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LAW SUMMARY

Trial Opens in Suit Against TrainerTrial began yesterday in the case of a woman who claims that her personal trainer dropped a weight on her head, thereby causing a normally benign brain malformation to require “extensive surgery” and “a complete change in life-style.” Wenda Royster claims that in August 1998 she was doing bench presses at Oasis Fitness Center Inc. on Old Edmonson Avenue when she asked trainer Charles ‘Pierre’ Parker to remove some of the weight. Parker lost control of the weights, according to the complaint, and “the entire weight of the bar came crashing down on the head of Mrs. Royster.” Royster suffers from Chiari Malformation, according to the complaint, “a benign brain malformation that lies undetected and asympotamtic throughout life unless trauma to the head is sustained.” Royster (whom attorneys said aspired to become an inspirational speaker before the accident) and husband Kenneth Royster are seeking $3 million, including $1 million for loss of consortium. The case is being tried in Baltimore County Circuit Court.Feds Charge Four in Teen-Slave InvestigationThree Montgomery County residents were arrested yesterday morning on federal warrants that charge them with forcing teen-agers from Cameroon to work as unpaid domestic servants. A fourth man also was charged but was not arrested yesterday. According to Maryland’s U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia, the arrests are the result of a three-year joint investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Department of State, dubbed “Operation Atlantic Link.” Louisa Satia and Kevin Nanji, both of Silver Spring, and Vivian Satia of Germantown were arrested. Etiondem Daniel Achamorfaw, also of Germantown, remains at large. Prosecutors allege that Louisa Satia and Nanji brought a 14-year-old to this country illegally and kept the juvenile as an unpaid worker in their homes, and that the juvenile was assaulted and abused. Vivian Satia and Achamorfaw are charged separately with harboring a Cameroonian native who was only 17 years old when brought to the U.S., and forcing the teen to work without pay. In a statement announcing the arrests, Louis D. Crocetti Jr., district director of the Baltimore Division of the INS, noted that illegal smuggling of domestic workers is on the increase in the Baltimore District.