Tort

Brentwood Based Assisted-Living Conglomerate Sued by Residents

The nation’s largest assisted-living provider, Brentwood-based Brookdale Senior Living Inc., is being sued by eight disabled and elderly residents who claim the company is responsible for financial abuse and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Mercury News reports. The plaintiffs maintain in the complaint that the organization failed to provide services listed in its initial agreement and fostered “humiliating, frustrating and hazardous situations on a daily basis.” The provider is no stranger to the courtroom, being party to numerous lawsuits over the years, including one case in which an elderly resident was killed by an alligator. The lawsuit will seek class-action status for the estimated 5,000 residents in Brookdale facilities throughout California.

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Man Sues Rutherford County Adult Detention Center After Fall From Bunk

A man who is paralyzed after falling off the top bunk while incarcerated in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center is now suing the institution for negligence, The Daily News Journal reports. Nicholas Parks maintains that jail staff made him sleep on the top bunk despite his protestations and detailed medical history. Court filings show that Rutherford County plans to ask for dismissal of the lawsuit. Parks’ attorney, Tommy Santel, did not return the paper’s request for comment.

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Legal Battle Over Toxic Waste in Tennessee Town Heats Up

A rural community in west Tennessee continues its fight against a waste management company regarding a toxic substance that has polluted area water sources and devastated local vegetation, USA Today reports. In 1999, the town of Bath Springs contracted North Carolina corporation Waste Industries to assume operations of its landfill that was used for local waste in Decatur County. Subsequently, under new management, the landfill began to accept “special waste” characterized as being "difficult or dangerous" to contain, which is more profitable than household trash but when exposed to elements excretes an ooze called leachate that finds its way into the soil and ultimately the water supply. Waste Industries later announced plans to abandon the landfill and sued the county, maintaining the municipality was derelict in its responsibilities to “to provide for the disposal and treatment of the leachate” and is in breach of the initial agreement. The county filed its own lawsuit against Waste Industries, alleging violations of federal clean air and water acts. The lawsuit against the county is scheduled for a status conference on May 10 in Tennessee Western District Court, Judge S. Thomas Anderson presiding.

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Family Considers Lawsuit Regarding Man's Death in Lincoln Co. Jail

The state medical examiner’s office has ruled the manner of death for the man who died after a fight with guards at the Lincoln County Jail a homicide, the Elk Valley Times reports. William Barnard Hawk died from traumatic asphyxia — suffocation by intense compression of the chest — last September and was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center where it was documented that Hawk suffered from head trauma, facial injuries and a broken nose because of the incident. No charges have yet been filed regarding Hawk’s death, however, the lawyer who is representing Hawk’s daughter said that they are considering filing a wrongful death and civil rights violations lawsuit.

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Pain Management Conglomerate with Tennessee Clinics Facing Several Lawsuits

A pain management conglomerate with clinics in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina that was raided late last year by the FBI is now facing several lawsuits, The Charlotte Observer reports. Investigators say that the Pain Management Associates of the Carolinas liberally dispensed unnecessary opioids to patients without proper evaluation, with a former employee going further, accusing the company of completing the evaluations as a “mere formality” and that it would see patients for just a couple minutes, then bill Medicare at a higher rate. The company also goes by FirstChoice Healthcare and Oaktree Medical Centre.

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Man Accuses Chattanooga Police Department of a Cover-Up Regarding Beating

A lawsuit was filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court on Monday accusing the Chattanooga Police Department of a cover-up regarding the beating of a man last year during a traffic stop, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Benjamin Piazza pulled over Fredrico Wolfe for speeding and said that Wolfe tossed bags of drugs from his car, then struggled as he was being arrested. Wolfe’s attorney, Robin Flores, maintains that footage of the incident does not match Piazza's story, stating that "in his attempt to cover-up his criminal and unconstitutional conduct, later wrote false claims in an affidavit of complaint, which he swore under oath, in order to bring [now-dismissed] charges against the plaintiff,” and that the department suppressed knowledge of body camera footage on the incident. City Attorney Phil Noblett told the paper that he had been served a copy of the complaint this week but had not yet read the claims. The plaintiff is seeking $3 million in damages

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Tennessee Woman Sues Facebook Regarding Sex Trafficking of Teenage Daughter

A woman has filed a lawsuit in Nashville against Facebook claiming her daughter, a sex trafficking survivor, is a victim of the company’s "quests for profits above the public good,” U.S. News & World Reports says. The complaint maintains that then-15-year-old “Jane Doe” was persuaded by a man to leave home via private Facebook messaging and that the company, “driven by profit” treated “children as a commodity” because of its lax protocol on user verification. Nashville Rodeway Inn, the hotel where the crimes took place, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. It is accused of ignoring visible signs of physical and sexual abuse.

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City of Memphis Denies Wrongdoing in Case of Dead Body in Police Impound Lot

The city of Memphis has denied any liability in the wrongful death case where the corpse of a man was found in a police impound lot 49 days after his death, The Commercial Appeal reports. Bardomiano Perez Hernandez was reportedly sitting in the vehicle drinking beer with his coworkers when they were approached by robbers who fired on the van killing Hernandez and critically wounding another passenger. In a response regarding the incident, the city claims that the people at fault for the death are the other men in the van and the accused robbers, also citing various legal protections it maintains limit liabilities for governments. Two men were eventually arrested and charged last June with first-degree murder in the killing of Hernandez.

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Workers Involved in Bean Station ICE Raid Sue for Discrimination, Excessive Force

Workers detained by ICE after an immigration enforcement raid on a Bean Station slaughterhouse are now suing the agency, Newsweek reports. In the lawsuit filed last Thursday, the workers contend that ICE agents — along with officials from Homeland Security Operations, Enforcement and Removal Operations and the Tennessee Highway Patrol — used excessive force, berated the workers with racial slurs, punched one worker in the face and shoved firearms in the faces of many others. In total, approximately 100 workers were detained and 11 were arrested during the raid, making it among the largest worksite-enforcement operations in recent years. Read the complaint using this link. Additionally, executive council member Bruce Buchanan wrote a recent blog post regarding the lawsuit.

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Store Owners Caught in 'Operation Candy Crush' Contemplate Legal Action

Store owners involved in the recent “Operation Candy Crush,” where Rutherford County law enforcement agencies raided and shuttered 23 businesses selling cannabidiol (CBD) candies, are contemplating legal action reports The Murfreesboro Post. Law enforcement action culminated on Feb. 12, when the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and the Smyrna Police Department seized all merchandise containing CBD and padlocked the almost two dozen businesses, citing them as a public nuisance.
 
Proprietors argue that they broke no laws since CBD contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive element in illegal marijuana. Legal CBD products must be derived from industrial hemp and contain less than 0.3 percent THC. When isolated from the plant, CBD can be distilled into an oil and added to food and beverages to be sold. If derived from an industrial plant with a clear chain of command, the oil is not inherently illegal.
 
Defense attorney Tommy Santel, who is representing several store owners, argued that CBD and industrial hemp are not identified as controlled substances. "The state has failed to even plead a sufficient case," Santel said, when asking for the dismissal of all civil injunctions and the removal of the padlocks. "The state needed to go further, the state needed to say 'derivative of marijuana' or 'derivative of industrial hemp.”
 
All criminal and civil charges against the store owners in Rutherford County part of Operation Candy Crush will be dismissed and their records wiped clean.
 
Attorneys representing those business owners are discussing how to structure any legal action, which could involve “an overarching” state injunction by stores that took their items off of shelves because they feared prosecution, as well as the Rutherford County business owners who were arrested and lost days of business, according to Joe Kirkpatrick, president of the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association. 
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