A young man who was severely brain injured during a Little League game will receive a $14.5 million settlement. Approximately $4.7 million will go to his attorneys.
A baseball hit from a metal bat struck him in the chest at age 12. Now 18, Steve Domalewski has difficulty speaking and can’t stand on his own. He’s lucky to be alive. It was a costly freak accident that will affect him and his family forever.
Metal bats are controversial because of their potential to cause serious injury, as one did to Steve Domalewski. According to the Star-Ledger, the suit targeted Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of Louisville Sluggers; Little League, Inc., which approved use of the bat; and The Sports Authority, which sold the bat.
Some comments from NJ.com:
why stop here? Sue the town for allowing the game to happen. Sue the state for allowing the town to allow the game to happen. Sue the United States for allowing the state to allow the town to have the game. Sue the makers of the baseball for making the baseball too hard. Sue the opposing batter and his family for hitting the ball. Sue the opposing kid's coach for putting the kid out there that hit the ball that hurt this young man. Sue the maker of this kid's glove for not catching this comebacker in time. Sue the umps who didn't stop this game proactively before the child got injured. Sue PAL Baseball for having this league in which the child got injured.
You forgot the shirt maker for not making it out of a material that would deflect a ball...LOL
With fall just around the corner, it’s time to register for NJLRA’s annual Fall Membership Luncheon! This year’s speaker will be Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. It will take place on Thursday, September 13th at noon at the Trenton Country Club.
Time flies, so register today!
Child sexual predators exist everywhere. They harm children from all demographics and shatter families from all socio-economic statuses. It often takes years for victims to come forward and bring their accusers to justice. Like most reasonable people, we understand this reality. And that is why a criminal statute of limitations does not exist in New Jersey, and is not in question.
What today’s legislation addresses is the ability of victims to sue for damages. The civil statute of limitations is a time limit on cases brought by accusers seeking monetary damages from sex abuses or their employers for the abuses they have suffered. The statute of limitations on these efforts is currently two years from the time a person realizes that they have been injured by sexual abuse, not from the act itself. Advocates maintain that this window is not long enough.
Senator Paul Sarlo and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald agree. They have introduced legislation known as the Child Protection Act of 2012, which would bring the civil statute of limitations to 10 years from the time a victim realizes they have been abused instead of the 2 years currently on the books in New Jersey. And it would hold their employers and supervisors accountable from this point forward.
Unfortunately, that is not the legislation that the Senate will be voting on today. Today’s legislation, S-1651, would completely eliminate the civil statute of limitations in all sex abuse cases. And it would be applied retroactively, leaving all current board members and officials vulnerable to claims which may or may not have occurred decades ago. And unlike criminal trials, the burden of proof is much lower in civil cases, so mounting any sort of defense is likely in vain. The most damning cases would undoubtedly be the ones involving public schools and municipalities, because ultimately, it’s the taxpayer’s dime that will be used to settle claims.
Today’s legislation is well-intentioned. But it takes a step beyond what is rational under the American judicial system. Child sex abuse victims experience society at its worst. They shouldn’t have to carry the financial burdens of therapy as they move forward; it is the responsibility of the perpetrator and those who have failed the child. But the legislation being considered today swings too far in the opposite direction. New Jersey’s honest charities, volunteers, and taxpayers will be left exposed to a plethora of indefinite, unintended consequences and opportunities for the dishonest to take advantage of the law’s newly-expanded liabilities. And it’s an expense all of us will bear.
As our nation continues to debate health insurance mandates and cost-drivers that left preventative medicine out of reach for many, volunteer doctors quietly set up shop in some of New Jersey’s most underserved communities, trying to alleviate public health burdens on a patient-by-patient basis.
Trenton is one of these communities. In a Trenton Times report earlier this week, City Health Officer James Brownlee explained that years of funding cuts forced its clinics to greatly reduce the services they could offer.
But there may be light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is federal “free clinic” status.
According to the Times, such a designation would provide “essential malpractice insurance for a new staff of volunteer doctors, nurses, and other professionals who have retired from local hospitals,” bringing with it an opportunity for clinics to begin expanding their outreach once again.
Medical liability insurance is routinely cited by New Jersey’s medical community as a disincentive for doctors to practice in the Garden State. Such premiums, particularly for OB-GYNs, are significantly higher than premiums in other states.
New Jersey faces a doctor shortage by the end of the decade if we simply do nothing. Physicians who volunteer a portion of their retirement to continue treating patients help close a gap that we have yet to fill – a gap that will only increase as the number of physicians per capita decreases.
Some aren’t convinced that assuaging doctors’ concerns about medical liability insurance increases access to care. But in some of Trenton’s most underserved neighborhoods, it’s clear that it may make a world of difference.
Assemblyman Herb Conaway is the sponsor of A-2178, which would provide civil immunity for certain volunteer physicians, nonprofit clinics, and federally qualified health centers. It was second-referenced to the Assembly Judiciary Committee after passing favorably from the Health and Senior Services Committee in May. Chairman Peter Barnes has not indicated whether he will post it for a vote.
With movement on pension and education reform, legal reform and medical liability reform may rise on the Governor’s agenda. The need for legal reform has grown more apparent in recent months as studies confirmed that New Jersey will face a shortage of physicians by the end of the decade. The State Senate unanimously passed legislation authorizing DHSS to convene a summit to analyze the shortage’s implications for New Jersey residents; its Assembly counterpart, A-1828, awaits action by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.
In part, it’s, the human-versus-animal, possession-versus- humankind argument.
New Jersey resident Joyce McDougall witnessed her cute Maltese-poodle’s violent death at the hands (paws?) of another dog in Morris Plains. She filed suit for the cost of a replacement dog, and for emotional distress.
A trial court agreed that she should receive more than the cost to replace her pet and issued her $5,000. But being compensated for emotional distress was reserved for people who witness the violent death of a close family member, they said, based on the 1980 Portee v. Jaffee doctrine. The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously upheld that decision this week.
In a much-needed reality check, Justice Helen Hoens observed that the vast majority of states do not allow owners to sue for emotional distress when their animals are killed. And beyond that, the Courts have been very limited in what they consider to be a “close family member” under this doctrine. The New Jersey Law Journal notes that an appellate court in the 1980s said it did not apply to a woman who saw her 5-year-old neighbor, with whom she was very close, mauled to death by a circus animal (Eyrich ex rel. Eyrich v. Dam, 193 N.J. Super. 244).
"It would make little sense, we think, to permit [the] plaintiff to recover for her emotional distress over the loss of her dog when she would be precluded from any such recovery if she instead had the misfortune of watching a neighbor's child, whom she regarded as her own, torn apart by a wild animal," Hoens said.
And if the Court were to expand Portee to include animals, it would open the floodgates for New Jerseyans to sue for emotional distress after watching heirlooms or other property destroyed, the Justices reasoned. As if New Jersey needs any help maintaining its status as a Judicial Hellhole…