driving recklessly. Hutchinson v. Freightliner LLC, No. Feb. Term 2001 003460 (Philadelphia Co., Pa., Ct. C.P.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: John S. Bagby Jr., Bagby & Associates, Philadelphia DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Wilbur Bourne Ruthrauff, Bennet, Bricklin & Saltzburg, Philadelphia Bayer not liable for man’s muscle weakness Bayer Corp. was found not liable by a Mississippi jury on Dec. 12, 2003, in a suit brought by an elderly man who claimed that the cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol caused him to suffer muscle weakness and permanent muscle damage in his legs and lower extremities. Billy G. Slaughter, 83, had suffered two heart attacks, had high blood pressure and was a diabetic. To bring his cholesterol down, he was prescribed the drug for two to three months. Bayer denied any defect, noting the absence of any indication of injury in Slaughter’s medical records and maintained that the muscle weakness had more to do with his age, diabetes and two prior heart attacks. Slaughter v. Bayer Corp., No. 2002-41-CV8 (Jones Co., Miss., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Patrick J. Malouf, Porter & Malouf, Jackson, Miss.; Robert Wilkins, Wilkins Law Firm, Jackson DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Stewart B. Harmon, Page, Kruger & Holland, Jackson, Miss.; Robert L. Johnson III, Johnson Law Firm, Natchez, Miss.; Josh Weiner, Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, Jackson; William Goodman III and C. Allen McClain, Watkins & Eager, Jackson WORKPLACE Railroad not liable for forklift driver’s injury A railroad worker who claimed he suffered a permanent back injury when a wheel of the forklift he was operating dropped into a hatch was denied recovery by a federal jury on Dec. 16, 2003. Chris Rocco was operating the forklift at the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) facility in Richmond Hill, N.Y. When he rode over the metal cover of an underground access hatch, the hatch cover buckled, causing the forklift wheel to drop. He sued LIRR under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act for failure to provide a safe workplace. LIRR admitted liability, but blamed Rocco’s back problems on previous accidents. Rocco v. Long Island Rail Road, No. 01CV594 (E.D.N.Y.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Fred Gold, Sabel & Gold, New York DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Paul A. Krez, Krez & Peisner, New York Carpenter settles fall claim for $1.2 million A construction worker who fell through an open hearth while framing the floor of a new home in Mahopac, N.Y., settled his suit prior to depositions for $1,160,000 on Jan. 5. As a result of the fall, Segundo Montoya, 40, sustained severe skull injuries, which resulted in permanent brain damage. Montoya sued the owners of the house, Debra and Lance Bloomer, and the job’s general contractor, Bloomer Construction Corp. He claimed that the job site violated New York Labor Law �� 240(1) and 241(6). The defendants impleaded Montoya’s employer, Lumage Construction Co. The direct defendants were uninsured, so Lumage Construction contributed all but $10,000 of the settlement. Montoya v. Bloomer Construction Corp., No. 03 Civ 0638 (S.D.N.Y.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Jacob Oresky, Bronx, N.Y. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Fredric P. Gallin, Methfessel & Werbel, New York; Stewart B. Greenspan, Rubin, Fiorella & Friedman, New York 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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