Thursday, May 28, 2015


Original Story:

Tracy Morgan and Walmart have announced a settlement regarding the New Jersey accident which seriously injured Morgan and killed comedian James McNair last year.

The terms of the settlement are being kept confidential, according to a press release first published by Marketwatch. A New Jersey car accident lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

"Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably," Morgan said in a statement. The 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live alum suffered broken leg bones, a broken nose and several broken ribs in the crash last June.

Walmart and Benedict P. Morelli, attorney for Tracy Morgan, comedian Ardley Fuqua, and Jeffrey Millea, announced the settlement agreement. Millea and Ardie Fuqua Jr. also were critically injured. An Islandia car accident attorney represents clients involved in  auto accident and injury claims involving a commercial vehicle.

"Our thoughts continue to go out to everyone that was involved in the accident," said Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. "While we know there is nothing that can change what happened, Walmart has been committed to doing what's right to help ensure the well-being of all of those who were impacted by the accident. We worked closely with Mr. Morelli, and we are pleased to have reached an amicable settlement that ends this litigation. We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved." A Detroit auto accident lawyer is following this story closely.

State Police said Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper, 35, failed to see slow-moving traffic while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. His truck slammed into a 2012 Mercedes limousine-bus carrying Morgan, McNair and several others. A Cleveland auto accident attorney represents clients injured in automobile accidents.

"Walmart and I worked diligently to reach this settlement for the plaintiffs and their families," says Morrelli. "Walmart took full responsibility for the accident, which we greatly appreciate."


Original Story:

DETROIT - An insurance company has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit over the death of an 85-year-old man who may have been scared to death before his car slammed into a tractor-trailer in suburban Detroit. A Detroit car accident lawyer is following this story closely.

The settlement ends a dispute over the opinion of Dr. Werner Spitz, who said Abdulla Kassem's heart attack could have been caused by a "fear of impending doom," just before the 2008 crash in Dearborn. There was no autopsy.

Kassem's family sued the trucking company, Efficient Hauling Services, saying the truck's rear lights weren't visible.

The Michigan appeals court said a jury could consider Spitz' theory, although a cardiologist called it "silly." An appeal of that decision was pending at the state Supreme Court when the lawsuit was settled this month. A Detroit insurance defense lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Original Story:

TRAVERSE CITY — A stalled drunken driving case against a Traverse City man appears full speed ahead after state court judges ruled that his electric scooter can be considered a motor vehicle. A Westchester County DWI lawyer is following this story closely.

Michigan Court of Appeals judges this week unanimously agreed that Michigan's rules of the road applied to William Shaw Lyon, 52, of Traverse City, when he drunkenly scooted down Garfield Avenue in 2013.

Their opinion reverses 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers' previous dismissal of a third-offense drunken driving charge against Lyon and remands the case to his court for a potential trial. Lyon's attorney David Clark, who uses an electric wheelchair, said he's "extremely disappointed in the opinion."

"In my opinion, the court of appeals has pretty much disregarded handicappers' civil rights in defining a wheelchair as a motor vehicle," he said. A New York drunk driving lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

In September 2013, Lyon was ordered out of a Save-a-Lot grocery store after he caused a drunken disturbance on his scooter. He set off down Garfield Avenue at 4 mph in the curb lane toward Burger King, open beer in hand, when city police officers stopped him for causing a traffic backup.

Police arrested Lyon for disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana, and prosecutors later added charges of possession of an open alcoholic container and third-offense drunken driving, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Lyon's court-appointed attorney -- Clark -- appealed the driving-related charges, arguing Lyon is disabled and his scooter is a substitute for walking and not a motor vehicle. Rodgers agreed and dismissed the charges, prompting an appeal from Grand Traverse County prosecutors.

The appellate judges found because Lyon placed his scooter on a roadway while admittedly intoxicated he "undertook the duties of a vehicle driver, which include refraining from driving while intoxicated or with an open container." A Nyack DWI lawyer represents clients charged with felonies, misdemeanors, violations, and driving while under the influence.

"Accordingly, the circuit court committed clear legal error and abused its discretion in dismissing the charges in this case," the opinion states.

Rodgers didn't return a call for comment.

Clark worries the opinion could have unintended consequences. He said if a rowdy, drunken bachelor party crossed from a sidewalk into a street that a reveler in an electric wheelchair could face different legal penalties than those who traveled on their feet.

"An overzealous police officer could cite them for disorderly (conduct), but arrest the guy in wheelchair for drunken driving," he said.

But county Prosecutor Bob Cooney had worries of his own, specifically that drivers with suspended licenses might take to similar devices to skirt drunken driving laws. He's happy with the opinion, though he said the law should be refined to address concerns.

"I was concerned with the message to other drivers and other persons who might think it's OK to travel along roadways in Grand Traverse County on similar vehicles while intoxicated, or with their licenses suspended," he said. A New York DWI lawyer is dedicated to protecting the driving rights of clients charged with drunk driving.

Lyon didn't return a call for comment. Clark said he's unsure whether Lyon will take the case up with the Michigan Supreme Court, take a plea, or opt for a trial where jurors would decide his guilt.

"They’d be instructed that a wheelchair is a motor vehicle," he said.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Original Story:

Why trust the machines when you can trust your own eyes, your own brain, your own basic sense of survival?

This philosophical question comes to mind after reading the tragic tale of a woman, her eyes, her brain, her BlackBerry, and her Google Maps.

According to an exhaustive analysis presented by Search Engine Land, Lauren Rosenberg decided to take a walk in Park City, Utah, on January 19, 2009. A Detroit personal injury lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

I will try and ignore just how fundamentally un-American this act was in order to focus on some of the ensuing action.

Rosenberg fingered her trusted BlackBerry and asked it to tell her just how she might walk between 96 Daly Avenue and 1710 Prospector Avenue. Her BlackBerry turned to the world's great walking resource, Google Maps. Google Maps suggested that she should, as part of her journey, amble along Deer Valley Drive.

For all of you who have not had the pleasure of strolling there, might I quote papers filed by Rosenberg's lawyers with the Utah courts. These papers describe Deer Valley Drive as "a.k.a. State Route 224, a rural highway with no sidewalks, and a roadway that exhibits motor vehicles traveling at high speeds, that is not reasonably safe for pedestrians."

There is perhaps nothing finer than a roadway that bothers to exhibit motor vehicles. Yet this was not quite the exhibition that Rosenberg had in mind. For during her stroll along State Route 224 aka Deer Valley Drive she was allegedly struck by a car driven by Patrick Harwood. A Chicago personal injury lawyer represents clients in personal injury, accident, an negligence cases.

She's suing Harwood. And she is also suing Google.

Perhaps some of you might think of Rosenberg as just a perambulating chaser. Yet she and her lawyers reason that Google's walking directions were "careless, reckless, and negligent providing of unsafe directions."

Now this is the point at which your complex minds become engaged and my rather simpler version becomes divorced. You see, if you ask Google Maps for walking directions on your laptop you get a very clear warning--yes, on one of those lovely beigey-yellow backgrounds--that reads: "Walking Direction are in Beta. Use caution--This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths."

The question is, does this warning appear when you go to Google Maps on your BlackBerry? Or, even more importantly, on Rosenberg's BlackBerry? It does not appear to appear on the iPhone. Which might suggest the same situation holds with the RIM phone.

What I cannot ascertain from the court papers is why Rosenberg would want to walk this route in Utah. She is, it appears, from Los Angeles, which means that she might not have been used to walking at all.

Equally puzzling is the first part part of the court papers where it is says that Rosenberg suffered mental, physical and emotional injuries that caused her to incur medical expenses "in an amount yet to be determined." And yet when it comes to the part about suing Google, medical expenses are said to exceed $100,000. A Grand Rapids personal injury attorney is following this story closely.

Courts have not always been sympathetic to those who claim that they were merely following the orders of enlightened machines. There was the man in England who ordered his BMW down an unpaved cliffside lane , got stuck, and then claimed that his GPS made him do it. The court decided it was the driver's own brain that made him do so.

Can Rosenberg expect Utah courts to be more sympathetic? In our world of increasingly diminished responsibility, might someone actually be in a position to prove that we are all now subjects of the Googleplex? Those Googlies have filmed our streets, made records of our Wi-Fi data, followed us around the Web until they could offer us ads that are "good" for us. Shouldn't we admit whose the supreme power truly is?

Or might the judge emit a cough and declaim in the finest Latin: "Caveat walker"?

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Original Story:

Going on the offensive, Quicken Loans filed a lawsuit against two federal agencies looking into its lending practices, saying their three-year investigation is really a strong-armed attempt to get a big settlement from the Detroit-based company.

Quicken filed its lawsuit late last week against the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, asking a court to find that its lending practices involving FHA-insured loans were proper. An Ohio banking lawyer represents commercial and private banks and lenders in a diverse array of financing transactions.

"Quicken Loans appears to be one of the targets (due to its large size) of a political agenda under which the DOJ is 'investigating' and pressuring large, high-profile lenders into paying nine- and 10-figure sums and publicly 'admitting' wrongdoing, including conceding that the lenders had made 'false claims,' " the lawsuit says.

Although a legal long shot, the lawsuit demonstrates Quicken's penchant for aggressively defending its reputation. It's rare for companies to file preemptive lawsuits against the government, said Matthew Schwartz, a former assistant U.S. attorney who is now a partner at New York-based Boies, Schiller & Flexner.

"Sometimes the targets of investigations go on the offensive, including by filing lawsuits, but nothing like this to my knowledge," he said, adding that the lawsuit could be a good public relations move. "This is obviously an attempt by Quicken to frame what's going on here."

Quicken, founded by billionaire Dan Gilbert, says it's the nation's largest originator of loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. In recent fiscal quarters, Quicken has ranked as the nation's No. 2 lender for direct-to-consumer mortgage lending, although its total volume, like that of all major mortgage lenders, has declined since the refinancing boom started to fade in mid 2013. A Rochester real estate lawyer is following this story closely.

A Quicken Loans spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

The lawsuit says Justice and HUD started investigating Quicken's handling of FHA-insured loans about three years ago, and "cherry-picked" 55 examples that were problematic out of more than 246,000 Quicken originated in 2007-11.

The lawsuit says Justice is threatening a high-profile lawsuit involving a much larger number of loans unless the company agrees to pay a large settlement and "admit" flawed lending practices and federal Fair Claims Act violations.

Quicken is asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to declare its FHA loans made in 2007-11 were done properly.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.

The Justice Department has reached large settlements over FHA-insured loans in recent years with J.P. Morgan Chase ($614 million in 2014), U.S. Bank ($200 million in 2014) and Bank of America ($1 billion in 2012). The Bank of America settlement was related to loans made by Countrywide, the once-mighty mortgage lender that all but collapsed and was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.

Quicken claims that the Justice Department's ongoing investigation in Detroit is flawed in several ways, particularly in its use of a sampling method that assumes defects in a small subset of loans will exist to the same extent across a large population of loans. Quicken calls the sampling method "biased, unreliable and riddled with error."

"They applied this illegitimate methodology even though the situation of each individual borrower and the mortgaged property are unique, and all FHA lenders are required to keep detailed records of how the FHA loan was underwritten and made," the lawsuit states. An Encino CPA is reviewing the details of this case.

Quicken said the defects found by the Justice Department in the 55 loans are minor, such as miscalculating a loan applicant's monthly income by $2.10, telling a borrower to bring $125 to closing even though it had approved a loan that only needed $48 at closing, and loaning an FHA customer $26 too much on a $99,500 mortgage.

The FHA program provides mortgage default insurance to lenders such as Quicken Loans, which can make a claim on a federal fund within HUD if a loan goes bad. FHA loans are popular among borrowers with lower income or lower credit scores who might have trouble qualifying for a conventional mortgage.


Original Story:

Tulsa, Okla. – (AP) — Defense attorneys released some of the training records Saturday for a 73-year-old volunteer sheriff's deputy charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect in Oklahoma. A Tulsa criminal defense lawyer is following this story closely.

The records for Robert Bates include certificates showing what training he received, job evaluation reports and weapons training and qualification records dating to 2008.

Bates' attorneys said the 64 pages of records released to The Associated Press and other news organizations include records Bates copied and kept for himself. Although there are time gaps in the documents provided, some of the records seem to indicate Bates was proficient in firearms and dozens of other training courses.

"For the first time today, we feel like someone's starting to look at the other side of this as far as his qualifications," Scott Wood, an attorney for Bates, said after the documents were released.

Bates has said he mistakenly pulled out a handgun rather than a stun gun when he fatally shot Eric Harris on April 2 as he lay on the ground. He has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. A Tulsa criminal defense attorney is experienced in defending clients and helping them form appeals in criminal cases.

The Tulsa County volunteer deputy has disputed a Tulsa World report that sheriff's office supervisors were ordered to falsify his training records.

The World said at least three of Bates' supervisors were transferred for refusing to go along with the requests, and said it consulted multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, but it gave no indication how those sources were familiar with the situation.

Bates told NBC's "Today" show on Friday that he was certified for his position and had the documentation to prove it.

Harris' family attorney — who had questioned Bates' qualifications as a reserve deputy — did not return a message seeking comment Saturday. A call to the district attorney's office rang unanswered, and the sheriff's office referred questions to Wood. An Orlando criminal lawyer has experience representing clients charged with fatal offenses.

"I want to do everything I can to make sure that people know that this allegation of falsified records is not true," Wood said.