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Sunday, January 29th, 2012
For the second time in three months, a West Virginia court has failed to agree upon a settlement in the class-action lawsuit against the company Monsanto, reports news website TheRepublic.com. In the lawsuit, the company is accused of polluting schools, homes and land in Nitro, West Virginia. The previous attempt at arbitration took place in October. This class-action lawsuit, filed by citizens of Nitro, cites severe medical problems and significant land damage as just two of the harms that resulted from the plant’s pollution.
The alleged pollution took place near a chemical plant run by Monsanto. Nitro residents claim that the plant, which closed in 2004, was responsible for contaminating the city’s water and residential areas with toxic compounds known as dioxins. Between 5,000 and 80,000 of Nitro’s former and current residents are seeking compensation, with emphasis on medical care. The large number of plaintiffs involved in the class-action suit is a result of a 2008 decision to combine two similar cases.
The Monsanto case is now awaiting trial, with jury selection slated to start in January. Stressing the significance of the case, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, Stuart Calwell, stated that Nitro’s residents just want their town back and safe.
From 1949 until its closing in 2004, Monsanto’s Nitro-based plant manufactured the potent herbicidal ingredient 2,4,5-T. Produced for nearly 30 years, 2,4,5-T was later discontinued due to toxicity. Monsanto’s plant is also responsible for producing Agent Orange, a chemical used in herbicidal warfare by the U.S. military during the Vietnam conflict. (more…)
Saturday, January 28th, 2012
A Connecticut law allegedly aimed to prevent frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits appears to be keeping many legitimate claims out of court. A recent article published by the Associated Press chronicles several medical malpractice claims. All seem to have legitimate cause to receive their day in court, yet all fail to make it before a jury.
The Expert Opinion
The 2005 Connecticut law is simple. Plaintiffs in any medical malpractice case are required to provide an opinion letter, written by an expert in the field, backing up their allegations. It must be filed along with the claim. The wording of the law says that the experts must have “similar” credentials to that of the medical professional accused of malpractice. Many state judges have determined “similar” to mean “identical.” As a result, legitimate claims are being denied because the expert’s credentials are not exactly the same as those of the defendant.
Loss of a Young Life
Patricia Votre knew her pregnancy would be high-risk after having suffered one miscarriage due to an incompetent cervix. She took the precaution of insisting that her doctor consult experts at Yale University regarding her pregnancy. Her doctor consented.
However, when she began having complications, her doctor refused to turn her care over to the experts at Yale and refused to show her the Yale group’s recommendations. (more…)
Friday, January 27th, 2012
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Judge David Herndon postponed the first in a series of cases involving the pharmaceutical giant Bayer. In an effort to settle matters outside of court, the Illinois district judge has instructed both sides to meet with a court-appointed mediator. The drug company is accused of knowingly marketing Yaz and Yasmin as safer than other birth control pills, despite evidence to the contrary. Bayer’s Yasmin family of birth control pills contains the hormone drospirenone, which is alleged to cause dangerous and blood clots that can prove fatal.
The First of Many
The drug company is facing a surge of lawsuits over claims that it misled women about the health risks associated with its Yasmin family of oral contraceptives. Judge Herndon will be overseeing the thousands of impending cases involving Bayer. Multitudes of women are suing Bayer for compensation over injuries allegedly caused by the contraceptive Yaz.
The lawyers representing women suing Bayer can let the statistics speak for themselves. (more…)
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
This month, a record-breaking verdict was issued in a case of nursing home abuse.
In 2004, the incident was featured in an article in the St. Petersburg Times Online, which detailed the appalling demise of 92-year-old Elvira Nunziata. After being absent for nearly an hour without being noticed by any of the nursing home staff, Ms. Nunziata was found dead at the bottom of the fire escape. She had tumbled down a full flight of stairs while still strapped her in wheelchair. Once she was discovered, the paramedics were called, but Elvira Nunziata was pronounced dead upon their arrival.
Nursing Home Neglect
When records were checked with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) immediately following the incident, it was revealed that Pinellas Park Care and Rehabilitation Center was ranked in the bottom twenty percent of nursing homes in the St. Petersburg, Florida area. Some of the concerns cited were problems with sanitary preparation of food and lack of proper labeling of drugs and other biological supplies.
An Unnecessary Loss
Ms. Nunziata had been living at the center for a mere 14 months before her tragic accident. (more…)
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Numerous farmers and produce distributors are under fire from consumers and health investigators for failing to meet safety criteria for the food they are growing and selling. Serious illnesses and even deaths have been traced to various products due to the bacterium listeria. The bacteria were found in cantaloupe that killed over 30 people between August 2011 and December 2011.
Cantaloupe Leads to Listeriosis
Local ABC news affiliate KMBC reported on the death of a 92-year-old Missouri man, Paul Schwarz. His family believes that cantaloupe contaminated with listeria was responsible for his death. Schwarz allegedly ate the affected cantaloupe in September 2011 and fell ill shortly thereafter. After spending over a month in the hospital, he was cleared to enter a nursing home. He passed away in December, three months after eating the cantaloupe.
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