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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driver Awareness Month – a month dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of distraction and providing resources to help drivers break these bad habits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distraction plays a role in a majority of car accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver, call The Cochran Firm at (800) 843-3476 to schedule a free consultation today.

What is Distracted Driving?
We often think of distracted driving as driving while texting, but that is far from the only dangerous behavior drivers engage in. Distraction can include:
  • Changing a radio station, CD, or MP3 player
  • Looking at or modifying GPS equipment
  • Eating or drinking
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading billboards
Anything that takes your eyes and attention off of the road, no matter how briefly, is a form of distracted driving and places you and everyone else on the road at great risk.
The auto injury lawyers at The Cochran Firm strongly support Distracted Driving Awareness Month and encourage you to think about your own driving habits to help reduce your risk of causing a serious accident.
If you are in need of an auto injury lawyer, please contact The Cochran Firm for a free consultation today.

posted by Admin at 5:46 AM

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chantix: Helping or Harming?

Chantix: Helping or Harming?
By Anna Blood, Intern
The Cochran Firm

In May of 2006, the FDA approved the use of Chantix, also known as Varnecline, in the United States. Chantix’s approval was based on controlled trials conducted over a 6 to 12 weeks period on over 3,500 chronic cigarette smokers (average of 21 cigarettes per day and average smoking history of 25 years). Chantix offers the benefit of relieving symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and cigarette craving by blocking the effects of nicotine.

Chantix’s original FDA approved labeling included a list of the following neuropsychiatric side effects: insomnia, abnormal dreams, and nightmares. However, as information about these side effects began to develop, the labeling was changed.

In January 2008, based on several reports of serious neuropsychiatric side effects, the FDA determined that Chantix was associated with suicidal behavior, changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, and worsening of preexisting psychiatric illness. A new warning was added describing these side effects, as well as adding new recommendations for patients, their families and caregivers to monitor for these side effects during the drugs use.

Further, in May 2008, the FDA, acting under the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, required Pfizer to implement a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to ensure that the benefits of Chantix as an aid to smoking cessation outweighed its risks. The REMS required a Medication Guide to ensure that Chantix patients were aware of the risk of neuropsychiatric side effects. Additionally, the FDA required Pfizer to conduct a controlled trial to assess these risks.
Finally, in July 2009, a boxed warning was added to include other neuropsychiatric side effects which included hostility, agitation, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions. Recommendations were given to patients and their caregivers to discontinue Chantix if these side effects occurred.
Just this month, the FDA released a Drug Safety Communication updating Chantix ‘s warning label to include potential alcohol interaction, rare risk of seizures, and studies of side effects on mood, behavior and thinking. The FDA based its findings on studies from Pfizer, as well as a review of cases in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System database (FAERS) which showed that some patients experienced decreased tolerance of alcohol, increased drunkenness, unusual or aggressive behavior, or they had no memory of events that had occurred. 
These reports also contained cases where patients had seizures while taking Chantix and either had no history of seizures or had a seizure disorder that had been well controlled. Most of these seizures occurred within the first month of using Chantix. The FDA is recommending that Healthcare professionals weigh the risks of seizures against the potential benefits before prescribing Chantix in patients with a history of seizures.
 The FDA states that until patients know how Chantix affects their ability to tolerate alcohol, they should decrease the amount of alcohol they drink. Patients who have a seizure while taking Chantix should stop the medicine and seek medical attention immediately.
As a result of the serious side effects associated with Chantix, there have been numerous lawsuits against Pfizer over the past decade. The first lawsuit filed against Pfizer regarding Chantix was in Indiana in 2008 by the law firm of Cory, Watson, Crowder & DeGaris.
By 2010, there were at least 1,200 Chantix lawsuits, with most plaintiffs seeking damages associated with suicide and depression. That year, the U.S. Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation transferred all Chantix side effects lawsuits to the District Court in Alabama and appointed U.S. Judge Inge Johnson of the Northern District of Alabama to handle all pretrial proceedings and civil trials not settled out of court.

In October 2012, Johnson heard two lawsuits against Pfizer as a part of a pool of eight selected to be test cases in the litigation. The first of these claims was brought by the widow of Mark Whitely, a man who committed suicide after taking Chantix. The second claim was brought by Billy G. Bedsole Jr. who stated that the drug caused him to have suicidal thoughts and other psychiatric problems. Both cases were settled for undisclosed amounts.
By 2014, nearly 2,900 lawsuits claiming Chantix triggered suicidal thoughts and other psychological problems had been settled for about $300 million in Federal Bellwether trials in Alabama. Courts utilize a bellwether approach when large numbers of plaintiffs are proceeding on the same theory or claim and there is no other feasible way for the courts to handle the enormous caseload.

Despite the seemingly end in litigation with Pfizer concerning neuropsychiatric side effects such as suicide, the recent FDA warnings about seizures are a sign that the fight is not over and that litigation over this new issue is just beginning. Pfizer will likely continue to advocate for the use of its products while consumers now face the threat of seizures in their use of the smoking cessation drug, Chantix.

posted by The Cochran Firm at 12:49 PM

Graco Fined by NHTSA

Graco Children’s Products has recently been fined $10 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to issue a timely recall for defective children’s car seats. The seats in question have a defective buckle that can make it difficult to remove a child from restraints in emergency situations. The NHTSA found that Graco was made aware of the problem as early as 2009.

If your child has sustained an injury caused or exacerbated by a Graco car seat, please call (800) 843-3476 to schedule a free consultation with one of the product liability attorneys at The Cochran Firm.

Defective products injure and kill thousands of children every year. Tragically, many of these products are known to be dangerous but are never recalled by the manufacturer. When defective products cause harm, victims and their families have every right to hold the negligent party accountable and seek compensation for all associated damages.

The injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm are among the most successful product liability litigators in the nation. We welcome an opportunity to meet with you free of charge to discuss your case, your rights, and the most effective way to get the justice you are due.

To schedule your free consultation at The Cochran Firm office nearest you, please contact us today.

posted by Admin at 5:43 AM

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Decriminalization, Legalization, and Medical Use: Understanding Marijuana Laws

Marijuana is at a crossroads as more and more states pass laws regarding its use. However, because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, there is no real consistency from state to state. This can make a dangerous situation for people acting lawfully in one state, only to be arrested in another for possession or transporting.

If you are facing drug charges, please call (800) 843-3476 to schedule a free consultation with one of the the criminal defense lawyers at The Cochran Firm.

Understanding State Laws
Currently, 23 states allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes. In a majority of these states, medical users must have a card indicating that their condition allows for marijuana consumption. In medical-only states, having marijuana without a card is illegal.

18 states have decriminalized marijuana. Decriminalization does not make the drug legal, but it does turn possession into a minor civil offense – similar to a traffic ticket.

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in four states: Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Even here, laws regarding sales, distribution, and consumption are often confusing and can lead to criminal charges when misunderstood. If you find yourself being charged with a drug crime in these or any other state, you need a defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible to help protect your freedom.

To schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys, please contact The Cochran Firm today. We have offices throughout the United States to better serve people in all areas of the country.

posted by Admin at 5:16 AM

Monday, March 9, 2015

Clearing Snow off of Your Car

With the heavy snow much of the country has been getting this winter, cars piled high with the white stuff, windows hardly cleared, are far from an uncommon site. However, not only is failure to clear your car of snow potentially illegal, it is terribly dangerous and significantly increases risks for car accidents.

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed by an irresponsible driver, please call The Cochran Firm at (800) 843-3476 to schedule a free consultation today.

Properly Cleaning Snow off of a Car
Before you drive after a snow storm:
  1. Clear snow off of the top, sides, and trunk of the car
  2. Clear snow and ice off of front, back, and side windows
  3. Clear snow off of side-view mirrors, headlights, and brake lights
  4. Ensure windshield wipers are not frozen to the window
These simple steps may seem unpleasant – most likely it will be cold and you may even get a little snow on your jacket and pants – but the alternative is creating a dangerous situation for yourself and everyone else on the road.
If you are in need of a personal injury attorney, please contact The Cochran Firm today to be put in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area.

posted by Admin at 11:03 AM

Free Legal Clinic in Memory of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.

2nd Annual Free Legal Clinic
presented by
The Cochran Firm – California
Resurrection Church
March 29, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Resurrection Church
1135 Janis Street
Carson, California
Join the The Cochran Firm attorneys and staff for a free legal clinic as we honor, commemorate continue the legacy of the firm’s founding partner, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. This clinic is free and open to the public.
Essay Contest
Pastor Joseph C. Robinson and the Resurrection Church will award a $2500 scholarship to a deserving high school student based on the essay “What Impact Has Johnnie L. Cochran Had on Social Justice?”
It has been 10 years since Johnnie Cochran lost his battle to a brain tumor and the attorneys with the Los Angeles office continue to carry out his mission of working for injured people and representing the average citizen.
Join us at Resurrection Church. Our attorneys will discuss all areas of law with you – police misconduct
litigation, criminal law, wrongful death litigation, insurance disputes, business litigation, and
entertainment law.
All are welcome. Come out to see us!

posted by The Cochran Firm at 9:34 AM

Monday, March 2, 2015

Unfair Compensation for Detainees

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts for the way it compensates detainees for their labor. According to the complaint, detainees are paid $1 a day to perform janitorial duties such as mopping floors and cleaning toilets. The lawsuit was brought by Anthony Whyte, a 40-year-old Jamaican national who was detained for alleged civil violations while awaiting deportation. According to Whyte’s representation, the jail may have cheated detainees out of more than $4 million over the last six years.

Unfair treatment of detainees is not a new problem. Nor is requiring inmates to perform various jobs for little to no pay. However, when people being detained begin working for less than minimum wage, there are employment law issues that can arise. If you believe you have been mistreated or forced to work for less than state minimum wage while being detained, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you get the fair compensation you are due.

If you are in need of an experienced employment law attorney, please contact The Cochran Firm online or by calling (800) 843-3476 to be put in touch with a lawyer in your area today.

posted by Admin at 10:33 AM

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The Cochran Firm handles Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense claims for clients throughout the United States of America. The information on this website does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney-client relationship.Please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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