Look Before You Stage Dive: Concert-goer injured during Fishbone stage dive awarded $1.4 million

I am not familiar with the band, Fishbone, but based on this article on The Pennsylvania Record website, you might want to stay out of the first few rows if you attend their concerts.

Here are the basics from Jon Campisi:

Kimberly Myers, who says her skull was cracked on Feb. 23, 2010, while she was attending a musical performance of the band Fishbone at Philadelphia’s World Café Live venue, received a judgment of $1,117,145.93 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.

The judgment was against Angelo Moore, Fishbone’s leader singer who dove into the crowd that day, and fellow band member John Norwood Fisher.

Myers filed suit in 2010 against Moore, Fisher, who is the band’s bassist, Fishbone, Silverback Artist Management, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Behind Closed Doors Touring, Hajoca Associates, and Real Entertainment – Philadelphia Inc.

She alleged claims of negligence relating to the defendants’ failure to warn the audience that the concert would feature stage diving.

Myers, 46, who resides in Voorhees, N.J., and who worked as the director of operations and business development at Comprehensive Clinical Research, which conducts pharmaceutical clinical trials, says that she sustained a fractured skull, a concussion, a broken clavicle, a perforated eardrum, hearing loss, autoimmune problems, lacerations, headaches and other physical injuries and mental impairments as a result of being struck by Moore when he dove off the stage and into the crowd during the concert four years ago.

Interestingly, Moore is still stage diving at his concerts. As U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois writes, “Moore continues to stage dive at almost every performance and exhibits nothing but apathy and hostility towards his victims, whom he repeatedly characterized, during his deposition, as ‘predators’ out to steal his money.”

Give me Bruce Springsteen.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or sound off on our Facebook page. And remember, if you have a legal matter related to an injury or your employment, please call our Yardley office at 215-493-8287 or send us an email HERE. We will be glad to help.

Who Is Liable for Outdoor Injuries?

Winter snows and chills bring the excitement of speeding downhill on a sled or toboggan or sliding across a frozen pond.  However, these seasonal activities, like any other outdoor activities, are not without risk.  A child in Maryland impaled herself on a piece of rebar sticking out of the snow while sledding during the recent February 3rd storm.  More common are injuries caused by collisions between sledders or skaters or collisions with natural objects like rocks and trees.

In Pennsylvania, we have a law called the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act.  The RULWA provides landowners immunity from lawsuits if they allow the general public access to their land for recreational purposes without a fee. The law was intended to encourage landowners not to post their lands with “No Trespassing” signs and enable fishermen, hunters, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts greater access to our open spaces.  In general, landowners who allow access are given the same protection from liability as if they had posted “No Trespassing” signs.  The landowner cannot be liable unless he actually knew of a hazard on his property and deliberately failed to take steps to correct it or warn about it.

Let’s look at some examples.  A sledder walking across land to a snowy slope falls in a deep, uncovered well on the property.  If the landowner (a) knew people walked on his land for recreational purposes, (b) knew about the well, and (c) failed to take steps to cover it or prevent someone from falling into it, the landowner may still be sued.  The RULWA offers no protection in that circumstance.  However, if the sledder, while sledding down the hill, loses control and suffers a head injury, the landowner will not be liable.

Landowners may also rely on a doctrine called “assumption of the risk.”  Those of us who enjoy outdoor activities are assumed to know the risks inherent in the activity and assume the risk of being injured while participating.   However, the doctrine generally affords protection to landowners only for known or expected risks such as collisions with natural objects.  A landowner who lets a vicious dog loose on his property while children are sledding will still be liable if the dog attacks a child.

Before engaging in winter activity, it is always important to be familiar with the area and to ski, skate or sled in control.  Enjoying the sport safely is far more important and worthwhile than trying to figure out who’s at fault after an injury occurs.  If you have any questions regarding possible exposure as a landowner or if you sustained an injury due to someone else’s fault, call our Yardley, PA office at (215) 493-8287 or email us as scott@fegleylaw.com.

Your Rights At Work: Know More Than Your Boss!

Do you have questions about privacy and social media?  Exactly what is a hostile work environment?  Get answers to these and other questions at a FREE 90-minute seminar given by Employment Law expert Scott I. Fegley, Esq. at the Newtown Athletic Club on Thursday evening, March 22, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served.

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HOME IMPROVEMENT LAW? TAKE OUR QUIZ!

Answer questions 1 to 10. Answers appear after the quiz. Good luck! 

1.         A person performing more than $5000 in home improvements in one year must be licensed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

2.         Every contract for a home improvement must be in writing.

3.         Installation of shrubbery, ornamental plants, and natural landscaped beds is considered a home improvement.

4.         If a home improvement contract is not signed by the homeowner, it is not enforceable even if the work has been performed.

5.         A home improvement contract may contain a clause requiring the homeowner to reimburse attorney fees and costs if the contractor must sue for payment.

6.         A home improvement contract must inform the homeowner that he/she may cancel the contract without penalty within three days of signing.

7.         A home improvement contract must inform the homeowner that the contractor carries at least $50,000.00 in liability insurance.

8.         To perform home improvements in NJ, a Pennsylvania contractor must be registered to do business in NJ and licensed as a contractor in NJ.

9.         It is the responsibility of the homeowner to assure all proper permits are issued.

10.       Contractors violating PA or NJ home improvement consumer protection laws may be subject to treble damages, attorney fees and expenses.

If you have a legal matter related to your employment, please call our Yardley office at 215-493-8287 or send us an email HERE. We will be glad to help.

Answers:

1. TRUE
2. FALSE.  Contracts under $500 need not be in writing.
3. FALSE.  But installation of patios, decks, driveways, pools, fences, doors, security systems, etc.  is.
4. TRUE.  But contractor may recover reasonable value of services if equitable to do so.
5. FALSE.  This may void the contract at the customer’s option.  
6. TRUE
7. TRUE
8. TRUE.  New Jersey has its own Contractor’s Registration Act similar to PA.
9. FALSE.  The responsibility lies with the contractor.  
10. TRUE

A Look Back at the Dental Assistant who was Fired for Being ‘Irresistible’

In today’s post, I wanted to return to a case that made headlines back in December 2012. It involved a dental assistant who was allegedly fired for being “too attractive.” If you need a quick refresher about the case, refer to this ABC News story from December 23, 2012. Here are the highlights:

 After working as a dental assistant for ten years, Melissa Nelson was fired for being too “irresistible” and a “threat” to her employer’s marriage.

“I think it is completely wrong,” Nelson said.  ”I think it is sending a message that men can do whatever they want in the work force.”

On Friday, the all-male Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that James Knight, Nelson’s boss, was within his legal rights when he fired her, affirming the decision of a lower court.

“We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right,” said Stuart Cochrane, an attorney for James Knight. “Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She’s an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.”

The way one looks and dresses can impact employment, but is an employer’s decision based on looks and dress discriminatory?

For instance, in this article titled “Looks can kill job prospects,” we see that it has happened all over – from the military to the financial industry. Consider this one case highlighted in the article:

And more recently The New York Post reported that a yoga teacher, Dilek Edwards, had filed court papers over her dismissal from a chiropractic clinic. Charles Nicolai, the owner of the clinic with his wife, Stephanie Adams, had told Edwards that his wife might become jealous of her on account of being “too cute.” (Adams denied the allegations.)

While I personally feel the Iowa dental assistant’s case was discriminatory, it wouldn’t be the first time I disagreed with a court’s decision.  Saying employment decisions based on being “too attractive” are not based on gender seems to me like saying layoff decisions aren’t based on the company’s financial performance.  Employers would do well do have clearly defined dress codes.  And all managers and supervisors should have enough self-control to do their jobs without having to fire someone simply because he or she is attractive.

If you have a legal matter related to your employment, please call our Yardley office at 215-493-8287 or send us an email HERE. We will be glad to help.