Boston Injury Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

A wheelchair device that was supposed to prevent wheelchairs from rolling off a vehicle has left one man with serious permanent injuries. Miguel Colareta, who was suffering from a progressing neurological order, had just backed his wheelchair onto the lift of a Paratransit van in 2012 when the lift malfunctioned, causing him to fall to the ground.

Colareta, who is 64, sustained a broken vertebrae and a traumatic brain jury. He is now a quadriplegic and lives in a nursing home.

Following the catastrophic accident, Colareta filed a personal injury case seeking damages for negligence and products liability. Apparently the device that was supposed to keep his wheelchair from coming off the lift was recalled just prior to the incident because of a defect.

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The family of Wilfredo Justiniano is suing two members of the Massachusetts State Police for his Quincy, MA wrongful death. The 41-year-old New Bedford man, who was a diagnosed schizophrenic, was unarmed when he was shot by state trooper Stephen Walker in June 2013 during a traffic stop.

The incident happened after a driver contacted police because she witnessed Justiniano driving on the road erratically before stopping on the shoulder. The driver said she thought there was a medical emergency. By the time Walker arrived, Justiniano was outside the car and screaming and jumping. He asked the state trooper to kill him before then saying he would kill Walker.

The state trooper used pepper spray and then, claims Walker, Justiniano ran at him and that was when he fired. Justiniano sustained injury to the chest and the wrist. He was pronounced dead at a Milton hospital.

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A woman is suing the New England Institute of Art in Brookline for Massachusetts personal injury. The woman said that because of inadequate security at the New England Institute of Art, an intruder was able to go into her dorm and sexually assault her. Also a defendant is Anwar Faisal, the owner of the building where the crime happened.

The plaintiff said that a male who wasn’t a student at the institute sexually assaulted her after a security guard let the nonresident into the building. She said that the man tried to forcibly rape her in her dorm room. The man has since been arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery.

In her Brookline, MA college student crimes complaint, the woman says she sustained serious psychological and physical injuries, which has hurt her ability to work. She is seeking compensation for her injuries and suffering.

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The state’s highest court has just upheld the $63 million Massachusetts drug defect ruling against Children’s Motrin and Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. The family of Samantha Reckis was awarded the verdict in Plymouth County in 2013.

They had sued the manufacturer after she became legally blind and sustained toxic epidermal necrolysis from taking the over-the-counter medication. Reckis, now 16, was just 7 when she took the med to combat a fever. J & J had sought to appeal the verdict, saying the award was too high.

The Supreme Judicial Court, however, disagreed with the company. It pointed to the long injuries sustained by Samantha including the loss of 95% of her skin’s top layer, heart failure, liver damage, seizures, stroke, and cranial hemorrhage. Reckis also continues to struggle with other disabilities and will likely continue to endure hospitalizations and other health issues for life, including more pain and suffering.

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According to a National Transportation Safety Board report, the pilots of the Gulfstream IV jet that crashed at Hanscom Field last May did not conduct a pre-flight check and disregarded a cockpit warning light. The deadly Bedford, MA aviation accident killed the two men and five others on the plane.

Records indicate that the pilots, James McDowell and Bauek De Vries, regularly did not conduct the standard checks. Because of the failure to perform such a check on May 31, it wasn’t until the aircraft was moving at 150 miles an hour right at lift off that they discovered that the flight controls were locked and the plane could not ascend. Instead, the aircraft kept moving forward until it crashed into an antenna and lighting rig before bursting into flames.

Reportedly the gust lock, which is designed to prevent wind damage, had frozen the elevators and the rudder of the plane into place. The mechanism, which is supposed to limit the plane’s power in such conditions did not work as marketed. The manufacturer, Gulfstream, has admitted that the design of this particular gust lock was not correctly certified. The company did, however, put out advisories warning pilots to make sure the mechanism is disengaged before revving a plane’s engine and to make sure to check flight controls before starting to taxi the aircraft.

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A man was killed in Holbrook, MA yesterday while trying to help friends cut down a tree. Daniel Irwin’s friends had been hired to do the job at a local address.

According to police, when Irwin arrived at the scene he appeared intoxicated and his friends tried to get him to leave but he refused. One witness said that Irwin was fatally injured when he walked into a path of the tree as it was falling. He was later pronounced dead.

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The family of a boy who was born with spastic quadriplegia will receive a $17.5 million medical malpractice settlement from the hospital where he was born. Because of his birthing injury, the boy will be disabled for life.

According to the birthing malpractice case, the hospital and the obstetrician were negligent during labor and delivery. While the doctor was cleared of liability, the hospital was ordered to pay $18.27 million but the family agreed to a slight reduction to close the case for good and avoid an appeal.

In another birthing injury case involving lifelong disabilities, the parents are seeking compensation after their child experienced hypoxia, depriving the baby of oxygen during labor and delivery.

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Rodney Todd and his seven kids died yesterday from what police say appears to be an incident of carbon monoxide poisoning. Todd, 36, purchased a generator after the power was shut off to their residence for lack of payment. The names and ages of the children: Tybria, 6, Zycheim, 7, Tyania, 9, Tybree, 10, Tykira, 12, Cameron, 13, and Tynijuiza, 15.

Police discovered the bodies of Todd and his kids after a co-worker reported not having seen him for a number of days. The generator is the suspected source of the carbon monoxide leak. A family member said that Todd bought the generator to keep the family warm.

The Delmarva Power Company was subpoenaed to confirm exactly when the power was cut. Unless an affidavit has been submitted to the Public Service Commission, Maryland law does not allow utility companies to shut off electric service because of lack for payment from November 1 through March 31. According to the company, it cut the power at the family’s home on March 25 not because of unpaid bills but because a stolen electric meter was being used at the residence.

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The parents of Brooke Melton have settled their second auto products liability case with General Motors. Brooke, 29, died on her birthday in 2010 when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt skid on a wet road and was struck by another car.

Experts hired by the Meltons’ legal team said that the ignition of the Cobalt had slipped from “run” into “accessory” mode just before the collision, causing the engine, power steering, airbags, and power brakes to become disabled. They also identified that the ignition switch used in the Cobalt was not the same as the one found in cars of the same model that were built in the years following. The products defects case was settled for $5 million.

However, after GM disclosed that a number of its vehicles were linked to an ignition switch defect last year—the company eventually recalling some 2.6 million vehicles—the Meltons sued the automaker again, claiming that the company committed fraud by settling the first case while continuing to knowingly sell faulty ignition switches. The manufacturer’s own engineers have said that excessive weight or jarring on an ignition key may cause the switch to move from “run” to “accessory” mode, shutting off the power.

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Paul Shartrand, a former Berkshire County nursing home worker, has been convicted of caretaker abuse of a disabled person, as well as assault and battery of a person. The 48-year-old is accused of sexually assaulting a disabled person under his care.

The nursing home resident, 55, was at a Lee, MA facility when the Shartrand, then a certified nursing assistant, allegedly attempted to receive oral sex from her in 2012. She was already in the advanced stages of Huntington’s disease at the time, and could no longer speak, move, communicate, or feed herself. A supervisor claims to have witnessed the Massachusetts nursing home abuse incident.

The jury acquitted Shartrand of the charge of assault with intent to rape. His lawyer claims that the supervisor who reported seeing the alleged attempted sex assault had a grudge against the nursing home worker. Shartrand contends that he was merely adjusting the bedridden patient and not assaulting her. Lee Police said that Shartrand initially agreed to provide an evidentiary swap of his genital area but later changed his mind.

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