It’s been nearly three months since the Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd and Market streets led to the death of six people and the injury of many more. The injured victims have been lining up in court, with some plaintiffs filing personal injury suits within days of the collapse. And on Tuesday, the first wrongful death suit was filed in the case. (See the full complaint below.)
24-year-old Mary Lea Simpson (right) was shopping in the Salvation Army thrift store on the morning of June 5th when the building collapsed. According to the suit, filed by Simpson’s brother and estate executor, Simpson was trapped in the rubble and asphyxiated.
The suit names the following parties: various Salvation Army entities and employees; developer Richard Basciano and some of his related companies and employees; demolition contractor Griffin Campbell; demolition equipment operator Sean Benschop, who is in jail in lieu of $1.55 million bail; and architect and expediter Plato Marinakos.
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Following US District Judge Anita Brody’s order for NFL players and officials to enter mediation talks in the ongoing concussions case early last month, a settlement has officially been reached—to the tune of $765 million.
Though tentative, officials disclosed the settlement today in a court filing, with Brody writing that the money will go towards “concussion-related compensation,” legal fees and medical research. More than 4,200 former players will be compensated, which works out to about $18,000 a person to pay for medical and legal fees, along with research.
News of the settlement comes just about a week before the NFL is set to start off their season opener. An abrupt end, however, was welcome in this case, with NFL officials expecting the case to overtake the $9-billion-a-year organization.
Now, who’s ready for some football? [Philly.com]
UPDATE: Turns out Philly is all over this case, with lead attorney Gene Locks, founder of the local Locks Law Firm, representing the plaintiffs. Locks, a Princeton grad, filled the quarterback position for a number of seasons in the late ’50s—so, as he says, he knows “what it’s like to get your bell rung.” He just didn’t get $18,000 for putting up with it. [Business Week]
It’s been quite an August for Lafayette Hill-based actor Terrence Howard, who co-stars with Oprah in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which comes out this week.
Last week, his ex-wife accused him of giving her a nasty black eye, which he has denied. Then this week, Philadelphia magazine uncovered details about a violent altercation with a woman in a Norristown diner, and then Gawker pointed out that the actor has been accused of assaulting, attacking or otherwise physically harming women on six different occasions, including a 2000 case involving a flight attendant.
Now, TMZ is reporting that Howard has been evicted from what was once his New York City apartment:
Terrence Howard ain’t got to go home, but he’s gotta get the hell out of a NYC apartment — ’cause the landlord has evicted him, and is now suing the actor for back rent … TMZ has learned.
According to the docs, filed in Manhattan, Howard’s lease on the West Broadway apartment ended back in November, 2012 — but he kept living there until at least May of this year … when he was formally evicted.
We almost feel a little bad for the guy. OK, not really.
Listen to Victor discussing Terrence Howard on the Preston & Steve show on WMMR.
Everyone’s been hit by the ongoing recession in some way, and our nation’s many law firms are no different. But not Philly’s law offices — oh, no. According to a recent survey by Wells Fargo’s legal specialty group, law firms nationally saw only a 1.5 percent increase in growth, while Philly firms saw increases upward of 3 percent. Woo-hoo!
So how’d they do it? Well, Philly’s law firms are willing to law you up on the cheap. On average, they charge less per hour than firms in cities like Washington or New York — a perfect gotcha for those money-conscious defendants who don’t want to blow their stack on something silly like legal council. The result has been a trimming of the large associate staff stables that New York firms often hold, proving once again that in Philly, less really is more. [Philly.com]
Back in 2010, Easton Area School District middle school students Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez made headlines when their school banned the apparently contentious “I Heart Boobies” bracelets hawked by the Keep A Breast Foundation. The case, with the girls represented by the ACLU, went to the US Court of Appeals in February, where it has been argued since. Now, though, with the ACLU calling the court’s ruling a “groundbreaking decision,” an injunction has been upheld against the bracelet ban, freeing up kids to sport them on school grounds.
Overwrought, sure, but this does mark the first time that a higher court has ruled student commentary on current issues as fully protected under the First Amendment. Of the 14 appeals judges, nine sided with Martinez and Hawk’s lawyers, saying that teens “must be free to speak and learn about important issues that affect them.” So, kids, fly your booby bracelets proudly—in the name of freedom. [Metro]
When it comes to marriage, State Attorney General Kathleen Kane proved herself ahead of the political curve earlier this month with her rejection of Pennsylvania’s anti-gay marriage laws despite a fair amount of political pressure from her bosses. Death, however, appears to be too much, even for a democrat. Kane’s office proved that much yesterday with a Schuylkill County judge giving the go-ahead in the prosecution of Philadelphia nurse Barbara Mancini, 57, who the state alleges assisted her 93-year-old father in an apparent suicide back in February of this year.
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It has been nearly two months since the deadly building collapse at 22nd and Market streets. Victims and families of the deceased have been lining up in Philadelphia’s civil court to sue the demolition contractor, the equipment operator (who was later arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter) and building owner Richard Basciano. Read more »
The death knell of the era of the unpaid internship continued tolling today, courtesy again of a couple of lowly interns themselves. Following on the heels of the Fox Searchlight unpaid internship case, Jesse Moore and Monet Eliastam have filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against NBCUniversal (owned by Comcast Corp.). The interns, who worked at Saturday Night Live and MSNBC, claim that they did everything from processing petty cash to making travel arrangements for higher-ups — jobs that seem not to fit into the six-item list of criteria for unpaid internships. The pair worked at least 24 hours a week, and now are seeking compensation for their work. NBCUniversal, meanwhile, began paying interns earlier this year, though they refused to comment on the current litigation. Perhaps one day, though, kids can get paid without having to sue first. [Philly.com]
US District Judge Anita Brody ordered the NFL and some 5,000 players to enter mediation talks to reach a settlement in the ongoing NFL concussions case. Intitially, Judge Brody, based out of Philly, expected to make a ruling on dismissing the case on July 22, but with mediation now a distinct course in the negotiations, a decision will not be reached until September 3 at the very least—when mediator US District Judge Layn Phillips reports back about the talks. Should the players and the NFL not play nice, the case could be thrown out, moved to arbitration, or force the NFL to open its science files regarding the longterm effects of concussions. The power of good sportsmanship, after all, can only do so much—especially in the presence of brain damage. [NFL]
Three lawsuits from men alleging sexual abuse by former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash have been thrown out by a New York judge. Claiming statute of limitations issues, Judge John G. Koeltl tossed the suits today, with attorney Adam D. Horowitz nothing that the suits removal “should not be viewed as a vindication for Kevin Clash or a determination that he is innocent.” The claims, as evaluated by Judge Koeltl, were made more than six years after the men became aware of Clash’s alleged crimes, and further, were made more than three years after the men turned 18. In fact, the suits were filed between eight and 16 years after the alleged sexual abuse that the plaintiffs say left them psychologically damaged. This, however, does not mark an end to Clash’s notorious saga—there’s still one lawsuit pending, where else, in Pennsylvania. [AP]