Wave of College Sex Abuse Lawsuits and Increased Complaints Against Lyft
California’s September News Round-Up Features Lawsuits Filed Against Google and McDonald’s, $27M for Bullying Death, 11 Injured in Bus Stop Accident
With National Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Month drawing to a close, it is crucial for every state to assess the preparedness of its cities for unforeseen disasters. Considering the devastation that has recently struck various parts of the world, would the West Coast be ready for events like the earthquake in Morocco or the fires in Maui? Furthermore, what about preventable accidents caused by negligence? How many incidents resulting in personal injury and death will California record in September 2023 that could have been avoided?
Fear of experiencing a situation similar to what happened in Hawaii looms large in the minds of Californians. This concern has been exacerbated by arson fires occurring in different parts of the state. Additionally, smoke from Northern California’s current wildfires is detrimentally impacting air quality in densely populated areas like the Los Angeles metropolitan area. A recent study highlighting the devastating effects of wildfires on cognitive health, which increases the risk of dementia, underscores these concerns.
California’s schools are facing several issues right now, especially those in the Bay Area. In addition to fentanyl use among students, schools are dealing with a historic wave of sexual abuse lawsuits. Additionally, in a recent development, $27 million was awarded to the family of a boy who tragically committed suicide after being bullied in 2019.
California Personal Injury News Highlights for September 2023
In this blog post, we’ll share California’s latest news with you. This month, there have been several high-profile lawsuits, including a wrongful death claim against Google after its Maps app malfunctioned, the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Southern California Edison over the Bobcat fire in 2020, and a potential civil rights case against a school following racist remarks made by a teacher about Latino students.
If at any time you are identified or have experienced a similar situation, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses by calling (800) 310-1606.
Is California Prepared to Prevent and Respond to a Devastating Fire?
Practice Area: Fire and Wildfire Accidents
We kick off this blog with a topic that is causing unease in Californian society: wildfires and their consequences. Following the devastating fires in Hawaii, many are questioning whether California is prepared for a similar incident. The destruction of the historic town of Lahaina on Maui serves as an example of what not to do. Likewise, it has recently come to public attention that high-risk fire areas such as the Tri-Valley are not keeping up-to-date in preventing or responding to a wildfire disaster. In fact, emergency response plans for Bay Area cities like Pleasanton were last updated in 2018.
However, there is one city that has already risen to the challenge of preparing for wildfires – Berkeley. On a trial basis, firefighters have installed an outdoor warning system in Live Oak Park that would notify the city through a powerful siren.
Ironically, these concerns emerge at the same time as the US Department of Justice files a lawsuit against Southern California Edison and Tree Service for their actions during the 2020 Bobcat Fire. This fire ravaged more than 114,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest. According to federal reports, the state utilities “failed to adequately maintain” electrical lines.
Rising Trend of Intentional Arson Fires in California
When it comes to urban fires, the culprits are often clear: California residents and their negligence. While many fires are caused by carelessness, there have been several cases this month of people intentionally starting fires. Some notable incidents include:
- The uncontrolled burning of fireworks and trash cans during a skateboarding event in Hollywood.
- The death of a 30-year-old man sitting in his car when someone set it on fire in Oakland.
- Arson fires at the Fellowship Baptist Church and a dental office building in Riverside.
- Several fires in Corona were set by a San Bernardino resident.
Historic Wave of Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Area of Practice: Sexual Harassment or Abuse
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, this month is witnessing record-breaking child abuse lawsuits. Most of these lawsuits are directed toward Bay Area schools. A total of 51 cases have been reported, with potential costs reaching millions of dollars. This surge in claims against California school educators is rooted in abuse that took place over the past 50 years. Thanks to a law that came into effect in 2020, victims can now file lawsuits up to 40 years after the events occurred. These lawsuits allege that the state failed to take adequate measures to protect minors.
In light of these recent events, California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a new bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for child abuse claims.
This proposal was announced amidst numerous recent cases of child abuse. Recently, settlements were reached in two cases involving educators. The first case involves a basketball coach from Orange County who sexually abused four girls between 2005 and 2010. The second case involves a $2.25 million settlement by the Redlands Unified School District in a lawsuit regarding a teacher who became pregnant as a result of molesting one of her two students. The district has paid approximately $8 million to the teacher’s victims.
Internal Problems in LAPD
Area of Practice: Police Misconduct
Aside from the now-common misconduct of sexual harassment or assault, the personal injury cases involving California police officers in September 2023 include a wide range of harms. One example is an officer’s abuse of power against a fruit vendor on a Los Angeles street. The victim, who suffers from diabetes, fainted from the emotional trauma and had to be hospitalized. According to other vendors in the area, the same officer was seen harassing other workers.
To mitigate the negative impact caused by certain police officers on the streets – such as in this street vendor incident – the Los Angeles Police Department is taking action. After an internal investigation found them guilty of “gross misconduct,” the LAPD is firing two officers. Apparently, the two officers were suspected of attempting to cover up traffic stops and conducting illegal searches.
Despite ongoing efforts to bring positive changes to the Los Angeles Police Department, the media has uncovered numerous internal allegations. The most notable case involves LAPD Deputy Chief Al Labrada, who is accused in a lawsuit of placing a tracking device on the officer’s car with whom he was romantically involved.
Intentional Bicycle Collisions And Two Fatalities Due to Lack of Knowledge of Traffic Rules
Practice Area: Traffic Accidents
The ongoing incidents on California’s roads have prompted the introduction of a new bill, AB-645: Speed Cameras. This proposed measure aims to install speed cameras in cities such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale.
Unfortunately, the number of personal injury and fatality cases in California has once again risen in September 2023. In one of the most shocking news stories, the Los Angeles Fire Department was at the center of a horrific crash. Two individuals lost their lives, and four others sustained injuries when a car collided with a fire engine. The emergency responders were attending to a 911 call.
In yet another tragic incident, two people lost their lives when an Australian driver drove on the wrong side of the road. Apparently, the driver was unfamiliar with the traffic regulations, resulting in a violent head-on collision that also left three other individuals injured in La Honda.
While most accidents happen unintentionally, others are deliberate. Such is the case with a hit-and-run driver who targeted three cyclists in Huntington Beach. Tragically, one of them did not survive. Law enforcement officials stated that this same driver is believed to be responsible for three other bike accidents, all of which were intentionally caused.
In a separate incident, 11 teenagers suffered injuries after a 16-year-old crashed into a bus stop. A total of 20 students were hurt while waiting for the school bus in Fresno, California. This news brings to mind the death of Blanca Arcelia, a grandmother from La Puente who was hit by a school bus while crossing the street.
Gary Busey and Shannon Beador Charged with Hit-and-Run in California
This month, there have been multiple celebrity personal injuries linked to traffic accidents. Actor Gary Busey, who was sued for sexual harassment earlier this month, is currently under investigation for an alleged hit-and-run accident on a Malibu freeway. Meanwhile, another hit-and-run case involves Shannon Beador. The reality TV star from The Real Housewives of Orange County has already been arrested. She is accused of driving under the influence, causing a collision, and fleeing the scene in Newport Beach.
Lyft and Uber Trying to Improve Rider Safety After Several Assaults
Practice Area: Ridesharing
Over the past few years, the reputation of ridesharing companies has suffered due to Lyft and Uber’s failure to ensure safety for both users and drivers. In September 2022, Lyft faced 17 lawsuits for its inability to protect riders and drivers from sexual and physical assault. Unfortunately, the company is once again being accused of not taking any action to address these issues.
One recent case that garnered media attention involved a deaf Lyft driver who was assaulted and robbed by a user in 2022. The defendant, a Daly City man who just received a 12-year prison sentence, requested a Lyft ride and then robbed and assaulted the driver.
In response to the recent allegations, Lyft has introduced a new feature to enhance ride safety, especially for women. They have launched Women+Connect to provide increased safety measures for female drivers and users who book rides.
Nursing Home Negligence and $4 Million Fraud Settlement
Practice Area: Elder Abuse
Uber and Lyft drivers are not the only ones who suffer physical violence. As a vulnerable population, the elderly are among the most common targets of abusers. The most recent case of elder physical abuse occurred in Hayward when a 28-year-old man beat and stabbed an 81-year-old man, leaving him with serious injuries.
But the case that has shocked society the most is the one that took place in 2016 at a Riverside nursing home and is now awaiting sentencing. At the time, the police and the California Department of Justice discovered that Joel Ombao’s senior center lacked the necessary conditions to care for patients. Ombao was convicted of four felony counts of abuse after seniors were found to be malnourished, living in filth, and lacking basic care.
Not all elder abuse involves physical or emotional abuse. Financial elder abuse is a significant problem that thousands of seniors face each year. Recently, a Long Beach woman secured a $4 million settlement after an investor defrauded and abandoned her while she was confined to a nursing home.
Google Maps, McDonald’s, and Buffalo Games Sued Over Deaths and Injuries
Practice Area: Product Liability
Two families have initiated legal proceedings against two major companies for product liability leading to death and injury. Firstly, Google was sued for wrongful death by the family of a father who died after falling off a collapsed bridge while using the Maps application. It was later revealed that the bridge had been closed for two years. In a separate incident, a woman has filed a personal injury lawsuit against McDonald’s after suffering severe burns from spilled hot coffee. The victim claims she sustained “severe burns and emotional distress” because the lid did not seal properly.
As for children’s products, there have been several recalls this month linked to deaths and serious injuries. The most critical case involves the Buffalo Games Water Bead Activity Kit sold at Target. Following the unfortunate incident in which a 10-month-old baby died and another suffered serious injuries, the company recalled 50,000 units. No lawsuits are pending.
Additionally, after receiving 34 complaints, approximately 85,000 Boon Flair and Flair Elite high chairs were recalled. There were 23 falls and 11 injuries to children reported.
Trader Joe’s Is Recalling Food Again and 52 Million Vehicles Are at Risk of Injury
Regarding the automotive industry, the government is urging ARC to initiate a recall for its faulty airbags. It is estimated that as many as 12 manufacturers have utilized these inflators. Out of the 284 million cars equipped with ARC airbags, approximately 52 million are susceptible to injury in case of deployment. As per the government report, these airbag inflators have the potential to explode, resulting in the release of shrapnel that may harm or even cause fatalities to vehicle occupants.
Switching to the food sector, Trader Joe’s has once again made headlines with yet another product recall. This is the sixth food recall in five weeks. Similarly, Banquet’s frozen chicken brand had to withdraw 245,000 packages from the market due to possible contamination from plastic fragments. Kraft Heinz also recalled some of its cheese slices due to choking hazards associated with the plastic packaging.
Have You Suffered a Wrongful Injury in California During September 2023? Call Us!
Suffering physical or mental injuries as a result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence often leads to severe repercussions. The costs associated with treating these injuries and going through the legal proceedings can be substantial. At Adamson Ahdoot, we truly understand the challenges faced by injured victims. That’s why we are committed to helping you achieve justice and fair compensation.
Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today to discuss your case. Our team of bilingual attorneys is available 24/7 to assist and guide you through the entire legal process. Call us at (800) 310-1606 or submit your request online. We will not charge you until you receive the compensation you deserve.
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