There have been a number of high-profile personal injury settlements decided recently that have helped set the standard for personal injury cases going forward. Each of them, in their own way, will help to influence future verdicts and substantiate long-standing precedents. These precedents are more influential than any court, legislator or lawyer. When something is ruled on in a certain—consistent—way, the standard is set for every case like it to follow. When lawyers draw up arguments in court, they will cite other similar cases that have come before and use their outcomes as the appropriate basis for forming the conclusion in the current case. Because legal precedent is such a powerful part of our legal culture, it is important to keep yourself aware of these recent developments because they may very well add credibility to a potential case of yours.
This past month, Susann Bashir was awarded $5,120,000 in a harassment suit against AT&T. Bashir contended that following her conversion to Islam in 2005, she faced years of harassment at AT&T which culminated with her boss snatching her head scarf (her “hijab”) and exposing her hair in 2008. Typically, exposing one’s hair isn’t a malicious action, but according to Islamic religious law, Bashir was forbidden from revealing her natural hair (and thus the head scarf was worn). She was awarded $120,000 in lost wages and actual damages and an additional $5,000,000 in punitive damages—a form of damages aimed at teaching companies a lesson in an effort to prevent future abuse and negligence. Bashir endured discrimination every day at work—being called a “towel-head” and constantly being asked by her co-workers if she was “going to blow up the building.” This verdict proves that harassment and discrimination—especially of a religious nature—is not something that needs to be tolerated and it can cost the guilty party dearly.
For our next story, we look at Medieval Times—no, not the time period, the restaurant and entertainment sensation. A New Jersey federal court has approved a a class action settlement brought against Medieval Times, claiming that the company violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) by disclosing personal information on credit and debit card receipts. The company is accused of printing prohibited information, such as a card’s expiration date, on receipts given to customers. Many people leave their receipts at the table or toss them in the trash, never expecting anything bad to come of their indifference. However, if a criminal were to pick a receipt out of a trash or snatch it off of a table, they would have the ending credit card numbers AND the expiration date—both of which are key pieces of information necessary when trying to access an account. As terms of the settlement in this disturbing case, Medieval Times has agreed to pay $525,000 and provide 25,000 free tickets to class members and others.
Lastly, we end with a story of an elderly man reaching a $65,000 settlement with a sheriff’s department. The man was tasered when police allege he tried to interfere as medics attempted to provide assistance to his injured wife. At the time that he was tasered, the elderly man was handcuffed, causing his attorney to allege an extreme measure of force. The case never went to trial, as the sheriff’s department agreed to settle.
For questions on these or any other legal matters, please contact us at the Law Officers of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling us at 561-266-9191 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.