Settlements Offered for Wrongful Death and Injuries from All Good Festival

September 12, 2012:  Update on All Good Festival Wrongful Death Lawsuits:

A federal judge approved two lawsuit settlements reached in the death of a South Carolina woman last year at the All Good Music Festival.
The woman’s family will receive about $572,000 once fees and expenses are paid, court documents state.
U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley said Monday that the settlements Kim S. Miller, the woman’s father, reached with Clay Harlin Lewin, the man who hit her, and James Tobin and his security firm, Jim Tobin Productions, are fair and reasonable.

According to the Dominion Post, September 5, 2012, the father of a South Carolina woman killed at the last All Good Music Festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop wants to settle with several parties in a civil suit.  Kim S. Miller, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., filed suit against promoter Walther Productions and its principals, Tim Walther and Junipa Contento; against Marvin Huggins, owner of Marvin’s Mountain; and against several security firms, including Jim Tobin, owner of Tobin Productions.
In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg recently, Miller asked the court to approve “tentative policy limit settlements” with Walther, Huggins and Tobin.
The settlements were to be presented for court approval at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg on Tuesday.  No amounts were disclosed in court documents, and Miller’s attorney, Will Early, said he could not comment on the proposed settlements.
Elizabeth Doran and Yen Ton were injured at the festival and Miller’s daughter, Nicole, was killed when a truck driven by Clay Harlin Lewin, of Virginia, ran over the tent in which they were sleeping.
Doran and Ton filed suits against the same parties Miller claims had a role in the incident that killed his daughter, who was 20. All three parties reached settlements with Lewin’s insurance company.
The company was to pay $300,000 to Nicole Miller’s estate, and $100,000 each to Doran and Ton.
Suits are still pending against Event Staffing Inc., of Virginia; National Event Services Inc., of New Hampshire and Axis Security Inc., of Tennessee.
There are also suits pending against individuals associated with some of the companies.

Source:  The Dominion Post, “Victim’s Dad asks Court for Approval,” by Michelle Wolford, September 6, 2012.

Settlements are on the table in three suits filed against a Virginia man in the death of one woman and the injury of two others at the 2011 All Good Music Festival.  According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg, attorneys for Clay Harlin Lewin, of Cape Charles, Va., have offered a settlement to Kim S. Miller, whose daughter, Nicole Faris Miller, was killed when Lewin’s truck ran over her tent. Offers are also on the table in suits filed by Yen Ton and Elizabeth Doran, who were injured at the same time on July 17, 2011.

Lewin’s insurance company, Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., had coverage limits of $300,000 for each person and $500,000 for each accident, according to a letter filed in the court. The company offered $300,000 for Nicole Miller’s estate, and $100,000 each for Ton and Doran.  According to a letter included with court documents, Miller’s estate asked for $13.5 million; Ton for $3.7 million and Doran for $975,000.

Lewin acknowledged he lost control of his pickup but blames the parking and security agents who told him to park on a steep, grassy slope near tents and other vehicles.

They were there when he arrived, he says, but no one was present to guide him out when he tried to leave.

Lewin, of Cape Charles, is among about a dozen organizers, producers, promoters and corporations sued over the accident. The other cases remained on track for trials Monday.

Ton, Doran and Kim Miller are also suing: campground operator Marvin’s Mountaintop LLC; Maryland-based Walther Productions; California-based Tobin Productions; M&M Parking Inc. of Pennsylvania; and three security providers, Event Staffing Inc. of Virginia, National Event Services Inc. of New Hampshire, and Axis Security Inc. of Tennessee. Some principals of those companies are also being sued as individuals.  All have denied culpability, and most have filed counterclaims against each other.

What does the term “wrongful death” imply?  For more information about wrongful death and catastrophic injuries, please visit our website at http://www.robinettelaw.com

Lawsuits Filed Against Bars Become More Common In West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the majority of states that have enacted dram shop liability laws. “Dram shop” is a reference to colonial times when alcohol-serving establishments (shops) used units of liquid measurement called drams to serve alcohol.

Dram shop laws make it possible for bar owners and alcohol servers to be held financially liable if a customer becomes obviously intoxicated on their premises and subsequently injures someone or causes property damage, typically by driving drunk.

So, if a person has several alcoholic drinks at a restaurant or bar and is visibly intoxicated, and then gets in a car and kills someone on the way home, the owner of the serving establishment can be sued for damages.

  • Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol, such as bars, taverns and package stores responsible for injury caused by drunk patrons
  • Laws in most states require the injured person suing a commercial alcohol vendor to prove that the serving of alcohol was a “proximate cause” of the injury
  • Commercial vendors are liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated customer if they serve liquor to him after he was visibly intoxicated
  • An employer throwing an office party is liable for any bad misconduct or harassment on the part of an employee if the employee was acting within the scope of his employment and the employer failed to take reasonable preventative steps

Are you or a family member the victim of a drunk driver who went bar-hopping before driving intoxicated? Were you assaulted as a bystander by a drunk patron in a bar fight or a brawl outside a tavern? You may have a right to sue the bar under what are called “dram shop” laws.

Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol (bars, taverns and package stores) responsible for injuries caused by drunk patrons. Different laws apply to social hosts and employers throwing office parties.

A drunk person can’t collect for injury to himself, but a third party injured by the actions of a drunk person can collect from a bar or tavern under certain circumstances. This is especially important when the drunk person has little or no insurance to cover a serious or fatal injury.

Laws in most states require the injured person suing a commercial alcohol vendor to prove that the serving of alcohol was a “proximate cause” of the injury. In other words, you must show a provable connection between your injury and the drunk person’s act of drinking at that particular bar or tavern.

Laws vary widely by state. In Nevada, commercial vendors won’t be held responsible for injuries caused by drunk patrons, probably because of the devastating impact it would have on the tourist industry. In some states, commercial vendors will only be held responsible for serving alcohol to minors.

In other states, the amount of damages that can be collected from a commercial vendor is capped at a specific amount, under the theory that the major share of blame for the injury should be placed on the drunk person.

Most states hold a commercial vendor liable where:

  • Alcohol was served to a minor
  • The vendor was reckless in serving or should have realized the extent of the patron’s intoxication
  • The vendor sold liquor without a liquor license
  • The vendor sold liquor after hours

The burden of proof is lower when a bar or tavern has served a minor, as it’s illegal.

The test for deciding whether a bar employee should have realized the extent of a patron’s intoxication is fuzzy. Courts look at the condition of the drunk person, and whether it should have been “foreseeable” to a bar employee serving him or her that the person was already “visibly intoxicated” and shouldn’t be served any more alcohol. It’s not a matter of how many drinks the person has had, but how the alcohol has affected them.

Proving Excess Intoxication

So how do you prove the person who injured you or your family member was “visibly intoxicated?” Some states have tried to clarify this vague test by requiring proof that the drunk person demonstrated “significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction.” In other states, you must prove that the bar patron was so obviously intoxicated that he presented a “clear danger to himself and others.”

If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk person whom you suspect may have been served alcohol by a commercial vendor before the injured occurred, it’s important to see a lawyer right away. Proving the obvious intoxication of a bar patron often requires eyewitness testimony of other bar patrons and employees. A lawyer can locate and interview these witnesses quickly, and get witness statements right away while they still remember accurately what happened and before they clam up.

The time limit for filing a legal action against a commercial vendor- called a “statute of limitations” – is often very short. So it’s very important to develop and file your legal action quickly in order to collect.

Employer Events

Sometimes employers will have events, such as holiday parties, after working hours for their employees. These parties will many times take place at bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. If an intoxicated employee causes property damage or commits harassment, the vendor and the employer may be found liable. The employer is liable if a court determines that the employee was acting within the scope of employment.

Employers need to take reasonable steps to prevent misconduct on the part of their employees at parties that serve alcohol. Some examples include:

  • Discourage excessive drinking by having a cash bar
  • Have strict alcohol and behavior discipline policies in place
  • Provide transportation after the party to prevent driving under the influence

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Who’s liable if an intoxicated person involved in a car accident visited multiple bars before the accident?
  • How do I track down witnesses from a bar to prove excess intoxication? Can I use waitresses that worked in the bar as witnesses to prove my case?
  • Who’s liable if an employee gives alcohol to his son at an employer event for employees and their families that’s held at a restaurant?
 If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, please contact our office by visiting www.robinettelaw.com or calling 304-594-1800.  We would be glad to answer your questions.

Attorney Accuses Todd May of Causing the Accident that Ended His Life

For all updates on the Jerod Green trial, click this link.

Jerod Green image12/10/2012 update:  Jerod Green’s trial began today.  Opening arguments for both sides were heard.

A Pennsylvania judge refused Jerod Green’s request to suppress evidence in Green’s murder trial. The request was based on Green’s allegations that Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Department Sgt. Todd May caused the crash that took May’s life.  Green’s attorney, John Bongivengo, alleged that May intentionally rammed Green’s truck, which he said constituted unjustified deadly force. As such, Bongivengo said that all evidence obtained after the crash should be thrown out.

The allegation, however, contradicts a Monongalia County sheriff deputy’s testimony that he saw Green drive directly into May’s patrol vehicle, which was parked in the median of Interstate 79, just inside the Pennsylvania border according to the Dominion Post.  Greene County Judge William Nalitz dismissed Bongivengo’s argument in an order this week. He also made several other rulings in the case — denying a defense-made motion to dismiss homicide-related charges because of a lack of evidence, and agreeing to allow the commonwealth to present evidence regarding Green’s five DUI convictions from Oklahoma.

Green, 35, of Morgantown, is awaiting trial on charges of murder of a law enforcement officer, homicide by vehicle while DUI, and criminal homicide, among others, for the Feb. 18 crash that killed May, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff ’s department.  Police in Pennsylvania and West Virginia accused Green of driving drunk, fleeing a crash on Easton Hill, driving away from officers who pulled him over on W.Va. 100, and leading police on a chase across the state line that ended when he hit May’s patrol vehicle.

In the order, Nalitz refused Bongivengo’s motion for dismissal based on his claims that the commonwealth failed to present enough evidence to show that Green intentionally and recklessly caused the crash that killed May.  The judge also refused Bongivengo’s request to throw out a charge of murder of a law enforcement officer based on Bongivengo’s claim that, since May was in Pennsylvania when the crash occurred, he was not acting as an officer.  In other issues, Nalitz said he wants more information from Bongivengo on his motion to suppress evidence because of alleged defects in search warrants obtained by Pennsylvania State Police. He said he won’t address the part of the motion pertaining to warrants obtained in West Virginia, because that is out of his jurisdiction.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Workplace Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyers. Free books — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families.

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Family of Sgt. Todd May Files Suit Against Local Bars

For updates on the Jerod Green trial, click this link.

The parents of the Monongalia County sheriff ’s deputy killed in a crash on Interstate 79 in February are suing the man accused of driving drunk and causing the crash, as well as two businesses that they say served the man alcohol.

Franklin and Catherine May, administrators of the estate of their son, Sgt. Todd May, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit Thursday against Jerod Green; Bugsy’s, on Point Marion Road; and Ruby Tuesday, on Venture Drive according to the Dominion Post.

West Virginia is one of the majority of states that have enacted dram shop liability laws. “Dram shop” is a reference to colonial times when alcohol-serving establishments (shops) used units of liquid measurement called drams to serve alcohol.

Dram shop laws make it possible for bar owners and alcohol servers to be held financially liableif a customer becomes obviously intoxicated on their premises and subsequently injures someone or causes property damage, typically by driving drunk.

Green, 35, of Morgantown, is awaiting trial in Greene County, Pa., on charges of murder of a law enforcement officer, homicide by vehicle while DUI, and criminal homicide, among others, for the Feb. 18 crash on I-79 — just over the Pennsylvania border — that killed Sgt. May, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff ’s department.
Police in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have accused Green, a repeat DUI offender, of driving drunk, fleeing a crash on Easton Hill, driving away from officers who pulled him over on W.Va. 100, and leading police on a chase across the state line that ended when he hit May’s parked patrol vehicle in the median of I-79.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court by attorneys Matthew Thorn and James Varner, Green acted recklessly and negligently by driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances, by fleeing police, by disregarding traffic signals, and by speeding. Green’s recklessness and unlawful conduct resulted in the crash that killed May.

Police accused Green of driving with a blood alcohol content of .189 — more than twice the legal driving limit of .08 — the night of the crash. Green also had an anti-depressant and a drug most commonly used to treat seizures in his system to a degree that impaired his ability to drive safely.  The lawsuit alleges that Bugsy’s and Ruby Tuesday acted negligently by serving Green alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated and letting him leave the establishments without arranging for safe transportation.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Workplace Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyers. Free books — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families.

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Bridge Will Be Renamed in Honor of Sgt. Todd May

Bridge to be Renamed after Sgt. May

The Hartmann Run Road Bridge will soon be named after Sgt. Todd May.

Monongalia County commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday to rename the bridge in Sgt. May’s honor, who died in February during a police pursuit in Pennsylvania.

State highway officials had to sign off on the plan before commissioners could approve the renaming of the bridge.

“We’re happy about any accolades and acknowledgement that Todd has gotten,” Sheriff Al Kisner said. “It’s just more appreciation of what he did for the community.”

May was killed after being hit head-on during a police chase in Greene County, Pa. on Feb 18. Jerod Green, of Morgantown, is awaiting trial in Greene County on charges of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and numerous other counts.

Deputies involved in the chase have testified that Green appeared to speed up and intentionally slam head-on into Sgt. May’s cruiser along I-79 southbound.

Kisner said he tries not to think about May’s death, but he certainly remembers May’s personality and wit.

“I try not to dwell on it, but we always want to remember Todd,” Kisner said. “We think about the times he said funny things and made us laugh. That’s what we like to talk about a lot.”

The county currently owns the bridge, but the state will take over within the next three years, commissioners said. At that time, the state Legislature will have to approve the name of the bridge. Kisner and county commissioners say they expect the bridge’s name to remain the same.

To read the original post regarding Sgt. Todd May’s fatal crash click here.

http://www.robinettelaw.com

Fatal Truck Wreck on I-79


One person was killed in crash Wednesday morning on I-79, near the Pennsylvania state line.

 According to a press release: A 2008 Ford F-350 Super Duty truck belonging to Energy Contractors LLC was headed north on I-79 when the driver lost control, near the 158 milepost. The truck went into the median and flipped several times, throwing out the driver and a passenger.

 The driver was pronounced dead at the scene; the passenger sustained minor injuries.

 A Weston man was identified as the victim of Wednesday’s fatal crash on Interstate 79.

The accident was reported to MECCA 911 at 6:28 a.m. The southbound lanes of I-79 were shut down for about an hour and a half, during which the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation routed traffic from the Mount Morris exit to U.S. 19.

According to its website, Energy Contractors provides a range of services for the oil and gas industry throughout the northeastern U.S. and Appalachian basin.

If you have any questions regarding injuries from truck accidents, contact our office by calling 304-594-1800 (after hours 304-216-6695) , or email Jeff at jrobinette@labs.net.  We answer questions like yours everyday,and would be glad to give you the answers you need when navigating the insurance claim settlement process.

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Common Foot Injuries From Accidents

Workplace accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents often result in various types of foot injuries.  These injuries can be extremely debilitating and life changing.  Suddenly, through no fault of your own, you find that you can no longer enjoy activities that have been an important part of your life up to the time of the accident.  Often surgery, physical therapy, and weeks of limited activity are required for optimum healing.  Some of the most common foot injuries include compartment syndromes, fractures of the metatarsals, and fracture of the heel bone (calcaneus).

Acute Foot Injuries

Acute foot injuries that often result from work or motor vehicle accidents include severe bruising, torn ligaments, puncture wounds, ruptured tendons, joint sprains, muscle strains, as well as various types of broken, fractured, shattered, or dislocated bones.

Compartment Syndromes of the Foot

Ankle pain - detailCompartment syndromes of the foot typically result from workplace, industrial, agricultural, warehouse, and motor vehicle accidents.  When a heavy object runs over, crushes, or impacts the foot, swelling occurs along with severe pain. The foot structure consists of many small compartments.  These compartments are filled with muscles, nerves, and tendons and are lined by a tight membrane.  When an injury to the foot occurs, there is often some bleeding in the muscle tissue, causing the foot to swell and expand.   The lining of this membrane has a limited capacity to expand.  If the fluid and muscle swelling inside the compartment becomes significant, they may exceed the blood flow in and out of the small compartments.  If the pressure inside the compartment increases too much, the nerves and muscles start to get squeezed and stop functioning properly.

Metatarsal Fractures; Lisfranc Injury

Injuries to the metatarsal joints are quite common.  They can occur from something as simple as twisting your foot when stepping unevenly or may occur from more violent injuries such as a fall, work accident, or car accident that crush the metatarsals. Surgery is required in most of these injuries.  The broken or dislocated foot bones often need screws that are inserted internally into the bones across the joints for optimum healing.  If surgery is not performed, then a boot or a cast is used.  It can take eight to ten weeks for this fracture to heal with a 70% success rate using the cast.  Surgery has a better success rate with a six-week healing time.  The screws are typically left in for four to five months after the surgery and then removed.  No walking on the foot is permitted for six weeks, and then walking is allowed with a removable b oot for the next four weeks.  Swimming and biking are permitted early on after the surgery. If left untreated, full healing may never occur which means you will never return to your normal activities and which also may lead to painful arthritis that requires treatment.

Fracture of the Heel Bone (Calcaneus)

Fractures of the heel bone are debilitating injuries.  Usually, these fractures occur from car accidents and work accidents when a tremendous force crushes the heel and fragments the bone. Surgery is required to put the bone back together with a metal place and multiple screws.  This procedure decreases the likelihood of severe arthritis later on and maximizes the potential for a good recovery.  If the bone is severely crushed, the bone may also need to be fused.  Following the surgery, no walking on the foot is permitted for three months, and physical therapy is required.  Typical recovery time is about six months.  Occasionally, the surgery does not result in healing and must be repeated. Surgery on the heel  should be performed as soon as possible after the injury to prevent permanent widening and deformity of the heel in addition to chronic pain and arthritis.

Morgantown Accident Lawyers

If your foot or heel injury has resulted from an accident due to the negligence of another driver or your employer, please contact our office and we would be happy to evaluate whether we can help you gain compensation for  your pain, lost wages, and medical bills.  Jeff Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC in Morgantown, WV has helped many workplace accident and car accident victims get the recovery they need. Call today for your free consultation at (304)594-1800 or visit our website to learn more about navigating the legal process of recovering from your injuries.  If you are a WV accident victim, we would be glad to send a free book to your home, or make an immediate download of one of our three books available to you for no cost or obligation.

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Two Pickup Truck Accident on I-79 at Star City Exit in Morgantown

Four people were taken to the hospital following a two pickup-truck wreck on Interstate 79 on Saturday, July 7, 2012.
At about 3 p.m., emergency responders were called to the wreck near the Star City exit. Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Deputy J. Wilhelm said it appeared a newer model Chevy truck lost control and struck an older model Chevy truck.

The newer model was traveling southbound, Wilhelm said. It appeared the truck might have missed the exit ramp, Deputy J. Morgan said. The truck travelled across a grassy area before colliding with the older model truck on the on-ramp. The driver of the new model truck was ejected out of the passenger window during the wreck, Morgan said. Three people, including a 2-year-old, were in the older model truck. The severity of their injuries was unknown. Deputies on scene did not release names of those involved in the crash.

In addition to the sheriff ’s department, Mon EMS, Westover Police and the Star City Volunteer Fire Department assisted. Crews closed the on-ramp while they tended to the wreck.

Four people were transported to the hospital, including the female driver of one of the vehicles, who was ejected out the passenger-side window.

Morgantown Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers

You may not need a lawyer, but if you have been injured in a truck accident or car accident, please visit our website at http://www.robinettelaw.com to get answers to your questions or call (304)594-1800 for a free consultation.  Jeff Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC has helped many car accident and truck accident victims receive the help needed for the best possible recovery to get you back to work and back to the life you enjoy.

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