Category Archives: Uncategorized

Can Reporters Be Held Liable for Harassment

Friday, March 24, 2017

The people have a right to know. The job of a journalist is to report need to know information to the public, but sometimes, the means by which journalists obtain their information can fall on decidedly muddy moral grounds. This is particularly evident here in California, where paparazzi make a living disguising and hiding themselves in order to sneak pictures of celebrities.

The First Amendment provides broad protections to members of the press, but if a person feels harassed by a reporter, what is the law?

Expectation of Privacy

The general rule here for all citizens is whether you have an expectation of privacy. It’s not expected that a celebrity or politician will have the same amount of privacy as other people, yet they still have rights meant to protect what privacy they have. It is allowed to film, photograph or record what is seen and heard in public places. This idea has recently been given much scrutiny regarding the filming of police, specifically in the event of police brutality, a right which has been upheld by the courts.

The area of privacy which has become most important is online. The information we store and share online can be stolen by someone with sinister purposes, from which it could take months to recover personally and financially. As of right now, the law states that we have a reasonable expectation of privacy online, but Internet Service Providers and some politicians are looking to change that line of thinking.

Can a Reporter Be Held Liable for Harassment Claims?

Where a journalist may see surveillance, their subject may see stalking. The consensus amongst reporters is that going undercover and obtaining a job at a farm in an effort to spotlight animal abuse is fine, but using long microphones or binoculars to spy on a celebrity in an effort to obtain juicy gossip is unethical. Er go, the effect the news has on the health and safety of others must be the greater goal.

Intrusive actions such as staking out the home, following them, or recording them in private places can be labeled as harassment. A reporter can absolutely be held liable for these claims, particularly in California where two anti-surveillance laws have been passed:

  • Senate Bill 606 – Passed in 2013, this makes the penalty for harassing the children of a person purely because of that person’s status much more harsh. Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified in favor of this bill, which makes it a misdemeanor to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize the child. The maximum punishment for a first offense is jail for one year and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Senate Bill 856 – Passed in 2015, this bill made it illegal to operate drones on or near private property. Doing so would make that person liable for invasion of privacy, and the liable person could be sued for their actions.

Even if these activities occur in public, the reporter could still be held liable for harassment claims if their actions are deemed overzealous, intrusive, or of a stalking nature.

Posted by highrank at 5:04 pm

Tips for Visiting Bakersfield Speedway

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bakersfield Speedway is renowned for its intimacy; spectators feel close to the action, which makes it a memorable experience, but also presents some added danger. Despite the precautions of a catch fence as well as the space between the fence and the first row of seats, an injury is still a possibility for the fans in attendance. For any large event, there are a number of safety precautions racing fans can take to ensure they have an enjoyable experience.

The Charlotte Observer reported that approximately 2,000 people are injured every year at a racetrack, and between 1990-2010, 46 people died. It’s unclear how many of those injuries stemmed from an accident on the track, but NASCAR is consistently seeking ways to improve fan safety, particularly when it relates to the catch fence.

Improvements to all racetracks in this regard have been paramount in the last 15 years, particularly due to a string of accidents in which fans were injured by race car debris. Enormous strides have been made in determining the proper angle of the walls, the height of the catch fence and the material it’s made out of which it’s made to prevent spectator injuries.

Bakersfield Speedway Safety Tips

Another thing that makes Bakersfield Speedway unique is that it’s a clay track only one-third of a mile around. The clay increases the odds of debris and dirt flying into the stands, which is just one of many things for which spectators should be prepared. Veteran attendees may know this, but some safety tips for racing fans at Bakersfield Speedway include:

  • Ear plugs and safety glasses are recommended to protect against loud noise and dirt.
  • Sit further back, especially with small children. It’s better to be safe than sorry and although being right up on the track may be exciting, the extremely loud noises and potential for flying debris may not be worth it.
  • Stay alert – while it’s tempting to let loose at a race, it’s important to pay attention to what is going on around you. Watch for car wrecks or flying debris and cover your head in the case of a crash.
  • An employee or security staff will always be nearby, report any emergencies to them as soon as possible.
  • When parking your car, do not leave any valuables in plain sight and be sure to lock all doors.
  • Only buy tickets from reliable vendors.
  • You may bring a blanket, seat cushion and extra clothing if needed.

If you have been drinking, don’t drive. Find another way to get home. There are plenty of options for sober transportation in Bakersfield:

  • Taxi
  • Rideshare options
  • Public transportation

Large crowds at racing events can also present their own challenges. If attending the race with children, be aware of their location at all times and don’t let them wander away from the group. Just in case it does happen, it’s a good idea to decide on a rendezvous point beforehand. While a concession stand or bathroom may just be a few feet away, the large crowds make it easy for a child to become disoriented or lost. Use the buddy system and make sure they are never left alone while visiting Bakersfield Speedway.

If an injury does occur at a racetrack like Bakersfield Speedway due to outside circumstances like poor security, insufficient fencing, or dangerous conditions, contact the personal injury attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates. Our skilled lawyers have experience handling a range of injury and accident cases across Kern County.

Posted by highrank at 3:27 pm

Serious Health Issues and Injuries for Oil Field Workers

Friday, January 20, 2017

The oil and gas industry poses significant threats to worker safety in numerous ways – the toxicity of the oil, the hazards of working with heavy machinery, and the risk of fires and explosions, to name a few. From 2003 to 2010, workers died on the job at a rate that was seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries. In this time period, 823 oil and gas workers suffered fatal job-related injuries. Despite enhanced Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations for the oil and gas industry, oil field workers still face exposure to significant health risks while on the clock.

Oil Field Vehicle Accidents

Most fatal injuries result from transportation accidents; particularly when workers have to drive from one work site to another. Drivers often traverse dangerous rural back roads. Fatigue and drowsy driving are significant issues in the oil and gas industry, where workers often work long shifts. When groups of workers pile into one vehicle with a drowsy driver, it can result in multiple deaths. Data shows that about four out of every 10 workers killed on the job in the oil field industry die in highway vehicle accidents.

Today, some oil field companies have installed driver performance monitors in vehicles to track the number of times a driver speeds, swerves, or slams on his/her brakes. Monitoring driver behavior may help reduce the number of oil field worker truck accidents. OSHA has also issued multiple motor vehicle safety worksheets and programs for oil field workers.

Struck-By, Caught-In, Caught-Between

According to OSHA, three out of five on-site deaths in the oil extraction industry result from workers getting struck-by, caught-in, or caught-between objects. Oil field workers work with moving vehicles and heavy equipment, as well as dangerous high-pressure lines. Cranes, derricks, and hoists all pose a threat to worker safety, as do well servicing structures and drilling equipment. Personal protection gear such as the correct foot and headwear may help workers stay safe from these hazards.

Fires and Explosions

Deadly fires and explosions are relatively rare in the oil and gas industry due to stringent safety regulations, but when they do occur, they are extremely deadly. The vapors and fumes of oil are flammable, as are the well gases and hydrogen sulfide wells, trucks, and equipment may produce. Electrical sources, cigarettes, open flames, welding tools, hot surfaces, lightning, and static may all ignite these fumes, causing a devastating fire or explosion. Crude oil vapors can ignite a flash fire, causing widespread burn injury and casualties. Oil field workers may avoid serious injury by wearing flame-resistant clothing, carefully handling flammable liquids, and learning emergency fire safety techniques.

Falls on Oil Fields

Oil field workers operate on high platforms and equipment located hundreds of feet above the ground, such as drilling platforms and masts. Falls from great heights can easily be fatal. If a worker survives a bad fall, he or she will most likely suffer some kind of head, neck, back, or brain injury, as well as broken bones. Workers can prevent falls by following the safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, as well as avoiding sources of slip, trip, and fall accidents.

Toxic Chemical Exposures

The very nature of the oil and gas industry involves dealing with toxic chemicals and dangerous fumes. Oil field workers encounter toxic fumes every day in the field, putting them at high risk for serious health conditions related to chemical inhalation. Hydraulic fracturing oil field work exposes workers to silica, a naturally occurring mineral that can cause lung problems when inhaled. The rise in hydraulic fracking may lead to an increase in silica-related illnesses such as lung disease. With the proper employee training and OSHA-approved safety gear, workers can avoid chemical-related illnesses.

Posted by highrank at 5:36 pm

NASCAR Spectator Injuries: Worst Fan Injuries/Deaths in NASCAR History

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Since its start in 1947, NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) has captured the attention and hearts of fans around the world. From the first NASCAR-sanctioned race in Daytona, Florida in 1948 to today, thousands of spectators have flocked to experience the atmosphere of a real NASCAR race in person. Sadly, several of these races have ended in tragedy due to high-speed car crashes and freak accidents. Here’s an overview of some of the worst fan injuries and deaths in NASCAR history.

Talladega, May 3, 1987

This infamous NASCAR catastrophe resulted in the mandatory use of restrictor plates from then on. Restrictor plates cap engine speeds from climbing too high, keeping all race cars at around the same speeds. In this incident, race car driver Bobby Allison’s vehicle encountered debris, causing the tire to burst. At the speed the car was traveling, the burst tire led to the vehicle becoming airborne and launching into the catch fence, the steel fence separating the crowd of spectators from the racetrack. The vehicle smashed a hole in the fence, and although it did not hit the stands, several fans suffered major injuries from shrapnel and debris. One woman nearly lost an eye from her injuries after this accident.

Daytona, February 18, 2000

After the Bobby Allison crash, NASCAR made restrictor plates mandatory for race cars – but not for trucks, which typically did not reach such high speeds. A notable exception was the accident in Daytona during the premiere of the NASCAR Truck Series. Driver Geoffrey Bodine flipped his racing truck, sending debris and flames into the grandstands. The debris ripped a section of the safety fence – tearing down about 50 feet of wire mesh – and badly injured five fans. Medical records indicate a broken arm, a head injury, and cuts and bruises. The truck burst into flames and the driver also sustained injuries.

Talladega, April 26, 2009

NASCAR driver Carl Edwards blamed his 2009 wreck on the restrictor plates NASCAR put in place for driver and spectator protection. In this accident, Edwards’ car crashed into a perimeter fence in his final lap, injuring seven fans. The vehicle hit the barrier at about 200 miles per hour, going airborne before hitting the fence. While no fan injuries were life threatening, two women did have to get airlifted to the hospital following the accident. In an interview with Edwards after the crash, he stated, “We’ll race like this until we kill somebody,” referring to the restrictor plates.

Pocono, August 5, 2012

One fan tragically died in this freak accident, which surprisingly did not involve a racing vehicle at all. Fans huddled under a tent in Pocono to stay out of the rain during this afternoon race. A bolt of lightning struck the tent, injuring nine spectators and killing one. There was no way for NASCAR to predict or prevent this type of natural disaster.

Daytona, July 6, 2015

The most recent incident involving NASCAR fan injury was the calamitous crash at the Daytona International Speedway. Just as Dale Earnhardt Jr. crossed the finish line in the early morning hours of the race (rain delayed the race by five hours), a horrific accident was happening right behind him. Race car driver Denny Hamlin’s vehicle slid under Austin Dillon’s, propelling it into the catch fence and injuring five spectators. One went to the hospital while others turned down treatment. NASCAR is proud to have no recorded fan deaths related to race car crashes in its history.

When NASCAR patrons and innocent bystanders suffer major injuries during a race, they or their families may be able to sue NASCAR, the racetrack, and/or a third party. Standard sanctioning agreements require racetracks around the country to carry at least $50 million in liability insurance for just such purposes. If you’ve been injured at a racing event or one of the local speedways near Bakersfield, learn your rights and contact a personal injury attorney today.

 

Posted by highrank at 5:14 pm