Articles Posted in Premises Liability

dawn-armfield-66060-copy-300x225In October of 2016, a fire broke out in a warehouse in Oakland, California. The warehouse, known as Ghost Ship, had been converted into an artist collective and was illegally home to numerous people. At the time of the fire, the warehouse was hosting a concert with about 50 guests. 36 people were killed. Now, two tenants of the warehouse have been arrested and charged with crimes in relation to the fire.

The Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire

Investigators could not determine the exact cause of the fire, which began on the first floor at around 11:20 p.m., however it is speculated that it may have begun with an electrical appliance. Investigators could pinpoint numerous factors that led to the significant number of fatalities. The warehouse did not have smoke detectors or any fire suppression system, like sprinklers. There were only two stairways in the warehouse and neither led to a direct exit out of the building. One of the stairways was built from stacked wooden pallets, which meant it likely began to burn while visitors and residents were attempting to escape. Additionally, because the dwellings within the warehouse were homemade out of random materials and were not organized with straight hallways, it was difficult for visitors to navigate the warehouse and find an exit.

kpfhiahw3w0-josh-boot-300x201When you go to a party, the last thing on your mind is the safety of the premises. The property owner is expected to keep the building safe. The recent fire at the Oakland building known as the “Ghost Ship” may be a tragedy that could have been prevented. While the cause of the blaze is under investigation, there may have been several violations that contributed to the dangerous conditions. When someone is seriously hurt or killed because of the negligence of the property owner, the victim or his family may be entitled to compensation for damages.

Ghost Ship Used as Art Collective

The Ghost Ship, as it was called by many, was an old warehouse that was repurposed as an art collective. The building housed several different types of activities including artist studios. The premises also housed some people who lived there, although that was not the intended purpose. The building also sometimes hosted dance parties, which typically occurred on the second floor. According to preliminary reports, the building went up in flames quickly on a Friday night when it was filled with a number of people attending one of these parties.

Emma Zhou was struck by a tree branch in Washington Square Park, San Francisco on August 12. In the three weeks since the accident, the family has attempted to move forward – but the process has not been easy. While watching her children play in the park, a 100-pound tree branch belonging to a city-maintained Canary Island pine tree fell 50 feet, hitting Ms. Zhou squarely in the head. The branch fractured her skull and broke her spine. Her doctors believe she will require at least sixteen months of rehabilitation and (even then) will not walk again.

City “Investigates” Why Branch Fell from Healthy Tree

Ms. Zhou’s medical costs (as well as the expenses and frustration) of her family continue to mount but, despite the fact that the tree was maintained by the City of San Francisco, the city has not come forward with an offer to assist her at this time. Instead, the city has claimed it is “investigating” the matter, attempting to determine how a “healthy” tree last inspected in 2010 would lose a branch in such a manner.

Being a parent is hard work.  There is no greater responsibility and no greater joy.  As the parents on our team know firsthand, most parents try their very best to keep our children safe.  Still, we are all too aware of the fact that tragedies happen.  Falling furniture remains a source of far too many child injuries and child deaths.  We can all help prevent tip-over accidents, but we should also be able to trust that the products we bring into our homes are reasonably safe.  When a dangerous product leaves a child injured or claims a child’s life, our San Francisco child injury law firm can help the family get recover compensation and help to prevent future tragedies from occurring.

IKEA Recalls Furniture Blamed for Six Child Deaths Due to Tip-Over Concerns

As reported this week by SFGate.com and the Associated Press, Ikea is recalling 29 million pieces of furniture in the wake of six reported child deaths linked to toppling units.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), all six deaths involved children aged three years or younger.  One of the deaths occurred some 27 years ago, but the other five occurred between 2002 and 2016.  Additionally, the CPSC reports it has received 36 reports on child injuries linked to the furniture.

Picture this; you waescalatorlk into a mall and as you are walking towards the clothing store you suddenly slip or trip and fall. You lose your balance either because the floor tile you just stepped on had an extra helping of floor polish or it was sticking out. Such accidents are not uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 people are hospitalized every year because of a fall injury.  

Most fall injury victims are hospitalized for head injuries or hip fractures.

Accidents like these do not just happen in malls but also in workplaces, parks, concert halls and so on. It is important to know the legal options you have in a situation where you slip and fall because someone else was negligent. Our firm knows how handle the complexities and grey areas around slip and fall cases and may handle your case depending on the scenario.

pool2As summer nears, pools and lakes are becoming (forgive the pun) hot spots.  With the arrival of the water recreation season comes an increased danger of drowning and children are particularly at risk.  Often, drowning is a tragic accident.  However, sometimes drowning, in particular swimming pool drowning, occurs because a company or individual is negligent.  When negligence puts people in danger, our Santa Rosa pool injury lawyer fights for the victims and for their families.

Fatal Drowning in Rohnert Park Condo Pool

One of the first reported drowning deaths of the 2016 season occurred on Sunday according to a report from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.  Police believe that a young child was using a kickboard in the swimming pool at a Sonoma condominium complex when he slipped off the board.  Officers suspect that the 4-year-old boy was underwater for several minutes before he was spotted.  Bystanders attempted CPR and rescue workers, who arrived within four minutes of the 911 call, continued the efforts, but they were unsuccessful and the boy was pronounced dead at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  A representative from the police office urged great care as the water activity season begins stating, “Whether you’re swimming or boating, in a lake, a pool or the ocean, it doesn’t matter the age, be observant, be aware.”

Last summer, Californians and the nation watched in disbelief as the story of the Berkeley balcony collapse unfolded.  Six people died and many others were injured in the tragedy.  The pictures were shocking and made many of us think twice before stepping out onto our own balconies and terraces.  Some ten months later, lawmakers and others are trying to figure out what went wrong.  As a San Francisco construction law firm committed to helping people injured or left grieving by dangerous structures, the Brod Law Firm is following the developments.

State Senate Looks at Safety Records and State Law in Balcony Collapse Review

As KPIX reports, a California State Senate subcommittee is looking into what caused the deadly balcony collapse last June.  State Senator Jerry Hill focused the discussion on the history of the construction company that has been accused of performing shoddy construction that allegedly led to the structural failure.  Hill noted that the company has paid some $26.5 million to settle construction defect cases in the past.

There are countless poems and other verses about the beauty of trees.  They can provide shelter, give fruit, and offer shade.  Part of their beauty is in their powerful size, stretching to the sky and often much wider than an adult’s arm span.  This is also what makes them potentially dangerous, potentially deadly.  In some cases, property owners are responsible when a tree falls and injures or kills someone else.  Do not assume you are without recourse if you or a loved one are the victim of a tree fall injury; read on for some general information and call our Northern California tree fall injury law firm in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, or Oakland to learn more.

Tree Fall Kills Driver in SoCal

According to the San Francisco Chronicle and the Associated Press, a motorist in Pacific Beach died Sunday when powerful winds knocked a tree onto a residential roadway.  Fire Captain Joe Amador told reporters the tree measured eight feet in diameter and also crushed three unoccupied, parked vehicles.  The storm’s strong winds knocked down dozens of trees throughout Southern California, even ripping up rooftops before continuing its journey up the coast.

Sometimes the smallest foes are the toughest to battle.  Bedbugs are a great example of this truth.  Bedbugs can cause painful itching that can feel like torture to individuals sensitive to their bites.  Bedbugs are mobile, hitching a ride from one place to another and quickly making themselves at home in residences, offices, even libraries.  They are tough to eradicate, typically requiring professional intervention, and repeat infestations can occur.  Attorney Greg Brod, a San Francisco bed bug lawyer, helps bed bug victims when infestations are caused or exacerbated by a person’s/entity’s negligence.  Today’s post focuses on bedbugs in hotels, a problem that can cause extreme discomfort and can lead to additional infestations in the victim’s home or place of business.

California Man Says Hotel Bedbugs Turned Dream Vacation into a Nightmare

One California couple says they learned the hard way about bedbugs in hotel rooms.  SFGate.com reported on the incident and shared a video that may make viewers’ skin crawl.  In the clip, the Long Beach man flips over a mattress to reveal numerous small, scurrying bugs.  The man told the press that he and his girlfriend had been splurging on a $400-per-night room in New York’s Central Park to celebrate New Year’s Eve and a milestone birthday when they encountered the pests.  The video also shows the girlfriend’s body, covered in a rash and more than 75 bites allegedly incurred during the stay including marks on her arms, stomach, fingers, and toes.

xmaslightLoading the family into the car, perhaps armed with steaming travel mugs filled with hot cocoa, and looking at Christmas lights and other holiday decorations is a cherished part of many families’ holiday traditions.  Whether you are looking to see what your neighbors have come up with (The Sacramento Bee lists some of the best home displays in the capitol region) or you prefer to tour some of our region’s grand estates (see The Press Democrat’s article for ideas), there are many options in the Northern California region.  Still, the best decorations are quite often those you hang yourself and our San Francisco home injury lawyer wants to remind you of the importance of holiday decoration safety to ensure your holiday display is not only beautiful but also safe.

A Holiday Decoration Safety Tips pamphlet authored by the Consumer Product Safety Commission contains many tips for keeping your holiday decorations safe.  These tips include:

  • Tree Safety