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Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Diana Hanson, 24, an intern at a big cat sanctuary in Dunlap, Calif., was mauled to death by a lion on March 6, 2013. According to an ABC News report, the fatal incident occurred at the Cat Haven in Dunlap, a small town in Fresno County near Kings Canyon National Park. Officials say Hanson was inside the cat enclosure when a 4-year-old African lion names Cous Cous attacked her. It was not immediately clear what Hanson was doing inside the enclosure or what caused the attack.

‘Her True Passion in Life’

Another employer unsuccessfully tried to lure the lion away from Hanson. The lion was eventually shot by a Fresno County sheriff’s deputy who responded to the call. The park was closed at the time of the attack and there were no visitors inside. Hanson’s father tells ABC News that his daughter loved being around large cats and that working with them was her true passion in life. Hanson trained with three tigers and a lion while in college at Western Washington State University, her father said.

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Malvrick Donkor, 14, a high school student, was fatally injured in a swimming pool accident during a lesson. According to a news report in The Gothamist, the teenager was allegedly underwater and unnoticed by instructors for 17 minutes while other students swam around him. Surveillance tapes showed Donkor climbing down a ladder into the deep end and then sinking. He was not noticed until another student spotted his body underwater and told the teacher, who pulled him out. The male swim teacher has since been placed on administrative leave and the pool has been closed. The incident is under investigation.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Malvrick Donkor for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Donkor was reportedly an immigrant from Ghana. His loved ones will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers.
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Federal government officials and the New York Attorney General’s office are investigating claims that the drink 5-Hour Energy led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations over the last four years. According to an ABC news report, the popular energy shot, which comes in two-ounce packages and packs a powerful caffeine punch, is being linked to serious side effects and death. Researchers are particularly looking into the effects of using multiple cans of the drink at once. Each can is said to have the caffeine content of two cups of coffee.

This is the second time in one month that the Food and Drug Administration has singled out energy drinks. In October, Monster Energy was linked to five deaths. The manufacturers point out that these are just claims and allegations and that there are no proven links. Company officials maintain that their products are harmless and that there is no evidence to show that the drinks directly caused the deaths.
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A 64-year-old woman in a wheelchair died a day after she fell down an escalator at a Metro station. According to a KTLA news report, the incident occurred at the Hollywood/Highland Metro Red Line station on October 16, 2012. Officials say the elevator from the mezzanine area to the street level was not functioning, prompting the woman and her caregiver to take the escalator. Shortly afterward, the escalator malfunctioned sending both women tumbling backwards. The woman in the wheelchair suffered severe head trauma and died a day later. The 48-year-old caregiver suffered cuts and bruises, but is expected to recover. It is not clear if she will face charges in connection with the incident.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of this woman who has been tragically killed here. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
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Margarita McIntosh, 75, was killed in a Ventura pedestrian accident, which officials say involved a school bus driver who was under the influence of drugs. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal collision occurred at the intersection of Woodland Street and Brookshire Avenue, the afternoon of September 26, 2012. Officials say the school bus carrying 11 children was heading north on Brookshire when it made a left turn on Woodland striking the elderly pedestrian who was walking in a crosswalk.

McIntosh was transported in critical condition to an area hospital where she died. The school bus driver, 54-year-old Joanne Madaule, was under the influence of unspecified drugs at the time, California Highway Patrol officials said. She was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and for being under the influence of a controlled substance. The investigation is ongoing.
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Gerson Hernandez, 27, suffered fatal injuries on the job after he was pinned under collapsing palm fronds on September 22, 2012. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, Hernandez was trimming a palm tree in the 1400 block of North Martel Avenue in Hollywood when he was trapped under the fronds. Hernandez was about 30 feet above the ground at the time of the accident. Officials stated the victim could have been crushed or asphyxiated by the fronds, which can weigh up to half a ton. The cause of death has not yet been determined. The investigation is ongoing.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Gerson Hernandez for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
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September 10, 2012-Orange County, California-Regulations that make no sense, lack of uniform enforcement, and inadequate supervision were all reasons the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes gave for blaming the State of California for ten deaths at rehabilitation facilities across the state, according to the Orange County Register. The decision means that families of these victims may be able to recover damages from the state for these wrongful death claims.
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September 7, 2012–Santa Ana, CA–According to the Los Angeles Times, an Orange County doctor was determined to have no responsibility for a car crash caused by an 85-year-old patient he had been treating for dementia.

Dr. Arthur Daigneault certified that his patient, Lorraine Sullivan, was medically fit to drive. Sullivan later turned into oncoming traffic and killed a passenger in her car, William Powers. Powers’s family filed a lawsuit claiming that the doctor was liable for wrongful death due to the fact that he had been treating her for dementia. However, a judge ruled that Daigneault was not liable and had followed the proper procedures for certifying Sullivan’s driving abilities.

My sincere condolences go out to the family of the victim lost in this tragic accident.

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Newport Beach police have arrested a 39-year-old man in connection with a hit-and-run collision that occurred on September 14, 2012. The crash fatally injured reputed Orange County doctor and avid bicyclist, Catherine “Kit” Campion Ritz, 57. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, police arrested Michael Jason Lopez was arrested on September 18, 2012 and has been charged with hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Ritz was killed when she was struck from behind by a pickup truck while riding her bicycle north on Pacific Coast Highway, between Ocean Vista and Vista Ridge.

My heartfelt condolences go out to everybody who knew and loved Ritz, who was apparently a respected professional and a beloved member of the community. The Daily Pilot states that Ritz was a member of the U.S. National Disaster Medical Team and had served for the last 18 years as the president of Greater Newport Physicians. Ritz was also an avid bicyclist, hiker and kayaker. This is indeed a tragic loss for her family and the community.
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Catherine Ritz, 57, of Irvine, was killed in a Newport Beach car accident after she was struck by a pickup truck whose driver fled the scene. According to a news account in The Newport Beach Patch, the fatal bicycle accident occurred the morning of September 15, 2012 on Newport Coast Drive, between Ocean Vista Drive and Vista Ridge Drive. Police say Ritz was riding her bike north on Newport Coast Drive when a black pickup truck hit her from behind. The driver of the truck did not stop and was last seen going northbound on Newport Coast Drive. Ritz was taken to an area hospital in critical condition and succumbed to her injuries.

Police are still looking for the hit-and-run driver. The suspect vehicle has been described as a black, full-sized pickup truck, possibly a 2001 to 2004 Toyota Tacoma with significant damage to the right front area of the vehicle. Anyone with information is asked to contact Newport Beach Traffic Investigator Eric Little at 949-644-3746 or email him at elittle@nbpd.org.
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