FRITZ & BIANCULLI PARTNER SECURES $10 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR PHILADELPHIA UNION CARPENTER AT CENTER CITY CONSTRUCTION SITE

From Patch

Mike Little represents a new group of victims in the opioid crisis—those hurt at work because of another worker’s addiction 

Mike Little’s life will never be the same after a February 2016 construction site accident in Center City left him unable to work ever again as an union carpenter. Little’s right leg was permanently injured when he slipped and fell on an icy surface after a water pipe burst. A settlement awarded Little a sum of $10 million, said his attorney, Brian Fritz, of the law firm Fritz and Bianculli in Philadelphia.

Fritz said that two of the defendants funded the settlement. Sulpizio Mechanical paid $1,950,000 in damages and First State Mechanical paid $8,050,000 for a total settlement of $10 million.

A resident of Northeast Philadelphia, Little, now 43, was working as a union carpenter as a member of Local 158 on the One Water Street Project. Contractor, First State Mechanical, was responsible for the work that ruptured the water line when the accident occurred. Its subcontractor, Sulpizio, drilled into the water line. Then, First State’s supervisor, an admitted opioid abuser, had abandoned the resulting icy conditions to allegedly visit a break truck. As a result, nothing was in place to warn workers of the unexpected hazard, and Little was injured.

“This case and settlement involve a whole new group of victims of the opioid epidemic – those hurt on the job site as a result of someone else’s addiction,” Fritz said. “And, unfortunately, this may be the first reported settlement in such a case, but it will not be the last.”

Since the accident, Little’s life has taken many bad turns, especially for his close family. His younger brother, Stephen, passed away and Little was unable to be a pall bearer at his funeral. Before that, his wife, Melissa, suffered her own health problems and he wasn’t physically able to care for her. As well as, the multiple surgeries he has undergone and an uncertain future he continuously faced.

“This case is a wake-up call to all construction contractors,” said Fritz. “The opioid epidemic is everywhere—including the construction site. Contractors have a responsibility to make sure they only employ safe and sober individuals. Not doing so presents a real risk of physical harm to the addict, as well as others on the jobsite, and today’s settlement indicates the possible economic consequences that employer faces too.”

ATTORNEY BRIAN FRITZ WINS $4.6 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR GLOUCESTER COUNTY, NJ RESIDENT

$4.6 million settlement for Gloucester County woman injured in car crash caused by a volunteer firefighter.  Patch.com

October 28, 2019   

A Gloucester County woman who was permanently injured in a 2018 car accident received a court-approved settlement agreement for $4.6 million today. Attorney Brian Fritz of the law firm Fritz and Bianculli handled the case and said his client Melinda Baker’s life will never be the same.

Baker, who was 56 at the time of the accident, suffered life-threatening injuries on January 26, 2018 after being struck by a speeding car driven by Richard Campbell, a volunteer firefighter of the Wenonah Volunteer Fire Company. While racing to the scene of a fire, Campbell blew through a red light and struck the car that Baker was driving. As a result of the accident, Baker, a woman who had climbed mountains during her foreign missionary work, will never again be able to climb a simple flight of stairs. She now uses a wheelchair and a chair lift to move inside her home.

“This settlement agreement gives Melinda Baker a financial safety net that she desperately needed in the aftermath of a horrific accident that decimated her body and destroyed her quality of life,” said Fritz, who litigated the case. “Although we’re grateful to have secured this settlement for her, no amount of money can buy back all that she’s lost. This kind and gentle woman has touched so many lives through her missionary work and she continues to inspire everyone she meets with her faith, strength and courage in the face of such adversity. Her spirit is amazing.”

Attorney Kristy McCabe who co-counseled the case with Fritz, explained that defendant Richard Campbell was cited for careless driving, failure to obey a traffic signal and creating a risk of a motor vehicle crash. She also stated that the officer also found Campbell to be in violation of Title 39:3-54:12, “Rights of Motor Vehicle with Light in Operation,” which provides in relevant part: “Nothing contained herein is intended to grant to any member of the volunteer fire any privileges or exemptions denied to the drivers of other vehicles, and such members displaying emergency warning lights shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and shall obey all the traffic laws of this state”.

When emergency medical team arrived at the scene of the accident, Baker was trapped in her vehicle and the paramedics could not safely remove her. The paramedics had to wait for the “jaws of life” to arrive in order to extricate her from the vehicle. Paramedics told her they needed to take her to Cooper University Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center. Baker lost consciousness during transport to the hospital.

Baker had sustained more than 14 fractures to bones in legs, neck, arms and ribs, tremendous blood loss and a dissected artery. Baker endured many painful surgeries in the months following the traumatic accident.

Her life will never be the same.

Prior to the accident she had been living and working as a missionary in Malaysia where her help to transition women who had been subjected to sex trafficking. A very spiritual woman, Melinda’s passion was for missionary work and what she felt was her true calling in life. Her plan was always to return to her missionary work. However, that is no longer an option for her. In spite of that, her faith in God is stronger than ever.

“When the accident happened, I prayed to God for help,” Baker said. “God first sent me the paramedics to pull me from the wreck, then sent me the doctors to stabilize my body, and next He sent me Brian Fritz to help get me through the rest of my life.”

Brian Fritz further indicated that there was no question of liability in this tragic matter. Richard Campbell caused the accident. Campbell was an agent of the Wenonah Volunteer Fire Company. Wenonah Fire was responsible for Campbell’s reckless actions and inactions.

 

Parents of Ariana Williams file Civil Lawsuit

Ronald and Chavella Williams, the still-grieving parents of Ariana Williams who died in a horrific car crash on September 23, 2016 while in the passenger seat of a car driven by intoxicated former Burlington Township police officer Justin Rodriguez, today filed a civil lawsuit against Rodriguez and New Jersey establishments that the Williams family alleges over-served Rodriguez alcohol the night of the fatal car crash, despite Rodriguez appearing to be visibly intoxicated. The Williams family is being represented by the law firm of Fritz Goldenberg & Bianculli, LLC, which also represented the Williams family during the criminal proceedings against Rodriguez. Rodriguez‎, 26, recently pleaded guilty to Vehicular Homicide and Driving Under the Influence in the tragic death of Ariana Williams, who was just 27-years old at the time of her death. Rodriguez is currently incarcerated at the South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, NJ, where he is serving a four-year sentence.

“Justin Rodriguez’s guilty plea of Vehicular Homicide and Driving Under the Influence in the recent criminal case against him was only the start of the Williams family’s pursuit of justice in their beloved daughter’s tragic death,” says Fritz Goldenberg & Bianculli lead partner Brian Fritz. “Ariana’s family said from the outset of this nightmare that they intended to hold accountable every individual and every establishment involved in their young daughter’s tragic death. We will not cease until we have gotten justice for Ariana.”

Justin ‎Rodriguez, who was off duty from his job as a police officer on the Burlington Township, NJ, Police Department at the time of the fatal car accident, was drunk behind the wheel of his Acura Integra, after being served alcohol over extended periods of time by two bars in the area, Ruby Tuesday in Hamilton, NJ and the Brickwall Tavern in Burlington, NJ. Police estimate Rodriguez was driving drunk at 86 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour speed zone when he lost control of his car and crashed into a pole in Florence, NJ. Rodriguez was ejected from his car and sustained injuries, but has since recovered. Ariana Williams, who was from the town of Florence, NJ, sustained catastrophic head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Williams family’s civil suit was filed today by Fritz Goldenberg & Bianculli in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County, Civil Law Division.

Tips for Choosing Safe Toys

warning for child

In an earlier blog, we told you about toys to avoid, toys that pose a serious risk of injury to your child. Here are some ways that you can minimize the risk that your child will be hurt by a toy.

  • Read the label before you buy a toy—Find out what the toy is made from and where it’s made. You’re usually better off buying something locally made, as opposed to something built in China or Japan.
  • Choose toys that are made of more natural substances—Wooden toys with no finish or cloth toys are usually safer than plastics or metal toys.
  • Be willing to spend a little more for better quality—More often than not, the more expensive toys are less likely to break, have fewer small parts, and will last a lot longer.
  • Avoid kids’ jewelry and cosmetics—You don’t know what kinds of chemicals are in a kid’s cosmetic kit. In addition, children’s “jewelry” tends to have lots of small pieces that can present choking hazards. Kids’ jewelry can also have high levels of lead
  • Check out reports on a toy before you buy it—HealthyToys.org maintains a database that can help you determine any potential risks with a toy.
  • You can also sign up to receive recall alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission—Visit the CPSC website for more information.

At the law firm of Fritz & Bianculli LLC, we have more than 30 years of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

Dangers of Button Batteries to Children

Batteries fitting

Lithium “button” batteries have replaced the more familiar alkaline batteries in many electronic devices, from remote controls and key fobs to hearing aids, cameras, and even holiday ornaments. Unfortunately, they are also prevalent in children’s games and toys, posing a significant risk of serious injury. Safety organizations say the shiny objects catch the eye of many small children, who do what small children do with almost everything—put them in their mouths.

According to statistics, more than 3,000 children were taken to the emergency room last year after swallowing a button battery. Doctors confirm that ingesting the batteries can cause serious health issues, even death. The batteries can lodge in the throat, posing a risk of suffocation or choking. In addition, the batteries carry an electrical current that may react with the child’s saliva, resulting in serious internal burns. Some can also become lodged in a nasal passage or ear, causing risk of burns or other injuries.

Symptoms that Your Child May Have Swallowed a Button Battery

Because the batteries are so small, it may be difficult to observe that your child has swallowed the battery. Typical symptoms include:

If you suspect that your child has swallowed a button battery, immediately go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t give the child an emetic or any medication for constipation, and don’t give them anything to eat or drink. In fact, don’t try any medical procedures, such as the Heimlich maneuver. Leave all treatment to the professionals.

Contact the Law Offices of Fritz & Bianculli, LLC

At Fritz & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered nearly $200 million in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

The Most Dangerous Toys on the Market

Dangerous Toys

With the vast number of toys on the market, it can be difficult, as a parent, to ensure that the products you buy for your children are safe. WATCH (World Against Toys Causing Harm) is a non-profit organization that monitors toys and toy safety. WATCH has just released its annual list of the most dangerous toys being sold. Here are some to beware of:

  • Kids Time Baby Elephant Pillow—The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that pillows can obstruct an infant’s breathing, leading to suffocation, and has banned them from use by children under the age of one. This purple elephant pillow has no product warnings or age recommendations.
  • The Slime Ball Slinger—Essentially a slingshot that will launch a gooey mess more than 30 feet, this product has been tied to serious eye injuries. There are also air guns that shoot foam balls, which can have the same result, particularly since those are often marketed for close-up head-to-head combat.
  • Peppy Pups—According to industry standards, any string attached to a crib toy must not exceed 12 inches in length. The “leash” on this puppy is more than 30 inches long and poses a serious risk of strangulation.
  • Flying Heroes Superman Launcher—This toy launches a Superman action figure from a hand-held device. The product package warns not to aim at anyone’s face, but it’s easy for children not old enough to read to get hold of the toy.
  • The Warcraft Doomhammer—This is exactly what the product implies—a big plastic hammer. But it encourages use as a blunt object and provides no product warning about the potential for injury by beating someone over the head with it.

Contact the Law Offices of Fritz & Bianculli, LLC

At Fritz & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

McDonald’s Slip and Fall Case Settles

A Pennsylvania man who was injured in a slip and fall at a McDonald’s in Ardmore has apparently settled his lawsuit against owners of the franchise. According to court records, plaintiff Richard Solomon has agreed to accept $48,500 to drop his claim against Tanway Enterprises, L.P., the owner of the franchise. Solomon alleged that he was a customer in the Ardmore restaurant on July 30, 2013, when he slipped and fell, allegedly on a liquid substance on the floor in the main part of the store. His attorneys say the defendants were negligent in remedying the dangerous situation, and that Solomon’s fall was a direct result of the slippery floor.

Court officials say that it appeared that the matter had been settled in March, but that the defendant had refused to send a settlement agreement or make any payments on the agreed-upon settlement until Solomon provided them with a no-pay or final demand letter from Medicare. Solomon’s attorney, Alexander Kroupa, informed defendants by e-mail that Solomon was not eligible for Medicare, but defendants still refused to honor the terms of the settlement, even after Kroupa sent them Solomon’s insurance card, which indicated that he did not qualify for Medicare at the time of the settlement.

Initially, Kroupa filed a motion with the court, asking it to compel McDonald’s to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement. He sought interest and daily penalties for the defendant’s failure to comply. However, on August 15, Kroupa withdrew the motion and the court then entered an order to settle.

Contact Fritz & Bianculli

At the law office of Fritz & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered nearly $200 million in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

Danger on the tracks

A pedestrian was killed today on railroad tracks in Ridley Park by an Amtrak train.

Although it is unclear why this person was on the track, often pedestrian railroad accidents happen because of timing issues with the the crossing signals and arms. People think they have time to cross the tracks because the crossing arms and lights have not been activated, when in fact the signals are actually malfunctioning and a fast moving train is approaching.

Unbeknownst to most people, it is quite difficult to hear a train approaching from behind in time to get out of its way.

Amtrak and its safety policies will again be brought to the forefront, as the investigation into this sad accident and why the train did not see the pedestrian or stop in time to avoid striking the person continues.

To find out more, visit the Channel 6 ABC Action News website.

Importance of Preserving Evidence – Why You Need to Hire an Attorney Early in the Legal Process

When you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness, the first and most important thing to do is get the medical care you need. But the next thing you should consider is hiring an attorney to protect your interests. One of the principal reasons? A lawyer will be able to recognize any evidence critical to your case and can take steps to ensure that that evidence is preserved.

There are many good reasons why it’s important to take immediate action to preserve evidence:

  • People move, die or forget-If there were witnesses to your accident, you want to take action as promptly as possible to get a statement. There’s no guarantee that the witness will be there tomorrow, let alone a year or two from now when your case might go to trial. The accident simply wasn’t as important to them as it was to you, so they have no motivation to be easily found, and no motivation to retain a clear picture of what happened. Without continual refreshing, memories can quickly fade. Your attorney will swiftly gather and preserve all relevant evidence.
  • Landscapes change-You may have been in a car accident or hurt on the job. It’s imperative that you preserve evidence of any physical circumstances that may have contributed to your accident. Was the weather bad? Was there a malfunctioning traffic signal? Was the road in disrepair? Take pictures of everything, including damage to your vehicle, as well as any injuries you suffered. Without that type of physical evidence, it will all be speculative to a jury.
  • Evidence gets lost-It just happens-critical evidence seems to get legs and disappear. Your attorney can make certain that doesn’t happen.

Contact Fritz & Bianculli

At the law office of Fritz & Bianculli, we have more than 30 years of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered nearly $200 million in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

Task Forces Crack Down on Nursing Home Abuse

Federal officials announced last week that 10 new regional task forces have been formed to investigate nursing home neglect and abuse across the country. The task forces will combine the efforts of state, local and federal authorities and agencies in California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington.

The combined efforts come in the aftermath of a Health and Human Services report that concluded that approximately one in three residents in American nursing homes have experienced harmful events during a stay in the last five years. Benjamin Mizer, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, pointed to the 2014 case involving Extendicare Health Care Services. That company ended up paying $38 million to settle an action under the False Claims Act alleging, among other things, that the company had failed to provide enough care to patients and didn’t follow protocols to prevent bedsores and falls.  The company admitted no wrongdoing but entered into a five-year agreement that it would use an independent quality monitor to oversee the quality of the care it provides.

Nursing Home Abuse is a serious problem that often goes unaddressed. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse contact us for a free consultation.

At the law office of Fritz & Bianculli, over 30 combined years of experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Philadelphia area. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts in cases that other law firms initially turned down.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at 215-458-2222 or send us an e-mail.