Recent News

Takata Airbag Recall Heating Up

Posted by | Automobile Accident | No Comments

The risk of a recalled Takata airbag eruption increases as the temperature climbs, but millions of vehicles with faulty airbags, including many Honda vehicles with airbag recalls (one of the most urgent threats), are rolling on.

Los Angeles, CAThe chances of a defective Takata airbag exploding and firing metal shards at you, even in a minor fender bender, increase with rising temperatures. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says many people driving unsafe cars, including Honda, Ford and Mazda, haven’t grasped the recall’s urgency.

Southern California Airbag Recall

Hot summer temperatures in southern states exacerbate the airbag defect. In San Fernando valley an outreach campaign is underway to encourage drivers with airbag recalls to get them replaced. Organizers with Airbag Recall: Operation Find & Fix, estimated that more than 2.5 million vehicles in California alone with recalled airbags have not yet been repaired. According to City News Service, recall-check events and other outreach efforts are planned to urge vehicle owners to get the bags replaced. “Tens of thousands of San Fernando Valley residents are still driving vehicles with defective airbag inflators,” said Christian Rubalcava, president of the Sylmar Neighborhood Council. “I urge all Southern Californians, regardless of what you drive, to check you and your family’s vehicles at You could save a life.”

Heidi King, NHTSA deputy administrator, told CNS that the urgency of having the recalled airbags replaced “cannot be overstated…This recall is an important public safety issue for all Americans, but it is especially critical for drivers in Southern California, where prolonged exposure to heat and humidity exacerbates the defect,” King said.

South Florida Airbag Recall

More than 450,000 vehicles with airbag recalls are yet to be fixed in South Florida. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that three deaths in the state are related to schrapnel exploding from Takata airbags and Florida’s hot and humid weather increased the risk of malfunction. The NHTSA online fact sheet states that exposure to these weather conditions over time can cause metal parts inside the airbags to explode and send metal shrapnel parts slicing into car occupants.

Mexico Honda Airbag Recall

Honda de Mexico said that it has replaced more than 300,000 defective Takata airbag inflators. While this number represents half of the potentially affected vehicles in Mexico, the company is urging drivers of Honda and Acura models to take their vehicles to the dealership where technicians will check the serial number (VIN) to identify whether their airbag has been recalled.

Takata Airbag Inflator Shortage

“Manufacturers need to do more to help people understand how deadly these airbags are. But at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to get your car fixed right away, if it’s got one of these defective Takata airbags,” said David Friedman, the Consumers Union policy director. No matter where you live, judging from such organizations as above and government departments, it seems like motorists are to blame for being lackadaisical. While there are statistics on the number of recalled vehicles and how many Takata inflators have been replaced, however, it’s not clear how many people have attempted to get their airbags replaced, only to find that the dealership has come up short. How many frustrated people like Delores Griffin have been waiting for a replacement?

The news program 5 On Your Side said that Griffin has been waiting since July 2016 to get her airbags fixed. Ford sent her a warning letter in December, 2017 saying that drivers should not allow anybody to sit in the passenger’s seat until parts are available and repairs can be made. But that is where she sits because getting in and out of the back seat is “a serious struggle.” Griffin called the dealership to get her Takata airbag replaced – as of last week, no parts.

Honda Ranks Most Urgent Threat on U.S. Gulf Coast

At least 15 people, including three people from Southern California have been killed by defective airbags. Experts say that, of the 19 automakers included in the recall, select 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras, 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks, “pose the most urgent threat and are unsafe to drive.” Going back to 2015, cars and trucks from the 2008 model year or older that were originally sold or registered in high humidity areas along the U.S. Gulf Coast are getting top priority for repairs. Honda is the highest risk of all automakers, with nine models designated as having the potential from Takata airbag inflators to explode with too much force. Honda’s Acura luxury brand on the high-risk list date to the 2001 model year. Fiat Chrysler is runner-up with seven models.

Incorrect Honda Airbag Installations

To make matters worse for some owners, Honda is recalling 492 vehicles to replace front passenger airbag inflators because they may not have been installed correctly during a previous Takata airbag recall. Some dealership technicians apparently installed the replacement airbags in such a way that they may not deploy at all in a crash. Honda is sending out yet another round of recall notices to owners that begin this month.

Honda Airbags Black Market

Perhaps a lack of Honda airbag replacements is to account for airbag theft. Earlier this year, ABC7 reported that Honda airbag larcenies “have been on the rise in the City of Alexandria over the last several weeks”, and last year another community was hit by a rash of Honda airbag thefts.

More than 20 million Takata airbags are expected to be added to the already 50 million that have been recalled. More than 26 million airbags still need to be replaced.


Unlicensed Drivers Cause Two Recent California Car Accidents in One Week

Posted by | Automobile Accident | No Comments

Underage drivers were responsible for two crashes in Santa Clara County, resulting in one fatality and critical injuries

San Jose, CAOn May 20, 2018, an Acura TL driven by a 16-year-old unlicensed driver jumped a curb on Highway 101, and skidded down an embankment before it was struck by another vehicle, killing a teen passenger. One week later, on Memorial Day, a stolen car driven by a 13-year-old was fleeing San Jose police when it collided with another vehicle in a head on crash, critically injuring one passenger and harming four others. California is notorious for its high rate of uninsured drivers, resulting in a large number of California car accidents. Accidents with an uninsured driver can result in the uncertainty of whether one’s injuries and property damage will be compensated, and if so, how?

Out of all fifty states, California ranks twelfth highest for its rate uninsured drivers. 15.2 percent of drivers on California’s roads are estimated to be uninsured, as measured by the rate of uninsured motorist claims compared to bodily injury claim frequencies. And according to the CDC, although teens represent only about 7 percent of the population in the United States, they account for a disproportionately high percentage of costs of motor vehicle injuries (at 11 percent, roughly $10 billion dollars every year).

In the May 20th accident, it is unclear why the Acura jumped the curb, but its driver did not have a license. A 19-year-old passenger riding in the Acura was killed, after being struck by a Toyota Camry driven by a 69-year-old San Jose man. Following the accident, a white van crashed into one of the vehicles strewn on the road, then swerved, hitting another car. The driver of the white van was intoxicated at the time. California auto accident law provides that anyone injured in a car accident caused by someone’s negligence (texting while driving, or driving while intoxicated) can recover monetary compensation for medical bills (past and future), property damage, lost wages, earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

In the Memorial Day accident, after police attempted a routine traffic stop, the suspect car packed with young teen drivers took off. San Jose police decided not to chase the car, which they had identified as stolen, in an effort to protect the public. Nevertheless, the car full of fleeing teens hit a Ford C-Max that was making a left hand turn in its path. The teen passengers attempted to flee the scene, but the 13-year-old driver was trapped in the vehicle and sustained critical injuries. These accidents occurred in the midst of a juvenile crime wave in Santa Clara County.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California

California auto accident law requires all drivers to be bear responsibility for property damage or bodily injury that occurs as a result of a car accident on a public road. This is usually satisfied by carrying car insurance, which is necessary to register your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California. But not every driver abides by this law—in California your odds of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver are more than double what they would be in New York, and four times as high as they would be in Maine.

When involved in a car accident, everyone knows to get the insurance information and contact information of the other drivers involved in the accident. But what happens if it’s a hit-and-run accident, or an accident with an uninsured or unlicensed driver? Nearly every car insurance policy sold in the state of California includes uninsured motorist coverage. This is because insurance companies are required to include this type of coverage, unless explicitly opted out of in writing by the policyholder.

What Happens If You’re Involved in a California Car Crash with an Uninsured Driver?

If you are involved in any type of car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes, injuries can take weeks or even months to manifest, so get treatment even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. It is essential that you document your claim, and get prompt treatment to ensure a speedy recovery and avoid complications. At the time of the accident, take photos of the scene, and all the other vehicles involved. Get the contact information of other drivers and passengers involved in the accident, and also from any bystander witnesses. File a police report. It doesn’t hurt to keep a journal of your feelings and observations. Update your journal over time to document the improvement (or worsening) of your injuries, and include photos of your injuries taken every few days.

It is also important to contact an experienced California car crash lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. It is an insurance adjuster’s job to pay out as little as possible, so you need an experienced lawyer in your corner, fighting to hold the negligent parties accountable and get you the compensation you are entitled to under California auto accident law. There is also a statute of limitations for filing a claim for car accidents in California, so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to preserve your right to file a claim.

Inside the post-settlement process

Posted by | Personal Injury | No Comments

After a settlement has been reached and signed, another process begins for injury victims. The post-settlement process can be complex, especially when it comes to providing medical care for accident victims. One of the keys is finding a reliable team who can make the process seem seamless. In this podcast from the Legal Talk Network, Ringler Radio host Larry Cohen talks to Porter Leslie of Ametros and attorney Paolo Longo, Jr. about how to manage medical expenses in a simpler way.

Listen to the PODCAST HERE:



NTL member Juan Dominguez wins record verdict in CA car crash case

Posted by | Automobile Accident | No Comments

Trial lawyers for The Dominguez Firm won a record-breaking verdict in Riverside (California) Superior Court when the jury awarded their client $11,779,154.77 in damages for an auto v. auto injury case.

In early July 2015, Mr. Oscar Esparza returned home to introduce his girlfriend, Cristal and her two children to his parents, knowing that he planned to propose to her soon after. On July 8, 2015, as the happy couple and her children began their drive back to Colorado in his Mitsubishi Eclipse, they came to a sudden stop caused by a third vehicle on northbound Interstate 15 near the 91 merge. Unfortunately, a flat-box truck owned and operated by Win Distribution, Inc. plowed into the back of Mr. Esparza’s car.

The force of the impact was severe to the back of the Eclipse and damaged Mr. Esparza’s seat back. Mr. Esparza took the brunt of the impact, suffering cervical spine injury as well as a mild-complicated traumatic brain injury that put him in the hospital for six days. The defense alleged that the third vehicle and Mr. Esparza were at fault for the accident and injuries.

The general damages portion of the verdict was reduced by 20% for alleged negligence by third vehicle involved in the accident. Still, the result for Mr. Oscar Esparza will much exceed $10 Million dollars and could exceed $12 million dollars after post trial motions for interests, costs and penalties. The verdict is considered to be the highest traumatic brain injury verdict award in Riverside Superior Court in 2018.

“This was a hard-fought case in which defendant tried to introduce irrelevant matters into evidence and tried to blame our client and others for the fact they rear-ended him,” said lead trial attorney Olivier Taillieu of The Dominguez Firm. “At the end of the day, our team and I were able to keep the trial court and jury focused on the relevant, pertinent issues and we were able to get our clients justice, especially Mr. Esparza, who is most deserving.”

The nationally recognized attorney Juan Dominguez of The Dominguez Firm, said, “This was a hard-fought case for two and a half years, including a five-week trial that included testimony from numerous leading experts. Gladly, justice prevailed.”

The Dominguez Firm is a powerhouse injury law firm serving Greater Los Angeles since 1987, with over $500,000,000 recovered for the injured. The Dominguez Firm is staffed with award-winning attorneys and is one of the most recognized and successful law firms in Southern California. Recent 8-dollar-figures personal injury results include: $29 Million Jury Verdict, $12.5 Million settlement, $11.7 Million Jury Verdict, and $10 Million settlement.


Alleged sex assaults on nursing home residents lead to hate crime charge

Posted by | Nursing Home Neglect | No Comments

A Wisconsin man is facing a hate crime charge after police say he sexually assaulted two nursing home residents, choosing his victims based on their age or disability.

The Sauk City man, a registered sex offender, was accused of sexually assaulting two residents after one of the elderly women told a nurse at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie what had happened.

A second nurse said she had seen the man — later identified as 69-year-old Galen J. Malisch — in the woman’s room around the time the assault happened, the Baraboo New Republic reported.

Paul Fiscus, the facility’s administrator declined comment on the case to the newspaper, and it was unclear Tuesday how the man entered the building.

Nursing home staff contacted police the day after the most recent alleged assault.

Police said Malisch admitted to the assault, telling the officer he believed the woman “wouldn’t say anything because of her advanced age.”

Malisch also told an officer he had assaulted another resident at the nursing home at least four months earlier, according to a criminal complaint, but that woman was unable to communicate.

The newspaper reported that court records show Malisch was convicted of multiple felony sex crimes in 1990, sentenced to five years in prison and forced to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Sauk County prosecutors charged Malisch with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault of a mentally ill victim, a charge that carries a maximum 40-year prison sentence. He also faces two misdemeanor counts of intentionally subjecting an at-risk individual to abuse and a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree sexual assault, charged as a hate crime.


Facility’s non-compliant documentation practices lead to federal crackdown

Posted by | Nursing Home Neglect | No Comments

Montana was hit with more than $277,000 in civil penalties after its Mental Health Nursing Care Center in Lewistown failed to meet federal documentation requirements related to mental illness care.

A February survey found the operator failed to protect patients from verbal, physical and sexually abusive behaviors by other dementia patients, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Three residents suffered physical and mental harm as a result, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ruled, earning the building 20 days’ of immediate jeopardy fines.

The Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center is a 117-bed Medicaid-licensed facility with about 80 residents with mental health diagnoses. More than 70% are over age 65. They have been deemed a danger to themselves and others, cannot be admitted to the Montana State Hospital and have been turned away from three nursing homes or other community placements, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The state has also hired a consultant — at a cost of $70,000 a month — to help the center meet new requirements under a temporary manager.

Administrator Dianne Scotten declined comment to the Great Falls Tribune.

But Zoe Barnard, administrator of the state health department’s Addictive and Mental Disorders Division, said residents are receiving high quality of care, and that much of the issue comes down to documentation.

“Oftentimes with certification it’s about how you document the incident, how it gets reported and who it gets reported to,” she told the newspaper.

For instance, new rules require the facility to report incidents to Montana Adult Protective Services.

However, a federal official said states were given ample time to prepare for the new federal regulations, and that continued failure to comply could lead to the loss of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

The February investigation was triggered by a complaint. It revealed that 13 incidents involving physical, mental or sexual abuse in the dementia wing were not reported to the building’s administrator or other officials.

“It’s a constant challenge from a supervisor standpoint to make sure residents are not inappropriately touching each other,” Barnard said.


NTL member Brian McCormack gets $3.5M for rape victim

Posted by | Personal Injury | No Comments

National Trial Lawyers member Brian McCormack of Callahan & Blaine has secured a $3.5 million verdict on behalf of a California woman who was raped after her assailant got a key to her hotel room from the front desk.

On April 19, 2014, the plaintiff, a 28-year-old clerk at BevMo!, went to visit her boyfriend, who was staying at a Holiday Inn hotel in Frazier Park. While she was asleep in her boyfriend’s hotel room, Jonathan Padilla, a co-worker of the boyfriend who was also staying at the hotel, impersonated the boyfriend to obtain a key from the front desk clerk, Lori Anne Scharon. Padilla then used the key to enter the boyfriend’s room while the visiting girlfriend was asleep. The girlfriend awoke as Padilla raped her, and Padilla fled back to his own room. Police later arrested Padilla at the hotel. Padilla pleaded guilty to rape and was sentenced to six years in prison. The 28-year-old girlfriend sued Padilla; Sharon; and the believed operators of the Holiday Inn hotel, Holiday Inn Express Frazier Park, Holiday Hospitality Franchising Inc., Holiday Hospitality Franchising LLC, Hospitality Inc., Intercontinental Hotels Group Resources Inc., and MRSS Hospitality Inc. Several franchisors obtained summary judgment on the case against them, and Padilla, who was appearing in pro per, was dismissed from the case during trial. Thus, the matter continued against Scharon and her employer, MRSS Hospitality Inc. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the hotel’s staff provided Padilla with the key to the plaintiff’s boyfriend’s hotel room without obtaining proper identification. The plaintiff’s liability expert opined that Scharon’s provision of the room key to Padilla was a violation of the standard of care and of hotel policy. Counsel for Scharon and MRSS Hospitality claimed that Padilla’s criminal conduct was not foreseeable and that the plaintiff and her boyfriend did not engage the secondary locks available to them in the room.

The plaintiff was raped, but she did not seek medical treatment on the night of the incident. She was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and subsequently underwent psychiatric treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy. The plaintiff claimed that she will suffer the effects of the incident for the rest of her life and that she can no longer feel comfortable sleeping at or visiting hotels. She also claimed she became fearful and introverted as a result of the incident. The plaintiff’s father testified that his daughter’s personality had entirely changed since the incident. The plaintiff’s psychiatric expert opined that the plaintiff suffers from PTSD and that she will suffer PTSD and emotional distress for the rest of her life, as she was “triggered” by men who looked like Padilla, by hotels, and by sleeping. There were no special damages requested at trial. The defense’s psychiatric expert concurred that the plaintiff suffers from PTSD, but opined that the plaintiff should recover with a full course of cognitive behavioral therapy. Defense counsel contended that the plaintiff did not comply with the psychiatrist’s recommendations regarding medication and that she did not complete therapy. Counsel further argued that the plaintiff’s alleged damages were excessive.

The jury apportioned 40 percent liability to Padilla, and 60 percent liability to Scharon and her employer, MRSS Hospitality, via vicarious liability. It also determined that the plaintiff’s damages totaled $3.5 million. After apportionment, a judgment was entered against to Scharon/MRSS Hospitality in the amount of $2.1 million.

The trial lasted ten days, and it took the five man, seven woman jury two days to reach a unanimous verdict. Trial information provided by VerdictSearch.


Employee compelled to testify in civil assault case against nursing home; leads to $7.5 million award

Posted by | Nursing Home Neglect | No Comments

A Pennsylvania jury has awarded $7.5 million to the family of a dementia patient who was sexually assaulted by a fellow resident of her nursing home.

After a two-week trial, a Lancaster County jury found Maple Farm Nursing Center and its parent company were 85% liable for the 2013 sexual assault.

The jury also found that the facility, owned by Garden Spot Village, had shown reckless indifference in failing to prevent the assault by a resident with a known history of sexual violence, according to The Legal Intelligencer.

The law website reported that the case broke new ground with a Superior Court decision that the Older Adults Protective Services Act does not prevent individuals who report elder abuse from testifying in subsequent civil litigation. A three-judge panel rejected the nursing home’s argument that its employee’s testimony was privileged under the act.

The plaintiffs, two members of the victim’s family, were allowed to depose the Garden Spot Village employee who reported the abuse to the Lancaster County Office of Aging.

A plaintiff’s memo contended that accused resident, Glenn Hershey, who had cerebral palsy, targeted the 82-year-old victim, because of her dementia. Maple Farm knew Hershey was a registered sex offender who had previously been convicted of rape, and in its own filing said it had screened Hershey before admitting him.

The plaintiffs’ attorney also said Hershey had threatened to rape a caregiver and cited concerns the facility’s staff raised about “sexually aggressive behavior” toward the eventual victim prior to the assault.

According to court documents, employees knew the two were in a relationship, although staff did not believe the victimized resident could consent because of her condition.

Instead of appealing the jury’s May 3 decision, Garden Spot Village agreed the next day to settle the case for $6.5 million “in conjunction with its insurer.”

“Garden Spot Village and Maple Farm, although disappointed by the outcome of the trial, respect the decision of the jury,” spokesman Scott Miller said in a statement.

Hershey, 71, is in state prison and was not at the trial, according to LNP Media Group. His victim has since died.



US DOT: Your Car and Where You Live May Increase Defective Airbag Risk

Posted by | Automobile Accident | No Comments

The U.S. Department of Transportation is urging drivers of vehicles with defective airbags to get replacements ASAP and warning some drivers not to drive certain models.

Miami, FLOf about 50 million Takata defective airbags being recalled, some vehicles are more dangerous than others, according to the US. Department of Transportation. And some places have a greater potential to cause inflator ruptures—heat and humidity are risk factors.

Older Ford Ranger Truck Airbags at Risk

For instance, if you live in Florida or Puerto Rico and drive a Ford Ranger or Mazda B-Series truck more than 10 years old, leave it parked until you make arrangements at your dealership for a replacement airbag: The agency has issued a “do not drive” warning regarding these vehicles. But manufacturers say that about 50 percent of those drivers have not had their faulty side airbags replaced, despite the automakers offering to have vehicles towed to a dealership at no cost.

Not only are those models more at risk. Vehicles manufactured 11 to 16 years ago have older “alpha” airbags installed and if driven in hot and humid environments, they have been likened to “ticking time bombs”. The Associated Press (May 9, 2018) reported that Heidi King, deputy administrator at the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “cannot stress strongly enough the urgency of this recall – these airbags are dangerous…Every vehicle must be accounted for now.”

Chances are, your vehicle has Takata airbags: Thirty-three car manufacturers with 181 different model vehicles dating from 2001 to 2017 have been affected by the largest auto recall in history.

Honda Airbag Recall

The “alpha” Takata airbags were installed in more than 1 million Honda and Acura cars between 2001 and 2003, and they caused 11 of the 15 U.S. fatalities when their airbags ruptured. (Since Honda initiated the first recall in 2008, many Takata-Honda lawsuits have been filed.)

Volkswagen Airbag Recall

It’s unclear why Volkswagen replaced faulty airbags with another set of defective airbags. Its first batch of recalled inflators was replaced with parts using desiccated ammonium nitrate, but the chemical ammonium nitrate is key in causing the inflators to rupture and spray shrapnel. According to, VW is now replacing them with inflators containing guanidine nitrate propellant, and so the remaining vehicles that haven’t had their airbags replaced will only need to get one recall…

Fiat Chrysler Airbag Recall

To further urge drivers to get their Takata airbags replaced, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Miami has designated May Airbag Recall Repair Month to encourage drivers of all models get their airbags replaced. In a press release, Fiat Chrysler sated that, “The need for repairs is urgent…When the inflators in these faulty airbags rupture, they could spray metal fragments into the vehicle, causing serious injury or even death. The risk of an inflator rupture increases in the heat and humidity common to Florida.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging all consumers to visit and use a Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, to find out if their vehicle is included in the recalls.

Police: Family’s camera caught contracted nurse practitioner molesting skilled nursing resident

Posted by | Nursing Home Neglect | No Comments

A contracted nurse practitioner has been charged after allegedly being caught on camera while sexually assaulting a resident of the Massachusetts nursing home where he was working.

Frank Palin, 67, had been working at Cornerstone at Canton as an employee of Old Colony Hospice, WCVB reported. On May 19, he gained access to the victim’s room, and allegedly assaulted her and asked her a lewd question about her sexual history.

The victim’s family used a hidden camera they had installed about two months prior to find footage of the incident. After watching the video, police told the television station, it appeared the victim “was in distress throughout the duration of the encounter.”

Bob Larkin, president of Senior Living Residences, Cornerstone’s operator, told WCVB the violation of a “vulnerable elder is appalling beyond words.”

“We support the victim’s family and the police department in seeking criminal prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well being of our residents,” he said.

The community offers a secure memory setting affiliated with the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, as well as some assisted living units.

On Friday night, the company released a statement disputing a claim that Palin entered the resident’s room without an appointment.

“He was in uniform and properly identified himself to the staff when he came into the building at the scheduled time, therefore he was let in to see the resident,” Senior Living Center Director of Communications Pamela Maloney wrote. “All access procedures for visiting healthcare professionals were followed.”

Palin was arrested Sunday night and pleaded not guilty to a count of indecent assault on a person over 65 years old at an arraignment Monday. He was released on $5,000 bail, and is next due in court July 30.

Old Colony Hospice told the news station he had been suspended.