Archive for August, 2015

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Other School Whistleblower Cases

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Whistleblower lawsuits come in all varieties, and from all levels of employment within the organizations that they are brought against. The collection of cases below illustrates a few of the ways that whistleblower claims can arise within a public school system setting.

The Albuquerque Public Schools Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was suspended from his duties and as such, has filed a whistleblower protection lawsuit alleging retaliation. The now former CFO reported a former Deputy Superintendent to superiors, alleging that the Deputy Superintendent was mishandling a potential contract related to school district computer systems. He also alleges that he had been passed over for a deputy superintendent position that had been offered to him in the past because of his political views. The Albuquerque Public Schools asserts that the former CFO’s claims are without merit.

The largest food vendor in the Washington, D.C. public school system has settled a lawsuit that alleged that the company overcharged the city for its services and mismanaged the school meals programs. The settlement agreement is the result of a whistleblower lawsuit that was brought by a former director of food services for Washington, D.C. Public Schools against Chartwells and Thompson Hospitality.

In Grand Rapids, a former special education contractor at a charter school who reported special education program and hiring violations was terminated after she reported the violations. She has reached a settlement in the federal lawsuit that she brought against the school which alleged retaliation. In another whistleblower lawsuit related to special education, a former occupational therapist at Portland Oregon Public Schools has filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The woman has alleged that the school district was acting in retaliation when it essentially forced her to resign after she called attention to disturbing work practices involving students with disabilities. For example, she claimed that she had so many responsibilities associated with her job that she could not provide the amount of attention to her disabled students that she was required by law to provide. She was also denied workplace accommodations that would assist her with her own disability, a herniated disk.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Supporting Mississippi Whistleblowers

If you have lost your job as the result of retaliatory actions that were taken against you by your employer after you notified them of wrongdoing that was occurring in your workplace, you may feel devastated and betrayed. Some organizations wish to ignore inappropriate conduct, but it is patently unfair for these organizations to expect that their employees will just sit back and ignore things that they see that are not right. If you believe that you have a whistleblower claim that is based on retaliatory action or wrongful termination, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you.  Our attorneys can give you the information that you need to understand the whistleblower claims process and the legal support that you will require as your whistleblower case moves forward. To learn more about how we can help you, please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Fatal Accidents Caused by Tired Drivers

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Research and statistics provide information about automobile accidents that can help drivers understand the risks associated with driving and the types of accidents that can happen on the road. For example, statistics show that drowsy driving is a common cause of single-vehicle accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities and drivers who are not intoxicated. A tragic multi-fatality accident in Copiah County appears to be an example of this type of accident. The fiery early morning crash that killed two adults and two children occurred when a vehicle left the highway and hit a tree. An initial investigation of the accident scene indicated that the driver appeared to have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Accidents involving tired drivers are becoming more and more common on American roads, claiming the lives of approximately fifteen hundred people each year and injuring thousands of others. Despite ample media coverage of these tragic accidents, many people do not take sleep into consideration when they make choices about driving. As a nation, we are more sleep-deprived than ever before. Even in cases where people do not suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, accident risk can be increased by the occasional lack of sleep. It is also important to note that drivers who get adequate rest before they get behind the wheel experience an increased accident risk after they have been driving for a long time, as driving is an activity that can cause fatigue.

The effects of sleep deprivation and driver fatigue are similar to the effects of consuming alcohol. Tired drivers experience decreased awareness and impaired judgment, and they are slow to react to things like the movements of nearby vehicles, curves in the road, or animals that run out into the road. Unfortunately, the strategies that many of us use for keeping ourselves alert, including chewing gum, drinking coffee, or rolling down the windows, are only somewhat effective at increasing awareness and only work for a limited period of time. The safest thing that drivers can do when they notice that they are beginning to get tired is to stop and rest. Stopping to rest may not seem like an option, especially if you are trying to arrive at your destination at a certain time, but it is the best way to ensure that you get there safely.

Barrett Law PLLC: Serving the Needs of Mississippi Automobile Accident Victims  

Automobile accidents involving serious injuries and fatalities have a deep and lasting impact upon the lives of accident victims and their families. It can be difficult to know what to do if an accident has taken the life of someone in your family or has left them with a serious injury. The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you if you have been injured in a Mississippi automobile accident, or if someone that you love was killed in a Mississippi automobile accident. To learn more, please call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Attorneys Discuss Stevedoring Accidents

Friday, August 28th, 2015

A stevedore is a person who works at a waterfront, loading and unloading ships. This type of work requires both strength and skill. Stevedores must understand both the loading equipment that they are using and the vessels upon which they are loading and unloading, as well as specific procedures for handling different types of cargo such as hazardous or perishable materials.

Ports are busy places, because most non-bulk goods are transported by intermodal containers that move by a combination of rail, truck, and boat to their eventual destinations. If you look around a port, you will see containers being loaded onto ships with cranes, other containers being unloaded from ships with cranes, containers being placed on trucks and trains, and containers being moved into and around storage areas where they will stay until it is time for them to move onto their next destination. With all of this activity, there is always the potential for workplace accidents and injuries.

A man from St. James Parish, Louisiana is pursuing a lawsuit against a stevedoring company. Specifically, he claims that negligence on the part of St. James Stevedoring Co. LLC resulted in a fall which left him severely and permanently disabled. The accident occurred in 2012, when the man was working as a deck hand on the Gene H. As part of his job, he was training a co-worker. As they worked, the ship rocked and the plaintiff lost his balance. He fell, and as he fell, he hit his back and then continued to fall ten more feet onto the deck. The plaintiff alleges that the fall would not have occurred if the captain had been instructed properly.

After the accident, the man was transported to a hospital. Examination by doctors at the hospital revealed spinal injuries, including a herniated disc, which would require surgery and a lengthy recovery. He continues to experience severe pain from his injuries, and they have left him permanently disabled and suffering from depression and anxiety.

Another stevedoring accident in Alaska resulted in the death of the injured worker. A man who was working at the Port of Anchorage died when he was pinned between two pieces of equipment as he loaded the equipment into rail cars.

In light of the above, if you have been injured similarly to the plaintiffs discussed above, it is critical that you immediately contact a seasoned Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorney.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Injured Mississippi Stevedores and Their Families

The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC understand that it can be very difficult to recover from a stevedoring accident because those accidents can result in many types of serious injuries. In addition to a lengthy recovery time, you may be concerned about your medical bills as well as paying your household bills now and into the future because your injuries may have rendered you unable to return to your previous physically demanding job. If you were injured in a stevedoring accident, get the help you need from the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC. Please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Discuss Settlements Received by Inland Communities

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

While much of the damage associated with the massive 2010 BP oil spill occurred along the Gulf Coast, the economic damage that was caused by the spill affected inland communities as well.  In fact, some of the municipalities that have received settlements from the spill are over a hundred miles from the coast. The proportion of funds that were received by these communities is small compared to the overall settlement amount. It is estimated that thirty two inland communities received a total of approximately eight million dollars as part of the settlement.

The economic impact of the oil spill was felt by communities both large and small.  The damages reported by inland communities was largely associated with tourism. Big cities like Birmingham and Jackson were affected, as well as smaller communities like Ruleville, Mississippi. Tourism was affected by a decline in people visiting the area. Sales tax and revenue from restaurants were also affected by the seafood shortage caused by the oil spill.

While some communities, both on the coast and inland, have participated in the settlement, others rejected settlement offers and are continuing to pursue their individual claims. Other municipalities had resolved their claims in advance of the settlement. The settlement offers that were extended as part of the settlement program were calculated by a panel of individuals who had been appointed by the federal judge who has handled the majority of oil spill litigation cases.

The communities which have received settlement money are directing those funds to public schools, because the overall economic losses associated with the spill led to decreases in school funding. Law enforcement agencies are also slated to receive some of the funds, because the economic decline in the years following the spill had reduced their funding as well. Hospitals and airports which have been postponing badly needed improvement projects will also receive some of the settlement money so that some of those projects can get underway.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing Those Whose Were Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are dedicated to helping people with BP oil spill claims. We understand that the resources associated with settling these claims can help affected individuals and businesses move forward from the economic losses that they have experienced. The effects of the spill are far-reaching, and we are constantly becoming aware of more and more things that are happening with the BP oil spill litigation. We understand that these developments may be of interest to you, so we like to share them with you. If you are involved in a case about oil spill damages, we are here to help you.  If you have any questions about the BP oil spill litigation, please call the Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys Discuss Accidents Caused by Shifting Loads

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

A truck driver was recently killed in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 9. The wreck occurred when the eighteen-wheeler that he was driving went off of the road. As the truck left the roadway, it went over two ditches, hit a power pole, crashed through a fence and eventually came to a stop near a tree. The driver of the truck was trapped inside of his truck and tragically died before he could be freed from the wreckage by rescue workers.

While this tragic eighteen-wheeler crash is still being investigated, it has been noted that it is possible that the accident may have happened when the load that the driver was hauling shifted. The shifting load may have caused the driver to lose control of the truck. The eighteen-wheeler was carrying a load of aluminum coils at the time that the accident occurred. Shifting loads have been implicated as the cause of some tractor trailer accidents. Cargo on a flatbed or in a trailer can sometimes move around as the truck moves along the road. When cargo moves, the weight of the load shifts, and the shift of the weight can be dramatic enough to cause the driver to lose control of their truck.

Truck drivers can reduce the likelihood that cargo will shift during transit by securing loads properly. Also, keeping loads to a safe weight can reduce the chance of a crash. Some trucking accidents caused by shifting cargo do still occur even when loads are a proper weight and are secured well, but taking those precautions reduces the risk dramatically.

There are some things that can contribute to tractor trailers being on the road with overweight or improperly secured loads. Although truck drivers are supposed to look over their trucks to ensure that they are loaded properly, some drivers may take the time to do so every time they go out onto the road. Sometimes, trailers are loaded by workers before the truck driver picks them up. In these situations, the driver is often expected to just attach the trailer to their truck and be on their way. This seems like an efficient way to manage shipping operations, but it does create some room for error as far as safety is concerned. Accident risk from unsafe loads also increases when drivers are pressured by their employers to load their trucks to maximum capacity or even beyond it, in order to increase profits.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing Mississippi Trucking Accident Victims and Their Families

Trucking accidents have the potential to cause death, injury, and large amounts of destruction. If you were hurt in a trucking accident or if someone that you love died in a tractor trailer wreck, the Mississippi trucking accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you. Our team of Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys is dedicated to helping you and your family, so please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys Discuss the Dangers of Hazardous Materials

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

When tractor trailers crash, there is always the potential for a great deal of destruction in addition to serious and even fatal injuries. One recent accident in Lawrence County illustrates how the damage caused by a tractor trailer accident can be even greater than usual, depending upon what the truck is carrying. In that accident, a tanker full of gasoline flipped over. After the accident, multiple roads in the area where the accident occurred were closed for many hours while emergency crews from multiple agencies worked to contain the gasoline with foam, prevent fires and explosions, and remove the wreckage from the roadway.

Fortunately, the human cost of this accident was small in comparison to what it could have been. Property damage and environmental damage were the greatest concerns associated with this particular accident. The truck driver, who was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, received only minor injuries. Officials say that more serious injuries or death could easily have resulted from a crash like this.

The accident appears to have been caused by brake failure. Because of that, this crash serves as a reminder of the potential for tractor trailer wrecks to be caused by, e.g., design defects in the manufacture of a truck or its component parts and improper truck maintenance. The construction, care, repair, and daily inspection of the trucks that are used to carry so many things on so many roads every day are all factors that can affect the accident risk associated with these trucks.

Accidents involving tractor trailers are often very serious because they are both large and heavy vehicles. Additionally, the cargo contained by some trucks, like the aforementioned tanker full of gasoline, can be very dangerous if it is released from the truck during an accident.  Gasoline and other hazardous materials can cause death, serious injuries, environmental damage and property damage. Even substances that are not flammable or explosive can pollute water supplies, corrode road surfaces, or release toxic fumes.

Many Americans do not know just how often accidents involving hazardous substances occur. In the ten year time period between 2004 and 2013, over three thousand accidents occurred which involved trucks and hazardous substances. Over ninety people died, hundreds of people were hurt, and the estimated cost of property and environmental damage associated with these crashes is in excess of four hundred and fifty million dollars.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Mississippi Accident Victims and Their Families

Trucking accidents can cause a lot of damage, both in terms of death and serious bodily injury and in terms of property damage. When hazardous cargo is involved, there is an even greater potential for injury and loss. If you were injured or someone that you love was killed as the result of an accident involving a tractor trailer, the experienced and dedicated Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC would like to help you. Please call us today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Talk about Passing Other Vehicles Safely

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

A recent accident involving an SUV and a pickup truck that was towing a flatbed trailer serves as a somber reminder that drivers must always use caution when passing other vehicles. It appears as though the driver of the pickup truck that was pulling the trailer passed the SUV and then struck it with the trailer while returning to the right lane to complete the pass. The driver of the SUV lost control of their vehicle and it rolled over multiple times into the median.

Drivers can reduce the risk of accidents by passing other vehicles carefully. If you would like to pass a vehicle that is driving in front of you, first make sure that you do so legally.  Many accidents occur when drivers pass in the no-passing zones that are marked with double yellow lines and “do not pass” signs.

If you are on a multi-lane highway or some other area where passing is permissible, choose a safe location to make your pass. Passing may be permitted in areas where there are curves or hills, however, it is best to exercise caution when doing so, as your visibility of oncoming cars may be limited.  Once you have found a safe location, double check the area around you to make sure that there are no vehicles trying to pass you, and that any other vehicles nearby are a safe distance away. It is best to wait if you see a car approaching quickly from behind you.

Once you see that it is safe to make the pass, use your turn signal to let other drivers, including the driver that you are passing, know that you are passing. Once you are in the passing lane, increase your speed and remain in the passing lane until you can see in your rear view mirror that it is safe to move back into the other lane. When you see that there is enough clear space behind you to move into the other lane safely, activate your turn signal and complete your pass.

Barrett Law PLLC: Caring Legal Assistance for Mississippi Automobile Wreck Victims

The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you if you have lost someone that you love because of a car accident or if you were injured in a car crash. Automobile accident victims who are severely injured may need a long time to recover from their injuries, and even those crash victims with minor injuries can experience significant interruptions in their day to day activities as the result of their accident. Families who have lost a loved one in an automobile wreck are likely to search for answers regarding their devastating loss, as well as seeking accountability from those parties who may be responsible for the death of their family member. To learn more, please call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Remind Drivers to Look Out for Motorcycles

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

When a car collides with a person riding a motorcycle, serious injury and fatality are the likely results. One motorcycle rider in Mississippi died in a recent accident in which a car struck his motorcycle from behind. While all types of motorcycle accidents can cause serious injury and death, rear-end motorcycle accidents are some of the deadliest and most damaging motorcycle wrecks that occur. Riders simply do not have the protection that being enclosed in a vehicle provides, and the impact of another vehicle hitting their motorcycle can crush them or send them airborne.

The recent fatal motorcycle crash in Mississippi is still under investigation, and it serves as a tragic reminder that both riders and drivers must educate themselves about the risks associated with motorcycle accidents as well as how riders and drivers can safely share the roads.

Rear-end collisions are just one of the types of accidents that can occur while a person is riding a motorcycle. There are two main categories of rear-end motorcycle accidents. The first type of rear-end motorcycle accident occurs when a rider is stopped at a traffic light or for some other reason, and they are hit from behind.

The other type of rear-end motorcycle accident occurs when a motorcycle hits the back of another vehicle. This type of motorcycle accident is called a sudden stop accident. Sudden stop motorcycle accidents often cause death or permanent disability. During a sudden stop accident, the rider is often ejected from his or her bike and the bike often “cartwheels” or flips end-over-end. The rider can collide with moving or fixed objects as they fly through the air, and they can hit the ground with tremendous force. Unfortunately, an airborne rider can also land in the path of a moving vehicle.

Many motorcycle accidents can be prevented if drivers and riders operate their vehicles safely. Motorists can reduce the risk of hitting a motorcycle by looking twice in either direction before entering an intersection. Also, checking side and rear view mirrors when changing lanes, and navigating on and off ramps will greatly reduce the risk that your vehicle will enter the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Both riders and drivers can reduce the risk of an accident by using turn signals to help each other anticipate the movements of their vehicles. Likewise, riders and drivers can prevent many accidents by simply giving each other enough space. Space between vehicles of any type gives drivers and riders a chance to respond to the movements of the vehicles around them. Many drivers do not realize that motorcycle riders need at least twice as much space as people driving other types of vehicles because of the way that they are designed to slow down and stop. There is a tendency for drivers to either treat motorcycles like cars and leave them the amount of space that a car would need (which is not enough) or to give them even less space than that because of the mistaken assumption that smaller vehicles need less space to maneuver.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving the Victims of Mississippi Motorcycle Accidents and Their Families

If you have lost a loved one in a Mississippi motorcycle accident or if you were injured in a motorcycle crash, the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to assist you. To learn more, please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Talks about Whistleblower Cases in Public Schools

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Whistleblower lawsuits can arise in any type of organization, including workplaces that many people participate in because they want to serve their communities or a specific group of people within their communities, such as youth.  Individuals who work at schools, churches, and other organizations that are integral to our communities may encounter inappropriate conduct during the course of their employment or even during the course of volunteer work. A former middle school football coach in Tennessee is suing the team’s head coach and the county school board for defamation and wrongful termination. The same former coach plans to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of several football players and their families, alleging that racism and sexual harassment are occurring within the school’s football program.

The former coach claims that someone related to the head coach of the football team had been bullying some of the players with inappropriate language and behavior. Some of the behavior and remarks were sexual in nature, and other behavior and marks were allegedly racist. The head coach had assigned coaches to be present in the locker rooms, but the former coach was assigned security detail in the parking lot and told that the coaches were needed in the locker rooms because of alleged thefts that had been occurring. The now former coach had informed the head coach about reports of racist language that allegedly involved the head coach’s relative, as well as reports that he had been hearing regarding sexual behavior and threats involving that same relative. The now former coach and the head coach met with school officials, and sometime after those meetings occurred, the now former coach was fired via text message.

The lawsuit that is currently being brought by the now former coach also alleges that in addition to not addressing the inappropriate behaviors that were going on, the head coach misinformed the team about the reason why the now former coach is not coaching any more, stating that the misinformation amounts to defamation. He states that he now experiences significant anxiety because of all that has happened, as well as mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and irreparable injury to his personal and professional reputation.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Supporting Mississippi Whistleblowers One Case at a Time

Whistleblower lawsuits are very intense and emotionally taxing experiences. That said, they are absolutely essential to exposing conduct that violates the rules and, in some cases, even violates people’s rights. The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you if you believe that you have a whistleblower claim.  Our attorneys have gained invaluable experience by helping our clients through their whistleblower lawsuits, and they know how to provide the comprehensive support that you need.  To learn more about how we can help you to pursue a whistleblower lawsuit, please call the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Whistleblower Lawsuits in the Financial Sector

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

If you think about some of the stories that make the news regarding inappropriate work practices, you likely are aware that a fair amount of whistleblower lawsuits are filed by people who are currently or were formerly employed by companies that operate in the financial sector.  In one such whistleblower lawsuit, two former brokers brought suit against Morgan Stanley alleging that they were fired in retaliation for complaining about improper practices and violations of securities law that they witnessed during the course of their employment at the company’s warehouse. The company denies the allegations that have been brought against it by the two brokers, claiming that they are entirely without merit.

The two former brokers claim that they saw both trainees and interns entering into trades on behalf of their advisers by using the brokers’ access codes. That conduct is a violation of firm policy. They also assert that they witnessed an advisor trying to get an insurance commission in an inappropriate manner. One of the former brokers even says that she was harassed by her branch manager and another adviser. These are just a few of the things that the two former brokers claim to have experienced during the course of their employment at Morgan Stanley.

One of the brokers involved in the lawsuit says that she approached her branch manager to discuss the securities violations that she had witnessed. She says that in response to hearing what she had to say about the improper conduct, the manager told her to leave his office. He later asked her for a list of her clients. A month after all of that happened, the same manager informed the broker that the firm was unwilling to pursue a two hundred million commodities deal on behalf of one of her clients. Confrontations between each of the two brokers and other individuals at the firm continued to occur, and in 2011, the brokers filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both of the brokers involved in this lawsuit were eventually fired, allegedly for poor performance. Notwithstanding, they claim that they were terminated in retaliation for filing a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing the Interests of Mississippi Whistleblowers

The life of a whistleblower is not easy, and whistleblowers need legal support that they can count on. The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC will work hard to help you with your whistleblower claim. Our attorneys understand that you may have many questions and concerns as your whistleblower case moves along. When concerns or questions arise, we can help you find the answers that you need. To learn more about how we can help you with your Mississippi whistleblower lawsuit, please call the seasoned Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.