Female police officer wins $1.75 million settlement against CCSU in rape and sexual harassment lawsuit

Lawyers for a female police officer at Central Connecticut State University said she has obtained a settlement of $1.75 million against the University, claiming the university “fostered an environment in its police department where police sexual misconduct and even sexual assault was the norm, emboldening a fellow officer to rape her on three separate occasions.”

The lawsuit also claimed that members of the police department “sexually harassed female undergraduate students,” and that one officer who was later promoted to sergeant “openly pursued a sexual relationship with an undergraduate student.”

Bayer to pay $1.6 billion to settle thousands of Essure injury claims

The German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle tens of thousands of United States claims related to its birth control device Essure.

Nearly 39,000 women across the U.S. had claims against Bayer after suffering health problems including severe pain, bleeding and organ damage after being implanted with the device, a contraceptive coil that is placed in the fallopian tubes. The settlement will resolve roughly 90% of these claims, Bayer said in a statement last week.

The agreement did not include an admission of wrongdoing or liability by Bayer, and plaintiffs who participate will be required to drop their claims.

“Bayer sympathizes with all women who have experienced adverse health conditions, regardless of the cause, but the company continues to stand by the science supporting the safety and efficacy of Essure,” Bayer said.

The settlement provides a coda to years of controversy that have surrounded Essure.

COVID-19 Related Workplace Deaths: Rise Of Wrongful Death Claims

This week’s spotlight is on a category of COVID-19 related workplace complaints that undoubtedly has caused many sleepless nights for employers around the country: deaths caused by COVID-19 infections allegedly connected to the workplace. 

This week’s update to the tracker includes two such cases – one relates to the alleged wrongful death of an employee from COVID-19, and the other concerns the death of an employee’s spouse.  In each case, the plaintiffs allege a lack of effective institutional response to the virus, as well as a failure to warn employees who may have come in contact with the COVID-19 virus in the workplace. The allegations in these cases demonstrate the importance of employers implementing a plan of action to mitigate the dangers to the workforce. 

First, in Iniguez v. Aurora Packing Company, Inc., the plaintiff, administrator of a deceased woman’s estate, filed a wrongful death and survival action against the defendant, a meat-packing facility. The defendant employed the decedent’s husband as a butcher. The plaintiff alleges that in late April 2020, the decedent’s husband contracted COVID-19 while at work, and infected his wife, who died from the virus on May 2. According to the plaintiff, the defendant knew employees had contracted COVID-19 at its facility, yet did nothing to mitigate the spread of the virus in the facility. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant was negligent by, among other things, failing to warn employees of a COVID-19 outbreak and failing to implement an infectious disease preparedness and response plan or infection prevention measures consistent with CDC and state department of health guidelines. The plaintiff also asserts that the defendant actively created risk, including by “choosing not to”: provide employees with PPE, implement engineering controls to prevent the virus from spreading, take reasonable measures to allow for social distancing, screen and monitor workers, implement and communicate leave policy, and provide handwashing breaks, hot water, and sanitizer.

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