The Verdict - The Lombardi Law Firm Blog
Here at the Lombardi Law Firm we add blog content that is personal to those involved in accidents. We write this way so you have an understanding of how we think and handle cases - your case. We invite you to call us if you think we can help you resolve your legal problems. We settle most of our cases, because we do the basic legal work necessary to understand the facts of your case. We offer on our website, relevant and concise information that you will be helpful to you as you get ready to settle or to try your case.
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Steve Lombardi, 515-222-1110 or email@example.com
Trick or Treat!
Trick or Treat! Memories of childhood….begging for candy at neighbors’ doors and the fun of being out in the dark on a school night. Most of my childhood Halloween trick or treating was spent in a snow suit or at the very least, a coat that covered the costume I had spent months thinking about. I grew up in Buffalo, NY.
Things are different now. No longer is it the standard princess or fireman costume. Costumes today reflect our culture of television, movies, and politics instead of the jobs we want to do. For example, the most popular girl costume for 2009 is Hannah Montana, which quite frankly I don’t understand, maybe it is a generational thing. For boys, the most popular costume is Wolverine X-Men, which considering that Hugh Jackman portrayed this character in the movie, I completely understand the attraction with this choice. These costumes were the most popular on the Extreme Halloween website. At the Do It Yourself website, Michael Jackson is the costume of choice. With the opening of the movie, This is It, that should help tremendously to push this costume to the top.
Safety tips for a fun and safe Halloween:
Children under a certain age should be accompanied by an adult.
Costumes and masks should not restrict movement or vision.
Costumes should be reflective and a flashlight should be with each group. It would be beneficial for each child to carry a glow stick as well.
If your child is old enough to go trick or treating with friends, agree on the route they will be taking and what time they will be home.
For this same group, make sure they know that vandalism is not an acceptable trick.
Talk to your children about safety; about looking before crossing the street and not getting into cars with strangers.
Stress the importance of checking the candy with you when they return home. Make a game of it for young children, have them sort it by type and this will allow you to make sure it is safe to eat.
Happy Birthday to my own little treat who was born 23 years ago on Halloween, my daughter, Katrina.
Is it time to finally outlaw pit bulls? On September 19th Joyce Haynes heard a child screaming and ran outside to see a pit bull charging a child. When she attempted to intervene the dog turned on her going after her legs biting her calves and taking a sizeable piece of flesh.
A second neighbor came to her rescue using a bike to shield himself from the dog while getting it away from Miss Haynes. She will have permanent scars from the attack both physically and I will assume mentally as well. The real question is where was the owner? In today’s day in age with all the education and information on the dangers of dogs such as pit bulls how could this possibly happen? The owner of the dog will no doubt be getting a hefty bill from the hospital but will there bill criminal charges? What would have happened if the dog had gotten ahold of the child and killed it? More needs to be done to protect every day citizens from out of control dog owners with egos that say owning a vicious dog is somehow a good idea. The pit bull owners and the Taser people have one thing in common; they see the U.S. Constitution as a document protecting only them.
This is a subject I've covered in other posts.
- InjuryBoard Des Moines Archives | June 2009 The Des Moines Register reports that Daniel McAfee, 29, is the caretaker of a pit bull that is owned by Cody Pendleton, age 27. The dog is reported to have ...
desmoines.injuryboard.com/archives/2009_6_archive.aspx - Cached - Similar
- Taser News that Shocks the Conscience | InjuryBoard Des Moines Posted by Steve LombardiSeptember 30, 2009 2:23 PM ... Vancouver, Canada - Pit bull attacks llama and then officers is shot with Taser before being killed. ...
desmoines.injuryboard.com/.../taser-news-that-shocks-the-conscience.aspx?... - Cached - Similar
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- damage caps | InjuryBoard Des Moines The Des Moines Register reports that Daniel McAfee, 29, is the caretaker of a pit bull that is owned by Cody Pendleton, age 27. The dog is reported to have ...
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- Damage | InjuryBoard Des Moines The Des Moines Register reports that Daniel McAfee, 29, is the caretaker of a pit bull that is owned by Cody Pendleton, age 27. The dog is reported to have ...
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- test | InjuryBoard Des Moines It was a post about pit bulls and other vicious animals mauling small children and .... The Lombardi Law Firm (866) 735-1102 Ext 335 www.lombardilaw.com/ ...
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I’m not sure we have covered the house fire in Sioux City, Iowa that took the life of 27-year-old Chonburi Louangrath. If so this post differs in it’s approach to this too often seen news item about an unintended or accidental house fire. In this case the accidental fire was caused by a child playing with matches. Children with matches don’t go well with home safety. A child playing with matches sparked a deadly fire in Sioux City, Iowa this past May. The Iowa Department of Safety concluded the house fire that claimed the life of Chonburi Lauangrath, 27 was started by a child playing with matches.
After an accidental fire the typical legal questions include whether the structure and contents are covered under the homeowners, owners or renters insurance policies. Of course structure and contents are different in many respects and are covered under different insurance policy provisions. Each section may provide different results based on policy language and the degree to which the insured actually insured the structure and the contents. That sounds like double talk but it’s about the choices you make when you take out the policy of insurance.
For instance, if you took out a mortgage when you purchased the home, your lender may have dictated the minimum of how much insurance you could take out. The lender always wants its mortgage covered by casualty insurance. So there you can self-insure the difference, but that’s not always the smartest thing for young homeowner’s to do. If you don’t have the money to rebuild it’s pretty foolish to self-insure the amount of equity over the principal amount of the mortgage. After all if the structure is destroyed by fire, weather or other casualty you might end up not being able to rebuild, but still having to pay to clear the debris and to pay annual real estate taxes.
Insuring the contents is a whole other issue to tackle. What is the value of what you own in the home? That’s a moving target that changes daily. The first challenge to valuation being depreciation and the second being new purchases. Everything you own is worth less tomorrow; or at least that is the assumption all insurance companies make. The day after you purchase something new the insurance company is going to assume it’s worth less, to some degree. So knowing what you own and how much is its present value is a constant challenge.
So how can you protect your investment of home and contents? First I’d suggest making it an annual event for the owner or owners to videotape everything and to remove the tape from the premises. Keep it at work or in a bank vault but annually shoot a videotape of the home contents and remove it from the premises. The easy way to do this is for one person to operate the video camera and the other to open draws, with each adding commentary as necessary. Commentary might be a description of the property item that includes make, model, approximate date of purchase and serial number. This may seem like a royal pain in the rear but if you’ve ever suffered a loss trying to recreate what you owned is an even larger pain in the derrière.
Another thing that I do is keep all owners’ manuals in one location. If you suffer a theft loss it’s easy to prove what major appliances (computers and tools included) you own by reference to the owner and user manuals. When I purchase an item I do fill out the owner/user manual with the serial number, etc. I can’t say I do it 100% but I do try to stay close.
When videotaping don’t forget to shoot the basement, garage, attic and shed with all of those contents. Remember it’s a lot easier to sit and watch a video tape on television or to hand it to a transcriptionist who can type a list of what they see and hear on the videotape. Your job is then to clean it up based on your own viewing of the videotape and the owner manuals you’ve kept.
Casualty losses are a complete drag on your life and quick way to devalue the contents you’ve accumulated and invested in. You may hate this chore, but over a few years you’ll accumulate a video library (compact discs work just fine) that catches most everything you own. There is a less appreciated benefit to doing this annually as well. It refreshes what you already own allowing you to not make duplicate and wasteful purchases. It also has the effect of making you a smarter consumer. You’ll begin to ask yourself, “Do we really need to make this purchase?” I think a lot of people buy out of nervous energy rather than out of necessity. The key to a good marketing program is to persuade you to buy something you really don’t need. If we can break the habit of spontaneous purchases we can save money for investments and for retiring with a better lifestyle. This is what Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter teach in the books Rich Dad Poor Dad and the Cash Flow Quadrant. Eliminate the doodah purchases and instead invest the savings. As he says the difference between the rich and the working class is the poor work for money and the rich get their money working.
Back to the original news item, a child playing with matches, especially boys, is a childhood adventure the adults need to anticipate. Like drugs in the bathroom easy access is a challenge to anticipate. In this case a 27-year-old man lost his life and paid the price of two days where he probably suffered tremendously. A child’s life is altered, and not in a good or productive way. The child has to deal for a long time to come with his actions taking the life of a man. Adults need to be smart about things like matches, drugs in cabinets, household cleaning products and poisons being stored in a way that limits accessibility to young children. With children the rules haven’t changed in centuries: simply expect the unexpected.
And parents know this; you can be sued and found to be liable for not controlling access to things like matches or prescription medications. Check out that homeowner’s insurance policy along with where you stow the matches and prescription drugs. We all can make mistakes but when we do let's make sure we have insurance coverage. The video that follows is an example.
I've been posting on this web blog about pedestrian safety. An alert came across my computer screen last Wednesday that is incredibly sad and for that reason I’m going to not mention any names of those involved.
No matter how sad this accident may be, it's still worth reporting on for the sake of avoiding other similar infant pedestrian deaths.
In my 28 year career as a personal injury lawyer I’ve done many death cases, but only two similar to this one. The one case I can't seem to forget occurred when I was first out of law school in the 1980’s . In that case a farm family had scheduled the local coop to spread anhydrous on a certain day. On the scheduled day the young man from the coop drove into the driveway stopping momentarily to speak with the young farm wife about which field he should start. It was a cool spring morning, sunny and damp. The mother had been watching her four-year-old daughter play on the swing set in the center grassy area inside the large circle drive that was to the side of this large and lovely Iowa farm. Standing on the driver’s side she spoke briefly to the driver. Without giving the mother enough time to locate the child the driver immediately began driving forward. The mother didn't feel right about how he'd started moving without her first seeing her daughter.
This spreader had those three-foot wide tall rubber tires; three of them to be exact. As this large truck cleared the mother she looked frantically for her child, but all she saw was the empty childless swing seat moving like a pendulum in the cool spring breeze. She paused momentarily not wanting to look but her motherly instincts took over forcing her to look furtively first right and then left. There where the huge truck tire had been was the lifeless child's body lying in the driveway. The three or four-year-old child had been run over by the tire of this agricultural implement.
Still today I’m terribly bothered by that case. As a young lawyer with small children at home I was emotionally shaken and didn’t relish the idea of even having the case let alone taking any depositions. Certainly the driver, who had fallen apart after he discovered what he had done, would be in certain anguish and make for a terribly difficult deposition. I was afraid I myself would begin to cry. I didn’t want to ask him any questions in front of the mother or to create a transcript that she might later, years later, read. I didn’t want to do any of the discovery and especially didn’t want to attend her deposition. At the time it was difficult for me to understand how I'd get through this case; but in the end it was the mother that got me through her deposition and in the process made me a better lawyer.
She was a young woman, and if I still remember it correctly she had one other young child. This child was a daughter. I do recall that, because at the time of the mishap she was wearing a light colored vinyl hooded wind breaker. The mother was a very pretty woman who'd been raised on a farm and after high school gone on to college. After college she’d come back to the rural county to marry and farm where they could raise their children safe from harm. As she herself had grown up, her parents had sent her to a finishing school where she had learned proper etiquette and poise. I remember distinctly how she sat in the deposition. With hands folded in her lap, her knees firmly together, spine erect and with a face that neither gave away anger or motive, she sat motionless. She was polite, answered questions directly and without any anger, no matter how senseless the defense lawyer acted. As he asked insensitive questions in rapid fire she paused as if measuring his insensitivity like she had learned in finishing school. She remained stoic right up until she described those terrible moments that followed the deadly events.
Looking back on it later that year I believed she was more concerned about us men in the room and carried herself with the greatest restraint of anyone finding themselves in that situation. I will never forget her; not in my entire life time. We did settle her case and I never heard from her again. But her memory still speaks to me guiding me through tough emotional depositions when a child is the person that tragically died. She is still a guiding force for emotional stability.
So this weekend when I read about a young man in a pickup truck stopping to talk with a mother of a two-year-old child at her mailbox and while driving away the woman’s child was run over and killed; it reminded me again of the 1980’s farm wife with the will to continue to move beyond her personal tragedy for the good of her family and the life the continued to enjoy. Like this mother everyone involved has to be grieving terribly. Second guessing yourselves won’t help you; it is best to simply move beyond this tragic event and be glad for what you still have.
Our readers should not simply ignore the lessons to be learned. When driving and you know there is or may be children near the car, truck, motorcycle, semi truck, tractor, combine or any other piece of farm equipment that moves, know where that child is before you put it in gear to go. Ask the pedestrian adult to assist with locating and maintaining control over the child. Put the car in park. Get out if you have to and look to find the child. If unattended by and adult ask the child to move where you can keep eye contact with them. Warn them to stay put; if they move you stop. It's that simple.
Tonight there is a mother grieving for her child. Tonight there is a driver second guessing himself for the six thousandth time. Our hearts go out for both of you.
This story was covered by the following news organizations.
Fort Dodge, Iowa at the Travel Inn pool five children were playing in the pool when they experienced carbon monoxide poisoning. The Assistant Fort Dodge Fire Captain reported the levels of carbon monoxide were 14 times higher than normal. A faulty furnace is to be blame.
What one has to wonder is when the furnace had its last maintenance check up. It’s important to keep furnaces clean or carbon monoxide can come into the building.
How does carbon monoxide gas kill a person?
Carbon Monoxide – Home Inspection Tips – buying or selling your house.
What likely happened and how can management protect the customers?
You can get free advice on homeowner safety and maintenance advice for homeowners online at several different web sites.
National Furnace Heating & AC – keep the area surrounding the furnace clean and unobstructed, keep the burner area clean and maintain the furnace on a regular basis.
Sempra Energy – Carbon monoxide safety sheet.
What are the signs of CO poisoning? • Flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.
Landlords and business owners, like hotel operators have a duty to maintain their building systems. If they try and cut corners it can result in faulty equipment operating in ways that cause injury or death to customers or hotel - motel guests. The proper way to run a business is to use systems for maintenance rather than maintenance by crisis. It's not always the fault of the building owner or operator. Some vendors, HVAC companies that do maintenance do a lousy job or fail to do what they were hired to do. Other times it's the fault of the manufacturer in producing and selling faulty products.
To know what went wrong the Iowa State Fire Marshall will probably investigate and issue a report concluding where the systems failed and who or what is at fault.