Justice for the Victim of Nightclub Stabbing

Carolina Forest High School graduate, David Jon Houghtaling, was at the The Afterdeck nightclub with a group of his friends when he was stabbed to death on Sept. 8, 2009. As a result of the events that took place that night, both Joshua Griffith, 23, of Greenville and Blakely Kalen Brown, 27, of Columbia were arrested and charged with murder. Police records indicate that the initial arrest resulted in two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill. Police were called the nightclub at 2:52 a.m. and arrived just a few minutes later.

52cde8c484067.imageHorry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard announced that the teenager had passed away as the result of his injuries. The time of death was 3:39 a.m. at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.

After a brief investigation, police arrested both Blakely Brown and Joshua Griffith. The charges filed against Brown include a murder charge. The charges filed against Griffith include, two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill and murder.

.Houghtaling’s friends, including Sierra Gordyk, said things progressed really fast. “Some guys were just staring them down, guys trying to be tough, I think. They were just staring at my friends. One of the guys approached Ryan, and it just broke out into a fight.”

The fight, which took place near the dance floor resulted in two of Houghtaling’s friends,
Ryan Palmer and Rob Penna, getting stabbed. Penna spent two weeks recovering from a punctured lung.

“[Houghtaling and Penna] were just trying to help their friend out,” Gordyk said. “They went into the fight to help their other friend and they just got caught in the wrong place.”

54cbe5e53f120.imageAfter a long and sometimes complicated trial, Griffith was found guilty of the stabbing murder and was sentenced to spend the next 30 years of his life in prison. Brown was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact of a felony and was sentenced to an 8 year prison term.

During the trial, the defense attorneys tried to argue that the stabbing was an act of self-defense, which the prosecution neatly parried.

During the trial, Prosecutor Nancy Livesay, stated her belief that the defendants hadn’t gone to the nightclub in search of a good time. “They weren’t down here to socialize,” she said of Griffith and Brown. “They were down here to start trouble.”

She also direct the jury’s attention to the fact that prior to the stabbing inside the nightclub, both Brown and Griffith attempted to start a fight outside, but didn’t succeed, that changed when they went inside and bumped into Ryan Palmer whose hand somehow got cut during the fight.

“Horrible cases like this that involve such young victims always break my heart. They’re also the reason I chose to focus my energy on personal injury law. I want to protect families who have been victimized by others and help them recover from financial setbacks triggered by incidents like this one,” said Joseph Sandefur, managing partner of Joe and Martin, a top personal injury firm with an office headquartered in Myrtle Beach.

 

 

Los Angeles Woman Fights Disability Denial in Court

In Los Angeles, Melinda Weatherford has decided that filing a lawsuit against Life Insurance Co. of North America is the best way to handle her current problem with the company’s attitude towards her disability. On July 5th, 2016, she went to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and filed the paperwork. In it, she states that she feels the insurance company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

ds160728_platforms-668x418In 2013, Weatherford was declared disabled and as such qualified for benefits, which she received from that time through April 9, 2015 at which point she was told she was no longer eligible and that her benefits were denied. A few months later, the benefits were reinstated, but that only lasted for a few months before Weatherford was once again denied by the Life Insurance Co. of North America company. According to the insurance company, Weatherford failed to provide sufficient evidence of her medical condition.

In her claim, Weatherford asked for all back benefits she’s been denied as well as future benefits.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act was created in 1974. Amongst other things, the purpose of the act was to make sure employee benefits were protected. It’s a solid piece of legislation and it really has done a good job of protecting both the rights of pensioners and those who suffer from disability. That being said, the language can be confusing and insurance companies are brilliant at either finding loopholes they feel will prevent them from paying or they try to deny claims and revoke benefits with the hope that the individual in question will simply give up.

background150dpi1-1024x680If you find yourself in a similar position, you need to remember that you do have legal options. Most have a free initial consultation service which provides them with an opportunity to explore the details of your case and advise you about your best course of legal options.

Social+Security+Disability+LawIt’s important to remember that enlisting the service of a good personal injury attorney doesn’t necessarily mean you will be squaring off with the defendant in court. What it means is that you’re exploring your legal options. Although some personal injury cases do end up going to court, most are actually settled outside of the court room during the negotiation phase. In many instances, just learning that the plaintiff had the support of a good lawyer and that they had taken the steps to file a lawsuit was enough to convince the defendant to agree to reverse their initial decision about denying disability benefits. All the same, you and your lawyer will need to be prepared to argue the case before a judge and jury if a settlement can’t be agreed upon.

If you, like Ms. Weatherford, feel you’ve been unjustly denied your disability rights, it’s in your best interest to contact us today.