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October 2011 Archives

Halloween: A Deadly Night for Pedestrians

According to the Automobile Association of America (AAA), today is the deadliest night of the entire year for pedestrians. More fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cars occur on October 31 than any other night of the year.

$144 Million Verdict Against Hospital

On October 18, 2011, a Michigan jury awarded $144 million against Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. According to The Detroit News, Kimberly VanSlembrouck, the mother of Markell VanSlembrouck, sued the hospital and the delivering doctor for medical negligence and for causing permanent and life-changing injuries to her daughter, including severe brain damage and a fractured clavicle. The allegations of negligence stem from the medical providers' decision to force 10-pound, 12-ounce Markell through the birth canal rather than performing a necessary, emergency Caesarean section. As a result of that decision by the medical providers, Markell will suffer permanent and disabling injuries for the remainder of her life.

Who Really Pays in Personal Injury Litigation?

One of the biggest myths put out by anti lawsuit groups is the idea that personal injury claims cost small business owners billions of dollars each year. This just isn't true. Personal injury claims filed against businesses or individuals who have harmed innocent victims are one of the only types of lawsuits filed where the defendant usually pays NOTHING to defend. For defendants who have insurance, when a claim is made the insurance company pays all of the attorney's fees, all of the litigation costs, and typically all of the damages awarded. Some insurance policies even reimburse defendants for time they miss from work.

Improper Propofol Use Leads to $183 Million Verdict Against Pharmaceutical Maker

A Las Vegas jury awarded $182.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages against pharmaceutical maker Teva and two distributors, McKesson and Baxter. The case involved an outbreak of Hepatitis C in Las Vegas among patients at a group of endoscopy clinics. These clinics improperly re-used vials of Propofol rather than dispose of the mostly-full vials after each procedure, allowing blood-borne pathogens to be transferred among patients. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that Teva supplied larger 50ml Propofol vials, rather than the 20ml vials necessary to perform the procedure, because it was more profitable to do so, even though Teva knew of the risk that endoscopy clinics would double-dose if given the larger vials. They also argued that numerous journals, including a report from the Center for Disease Control, recommended that the 50ml vial should be eliminated or modified because they created a health risk. Teva failed to monitor the medical literature and risks their products posed to the general public.

Texting Doubles Drivers Response Time

According to a recent study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, typing or reading a text message while behind the wheel of a car can double the reaction time of a driver. It is likely that a person who is texting will respond slower to unexpected dangers on the road like a child running across the street or a sudden stop of the vehicle in front of them. Texting while driving inhibits the reaction response by three to four seconds when the normal response time is one to two seconds. Drivers are eleven times more likely not to see a flashing light in the middle of the road while they are texting. In addition, maintaining correct lane position and driving at a constant speed are impaired.

Potential Lead Danger at Disney Parks

The Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., alleging excessive levels of lead in the park's attractions. Lead attacks the nervous and reproductive systems, causes cognitive and behavioral changes and increases the risk of cancer.

Fatal Texas Work-Related Incidents Down in 2010

According to records kept by the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation, work-related fatalities in Texas dropped last year. In 2009, 482 Texas workers died due to incidents in the workplace. In 2010, this number fell by 5 percent to 456 deaths.

$20.6 Million Verdict Against Toys 'R' Us

On October 13, 2011, a Massachusetts jury hit Toys 'R' Us with a $20.6 million verdict in a wrongful death case involving a swimming pool slide. According to the AP, the Salem Superior Court verdict was awarded to the family of Robin Aleo, who was fatally injured when an inflatable pool slide partially collapsed at a 2006 party. Anyone that has followed my blogs has seen my warnings regarding inflatables (slides, rides, moonwalks, etc.). It appears that yet another injury and fatality is linked to the use of inflatable slides.

What Happens After a Fatal Accident on a Houston Freeway

Unfortunately, fatal accidents occur on Houston freeways much too often. Assistant Police Chief John Trevino noted, "On any given weekend we probably average at least one freeway closure."

Anadarko to Pay BP $4 Billion

According the Associated Press, Anadarko Petroleum Co. has agreed to pay $4 billion to BP as part of a settlement related to last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP is using this agreement to support their contention that it was not solely responsible for the disaster. BP said Monday that Anadarko's payment will form part of the British company's $20 billion trust fund, which has paid out $7 billion so far to settle claims from individuals and businesses. Eleven workers were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig at the Macondo well exploded off Louisiana on April 20, 2010, causing the largest oil spill in U.S. history. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oil-field related incident, contact our firm for a free consultation

Listeria Contamination Concerns Prompt Lettuce Recall

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the recall of shredded romaine and iceberg lettuce after samples tested positive for the deadly listeria bacteria. California-based True Leaf Farms expanded its recall of chopped romaine lettuce to include nearly 2,500 cartons distributed to 21 states as well as Canada. The tainted lettuce was shipped between September 12 and 13 and was sold in states including Alaska, Arizona, and New York. This recall was soon followed by the recall of shredded iceberg lettuce following a separate positive test for listeria. The FDA contacted Giant Eagle, Inc. when the Ohio Department of Agriculture discovered Listeria monocytogenes during a random test. This lettuce was also traced to a California distributor, River Ranch Fresh Foods. Packages containing shredded iceberg lettuce, Parisian blend, leafy romaine, romaine garden, American blend and garden supreme salads have all been recalled, along with several deli sandwiches containing shredded lettuce.

GE Spectra Series Busway

Our firm represents an electrical worker who was injured on the job when a General Electric Spectra Series Busway, category number FNIAAAAZACDZZZZ, and product number 02618624 AP1, exploded and caught fire at a downtown Houston office building. As a result of an electrical fire caused by the busway our client was severely burned over much of his body and is still recovering from his injuries. In addition to our client, another individual was also burned in the same incident.

Second DWI Accident For Houston Woman Comes Only 3 Years After Fatal Accident Killed Her Daughter

One Harris County woman has found herself in trouble once again after colliding with a parked car. It is the second time she has been involved in a drunk driving accident; fortunately, this time no one was injured. The first accident, three years ago, resulted in the death of an innocent child.

Work Related Deaths

A recently released United States Bureau of Labor Statistics report has found a slight drop in work related deaths in Texas in 2010 as compared to 2009. The agency reported there were 456 Texas workers who died last year, while 482 Texas workers died on the job in 2009. This would be encouraging in a growing economy that has jobs being added to our state. But that is not the case in Texas for 2010. While there are less deaths in Texas, there is probably a correlation with the decreased amount of construction in the state.

Ninth Circuit Decision Reinforces Rights of Undocumented Workers

The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a long-time advocate for the Latino community, has been a fixture in the Ninth Circuit for over a decade defending undocumented workers' legal rights. In March of this year, President and General Counsel of MALDEF, Thomas A. Saenz, argued before the 11-judge en banc panel on behalf of the plaintiffs, Comité de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach and the National Day Laborers Organization Network (NDLON), challenging the City of Redondo Beach's anti-solicitation ordinance. Guided by "well-established principles of First Amendment law", the Court found the ordinance failed to meet the elements of the Supreme Court's "time, place and manner test." The Ninth Circuit, in a 9-2 decision, stood firmly in support of the First Amendment rights of undocumented workers by finding the ordinance a "facially unconstitutional restriction on speech."

Episcopal School of Dallas Hit with $9.3 Million Verdict in Sex Abuse Case

A Dallas County Court-at-Law No. 1 jury announced a $9.3 million verdict against Episcopal School of Dallas on September 21, 2011. According to press releases distributed by PR Newswire, the trial lasted a grueling nine weeks and focused on evidence that officials from the private school improperly expelled a female minor student after learning that a teacher had been involved in a sexual relationship with the student. The allegations were essentially that the school discovered that one of its teachers was having a sexual relationship with the minor and the school took steps to expel the student.

Stronger Regulation Needed for Bus Industry

Several bus accidents have occurred in the past year which has caused the bus industry to receive extreme criticism and inspection. Negligence was the cause of the accident on March 12th where fifteen people lost their lives in Bronx, New York. This was a result of oversights in the World Wide Travel hiring office. Another unrelated bus incident that caused the industry scrutiny occurred in route to Baltimore from New York. This Bolt Bus was pulled over by a New Jersey State Trooper for "erratic driving." Following the driver's failed sobriety test, he was arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence). No one was harmed and a potential tragedy was avoided.

TV and Furniture Tip-Over-Related Deaths Continue to Rise

Recently, an 11-month-old infant died when his 2-year-old brother bumped into the furniture holding the family's television, causing it to fall and crush the infant's head and abdomen. Although this seems like a rare occurrence, over 43,000 people are treated in emergency rooms every year for injuries related to the instability of televisions, furniture, and appliances. Around 58 percent of the injuries involve children under the age of 18. Of the 293 reported fatalities occurring during the last decade, 245 tip-over-related deaths involved children 8 years old and younger. More than 90 percent of these fatal incidents involve children 5 years old and younger. The majority of these fatalities occur when the child is crushed by the weight of the television or furniture.

Metro Rail Hit by Dump Trunk

At 9 a.m .this morning in Houston, Texas a dump truck hit a Metro rail train at the corner of Main Street and Capital. According to investigators, the train was traveling south on Main Street when the truck traveling west on Capital collided with the train. The driver of the truck was blinded by the sun and did not see the red light at the intersection.

Pool Safety Awareness

Poolside injuries range from minor bruising all the way to death. Slipping on wet surfaces and diving in to shallow water are two common ways people can get injured. About 16,000 people under the age of 16 are hospitalized every year because of diving accidents. Alone these accidents can cause severe spinal cord damage. Also, children under the age of 14 represent the largest category of drowning deaths. It may come as a surprise that most of these accidents occur under adult supervision and in residential pools instead of natural bodies of water. In 2007 accidents related to entrapment and evisceration in pool drains encouraged the passing of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act which requires specific drain covers to prevent and minimize the risk in public swimming pools and spas.

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