Category Archives: Uncategorized

Former inmate files lawsuit alleging abuse against York County prison guards and county

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A former York County prison inmate has filed a federal lawsuit against four guards he says coerced him, along with other inmates, to participate in humiliating activities in what the guards allegedly called the "Retard Olympics."

James Williams Hicks Jr., of Dover, named Daniel H. Graff, David Michael Whitcomb, Mark Andrew Haynes and Adam S. Marcini as the officers involved in his alleged mistreatment as well as York County, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 29 in U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg.

The lawsuit claims that the officers arranged different events for the inmates from 2008 to 2013. 

Hicks claims that he was choked and punched as part of the events, as well as paired to wrestle inmate David M. Wright. 

Other events outlined in the lawsuit include:

  • Drinking 1 gallon of milk in one hour;
  • Eating an entire spoonful of cinnamon;
  • Snorting spicy Ramen noodle flavoring powder;
  • Snorting crushed hard candy;
  • Drinking a bottle of water containing pepper spray foam;
  • Drinking a concoction known as "Mystery Soup," which consisted of olives that had been left unrefrigerated for several weeks and mixed with cleaning supplies.

Hicks went along with the events to avoid becoming the target of other "violent forms of ‘amusement’" at the hands of the guards, according to the lawsuit.

In return for participating in the events, the guards gave Hicks "trivial favors," including extra coffee and food…

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Labor advocates: Workers’ comp case misses target

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NAPLES, Fla. (AP) – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater touted the arrests of more than 100 immigrant agriculture workers last July as an effort to crack down on the costly problem of workers’ compensation fraud.

But it quickly became apparent the raid on the Naples-area Oakes Farm fruit and vegetable processing plant wasn’t your typical workers’ compensation fraud, such as employees who fake back injuries or businesses who treat employees as outside contractors.

Instead, the state attorney’s office charged the mostly Mexican and Central American workers, many in the country illegally, under Florida statutes that makes it a felony to use a fake or stolen ID to obtain a job – and, by extension, workers’ compensation insurance.

On Tuesday, prosecutors and an attorney representing the workers confirmed most had agreed to a pretrial diversion deal akin to probation.

Naples attorney Donald Day said as long as the workers kept out of trouble, the charges would be dropped.

Still, Immigrant and workers’ advocates say Atwater is skirting the line of pre-empting the federal government’s immigration authority by targeting these workers, whose main crime was finding a fake Id that employers wink and nod at – and should instead go after the employers who benefit from their cheap labor.

“In Florida this is a new wrinkle, where the state is going after people who haven’t even filed a workers’ comp claim, and is essentially…

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US officials expected to announce Ebola screening at airports

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Federal officials are finalizing details on Ebola screening steps for travelers arriving at US airports, which may be announced in a few days and may resemble the kinds of questions that outbreak countries are asking departing passengers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said today.

The risk of another travel-linked Ebola case, such as the one in Texas, can never be reduced to zero until West Africa’s outbreak is extinguished, he said at a media telebriefing today. But he said the CDC and other government agencies are taking a hard look at additional steps, focusing on ones that won’t hamstring the response process underway overseas.

The three main outbreak countries have so far screened about 36,000 people departing on airlines, with three fourths of them bound for destinations outside the United States. The CDC has trained airport screeners in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which have flagged 77 people with fever and 3 people with other symptoms. As far as the CDC knows, none of the people with fever had Ebola, and most had malaria, a common illness in that part the world, Frieden said.

"I can assure you we will take additional steps, and the details will be worked out and announced in a few days," he added.

Senator suggests screening steps

US Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., issued a statement today saying he spoke with Frieden about tougher screening at US airports and is pleased that the CDC is preparing to…

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Hammond police sued over use of Taser during traffic stop

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A federal lawsuit accuses Hammond police of "malice" and "reckless indifference" when they smashed a car window and used a Taser on a passenger during a traffic stop last month.

But Hammond police, in a two-page rebuttal, said they resorted to force only after the passenger repeatedly refused to leave the car and kept reaching toward the back seat, prompting fears he may have had a weapon.

Neither the police statement nor the lawsuit say a gun was found in the car.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 when Lisa Mahone was pulled over as she drove with a friend, Jamal Jones, and her two children, 7 and 14, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Indiana.

The officer told Mahone, 47, she was stopped for not wearing her seatbelt and asked for her driver’s license. The officer also asked to see Jones’ identification, according to both police and the lawsuit.

Mahone produced her license, but Jones told the officer he had been ticketed for not paying his insurance and did not have his license, the lawsuit states. 

Choke hold complaints against N.Y.C. police on the rise: report
Choke hold complaints against N.Y.C. police on the rise: report

Jones claims the officer drew his gun "for no reason" after Jones retrieved the ticket from his backpack and "offered the ticket to the officer."

But police say Jones refused to hand over the ticket. "(Jones) refused to lower the window more than a small amount, then told the officer that ‘he was not going to do (the officer’s) job’ and for him…

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Roughly 30 percent of former NFL player may develop Alzheimer’s, other brain conditions

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The NFL is a big deal, making billions every year. But is it doing enough to take care of league players, former and current?
(Photo : Keith Allison)

According to a report released by the National Football League Friday, three out of every 10 former NFL players are likely to develop brain conditions, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and at earlier ages compared to the general population.

Released as supporting evidence in a class-action suit against the league, the report calculated that the NFL’s proposed settlement of $675 million will be sufficient to award damages to affected former players. Out of the 19,400 former league players, the NFL and opposition lawyers estimate that around 28 percent of them, about 6,000 individuals, will develop Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia as a consequence of their time playing for the NFL.

The American football league is being sued for allegedly hiding information that associated brain injuries to concussions. Presiding over the lawsuit is Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, who has first expressed concern that $675 million will not be enough to cover all of the damages. The report was released in response to her concerns.

Aside from $675 million for compensation, the NFL also proposed spending $10 million for research purposes, $75 million to undertake baseline assessments, and $5 million to raise awareness in the public.

With the fund estimated to annually earn 4.5 percent, both sides have deemed the…

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Lawsuit: Doctor didn’t inform patient of cancer

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Amber Hines
Amber Hines

A west suburban woman is contending in court that a doctor neglected to share test results showing her father had cancer, which later killed him.

Her lawsuit states that Dr. Alan Sadah, a urologist who practices at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, told Edward Hines he was cancer-free after removing a tumor on his bladder in early 2011. A week later, a pathology report showed the Oak Park man had bladder cancer, but Sadah didn’t inform his patient, according to the suit.

Edward Hines
Edward Hines

Hines didn’t learn he had cancer until he visited another doctor a year later, said his daughter, Amber Hines, of Lyons, who is pursuing a medical malpractice suit her father filed a few months before his death in April 2013 at age 58. Attorneys from each side are to meet Friday to discuss details of the case.

Amber Hines says her father’s chances of survival would have been better if he had known the diagnosis earlier. "We went an entire year without treatment, which was extremely devastating," she said in an interview.

Friends help 'Interrupters' star battling cancer
Friends help ‘Interrupters’ star battling cancer

In court documents, Sadah contests Hines’ account of what happened after he removed the tumor on Jan. 24, 2011. The doctor says a cancerous lesion was found that day and that he told Hines he had cancer. Hines failed to follow up as Sadah instructed, he said.

Sadah also said Hines did not ask for the pathology report later. "Edward Hines failed to seek or obtain the results of the pathology report…

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Cal/OSHA fines aviation company in death of LAX baggage worker

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LAX ramp area
LAX ramp area

State officials fined an aviation services company $77,250 on Wednesday for five safety violations related to the death of a baggage worker in February at Los Angeles International Airport.

Related: Luggage cart that killed LAX worker had no seat belt, officials say
Related: Luggage cart that killed LAX worker had no seat belt, officials say

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health leveled the penalty against Menzies Aviation, whose employee, Cesar Valenzuela, 51, died after being thrown from a baggage tug that did not have a functional seat belt.

Cal/OSHA investigators said seatbelts were required for the vehicle and that Menzies’ safety policies related to baggage tugs did not require and even discouraged the use of restraints in certain areas of LAX.

"This fatality could have been prevented with a well thought out and implemented safety plan as is required for all worksites in California," said Christine Baker, director of the state Department of Industrial Relations.

Decision on seeking death penalty for accused LAX shooter due by fall
Decision on seeking death penalty for accused LAX shooter due by fall

Menzies and other aviation service companies contract with airlines to provide cabin cleaners, security personnel, custodians, wheel-chair assistants and baggage handlers.

The citations prompted union officials and service company employees to renew their calls for improvements to working conditions at LAX, the nation’s third-busiest airport.

"Workers punching in at the start of a shift ought to be able to finish the day without risking their health or losing their life,"…

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Family of BU student killed in fire prepares lawsuit

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Binland Lee

The family of a 22-year-old Boston University student who died in a fire last year after getting trapped in her attic bedroom is filing a lawsuit against the landlord and brokers, accusing them of renting an illegal apartment with insufficient exits and a faulty fire-alarm system.

The wrongful death suit, which is expected to be filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court, comes three months after the Globe’s Spotlight Team published a detailed reconstruction of that terrifying morning in Allston when Binland Lee’s last screams were heard as her fellow tenants jumped out of third-floor windows at 87 Linden St.

The Spotlight investigation revealed persistent problems at the overcrowded house and the failure of key individuals — from the building’s past and present owners to city regulators — to do much about them. When Lee, a marine science major from Brooklyn, moved into the building in 2012, landlord Anna Belokurova was renting out nearly every space as a bedroom, leaving the tenants on the third floor with only one way out, down a flight of stairs. On April 28, 2013, those stairs were blocked by surging smoke and flames.

The first warning people on the third floor received of the approaching inferno was when the smoke detector on the ceiling of the attic’s common hallway was activated, according to the lawsuit. By the time the alarm went off, thick smoke and heat made it impossible to use the stairs to escape.

The apartment did…

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