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The Perecman Firm

New York, NY Personal Injury Blog

David Perecman Weighs In As U.S. Supreme Court Hears Abercrombie Religious Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about discrimination against job applicants who wear headscarves for religious reasons.

On February 25, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that it will side with a Muslim woman who was not hired for a job at an

& Fitch Co. clothing store in Oklahoma after she wore a headscarf to the interview. She wore the hijab, or headscarf, in accordance with her Muslim faith, according to BBC News (2.25.15).

Nine justices heard a one-hour argument as part of an appeal brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that sued the company on behalf of Samantha Elauf, 17. The EEOC said the store had discriminated on the basis of religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, reported BBC News.

Questions from some of the justices appeared to favor Elauf, but their final decision will be made in May, reported BBC News.

Religious groups including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Baptists, Evangelicals and Sikhs supported Elauf, as did Attorney at Law David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm.

“According to the law, an employer needs to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and-or practices, unless doing so would pose an ‘undue hardship’ to the company. Examples of religious workplace accommodations include flexible scheduling and job reassignments. An accommodation becomes an undue hardship if it costs the company a lot of money, decreases productivity, compromises safety and-or burdens other employees,” said Perecman.

Elauf was formally interviewed by assistant manager Heather Cooke for a “model” position, as the company calls its sales associates. According to USA Today (2.25.15), neither the headscarf nor religion ever came up. Cooke thought Elauf was qualified for the job, but her application was rejected by the district manager over her headscarf that apparently inconsistent with the company’s “look policy,” which centers on a classic East Coast collegiate style.

When Elauf was not hired

Ice Rink Roof Collapses Under Weight of Snow, Adults and Children Escape Injury

Snow caused a major roof collapse at an ice skating rink in Canton, Massachusetts. The rear third of the Metropolis Skating Rink collapsed without caused any injuries even though there were a number of people inside the rink at the time of the accident, reported CBS News (2.28.15).

The building was significantly damaged. In a photo posted by CBS News, debris and snow could be seen covering part of the ice surface.

Luckily, the collapse occurred at around 7:00 a.m. when approximately 20 people were inside the facility. According to Fire Chief Charles Doody, two hours later there were 200 skaters scheduled to be at the rink, said CBS News. Players from the local youth hockey team were at the rink but not on the ice at the time the roof collapsed.

When the roof collapsed, the resulting air pressure blew out part of the front of the building. The force of the roof collapse also knocked two hockey coaches to the ground.

State inspectors and the Canton Building Commissioner visited the scene. The building was considered a “total loss” and will likely have to be demolished, reported CBS News.

According to CBS News, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation officials had been in touch with employees at the skating rink before the roof collapse. There had been concerns about the snow on the building’s roof. A number of other rinks had also been forced to close in recent weeks due to fear of roof collapse.

There will likely be an inquiry into why this rink was not closed, as well. There was a possibility many people could have been injured had the roof collapse occurred only two hours later. Common forms of roof collapse injuries include broken bones, head injury, deep lacerations and nerve damage. A roof collapse can also cause fatal injury.

Clearing a roof after a heavy snowfall is important. One foot of ice weighs approximately

Mexican Singer Ariel Camacho Dies In Auto Accident

Popular Mexican singer Ariel Camacho died in a car crash after leaving a concert in Mexico, reported The New York Times (2.26.15), citing DEL Records. Camacho, 22, was the lead singer of the popular norteño group Los Plebes del Rancho and DEL Records was their label.

The car accident happened on a highway near the Mexican state of Sinaloa

According to The New York Times (2.26.15), police said Camacho’s car was speeding when it skidded off the road and ran into a drainage ditch. The singer and two other people in the car died and two others survived with serious injuries.

Camacho and his group were part of a new generation of singers known as the “altered movement. They sang ballads about the realities of drug trafficking and uncontrolled violence, reported The New York Times.

Speeding is often the causes of serious and fatal car accidents each year. Nearly one-third of all car accidents can be attributed to speeding, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) citing records from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  When drivers speed, they lose some ability to control the car. For one, it takes a longer time for them to slow down. Then, if drivers do need to swerve, they can easily overcorrect. Also, the faster a car driver speeds, the less time drivers have to react.

In addition, a high speed collision increases the forces on the bodies of all the people inside the car.  As a result, personal injuries are worse in car accidents at high speeds and the risk of a driver or passenger being killed in a crash increases with the increase in speed. The largest studies to date found an “exponential increase in risk of a car driver being killed in an accident as the vehicle increases in speed.”

In 2013, the highest percentage of crash deaths involving speeding occurred on minor roads (35 percent). Interstates and freeways

Metrolink Train Hits Truck in Southern California Train Accident

Federal Railroad Administration investigators were conducting a thorough investigation to determine the factors that contributed to the collision between a Southern California Metrolink commuter train and a truck. The accident produced a fireball and left 28 people injured, reported The New York Times (2.24.15). At least four people were critically injured, including the train’s engineer.

Jose Alejandro Sanchez Ramirez was driving a produce truck when he turned right onto the tracks, eventually getting stuck there. The train conductor, who was in the first car, spotted the truck on the tracks and pulled the emergency brake, but he train could not stop in time. The train hit the truck and several cars derailed. Injuries sustained in the accident included broken bones and head, neck and back injuries.

Ramirez, 54, was arrested on a felony hit-and-run charge, according to The New York Times, citing a spokesperson from the Oxnard Police Department. He had fled the scene and was not in the truck at time of crash. Police said the driver was “disoriented” when he was found.

The Federal Railroad Administration generates accident prediction values for railroad crossings. The accident prediction value is the probability that a collision between a train and a highway vehicle will happen at the crossing in the period of a year. However, the New York Times said it was “not a perfect measurement of danger.” The metric takes into account certain physical characteristics of crossings and recent accidents. It does not account for other factors, like topography and traffic congestion.

The truck-train crash occurred at a California crossing considered potentially dangerous. Only 52 public crossings in the nation were listed with a higher accident prediction value. California has 5,858 public crossings.

There were 13 crashes involving trains and pedestrians or vehicles at the same crossing since 1976, according to The New York Times, citing Federal Railroad Administration records. Seven months ago, the intersection was the scene of a

Lesbian Couple Blames Discrimination After Pediatrician Refuses to See Their Newborn

Currently, 22 states have laws that prohibit doctors from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, for one lesbian couple, Michigan is not one of them. Two moms said a Michigan pediatrician stopped seeing their infant because of what they believed to be discrimination against their sexual orientation.

The married lesbian couple, Krista and Jami Contreras, took their daughter Bay Windsor to a pediatrician last October. The baby was six days old and it was her first visit to the doctor. Her parents had chosen Dr. Vesna Roi, 49, after meeting her in September. In the exam room, while waiting to be seen for their newborn’s checkup, the Contreras learned that Roi decided she could not care for a child of lesbians, reported the Detroit Free Press (2.19.15).

Another pediatrician told them that Roi had prayed on it and did not want to treat their child. The baby was seen by another doctor at the pediatrician’s office, and then the family, who described the incident as “embarrassing” and “humiliating” found another pediatrician. The alleged discrimination took place at Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, Michigan.

Roi reportedly waited five months to apologize after the discrimination took place, sending the Contreras a handwritten letter on Eastlake Pediatrics letterhead. In the note, dated Feb. 9, Roi explained “After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationship” she expected between new parents and herself. She provided no clear explanation for the treatment.

In their ethics rules, the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics both condemn discrimination against patients based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and-or other similar criteria.

Krista and Jami are not suing Roi mainly because Michigan has no law that explicitly protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination, nor does any federal law afford such protection. This means Michigan doctors can refuse to treat

Construction Worker At Barclays Center In Brooklyn Dies in Accident

A construction worker was crushed to death while on the job. Ironworker Peter Zepf, 52, was helping to construct a green roof on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn when he was fatally injured by massive steel beams called joists.

Zepf was working to move the beams from a truck onto a hoist when the beams fell on him. A fellow construction worker explained in the New York Daily News (2.25.15), “The load was top heavy, the truck driver unhooked it without being told, (and) it toppled right on top of him.” The worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Department of Buildings and New York Police Department were investigating the accident.

Ironworkers perform physically demanding and dangerous work daily. According to CNN News, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ironworker occupations rate among the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. In 2013, ironwork was named the fifth most dangerous job, with 37 deaths for every 100,000 workers

Falling is the leading cause of construction worker deaths and a significant danger to ironworkers. Ironworkers often perform tasks several feet above the ground. One wrong step and an ironworker can fall, resulting in serious injury or death. In this case, the ironworker was crushed by a heavy beam. Getting struck by object is the second leading cause of death on construction sites, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Objects fall from heights all too frequently on construction sites and ironworkers are often hit by them.

Workers’ compensation insurance in New York covers a worker’s death regardless of whether the employer or employee was at fault. If a person was at work and work caused that person’s death then workers’ compensation benefits apply. Workers’ comp does not consider the question of fault in determining whether benefits apply so long as the person who died was acting within the scope of employment. In the case of

David Perecman Weighs In On Kardashian Auto Accident

Winter weather conditions and icy roads are the cause of many car accidents.

Poor driving conditions in Montana were blamed for a car accident involving the Kardashian sisters. A black GMC Yukon carrying Kim and Khloé Kardashian and a third unidentified person slid off an icy road and fell into a roadside ditch, according to USA Today (2.21.15), citing Montana Highway Patrol Capt. Mark Wilfore. Icy roads are a top cause of winter auto accidents.

“This accident is a reminder to drive as safely as possible during inclement weather conditions like ice and snow,” said Attorney at Law David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm.

USA Today did not confirm whether Kim’s daughter, North West, or Kim’s half-sister Kylie were in the vehicle. The paper did confirm that Khloé was driving and that the Yukon did not cross into the other lane of traffic during the incident. The accident scared the occupants of the vehicle, but there were no injuries.

The accident occurred about four miles south of Belgrade, Montana, reported USA Today. After the incident, Kim tweeted a note of gratitude for their safety.

The Kardashians’ vehicle was one of more than 10 cars that slid off the road that same Saturday morning. “Nothing out of the ordinary except the uber-famous occupants,” said USA Today

Icy roads can cause a driver to lose tire traction even more so than when driving a car in the rain. Snow and ice affect driver capabilities and can make it difficult to stop, start, or turn, especially in an emergency situation. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), nearly one in every four vehicle crashes on U.S. roads each year is weather-related. Many of these are the result of sleet, snow, ice and other hazardous winter driving conditions.

“While it is not always possible to avoid weather-related accidents when driving in New York, there are some things drivers can do to help

Blast Force Brain Injury and Auto Accident Brain Injury

Many reported traumatic brain injuries are the result of an automobile accident.

The cover story of the February issue of National Geographic, explored blast-induced traumatic brain injury. According to National Geographic, TBI is considered “the signature injury” suffered by American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. On the battlefields, blast force, particularly that caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), may result in this type of blast-induced brain damage.

Symptoms of blast-related brain trauma range from sleeplessness and dizziness to mood changes and problems with memory and cognition. Like many brain injuries, diagnosis and treatment are somewhat unknown. In many cases, afflicted soldiers did not appear to have been close to shells, or appear visibly wounded.  For a number of soldiers, symptoms appeared later and may not have been associated with a long ago deployment.

Much about blast-related TBI is unique to military experience, said National Geographic. However, traumatic brain injury from blast-related brain trauma appears to have many similarities to brain injury caused by an auto accident. For example, both TBIs may affect a victim’s physical abilities, cognition, emotional functioning and behavior.

There are a number of differences, as well. In serious car crashes, brain injuries are typically accompanied by serious physical injuries. Brain trauma in a car accident can occur when a person’s head hits an object like a steering wheel or windshield.

In either situation, for at TBI to occur, the skull does not need to be penetrated or fractured.

In the case of a vehicular accident the impact of the collision can cause the brain to jolt against the inside of a person’s skull. The reason this may happen is that when a moving head comes to a fast stop, the brain continues to move forward until it hits the interior of the skull. This can cause bruising of the brain (also known as a contusion), ruptured blood vessels within the brain tissue (concussion),

Haiti Carnival Electrocution Serves As A Tragic Reminder Of The Dangers Of Power Lines

Carnival is a celebration held over several weeks each year leading up to Mardi Gras.

Contact with power lines is extremely dangerous and can be fatal. Electrical power-line installers, cable TV installers, roofers, repairers and others who work far above the ground are at risk to electrocution from contact with high-voltage power lines. Pruning trees next to power lines can also be dangerous. If a worker loses focus while working near a power line, it may result in a fatal accident.

A reminder of the dangers of power lines came unexpectedly at Carnival festivities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Daniel “Fantom” Darinus, the singer from the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew, was jolted by an overhead power line as the float he was on passed below it, reported the Miami Herald (2.18.15).

Darinus told the Miami Herald that he had been “distracted and had forgotten he needed to clear a final live wire on the parade route,” He said he knew there were three power lines but he remembered to only bend down for two. “Someone was talking to me and I forgot about the line,” he said.

Barikad Crew had been on the parade route for almost five hours performing for fans when Darinus, standing on the top of a high speaker, approached the third power line that ten other floats had cleared with no problems, reported the Miami Herald.

The run-in with the power line immediately set off a flashing volt of electricity. This caused chaos. People stampeded, leaving 18 people dead and 76 injured.

The electrical shock knocked Darinus unconscious. The singer suffered injuries to his head and right hand, and was left with visible burn marks on his face.

According to the Miami Herald, low-hanging power lines have “historically” been a problem in Haiti. Traditionally, musicians on the floats are accompanied by people responsible for moving the power lines with a wooden Y-shaped stick.

Darinus had only one

Justice Department May Sue Ferguson Police Over Racial Discrimination

The United States Department of Justice is preparing to bring discrimination charges against the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department in an effort to force them to change a pattern of racially discriminatory tactics. If the police department agrees to make changes on its own then the lawsuit will be dropped, said CNN News (2.19.15), citing sources.

The plan is being applauded by civil rights leaders as the lawsuit sends a strong national message to police departments across the country. Discrimination is contrary to the constitutional principles of equal protection and equal treatment. Police should also know racial profiling is illegal.

The announcement of the lawsuit came days before Attorney General Eric Holder was expected to announce the results of the DOJ’s investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown and a wider probe of the Ferguson Police Department.

Ferguson became a focus of national attention after Brown, an unarmed black man, was killed by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014. The fatal shooting led to civil rights protests and debates over race relations and police tactics.

The Justice Department is not expected to charge former Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson for Brown’s death, however it is expected to outline findings that allege a pattern of discriminatory tactics used by the Ferguson police, CNN reported.

​Among the issues expected to be part of the Justice Department’s lawsuit are allegations made in a recent lawsuit filed on behalf of low-income Ferguson residents who claimed officers in Ferguson and nearby Jennings discriminated against minorities when enforcing minor offenses, like traffic infractions, and then jailed them when they couldn’t pay the fines.

CNN reported that the Justice Department would seek court supervision of changes at the Ferguson Police Department to “improve how police deal with the minority communities they are supposed to protect.” ​

Racial profiling and other forms of discrimination need to be addressed. As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) explained, discriminatory