Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP http://www.kbklawyers.com Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP — Full Service Plaintiff’s Law Firm Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:16:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.3 Will the XFL Lead to More CTE? http://www.kbklawyers.com/will-xfl-lead-cte/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/will-xfl-lead-cte/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:00:14 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18963 Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck February 16, 2018 After nearly two decades, the controversial XFL football league is making a comeback, just as concerns mount about the safety of young athletes involved in contact sports. Last month, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL, a football league that lasted one season in its attempt to take down the NFL. The league’s lone season came in 2001, and over the last seventeen years one thing has become plainly clear about professional, amateur and even youth football – playing the game almost guarantees some form of brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can come in a variety of ways, from car crashes on a freeway to falling down a flight of stairs. However, one way to guarantee these types of injuries is for athletes to put on helmets and fly around the football field at full speed attempting to tackle and hurt one another. Over the last decade and a half the medical community and general public has also learned about CTE and its effects on professional athletes. CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that can […]

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Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck

February 16, 2018

After nearly two decades, the controversial XFL football league is making a comeback, just as concerns mount about the safety of young athletes involved in contact sports. Last month, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL, a football league that lasted one season in its attempt to take down the NFL. The league’s lone season came in 2001, and over the last seventeen years one thing has become plainly clear about professional, amateur and even youth football – playing the game almost guarantees some form of brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries can come in a variety of ways, from car crashes on a freeway to falling down a flight of stairs. However, one way to guarantee these types of injuries is for athletes to put on helmets and fly around the football field at full speed attempting to tackle and hurt one another. Over the last decade and a half the medical community and general public has also learned about CTE and its effects on professional athletes.

CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that can be found in people who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. Hundreds of retired, and even some current, NFL players have come forward to be tested and shown that they do indeed have this terrible disease. CTE can have a tremendous impact upon someone’s impulse control as well as result in heightened aggression, depression and paranoia. The other sport to see some serious and often tragic cases of CTE is professional wrestling. Recently, three former wrestlers, including fan favorites “Mr. Fuji” and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka were diagnosed with the malady as they joined more than 60 wrestlers who sued the WWE alleging they suffered the injuries from their time wrestling. Thousands of retired NFL players sued the NFL and are still battling over a billion-dollar settlement to help them pay for the medical treatment they need to help cope with the brain injuries they’ve suffered.

For consumers and workers alike, proper safety measures must be put in place in order to prevent any injury to the brain. For consumers, this means having proper helmets while riding bicycles and effective seatbelts while driving. For workers, this can mean proper training, safety precautions and not being put in harm’s way by employers. For Mr. McMahon, who is already being sued by past employees for the harm they’ve suffered, to be entering into an industry where future brain trauma is virtually guaranteed, there are a number of warning signs. Will athletes in his new XFL be offered proper protections while playing? Will the need to gain ratings lead to the encouragement of more violent play on the field? Given that wrestlers are known for jumping off of structures several stories high in order to wow an arena, it is not impossible to imagine a football league where similar violent behavior is rewarded.

Professional athletes and all California employees are worthy of proper workplace protections in order to prevent injuries to the brain, spinal cord and other vital body parts. State and federal legislatures should be wary and keep a keen eye on the progress of this league and how it will treat its players.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a severe and debilitating loss that occurs when the brain is strike or jolted from outside forces. Greater than 30% of all injury and related deaths car accidents result in TBI. Millions of dollars are required to care for these victims over their lifetime.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to negligence or wrongdoing, you must learn more about your rights. Give one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP a call today to learn more about personal injury claims that involve TBI and to explore your options.

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Lawyers Faced With Emojis and Emoticons Are All ¯\\(ツ)\/¯ http://www.kbklawyers.com/lawyers-faced-emojis-emoticons-%c2%af%e3%83%84-%c2%af/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/lawyers-faced-emojis-emoticons-%c2%af%e3%83%84-%c2%af/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:27:24 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18959 The Wall Street Journal January 29, 2018 Lawyers gathered at the Atlanta office of a big law firm were debating a head-scratching legal question. What does the emoji known as the “unamused face” actually mean?

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The Wall Street Journal

January 29, 2018

Lawyers gathered at the Atlanta office of a big law firm were debating a head-scratching legal question. What does the emoji known as the “unamused face” actually mean?

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Brian Kabateck spoke to Star-Telegram about American Airlines Picking Lands’ End to Make New Uniforms http://www.kbklawyers.com/brian-kabateck-spoke-star-telegram-american-airlines-picking-lands-end-make-new-uniforms/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/brian-kabateck-spoke-star-telegram-american-airlines-picking-lands-end-make-new-uniforms/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:13:02 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18957 Star Telegram January 10, 2018 American Airlines picks Lands’ End to make new uniforms, but not all employees happy

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Star Telegram

January 10, 2018

American Airlines picks Lands’ End to make new uniforms, but not all employees happy

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Brian Kabateck spoke to FOX46 regarding American Airlines http://www.kbklawyers.com/brian-kabateck-spoke-fox46-regarding-american-airlines/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/brian-kabateck-spoke-fox46-regarding-american-airlines/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:04:17 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18954 January 11, 2018

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January 11, 2018

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The Dark Business of Body Brokers http://www.kbklawyers.com/dark-business-body-brokers/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/dark-business-body-brokers/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:10:31 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18940 Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck February 9, 2018 Donating a deceased loved one’s body to science can provide much needed medical training while the organs can be used to save lives. Thousands of Americans are more than willing to sign up to donate their bodies for research and other medical purposes after they’re gone. But in the U.S., a body’s trip from a morgue to a medical school or lab can be gruesome and shady. Some don’t make it at all; instead bits and pieces of donated loved ones end up decomposing in parking lots, body parts might be rented out, and some parts end up being tossed into incinerators. This happens when certain companies approach dying people or families of the recently deceased, usually through a funeral home connection. The companies then convince people or their families to donate a human body for free, usually by promising that they will cover all the funeral expenses. The companies then take the bodies to an unregulated facility where they’re kept whole or dismembered with chainsaws and sold for profit to medical training facilities, research labs, and other buyers. Body brokers or non-transplant tissue banks, are distinct from the organ […]

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Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck

February 9, 2018

Donating a deceased loved one’s body to science can provide much needed medical training while the organs can be used to save lives. Thousands of Americans are more than willing to sign up to donate their bodies for research and other medical purposes after they’re gone. But in the U.S., a body’s trip from a morgue to a medical school or lab can be gruesome and shady. Some don’t make it at all; instead bits and pieces of donated loved ones end up decomposing in parking lots, body parts might be rented out, and some parts end up being tossed into incinerators. This happens when certain companies approach dying people or families of the recently deceased, usually through a funeral home connection. The companies then convince people or their families to donate a human body for free, usually by promising that they will cover all the funeral expenses. The companies then take the bodies to an unregulated facility where they’re kept whole or dismembered with chainsaws and sold for profit to medical training facilities, research labs, and other buyers.

Body brokers or non-transplant tissue banks, are distinct from the organ and tissue transplant industry, which the U.S. government regulates. Currently, there are no federal laws restricting the sale of cadavers or body parts for use in research or education. Few state laws provide any oversight and almost anyone is able to dissect and sell human body parts. In return for a body, brokers will typically cremate a portion of the donor at no charge and send the ashes to family members. But in one case reported by Reuters, a family donated their father’s body to science with the promise of receiving part of his ashes, only to find out that they only sent the family a jar full of sand. By offering free cremation, brokers appeal to low-income families at their most vulnerable. Many have drained their savings paying for a loved one’s medical treatment and can’t afford a traditional funeral, so when body brokers approach a family with no means to bury their loved one, this could sound like their best option.

Despite the industry’s critically important role in medicine, no national registry of body brokers is available. Many can operate anonymously, making deals to obtain cadavers and sell the parts. When a body is donated, few states provide rules governing dismemberment or use, or offer any rights to a donor’s next of kin. Bodies and parts can be bought, sold and leased. This can make it difficult to track what becomes of the bodies of donors, let alone ensure that the bodies are handled with dignity. In most cases, those to whom we entrust our deceased loved ones tend to make sure that they’re laid to rest safely. Most morgue workers, funeral directors, and crematorium operators keep careful track of each body. Many care for them as they would their own deceased relatives. Still, body brokers have been known to go to funeral homes in order to have access to body parts in order to sell.

There are few laws governing how this whole process should play out from beginning to end. Bodies can be dissected with proper surgical tools or they could be dismembered with chainsaws. They can be responsibly scanned for diseases and surgical implants or they may not be. They can be properly stored in freezers or left out to decompose. If parts go unsold, they can be carelessly incinerated. And family members may not know about any of this, especially without consistent laws or a clear oversight authority. It’s important for people to educate themselves on this topic to avoid their deceased loved ones from going into the wrong hands.

Consumer protection laws are designed to ensure the rights of vulnerable consumers in society. The laws are a form of government directive intended to protect the rights of consumers. Our firm is committed to standing up to big businesses that engage in fraud or unfair practices to gain an advantage over competitors. This includes protecting the public from false or misleading advertising in situations like “bait and switch” advertising tactics, warranty misrepresentation, defective products, forced arbitration clauses and identity theft.

Class action lawsuits can provide recourse for consumers whose rights have been violated by companies that engage in abusive business practices. If you believe you and many others like you have been somehow injured, cheated, or otherwise harmed by unfair business practices, give us a call and let us help you protect your rights. At Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP, we can help you explore all of your options and ultimately achieve for you the maximum compensation for your harm.

 

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More Oversight Needed to Combat Data Breaches http://www.kbklawyers.com/oversight-needed-combat-data-breaches/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/oversight-needed-combat-data-breaches/#respond Fri, 02 Feb 2018 18:03:42 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18928 Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck February 2, 2018 As more people share an increasing amount of personal information online, and data breaches hit record numbers, consumers are at a greater risk of identity theft than ever before. In the first half of 2017, the number of data breaches in the U.S. soared 29-percent, reaching a record high of 791, according to leading data risk management companies – and it’s not looking better for 2018. The business sector was hardest hit. The next most vulnerable target was the healthcare industry, which is especially troubling, considering the highly sensitive information contained in medical records. Our firm represents thousands of California residents in a class action lawsuit stemming from a high-profile data breach at Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. The county paid the Los Angeles based medical billing and collections agency $10-million a year to keep sensitive data safe, but the company failed miserably. At least 338,700 county patients were affected by the 2014 data breach and many of those victims are bracing for the fallout of having their personal information exposed and used by identity thieves. An investigation revealed that an insider helped thieves break into the company’s Torrance office and steal eight […]

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Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck

February 2, 2018

As more people share an increasing amount of personal information online, and data breaches hit record numbers, consumers are at a greater risk of identity theft than ever before. In the first half of 2017, the number of data breaches in the U.S. soared 29-percent, reaching a record high of 791, according to leading data risk management companies – and it’s not looking better for 2018.

The business sector was hardest hit. The next most vulnerable target was the healthcare industry, which is especially troubling, considering the highly sensitive information contained in medical records. Our firm represents thousands of California residents in a class action lawsuit stemming from a high-profile data breach at Sutherland Healthcare Solutions.

The county paid the Los Angeles based medical billing and collections agency $10-million a year to keep sensitive data safe, but the company failed miserably. At least 338,700 county patients were affected by the 2014 data breach and many of those victims are bracing for the fallout of having their personal information exposed and used by identity thieves. An investigation revealed that an insider helped thieves break into the company’s Torrance office and steal eight computers – the only equipment in the office that contained unencrypted patient data, which contained social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and possibly medical diagnoses

Companies hit by hackers frequently scramble to shore up their security measures and urge customers to freeze or closely monitor their credit reports. But the risk of identity theft doesn’t disappear by changing passwords or a PIN number. Having someone open a credit card, obtain a loan or steal a tax refund in your name are the much more devastating consequences if you’ve been a victim of a data breach.

The courts are beginning to recognize this risk and have ruled that plaintiffs no longer have to demonstrate they’ve suffered financial damage but instead show there’s an increased likelihood of it happening. In a recent 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit panel reversed the dismissal of a class action lawsuit that stemmed from a 2012 data breach at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. The three-judge panel ruling determined that plaintiffs do not have to wait for someone to exploit their private information to meet the bar set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robbins. The courts appear to be the best way to hold negligent companies accountable for lax data security.

While it seems like there’s a monster data breach every month, lawmakers and regulators have done little to hold organizations accountable for failing to safeguard our most private information. Lawmakers hold hearings and have proposed “massive and mandatory” fines for data breaches at Equifax Inc. and other credit reporting companies. One of several bills being proposed would direct the Federal Trade Commission to direct half of any fine to compensate affected consumers. Despite the anger, there’s little appetite in the Republican-controlled Congress to get any of these laws passed.

High profile cases like Equifax, Yahoo and Target may get the most attention, but thousands of corporations have fallen prey to cyber criminals who exploit vulnerabilities. It’s outrageous these companies see themselves as the victims while showing complete disregard for their responsibility to protecting consumer data.

A consumer class action is a lawsuit in state or federal court that is brought by one individual, or a few individuals, on behalf of a larger class of people similarly situated. Our firm is suing Sutherland Healthcare Solutions in a class action for failing to protect patient data. If you or a loved one think you’ve been impacted by a data breach, contact the attorneys at Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP who have honed specialized skills in handling class action litigation for several decades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brian Kabateck spoke to KSBW Action News 8 regarding a Salinas restaurant serving alcohol to minors. http://www.kbklawyers.com/brian-kabateck-spoke-ksbw-action-news-8-regarding-salinas-restaurant-serving-alcohol-minors/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/brian-kabateck-spoke-ksbw-action-news-8-regarding-salinas-restaurant-serving-alcohol-minors/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 23:35:16 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18922 January 31, 2018

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January 31, 2018

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Mudslides and Insurance: What Homeowners Should Know http://www.kbklawyers.com/mudslides-insurance-homeowners-know/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/mudslides-insurance-homeowners-know/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:26:52 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18880 Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck January 19, 2018 The shocking images of destruction left in the aftermath of the deadly Montecito, CA mudslides offer a stark reminder of the damage caused by Mother Nature. Searchers are struggling to find several missing people as they encounter obstacles like blocked roads, downed power lines and debris. According to news reports, the torrent of mud and rocks killed at least 20 people. Natural disasters such as fires, floods and mudslides have become a regular part of life in some areas of California, which is bad news for homeowners. These disasters show no mercy and have impacted large residential areas in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Napa Valley and beyond. Mudslides in particular are dangerous because they destroy everything in their path and leave beyond sometimes several feet of sludge to dig out of, meaning having a homeowner’s policy with adequate coverage is vital. Mudslides cause almost $2 billion in damage and kill 25-50 Americans every year. A mudslide is a mass of mud and other earthy material that falls down a hillside or slope. Most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude flood, mudslide, landslide and earthquake insurance and […]

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Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck
January 19, 2018

The shocking images of destruction left in the aftermath of the deadly Montecito, CA mudslides offer a stark reminder of the damage caused by Mother Nature. Searchers are struggling to find several missing people as they encounter obstacles like blocked roads, downed power lines and debris. According to news reports, the torrent of mud and rocks killed at least 20 people.

Natural disasters such as fires, floods and mudslides have become a regular part of life in some areas of California, which is bad news for homeowners. These disasters show no mercy and have impacted large residential areas in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Napa Valley and beyond. Mudslides in particular are dangerous because they destroy everything in their path and leave beyond sometimes several feet of sludge to dig out of, meaning having a homeowner’s policy with adequate coverage is vital. Mudslides cause almost $2 billion in damage and kill 25-50 Americans every year.

A mudslide is a mass of mud and other earthy material that falls down a hillside or slope. Most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude flood, mudslide, landslide and earthquake insurance and so supplemental insurance must be expressly purchased. Mudslide insurance can cost in the range of $1,000 per year depending upon the value of the home where the mudslides occur. Areas recently impacted, such as Montecito, may see a sharp cost increase in this type of insurance. It is also important to note that landslides, mudslides and mudflow are all considered different “perils” and each requires a different type of coverage.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a mudflow is a runny, watery stream of mud, while a mudslide is a downhill movement of water-saturated earth or rock. This could be very important if your insurance company is attempting to avoid paying out your claim, so in addition to having as much coverage as possible, it’s important to know how experts are defining the disaster. A tragedy may begin as mudflow and then become a mudslide, and so an insurance company may attempt to argue that because a certain house was in one area or another, it was not covered for that particular type if disaster.

In many parts of California, mudslides happened because large fires first burned away trees and plants and so the earth had nothing holding it down when heavy rains occurred. When this happens, the home insurance claim may be covered under fire loss, although convincing your insurance company of that will take some effort.

Heavy waters may be defined as flood insurance, so knowing the exact specification of the disaster you have suffered will make a big difference. The National Flood Insurance Program from FIMA offers flood and mudflow coverage up to $250,000 for homeowners and $500,000 for businesses. Some homeowner’s policies may not provide adequate flood insurance and so again, supplement insurance is important.

The more coverage you have, the better your chances are of being able to rebuild after a disaster has occurred. Too often, insurance companies will hide behind policy language, even if it means causing people to become homeless.

The last line of defense for most Californians is hiring an attorney once something goes terribly wrong, but it may be useful for any homeowner to contact an attorney with insurance experience to review a policy and see if they’ve purchased the proper amount of coverage.

A mass disaster tort is a civil action that involves a large group of plaintiffs who’ve suffered injuries and consolidate their cases to sue one or a few corporations in state or federal court.

KBK has many years of experience handling mass tort cases and multi-district litigation. If you or a loved one has experienced injuries due to a disaster, a dangerous drug or a defective product, contact one of our experienced attorneys at Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP to learn more about recovering damages and exploring your options.

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Protecting Seniors from Elder Abuse http://www.kbklawyers.com/protecting-seniors-elder-abuse/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/protecting-seniors-elder-abuse/#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:39:30 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18877 Written on behalf of Brian Kabateck January 12, 2018 Abuse can happen to anyone, no matter the person’s age, sex, race, religion, or ethnic or cultural background. Each year, thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. This is called elder abuse. Abuse can happen in many places, including the older person’s home, a family member’s house, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back if they were to be attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving room for people to take advantage of them. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, in the U.S. alone, more than half a million reports of abuse against elderly Americans reach authorities every year, and millions more cases go unreported. There are many types of abuse that older people endure. Physical abuse happens when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping. Emotional abuse includes yelling, threatening, or ignoring a person. This can sometimes come from a caregiver who could be treating an older person with […]

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Written on behalf of Brian Kabateck
January 12, 2018

Abuse can happen to anyone, no matter the person’s age, sex, race, religion, or ethnic or cultural background. Each year, thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. This is called elder abuse. Abuse can happen in many places, including the older person’s home, a family member’s house, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back if they were to be attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving room for people to take advantage of them.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, in the U.S. alone, more than half a million reports of abuse against elderly Americans reach authorities every year, and millions more cases go unreported. There are many types of abuse that older people endure. Physical abuse happens when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping. Emotional abuse includes yelling, threatening, or ignoring a person. This can sometimes come from a caregiver who could be treating an older person with disrespect and even keep them from seeing their relatives or close friends. Neglect is another form of abuse and it occurs when the caregiver doesn’t respond or listen to an older person’s needs. Many seniors experience abandonment without planning for their care. In some instances, the elderly may experience sexual abuse which involves a person forcing them to watch or to be part of sexual acts.

Financial abuse happens when money or belongings are stolen. It can include forging checks, taking someone else’s retirement and Social Security benefits, or using another person’s credit cards and bank accounts. It can also include changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission. Financial abuse is becoming a widespread issue that is hard to detect. Even someone you’ve never met can steal your financial information using the telephone or email. That’s why people should be careful about sharing any financial information over the phone or online because that information can fall into the wrong hands.

Abuse in nursing homes is an ongoing issue that many people experience. Loved ones may want to take their senior relatives into better conditions where they think that they are taken care of but that may not be true in a lot of cases. Many seniors claim they’ve experienced many forms of abuse in nursing homes, ranging from physical assaults to neglect. Many of these cases will go unreported and will continue happening throughout the facility, and it’s been found that employees in nursing homes are destroying evidence that links them to any form of abuse.

Lawmakers introduced AB 859, with the support of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), which was aimed at protecting seniors abused in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While Governor Brown ultimately vetoed the legislation, the goal was to discourage facilities from intentionally destroying legal evidence in violation of the law. Normally, to show elder abuse, the victim must show that they have been neglected and have compelling evidence to proof so. However, to deprive victims of exactly that evidence, some defendant nursing homes intentionally destroy that very evidence.

Advocates must continue fighting on behalf of seniors and their families who seek justice after a nursing home destroys evidence when elder abuse has occurred. Elder abuse will not stop on its own unless someone steps in and helps. Many older people may be too ashamed to report mistreatment or may be afraid to speak up because they fear their abuser might retaliate against them. If you think someone you know is being abused either physically, emotionally, or financially, talk to them and offer to get help, for instance, at a local adult protective services agency. Many local, state, and national social service agencies can help with emotional, legal, and financial problems.

KBK represents victims of elder abuse who pursue civil action against a perpetrator and in some cases, additional parties. Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP a call today to learn more about recovering damages and to explore your options. We can help you achieve the maximum compensation for the harm you or a loved one has suffered.

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Homelessness Crisis Needs Urgent Intervention http://www.kbklawyers.com/homelessness-crisis-needs-urgent-intervention/ http://www.kbklawyers.com/homelessness-crisis-needs-urgent-intervention/#respond Tue, 02 Jan 2018 20:36:47 +0000 http://www.kbklawyers.com/?p=18869 Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck January 2, 2018 As Christmas shoppers rush to make returns, consumers may not realize that many fellow Americans are spending the holidays homeless. With soaring housing prices and a shrinking rental market, due in part to the high-tech industry boom, west coast cities are facing an unprecedented homelessness crisis. Cities from Seattle to San Diego are throwing money at the problem hoping to find solutions, yet despite these efforts, the homeless population continues to surge towards catastrophic levels. Homeless encampments in parks and freeway overpasses are not just eyesores–these are public health risks. Several cities have declared states of emergency because of deadly Hepatitis A outbreaks, which are caused by poor hygiene due to a lack of clean water and access to bathrooms. San Diego is scrambling to scrub its sidewalks with bleach to counter this public health emergency. In Anaheim, hundreds of homeless people sleep nightly on a bike path next to Angel Stadium, and Los Angeles’ Skid Row has 10,000 residents who are tragically neglected, despite a downtown renaissance. Some of LA’s most affluent residents got an alarming wakeup call after fire investigators found evidence that the Skirball fire, which destroyed […]

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Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck
January 2, 2018

As Christmas shoppers rush to make returns, consumers may not realize that many fellow Americans are spending the holidays homeless. With soaring housing prices and a shrinking rental market, due in part to the high-tech industry boom, west coast cities are facing an unprecedented homelessness crisis. Cities from Seattle to San Diego are throwing money at the problem hoping to find solutions, yet despite these efforts, the homeless population continues to surge towards catastrophic levels.

Homeless encampments in parks and freeway overpasses are not just eyesores–these are public health risks. Several cities have declared states of emergency because of deadly Hepatitis A outbreaks, which are caused by poor hygiene due to a lack of clean water and access to bathrooms. San Diego is scrambling to scrub its sidewalks with bleach to counter this public health emergency. In Anaheim, hundreds of homeless people sleep nightly on a bike path next to Angel Stadium, and Los Angeles’ Skid Row has 10,000 residents who are tragically neglected, despite a downtown renaissance.

Some of LA’s most affluent residents got an alarming wakeup call after fire investigators found evidence that the Skirball fire, which destroyed homes and forced evacuations in Bel-Air, was started by a cooking fire at a homeless camp along the 405. While residents and city leaders agree that they don’t want to demonize the homeless, this danger highlights an urgent need for a solution. The homeless numbers in Los Angeles County have jumped 23 percent, to nearly 58,000 people over the past year.

Data gathered by the Associated Press found that California, Oregon and Washington have 168,000 unsheltered people combined, which is 19,000 more homeless people than in 2015. That’s the first year that several west coast cities declared homelessness an “emergency” typically reserved for natural disasters. Government funding is only part of the solution. More help needs to come from partnerships involving the private sector, faith-based communities and non-profit organizations to achieve long-term solutions.

While the federal, state and local governments tend to focus on the chronically homeless, which include those with mental illness or substance abuse issues, the majority of individuals living without housing are considered “situationally homeless.” These people fall into homelessness due to life-altering events such as losing a job, suffering a medical emergency, domestic abuse or divorce. Those who fit this profile are typically able-bodied and are willing to work but need help getting back on their feet. This is how private businesses can step in to offer a hand by hiring the homeless and giving them the lift they need to provide for themselves.

Non-profits like the Inner Center Law Center located on Skid Row are working to prevent vulnerable populations from slipping into homelessness. The organization, which I support as a board member, is focused on fighting for safe and affordable housing and helping get homeless veterans off the streets. The group’s mission is to stop illegal evictions by providing pro-bono legal services and to address Southern California’s housing and homeless crisis through the justice system.

It’s not just the homeless and their families who suffer but as homeless encampments proliferate and multiply, the local residents and businesses suffer from a loss in their property values and income. The failure to do anything but pay lip service and make an occasional year end contribution to worthy organizations is a reminder of NIMBYism at its best. Do nothing and it may be your neighborhood next.

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