Chinese Drywall Plaintiffs May See Big Payout

abandoned house
After the first complaints were filed five years ago, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon ruled that the almost 4,000 homeowners who built their homes with Chinese drywall will be entitled to receive compensation for the damages that ensued. Judge Fallon has ruled in favor of selected groups of plaintiffs in the past, but never before has he made a decision that would affect so many of those affected by the Chinese drywall.

Chinese drywall imported from Taishin Gypsum and other Chinese companies was used to construct and repair houses in hurricane-ravaged areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Virginia, Texas, and Alabama beginning in the early 2000s. The drywall was found to emit a sulfurous gas that not only affected the health of residents, but also affected the construction of the homes. The drywall occasionally corroded pipes and wires. Residents had difficulty finding insurance companies that would finance the repairs, and many of the homes became uninhabitable and unsellable. Many homeowners were forced to abandon or destroy the properties, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This most recent decision, which could be worth over one billion dollars, may be a result of the Taishan Gypsum Co’s absence in court. Fallon found Taishan in contempt. While some of the plaintiffs’ attorneys are hopeful, Colleen Stephens of a group called the Victims of Chinese Drywall is a bit more skeptical. Though Judge Fallon has made his decision, the government now has to hold the Chinese companies accountable and ensure that they pay the damages that are owed. This process could take another few years.

Plaintiffs in the drywall case will be receiving compensation equal to the square footage of their properties times the current cost per square foot of repairing or replacing the defective drywall.

If you are a plaintiff or attorney involved in the litigation and have a slow-paying award or legal fee, RD Legal Funding can provide accelerated access to your funds through their Fee Acceleration program.

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Written by Shayna Keyles, blogger and social media marketer based in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working with RD Legal, she helps small businesses with their online profiles, hikes uncharted areas, and cooks incessantly. You can contact her at skeyles@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at @SKLiaison.

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Preliminary Settlement Approved for Lenovo Class Action

lenovo laptop
On September 15th, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division, approved a preliminary settlement agreement in the consumer class action against Lenovo, Inc.

Customers who purchased any of a variety of Lenovo products, including the Lenovo IdeaPad, Lenovo Yoga, and Lenovo G series have reported problems with the WiFi speed and range on the devices. These devices fall far below the standard for WiFi. The class action lawsuit filed against the manufacturer alleges that the devices have defective WiFi ports, and that the manufacturer was aware of these defects at the time of sale.

The lawsuit in question was initially filed on February 21st, 2013. According to the plaintiff claims, Lenovo allegedly marketed the devices as being “ideal for all mobile needs”, which includes optimal WiFi speeds.

The preliminary agreement, which claimants and the company agreed to earlier this year and was just recently approved by the courts, grants plaintiffs one of three options:

1. Lenovo will either repair the wireless capability of all defective devices (for those who did not return their defective devices to the company).

2. Customers will receive a $100 cash refund from Lenovo.

3. Customers will receive a $250 credit to be used toward the purchase of any product for sale on Lenovo’s website.

Parker Waichman, LLP, a firm that is nationally recognized for its dedication to representing consumer rights, represents the plaintiff class in this case. The Managing Attorney for the case, Gary Falkowitz, expressed his satisfaction with the preliminary approval, stating, “When businesses make claims about their products, they should be held responsible when those claims prove to be untrue.” The final approval for the settlement agreement will be determined on December 8th, 2014.

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Written by Shayna Keyles, blogger and social media marketer based in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working with RD Legal, she helps small businesses with their online profiles, hikes uncharted areas, and cooks incessantly. You can contact her at skeyles@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at @SKLiaison.

RD Legal Funding Gets Ready for BBBS’ Walk for Kids’ Sake

smiling kids
Joseph Genovesi, President of RD Legal Funding and Board Member for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Sussex, is rallying up the team at RD Legal to participate in the Walk for Kids’ Sake for the second year in a row.

Last year, with the help of friends, family, and the RD team, Genovesi managed to raise over $1,500 for the Walk. This year he hopes to exceed that amount. The walk is being held on October 26th, 2014 at the Wyndham Worldwide Headquarters, 22 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ.

The Walk for Kids’ Sake is an event held annually by BBBS in order to fundraise for its mentorship program and to celebrate its successes. Founded in 1904, BBBS operates in order to inspire, support, and motivate children by offering positive mentoring. Studies conducted by Public/Private Ventures have shown that children with a mentor of some sort are less likely to engage in dangerous, illegal, or otherwise detrimental activities, and are better able to thrive in a family environment.

Genovesi has been an active member of BBBS for over 13 years, and has been on the Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Sussex board since February 2013. He has been a mentor to the same child for over 13 years, and has seen the effects of positive mentoring firsthand.

If you are interested in learning more about BBBS, visit www.northjerseybigs.org. You can support Joseph Genovesi’s team by visiting www.walkforkidssake.org/joegenovesi.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

Shayna Keyles is a blogger and social media marketer based in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working with RD Legal, she helps small businesses manage their online profiles and explores uncharted areas. You can follow her on Twitter at @SKLiaison or contact her at skeyles@gmail.com.

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The Contamination Tragedy at Camp Lejeune

marines
The United States Marine Corps: The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten. For those who were stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina from 1953 – 1987, this modified motto rings true. “The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten” is a term coined by an advocacy group for those marines and their families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune. Unlike other marines, who are not typically manhandled by their governments, those who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during this 35-year span were exposed to water contaminated with multiple toxic materials.

Between 1953 and 1987, marines and their families lived at Camp Lejeune and bathed and drank in contaminated water. Contaminants included TCE, which is a chemical typically used as a degreaser; PCE, which is a dry cleaning solvent; and benzene, an industrial solvent. These are all shown to be human carcinogens, which are chemicals that tend to promote cancer. At Camp Lejeune, these carcinogens led to increased prevalence of lung cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, and leukemia. Many have since died of these complications. Children who were conceived and / or born on base tended to suffer from birth defects including cleft lip and low birth rates, while women experienced infertility, or experienced birth complications including premature births and miscarriage.

Contamination at Camp Lejeune was never a secret. The EPA labeled the camp as a major polluter in 1970, and the military added new regulations in 1984 on the proper techniques for disposing toxic and hazardous waste. Despite the apparent knowledge of these existing issues, drinking water was not tested until 1982, thirty years after the camp had opened and was established as a home base for hundreds of men, women, and children.

The Associated Press (AP) investigated the contamination long after the camp was closed due to the contaminated water. It appears that the levels of toxic chemicals had been underreported. For example, an original contractor had reported that benzene appeared in the water supply at a toxic 380 parts per billion. A later report, however, stated that the contaminant was only present in a still toxic 38 parts per billion. An even newer report failed to mention benzene at all.

While the Veterans Affairs division recognizes that the water contamination has lead to serious diseases and complications amongst those who lived at Camp Lejeune and offers medical care and other resources to those who can provide records of residency and suffering, there is no established program to compensate families for all previous suffering from ailments and fatalities caused by living in this toxic environment for up to 35 years.

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Written by Shayna Keyles & Lulaine Compere

Shayna Keyles is a blogger and social media marketer based in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working with RD Legal, she helps small businesses manage their online profiles and explores uncharted areas. You can follow her on Twitter at @SKLiaison or contact her at skeyles@gmail.com.

Lulaine Compere is a writer and analyst for the origination team at RD Legal Funding.

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Guilty Verdict Handed to Manufacturer in Bellwether Transvaginal Mesh Trial

silver gavel statue
Lead plaintiff Martha Salazar emerged victorious in a transvaginal mesh bellwether trial, when the jury determined that the device manufacturer Boston Scientific Corp owed a total of $73.4 million to affected claimants.

First developed to treat pelvic organ prolapse, transvaginal mesh systems had been implanted in over 185,000 women by 2010. However, many women noticed complications, ranging from mild to severe, with their implants. These included “erosion” of the implants, where the mesh would break through the vaginal wall. Other complications included infections, nerve damage, extreme pain, and the inability to urinate without a catheter.

Salazar, whose trial is one of many in a larger ongoing multi-district litigation, filed suit against Boston Scientific after experiencing severe complications directly resulting from the use of their Obtryx transvaginal mesh implant product. She had the product implanted four years ago to treat her stress urinary incontinence condition; however, since receiving the transvaginal mesh implant, her suffering has only worsened. For example, one of the new symptoms Salazar allegedly experiences is permanent nerve damage.

Earlier in this year, Endo International, supervisor of American Medical Systems, agreed to pay $830 million to settle the claim that the company had been negligent in not properly warning doctors or patients of the risks associated with transvaginal mesh, though the company did not admit fault and a jury of peers did not hand down a verdict of fault. Unlike that previous case, Salazar’s is the first of its kind, in which a jury found the manufacturer of the transvaginal mesh product guilty of negligence.

Despite Salazar’s victory, there are still 12,000 pending vaginal mesh lawsuits. Other trials that fall under the jurisdiction of Boston Scientific are set to be tried later this year; one of these will be affecting at least eleven separate Obtryx vaginal mesh lawsuits.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

“Shayna Keyles is a blogger and social media marketer based in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working with RD Legal, she helps small businesses manage their online profiles and explores uncharted areas. You can follow her on Twitter at @SKLiaison or contact her at skeyles@gmail.com.”

Arab Bank, PLC Liable for Israel Suicide Bombings

Arab Bank, PLC
A United States jury found Arab Bank, PLC, based in Jordan, liable for knowingly giving assistance to the U.S. State Department designated terrorist group Hamas. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bank is the largest financial institution in the country and one of the largest in the Middle East.

Close to 300 Americans were victims or relatives of victims of Hamas linked attacks in Israel between 2001 and 2004. Observers of the case claim its verdict may open the door for more litigation under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990, which allows United States victims of international terrorism to pursue recourse in federal court.

Arab Bank is the first bank facing trial under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act. The bank transferred money to operatives, functioning as a conduit between several charities that funneled money to Hamas and handling death benefits for families of suicide bombers from a Saudi charity group (Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al Quds). According to some news stories, Arab Bank is planning to appeal the verdict, but a separate trial will take place to determine the damages.

In a separate case, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reinstated a similar lawsuit against National Westminster Bank where 200 Americans were victims of an alleged Hamas attack in Israel.

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Written by Lulaine Compere

Disgruntled Uber Drivers Protest

taxi cabs in New York CityUber, the celebrated company that developed an app to connect drivers and riders, is facing opposition from its very own drivers.  The company, making news recently for being valued at $18 billion, is facing accusations from several of its drivers regarding their pricing and compensation policies. They claim discounts the company promotes are eating into their profits while their expenses keep increasing. In addition, most drivers make their money on tips, and Uber’s policies misinform customers about inclusion of the tip in the pricing.

Protests against Uber have taken place in California and New York. In addition to pricing and compensation, some drivers have accused the company of falsely advertising their benefits and the rating system for drivers. Taxi cab companies have been fighting Uber because they claim the company is skirting regulations under which traditional cab companies have to operate.

Read the full story at http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-new-york-city-office-protests-2014-9.

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Written by Lulaine Compere