Smiley & Smiley, LLP

March 2008 Archives

Carol Gotbaum's Family Sues Phoenix Police for Wrongful Death

Carol Gotbaum was on her way from my home town of New York City to a rehab center in Arizona when the trip took a drastic detour.  She apparently became extremely intoxicated on the first leg of her flight, and when she missed her connection in Phoenix, she went haywire  and pitched a fit worse then Paris Hilton getting pulled over by the local police.  The police arrested her, threw her in a closed room, shackled her to the wall and slammed the door shut.  Later she was found dead, having apparently hung herself with the shackles.  Carol's family has now sued the Phoenix police for wrongful death.  I think they have a pretty solid case.  As I discussed today on Headline News, the police had a duty to ensure that she did not harm herself.  They failed to take reasonable steps to restrain and - here's the key - keep her under observation!!  In a shameful move, the police blame her husband for not being on the flight with her.  Her death never should have happened - this was completely preventable.  She was sick, addicted to alcohol and drugs, and on her way to get help.  She may have been acting like a lunatic, but she didn't deserve to die.

Woman Suing Oprah Winfrey Show After Injury - is it legit?

A woman has filed a lawsuit seeking $50,000 in damages claiming that she suffered "severe and permanent injuries" when she was pushed down a flight of stairs by the crowd at Oprah's show.  The claim is that the show was negligent in failing to properly handle the crowd control.  Would I take this case??  Is it legit? It depends on two things: First, how bad are the injuries - is it just a sore back or did she fracture something requiring surgery? Unless its a very real injury forget it - no case. Second, what was the crowd like?  It's certainly foreseeable that some fanatic Oprah fans came storming in and knocked her down.  If that's known to happen, then the show must take reasonable steps to prevent people from getting knocked down and injured - if they don't its called negligence.  Once more facts are revealed, I'll let you know if this case is legit or bullshit!

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