Committed To Your Legal Rights
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Retired Chicago Police Sgt. Lawrence C. Knasiak was twice commended by the city council for his “dedication, professionalism and personal sacrifice” during a nearly 30-year career with the department.
Apparently that sense of civic duty didn’t extend to cops he supervised, including a Jewish officer Knasiak allegedly called a “bloodsucking parasite,” the Sun-Times is reporting.
On Monday, a federal jury awarded $540,000 to that officer, who was supervised by Knasiak in a Southwest Side police district from 2000 to 2007.
The woman seen on a now-viral video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer said her dress was violently ripped to expose her bare buttocks as she told the officer “I didn’t do anything to you,” according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week and amended Friday.
Marlene Pinnock, 51, said in the lawsuit that she had dealt with the officer in the past, and that he called her by name as she walked in the area of the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles July 1. When she began to leave the area the lawsuit alleges she was “violently thrown to the ground” by the officer.
“He was bamming me in my temples with all the strength he had,” Pinnock said in the lawsuit. Pinnock said she told the officer, “stop, I didn’t do anything to you.”
CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow told the Sacramento Bee newspaper last week that “the need for more (training) has been exposed,” in reference to the video and how the law enforcement agency deals with the mentally ill.
Public health advocates are fuming over a new court ruling that they say could hasten the coming of the next pandemic.
In a 2-1 decision released Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration need not consider banning the use of antibiotics in healthy food-producing animals.
“We believe that this decision allows dangerous practices known to threaten human health to continue,” said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Adding antibiotics to farm animals’ feed, day after day, is not what we should be doing. It’s not what the doctor ordered and it should not be allowed.”
In March 2012, a federal court ruled that the FDA must act on scientific knowledge that the overuse of antibiotics in animals raised for food has contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. That decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the NRDC concerning findings made by the FDA back in 1977. Feeding livestock low doses of penicillin and most tetracyclines, the agency had concluded, might pose a risk to human health. The FDA never acted on or retracted those findings.
By Christy Gutowski Tribune reporter 6:40 p.m. CDT, July 24, 2014
It was supposed to be a workplace exercise to build mutual respect, understanding and empathy between co-workers of an Addison fire safety company.
Instead, according to a DuPage County lawsuit, one employee experienced “pain and suffering in body and mind” when he fell to the floor after being “propelled” into the air during what was supposed to be a team-building event.
Antonio Gonzalez filed the suit earlier this month against Guardian Quest, an Aurora business management consulting firm that held the “diversity inclusion” training workshop two summers ago in an Oakbrook Terrace hotel.
Michael Muskal Los Angeles Times 1:35 p.m. CDT, July 25, 2014
In the second recent scandal to cloud a nationally acclaimed marching band, the director of the Ohio State University band has been dismissed after investigators found a sexualized culture of rituals in the group that bills itself as the “Best Damn Band in the Land.”
Band director Jonathan Waters was fired by the school after an investigation prompted by a parental complaint found the band’s “culture facilitated acts of sexual harassment, creating a hostile environment for students.” The lawyer representing Waters said the band leader will fight to clear his name.
According to the report, musicians were pressured to march through the stadium in their underwear, sing school anthems that had been massaged with bawdy and culturally inappropriate lyrics and force rookies to endure hazing.
By David Ovalle
During a Hialeah Gardens school “Spirit Day,” a teen girl dressed in an inflatable sumo wrestler suit for what was supposed to be a goofy match with a classmate.
But a lawsuit claims the sumo fun went horribly wrong, leaving the teen with severe brain damage after her head repeatedly struck the floor.
The girl, 15-year-old freshman Celaida Lissabet, and her mother late last week sued charter school Mater Academy and Mega Party Events, the company that supplied the inflatable suits, which the lawsuit contends are designed for use in “violent recreational sumo wrestling games.”
Adrian De La Rosa, owner of Mega Party Events, said the girl was outfitted according to instructions from the suit’s manufacturer.
The University of Connecticut will pay nearly $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought forward by five sexual assault victims, the school and the women’s attorney announced Friday, but it will not admit to wrongdoing in the cases.
The lawsuit, filed against UConn on Nov. 1 by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred and co-counsel Nina Pirrotti, came days after four of the women filed two federal complaints to the Department of Education. UConn was accused of mishandling rape cases and refusing to condemn or intervene on reported harassment of female students, in violation of the gender equity law Title IX.
UConn is one of 67 higher education institutions currently under review by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights due to its handling of sexual assault cases.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — One of the two civil rights lawsuits against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold Thursday, ended up costing taxpayers $30,000 in settlement money, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney.
The suit, which was settled in January, accuses Pantaleo and another officer of strip-searching two men on a New Brighton street, pulling down their pants and underwear in broad daylight, in March 2012.
It alleges that Pantaleo and several other officers — Joseph Torres, Ignazio Conca, and Steven Lopez — “unlawfully stopped” a vehicle on Jersey Street in New Brighton. Another officer, Christian Cataldo, arrived at the scene later.
A law firm representing the family of two Gary boys who drowned in an excavation pit in Hobart last month plans to file a $60 million lawsuit.
Terrion Smith, 8, and Donel Smith, 9, fell into the pond at 4040 Missouri St. on June 14.
According to the NWI Times, Chicago law firm Kelley Witherspoon LLP is representing the family in the planned lawsuit against property owner Randy Goldschmidt and Goldschmidt Construction Services.
By Stephanie K. Baer Tribune reporter
3:31 p.m. CDT, July 10, 2014
St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 recently filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former student who alleges the district did nothing to stop fellow drill team members from repeatedly bullying her.
The suit, filed with the Kane County Circuit Court in April, claims that district staff “knew or should have known” that she was verbally and physically bullied, harassed and hazed by fellow drill team members after being diagnosed with ADHD in summer 2010.
At one point in January 2011, another teammate “slapped Plaintiff in the face,” during a team practice, the complaint read. For reporting the incident, according to the complaint, the plaintiff was not allowed to participate in the drill team state competition that March and was also prohibited from participating in other team events and excluded from team emails and other communications.
The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today have moved to intervene in the lawsuit the city of Chicago is prosecuting against pharmaceutical companies over the epidemic of opioid painkiller abuse.
The three newspapers want to intervene to unseal redacted portions of the city’s complaint and to access documents the City of Chicago Law Department obtained from the defendants and from third-party American Pain Foundation prior to filing its lawsuit, according to a filing by Jeffrey I. Cummings, of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C., in Chicago.
The city said it was redacting all references in its complaint to information the drugmakers produced during the city’s pre-filing investigation and that the defendants designated as confidential.
(CBS) – Brian Davidson is a homeless man who panhandles on the streets of Joliet.
Because of that, he says police have harassed, ticketed him and intimidated him time after time. He recalls one night in December when he had a run-in with two police officers downtown.
“Next thing I know, they’re handcuffing me,they throw me in the back of the car and said they’re taking me for a ride,” Davidson tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker.
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:32pm EDT
(Reuters) – A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer punitive damages of more than $23 billion in her lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation’s second-biggest cigarette maker.
The judgment, returned on Friday night, was the largest in Florida history in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a single plaintiff, according to Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the woman’s lawyer, Chris Chestnut.
Cynthia Robinson of Florida Panhandle city of Pensacola sued the cigarette maker in 2008 over the death of her husband, Michael Johnson.
Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA), all workers have the right to engage “concerted activity for mutual aid or protection” and “organize a union to negotiate with [their] employer concerning [their] wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” In six states, including my home state of Illinois, the law even more explicitly protects the rights of workers to discuss their pay.
This is true whether the employers make their threats verbally or on paper and whether the consequences are firing or merely some sort of cold shoulder from management. My managers at the coffee shop seemed to understand that they weren’t allowed to fire me solely for talking about pay, but they may not have known that it is also illegal to discourage employees from discussing their pay with each other. As NYU law professor Cynthia Estlund explained to NPR, the law “means that you and your co-workers get to talk together about things that matter to you at work.” Even “a nudge from the boss saying ‘we don’t do that around here’ … is also unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act,” Estlund added.
Sexual harassment and assault are problems that no one should have to deal with in the workplace. And according to one new study, even science isn’t immune to such problems.
“The study is the most in-depth look yet at sexual harassment in science”
The paper, published in PLOS ONE, surveyed more than 600 anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, zoologists, and other scientists about their experiences while doing fieldwork away from the university.
And the picture was disturbing — there were many experiences of sexual harassment and assault, as well as little awareness of how to report abuses.
Now, the survey was not a random sampling of researchers — so this can’t be used to extrapolate the frequency of sexual harassment. But it’s the best existing data set yet on harassment and assault within science. And the data suggests that this indeed an issue in need of closer attention.
By Riley Snyder
A former Twitter employee is suing the company, alleging that the social media giant fired him for being too old.
The lawsuit was filed by former Twitter employee Peter Taylor, who alleged he was fired last year with no warning and a month after the then-57-year-old underwent surgery to remove kidney stones.
The suit says Taylor saved Twitter millions of dollars during its data center expansion and met all performance review standards before he was fired and replaced by workers in their 20s and 30s.
Taylor, who worked as Twitter’s manager of data center deployment, said in the suit that his supervisor made “at least one critical remark” about his age during the firing. He also alleged that the company, based in San Francisco, refused to accommodate his needs after the kidney-stone surgery and assigned him additional work during his recovery process.
In a statement, Twitter said it would fight the lawsuit.
Kip Hill The Spokesman-Review
Whitman County’s longtime assessor is in federal court in Spokane this week, fighting a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an employee.
Joe Reynolds, who has served as assessor in Whitman County since 1991, described his office as “loose” and that employees “talked nasty at times,” according to court filings. Yet Brenda Arthur, who started working for the office in 2000, says Reynolds crossed the line, touching her inappropriately and making several sexually explicit remarks during the past several years. The alleged harassment prompted Arthur to request time off and to seek medical help for physical and emotional distress.
Whitman County investigated Arthur’s harassment allegations in 2010. It was the third such complaint against Reynolds, according to court records.
By John Caniglia, The Plain Dealer on July 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland has settled a federal lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money with the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, who were killed after a 2012 car chase in which police officers fired 137 shots at Russell’s car, a judge said Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster said in documents that the settlement is dependent upon a judge’s approval in Cuyahoga County Probate Court, where the estates were set up to oversee any awards from the lawsuit. A probate judge would decide whether the settlement is fair and just. Nothing had been filed on it Wednesday.
“The court held a settlement conference with clients and counsel on July 14,” Polster wrote. “As a result of negotiations, the above captioned case has settled, subject to Probate Court approval.”Cleveland settles federal lawsuit with families of police chase victims Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams
By Christy Gutowski Tribune reporter 2:02 p.m. CDT, July 15, 2014
A Naperville teen who struck two pedestrians during a driver’s education class last year has been named in a recent lawsuit.
The student is accused in a DuPage County lawsuit of striking a teen and her friend last July 12, 2013 in Naperville. The suit also names the father of the motorist, since she is a minor, and Indian Prairie School District 204, which owns the vehicle involved in the accident.
According to the police report, the 15-year-old Waubonsie Valley High School student had just made a right turn when she “somehow kept pressing the gas pedal instead of the brake” and lost control.