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Earlier this month, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued a written opinion that will be of interest to any putative personal injury plaintiff who signed an arbitration agreement. In the case, Rita v. Gruber, the court held that, although the selected forum mentioned in the arbitration agreement contained in a nursing home admission contract was unavailable, the fact that the parties had agreed to arbitrate means that the plaintiff’s claim must proceed through arbitration.

ContractThe Facts of the Case

In 2009, the plaintiff helped her father find housing with the defendant nursing home. The plaintiff had power of attorney for her father, and prior to his admission into the defendant nursing home, the plaintiff signed an admission contract. Contained in the contract was a clause agreeing to submit any future claims to arbitration through the National Arbitration Forum (NAF).

In October 2013, the plaintiff’s father died while in the care of the defendant nursing home. In turn, the plaintiff filed medical malpractice and negligence claims against the nursing home. By this time, the NAF was no longer available to take consumer arbitration cases because the NAF was found to have violated several consumer-protection laws when arbitrating claims and another state had suspended the NAF’s ability to take on new cases.

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This week 13 passengers on a USA Holiday tour bus were killed, and many injured, early this morning on a highway in California when the USA Holiday tour bus ran into the back of an 18-wheeler semi truck at a speed great enough to cause the bus to travel approximately 15 feet inside the 18-wheeler’s trailer, causing significant damage to the bus.   The driver was among one of the fatally injured.   Firefighters used ladders to remove the passengers through the windows of the bus.

The tour bus had recently traveled to the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, California, and was returning back to Los Angeles, California when the crash happened early this morning.   It has been reported that the driver of the tour bus was one of the company’s owners.    The USA Holiday tour bus had inspections performed on the bus in 2014, 2015, and 2016, with no mechanical citations reported.   According to news reports, the company also had a satisfactory rating for safety.

At this time the investigation into the crash is still ongoing, therefore officials are unclear as of now whether the driver of the bus was speeding, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or whether he fell asleep behind the wheel while driving.

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The death of a driver who was using a driverless automobile is causing great concern as the number of driverless cars reach the road in substantial numbers. Over the past year I have read story after story describing the coming day when driverless cars take over the roads. A fellow attorney and I were just discussing last week whether driverless cars would make the roads safer and would reduce the number and severity of car and truck crashes. Whether safer roads will come or not, it is imperative that car and technology companies make sure their products are safe. I hope drivers do not come to rely on driverless cars and continue to stay alert and careful while driving.

According to the news reports, the driver died because the cameras on the Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor trailer from the sky and didn’t automatically brake to stop the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will investigate how Tesla’s Autopilot system performed at the time of the crash. Continue reading

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I recently read an article entitled, “We’ve Been Brainwashed Into Saying ‘Car Accident.’”  As I read the article, I could not have agreed more.  The dictionary definition of “accident” is “an event that is not planned or intended.”

While it is true that almost no one intends to crash their vehicle, people make choices that cause automobile crashes.  Some choices that people make include drinking and driving, texting while driving, speeding, following too close, driving fatigued, and driving with known defects, such as faulty brakes.  These are just some of the reasons or causes of car, truck and motorcycle accidents in Arkansas.  For example, when an individual decides to drive drunk, he or she is making a choice. And if a crash occurs, it should not be described as an “accident.” Continue reading

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Taking Xarelto, a drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceutical, can be deadly.

If you have taken the drug Xarelto and experienced internal bleeding, you should contact your doctor and talk to him or her about your symptoms.  Janssen Pharmaceutical  markets the drug called Xarelto.  Xarelto is an anticoagulant drug, also called a blood thinner, used to prevent blood clots in individuals.   Anticoagulants often have a bleeding complication associated with its use, but medications can be administered to reverse the blood thinning effects.   Xarelto is alleged to have a much higher risk because there is no known medication or cure to reverse its blood thinning effect.   Blood thinners have been used for a very long time, but they have been used with the known fact that its effects can be reversed. Continue reading

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This is a post I hope you will never have to put into action.  Would you know what to do if you found yourself inside of a vehicle surrounded with water and your vehicle was sinking?   I recently saw a video of a car that had run off a parking lot into the water and the driver was saved by a good Samaritan that jumped into action and helped get the driver out of the car out before the car sank.

It is estimated that 400 people drown each year in the U.S. because their vehicle was submerged in water.   Thankfully, most of us will never have to experience the terror we would feel if our vehicle was going down while we were trapped inside the vehicle, but having a plan of action, should you find yourself in this type of situation, could save your life.   Every second counts when you’re in this type of situation.

According to information I read, experts say that you will likely have 30-60 seconds to escape your vehicle.    After reading and educating myself about the problem, I have summarized some suggestions made by the experts.

What to do if this happened to you: Continue reading

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These fatalities happen because a driver chooses to drive while intoxicated.   A senseless, avoidable act.

Research tells us that an average person will metabolize one 12-ounce beer and one 5-ounce glass of wine  in one hour.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day an estimated thirty fatalities occur in the United States on our roadways involving drivers who choose to drink and drive.  Tragedies caused by drinking and driving are 100% avoidable.  When a person causes an accident because he or she chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while being intoxicated, that person should be held responsible for any harm they cause another person or family.  The Pfeifer Law Firm represents individuals and their families of those affected by drunk driving accidents.    If you simply have questions, feel free to call us at 501-374-4440. Continue reading

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  approximately 4.5 million dog bite cases are reported each year.   DogsBite.Org reported in the past 11 years, 360 people in the United States were killed by dog bites.   Pit Bulls were responsible for more than half of that number, killing 232 people.   Rottweilers and Pit Bulls were responsible for three-fourths of the 360 deaths.

I represent many clients who are the victims of dog bites and dog attacks in Arkansas.   It is my hope by writing this blog that I am able to bring a little more awareness to the number of dog attacks that happen, and how innocent lives can be forever changed through no fault of their own. Knowledge is power. One of the most important things I can say on this subject is that young children should not be allowed to play with any dog without an adult present, this includes the family pet.   Studies show that over 50% of bites happen at home with a dog that knows the dog bite victim. Continue reading

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A Missouri jury awarded $72 million to a family who lost their loved one to ovarian cancer at age 62. The cancer was linked to her many years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene care. Johnson & Johnson did not warn its consumers that their talc-based products may cause cancer. The evidence presented at trial showed that the company knew of the risk of their cancer-causing products as far back as the 1980s and lied to its consumers by withholding that information.

The Missouri jury sat through a three-week trial and deliberated four hours, and ultimately found that Johnson & Johnson was liable for negligence, fraud, and conspiracy.    The case style is Hogans, et al v Johnson & Johnson, et al, filed in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, Case Number 1422-CC09012.

Approximately one thousand cases have reportedly been filed in a state court in Missouri and approximately two hundred cases have been filed in New Jersey. Many other lawsuits involving talc are expected this year.