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Driver who killed MNPD officer pleads guilty

Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2015   

Seventy-three-year-old Key Largo, Florida resident Dean Diver has pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless homicide on Friday, November 20 in relation to a vehicular accident on Old Hickory Boulevard in Nashville that occurred on May 10, 2014 and resulted in the death of 25-year-old Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Officer Michael Petrina.

Roger May, Diver’s legal counsel, said Diver entered the guilty plea and surrendered himself to the courts because he wishes to cooperate fully with law officials as this incident has “deeply affected” him and his family. The accident occurred after Officer Petrina had parked his cruiser in order to redirect traffic after a collision occurred on Old Hickory. The warning sign had not been updated to indicate that multiple lanes were closed due to the wreck, and Driver was unable to stop his vehicle before colliding with Petrina.

Assistant District Attorney Kyle Anderson hopes this incident will serve as a reminder to every driver that special care must be taken any time blue lights are involved. He pointed out the tragic nature of this incident, saying “There’s nothing that can bring the [Petrinas’s] son back.”

As a first time offender who has shown a significant amount of remorse, Driver received the lightest possible sentence for his actions. He faces two years of probation.


Two government workes killed in garbage truck collision

Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2015   

Two government employees lost their lives after a pickup truck crashed into a garbage truck on East Main Street in Livingston, Tennessee on Tuesday, November 10.

The victims were identified as 51-year-old Johnny Massengale and 22-year-old Anthony Toney.

According to the witnesses, Massengale and Toney were emptying trash bins into the garbage truck they were operating at the time when a pickup truck hit both of the pedestrians, instantly killing the men. Observers told authorities and news sources that the driver of the pickup did not slow down when approaching the garbage truck. Officers stated that the driver apparently had some kind of medical emergency at the time of the accident.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Darren Butler noted that the investigation into the case remains open. He stated that the driver of the pickup truck was airlifted via LifeFlight to a hospital for the treatment of his life-threatening injuries after having to be removed from his vehicle.

Massengale had been a Public Works employee for sixteen years. Toney was on his fifth day of the job.


GM may be liable for punitive damage over defective ignition switches

Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2015   

United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber has said that General Motors could still be held liable for punitive damages associated with the 2014 recall of the company’s defective ignition switches, according to Reuters. This means that it may be possible for victims and their families to recover compensation for any injury, loss of life, or property damage associated with one of GM’s faulty ignition switches. In September, GM reached undisclosed settlements in around 1,300 injury and wrongful death claims.

Though it may now be possible for victims to recover punitive damages from the company, only claims specifically involving the conduct of post-bankruptcy GM will be considered eligible for compensation. As Gerber explained, post-bankruptcy GM cannot be held liable for what pre-bankruptcy GM “‘knew or did’” regarding the faulty ignition switches. In any event, the decision rendered by Gerber may now be applied to each of the individual cases already filed against GM by each of the judges presiding over these cases.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a faulty GM ignition switch, you should consult with a Tennessee personal injury attorney at Pohl & Berk, LLP, about what legal claim to compensation you may now be eligible to pursue. To speak with a Tennessee personal injury attorney directly, please call our offices at (615) 277-2765 today.


EPA Announces Additional Vehicles Equipped with Emissions-Cheating Software

Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015   

On Monday of this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new list of vehicle models that they claim are equipped with emissions-cheating software at the heart of the current Volkswagen scandal. Vehicles named by the EPA in this most recent announcement include the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5.

While other Volkswagen and Audi models have been named in connection to this scandal, this is the first time that a Porsche model has been accused of having this software installed.

Volkswagen has refuted this most recent EPA claim, and has stated that they will comply fully with the agency to investigate the matter. The company has admitted to installing illegal “defeat devices” in other Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles to help these cars meet U.S. emissions standards.

This illegal software allows the vehicles to sense when an emissions test is being performed, and to only engage the vehicle’s emission controls in order to pass the test. At all other times, these vehicles can emit pollutants at levels up to 40 times the country’s legal limit.


Tennessee Supreme Court overturns personal injury damage cap ruling

Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015   

The Tennessee Supreme Court has recently overturned a decision made by a Hamilton County trial court that determined a state law placing a cap on non-economic personal injury damage settlements is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court’s ruling centered on more technical grounds of the trial court’s decision rather than speaking to the constitutionality of the cap.

The Hamilton County trial court ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Donald and Beverly Clark after Donald was hurt in an automobile accident; the couple sought a constitutionality ruling on the state law that puts the ceiling of non-economic damages at $750,000 for certain personal injury cases. The trial court deemed the cap unconstitutional after the defendant filed a summary judgment. This decision was overturned after the high court determined that the trial court’s consideration of the motion for summary judgement was premature.

Being hurt in an accident in Tennessee can be traumatizing and debilitating no matter what the circumstances are. In such cases, our attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP are here to provide legal help. To discuss your case with an attorney today, call our office at (615) 277-2765.

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