Bellwether Trial against Johnson and Johnson’s DePuy Orthopedics Progresses

hip replacement
The first trial concerning Johnson and Johnson’s faulty DePuy Pinnacle MDL hip replacement devices began earlier this month in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. This bellwether trial centers on the case of a 58-year-old Montana woman who has experienced a number of complications directly stemming from the DePuy hip replacement system. This lawsuit intends to prove that the plaintiff was exposed to metal debris during the insertion of the DePuy product, and as a result of this exposure, the plaintiff has suffered a variety of other serious complications.

In this third week of the trial, a vice president from DePuy Orthopedics will be testifying about the safety precautions that DePuy claims to have taken in regards to its Pinnacle product. An attorney for the company has previously stated that the hip replacement products work “99.9% of the time.”

At present, there have been over 6,000 federal MDL lawsuits filed against J&J’s DePuy Orthopedics division because of its Pinnacle hip product; the plaintiffs who filed these suits would most certainly disagree with the claims that this product works 99.9% of the time. Reasons for filing suit vary from claimant to claimant, but side effects and complications that these plaintiffs have experienced include (but are not limited to) metal poisoning, kidney and bladder cancers, and dead tissue or bone loss around the joint.

Over 93,000 individuals worldwide have had DePuy’s artificial hip installed during the 8 year period that it was on the market. It was recalled in 2010 after the FDA received hundreds of complaints from patients who were suffering after the devices failed. Since then, thousands of other complaints have been accumulated from patients who also experienced device failure, had to go through additional surgeries due to premature device failure, or suffered complications because of the device.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

Animators Bring Anti-Trust Case Against Disney, DreamWorks

Disney
In a rather animated new debate, California-based film companies, including Walt Disney Co. & DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. are being sued in a wage-fixing antitrust case.

Plaintiffs in the case are accusing the companies of colluding not to hire software engineers, animators, and other digital artists that are currently or have previously been employed at one of the other companies in question. Employees claimed they have been harmed by this agreement, which effectively stamps out competitive wages. Tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Adobe are facing a similar suit for similar claims.

Indeed, Apple plays a large part in the animation antitrust suit. The claims being contested began in the 1980s, when George Lucas of Star Wars fame sold his computer animation division to Steve Jobs’ Pixar. Lucas and Pixar President Edwin Catmull allegedly reached an agreement not to seek out each other’s employees. This agreement eventually expanded to include other animated film studios, including two branches of Sony Corp, ImageMovers, Digital Domain 3.0, and those mentioned above.

While Catmull claims that this collusion has been a boon for business in Northern California – in 2007, he is quoted as saying that wars have been avoided because of these agreements. However, animators who have been affected by the collusion feel they have been cheated. According to the complaint filed, digital artists and software engineers have been denied opportunity to express their creative talents, gain international recognition for their work, and cash out on their artistic visions.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

 

Nassau County DA Wants To Push Texting While Driving Off The Road

driving while texting
Texting and driving can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk or driving while exhausted. This is one of the many points that New York’s Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice highlighted in a five-point plan that she distributed to smartphone device manufacturers, as well as other policy makers and industry leaders, in a bold move to reduce phone-related auto accidents.

In the Five Point Plan to Reduce Driving While Texting, DA Rice urged tech companies Apple, Google, Microsoft and Blackberry to work with third-party developers and incorporate safety devices into their products that would prevent texting capabilities during vehicle operation. She further addressed insurance providers, suggesting discounts for drivers who used devices where such text-blocking third party applications were in use.

DA Rice also communicated with law enforcement agencies and local courts, suggesting that mandating text-blocking applications could be as useful a preventative measure for those who text while driving as transdermal alcohol monitoring alcohol bracelets or personal breathalyzers are for DUI offenders. Rice also contacted the local police department and proposed new techniques for enhanced enforcement against texting while driving. Furthermore, DA Rice is in the process of creating a public awareness campaign, which will include a web page complete with a variety of safe driving resources, and will update her “Choices and Consequences” high school education program.

Rice’s concerns are not unfounded. Driving while texting (DWT) causes the same level of distractedness as driving blind for five seconds, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration. The NHTSA also states that DWT causes the same impairment as driving after having 4 alcoholic drinks, and is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than a DWI. DA Rice has been on a mission to reduce traffic-related crimes for years now, and her aggressive approach to stopping DWT will likely gain momentum as many of her other campaigns have in the past.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

As Football Reigns, Take A Minute To Remember The Impact Of Concussions On Current And Former Players

football helmet
As new seasons for both the National Football League (NFL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) commence, this season is a bit different than past seasons since they start in the shadow of huge concussion related settlements. The excitement for football can be encompassing. But it should not be forgotten that the issue of concussions still looms over the sport and both organizations.

While the settlements both deal with the issue of concussions, they differ in detail. The NCAA settlement was for $70 million, and most of that money is designated for research on concussions. The NFL settled for $765 million, but that cap has since been lifted. Most of the money from that settlement will compensate the plaintiffs, who were former players, and will also go towards baseline testing, medical research, and education.

So as football takes over the nation, the plaintiffs and their advocates who pushed the issue of concussions to the forefront by litigating it in the court of law and the court of public opinion should be remembered and applauded for their bravery in the face of very strong opposition.

Sources:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000363672/article/federal-judge-approves-nfl-concussion-settlement

http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2014-07-29/ncaa-reaches-proposed-settlement-concussion-lawsuit

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Written by Lulaine Compere

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Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

BP Found Grossly Negligent, Halliburton Reaches $1.1 Billion Settlement in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Deepwater Horizon Fire
This week in news related to the Gulf Coast oil spill, BP was found to be “grossly negligent” in events pertaining to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. United States District Judge Barbier ruled on the issue and has been the main judge throughout the BP proceedings.

BP was found to be guilty of “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct” under the Clean Water Act. In addition to BP, the court found that Transocean and Halliburton were negligent and included a comparative fault of liability percentage for each defendant. BP was found to be 67% liable, Transocean was found to be 30% liable, and Halliburton was found to be 3% liable. The penalty BP will have to pay has not been determined, but there are estimates it may be as high as $18 billion.

The 153-page document, titled Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, detailed everything that happened during the oil spill and where responsibility lies. Stakeholders in the disaster like BP, Transocean, and Halliburton are all named in the report. It also details the operations of the rig and the actions taken by stakeholders during the crisis that led the court to believe BP was grossly negligent.

Halliburton reached a $1.1 billion settlement with plaintiffs over damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. According to news reports about the settlement, the company will place the amount into a trust in three separate installments which will be used to compensate property holders and commercial fisheries in the gulf coast. Halliburton set aside $1.3 billion for costs related to the spill. Halliburton is still facing litigation over the issue and the settlement still needs approval by Judge Barbier.

Sources:

http://time.com/3256721/halliburton-oil-spill-gulf-of-mexico-deepwater-horizon/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorensteffy/2014/09/04/bp-found-grossly-negligent-in-deepwater-horizon-disaster/

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Written by Lulaine Compere

NYPD Sgt. Paul Ferrara Dies of 9/11 Related Cancer

American Flag in the Wind
DNA Info
reported Sgt. Paul Ferrara of the New York Police Department lost his life to cancer which he got as a result of working at Ground Zero. Ferrara, who was 43 years old, battled the cancer which started in his lung but spread throughout his body. Ferrara was stationed at the 110th Precinct in Queens. Current Police Commissioner Bill Bratton tweeted his condolences.

The outpouring of support from his colleagues and strangers was initiated to raise funds for his family to help with the medical expenses. Anyone interested in sending a donation can make a check payable to the “110 Pct General Fund” and mail to:

110 Precinct
Attn: 10-13 Sgt. Ferrara
94-41 43 Avenue
Elmhurst, NY 11373

To read the full story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140903/elmhurst/nypd-sergeant-mourned-after-dying-from-911-related-cancer.

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Written by Lulaine Compere

3 Content Creation Strategies That Will Help You Prosper

3 Content Creation Strategies That Will Help You Prosper
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Bike Buffer Laws Seek to Assure Cyclists A Safe Passing

bicycle-rider
Adding bike lanes is more than just a clean air initiative. For Pennsylvania Rep. Ron Miller, adding a buffer for cyclists – the goal of his “Safe Passing” bicycle bill – is intended to make the road safer for bikers and drivers alike.

A majority of the state legislature passed the law in February, 2012, winning Miller the support of many bike advocates and reaffirming Pennsylvania’s stance as a Bike Friendly State. However, the effectiveness of the law is arguable, as only 42 citations have been issued since the law took effect over two years ago.

The law requires drivers to leave a 4 foot margin between themselves and cyclists at all times. They must reduce their speed when passing bicycles, and cannot cut of a cyclist by making a sharp turn. Likewise, cyclists are bound by the law to make all possible efforts to maintain the regular flow of traffic. Violations result in a $25 fine.

Miller anticipated difficulties enforcing this law, especially because it can be difficult to determine the exact distance between moving vehicles at a moment in the past. However, he had hoped that the law would have a more marked effect on reducing car-related bike accidents. At the present, it is unclear whether or not that has happened.

Though it’s difficult to enforce, and the progress is difficult to track, Miller and the Pennsylvania State Legislature have high hopes for the new bike buffers. Even if citations are being handed out left and right, the law should make bother drivers and cyclists aware of their responsibilities on the road, teaching them to take personal accountability for their actions.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

Illinois Concussion Law Demonstrates Effectiveness of Class Action Lawsuits

brain
Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois has obviously been keeping up to date on the ongoing NFL settlements, because this past week, he signed a bill into law that would require all high school coaches and athletic directors to take concussion training courses in order to prevent student athletes from incurring any head trauma.

Under this new law, the Illinois High School Association will be developing an online certification program for coaches and athletic directors that will educate the educators about the dangers of head trauma. Quinn says that the goal is to reduce the overall number of concussions and traumatic head injuries among high school athletes.

Multiple studies show that the incidence of head injury in children and teenagers has increased over the past few years. Fortunately, awareness of these issues has also increased. Multiple lawsuits regarding head injury have been in the news in recent months, including the NFL concussion lawsuits and NCAA lawsuits.

Quinn’s law is a great example of the impact a class action lawsuit can have. The prevalence of athletes filing concussion lawsuits inspired the Illinois governor to take preventative action, which will not only protect state schools from similar legal action, but will also, and more importantly, protect students from concussions.

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Written by Shayna Keyles