A man serving life in prison for the murder of seven people is about to get paid.
In 1993, James Degorski and an accomplice shot and killed seven people in Chicago restaurant Brown’s Chicken during a failed robbery attempt. Degorski was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the killings.
In 2002, after nine years in prison, Degorski and Cook County sheriff’s deputy Thomas Wilson were involved in a fight at a prison facility. Deputy Wilson says he punched Degorski in self-defense after the man lunged at him.
But Degorski, who suffered a broken cheekbone and eye socket after the altercation, says Wilson needlessly beat him. He filed a civil lawsuit against Wilson, the ruling of which was announced on Sunday.
The jury awarded Degorski $451,000 in a settlement. A judge announced that Degorski will receive $225,000 in compensatory damages to be paid by Cook County, and an additional $226,000 in punitive damages to be paid by Deputy Wilson.
While Degorski’s attorney praised the jury’s ruling, the relatives of Degorski’s murder victims expressed outrage.
“If broken bones are worth a half-million, then how much are seven lives worth? This just doesn't feel right,” said Ann Ehlenfeldt, sister of a woman killed by Degorski.
“It’s outrageous — outrageous, giving him that money,” the father of another victim said.
“I’d like to say `thanks’ to the prison guard who beat him,’’ added Manny Castro, father of yet another victim. "That’s the only way we can get back at him."
The good news for the families of Degorski’s victims is this: Illinois law grants the Illinois Department of Corrections the right to pursue all but $15,000 of the money awarded to Degorski in order to cover the cost of his incarceration.
John Winters Jr., the attorney representing Deputy Wilson, will file an appeal to the ruling. He’s hoping to get the awarded money back in Wilson's hands before either Degorski or the Illinois Department of Corrections can get their hands on it.
“I will try to get every dime back out of Mr. Degorski,” he said.
Model Kate Upton threatened a lawsuit against parody website Celeb Jihad after it claimed to have a nude photo of her.
The celebrity website took an image from Upton’s recent shoot with Sports Illustrated and photoshopped it with the headline: “Kate Upton Naked Outtake From SI Swimsuit 2014”.
Upton’s lawyers threatened to sue the site if the post wasn’t taken down immediately.
The site eventually removed the photos, which it originally labeled “boring” and horrible.”
In a related report, TMZ released a leaked video of Upton topless on a horse. Though TMZ was eventually forced to remove it, Celeb Jihad claimed the original photos were screen captures from the video.
This isn’t the first time the website has been legally threatened for editing photographs of alleged celebrities. In 2011, Celeb Jihad claimed to have a topless snapshot of Taylor Swift.
A day after shocking claims surfaced alleging that Rachel Canning, the teen suing her parents for money, had been allowed to drink underage by the family who is currently housing her, the 18-year-old has taken to Facebook herself to slam her parent’s generation for being spoiled.
“Suburban baby boomer types are the spoiled lot, they make massive amounts of money a year, they are used to flying to luxury destinations when they want, and buy things that they don't need, people should be inclined to see things my way,” wrote Canning on her Facebook page, according to the NY Daily News.
Canning also allegedly went on to say that people her parent’s age only cared about, “retiring into some fantasy world rather than provide for their children's college and young adult years.”
“In today's economy there are no more meaningful jobs and without family help it's usually military or bust,” continued Canning in her outburst.
Since filing the lawsuit, a judge has denied Canning’s request to have her estranged parents pay her private high school tuition and $650 a month in child support. The judge has not yet made a decision as to whether or not Mr. and Mrs. Canning will have to pay for their daughter’s future college tuition. It’s safe to say, however, that Canning’s latest rant on social media probably won’t help her case.
“I see parents like this every day,” continued Canning in her post, “children were always an accessory to them and nothing more, once that accessory grew up and went out of fashion, much like a marriage that people allegedly commit to, the child becomes a throwaway, that's just how it is.”
A follow-up hearing is scheduled for April 22.
There’s been another update in the case of Rachel Canning, the 18-year-old high school cheerleader who is suing her parents. Earlier this week, Opposing Views reported that a judge denied Canning her request for weekly financial support from her estranged parents, as well her request that they pay off her private high school tuition. The judge has yet to make a decision as to whether or not her parents will be forced to pay for her college education, which she is also asking for.
Now, Canning’s father Sean is alleging that family friend and powerful attorney Jon Inglesino, whose home Rachel is currently staying at, has been a terrible influence on the teenager for the last few years. Canning even claims that at 15 years old, his daughter attended a party at the Inglesino house and got so drunk on vodka that, the next day, she “threw up on the sidewalk and in a garbage can.”
“The Inglesino household, according to Rachel in the past, is more lenient. She would often tell us how the Inglesino parents would allow alcoholic parties to be held at their house,” Sean Canning, retired police chief for Lincoln Park, said in his written testimony.
“Rachel was angry because we would not host an alcoholic party. Rachel's first time drinking alcohol was at the Inglesino house, in March of 2011 and on other occasions including their daughter's 15th birthday where they have freely provided alcohol. Rachel came home bragging saying that during the limo ride to NY, Mrs. Inglesino gave all the girls wine coolers to drink. This type of behavior we did not condone.”
Canning’s testimony adds more leverage to he and his wife’s argument that their rebellious daughter left home because she refused to follow their rules. Rachel, on the other hand, claims that her father was abusive and that she was kicked out of her home back in November.
Regardless of whether or not she voluntarily left or was kicked out, Rachel Canning was taken in by the Inglesino family. It was Jon Inglesino, a rich and well-known attorney himself, who encouraged the teen to sue her parents. Inglesino is actually paying the legal fees for Canning.
“Rachel is likeable, communicates exceptionally well and is highly motivated to attend and excel at a college appropriate for her. That is why my wife and I have decided to fund this lawsuit,” said Inglesino. “We know that if Mr. and Mrs. Canning are not required to fulfill their legal obligations as parents, that Rachel’s ability to fulfill her potential will be greatly diminished.”
Sean Canning maintains that he and his wife did nothing wrong and that the Inglesino’s involvement is crossing a line.
“The Inglesino’s, while purporting to help, have actually been a tremendous hindrance in family healing,” said Canning. “The fact that she [Rachel] decided to run away and not abide by household rules is of her own volition and enabled by the Inglesino family who have arrogantly stated that their brand of parenting is somehow superior. The fact the Inglesino family has subsidized a lawsuit, rather than providing responsible guidance in abiding by a parent’s ruled is not an acceptable society norm.”
So far, Rachel Canning seems to be losing the suit against her parents, as a judge has already denied her initial requests, including that her parents give her $650 a week in child support. Now, the latest claims against the Inglesino family involving underage drinking will likely not help the teen’s case at all.
Here’s a new strategy for anyone who wants to spend big money gambling and get out of paying their tab.
Retired businessman Mark Johnston is arguing that he shouldn’t have to repay a $500,000 debt he racked up one night at a Las Vegas casino because he was blackout drunk. Johnston is suing the Downtown Grand casino for continuing to serve him drinks and loan him money well after he was visibly drunk.
The lawsuit is filed on the grounds of Nevada laws which forbid casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them comped drinks.
Despite his intoxicated recklessness, Johnston says he feels like a victim of the casino.
“I feel like they picked my pockets,” he said. “I feel like they took a drunk guy…like a drunk guy walking down the street, and you reach in his pockets and grab all his money.”
Johnston put a stop-payment order on the roughly $500,000 in casino credits issued to him on his boozed up night. The Downtown Grand intends to pursue repayment, of course.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board will also be investigating the case.
"It's certainly an extraordinary case. This is not a story that I've ever heard before, where someone was blackout intoxicated where they couldn't read their cards, and yet a casino continued to serve them drinks and issue them more markers," Johnston’s lawyer Sean Lyttle said. "It's a very heavy-handed and unusual approach that we haven't seen in this town in a long time."
The lawsuit alleges Johnston was so drunk he didn’t even know how much money he lost until he awoke from his drunken slumber the next day. In addition to having his debt wiped, Johnston is seeking damages from the casino for sullying his name.
Of course, this story begs the question: Would Johnston be suing the casino if he had won -- not lost -- $500,000 while blackout drunk?
After 18-year-old Rachel Canning, a high school student at Morristown, N.J.’s Morris Catholic High School, filed a lawsuit against her parents for high school and college tuition, the story went viral. Now, just days after the lawsuit was filed and Opposing Views first reported on it, a judge has made a preliminary decision not to make her parents pay.
Superior Court Judge Robert Bogaard turned down Canning’s emergency request to receive $600 per month in financial support from her parents, as well as her request to make them settle a $5,306 tuition bill for her private high school. He also denied her request to make her parents pay the legal fees. A hearing is set for April 22, where the matter of college tuition will be revisited.
“Do we want to establish a precedent where parents are living in constant fear of establishing basic rules of the house?” asked Judge Bogaard.
The battle between the 18-year-old and her parents is heated. According to reports, the young woman moved out of her parents' home back in October, though the reason behind this decision is not clear. Canning says that once she turned 18, her parents kicked her out on her own and told her they wouldn’t support her anymore. The parents make a different claim, however, maintaining that she ran away from home and has since denied their attempts to bring her back.
Rachel Canning and her attorneys claim that the girl’s home was abusive, but Sean Canning and his wife vehemently deny these accusations.
“We’re good parents,” Sean Canning said. “We have nothing to hide.”
The New Jersey Bar Association’s Brian Schwartz told ABC News that Canning has a long uphill battle ahead of her and that she may not win in the end.
“If you have a child who was in a home environment which was unsafe for her, whether it be emotionally or physically, and she fled the house for safe harbor, then she is going to be entitled to support from mom and dad,” said Schwartz. “If, on the other hand, she voluntarily decided to leave and now is looking for someone else to pay the freight, she may have a harder time. There comes the question as to when parents have the right to say, ‘You follow my rules under my house or else you don’t get [my money],’ and she seems to want both sides. ‘I don’t want to live under your rules, but I do want your money.’”
Rachel and her parents will face off in court again on April 22.
A Morris Catholic High School student who claims her parents threw her out of their home has filed a lawsuit seeking a judge’s declaration that she is nonemancipated and dependent as a student on her parents.
In other words, cheerleader and lacrosse player Rachel Canning is suing her parents for immediate financial support. She filed a certification with the court declaring that on Oct. 29, 2013, her parents decided that as of Nov. 1, her 18th birthday, she would be cut off “from all support financially and emotionally.”
Rachel’s lawyer, Tanya N. Helfand, has prepared a list of demands for parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning. Included amongst her demands are that the Cannings pay Rachel’s current living and transportation expenses and commit an existing college fund to their daughter.
Rachel, who has received several acceptance letters from universities, wants her parents to pay for her college education. The Cannings have stopped paying Rachel’s Morris Catholic tuition bill; the settling of the $5,306 bill is also amongst Helfand’s demands.
Additionally, Helfand has requested that the Cannings pay their daughter’s legal fees, which already total over $12,000.
The high school student has been living with her best friend Jaime Inglesino’s family in Rockaway Township, N.J. Jaime’s father, attorney John Inglesino, hired Helfand and is funding the lawsuit.
“My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules,” Rachel states in her court papers, adding also that her parents “stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school.”
Sean Canning, meanwhile, maintains that his daughter is presenting a skewed version of what happened in the family. He has said that Rachel was never thrown out – instead, she voluntarily left home in October.
Sean Canning has said that he fears his daughter is being “enabled” by “well-intentioned but ill-informed people”, including the Inglesinos.
“We love our child and miss her,” Sean Canning said. “This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife. We have a child we want home.”
He stated that Rachel moved out because she didn’t want to abide by ordinary, simple household rules, such as adherence to a curfew and regularly completing chores. He has also said that Rachel’s college fund is available to her and has not, as she claimed, been withdrawn or reallocated.
In court, Helfand explained that when processing claims for emancipation, New Jersey state law examines whether the child in question “has obtained an independent status of his or her own.” Thus, merely turning 18 years old is not an automatic reason to stop financial support.
“A child is not emancipated until they’re on their own,” said family-law attorney Sheldon Simon, who added that this lawsuit is highly unusual. “Even if a child and the parents don’t get along, that doesn’t relieve the parents of their responsibility.”
Also included in the court record is a letter from Morris Catholic English instructor and campus minister Kathleen Smith, who claims she witnessed a “rough encounter” between Rachel and her mother in October. According to Smith, Elizabeth Canning told Rachel that she didn’t want to speak to her daughter again.
Contradicting this record is Sean Canning’s statement that a Division of Child Protection and Permanency representative visited their home last fall. The representative found nothing amiss, “determined that Rachel was ‘spoiled’ and discontinued the investigation.”
Sean Canning has also said that his daughter had been seeing a therapist before moving out and is supposed to be taking medication.
Rachel Canning and Helfand are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
Photo Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
A daughter’s Facebook status update cost her family $80,000.
Patrick Snay, 69, recently won an age discrimination lawsuit against Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami. He was employed by the school as headmaster for several years until the school did not renew his contract in 2010.
Snay was awarded $80,000 from the case, reports the Miami Herald.
The catch to the agreement was that he and his wife were prohibited from talking about the settlement.
His daughter, Dana, a student at Boston College and part-time barista at Starbucks, breached the agreement when she posted a status update to Facebook.
“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,” Dana Snay posted. “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Dana’s post was seen by her 1,200 Facebook friends, many of which are current and former Gulliver students.
The post quickly made its way back to the school’s attorneys, who informed Snay he had violated the agreement and they would not pay.
Judge Linda Ann Wells overturned the case ruling and the $80,000 settlement.
“Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do,” Wells wrote. “His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.”
Snay defends telling his daughter about the settlement because he had to tell her something as she suffers from “psychological scars” from her time at the school and she knew her parents were in mediation.
“We knew what the restrictions were, yet we needed to tell her something,” Snay said.
A motion for a rehearing and an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court may be filed by Snay, but attorney Bradley Shear says the odds of Snay winning his money back are slim.
“It depends on the terms of the confidentiality contract; each one is different, but the damage is likely done,” Shear told Yahoo Shine. “Some confidentiality agreements stipulate that the client cannot tell people who are not involved in the case: others prohibit anyone from knowing. Facebook is a public forum, even if her profile is set to private, and that’s where the mistake was made.”
The family of a 10-year-old San Diego, Calif., boy who died from rat bite fever is suing Petco for the boy’s death.
Aiden Pankey died last summer after his new pet rat infected him with streptobacillus moniliformis, also known as rat bite fever, a disease reportedly carried by a rodent purchased from Petco, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Aiden’s grandmother, Sharon Pankey, told ABC News that the young boy was “such a good care taker and so loving” and taking care of the rat and wanting her to have a family ultimately lead to his death.
The boy and his grandmother went to the pet store on Memorial Day last year to buy a companion for his pet rat Oreo, planning to breed the pair. The family called it their “the summer science project.”
Two weeks after buying the male rat, Aiden developed what his grandmother called “flu-like symptoms” and died within 48 hours. She described the moments before his death as “numbing” and “soul biting.”
[Aidan] appeared lethargic, pale, and could barely walk,” the lawsuit filed by the family against Petco describes. Aidan, who started experiencing “flu-like symptoms,” woke up on the night of June 11, 2013, with a fever and stomach problems and died a few hours later at a children’s hospital.
“I put him to bed after a day at the doctor’s office and the next thing I knew it just was too late,” she said. ”I went into his room and he couldn’t speak. He was unstable on his feet. I got him down to my room and he collapsed on the floor. I called 911 because it was scaring me that his breathing was shallow and he seemed to be losing his ability to function,” Sharon Pankey said.
It wasn’t until Christmas – more than six months after the boy’s death – that the medical examiner reportedly confirmed to the family that Pankey had died from the infectious disease contracted from the rat.
Hamilton Arendsen, the family’s lawyer, told ABC News that his client is suing Petco for failing to have sufficient procedures in place to prevent incidents like this to occur. The boy’s family is suing Petco for strict liability and negligence and will be seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorney Arendsen said.
Petco officials expressed their sympathy in a statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the Pankey family’s tragic loss. The health and safety of people and pets is always our top priority and we take the family’s concerns very seriously. We are investigating the claims and will respond when we have more information.”
The San Diego Medical Examiner’s office stated that the illness carries a mortality rate of 13 percent if left untreated; however, its symptoms are nonspecific, which may prevent an early diagnosis.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS (RAT BITE FEVER)
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are two forms of rat-bite fever: streptobacillus moniliformis and spirillum minus. In the United States, the most common form of the illness is caused by streptobacillus moniliformis. The latter is commonly found in Asia.
Symptoms and signs of streptobacillary RBF include fever, vomiting, headache, muscle and joint pain, and a rash. These usually occur 3 to 10 days after exposure to an infected rodent but can be delayed up to three weeks.
After the onset of fever, a red, bumpy rash may appear on the hands and feet. Joints can become swollen, red and painful.
Rat-bite fever exposure is typically caused by a bite or a scratch from an infected rodent. Even handling an infected rodent or consuming food contaminated with the bacteria could result in transmission of the disease. The illness isn't contagious between humans.
Once diagnosed, rat-bite fever can be treated with antibiotics, most likely penicillin. Without treatment, the illness could be fatal or cause infections involving the heart, brain or lungs.
The best way to avoid contracting the illness is to avoid contact with rats or rat-contaminated dwellings altogether. If contact can't be avoided, then wearing protective gloves and regular hand washing to avoid hand-to-mouth contamination can decrease one’s risk of exposure.
Rat-bite fever was first described in India more than 2,300 years ago. It was first reported in the U.S. in 1839. In North America, streptobacillus moniliformis has been known to infect laboratory technicians and the poor. Since rats have become popular pets, children now account for more than 50 percent of cases in the U.S.
Student Told He Can't Hand Out Constitution On School Campus, Wins $50,000 In Suit Against Them (Video)
Last September, college junior Robert Van Tuinen decided that since it was Constitution day, he would hand out copies of the constitution on campus. The 26-year-old army veteran didn’t see anything wrong with this, but Modesto Junior College did, and campus police approached him, asking him to stop handing out the documents.
The incident was caught on video. Van Tuinen can be seen being questioned by a campus police officer who tells him that he can’t pass out the documents because, “there are rules.” Van Tuinen asks the officer to tell him what the rules are while explaining that he is planning to start an organization called Young Americans for Liberty.
“That’s fine, but if you’re going to start an organization like that you have to go through the rigamarole,” responded the officer.
"It was a tense situation," said Van Tuinen to Fox News. "To be told I can't do something as basic as handing out the Constitution was frustrating."
Van Tuinen was taken to an administrative office where a woman told him that there is a designated area on campus for free speech demonstrations, and said if he wanted to hand out the flyers, he had to do it there. That area was already occupied at the time.
Now, Van Tuinen and Modesto Junior College have reached a $50,000 settlement after the student filed suit against them. In addition to paying him $50,000, the school will be changing their free speech policy going forward. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, represented Van Tuinen in the case.
“I am thrilled with this outcome and I am grateful to my attorneys and FIRE for securing this agreement,” van Tuinen said. “Now the Modesto Junior College community and I will be able to engage in free discussion on campus. I encourage students at other schools with restrictive free speech policies to stand up for their rights.”