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CIVIL RIGHTS Housing referral service owner settles bias claims An online provider of rental referrals settled for $10,000 accusations that its advertisements violated the federal Fair Housing Act, on Jan. 8. Spyder Web Enterprises of Bergen County, N.J., owns and operates a Web site called www.sublet.com, which lists private houses and apartments for rent. The site allows landlords to list apartments or houses they seek to rent or sublet for free, while charging a fee to those looking for housing. The United States sued Spyder Web for discrimination, alleging that Spyder Web allowed landlords to publish advertisements on the site and its affiliated Web sites that indicated their gender, race, familial status or national origin preferences. United States v. Spyder Web Enterprises LLC, No. 03CV1509/14/03 (D.N.J.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: R. Alexander Acosta and Charla Jackson, Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division, Trenton, N.J.; Michael Chagares, United States attorney, Newark, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Joshua D. Levine, Fair Lawn, N.J. CONTRACTS Underpaid water district wins $17M from neighbor A California water district that claimed it had been underpaid by another district for about 50 years was awarded $16,955,842 on Jan. 13 by a state judge. A 1934 agreement called for the Coachella Valley Water District to lease to the Imperial Irrigation District its right to develop electrical power from the All-American Canal. In return, Imperial would pay 8% of the net proceeds from the electrical power produced. The Coachella district contended that Imperial had not been paying its full share. Imperial maintained that it paid the correct amount and also asserted a statute of limitations defense. Coachella v. Imperial, No. SCV21882 (San Bernardino Co., Calif., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Dean E. Dennis, William M. Bitting, William A. White and Paul M. Porter, Hill Farrer & Burrill, Los Angeles; Gary E. Reddish, Redwine & Sherrill, Riverside, Calif. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: George J. Berger and Kathryn D. Horning, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory, San Diego; Paul D. Engstrand, Horton, Knox, Carter & Foote, San Diego MEDICAL MALPRACTICE High-low reduces $112M jury award to $6 million A 6-year-old girl who suffers from spastic quadriparesis because of negligence in her mother’s prenatal treatment was awarded $111.7 million by a New York jury on Jan. 26, but a high-low agreement reduced the recovery to $6 million. Elizabeth Reden was five weeks shy of her delivery date when she detected an absence of fetal movement. One of Reden’s doctors at prenatal-care group WGM Obstetrics and Gynecology of Huntington, N.Y., said that her child was fine. Reden detected another absence of fetal movement five days later and was told to rush to the hospital. Danielle Reden was not delivered until 3 1/2 hours after her mother’s arrival at the hospital. The Redens sued WGM and three of its doctors, alleging negligence in their response to the report of decreased fetal movement. The three doctors were each assigned a portion of the fault. Reden v. Wagner, No. 16543/99 (Suffolk Co., N.Y., Sup. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Steven E. Pegalis, Pegalis & Erickson, Lake Success, N.Y. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Clifford A. Bartlett Jr., Bartlett, McDonough, Bastone & Monaghan, Mineola, N.Y. PREMISES LIABILITY 83-year-old who tripped in garage wins $150,000 An 83-year-old man who fell in a Texas parking garage and broke his hip was awarded $249,848 in damages by a state jury, reduced to $149,909 as per the fault apportionment. As Victor Henderson was looking for his car at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, he cut between two parked vehicles and tripped on a 10-inch-tall parking curb that was not painted a contrasting color. He incurred medical bills of nearly $40,000. The hospital argued that Henderson tripped on a structural beam that did not have to be painted and that he should have stayed on the walkways. The jury’s Jan. 29 verdict found the hospital 60% at fault and Henderson 40% at fault. In addition to Henderson’s award, $75,000 was awarded for his wife’s loss of consortium and household services, and the plaintiff’s attorney will move to include the $75,000 in the judgment. Henderson v. Columbia/St. David’s Healthcare Sys., No. GN202179 (Travis Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: David A. Cole, Law Offices of David A. Cole, Dallas DEFENSE ATTORNEY: R. Chad Geisler, Germer Gertz Beaman & Brown, Austin, Texas PRODUCTS LIABILITY Maker of power source liable in Carnahan deaths Former Missouri senator Jean Carnahan won a $4 million products liability verdict in a suit deriving from the death of her husband and son in an airplane crash. Parker Hannifin Corp. was found liable for a control-panel power source on the plane that it manufactured. Her husband, Governor Mel Carnahan, and an aide were in a Cessna 335 that was being piloted by Carnahan’s son, Randy, a lawyer. The attitude indicator failed, and along with it the directional gyroscope, causing the plane to crash and killing all three occupants. Jean Carnahan sued Parker Hannifin, citing 20 other failures in the course of 17 years, resulting in 46 deaths. Of the $4 million award, which was issued by a Missouri jury on Jan. 16, $3 million was for the death of her husband; the remainder was for her son’s death. (She settled separately with Cessna in June 2002 for $1.2 million.) Carnahan v. Parker Hannifin Corp., No. 00CV230731 (Jackson Co., Mo., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Anita Porte Robb and Gary C. Robb, Robb & Robb, Kansas City, Mo. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Mitchell Kallet, Kern & Wooley, Hartford, Conn.; E. Wayne Taff, Sherman, Taff & Bangert, Kansas City, Mo. RESTAURANT Claim that soup led to PTSD lands small award A man who claimed that an allergic reaction to soup caused his post-traumatic stress disorder was awarded $4,078 in medical expenses by a Florida jury on Jan. 27. He will only see $407.78, however, after factoring in his 90% fault. Donald Johnson, 64, went to a Shoney’s restaurant in Lake Worth, Fla. He claimed that he told the waitress that he was allergic to seafood, ordered potato soup and was served clam chowder. He ate approximately one-quarter of the bowl and then was treated for an allergic reaction. He sought $25,000 in medicals and unspecified damages for pain and suffering. Shoney’s denied that Johnson told the waitress of his alleged allergy, and claimed he could not prove that the soup he ate that night was not potato. The jury awarded no damages for pain and suffering or for his wife’s loss of consortium. Johnson v. TPI Restaurant Inc., No. CL96-9193AA (Palm Beach Co., Fla., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: John Brewer, Lake Worth, Fla. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Charles W. Rice, Buckner Shifrin Rice & Etter, Miami TOXIC TORTS Virus death at golf course results in $3M settlement The parents of a teenager who died after contracting the Norwalk virus at a golf tournament settled their lawsuit against the course owner and manager for $3 million on Jan. 8. Nils Beeman participated in a tournament at Thunderbirds Golf Club in Phoenix. Two days later, on the morning of his 15th birthday, Beeman died in his sleep after choking on his vomit. His death was determined to be caused by the Norwalk virus, a rarely fatal virus he and 84 others contracted from contaminated water jugs at the tournament. Beeman’s parents sued Thunderbird Golf LLC of Phoenix, the owner of the course, and Western Golf Properties Inc., the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based course manager, for wrongful death due to negligent handling of the water. The defendants argued that there was only one other known instance of somebody dying by choking on vomit due to the Norwalk virus, and therefore the death was not foreseeable. Beeman v. Thunderbird Golf LLC, No. CV2002-021511 (Maricopa Co., Ariz., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Michael C. Manning and Christine A. Bailey, Stinson Morrison Hecker, Phoenix DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Gary H. Burger, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, Phoenix 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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