March 2009

North Carolina Nursing Home Rampage Leaves Seven Patients and One Nurse Dead and A Visitor and Police Officer with Injuries

March 31, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Carthage, North Carolina, seven nursing home residents are dead following a mass shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center. According to police, an armed man entered the long-term care facility and began shooting at people.

The suspect, Robert Stewart, is the estranged husband of a nursing assistant who works at the North Carolina nursing home, and police believe he may have been targeting her. The alleged gunman was reportedly armed with several weapons when he entered the long-term care facility and began firing at people.

The victims that died were Jessie Musser, 88, Lillian Dunn, 89, Tessie Garner, 88, Louise Decker, 98, Margaret Johnson, 89, John Goldston, 78, Bessie Hendrick, 78, and registered nurse Jerry Avant, 38. The three people who were injured, including a nursing home visitor and a police officer, are expected to survive.

The shooting rampage stopped after Officer Joseph Garner entered the Carthage nursing home alone and shot Stewart in the upper torso area. Stewart, who is in police custody, has yet to issue a statement. He faces multiple counts of first-degree murder and a felony charge of assaulting a police officer.

The Carthage, North Carolina nursing home care facility had received a five-star rating from Medicaid officials.

Nursing Home Security
In addition to providing nursing home residents with the proper care, North Carolina long-term care facilities must ensure that the proper supervisory and security measures are in place so that none of its patients, nursing workers, or visitors are harmed. This means making sure that dangerous or unauthorized individuals cannot indiscriminately enter the home, as well implementing systems and procedures so that nursing home residents who need specialized supervision cannot leave the premises without permission or a companion.

Inadequate security and failure to provide the proper supervisory and safety measures at a North Carolina nursing home can be grounds for a nursing home neglect lawsuit or wrongful death case if someone gets hurt or dies.

Alleged gunman’s wife worked at nursing home, police say,, March 30, 2009

Marital discord suspected as motive in North Carolina nursing home rampage, Kansas, March 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Inadequate Security News, Justia

North Carolina Pediatrician Accused of Child Sex Abuse Agrees to Stop Practicing Medicine Forever

March 23, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A prominent North Carolina pediatrician accused of child sexual abuse has signed a consent order signaling his agreement to stop practicing medicine in this state or anywhere else. The North Carolina medical board approved the consent order against Dr. Mel Levine on Friday. Levine, who had voluntarily suspended his license last April, is a defendant in a number of child sex abuse lawsuits. He continues to maintain his innocence.

Levine, 69, is accused of sexually molesting young boys while examining them. While the North Carolina Medical Board had been ready to provide key testimony claiming that Levine had performed genital exams on five patients without the presence of a chaperone or a parent and that these exams were not medically indicated or properly documented, Levine’s attorney says his client had also been ready to give testimony that the exams were medically indicated and within the bounds of standard medical practice.

Complaints about Levine go back more than 20 years. One child sex abuse lawsuit, filed against the doctor last year, accuses him of molesting at least seven boys. The plaintiff, who says Levine sexually abused him beginning when he was an 8-year-old boy during the 80’s, says the doctor engaged in masturbation, genital fondling, and other acts of sexual assault with him during unnecessary physical exams.

Child Sexual Abuse by Physicians
Physicians are supposed to provide patients with a certain level of medical care. Failure to provide that care or abuse of that care by physically or sexually assaulting a patient could be grounds for a North Carolina medical malpractice claim or a child sexual abuse lawsuit.

Pediatrician Agrees to Stop Practicing After Abuse Charges, New York TImes, March 20, 2009

Physician accused of sex abuse of children,, April 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Eight Common Myths about Child Sexual Abuse, The Leadership Council

Sexual Abuse by Medical Professionals,

Family Files $50 Million Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Chimp Owner for Mauling Incident

March 18, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 55-year-old woman remains in the hospital in critical condition after a friend’s pet chimpanzee attacked her. Charla Nash’s nose, hands, eyelids, and lips were ripped off and a number of her facial bones were crushed during the 12-minute chimp attack that took place in February 2009. She also has a traumatic brain injury and she may be blind. This week, her family filed a $50 million personal injury lawsuit on her behalf.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys are accusing the chimp’s owner, Sandra Herold, of failing to take the necessary steps to make sure that people were safe around Travis. The 14-year-old chimpanzee had a history of erratic and violent behavior.

Their personal injury lawsuit contends that Herold was aware that Travis was aggravated on the day she invited Nash over to assist her in bringing the chimp back into the house. The complaint says that because of the tragic accident, Nash has suffered serious psychological and emotional trauma, debilitating physical pain, won’t be able to retain her job, will lose her benefits and income, and won’t be able to enjoy life the way she did before the accident.

Herold believes the chimp attacked her friend because she had a new hairstyle and thought she might be a danger. A police officer who arrived at the injury scene shot Travis dead. Herold, who tried to pull the chimpanzee off Nash, had to be hospitalized for her injuries.

Chimpanzees as Pets
According to the Chimp Haven Web site, chimpanzees are wild animals who should not be treated as pets. While they might behave like dependent, helpless animals when they are young, they will exhibit a strength and cleverness by age 5 or 6 that will be very difficult to handle. They can possess up to 10 times the strength of human beings and can be very dangerous to be around.

If you were injured because you were attacked by someone else’s animal, you may be entitled to North Carolina personal injury compensation.

Family of chimp attack victim seeks $50 million,, March 18, 2009

Chimpanzees as Pets

Related Web Resources:
Worst Chimp Attack Ever, Esquire, February 17, 2009

Wild animals are not people; only people are people,, March 18, 2009

Charlotte Multi-Truck Crash May Have Been Caused by Drowsy FedEx Trucker

March 11, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Charlotte, three people sustained injuries on Wednesday when a Fedex truck collided with a tractor-trailer and another truck on I-85 close to Ikea Boulevard. According to troopers, who are still investigating the cause of the North Carolina truck collision, the FedEx trucker may have fallen asleep while driving.

The Charlotte motor vehicle accident occurred around 2:30 in the morning while two trucks and a street sweeper were on the interstate. The FedEx truck rear-ended one trailing truck, which then hit the other truck.

One truck accident victim was transported to Carolinas Medical Center, while two other people were taken to the non-emergency unit at CMC University. According to troopers, they believe the FedEx trucker may have fallen asleep at the wheel because he doesn’t appear to have stepped on the breaks before the rear-end truck crash happened.

Drowsy Driving
Drowsing driving is one kind of distracted driving that can lead to serious injuries for the sleeping driver and those around him or her.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accidents tend to exhibit the following characteristics:
• There were no other occupants in the vehicle with the drowsy driver.
• The auto accident is a serious one.
• Drowsy driving accidents usually happens early in the morning or afternoon or late at night.
• The motorist failed to take action to avoid the auto accident.
• Can result in single-vehicle collisions.

Motorists who are most at risk of engaging in drowsy driving:
• Drivers who are under medication.
• Exhausted drivers who are not getting enough sleep.
• Drivers who are chronically sleepy.
• People with sleeping disorders.
• People who have had too much to drink.
• Shift workers.
• Young motorists.

Driver may have fallen asleep in I-85 accident,, March 11, 2009

Facts about Drowsy Driving,

Related Web Resources:
Drowsy Driving and Automobile Crashes, NHTSA

Truck Accident Web Resources, Justia

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a Charlotte truck accident, you may be entitled to North Carolina personal injury compensation.

US Supreme Court Upholds Patient’s Right to Sue Drug Maker for Dangerous Drug Even if it Has FDA Approval

March 5, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to the pharmaceutical industry by upholding the right of patients to sue a drug maker for damages over a dangerous drug, even if the medication has Food and Drug Administration approval. While the Bush Administration told the court last year that a drug maker should be exempt from such lawsuits alleging personal injury or death, the judges, in a 6-3 decision on Wednesday, ruled otherwise.

They upheld a $6.7 million verdict that ruled in favor of Diana Levine, a musician who had her right arm amputated when she developed gangrene after being injected with Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug made by Wyeth. Levine has already settled her medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic that administered the drug to her via IV-push, causing her artery to accidentally be injected with the powerful drug. Her dangerous drug lawsuit against Wyeth accused the drug manufacturer of failing to properly warn consumers of the risks that could arise from taking the anti-nausea medication even though its warning to use a great deal of caution when injecting the drug met FDA standards.

Levine won her civil lawsuit in Vermont civil court and Wyeth appealed the decision, arguing that federal law protected it from such lawsuits. The Court, however, found that Wyeth failed to prove that failure-to-claim warnings conflicted with federal laws regarding drug labeling. Wyeth doesn’t manufacture Phenergan any more.

This Supreme Court decision paves the way for lower court judges to allow state liability cases against drug makers to proceed even if the federal government is charged with regulating the area.

Dangerous Drugs
Unfortunately, despite regulation by the federal government, there are dangerous drugs that manage to enter the marketplace and cause injury or death to patients. Drug manufacturers must be held accountable for their dangerous or defective drugs.

Supreme Court ruling supports drug lawsuits, USA Today, March 4, 2009

Supreme Court backs patients’ right to sue drug makers, Baltimore Sun, March 4, 2009

Musician gets high court OK to sue Wyeth, March 4, 2009

Related Web Resource:

Wyeth V Levine, US Supreme Court Opinion (PDF)

North Carolina Bus Accident Sends Students to the Hospital for Treatment of Minor Injuries After Car Goes Under the Bus

March 3, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Lillington, a number of five high school students and a car driver were transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries following a North Carolina school bus accident. The traffic collision occurred yesterday morning when the school bus was rear-ended by a vehicle at the intersection of US 101 and Lafayette Road.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says the car, driven by Lillington driver Maureen Denise McCouat, went under the bus, seriously damaging her vehicle and causing minor damage to the school bus.

This is not the only Harnett County bus accident to happen recently. A number of week ago, another car slid under a school bus during a North Carolina traffic accident. Fortunately, no one was injured. Following the motor vehicle crash, the car driver waved to the occupants of the school bus before driving off. The motorist has yet to be apprehended. On Friday, a local elementary school bus was almost involved in an auto accident when another motorist swerved in front of it.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which defines a school transportation-related crash as a traffic accident involving an actual school bus or a vehicle being used as a school bus that takes kids to and from school or to school-related activities:

• 1,541 people have been killed in US school transportation-related crashes since 1997.
• 73% of these fatalities were riding in the other vehicles when the motor vehicle accident happened.
• 7% of the people that died were riding in the school bus when the traffic crash occurred.
• 20% of deaths involved pedestrians and pedalcyclists.
• Between 1997 and 2008, 27 school bus passengers and 16 bus drivers died in 36 single-vehicle accidents.
• 32 passengers and 34 drivers died in the 54-multiple vehicle crashes involving a school bus.

Driver Slams Under Bus: Students Go To Hospital With Minor Injuries, Dunn Daily Record, March 3, 2009

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Related Web Resources:
School bus injuries much higher than thought, MSNBC/AP, November 6, 2006

National Coalition for School Bus Safety

North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm Announces the 2011 Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program Winners

March 1, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

For the ninth year in a row, The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo LLP has awarded 15 high school seniors a $2,500 college scholarship each because of their grades, community involvement, SAT scores, and original presentations educating other teens about the dangers of underage drinking and driving. Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm would like to congratulate:

• Anna Marie DiMeo, Bessamar High School
• Casey Swoope, Central Academy of Technology
• Chelsea Barnes, South View High School
• Christian Payne, Albemarle High School
• Emilia Moncayo, Myers Park High School
• Harrison Brown, West Mecklenburg High School
• Imani Augustus, Ardrey Kell High School
• Jay Johnson, South Caldwell High School
• Kailey Filter, Marvin Ridge High School
• Mark Holcombe, Northwest Cabarrus High School
• Marni Krehnbrink, East Lincoln High School
• Patience Wall, Richmond High School
• Sara Carter, St. Stephens High School
• Savannah Bruns, Fred T. Foard High School
• Zachary Porfiris, Mooresville High School

Visit The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP online to view these students’ winning presentations, which come in various formats (including PowerPoint, brochure, web design, and video).

Although our North Carolina injury lawyers are very familiar with the catastrophic consequences that underage drinking and driving can wreak on the lives of the victims, their family and friends, and the driver, we were stunned to find out that one-third of our scholarship winners have been directly affected by drunk driving.

This year, we received almost 350 scholarship applications and our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm was impressed by the quality of the presentations sent by so many students from the North Carolina and South Carolina counties of Gaston, Mecklenburg, Catawba, Lincoln, Union, Cleveland, Rowan, Stanley, Caldwell, Iredell, Burke, Alexander, Scotland, Robson, Anson, Richmond, Cumberland, Lancaster, York, Marlboro, Chesterfield, and Dillon.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo remains committed to fighting drunk driving and working with teenagers to discourage them from underage drinking and riving. Each year, we also sponsor the Arrive Alive®: Don’t Drink and Drive! Program. Accompanied by guest speakers, we visit different high schools where we talk to teens about the dangers of drunk driving.

More Blog Posts:

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm Invites Local High School Students to Join the Fight Against Underage Drunk Driving and Possibly Win a College Scholarship, North Carolina Car accident Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2011

North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm and Former Winston-Salem TV Anchor Join Forces to Combat Drunk Driving Among Teen Drivers, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 22, 2010

NHTSA Ranks North Carolina and South Carolina as Two US States With Greatest Increase In DUI Deaths, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 2, 2008


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