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CALIFORNIA LITIGATION UPDATE

Disciplinary actions in jail may have led to wrongful death suit

Young people sometimes act out and get themselves into trouble in California, and on occasion that may land a person in jail. Disciplinary action may be necessary to restrain someone but it certainly should not permanently harm or kill a person. In the instance of a death, a wrongful death lawsuit may be warranted.

In a recent case in Alameda County, a young man died while in police custody. The 23-year-old was said to have died as a result of mechanical asphyxiation that was possibly brought on by being restrained in what is called a WRAP device. The device restrains a person in a sitting position.

College experience should not end in unexpected tragedy

Sending a child off to college should mark the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in that child's life. There are an increasing number of reports in the media where that exciting chapter ended in an unexpected tragedy that resulted in the death of the college student. One such incident in California has resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit against a state university.

A young woman, like so many before her, had pledged a sorority. Hazing, though forbidden on most college campuses, remains a part of the Greek culture in many of the sororities and fraternities on college campuses. In this instance, the 19-year-old woman was allegedly forced to consume large amounts of alcohol, and the wrongful death suit claims that the hazing took place on campus grounds.

Congested traffic can result in a deadly motorcycle accident

Congested traffic in the Los Angeles area shows no signs of abating and continues to cause traffic hazards. Sadly, many of these hazards result in serious and sometimes fatal accidents. According to California Highway Patrol, a recent incident resulted in a serious motorcycle accident that caused the deaths of two people.

The accident was the result of a chain reaction crash that began when one vehicle hit a center divider and veered into traffic, ending up sideways between the carpool and fast lanes. It happened during rush hour on a recent morning. The motorcycle collided with a stopped vehicle and the rider was thrown from the motorcycle. The crash involved at least six vehicles.

Tragic dive outing results in wrongful death claim

California is known for it's spectacular pacific coastline and the plethora of water-based activities available as a benefit of it. One of the most popular of these is the sport of scuba diving. Many boat operators run dive trips off the coast and one of these recent trips ended in a fire that killed most of the people on board. The widow of one of the men who perished has brought a wrongful death claim against the company that owned the boat.

The boat was on an overnight scuba trip. Reports have indicated that everyone on board was asleep at the time the fire broke out. This runs counter to accepted Coast Guard safety precautions of having someone on watch at all times. The owners of the boat claim that the boat was properly equipped and manned and had been properly maintained to ensure its seaworthiness.

Overdose death results in a wrongful death lawsuit

The drug crisis in California continues to take lives due to drug overdoses on a daily basis. A woman who overdosed and died following her arrest in a traffic stop leaves behind a young son. The boy, through his father, is bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Diego.

The woman was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for having an expired registration sticker. The woman was allegedly handed a bag of drugs to conceal after the police pulled the car over and approached the vehicle. She was placed under arrest, handcuffed and put in the back of a police car.

Bullying results in death due to traumatic brain injury

School bullies have been an issue in California and elsewhere for a very long time. In recent years, it seems that some of the bullying has become more violent, and schools have been encouraged to take preventive measures. In one instance, complaints of bullying by a student were not promptly acted upon, and the delay may have cost the student his life due to a traumatic brain injury.

A middle school student complained to a teacher that he had been punched in the chest. The teacher took the complaint to the assistant principal and encouraged the administrator to review security footage that might show the attack. The following day, the student and his guardian met with the school administrator. The administrator claimed to know the identity of the assailants and reportedly stated that they would be suspended within a short period.

Emo-rapper Lil Peep's fatal overdose now a wrongful death claim

California is home to much of the nation's music industry and has been no stranger to the tragic passing of well-known artists. Lil Peep was one of the most recent, passing away as a result of drug overdose in 2017 when he was 21 years old. His mother is now accusing some of the people who had worked to manage her son's career of being complicit in his death and has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against them.

There have been wrongful death claims related to overdose deaths in the past but those have typically been against doctors who had prescribed or administered medications. Michael Jackson's death is one example where a doctor engaged in his care was the subject of a lawsuit. The case involving Lil Peep's death is different in that the suit names people who worked with the artist and stood to profit from his continued success.

Man killed in 3-car accident

A 22-year-old man is dead following a three-car accident that also injured another person and totalled all three vehicles. California Highway Patrol in Oakley have confirmed the death of a Byron resident after he was identified on Oct. 14 following the Oct. 12 accident. The car accident is still under investigation as police have not yet determined whether intoxication was a factor. 

According to the report, a pickup truck driven by an unknown individual was headed eastbound on Delta and had slowed to enter his residence when his vehicle was approached by another car from behind. The 22-year-old driver of the other car was traveling at a high rate of speed and attempted to pass the pickup truck in the westbound lane. This caused a collision between the two vehicles that sent the speeding car across the street into a third car. 

Death in mental health facility may bring wrongful death suit

As incidents of severe depression increase in California and around the country, treatment for the mentally ill is experiencing increased awareness in the medical community and the general public. A young man was recently admitted to a facility in the Los Angeles area. What occurred there could result in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A young man had been adrift and wandering around Los Angeles. He was observed experiencing a mental breakdown and was taken to a facility in South Los Angeles, where he was admitted. Less than a week later, he was found dead in his room. He appeared to have been strangled.

How can your employer protect your safety at work?

When you leave for work each day in California, you are accepting certain risks that are an inherent part of the job you have agreed to do. These risks may range in severity and in how prevalent they are depending on the industry you work in, how committed your employer is to safety and how current your employer is with the implementation of safety protocols. 

You uphold a significant portion of responsibility to protect yourself by abiding by the rules that have been created for your safety and that of your coworkers. Examples of some of the requirements you may be asked to follow include the wearing of appropriate safety gear, responsible operation of equipment, maintenance of applicable licensures, commitment to completing training and an understanding of how to report or address safety concerns. 

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