Kentucky Sex Abuse Lawsuit: Court of Appeals Affirms $3.7 Million Award that Fayette County Board of Education Must Pay Victim

The Fayette County Board of Education must pay Carol Lynne Maner $3.7 million for her Kentucky sex abuse lawsuit—affirmed the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday. In 2007, a Fayette Circuit Court jury issued its verdict that school officials in the 70’s and 80’s ignored allegations that four teachers, an assistant principal, and a guidance counselor at Beaumont Junior High School and Lafayette High School had sexually abused Maner while she was a student. The board, claiming the statute of limitations for Maner’s case had run out, appealed the verdict.

Maner, who filed her Kentucky civil lawsuit in 2003, claimed that she had been denied her right to an education because the sexual abuse caused her to suffer from depression and drug addiction. She also contends that other students were sexually abused. A few other ex-students have stepped forward over the last few years to affirm Maner’s claims.

Roberta Walter and Russell Hubbard, two of the four former teachers that are defendants in Maner’s Kentucky sex abuse lawsuit, have been criminally charged for their alleged abuse of the plaintiff. Hubbard is charged with four counts of first-degree sodomy and third-degree rape. Walter is charged with third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy.

The $3.7 million sexual abuse verdict is among the largest awards issued in Fayette County.

Kentucky Sex Abuse Lawsuits
If you are the victim of sexual abuse, you may be entitled to Kentucky personal injury compensation from your perpetrator or others that were negligent and allowed the abuse to happen. Even if its been years since the abuse incidents occurred, the statute of limitations in Kentucky may still allow you to file your claim with a WPB criminal lawyer against the person responsible for your pain and suffering.

Sex abuse survivors’ scars are seldom visible to other people, but the mental and emotional anguish resulting from this kind of sexual violence can last a lifetime, wreaking havoc on the victim’s life. The damage is very real to the victim, who may have problems sustaining relationships, develop an eating disorder or addiction to alcohol or drugs, need to take medication to cope, or have to undergo years of therapy.

Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Attorney: State Police Mark Motorcycle Awareness Day on May 21

Kentucky State Police will be holding Motorcycle Awareness Day on Thursday, May 21. The day is intended to promote motorcycle safety throughout the state and will be marked by a full day of activities, including a “Cruise for Awareness” ride involving over 200 motorcycles escorted by Lexington Police and KSP through Frankfort. This event is just one of many activities taking place throughout the US this month, dubbed Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Federal, state, and local transportation safety officials want to remind both motor vehicle drivers and motorcyclists that they share the roads with each other. This means motorcycle riders, car drivers, bus drivers, and truckers must all do their part to prevent US motorcycle accidents from happening.

According to Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rod Brewer, the KSP wants to decrease the number of Kentucky motorcycle fatalities that occur each year.

2008 Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Statistics:
• There were 2,109 Kentucky motorcycle crashes last year.
• 102 of these accidents resulted in fatalities.
• 64 of the Kentucky motorcyclists involved in these accidents were not using motorcycle helmets.
• 40 of last year’s Kentucky motorcycle collisions involved passenger vehicles.
• 108,602 Kentucky motorcycles were registered in the state.

Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic for a rider, who only has his or her protective clothing and gear to serve as a buffer from the impact of colliding with a car, a bus, a large truck, a wall, or another nonmoving object. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and internal injuries result all too often from Yuma auto crashes.

Earlier this month, a rider died in a Kentucky motorcycle crash when his bike was in a traffic crash with a white box truck in Prospect. Police say that the motorcyclist was making a right turn onto Timber Ridge when the deadly collision happened. The rider ended up under the truck and was pronounced dead at the accident site.

If you or your loved one was seriously hurt in a Kentucky motorcycle accident that was caused by a careless driver or another negligent party, you may have grounds for filing a Kentucky personal injury lawsuit.

Mississippi (MS) Teen Auto Insurance Laws, Rates & Requirements

Southern states currently have some of the highest teen-driver-crash-involvement rates in the country. In the state of Mississippi, one of the top ten states for teen car crashes, everyone from the highway safety chief to law enforcement officials blame lax enforcement of alcohol and speeding laws as well as tree-lined roads and poor seat-belt laws. Whatever the reason for Mississippi’s misfortune where teen drivers are concerned, the state of Mississippi does its best to reduce its teen accident rates and make its roads safer for all. The state does this by closely monitoring its Graduated Driver Licensing program (GDL).

Continue reading to learn more about Mississippi’s GDL, teen driving laws, and the consequences for violating them. 

Mississippi Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) and Driver License Requirements

Mississippi Graduated Licensing (GDL) applies to teen’s ages 15-16. In order to operate a motor vehicle, 15 year olds must have a valid learner’s permit and they must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, driver instructor or a person that is 21 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license at all times. The designated driver must occupy the seat next to the driver at all times. 

The next step in Mississippi’s GDL system is the intermediate license. You must be 15 ½ years of age to obtain an intermediate or “Class Y” license and you must have held your intermediate license for a minimum of 6 months. Under the terms of the intermediate license teens are allowed to drive unsupervised between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. only. 

To obtain a learner license, you must provide the following documentation to the Mississippi Department of Motor Vehicles:

•    Social security card
•    Proof of identity
•    Certified copy of birth certificate
•    Proof of residence
•    Proof of school enrollment
•    Signature of parent or legal guardian on the application
•    $4 Learner’s Permit fee

In addition you must pass a written exam and vision test. The same documentation is required to obtain your intermediate license as well as a $6 fee. To obtain an unrestricted driver’s license, you must be 16 years of age and have held your intermediate license for a minimum of 6 months with a clean record. In addition to the documentation above, you must provide proof of graduation or enrollment in a public, private, or home school or a GED. If you are 17 or older, you must have been issued a permit, but the intermediate license is not required. 

Mississippi Teen Driving Laws and Enforcement 

According to The Umansky Law Firm, intermediate license holders are not allowed to drive unsupervised between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. If the licensee has to drive between these hours, a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old must accompany him. The driver must be seated in the front passenger seat at all times.

Mississippi Cell Phone Use/Texting While Driving Laws

In the state of Mississippi, it is illegal for teens holding a learner’s permit or intermediate license to drive while talking on a cell phone or texting. This law became effective July 1, 2009. If you violate Mississippi’s cell phone law, you may receive a ticket or citation and you could lose your driving privileges. 

Mississippi Teen DUI Laws

In the state of Mississippi, it is a crime for a teen to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of 0.02% or higher. A BAC of 0.02% is as little as one beer, one glass of wine or one mixed drink for most people. It can be even less for some. Proof of a BAC of 0.02% is all that is needed to convict an Baltimore teen of DUI. If you get caught driving with a BAC of 0.02% or higher, your license will be suspended for 90 days and you will have to pay a $250 fine. For a second offense, your license will be suspended for 1 year and you will have to pay a $500 fine. The sentence may be reduced to 6 months if you complete a certified alcohol/drug program.

For a third offense, your license will be suspended for 2 years or until age 21 — whichever is longer. You will also have to pay a $1,000 fine and you will have to complete a certified alcohol and drug program. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will be prosecuted as an adult. This means you may have to spend time in jail and the conviction will be added to your driving record. 

Mississippi Teen Auto Insurance Requirements

The minimum liability coverage that you must carry in order to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Mississippi is 25/50/25. This law applies to adults and teens. 25/50/25 is equal to $25,000 bodily injury liability per person in an accident, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Because Mississippi is a Tort state and because teen drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident their first year behind the wheel, Mississippi auto insurance companies recommend that all driver’s consider carrying higher coverages than the state minimums – this includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. 

Under the Tort system, if you are involved in an accident, someone must be found to be the cause or fault of the accident. The person deemed at fault is responsible for all damages. Damages are usually handled through the at-fault person’s insurance company. 

If you plan to add a teen driver to your policy, keep in mind that your annual rate will increase anywhere from $1,200 to $4,900 a year – or an average of $2,171 a year. Although auto insurance premiums will increase if you add a teen to your policy or purchasing teen auto insurance will always be pricier than other policies, there are ways to qualify for discounts on teen auto insurance. Auto insurance companies offer discounts ranging from 10-15% or more for:

•    Maintaining at least a B average
•    Successful completion of a state approved safe driver course

You can also lower your premiums on teen auto insurance if you avoid purchasing a high performance or luxury vehicle for your teen, if you opt for a higher deductible, or if you combine insurance policies into one (i.e. life, home, health, renter’s, etc.).

What mandatory auto insurance laws exist in the state of Missouri?

  • In the state of Missouri, all drivers must carry the minimum auto liability insurance amounts. These include $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury liability, $10,000 property damage liability, and 25,000/$50,000 limit uninsured motorist bodily injury.
  • In the state of Missouri, before you can register your vehicle, you must provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of your current insurance identification card, a motor vehicle liability insurance binder, policy, or receipt indicating policy information, a financial responsibility identification card, or a self-insured identification card that has been issued by Missouri’s Department of Revenue (DOR).
  • Under certain requirements, Missouri law allows motorists to file a surety bond instead of liability insurance or other types of securities, a real estate bond, or motorists can self-insure. 
  • Under Missouri law, if you are caught driving without insurance your license may be suspended for up to one year. You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee and provide proof insurance for three years after your license has been suspended. 

What is the Minimum Liability Coverage (Bodily Injury amounts per person, per accident in Alexandria, LA, and property damage amounts):

If you buy automobile insurance in Missouri, your policy must include minimum liability coverage of:

$25,000/$50,000 bodily injury liability,
$10,000 property damage liability,
$25,000/$50,000 limit uninsured motorist bodily injury

What are the Rental Car Insurance Requirements?

In the state of Missouri it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle without insurance—this  includes rental cars. Rental cars must carry the minimum liability coverages required by Missouri law. It is important to keep in mind that most Missouri auto insurance policies include car rentals. Most credit cards cover car rentals as well, so be sure to check your auto insurance policy and/or check with your credit card issuer. If you find that your credit card and/or auto insurance policy do not cover rental cars, you must purchase car rental insurance from the car rental company. It typically costs an extra $7-$14 a day.

What are the rules pertaining to Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

In the state of Missouri, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is required in the amount of 25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury. 

What are the rules pertaining to the exclusion from coverage of a driver living in household?

In the state of Missouri, auto insurance companies can write policies that exclude household members. These exclusions are listed in the exclusions section, which also includes a list of all possible circumstances that would free the insurance company from the responsibility of paying a claim. It is important to examine your auto insurance policy carefully before you sign on the dotted line.

What are the rules regarding whether a driver has prior insurance? That is, how does state law handle it if a driver has no prior insurance or has let their previous insurance lapse?

If your insurance lapses in the state of Missouri, this means that from the time your insurance lapses, you are not covered. Under Missouri law, if you are caught driving without insurance your license may be suspended for up to one year. You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee and provide proof insurance for three years after your license has been suspended.  

What are the rules and guidelines auto insurance companies must follow regarding the use of Personal Credit History in selecting applicants and setting rates?

In the state of Missouri, auto insurance companies can use Personal Credit History to determine rates and offers for products. That said, Personal Credit History is not the only assessment tool Missouri auto insurance companies may use. They also consider age, gender, where you live, car make and model, how much you drive, and driving record.

Is the state a No Fault or Tort state? What does either mean to the policy owner?

The state of Missouri follows a Tort System. What this means is, if you are involved in an accident, someone must be found to be the cause or fault of the accident. The person deemed at fault is responsible for all damages. Damages are usually handled through the at-fault person’s insurance company. Because Missouri is a Tort state, most insurance companies recommend that driver’s consider carrying higher coverages than the state minimums.  

What is the average auto insurance premium in this state? As of what year?

As of 2006, Missouri resident’s average insurance premium was approximately $673, the 36th most expensive in the nation. This was down 1.8% from the previous year. The national average was $817.

Georgia High Schools Fail To Protect Players From Oppressive Heat

Football is the South’s favorite fall tradition. While the games are usually played on cool autumn nights, high schools begin their preparation in August, during the most brutal heat of the year. Unfortunately, practicing this fall sport in the dog days of summer is a dangerous and often deadly mix. Already this year two Georgia high school students have died from heat exposure during football practice – two deaths that were entirely avoidable and treatable.

Georgia high schools were allowed to begin “mandatory” outdoor football practice on Monday, August 1, in the middle of an oppressive heat wave. On Tuesday, two Georgia teenagers died after practicing in that heat. On Tuesday morning, Fitzgerald High School defensive lineman DJ Searcy, 16, died after practice with his team’s football camp in Lake City, Florida. Later in the evening, Locust Grove High School offensive lineman Forrest Jones, 16, died after passing out and spending a week in a coma after a voluntary workout with his team.

These two deaths come on the heels of a report by the CDC that nearly one-fourth of all emergency room visits for heat illness are attributable to football, and that August is the most common month for heat illness to occur. Over the past fifty years, hundreds of football players have died from heat-related illnesses – with most of those deaths coming in the first couple of days of practice.

Unfortunately, Georgia schools are not doing nearly enough to protect students. The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and its member schools have failed to properly regulate practice in the heat in order to prevent the onset of heat-related illness. Even after these two recent deaths, Georgia high school coaches are still subjecting children to overexertion in dangerous heat conditions. Even worse, schools are not taking adequate steps to diagnose heat illness. Finally, even when heat illness is diagnosed, schools are not taking simple steps that would make death from heat illness entirely preventable. In sum, August football practices at Georgia high schools are unreasonably dangerous.

In response to Tuesday’s deaths, the GHSA shifted responsibility by noting that it requires individual schools to submit their own written policies for practicing football in the heat. The GHSA has also been conducting a study with Michael Ferrara, Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, to study the relationship between heat levels and heat illness, but that study has not yet been completed. The GHSA stated that it may implement a uniform heat policy in the future.

The GHSA began requiring heat policies from its member schools five years ago, when a Rockdale County football player suffered a heat-related death. The policies must specify the time of day practices may be held and the amount of time allotted to rest at various heat/humidity levels, as well as set a maximum heat/humidity level where outdoor practices must be terminated. Essentially, the school must implement a sliding scale related to the heat index – when the heat index is X, practice must start before Y. When the heat index reaches Z, practice must be canceled altogether or moved indoors.  This is widely getting the attention of many personal injury attorneys now.

Couples’ Style of Fighting May Predict Divorce

Most people probably assume that married couples who scream at each other and throw things at each others’ heads are among those most likely to divorce. Not so, says a new study from the University of Michigan. The study found that what matters is the style of fighting that couples engage in, and a shouting style was not the one found most damaging to a marriage.

The study examined 373 couples, beginning with their first year of marriage, and followed them for sixteen years. The researchers tried to see if they could predict divorce attorneys in Boca Raton, based on the styles of fighting that the couples engaged in.

The type of conflict that put a marriage at the most risk was not explosive fighting, but withdrawal by one spouse in the face of calm analysis by the other. When one partner attempts to sympathize with the other, and gets a response of withdrawal, it is seen as a lack of interest in the relationship. This perception of lack of interest is toxic to a marriage.

Even though explosive fighting was not the worst way to deal with conflict, it was not the best, either. The lowest divorce rates were among couples where both spouses used constructive methods to deal with conflict.

Men and women fought differently. In most cases, the men used more constructive and less destructive methods than the women. However, the women, even though they were more likely to use destructive methods early in the marriage, were better at recognizing and changing their negative fighting behaviors. Men who used destructive methods tended to continue to use them.

Fighting in the first year of marriage – regardless of type – was not an indicator of likelihood of divorce. Nearly half of the couples who reported no fighting in the first year of marriage were nonetheless divorced by the sixteenth year of the study.