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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Atlanta Police Search for Driver in Deadly Hit-and-Run Auto Accident

Atlanta police released new information yesterday they hope will help them track down the driver in a deadly hit-and-run auto accident that killed a Cobb County woman March 22. The 47-year-old woman was struck as she was crossing Boulevard in Midtown at Ralph McGill Boulevard, according to Atlanta police. The driver never stopped the vehicle, and is still at large.

Analysis of surveillance video from a nearby gas station showed that the car was a silver or grey four-door Mercedes-Benz, and that the driver was Caucasian or light-skinned African-American. There were no passengers in the car. According to witnesses, the car sustained damage to the right front side and the windshield. Police are offering a reward of up to $2,000 for any information leading to the driver's arrest.

If you have lost a family member in an auto accident or an auto-pedestrian accident, your loss can never be restored. But The Cochran Firm stands ready to represent you in your wrongful death lawsuit and to utilize its nationwide resources to help you get the maximum compensation for your injury. Schedule a free, no-obligation auto accident lawsuit consultation with the civil litigation attorneys at the Atlanta office of The Cochran Firm today.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:46 AM

Monday, March 30, 2009

Automobile Accident Facts and Figures

Someone in this country dies in an automobile accident every 13 seconds. The most common causes of automobile accidents are driver error, mechanical failure or poor road conditions. Driver error, distracted and fatigued drivers account for 95% of automobile accidents. Some examples of driver error are speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving, and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Cell phone use, adjusting the radio or CD player and other passengers cause serious driver distraction. Driver fatigue accounts for over 100,000 accidents a year in the United States.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged 3 years to 33 years. There are over 6,000,000 automobile accidents every year in this country. Over 3,000,000 people are injured and there are over 45,000 deaths.

An automobile accident can leave you or a family member seriously injured and financially devastated through no fault of your own. If you are involved in an automobile accident, try to remain calm, call police and/or 911, and move automobile to a safe place off the road if there are no injuries and it is possible to do so.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an automobile accident, the experienced accident attorneys at The Cochran Firm, with offices nationwide, can help. Please contact one of the offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 7:17 AM

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What to Do After a Brain Injury

The recent death of actress Natasha Richardson from a traumatic brain injury has many Americans worried. After all, she seemed completely fine after her fall and was talking and laughing on the ski slopes. It wasn’t until hours later that her symptoms developed, and by then, it was too late.

What is even more frightening is that for brain injuries similar to Richardson’s, you may seem fine for days before symptoms begin to appear. When you don’t know that your skull is getting flooded with blood for days, the risk of permanent brain damage or even death is very serious.

Obviously, there is a fine line between erring on the side of caution and being the paranoid person who always goes to the emergency room every time a minor injury takes place. However, with a brain injury, you can never be too cautious. The consequences for waiting to seek treatment may be a matter of life and death. Therefore, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention immediately after sustaining a head injury of any kind.

The following tips will help you know what to do in the event of a brain injury:

Be vigilant. Keep careful watch on a loved one after he or she has sustained a brain injury. Even if nothing seems wrong, it is important to be on the lookout for even the most subtle changes in behavior.

Look for dizziness, vomiting, headaches, and confusion. These are some of the most common symptoms of a brain injury. If your loved one exhibits any of them, go to the emergency room at once.

Look for changes in symptoms and behavior. Anytime a head injury patient exhibits a sudden change in behavior, such as a headache going from mild to severe in a matter of minutes, it is cause for concern. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice any sudden changes in behavior or symptoms.

Exercise caution if the injured person has been drinking alcohol or is on blood thinners. Frequently, drunken behavior will closely resemble the symptoms of a brain injury. Also, blood thinners can cause minor bleeding to become profuse bleeding. It is important to seek medical attention to prevent this from occurring.

Go to a certified trauma center if possible. By going to a hospital with a trauma center, you can be certain that a neurosurgeon will be on call. Due to the time sensitivity of these injuries, you want to make sure that the proper specialists are on duty to properly diagnose and treat your injury. The American College of Surgeons can provide you with a list of certified trauma facilities.

The Cochran Firm has the skills and experience to help you receive proper compensation in the event that you suffer a traumatic brain injury. Please contact our brain injury lawyers today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients nationwide.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 8:18 AM

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Florida VA May Have Exposed Vets to Infections

Veterans who received colonoscopies between May 2004 and March 12, 2009 have begun lining up to be tested for H.I.V. and hepatitis at the Miami Veterans Hospital. Officials there say as many as 3000 veterans may have been exposed to the infections as the result of endoscopes that were not properly sterilized.

Though medical experts believe the odds of infection are less than one in a million, those whose immune systems are already suppressed by things like chemotherapy may have a higher risk. This hasn’t kept thousands of veterans from feeling a sense of panic.

VA clinics in two other southern states, Tennessee and Georgia, alerted over 7000 veterans that they may have been exposed to infections during colonoscopies between 2003 and 2008. Ten people from Tennessee and six from Georgia have tested positive. Tennessee results show infections of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Results from Georgia are still being evaluated.

Miami Veterans Hospital is an award winning care facility. As a result of possible contamination, many are beginning to question, if it can happen here, what does this mean is going on at other VA hospitals around the country?

If you or your loved one is a veteran, and you believe you may have been exposed to an infectious disease as the result of improperly sterilized equipment, please contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Cochran Firm. We have offices nationwide.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:29 AM

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Regulations

There is a vast number of federal regulations for the trucking industry. They relate to such things as the trucks themselves, the loads, drivers, trucking companies, hazardous materials, and licensing. They apply to Mexican and Canadian drivers when they are in the U.S., as well as to U.S. drivers.

Some of the regulations for truck drivers concern alcohol testing. Although all states now have a legal limit for blood alcohol of 0.08, trucking regulations are stricter, and require that no driver shall be on duty with a level of 0.04 or more. No driver is to use alcohol "while performing safety-sensitive functions", a broad term which could include almost anything a driver does while working. If any driver refuses to be tested, the employer cannot allow him to perform any safety-sensitive functions.

Before Being Hired

Before a trucker driver is hired he must be tested for controlled substance use and may not begin work until the test results are in the possession of the new employer and are negative. The company is not required to test for alcohol use, but may do so after it has made a offer of employment contingent on the alcohol test results, which must be lower than 0.04.

After an Accident

When a truck driver is involved in a truck accident he must be tested for alcohol and drug use if there was any injury or death from the accident or if he received a citation for any moving violation related to the accident. Even if there were no serious injuries but a vehicle has to be towed from the accident scene, the truck driver must be tested.

Random Testing

Every trucking company is required to randomly test at least ten percent of its drivers every year for alcohol use, and at least 50 percent for controlled substances use. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) may change these numbers any time, based on what it finds in the violation records of the whole trucking industry.

The above is a very brief summary of these particular regulations. There is a great deal more detail that specifies certain situations and conditions. But in spite of these regulations, drug and alcohol use continue to be leading causes of truck accidents nationwide.

If you have been injured in a truck accident and are wondering about your legal position, please call or email our truck accident attorneys today. We will be glad to schedule a free case review for you.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:32 PM

Capitol Hill Resident Sues D.C. Water and Sewer

John Parkhurst filed suit in Washington, D.C. Superior Court on February 17th, alleging that high levels of lead in the city's water caused his twin sons' chronic health problems. The suit seeks $200 million in damages, and could become a class action suit on behalf of other residents.

According to Parkhurst, his sons were given formula and food prepared with tap water when they were infants, and showed elevated levels of lead in their systems at their two-year checkup. Now eight years old, the twins suffer from learning and behavioral problems.

A 2007 research paper stated that heightened levels of lead in the water from 2001-2004 had not caused any health problems. However, evidence surfaced recently that the paper was written by a paid consultant for Washington Water and Sewer Authority. In addition, WASA had final say over the contents of the paper, making the results suspect. The lawsuit accuses WASA of hiding the seriousness of lead issues, and seeks various forms of monitoring and medical care for children affected by the lead contamination.

We take the safety of our drinking water for granted, and the failure of a large utility company to keep water safe represents a betrayal of the public trust. If you feel you have been affected by contaminated water, food, or other substances due to the negligence of a company or corporation, please contact The Cochran Firm. The experienced product liability and municipal liability attorneys at our Washington, D.C. office will discuss your case with you and do what we can to help.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:07 PM

Tuskegee National Forest Reaches Milestone

The smallest national forest in America marks its fiftieth anniversary this year.

The year-long celebration of this milestone for the Tuskegee National Forest began with a historical tour that focused on the impact of the national forest on the state of Alabama. A series of additional events, led by the Alabama Tourism Department, the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center and the U.S. Forest Service will culminate in a main anniversary celebration in September.

The creation of national forests and the preservation of such environmentally important lands have come as the result of long-term struggle for laws to protect our shrinking natural environment. While much of this work occurs on the federal and state level, environmental litigation can come into play at any level of the government. It can even involve litigation against corporations, organizations, and individuals.

With the work of concerned citizens, committed lawmakers, and skilled environmental litigation attorneys, important pieces of land, such as wetlands and national forests, can be preserved for generations to come.

At the Tuskegee, Alabama offices of The Cochran Firm, our experienced team of attorneys specializes in environmental litigation, as well as other areas of civil litigation. If you need help with a case involving environmental issues or infractions, please contact the Tuskegee, Alabama location of The Cochran Firm today for a confidential consultation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:06 PM

Allegations of Bullying Lead to Lawsuit

Twice in three days a teenager was assaulted at the A.P. Giannini Middle School by bullies who used an umbrella handle in an attempt to “sodomize” him. A lawsuit was filed against the two alleged bullies, the Aspiranet nonprofit agency and the San Francisco Unified School District, claiming negligence in supervision, sexual assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress. Aspiranet operates the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center in collaboration with San Francisco Unified School District providing after school programs for the A.P. Giannini Middle School students.

Bullying is a growing problem in schools and places where youth go for recreation. All students are required to attend school, and therefore should expect to be assured of safety while in the care of school employees and agents. The same holds true for after school programs intended to benefit youth. What should have been safe haven for this 13-year old boy became a place exposing him to physical and emotional trauma that may impair him for a lifetime.

If you or a loved one were victimized while in the care and trust of a person or agency responsible for your safety and well being, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in their San Francisco, California office today. Our special skills in the area of personal injury law can help bring justice to your case.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:05 PM

Product Defects

In a perfect world all products would perform as anticipated. But, being the imperfect world it is, products do malfunction, and the results can go beyond just wasting our money. While many products are recalled as soon as a danger is identified and associated with the item, too often the danger is not realized until someone has been injured or worse. Despite years of deaths, injuries and lawsuits, products are still being recalled for the same old reasons. Here are just a few risks consumers should be alert for:

• Choking hazards
• Electrical malfunctions
• Adverse reactions (usually to medications)
• Toxins
• Contaminants (asbestos, lead, melamine, etc.)
• Intentional and non-intentional negligent oversights
• Outright violations of safety requirements.

The recent death of a three-year old, who was strangled when the drawstring on his hooded sweatshirt became caught on playground equipment, prompted the responsible recall of 300,000 Hill Sportswear hooded sweatshirts, essentially acknowledging their product liability. Although the sweatshirts had been sold since 1999 with no prior problems, one death was more than enough. The sweatshirts were sold in California and Texas.

On the other side of responsible product supply, several news reports indicate that Peanut Corporation of America officials were aware that their products may have been contaminated, yet, gave orders to distribute them, anyway. The resulting illnesses and deaths are likely to cause thousands of personal injury claims against this company.

If you have suffered a personal injury or a loved one died as a result of consuming or using a product or medication you can learn more about personal injury and product liability claims and your rights. Please contact The Cochran Firm in Sacramento, California for a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:04 PM

UNC Emergency Alert System Inefficient?

In the latest of a series of scares at UNC, a bomb threat was not reported to the campus emergency alert system until more than two hours after it was received.

At 9 pm on Sunday, February 15th, a bomb threat was called in to Orange County 911, stating an explosive device had been planted at “The Pit,” a campus gathering place popular among UNC students and located near the center of the campus. UNC students subscribed to the Alert Carolina crisis notification system were alerted to the situation via text message, but not until 11:30 that night.

Several students were disturbed by the long delay. Many actually found news about the incident via online news services before receiving official word from Alert Carolina. A statement from Alert Carolina explained that first priority was given to evacuating the immediately endangered area and assessing whether the threat was genuine. Students feel a higher priority should have been given to campus notification.

Officials evacuated buildings surrounding The Pit and swept the area. They found no explosives or other indication that the threat was genuine. Evacuated students returned to their dorms on Monday.

The campus notification system was instituted at UNC after the fatal shootings in April, 2007. Failure to provide adequate notification regarding potential threats to the campus could open the university to civil litigation regarding liability or negligence if a threat proves genuine, and injuries or fatalities result.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or loss due to negligence on the part of a business owner, property owner, or institution, The Cochran Firm can help. Please contact the experienced wrongful death and premises liability attorneys at the Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina office of The Cochran Firm to schedule a confidential consultation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:03 PM

Philadelphia Artisans Concerned About New Regulations

Local Philadelphia artisans are concerned that recent changes in Federal regulations could put them out of business.

In the aftermath of several product safety scares involving imported toys that contained dangerous chemicals, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was passed in an attempt to increase the overall safety of consumer products, especially those created for children.

The CPSIA requires individual products to be safety tested. While on the surface this seems like a step forward, it could be devastating for small companies and crafters who sell their products through outlets such as eBay and Etsy. The cost of testing each individual product is prohibitive to most smaller crafters, and could leave them no longer able to sell their products at all. In addition, the added danger of severe product liability issues could also make it impossible for them to continue doing business.

Many small crafters, including Frank Burkhauser, who owns Spirit of the Artist on Pine Street, feel certifications of safety from companies that supply the materials from which his final products are constructed should be sufficient. In the wake of these various concerns, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has paced a stay of enforcement on the new rules, meaning they won’t be actively enforced until February of 2010.

While most artisans, crafters, and large-scale toy manufacturers are careful and conscientious about materials they use in their work, some are not. As parents, we trust in manufacturers to produce toys for our children. When this trust is broken, we have a right to compensation.

The skilled and experienced attorneys at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office of The Cochran Firm specialize in product liability cases. If your child has been exposed to dangerous chemicals due to unsafe toy manufacture, please contact The Cochran Firm at its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania location to schedule a confidential consultation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:02 PM

Virginia Beach Landowner Faces Steep Wetlands Fines

A landowner in Virginia Beach faces a $90,000 penalty as the result of environmental litigation involving destruction of wetlands. He’s accused of bringing in fill to cover just over an acre of land in his 33-acre property off Black Bay. The property, largely wetlands, is protected from development by local regulations. In addition, charges state that the illegal development of the property led to the discharge of pollutants into nearby navigable waters, violating the Clean Water Act.

Cody Bedford was told many times over a period of four years to cease and desist development on the property. He also failed to appear at several court dates to defend himself against charges. During this time, the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency obtained soil samples and took aerial photos that showed changes to the property and the presence of fill material as much as two feet deep. In addition, three companies stated that they had delivered sand, dirt and fill to Bedford’s property—as much as 83 truckloads, or several hundred tons.

Bedford continues to claim that the previous owner filled in the 1.2 acres in question. A magistrate judge has found Bedford in clear violation of the Clean Water Act, and states that the $90,000 fine is conservative. Following stricter guidelines, the fine could have amounted to as much as $53 million.

Violation of environmental laws hurts everyone in the area. This kind of infraction destroys important parts of our delicate ecosystem, and can harm drinking water and cause other far-reaching problems.

If you need help with a situation involving violation of environmental regulations, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Virginia. The attorneys at the Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia offices are experienced in environmental litigation, and can help settle your case fairly.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:01 PM

Police Reopen Investigation of Staten Island Crash

The recent discovery of additional video evidence has led police to reopen their investigation into a Staten Island hit-and-run.

On February 14th, a Mercedes-Benz collided with a livery cab in the Tompkinsville community of Staten Island. The driver, Mohamed Elnahal, 50, was killed along with his wife, Mervat Saad Ibrahim, 52. A friend of the couple, Nabila Ahmed, 54, was also injured, and remains in stable condition at Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton. A native of Egypt, Ms. Ahmed was visiting the couple at the time.

While police had previously claimed there was no ongoing pursuit of the Mercedes at the time of the crash, surveillance video has surfaced that shows a police van apparently pursuing a black sedan at high speed, with lights activated. The video was recorded only blocks from the scene of the fatal accident. The surveillance video raises questions about whether a police chase might have been involved in the chain of events that led to this fatal crash. So far, the case remains under investigation, and it will likely be some time before all the details are sorted out.

In the state of New York, it's extremely difficult to prove liability or wrongful death in the case of high-speed police chases, even chases that end in the death or deaths of innocent bystanders. This kind of case can be a serious issue and very difficult and stressful to pursue in court.

The attorneys at The Cochran Firm in New York City, New York specialize in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Don’t be afraid to seek help, even if your case involves possible wrongdoing on the part of law enforcement. Please contact the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at The Cochran Firm’s New York City office to help you establish your case.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:00 PM

Girl Injured in Dog Attack

A ten-year-old girl was injured in a dog attack in Vicksburg, Mississippi on Wednesday, February 11. The girl was reportedly knocked down and bitten by a 9-month-old pit bull. The dog's owner was not present at the time. Reports say the dog followed a neighbor out of the house when he stopped to pick up mail. According to the owner, the dog is not typically vicious or aggressive, and often plays with the neighborhood children. The injured girl received bites on the leg, mouth and hand. After treatment and three stitches, she is recovering at home. The dog will be held by Animal Control for two weeks, where experts will evaluate her temperament.

The control of dogs is often an issue in premises liability cases. While dog attacks are usually associated with dogs that have been trained to attack or to defend territory, a normally docile household pet can cause injury if its surroundings aren't properly controlled, or if it isn't properly trained to interact with strangers or children. Failure or refusal to restrain an animal which then injures someone opens the owner to a personal injury lawsuit.

The attorneys at the New Orleans, Louisiana office of The Cochran Firm specialize in personal injury and premises liability cases, both of which could apply to a dog attack case. If you or a family member has suffered injury due to a negligent pet owner, or if you need help with any other kind of personal injury case, please contact The Cochran Firm’s New Orleans office for a confidential consultation. We can evaluate your case and get you started on the road toward fair compensation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:59 AM

Derailment Caused by Human Error

Investigation into a January 3rd train derailment near Milton, Alabama has traced the cause of the vehicle accident to human error.

CSX investigators determined that the engineer, who was supposed to slow the train to thirty miles per hour before entering the switch, did not do so. Because he failed to slow down, the switch was not properly positioned when the train reached it, causing the derailment.

The accident occurred near Avalon Middle School. Six engines and thirteen cars of the 46-car train went off the rails. Cargo scattered around the tracks and surrounding area, including boxed fruit, wine, and diesel fuel and lubrication oil.

To date, 1,630 tons of contaminated soil have been removed from the area. The CSX spokesman states that additional diesel is trapped under the tracks and cannot be directly excavated. CSX will treat the area with products that will help the diesel fuel degrade more quickly. CSX did not identify the engineer or mention possible disciplinary actions.

While no injuries resulted from this crash, too often train derailments and other large vehicle accidents result in multiple injuries, death, and toxic spills. Cleanup can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and spills can cause irreversible damage to the surrounding environment.

With special skill in the area of vehicle accidents, the attorneys at the Mobile, Alabama offices of The Cochran Firm can help evaluate such cases and secure damages for people and areas affected. If you’ve been affected by a train derailment or other vehicle accident in your area, please contact The Cochran Firm’s Mobile office for your confidential evaluation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:58 AM

Complaint Filed Against Edina Medical Group

Parnell Medical Group in Edina, Minnesota, is the subject of a complaint involving medical negligence filed recently with the state. Parnell Medical Group, which opened last year, specializes in treating impotence.

The complaint states that patients were subjected to painful complications after the clinic administered drugs for erectile dysfunction. Local urologists who tended to the patients said Parnell’s doctors administered larger doses of the drugs than were appropriate, and lacked the ability to treat the ensuing complications. Patients were treated for painful priapism in local emergency rooms.

Physicians authoring the complaint say Parnell does not meet the proper standard of care, and that they are taking advantage of men hoping to find an effective treatment for impotence. Parnell’s actions, they say, were inappropriate and irresponsible, leading to intense discomfort and embarrassment for their patients.

Parnell claims the addition of a new urologist to head their clinic has corrected any issues the clinic might have had. However, public documents show this doctor has been disciplined for alcoholism recently by the medical board.

Pursuing recompense for medical negligence can involve highly personal information. At the Minneapolis, Minnesota offices of The Cochran Firm, we value your privacy and will treat you with the utmost respect and professionalism. If you feel you are the victim of medical negligence or irresponsible medical care, please contact the experienced medical negligence attorneys at The Cochran Firm for a confidential consultation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:57 AM

Vehicle Accident at Busy Intersection in Metairie Sends Deputy to Hospital

A female Jefferson Parish deputy was sent to the hospital after a vehicle accident at the busy Metairie intersection of Bonnabel Boulevard and Veterans Avenue. The deputy’s automobile collided with an SUV.

The deputy’s car was pinned against a light pole after the accident. She was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries.

A 79-year-old passenger in the SUV was also transported to the hospital, where he sustained minor injuries. The 83-year-old driver of the SUV maintains that his light was green, and that the deputy ran through the intersection without using her lights or siren. However, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said the deputy's lights and siren were on as the car crossed the intersection.

Car Accident Injury Claims

There are a number of circumstances under which an intersectional collision accident can take place. This makes having an experienced collision accident attorney in your corner even more important.

Even if you believe the accident was minor, you could find yourself suffering from back and neck injuries that have long-term painful effects. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are more than four million miles of roadways to travel in the United States. This makes the likelihood of a vehicle collision seem even more inevitable.

A car accident attorney has the resources to help you determine who is responsible and liable in your case. Even if you think you could be partly to blame for the accident, you may still be able to collect damages for a variety of contentions including:

-Current and future medical expenses
-Physical and emotional pain and suffering
-Loss of wages due to disability
-Compensation for loss of joy of life

If you are in the Metairie, Louisiana area and have suffered physical and financial damage as a result of an automobile accident, please schedule a consultation with The Cochran Firm to discuss your case and the ways in which you can get compensation for you needs.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:56 AM

Memphis Robberies Increased 12.2% in 2008

Not including the cases associated with domestic violence, residential burglaries rose by 12.2 percent in 2008. There were 10,560 cases in 2007 and 11,851 a year later in 2008. Some say the spike in crime is associated with a worsening economy, but Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons isn’t buying that line of reasoning. "I don't believe a burglar is breaking into houses to put food on the table for his family."

Monica Nouader, 39, realized she'd been robbed on February 5 when she returned to her home and found the contents of her medicine bag dumped on the bedroom of her Southeast Memphis home. Someone had pried open the security door, broken through another door and then stolen a laptop computer and prescription medicine.

This isn’t the first time Nouader has been a robbery victim. She recently reported a radio stolen from her truck and notes that she isn’t the only one: "My next-door neighbor's also been broken into." For now, she is just grateful she was not home for the theft and did not face being the victim of armed robbery.

Officers are patrolling what they consider burglary “hot spots” and encouraging neighborhood residents to keep an eye out for each other.

"Our efforts at prevention and apprehension are getting better," said MPD Deputy Chief David Martello. For the short term, it does seems to be improving. Memphis police report that burglaries were down 14.4 percent in January over the same month last year.

Are Prosecutors Doing Their Part?

Suspects who are convicted of burglary for the first time, for instance, are eligible for diversion. Second-time offenders are eligible for probation. And a third conviction means a three-year sentence, but offenders typically serve about one year that.

Nouader, whose house has been broken into before, welcomes the attention from police and prosecutors. "I'd like the city to take these robberies more seriously," she said.

Whether the violation takes place in your home, your place of business or in your car, any type of robbery and theft can leave you feeling vulnerable and unsafe. Armed robbery is particularly traumatic experience. The attorneys at The Cochran Group have the experience and know how to prosecute thieves to the fullest extent of the law.
If you are in the Memphis, Tennessee are and have been victimized by robbery, please schedule a consultation with The Cochran Firm to discuss your case and the ways you can begin to move forward.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:55 AM

California Nursing Home Staff Lethally Drugged Patients

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be difficult, especially when too many of these facilities are guilty of nursing home abuse.

Three Alzheimer's sufferers in California are believed to have died after nursing home staff members injected them with psychotropic drugs to keep them quiet. California Attorney General Edmund Brown revealed the deaths after announcing the arrests of a nurse, physician and pharmacist in Lake Isabella, just north of Los Angeles.

"These people maliciously violated the trust of their patients, by holding them down and forcibly administering psychotropic medications if they dared to question their care," Brown said in a statement.

Among those arrested is Gwen Hughes, director of nursing at the facility. Justice officials said that shortly after taking over in September 2006, Hughes ordered that dementia patients be given high doses of psychotropic medications to make them easier to “control”.

It was also stated that patients who argued with her were held down and forcibly given the injections. In addition to the three tragic deaths, several patients were alleged to have suffered medical complications from the injections.

The arrested workers face charges ranging from elder abuse to assault with a deadly weapon and face up to 11 years in prison if convicted.


Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Many nursing homes provide exceptional care to their patients, but there are too many that do not. Underpaid staff and poorly trained employees can make nursing homes a danger instead of the assisted living facilities they are intended to be.

There are several common signs and forms of physical abuse in nursing homes.
-Falls
-Bedsores
-Malnutrition
-Dehydration
-Physical abuse
-Sexual abuse
-Mental abuse

Abuse and neglect of this kind is unacceptable. If you suspect a loved one is being abused in a nursing home facility, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation so that a knowledgeable attorney can help you investigate your claim. If you are in the Los Angeles, California area, let the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at The Cochran Firm help guide you toward a safer standard of living for someone you care about.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:53 AM

Las Vegas Homeowners Seek Class-Action Lawsuit for Construction Defects

Many homeowners dream of moving into a newly built, custom-designed house. But when defective materials are used in the construction of that home, the dream can quickly become a nightmare.
Las Vegas residents of three developments in Summerlin and Silverado are experiencing the torment of living in a poorly constructed home firsthand. They filed lawsuits alleging their properties need repairs because of construction defects.

The lawsuit states that the property owners have had problems with the roofs on their homes, leaking windows, cracks in the drywall, dirt coming in through the windows, cracks /stains in the stucco, and water and insects coming in through foundation slabs.

The homeowners believe these issues are the result of the Lewis Homes/KB Home construction companies using defective materials when building their homes.

The lawsuit also says KB has claimed there are no defects, yet they performed some repairs. The defendants say these few repairs are not adequate enough to truly fix the myriad problems they have faced.

The plaintiffs are trying to obtain class-action status for the lawsuit which seeks damages for repair costs and the decreased value of their property.

Defective Materials and Construction

The use of defective materials and construction can manifest anywhere in a home. Problems to pay close for attention to include:

-Roof Leaks
-Balcony or Deck Weakness
-Floor or Ceiling Failure
-Noise Intrusion
-Shower Stall Malfunctions
-Soil Subsidence
-Wood Rot

If one or more of these problems occurs in your home, it’s quite possible you have defective materials in the construction. Proving such a claim requires the diligent and thorough research of a well-trained attorney.

The Cochran Firm can provide their knowledge and skills to help you validate your case and obtain financial compensation for the mistakes of construction companies and the distributors of defective materials. If you are in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, please contact The Cochran Firm to schedule a consultation today and move toward obtaining the compensation you deserve.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:52 AM

Serial Rapist No Longer Preying on Victims in Jackson

Rape and sexual assault are traumatic violent crimes. The long-term psychological and emotional effects can never be fully erased, but obtaining justice against someone who has committed the assault can begin the healing process and potentially save others from the same experience.

Wilfred Cornelius Powell, a 37-year-old Jackson man, was convicted of raping a college student on March 10, 2005, at the North Hill Square Apartments in Jackson. He remains in custody at the Hinds County Detention Center and is now believed to be a serial rapist as evidence links him to other assaults.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said DNA evidence links Powell to an assault eight days earlier at Hallmark Gardens and another one a year earlier at North Hill Square.

Testimony during the trial also revealed how Powell broke into the victim's apartment at night while she was asleep. He then raped her at knife point. The victim didn't know Powell but her description of the attacker was enough for police to find him. Powell was arrested 20 days after attacking the North Hill Square resident. A photo lineup identified Powell as the assailant.

Aside from already having obtained DNA evidence, the method used for the assaults implicated Powell. The attacker used a knife in the other two cases, as well.

Smith said the conviction “sends a message that we are vigorously prosecuting violent crimes."

Too often, victims of sexual assault fear the experience of having to re-live the tragedy in a court room while facing their attacker. While it is terribly difficult to report rape and to pursue a criminal case, having the strength and courage to do so is an important step.

If you or someone you love has suffered through a violent sexual attack, an experienced and compassionate trial lawyer can assist you in obtaining justice. Please contact The Cochran Firm in Jackson, Mississippi to schedule a consultation so that you can be best represented in your case.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:51 AM

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Huntsville Hospital is Dismissed

In February, 2009, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld a decision to dismiss a medical malpractice case against Huntsville Hospital and physician Dr. Norman Solliday.
On February 10, 2005, petitioner Randal L. Harris was admitted to Huntsville Hospital after experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. According to testimony, “Harris was given a mild tranquilizer and anti-anxiety medicine, and placed in soft restraints to prevent him from interfering with his treatment.”
Harris spent nine days in the hospital. After being released, he complained of numbness in his right hand. After being examined by another doctor, he was diagnosed as having severe nerve injury to both the forearm and bicep of his right arm. Harris sued the Huntsville Hospital and Solliday on Feb. 22, 2006.
Madison County Circuit Court ruled that Harris "failed to present any evidence, let alone substantial evidence, proving that Huntsville Hospital and Dr. Solliday had breached the standard of care." After an appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed with the decision.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
It is important to provide thorough proof in medical malpractice cases. Hiring an experienced attorney is the first step in that process.
There is often the belief that such lawsuits are filed by individuals seeking to obtain money they don’t deserve. This belief makes it difficult for justified patients to obtain proper compensation.
While some fear there are too many frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine proved otherwise. The study randomly selected 1,450 closed medical malpractice lawsuits from 1984 to 2004. The Journal’s research determined that 97% of the lawsuits filed provided documentation of patient injuries. The study serves as proof that these lawsuits offered evidence and the attorneys involved argued cases that had merit.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to a medical mistake, please contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Huntsville, Alabama.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:50 AM

Texas City Refinery to Spend $180 Million to Correct EPA Violations

In 2001, BP Products North America, Inc. signed a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2005 a devastating explosion and fire at their Texas City, Texas refinery killed 15 people and injured over 170 people. The investigation of this explosion revealed that BP Products was in violation of its 2001 consent decree and felony violations of the Clean Air Act.

In February 2009, BP Products agreed to spend nearly $180 million to clean up its operations and stop putting public health at risk. There is a high population of low income and minority people in this area.

The EPA violations to be corrected at the Texas City, Texas plant include:

• Limiting emissions of stratospheric ozone depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) from leaking industrial and commercial cooling appliances. These will be retrofitted to use non-ozone-depleting refrigerants.

• Improving oversight and management of asbestos-containing wastes generated during routine renovation and demolition activities. Asbestos can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

• Reduce air pollution from diesel vehicle emissions in Texas City and the surrounding area. Benzene is a hazardous air pollutant, known to cause a number of acute and chronic health effects, including cancer, nerve and immunity impairment, and adverse reproductive and developmental effects.

BP Products North America operates petroleum refineries in California, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

The Cochran Firm, with offices throughout the United States has personal injury and wrongful death attorneys who are experienced in investigating and settling cases involving personal injury claims. If you live in the Texas City area and believe you have a disease related to air pollution or asbestos contamination please contact the personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Houston, Texas for a consultation and case review.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:48 AM

Phillip Morris Ordered to Pay $8 Million in Personal Injury Case

Lawsuits against tobacco companies don’t make the news today as they did years ago. That doesn’t mean they’re not being filed. In the past, tobacco companies lost few lawsuits, but that trend seems to be changing as several major judgments have been decided against them, recently. An Oregon jury awarded $79.5 million in one case. Phillip Morris is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, encouraged by appeals in other cases that resulted in reversals or repeals of the original decisions.

In a case that began February 2, Elaine Hess was awarded $3 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages by a six-member Florida jury. Her suit against Phillip Morris USA was over the loss of her husband, a smoker who died in 1997 as a result of smoking-related illness.

The tobacco industry continues to claim that smokers can quit at any time, and that tobacco is not addictive. Apparently, they aren’t fooling the juries any more. The jury found that Hess’ husband was hopelessly addicted, though 58% responsible for his addiction. They decided this despite Phillip Morris’ attorneys’ efforts to show evidence that he was able to quit smoking.

In light of so much medical and scientific evidence that smoking is both addictive and dangerous, causing dozens of diseases, worsening others, and causing death from these diseases, smokers who have tried and failed to quit smoking may be victims of a dangerous product.

If you contracted an illness caused by a product that is promoted as safe, you may have a valid product liability claim. Please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Dothan, Alabama for a case review. We have offices in major cities across the United States with experienced personal injury and product liability attorneys who can schedule a consultation for you.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:47 AM

Oklahoma Police Report Pro-Lifer to U.S. Secret Service Agency

An Oklahoma City police officer pulled Hal Harrison over and confiscated a sign he’d made and placed on his truck, telling him it could be construed as a threat against the President. Harrison merely wanted to encourage support for the unborn, and discourage support for any legislation the President may sign that supports or encourages abortion. It’s a matter of free speech, but a poor choice of words. The sign said, “Abort Obama, not the unborn.”

After a police supervisor reviewed the situation, they returned the sign to Harrison having concluded that the officer had been “overzealous.” Despite the confiscation being excessive, the police captain stands behind their decisions, both to pull Harrison over and to report him to the Secret Service.

Adrian Andrews of the Secret Service in Oklahoma City interviewed Harrison at his home. While there, they also conducted a search of his home. In the end, they decided that he was not a threat.

Harrison still has the sign on his truck and is considering a civil suit for violation of his free speech rights, if he can find a lawyer to take his case.

Determining whether a person has suffered an injury due to police misconduct or whether there is a municipal liability requires careful investigation by experienced professionals. Not all cases have merit, but those that do must be fully documented and defended.

The Cochran Firm, with offices throughout the United States has attorneys and staff who are experienced in investigating and settling cases involving police misconduct. To learn more about your rights please contact the personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Detroit, Michigan for a consultation and case review.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:46 AM

Cardinal Health 303, Inc. Not in Compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices

In 2007, Cardinal Health 303, Inc., a California infusion pump manufacturer, signed a Food and Drug Administration decree to cease manufacturing one line of defective medical devices–specifically, one if its infusion pump lines–until it came into compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Quality System (QS) regulations. Infusion pumps are medical devices used to deliver intravenous medications and fluids to patients.

The company was in the process of making corrections when QS deviations in another line of their infusion pumps were found. These deviations included, among others, a failure to notify the FDA, timely, of a malfunction that could cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if it recurred, and failure to develop a system to investigate complaints of malfunctions or failures. The FDA then sought amendments to the original decree to include all of the company’s infusion pump lines.

In a February 2009 news release Cardinal Health signed an amended decree to correct the violations of cGMP in the production of all of their infusion pumps. The amended decree adds requirements for the company to submit a corrective action plan for bringing all pumps being used in the United States into compliance with the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. They are also to retain an independent expert consultant who will inspect all of their infusion pump facilities and their recall procedures. The consultant will certify to the FDA that all required corrections have been made.

Once this level of compliance has been reached, Cardinal Health 303 is to hire an independent auditor to make annual inspections of all of its infusion pump facilities and report to the FDA its findings for four years. If future violations are found, the FDA is authorized to order Cardinal Health to cease manufacturing and distributing it products, and to recall all products, impose stiff fines and take other actions.

Additional Reporting Requirements

The 1990 Safe Medical Devices Act (SMDA) required device-using facilities to report malfunctioning equipment and failures that could cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if it recurred, to either the manufacturer or the FDA (or both) per circumstances specified in the SMDA. The SMDA also imposes a duty on the facility using the equipment (e.g., hospitals) to isolate and report defective equipment within a specified period of time.

This means that manufacturers will be notified by any facility that experiences a malfunction, and they, in turn are required to report the malfunction to the FDA. Under certain circumstances, the user is to report to the FDA in addition to the manufacturer. The manufacturer has no reason not to be aware of malfunctions or failures of their equipment.

The SMDA also holds the individual operator (e.g., nurses, doctors) personally responsible to report faulty equipment to a designated person within the facility, and imposes penalties of fines and imprisonment for failure of either the individual operator who discovered the malfunction or the facility’s designated contact to report the event.

If you have suffered from an injury or death of a loved one as a result of product defects, The Cochran Firm is prepared to do a full investigation to defend your product liability claim. Please contact the experienced product liability attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Dallas, Texas for a consultation and case review.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:45 AM

Chicago Police Use Excessive Force to Remove a Man from a CTA Bus

Although many people claim, falsely, to be victims of police brutality, there are cases where one or more officers use far more force than the situation calls for. In a recent case, an officer was called to remove a seemingly intoxicated man from a Chicago Transit Authority bus for not paying his fare.

Video clips placed on news websites, YouTube, and other sites showed the officer screaming obscenities at the man, baiting the man by yelling repeatedly, “Do you want to fight?” The video shows him punching the man, slamming his head against the window several times and becoming so violent that passengers on the bus moved to the back of the bus, putting plenty of room between the officer and themselves.

It wasn’t until after the officer had done all of these things that he called for assistance. In less than a minute, another officer arrived to assist him in removing the man from the bus, which proceeded quickly and without incident at that point. The man remained passive throughout the violent assault and went rather peacefully when the second officer arrived.

Incidents such as this are more common than we would like to believe. It was only a few weeks ago that a man was shot and killed at a BART station in Fruitvale, California by one officer, even though three other officers restrained the victim.

In another incident a Chicago man was shot in the back by police, who claim the victim threatened them with a gun.

Police brutality and misconduct in any form should not be tolerated. If you are a victim of excessive force by a police officer, you have rights. Your rights may have been violated once. Don’t be violated a second time by not defending them.

The Cochran Firm, with offices throughout the United States has personal injury attorneys who are experienced in investigating and settling cases involving police brutality and misconduct. If you were injured due to another’s negligence, please contact the personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Chicago, Illinois for a consultation and case review.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:43 AM

Birmingham Cop Arrested for Sodomy and Sexual Abuse

A Birmingham police officer was charged with sexual assault and sodomy. The 20-year-old female victim filed the charges against the officer who was on duty when the alleged assault took place.

With sexual harassment already a significant problem in the workplace, it is intolerable to think that citizens are subject to this form of assault from those who are sworn to serve and protect us from such victimization. This goes beyond police misconduct and municipal liability, violating not just citizens’ rights, safety and well-being, but also their trust and support for civil service agencies.

Another example of police brutality occurred just days later when police arrested several peaceful pro-life supporters, members of the Survivor’s Campus Life Tour, for handing out literature to high school students as they were dismissed from school. Although the pro-life advocates remained on public sidewalks police told them that it was not public property for non-Birmingham residents.

They were arrested on charges of trespassing, though no penal codes were stated on the bond forms that were given them, and no citations were issued. The group claims that their individual rights of free speech and civil rights have been violated, and especially violated were those rights-to-life of unborn children on whose behalf they were speaking. The advocates pointed out that, “those charged with upholding the law are, in fact, the ones that violated the Highest Law of the land today." Several YouTube videos were posted showing the peaceful nature of their mission in handing out leaflets to the students and how the police treated them during their arrests.

The Cochran Firm, with offices throughout the United States has attorneys who are experienced in investigating and settling cases involving police misconduct. If you have suffered due to police misconduct, please contact the personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Birmingham, Alabama for a consultation and case review.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:43 AM

Georgia’s Senate Economic Development Committee Holds Hearing on Tort Reform Protecting Medical Products from Liability

Hearings are being held by the Georgia State Senate’s Economic Development Committee to consider legislation that would protect businesses from medical device or drug product liability claims. Companies that would benefit are those based in Georgia with over 200 employees and have headquarters in other states. The drugs and medical devices covered must be FDA approved at the time they leave the manufacturer in order to receive this protection.

Another bill, also under consideration, would hold plaintiffs responsible for court costs if lawsuits were dismissed early in their proceedings. These bills are intended to draw businesses to Georgia by offering them protections they might not get in other locations that they are considering.

Attractive as that may be for economic development, it could have a serious impact on consumers’ rights. One of the arguments against these reforms is that many of the dangers products pose are not evident until after they reach the market and have been in use for some time and under differing conditions. What appears to be safe under the controlled conditions of a manufacturing plant and its testing conditions may change under conditions presented with consumer use.

If you have suffered an illness or injury caused by a product that is promoted as safe, you may have a valid product liability claim. Please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm in Atlanta, Georgia for a case review. We have offices in major cities across the United States with experienced personal injury and product liability attorneys who can schedule a consultation for you.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:36 AM

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Accutane and Federal Preemption of Dangerous Drug Lawsuits

On March 4, 2009, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision on the preemption of state-based dangerous drug lawsuits by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulatory power over the labeling and use of pharmaceutical drugs. The court decided in Levine v. Wyeth against a general rule of preemption, stating that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDC Act), which gave the FDA its regulatory power over pharmaceutical drugs included no specific preemption clause.

Pharmaceutical injury victims breathed a sigh of relief, because this meant that FDA approval would not serve as a blank check for pharmaceutical companies to profit off a dangerous drug without adequately warning patients or doctors. However, the Supreme Court unfortunately left an open door for drug companies to shield themselves from state-based lawsuits on pharmaceutical injuries.

The Supreme Court stated that because drug companies could unilaterally change labeling to increase warning about dangerous side effects without waiting for the FDA to approve changes, drug companies could be held liable for any potential injuries they knew were a risk and either failed to mention or did not adequately communicate in their labeling. The only way a drug company could protect itself against lawsuits is by including adequate warning in its labels and submitting adequate warning language to the FDA. Whether the FDA approved the warning or rejected it, the application is important.

At least one major piece of litigation has already been affected by this: the case of McCarrell v. Hoffman-La Roche was remanded by the Superior Court of New Jersey for a new trial, partly because of the altered legal climate created by Levine v. Wyeth. In particular, the Superior Court of New Jersey established a standard of proof that Hoffman-La Roche must meet to be protected under the Levine v. Wyeth decision.

The case stems from injuries suffered by Andrew McCarrell, a user of Accutane to control acne, who developed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) while taking the drug. As a result of his IBD, McCarrell had to have his colon removed, and suffered other serious medical complications. Trial court found in favor of McCarrell, granting a products liability lawsuit claim against Hoffman-La Roche.

The trial court found that Hoffman-La Roche had more than sufficient justification to further investigate the connection between Accutane and IBD and put a strong warning about IBD on the labeling. The first sign occurred during pre-approval testing of the drug, when over 20 % of people taking the drug experienced gastrointestinal side effects. Then, after approval in both the United States and Europe, reports came in associating Accutane use with IBD. In response, Hoffman-La Roche added a generic warning about serious side effects that might begin with "severe stomach pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding" or other symptoms, and telling patients they should talk to their doctors if they experience them. To doctors, they sent a letter saying that Accutane had been "temporally associated" with IBD. Despite internal data suggesting that there might be a stronger association, and a 1988 recognition that more research should be done, Hoffman-La Roche never conducted any clinical trials or epidemiological studies to determine whether a causal relation existed between Accutane and IBD.

In its appeal, Hoffman-La Roche wanted the Superior Court of New Jersey to throw out the verdict because the state-based tort lawsuit was preempted by federal law. Hoffman-La Roche claimed it could not strengthen the label for Accutane without FDA approval of the text. But, as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Levine v. Wyeth the FDA's "changes being effected" (CBE) system allowed for just such a unilateral action. In following the CBE system, a drug company could "add or strengthen a contraindication, warning, precaution, or adverse reaction," without waiting for FDA approval. The only exception allowed by the Supreme Court is when a drug company could show that it had applied for stronger warnings but had had the warnings rejected by the FDA. Thus, the Superior Court of New Jersey instructed Hoffman-La Roche that, if it wanted to receive preemption protection for its failure to put stronger warnings about IBD on its label, it had to produce evidence that it had applied for stronger warnings, but had them rejected by the FDA.

The outcome of Levine v. Wyeth is actually a win-win situation for those taking potentially dangerous prescription drugs. Either drug companies will see encouragement to report dangerous side effects as soon as these become known, or people injured can pursue lawsuits based on a failure-to-warn argument without having to worry about preemption by weak FDA warnings.

If you have been injured by a dangerous pharmaceutical or any other defective product, you need a firm with nationwide resources to fight the defenses put up by multinational corporations. The lawyers at the New York office of The Cochran Firm are prepared to stand by your side. Schedule a free drug injury lawsuit consultation today.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 7:44 AM

Monday, March 23, 2009

Slip and Fall/ Premises Liability

“Premises liability” cases include slip and fall accidents. Premises liability laws are designed to protect the public from the carelessness or negligence of another individual, company, or entity.

The general public, the various corporations, and even government entities in the United States have a duty to keep their premises safe for the public. This is why we require homeowners to shovel their sidewalks and companies to keep their walkways and parking lots clean.

Companies or merchants owe the public a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe. If they breach that duty, and it results in an injury to you or a loved one, you may have a valid legal claim under premises liability laws.

Slip and fall cases are just one common premises liability incidents. The term "slip and fall" is used to describe just that – if you slip, fall, and are injured on someone else’s property because they failed to properly maintain their premises, you may have a slip and fall case.

If you do have a valid slip and fall claim, you may be entitled to receive damages including medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future wages. Premises liability laws do differ from state to state, however, and it is very important that you seek the advice of an experienced slip and fall premises liability attorney before speaking to anyone else about your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a slip and fall, please contact the experienced premises liability law attorneys at The Cochran Firm, with numerous offices nationwide, today.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 6:05 AM

Friday, March 20, 2009

VA to Evaluate Effects of Toxic Exposure from Burn Pits on Iraq Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it plans to study the effects of exposure to toxic substances emanating from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is growing concern that many of our troops may develop serious health issues as a result of toxic exposure from the waste fed to massive burn pits near military bases in the Persian Gulf.

This study has been prompted by reports of troops serving at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq suffering harmful effects from exposure to hazardous clouds coming from the massive burn pit near the base. Many soldiers have developed a symptom referred to as "Iraqi crud," marked by excessive coughing and black phlegm. Soldiers have also developed respiratory conditions, skin infections, leukemia, and tumors from toxic exposure at the burn pit.

The burn pits at Balad contained waste products from plastics, food, and medical waste, among many other substances. Jet fuel was frequently used to speed up the burning process.

VA has stressed the importance of conducting this study immediately, due to the many long term affects linked to Gulf War Syndrome, a condition experienced by many soldiers serving in the first Iraq War.

Despite the mounting evidence that many of our current troops have put their long term health in jeopardy from toxic exposure to burn pits, the Department of Defense insists that there is no risk of such danger. This assertion seems preposterous, since it is impossible to determine the long term effects of anything before sufficient amounts of time have passed to evaluate these effects.

When troops develop serious injuries or conditions from exposure to toxic substances in the line of duty, the U.S. government has an obligation to provide adequate health care and compensation for damages. It is important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have developed such a condition in order to ensure that the government is held accountable for their negligent actions.

The attorneys at The Cochran Firm have handled many serious personal injury cases, and we have the size, resources, skills, and experience to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. If you have developed a serious health condition from toxic exposure in Iraq or Afghanistan, please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients nationwide.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:49 PM

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha Richardson Autopsy Points to Brain Injury as Cause of Death

Actress Natasha Richardson died of blunt impact to the head, which resulted in an epidural hematoma two days after falling on a beginner’s ski slope in Quebec. The autopsy results, which were just released to the public today, are consistent with what has been thought since it was reported that Richardson suffered some kind of injury.

These types of traumatic brain injuries are obviously extremely serious. The fact that Richardson seemed fine just after her fall proves how fast things can change when there is bleeding in the brain. Though it was suggested she go to the hospital immediately, aid was declined and Richardson returned with her ski instructor to the hotel when she began feeling poorly about an hour after the accident. A ski patrol medic arrived within minutes of the accident, but did not observe any visible signs of trauma, but there aren’t necessarily any indicators, such as bruising, when there is a brain injury. When an ambulance was called to the hotel, it was reported Richardson was conscious, but she “wasn’t in good shape.”

When there is bleeding in the brain, there is no room in the skull and pressure can build up. When pressure builds up, the brain is deprived of oxygen and things can begin to tailspin very quickly.

Natasha Richardson was on a beginner ski slope where high rates of speed are usually not a factor. She was not wearing a helmet, but plenty of people who fall while skiing don’t wear one. However, it all depends in how the head hits the ground. Most of the time, the person will either not hit their head at all in a fall or will bounce right back up. Again, it doesn’t take much to cause a severe traumatic brain injury. And maybe that’s the only lesson we can take away from this tragedy.

If you have lost a loved one due to a traumatic brain injury, please contact the Cochran Firm to speak to one of our experienced traumatic brain injury attorneys. We serve clients nationwide.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:24 PM

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Deadly Bacteria in Neonatal Unit

Miami Children's Hospital lost two babies in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) recently. That unit cares for premature babies and those born with an illness. The hospital contacted the Miami-Dade County Health Department to learn whether there had been any outbreaks in the area that might have caused these deaths.

The Health Department had no knowledge of any such outbreak. However the head physician of a neonatology group in South Florida told a local news channel, Local 10, that Miami Children's Hospital is trying to remove two or more types of deadly bacteria found in their NICU.

Hardy Pseudomonas Bacteria

They are both strands of the large bacterial group known as pseudomonas. These are often found in water and in plant seeds but are able to colonize in many environments. Some spread easily on food preparation surfaces and are found in spoiling foods. They are resistant to antibiotics and some cannot be removed from the human body by the normal immune response of phagocyte cells -- special blood cells that engulf invading bacteria or foreign bodies and carry them away for excretion.

The physician who spoke with Local 10 did not want to be identified. He stated that many children in this hospital had been moved to other areas and that he had decided not to refer any newborn babies to the hospital’s NICU, at least for now.

The hospital issued a statement of sympathy to the families of the two deceased babies and stated that it was looking further into the matter. The county medical examiner's office has not received any babies from Miami Children's Hospital in the past month, which means that the babies were not deemed to have died from any suspicious cause.

A hospital floor is said to be the dirtiest place in the world. Anything in the air will eventually descend to the floor and hospital air is filled with bacteria, viruses, and assorted pathogens. Few human beings are more vulnerable than a premature or ill newborn, so extra precautions need to be taken in any NICU. Any death in such an environment is often subjected to examination and perhaps subsequently to wrongful death litigation.

If you have lost a child or other loved one in a hospital setting, and are wondering if any negligence was responsible, please contact our experienced wrongful death lawyers for a free case evaluation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 3:49 PM

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Rhino "UTV"--Unreasonably Unsafe?

When Yamaha released the Rhino, it suspected it might have a winner. Similar to ATVs, the Rhino is a small, relatively inexpensive vehicle for navigating off road. It allows outdoorsmen to travel from the parking lot to their blind or fishing spot quickly and easily and maximize the time spent getting game. But the Rhino has several benefits over traditional ATVs because it features two side-by-side seats, as well as a substantial cargo area. This means that two people can ride together comfortably and carry a significant amount of gear as well. Sales for the Rhino started slow, but as word got out, they climbed rapidly, cresting over 40,000 sold in 2007.

However, with the rising popularity of the Rhino, questions began to surface about the vehicle's safety. Most models were sold without doors, and, even with doors, rollovers often resulted in arms and legs being thrown outside the vehicle, leading to broken limbs, amputations, and more than 30 deaths. Not being a true ATV, the vehicle was not subject to rules and recommendations governing ATV safety, and not being a true automobile, the vehicle was exempt from rules preventing dangerous vehicles from being on the road. Over 200 defective product lawsuits have been filed against Yamaha, alleging that the vehicle is defective in design.

Currently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the vehicle's safety. It has designated the Rhino a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) to distinguish it from ATVs. On February 13, 2009, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the lawsuits under Western District of Kentucky judge Jennifer B. Coffman, right in our back yard.

If you have been hurt by Yamaha's dangerous Rhino UTV or any other dangerous consumer product, you need the resources of a nationwide firm to take on the big corporation that put you at risk. Schedule a defective product lawsuit consultation with the Memphis, Tennessee product liability lawyers at The Cochran Firm today.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 8:40 AM

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