Party Bus Sued for Fatal Shooting in Santa Monica

After a party bus evening went tragically wrong last year, numerous plaintiffs have filed suit against the party bus company and the city of Santa Monica. Plaintiffs are suing over the shooting death of De’Ommie de la Cruz, including the deceased family as well as friends that witnessed the shooting. They are seeking unspecified damages.

Fatal Party Bus Incident Near the Santa Monica Pier

On November 3, 2017, De’Ommie de la Cruz and other female passengers were on a bus operating by Lion Limousine, celebrating a friend’s birthday. At about 1 AM, they asked the driver for a bathroom break. The driver complied and pulled into a parking lot near the Santa Monica pier.

Nearby were men on another party bus, who appeared to the women to be gang members. The women were reticent about de-boarding, fearing their safety, but the bus driver allegedly told them this would be the last bathroom stop of the night. Gunfire soon ensued, and de la Cruz was shot multiple times. The bus driver drove to the Santa Monica Police Station. According to the suit, the officers would not administer aid to de la Cruz. Further angering the women, they allege the police did not allowed them to use the police station restroom, and instead were told to sit on the ground, “as if they were criminals,” so their photos could be taken.

Common Carrier Liability

According to the lawsuit, Lion Limousine is being sued because it is alleged they knew, or should have known, that the bus driver was incompetent or unfit to drive. Party buses, like most buses, are considered “common carriers” and must exercise a very high degree of care and diligence with regard to passenger safety. The crux of this case will likely turn on whether the driver’s actions to pull over near the other bus was unreasonably negligent, as well as whether it was negligent for the bus driver to drive to the police station instead of a hospital.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a party bus, or other common carrier accident, contact a local personal injury attorney. These sorts of lawsuits can be complicated, and a legal adviser can best navigate local laws and ordinances to help you get the relief you need.

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Family Sues Mexico Resort for Daughter’s Drowning

A family vacation in Mexico turned deadly for one Wisconsin family, and they’ve filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a Florida civil court to not only uncover the truth of that fateful day, but also to recover costs and damages. Though none of this will bring back their vibrant 20-year-old daughter, they hope it will help save the lives of future travelers and loved ones.

A Deadly Family Vacation

In January of 2017, Abbey Conner and her brother, Austin, her mom and stepdad, took a winter vacation to the Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen, and stayed at the upscale Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar. Austin and Abbey had a few drinks at the pool bar while their mom and stepdad were spending time on their own.

When Austin and Abbey were late to meet for dinner, suspicions grew until the parents were given the news that their children had been taken to the hospital. Abbey had drowned under suspicious circumstances in a shallow area of the resort pool, shortly before dinner time. Austin was found unconscious in the pool with a large egg-sized lump on his head. Though the two were taken to the hospital, only one survived. Abbey was transported to a Florida hospital, where she never regained consciousness, was declared brain-dead, and subsequently died.

Over 200 Similar Incidents Reported

The family believes that Abbey and Austin consumed tainted alcohol at the resort pool. Austin has very little recollection of the events. His lack of memory is eerily similar to over 200 other Mexico vacation goers that have suffered similar fates to Austin, some after only one drink, leading many to believe the alcohol is tainted or that the guests are being drugged. Surprisingly, Abbey’s parents have found that the U.S. and Mexico governments have been reticent in gathering and disseminating information regarding these incidents. They would like to learn why.

Wrongful Death Suit

Because it is believed that Abbey’s death came as a result of tainted alcohol from the resort, her family has filed a wrongful death suit. The lawsuit alleges that Iberostar and its affiliated companies failed to take adequate safety measures, including preventing tainted alcohol from being served to guests, ensuring the bar and restaurant staff were properly trained, and providing adequate surveillance cameras and lifeguards around the pool. The suit also alleges that Iberostar failed to warn guests about the known threat of tainted alcohol, and refused to cooperate with the family’s investigation of Abbey’s death.

If you or someone you love believes they have been the victim of tainted alcohol or unknown drug use, call a personal injury attorney. Incidents such as these happen more often than the news reports, and you may be able to recover your costs, and in some cases, your confidence in the general public. But unfortunately for the Conner Family, some things you just can’t get back.

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Can a Dating Site Be Sued If Your Date Turns Dangerous?

It’s hard to meet people these days, which is undoubtedly why there are so many dating apps currently on the market. But what if something goes wrong, like really wrong. Can you sue a dating app or website if your date turns out to be dangerous? Unfortunately, the answer may surprise you.

No Special Relationship Between Dating App and App Users

The Communications Decency Act generally bars liability of any dating app for harm happening from a third party user. Turning to state tort law and examining negligence, a duty of care only exists if there is a special relationship between the parties.

In a recent ruling in the Ninth Circuit, no special relationship exists between a dating app user and the app itself. Therefore, without a special relationship, no duty is owed. In that case, Mary Kay Beckman was viciously stabbed and beaten by Wade Riley, whom she was matched with on Beckman argued that Match had a duty to warn her that her date was dangerous, but the courts disagreed. With no special relationship established between Match and Beckman, Match didn’t even have a duty to warn, let alone any sort of duty to protect.

Actual Knowledge Can Be Hard to Come By

If, however, a dating app has actual knowledge that someone using their site has been found guilty of committing violent acts so similar that they would rise to the level of foreseeable harm, then it is possible there could be a duty to warn. Unfortunately, dating apps will not go out of their way to find this knowledge. For instance, in the Beckman case, Ridley did have a history of criminal violence, including domestic violence and battery about 10 years prior to this attack. However, Match was unaware of this criminal record and therefore did not have actual knowledge of foreseeable harm.

If you have been hurt, physically or psychologically, from someone you met on a dating app, contact a local personal injury attorney. There may be factors of which you are unaware that could give rise to a duty of care owed by the dating app. At the very least, a legal adviser can help you secure protective orders against your assailant, and may even be able to successfully sue to reimburse you for your costs, as well as pain and suffering.

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Lawsuit: Police Searched Wrong House, Cause $9K Damage

We’ve all heard stories of mistaken identity, but this is the case of a house’s mistaken identity. One family is suing the police department for searching the wrong residence described in a search warrant.

Right Suspect, Wrong House

Last November, a young boy was shot in a drive-by shooting in Cleveland. In an attempt to find evidence against the shooter, Judge Sherrie Miday signed a search warrant, based on probable cause, for a house allegedly belonging to Larissa Harris, one of the shooting suspects, in the 16000 block of Lipton Avenue, as well as a vehicle belonging to the suspect. But in fact, the warrant detailed the wrong house, that of the plaintiff, Paula Mitchell, who lived across the street from Harris.

Faulty Warrant Could Have Been Cured With Adequate Surveillance

According to the plaintiff, the warrant detailed the wrong house, since it “failed to describe the actual residence that police should have surveilled.” Additionally, the lawsuit claims this mistake could have been corrected, since the warrant had a three-day window period, more than sufficient to determine the correct house to raid, according to plaintiffs. The lawsuit claims that the police should have “exercised reasonable care and due diligence through investigation, to make certain that they were surveilling and ultimately searching the correct residence.”

Police Sued for Searching Wrong House With Wreckless Abandon

When the police began the raid, Harris told the police they had the wrong house, but they refused to listen. Instead, plaintiffs claim the police violated their duty of care by searching the wrong house and then acting with “reckless abandon,” causing $9,000 in damages and inflicting emotional distress. As a result, the lawsuit accuses Cleveland Police Detective David Borden and 10 unnamed Cleveland police officers of one count of negligent, malicious, wanton and reckless conduct. Mitchell is seeking more than $25,000 in actual and punitive damages.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a warrantless search, and suffered monetary damages as a result, contact a local personal injury attorney. You may be able to recover for your losses, and potentially send a message to the police about the care that should be used when conducting a search.

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Walgreens, CVS Sued for Opioid Sales in Florida

Florida added Walgreens and CVS to the lawsuit it filed last spring against Purdue Pharma and several opioid distributors. Attorney General Pam Bondi claims these chains played a major role in creating the opioid crisis that has rocked not only Florida, but most of the Eastern United States by allowing its pharmacists to fill suspicious or unreasonable opioid prescriptions.

By the Numbers

The opioid crisis is still in full swing. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 45 people each day die from opioid overdoses. But how can that be tied to Walgreens and CVS? The circumstantial evidence is quite compelling. The lawsuit states that Walgreens distributed 2.2 million opioid tablets in just one month from its Hudson store, located in a town of just 12,000 inhabitants.

And there are other Florida Walgreens with similar ratios, including some whose opioid sales have jumped six-fold over the last two years. CVS numbers aren’t as convincing, but it too has disproportionate sales in the town of Hudson. The concept is that drug dealers would send associates to get prescriptions for opioids from local doctors, get them filled, and then sell the pills on the black market through a distribution system that spans the eastern states. Shockingly, at one point in the early 2000’s, 90 percent of the nation’s top opioid prescribing doctors were from Florida.

Walgreens Previously Fined for Similar Issue by DEA

In 2013, Walgreens paid $80 million in fines to resolve a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) inquiry into its “unprecedented number” of inadequate record keeping and dispensing violation of opioid sales in its Florida pharmacies. CVS faced a similar problem with the DEA in 2015, and agreed to pay $22 million. It is believed that because inadequate records were kept, pharmacists were not able to abide by the law, which states that pharmacists must refuse to fill prescriptions they suspect are for an invalid purpose, such as being resold on the black market.

CVS Claims The Crisis Isn’t Their Fault

Though Walgreens hasn’t commented on the suit, CVS has stated there’s no way they are responsible. “Over the past several years, CVS has taken numerous actions to strengthen our existing safeguards to help address the nation’s opioid epidemic,” CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said. The company claims it has trained its pharmacists to detect potentially illegal sales and has instructed them on their corresponding legal responsibility.

Stay tuned to find out if more companies will be added to this lawsuit, and if further evidence will come to light tying a firmer causal connection between plaintiffs and the opioid crisis.

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