| Read Time: 2 minutes | Sexual Assault

Former Students Sue Karate Coach, Alleging Sexual Abuse

Seven former students at Pak’s Karate School in Kingsland, Georgia filed a civil lawsuit on August 20 against their former karate instructor, Craig Peeples, alleging years of sexual abuse.  The plaintiffs’ lawsuit also goes after Pak’s Karate School, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and USA Taekwondo, which is part of the US Olympic Committee. The seven men, who are now in their 30s, accuse Peeples of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers (varying in age from 12 to 16), from 1989 to 2000. Owing to Georgia’s statue of limitations, the men were unable to pursue criminal charges against Peeples. The plaintiffs’ civil lawsuit was brought under the recently passed Georgia Hidden Predator Act. This bill was passed this year and signed into law by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in May. A 2014 report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) found evidence that Peeples committed “multiple acts of sodomy, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, and sexual battery,” according to a March 6, 2014 letter by Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney (DA) Jackie Johnson. The GBI report, as well as sustained pressure from the seven men and their attorney, Marci Hamilton – a leading national expert in child sexual abuse cases, was instrumental in the passage of the Hidden Predator Act. The seven alleged victims were all top competitors in Taekwondo, winning state, national, and international titles, including Junior Olympic medals. Justin Conway, one of the plaintiffs, says of Peeples, “[He] was who you went to if you wanted to be an Olympic level or Junior Olympic level athlete.” At such a high level of competition, the alleged victims spent a great deal of time with Peeples, travelling to tournaments across the country and even overseas. Much of the alleged abuse occurred at sleepovers at Peeple’s home, at Pak’s Karate, and during tournaments on the road. Often times the abuse would occur in group settings, “with as many as six or seven boys of similar age in the room at the same time,” according to a letter by DA Johnson. The lawsuit says Peeples would manipulate the boys to keep them from telling others what was happening. As one of the plaintiffs, Christopher Brazell, explained, “Your idol, the guy that seems to have given you so much, is at the same time abusing you.” Peeples continues to coach and enter tournaments with children, despite the allegations against him. Owing to his stature, the local community has been slow to shunning Peeples and barring him from coaching and from the school. Peeples denies the allegations against him, and his attorney, Gary Baker, contends that the lawsuit is a conspiracy to destroy his client’s business. The Pak’s Karate School sexual abuse case is one of a growing number of cases nationwide in which sexual abuse survivors are turning to civil lawsuits to recover compensation from their abusers and the organizations involved. Cory Watson Attorneys commend the courage of these young men to speak out and use their experience to be the force that pushed the passage of the new law to help protect the rights of other abuse victims. Cory Watson Attorneys has successfully recovered compensation for sex abuse victims across the U.S.  For a confidential, free consultation, contact us today at (877) 686-8992.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Defective Products

Airbag Recall: Senators Press for Recall of Millions of Auto Airbags

VW Vehicles Investigated as NHTSA Widens Takata Airbag Malfunction Probe There may be more cars affected by the Takata airbag recall.  A ruptured side airbag in a 2015 Volkswagen SUV during an accident in June has spurred two US Senators to call upon Takata to expand a massive existing recall of vehicles installed with its airbags. Volkswagen is the latest carmaker to come under scrutiny for airbag safety. VW reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an incident involving one of its 2015 Tiguan SUVs this June, in which a Takata-made side curtain airbag ruptured during an accident involving a deer.  No one was injured. At present, Takata is involved in a massive recall affecting over 30 million vehicles from 11 automobile manufacturers (excluding Volkswagen) for defective driver and passenger frontal airbags made by the Japanese parts supplier.  The issue involves defective inflator and propellant devices in the airbags, which may explode in a crash, shooting metal fragments into vehicle occupants. A number of Takata lawsuits have been filed. If the incident involving the side airbag of the 2015 VW Tiguan is linked to the problem with Takata’s defective front airbags, it would be notable for several reasons. It would be the first report of an issue involving Takata side airbags. It would be the first airbag-related incident involving a Volkswagen vehicle.  It would be the first incident affecting a model year later than 2011 (with the exception of the 2014 Ford Mustang).  A majority of previous airbag malfunctions have been in vehicles on the road for a decade or more. Volkswagen is now under special order by the NHTSA to supply documentation concerning possible defective airbags in its vehicles. For its part, a Takata spokesperson told Automotive News, “We believe [this malfunction] is unrelated to the previous recalls, which the extensive data suggests were a result of aging and long-term exposure to heat and high humidity.” New Congressional Pressure on Takata In light of these new developments, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Ed Markey (D-Mass) have sent a letter urging Takata to recall all of its airbags using ammonium nitrate propellant.  In their letter, the senators note that the VW incident in June undercuts “Takata’s continued insistence – despite growing evidence to the contrary – that the flaws in its airbag inflators are limited to prior designs in older model cars and only present when the airbags have prolonged exposure to extremely humid conditions.” The senators’ request is voluntary, and Takata has until September 3 to respond to their letter – although they are not legally bound to.  Even so, Takata could be forced to recall every airbag with ammonium nitrate propellant should this congressional request become a formal order by the NHTSA, according to Car and Driver. Such a move by the NHTSA could involve millions of additional cars being recalled, including some which have been previously recalled for the airbag issue.  Later model vehicles with Takata’s newest airbags, including vehicles currently on the assembly line, could also be impacted. Exposure to moisture is known to cause ammonium nitrate to combust violently: more than other chemical compounds used in airbags.  Takata’s use of ammonium nitrate in its airbags has been a source of controversy.  In testimony to Congress in June, Takata executive vice president Kevin Kennedy stated the company is the only airbag supplier to use the chemical as a main propellant, but would be changing to another propellant in response to building concern. Takata began using the more volatile ammonium nitrate propellant in 1999, in place of Tetrazole – a notably more expensive synthetic compound used in many of the company’s current inflators.  During his testimony, Kennedy denied Takata made the switch to cut costs. Cory Watson Attorneys represents people injured by defective products including automobile airbags.  Call us for a free legal consultation regarding a potential airbag lawsuit at (877) 686-8992.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Cory Watson Attorneys

Top Female Attorneys

Congratulations to Cory Watson Attorneys’ founding principal, Leila Watson, and principal, Elizabeth Ellis Chambers, on being selected as two of Avvo’s Top Women Attorneys. Leila and Beth are featured in the August 2015 issue of Birmingham’s B-Metro magazine. B-Metro Magazine excerpt:

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Legionnaires' Disease

Need to Know: Legionnaires’ Disease

Facts about Legionnaires’ disease, its Causes and Prevention   Did you know?  Legionnaires’ disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia that typically affects the elderly, those who have a weakened immune system, smokers and those who are on medications that suppress the immune system. Did you know?  Legionella bacteria causes the disease; it is transmitted when a person inhales mist that is contaminated with the bacteria.  Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread by contact with a person who is sick. Did you know?  Several Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in 2015 have been traced to contaminated mist emitted by cooling towers that manage heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for large facilities. Did you know?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionnaires’ disease kills approximately 4,000 people every year.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Sexual Assault

Family Doctor Facing Sexual Assault Charges Involving Patient

  A physician was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution after allegedly asking a patient to have sex in exchange for money and drugs. According to news reports, 52-year-old Dr. Ervin Wells was arrested at an Albertville hotel as a result of a criminal investigation prompted by accusations of a patient. Wells has an office address listed in Evergreen, Alabama. An 18-year-old girl who says she was a patient of Dr. Wells reported that the physician offered her $600 and prescription drugs in exchange for sex, police say.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Sexual Assault

Our View: Lessons From the Tuscaloosa Teacher Sex Abuse Arrest

A Tuscaloosa sex abuse scandal is rocking the community. A Tuscaloosa County teacher has been arrested after being accused of having sexual relations with a student. AL.com is reporting that Tuscaloosa police arrested Joe Bradley Petrey Tuesday. According to Tuscaloosa County jail records, Petrey was arrested on the charge of “engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years.” As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, official court records had yet to be filed. Petrey taught history and coached football at the school. Tuscaloosa Teacher Sex Abuse There are photographs portraying Petrey and a student engaged in sexual acts, according to Sgt. Kenny Shipman with Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. The pictures surfaced through an anonymous leak, but, according to Shipman, search warrants found evidence confirming the relationship.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Environmental

Salmonella Poisoning in York, Alabama

Two years ago, after attending a funeral at the Eastern Star Baptist Church in York, Alabama, the mourners sat down to a meal in honor of the deceased. Over the next few days, 67 of the funeral attendees became seriously ill. Those affected became increasingly sick and were hospitalized with symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, and one person died. The culprit? Salmonella poisoning from tainted chicken. Salmonella poisoning, though preventable, is all too common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one million Salmonella infections occur every year in the United States, with 19,000 patients hospitalized and 450 deaths.1 Salmonella Poisoning Symptoms Symptoms of Salmonella include: Nausea Vomiting Abdominal Cramps Diarrhea Fever Chills Headache Blood in the Stool Causes of Salmonella Most Salmonella infections are caused by eating foods contaminated with feces. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most commonly infected foods are: Raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Feces may get onto raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. Seafood may be contaminated if harvested from contaminated water.2 Raw eggs. While an egg’s shell may seem to be a perfect barrier to contamination, some infected chickens produce eggs that contain salmonella before the shell is even formed. Raw eggs are used in homemade versions of mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.2 Fruits and vegetables. Some fresh produce, particularly imported varieties, may be hydrated in the field or washed during processing with water contaminated with salmonella. Contamination also can occur in the kitchen, when juices from raw meat and poultry come into contact with uncooked foods, such as salads.2 The risk of Salmonella poisoning is greatly increased when food is improperly handled, not kept at a safe temperature, or undercooked. What can I do if I was poisoned by Salmonella at a restaurant or purchased contaminated foods? If you or a loved one was diagnosed with a Salmonella infection and required hospitalization, you may be eligible for financial compensation for medical bills and other expenses. The salmonella lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys are ready to fight for you. Call (877) 562-0000 or fill out our free consultation form to have one of our knowledgeable foodborne illness attorneys review your claim for FREE. Cory Watson Attorneys is a leading national personal injury law firm serving clients throughout the country as well as locally across Alabama. 1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html 2 The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/salmonella/basics/causes/con-20029017

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Car Accidents

Client Testimonial – Connie Tidwell

Our client, Connie Tidwell, turned to Cory Watson Attorneys for help following an automobile accident. We were able to help her receive the compensation she needed to get back on track. Mrs. Tidwell provided this testimonial about her experience with Cory Watson Attorneys. Click here if you would like to see more testimonial videos from Cory Watson Attorneys.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Car Accidents

Client Testimonial – Brenda Noble

Brenda Noble turned to Cory Watson Attorneys for help following an automobile accident. We were able to help her receive the compensation she needed to get back on track. Ms. Noble provided this testimonial to review her experience with our law firm. Click here to watch more car accident lawsuit videos from Cory Watson Attorneys. If you or a loved one were involved in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free case evaluation, please click on the Contact Us button below or call us toll-free (877) 686-8992. Contact Us

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