This is the fifth in a series of posts summarizing the civil causes of action available under the PA Human Trafficking Statute. Thus far, I have addressed who can sue under the statute, who can be sued, and the powerful list of “nondefenses” provided within the statute. This post addresses the various types of civil damages that are recoverable under the statute.

The language of the PA Human Trafficking Statute provides that a victim may recover the following types of damages:

  • Actual/compensatory damages;
  • Punitive damages;
  • Injunctive relief;
  • Attorney fees and costs; and,
  • Treble damages.

Continue Reading What Damages Are Available Under the PA Human Trafficking Statute?

This is the fourth in a series of posts summarizing the civil causes of action available under the PA Human Trafficking Statute. Thus far, I have addressed who can sue under the statute and who can be sued. This post will address the powerful list of “nondefenses” provided within the statute.

The PA Human Trafficking Statute provides a very specific and comprehensive list of 14 factual scenarios that cannot be relied upon as a defense to a civil action brought pursuant to the statute. This list of “nondefenses” is as follows:

Continue Reading Victim’s Consent Not a Defense Under PA Human Trafficking Statute

This is the third post in a series of posts breaking down the civil causes of action available under the Pennsylvania Human Trafficking Statute. In my last post, I discussed who could bring a case under the statute; this post addresses who can be sued.

The text of the statute allows victims of the sex trade to bring a civil lawsuit against three separate categories of persons: Continue Reading Who Can Be Sued Under PA Human Trafficking Statute?

In the first civil lawsuit under the Pennsylvania human trafficking statute, a hotel in Northeast Philadelphia has been accused of providing rooms to human traffickers. The statute establishes that businesses that directly or indirectly benefit from human trafficking can be forced to pay compensation to victims. A person commits an offense if the person knowingly traffics or knowingly attempts to traffic another person, knowing that the other person will be subjected to forced labor or services.

Continue Reading Lawsuit Filed Under Pennsylvania’s Human Trafficking Law

McDonalds has recalled 29 million Happy Meal toy fitness trackers in the U.S. and Canada because of reported rash and burn injuries. The McDonalds “Step It” trackers included two versions of brightly colored, wearable tech: one that counts steps, and one that signals walking speed with flashes of light. These Step It “toys” are not high dollar adult wear and yet the injuries reported—rashes and burns—are eerily similar to injuries from Fitbits that the company was forced to recall in 2014. Just three weeks ago, another company, Basis, recalled its Peak tracker for causing burns and blisters.

Continue Reading Wearable Tech Injuries on the Rise: McDonalds recalls Happy Meal Fitness Trackers

In a recent blog post, Tesla revealed that the Model S vehicle that was involved in a fatal accident on May 7 in Williston, Florida was in Autopilot mode at the time of the collision. This marks the first known fatality in a Tesla vehicle where Autopilot was active. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is currently in the midst of an investigation of the cause of the collision which is believed to include a determination of whether the Autopilot system was working properly at the time of the accident.

According to various news sources, the accident occurred when a tractor trailer drove across a divided highway and in front of the Tesla vehicle. Due to the height of the trailer, the Model S actually passed under the trailer with the initial impact occurring to the vehicle’s windshield. Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated on Twitter that the radar system used by the Autopilot feature did not help in this case because of the height of the trailer. According to Musk, the system “tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false breaking events.” Tesla believes that the Autopilot system would have prevented the accident if the impact had occurred to the front or rear of the trailer.

This accident represents the first in what will undoubtedly be many similar accidents that will raise questions regarding the safety of Autopilot systems. Tesla is one of the first automakers to utilize such technology and they have reiterated that they require customers to sign an agreement acknowledging that the system is in a “public beta phase” before they can use it. Some driving experts have criticized Tesla for introducing an Autopilot feature too early believing that the system gives drivers the false impression that the car can handle anything it encounters. By way of contrast, GM has only tested their Autopilot feature privately and Volvo has indicated that they intend to take full liability for their cars when the feature is activated.

According to a recent news release published by the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission, deer-vehicle collisions in Pennsylvania increase annually during the fall season due, in large part, to the fall breeding season. During the fall breeding season, deer tend to be moving around more than usual and they are not paying close attention to their surroundings as they may be preoccupied with finding a mate.

Here are some helpful tips for motorists to help avoid a dangerous collision with a deer:

  • Deer frequently travel in family groups, the crossing of a single deer does not mean that it is safe to proceed as other deer may be following closely behind;
  • The peak hours of deer activity are dawn and dusk, be sure to be extra alert during these times;
  • Slow down whenever you see hikers or hunters near a road as this may flush deer from forested areas;
  • Slow down whenever you are near farmers harvesting cornfields, many deer are flushed from fields as farm equipment approaches;
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road;
  • Slow down where deer-crossing signs are posted, roads divide agricultural land from forestland and whenever you are in the vicinity of a forested area between dusk and dawn;
  • Assume nothing- deer tend to act in unpredictable ways. They have been known to stop in the middle of the road, cross quickly and then re-cross back from where they came, or move towards an approaching vehicle; and,
  • If you see a deer in the road, slow down and blow your horn. If the deer stays in the road just stop, do not try to drive around it.

If you have been injured in a crash with an animal and believe that your claim has been unfairly denied by your insurance company, please contact legal counsel immediately to discuss your incident.

In the case of Brown v. Trinidad, 2015 Pa. Super. 46 (2015), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed an $85,000 jury verdict in favor of a Plaintiff who had elected the limited tort option. In a March 9, 2015 opinion authored by Judge Lazarus, the court stated that the Philadelphia County jury’s determination that Plaintiff, Andrew Brown, sustained a serious impairment of bodily function as the result of a November 3, 2011 accident was proper.

At trial, Plaintiff presented testimony from medical expert Dr. Geoffrey Temple, who opined that Brown sustained a disc herniation at L5-S1 due to the subject accident. This injury was confirmed by MRI. Dr. Temple further testified that Brown’s injuries will have permanent effects on his life and he may require future medical treatment, including injections and/or surgery.

The jury was also presented with evidence that Brown began treatment with a chiropractor approximately three weeks after the accident when his pain became more severe. This treatment lasted for approximately five months, at which time Brown was informed that he had reached maximum medical improvement. Brown testified that he is no longer able to play with his daughter and that he has difficulty running and jumping due to his injuries.

Continue Reading Superior Court of Pennsylvania Affirms Limited Tort Verdict