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June 2010 Archives

Louisiana Woman Files Product Liability Suit Over Uterus Puncture

A Louisiana woman recently brought a products liability suit against Hologic Inc., a California-based company that makes the NovaSure endometrial ablation system. Kelly Poole, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, alleges the system, which is designed to thin the uterus lining, is unfit for its intended purpose and that an alternative design existed that could have made the procedure safer and prevented an injury such as the one she suffered.

Jury Trial on Chinese Drywall Results in $2.4 Million Verdict

As we discussed in a previous blog post, a Florida couple's products liability lawsuit dealing with defective Chinese drywall went to trial this month in Miami. The result: a $2.4 million dollar jury verdict in the couple's favor. This is the first jury verdict on the issue and could affect the outcome of thousands of other potential lawsuits.

Methane Adds to Environmental Contamination Concerns in the Gulf

As the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill moves into its third month, another alarming environmental contamination concern is beginning to materialize. This particular oil spill seems to include the release of a high percentage of methane gas along with the oil that, according to some scientists, may result in the suffocation of marine life and the creation of dead zones in the Gulf.

Families of Deepwater Horizon Rig Victims May Receive Little Help

As oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, the damage is being felt my more and more Gulf Coast residents. But while BP has recently pledged billions of dollars to help those affected by the spill, one group of victims may go disturbingly under-compensated.

NTSB interim factual report of PHI Sikorsky S-76C Helicoper crash raises many questions

The following is the interim factual report from the NTSB regarding the January 4, 2009, helicopter crash that killed 8 and seriously injured 1 person.  The interim report suggests that a hawk bird strike to the windshield might have been the first of a series of events that brought down the sophisticated aircraft.  The aircraft reportedly underwent a replacement of the original production laminated glass windscreens by PHI about two years prior to the accident as part of normal procedures for S-76 fleet maintenance. This helicopter's windscreens were replaced a second time due to cracking approximately one year prior to the accident.  The interim report suggests that the bird strike created the sound of a bang and a loud air noise followed by a substantial increase in the background noise level that was recorded on both intercom microphones and cockpit area microphone. Less than a second after the bang and loud air noise, the CVR captured the sound of decreasing rotor and engine rpm. Seventeen seconds later, the recording ended. 

Bill to Adjust Mardi Gras Float-Builder Liability Defeated

Nonprofit organizations involved in the Mardi Gras celebration are already shielded from liability in the event that a float rider or parade observer is killed and survivors seek to bring a wrongful death action.

Oil Spill Focus Centers on Wildlife Impact

The environmental disaster spawned by the BP oil spill and playing out along the shorelines of Gulf Coast states is now focusing with ever-greater urgency on the adverse effects being suffered by the region's diverse marine wildlife.
 
That wildlife encompasses both the obvious and less noticeable, ranging from dead birds of various species to dolphins, turtles, shrimps and crabs, and also including zooplankton and other invertebrate food sources that are critical to maintaining fish and other aquatic populations. 

White House seeks to increase spill costs for BP

Media coverage of the aftermath of the BP Gulf oil spill offered generally positive assessments of the White House's increasing demands on BP to take financial responsibility. The story was briefly noted on the network news. AFP (6/10, Oberman) reports the US "tightened pressure Wednesday on BP, setting a 72-hour deadline for the battered British energy titan to present updated plans for battling the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, "who is leading the government response to the disaster, met with BP officials in Washington and ordered them to produce records of compensation claims filed in four stricken southern US states." The "stringent demands for greater transparency betrayed the growing mistrust between BP and President Barack Obama's administration more than seven weeks into the nation's worst ever environmental catastrophe."

        The CBS Evening News (6/9, lead story, 3:45, Couric) reported, "From the beginning, the Obama Administration has insisted it is in charge of the response to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico." Today, Adm. Allen "demanded BP be more open about how it's paying claims and come up with a better plan for capturing the gushing oil."

Proposed Texting Ban Aimed at Reducing Car Accidents

Legislation proposing an expansion of the Louisiana's ban on texting while driving passed the House last week and was sent back to the Senate for approval. While it is already illegal to send text messages while driving in Louisiana, the new law would make texting a primary offense, in effect allowing police officers to stop drivers for texting alone, without further justification.

Wal-Mart Pulls Miley Cyrus-Brand Jewelry Containing Cadmium

Wal-Mart has removed a line of Miley Cyrus necklaces and bracelets from its stores after tests showed they contained potentially dangerous levels of cadmium, a toxic metal. The necklaces and bracelets had been available in Wal-Mart stores since December of 2009.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Seeks Answers Concerning Foster Care Death

The parents of a three-year-old girl have filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that their daughter died as a result of negligence and abuse in the foster care system.

Professor Tom Galligan's testimony before Congress on Legal Issues surrounding BP explosion and oil spill

Professor Tom Galligan taught me Torts and Remedies while I was at LSU Law School.   He was a great professor and most students that had him will tell you that he was one of the best professors they ever had in their career.  Below is his testimony before Congress on the numerous laws that are in play in the current BP disaster.  These laws are often inconsistent and should be changed to protect all citizens, including maritime workers killed or injured in the initial explosion, their families, and those suffering the economic impact of the BP spill.

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