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Monday, July 30, 2012


At Tofaute & Spelman, we are seeing an alarming increase in the number of FOOD POISONING cases this summer.  One was due to a careless employee while cleaning the restaurant, and, the other was a restaurant that kept food around too long.
In both cases, our clients became deathly sick within minutes of eating the contaminated food and immediately began vomiting, experiencing severe stomach cramping and pain, and severe diarrhea.  
Each of these clients went to the emergency room for treatment - one was treated and released. The other was treated and released only to be required to return to the hospital where she was confined for several days!!   
The hospital diagnosis (in the records) and later confirmed by the client's physician was BACTERIAL ENTERITIS often also called  BACTERIAL GASTROENTERITIS.  According to medical research  COMMON SYMPTOMS  include:

  1. cramping
  2. abdominal pain
  3. fever
  4. nausea
  5. vomiting
  6. diarrhea             

The most COMMON SYMPTOM is diarrhea where stools may be watery, bloody, or contain yellow or green mucus.
Our clients WON their cases thanks in large part to going promptly to the E/R and GIVING A VERY COMPLETE HISTORY OF WHAT THEY HAD EATEN A SHORT TIME BEFORE, AND, WHERE.  Both of these recent cases came from eating at fast food restaurants.  
IF YOU GET SICK SHORTLY AFTER EATING don't take chances. Even though most cases of food poisoning are curable and resolve, you can be in for hours and even days of pain, agony, disability, lost time from a job and suffering.  GET MEDICAL HELP AND DOCUMENT where and when you ate what.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Graphic courtesy of Rich Tinker, NOAA
 As the dry conditions continue in the midwest, and across the county, people have jokingly asked us what we, as lawyers, can do about that.  

Answer: not much.  But, there may be legal implications worth noting.  
For example, if your yard is as dry as ours, you need to be very careful about any burning you do (some areas have burn bans in place).  There have been legal cases where a careless fire has resulted in legal liability for:
  1. a tenant who caused a yard fire that destroyed a rental house, and consumed or damaged a neighbor's home
  2. a neighbor who let a fire get out of control that spread to adjoining property;
  3. a field fire that got out of control causing huge smoke clouds near an adjoining highway resulting in a five (5) car/semi "pile-up" that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages from personal injuries and property losses;
  4. a lawn fire that resulted in burns to a child who was curious and in harm’s way.
Check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to see if you are covered for such losses.  Better yet??  Don’t start fires outside in the present conditions of this widespread drought!