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BESSEMER OFFICE
1429 2ND Avenue North
Bessemer, AL 35020

MONTGOMERY OFFICE
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TOLL FREE 1-877-4AMALAW (426-2529)

OFFICE 205-428-9000
FAX 205-481-9498

CONTACT US

Areas of Practice


CAR AND MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
CIVIL RIGHTS
CRIMINAL LAW

EDUCATION LAW
FAMILY LAW
HARMFUL MEDICINES
JUVENILE LAW
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
PERSONAL INJURY
PROBATE LAW
PRODUCTS LIABILITY
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT LAW
VETERAN’S APPEAL
WORKERS COMPENSATION

CAR AND MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Automobile accidents give rise to the majority of personal injury claims in the U.S. This is not surprising, given that every 10 seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Legal claims arising from motor vehicle accidents are typically governed by the law of negligence.  Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise “reasonable care under the circumstances.” A failure to use reasonable care is considered negligence.  A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay for any damages, either to a person or property, caused by his or her negligence.  The injured party, known as the plaintiff, is required to prove that the defendant was negligent, that the negligence was a proximate caused of the accident, and that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Negligence and Motor Vehicle Accidents

As with other types of accidents, figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was negligent.  In many cases, your instincts will tell you that a driver, cyclist or pedestrian acted carelessly, but not what rule or rules that person violated. We will look to a number of sources to help you determine who was at fault for your accident, such as police reports, state traffic laws, and witness.  In two thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle rider’s right of way and caused the accident.  Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.

A traffic accident involving a commercial truck such as an eighteen-wheeler or other large freight carrier can be much more catastrophic than an ordinary car accident.  A typical fully-loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.  Because of this size disparity, and due to the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal injuries.  While statistics show that truck drivers are generally much more careful on the road than automobile drivers, and thankfully the incidence of fatal crashes involving trucks and other large vehicles has declined in recent years, large truck crashes still accounted for 5,350 fatalities and 133,000 injuries in 2001.

Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent.  Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Disobeying traffic signs or signals
  • Failing to signal while turning
  • Driving above or below the posted speed limit
  • Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you or a love one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation


CIVIL RIGHTS

The Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination are:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities  who work in the Federal government; and
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.

Discrimination by Type:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Equal Pay
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Harassment

CRIMINAL LAW

The outcome of any criminal case depends upon the crime charged, the strength of the evidence, the legal validity of law enforcement and courtroom procedure, and the goals and strategy of the government and defense.  When all is said and done, there may be no legal consequence for a person charged with a crime, because the charges are dismissed, or a full-fledged jury trial might result in a criminal conviction.

Some potential outcomes of a criminal case are:

  • A criminal investigation ends with not arrest.
  • An arrest occurs, but the case is dismissed because the police illegally seized the only evidence of crime.
  • A person is arrested and charged with a crime, then enters into a plea bargain with the government, agreeing to plead “guilty” in exchange for some from of leniency, such as a lighter sentence.
  • A person is brought to trial and found “not guilty,” or acquitted, by a jury.
  • A person is convicted by a jury and sentenced to a long prison term.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation:


EDUCATION LAW 

Special education laws give children with disabilities and their parents’ important rights not available to children in regular education.  Specifically, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) give families of special education children the right to:

  • Have their child assessed or tested to determine their special education eligibility and needs
  • Inspect and review school records relating to their child
  • Attend an annual “individualized education program” (IEP) meeting and develop a written IEP plan with representatives of the local school district, and
  • Resolve disputes with the school district through an impartial administrative and legal process.

Eligibility Under IDEA

Every school district is legally required to identify, locate, and evaluate children with disabilities (20 U.S.C. §1412(a) (31). After the evaluation, a disabled child may be provided with specific programs and services to address his or her special needs.

IDEA defines “children with disabilities” as individuals between the ages of three and 22 with one or more of the following conditions:

  • Mental retardation
  • Hearing impairment (including deafness)
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Visual impairment (including blindness)
  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Autism
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Specific learning disability, or
  • Other health impairment (20 U.S.C. §1401(3)(26);34 C.F.R. §300.7)

For your child to qualify for special education under IDEA, it is not enough that he has one of these disabilities. There must also be evidence that your child’s disability adversely affects his educational performance.

Once a child is found eligible for special education, subsequent evaluations take place at least every three years. If you are not satisfied with the initial evaluation or you feel your child’s disability or special education needs have changed, your child is entitled to more frequent assessments, and even outside or independent assessments (20 U.S.C.§1414; 34 C.F.R. §§300.530-543)

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Under IDEA, special education develops and implements an individualized education program, or IEP, that meets your child’s unique needs. The acronym IEP refers to several related things:

  • An initial meeting where the school district determines whether or not your child is eligible for special education
  • A yearly meeting where you and school representatives develop your child’s educational plan, and
  • A detailed written description of your child’s educational program

Every written IEP document must include the same information, although forms will vary from one school district to another.

  • Current educational status- a description of your child’s current “academic achievement and functional performance” in school
  • Goals and objectives- “measurable annual goals” designed to meet your child’s specific educational needs
  • Instructional setting or placement- a determination of the situation and services needed to provide your child with an appropriate education
  • Transition services- considerations of the vocational and placement needs for a child who is 16 or older
  • Due process- your right to take any dispute you have with your child’s school district to a neutral third party for resolution

 COMMONLY ASKED QUESTION ON STUDENTS RIGHTS

  1. Does a student have the right to express hi/her opinion and beliefs in school?

Yes. A student can express his/her opinions orally and in writing. A student must, however, make sure that in expressing this opinion or belief that he/she does so in a way that does not disrupt classes or other school activities. In addition, the student should not use vulgar language.

  1. Does a student have to say the Pledge of Allegiance?

No. A student has the right to remain silent and seated during the pledge.

  1. Can the school start the day or an activity with a prayer?

No. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from promoting religion. Prayers in school or at a school activity violate this clause.

  1. Can a female student be kicked out of school if she is pregnant?

No. Schools are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant or married students. A school may offer special classes for pregnant students. The student is not required to attend these classes if she would prefer to be in her regular classes.

  1. Can the principal or a teacher search a student’s locker or handbag?

Yes. Students have fewer privacy rights in school than out of school.

  1. Can a student who doesn’t speak English attend a public school?

Yes. Teaching is the function of any public school. The school can teach the student English and provide him/her with a good education in other subjects while learning English.

  1. Can a public school teach religion?

No. A public school as part of the curriculum cannot promote religious beliefs or practices. A public school can, however, teach about the influences of religion in history or literature.

If you or a love one would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices or, click here for free consultation:


FAMILY LAW

Family law generally concerns domestic relations and family-related matters such as marriage, adoptions, paternity, guardianships, domestic abuse, surrogacy, child custody, child abduction, the dissolution of marriage and associated issues.  According to U.S. Census data the make-up of the American family has been changing.  For instance, the 2000 Census revealed that less than a quarter of American families are married couples with minor children compared with 45% of such households in 1960.

A large percentage of marriages end in separation or divorce.  When a couple decides to terminate their marriage, one of the parties will petition the court for a divorce. Besides seeking a legal termination of the relationship, the couple will also ask the court to divide the marital assets, grant child custody to one or both parent, and impose child and spousal support obligations, if applicable.

  • Adoption:  Adoption is the legal process during which the parental rights to a child are transferred from the child’s birth parents to the child’s adoptive parents. Once the adoption is finalized, the adopted child becomes a permanent member of the adoptive family. Persons seeking to become adoptive parents may pursue an adoption through several avenues, including an agency adoption, independent adoption or intra country adoption. In an agency adoption, the prospective adoptive parents will work with a public or private adoption agency to secure the adoption of a child. In an independent adoption, the birth parents will choose the prospective adoptive parents. In an inter country adoption, the prospective adoptive parents will adopt a child from a foreign country.
  • Child support: Child support regulations require non-custodial parents to pay for the care and support of their children. Non-custodial parents are parents who do not live with their children and who do not act as their children’s primary caregiver. Courts or child support agencies issue child support orders and consider the finances of both parents when calculating the amount and frequency of child support payments.
  • Child custody:  When a husband and wife seek an annulment, legal separation or divorce, a court will decide which parent as custody of the couple’s minor children. A court may order that one parent has sole custody of the minor children or that both parents share joint custody of the minor children.
  • Domestic violence: Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that occurs between individuals in intimate relationships. While domestic violence is typically associated with those who are married or dating, domestic violence may also occur between family members who reside together in the same household. Anyone may become a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.
  • Spousal support: During a divorce or legal separation proceeding, a court may impose a financial obligation on one spouse to continue supporting the other after the divorce or separation. This obligation may be called alimony, spousal support or maintenance, and will depend on the individual circumstances of the parties.

If you or a love one would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation.


HARMFUL MEDICINES  

Defective medications are a tremendous and growing area of concern.  Drugs that were previously thought safe have turned out to cause serious and sometimes fatal problems in patients who have taken them, unaware of the potential side-effects.

If you have taken, or currently take any of the drugs listed here, please consult your physician to make sure you are aware of the most recent research studies and scientific knowledge concerning their potential side effects so that you can adequately evaluate your own risk in continuing their use.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law office.

Harmful Medicines

Abilify

Abilify is a member of the class of drugs called atypical anti-psychotics.  It is popularly prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Brystol Myers Squib, the maker of the drug, has been asked the FDA to add a warning to the popular schizophrenia drug.  The warning will advise patients that Abilify may cause diabetes and other blood sugar such as hyperglycemia.

Other possible side effects of the drug may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Tremor
  • Uncontrollable Movements

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Accutane

What is isotretinoin?

Isotretinoin is the generic name for Accutane.  It is usually prescribed for severe acne that does not respond to treatment with other medicine.  It is important to understand the side effects of isotretinoin.  Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about this medicine, or if you experience side effects when taking it.

What is the most important information I should know about Accutane (isotretinoin)?

Accutane can cause serious side effects.  Most of these side effects do subside in a few days or weeks after use of Accutane is ceased, but you should talk to your doctor if they last for more than a few weeks.  Because some of Accutane’s more serious side effects show up in blood tests, some doctor visits may involve such test. Your acne may get worse when you start using Accutane, so your doctor may have you use other medicines along with Accutane at the beginning of your treatement.

What are symptoms of an Accutane (isotretinoin) overdose?

Accutane over-dosage has been associated with vomiting, facial flushing, abdominal pain, headache, and dizziness.  All symptoms are usually resolved without apparent residual effects.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Adderall

Adderall is a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant, approved in the United States and Canada for the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

On February 9, 2005 Health Canade instructed Shire BioChem Inc. to withdraw Adderall from the Canadian market due to safety information concerning the association of sudden deaths, heart-related deaths, and strokes in children and adults taking usual recommended doses of Adderall.  The forced withdrawal of Adderall comes as a result of a thorough review of safety information provided by the manufacturer, which indicated that there were 20 international reports of sudden death in patients taking either Adderall or Adderall XR.  These deaths were not associated with overdose, misuse or abuse. Fourteen deaths occurred in children, and six deaths in adults.  There were 12 reports of stroke, two of which occurred in children.

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder in children, according to the American Psychiatric Association.  It is often diagnosed once a child hits pre-school and is disruptive in class, unable to sit still, talking incessantly, and having emotional outbursts.  While some children see their symptoms fade as they get older, others carry them into adolescence and adulthood.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Arava

What is Arava?

Arava (leflunomide) is a prescription drug manufactured by Aventis Pharma for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Since its approval by the U.S. FDA on September 10, 1998, it is estimated that 1.5 million prescriptions for Arava have been filled in the United States.

Links with information about Arava:

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation:

Avandia

Avandia is an oral anti-diabetic agent which acts primarily by increasing insulin sensitivity, and is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

What is Avandia prescribed for?

Avandia is prescribed for the treatment of type 2 (“adult-onset” or “non insulin dependent”) diabetes mellitus (“high blood sugar”) a serious and life threatening disease.

What are the dangers associated with Avandia?

Since the drug was approved, FDA has been monitoring several heart-related adverse events (e.g., fluid retention, edema and congestive heart failure) based on signals seen in previous controlled clinical trials of Avandia alone and in combination with other drugs, and from post marketing reports.  FDA has updated the product’s labeling on several occasions to reflect these new data, most recently in 2006.  The most recent labeling change for Avandia also included a new warning about a potential increase in heart attacks and heart-related chest pain in some individuals using Avandia.

Heart failure symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the extremities
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

Hypoglycemia symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Bextra

Bextra is used to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  On October 18, 2004 Pfizer admitted that two small clinical trial showed heart bypass patients taking Bextra had a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

Bextra is in the same class as the recently recalled Vioxx.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Celebrex

What is Celebrex?

Celebrex (Celecoxib) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 31, 1998 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Also, on December 23, 1999 the FDA approved Celebrex as a drug treatment aimed at reducing the number of intestinal polyps in patients with a rare genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).  Celebrex is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and is in a class of drugs commonly referred to as a “Cox-2 inhibitor.”

On December 17th , 2004 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it has suspended the use of COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (APC) trial was stopped because analysis by an independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) showed a 2.5 fold increased risk of major fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events for participants taking the drug compared to those on a placebo.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or,  click here to request a free legal consultation.

Chantix

What is Chantix?

Chantix (USA) or Champix (Europe and other countries), Known generically as varenicline, is marketed by Pfizer as a prescription medication used to treat smoking addiction. Varenicline is a nicotinic receptor partial agonist. As a partial agonist, it both reduces cravings for and decreases the pleasurable effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and through these mechanisms, it is intended to assist patients in stopping smoking.Common side effect associated with Chanitx are nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation and vomiting.
While most side effects are mild, there have been growing reports of more serious side effects. In fact, in the fourth quarter of 2007 varenicline accounted for 988 serious injuries in the U.S. reported to the FDA, more than any other individual drug in this time period. By comparison the FDA received a median of 5 reports of serious injury for 769 different drugs in the fourth quarter. Only 35 drugs accounted for 100 or more reports.

Serious side effects included:

  • Depression, including suicidal thoughts and tendencies
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Severe allergic reactions and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver failure
  • Diabetes

If you have a severe allergic reaction or SJS, early symptoms may include fever, sore throat, cough and burning eyes.

On February 1, 2008, the FDA issued an Alert to clarify its findings, noting that “it appears increasingly likely that there is an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms.”

The FDA report said product label warnings need to note the medication shouldn’t be used while driving, piloting airplanes or operating machinery because it may cause unconsciousness, seizures and hallucinations.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with severe allergic reaction, liver failure, severe depression or suicidal thoughts, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, personal injury or other serious side effects as the result of taking Chantix, you may be entitiled to compensation.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Crestor

What is Crestor?

Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium) is a statin drug, a medicine that lowers “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises “good” cholesterol in the blood.  Crestor is made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle weakness or tenderness
  • Malaise
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Digitek

On April 25, 2008, Actavis Totowa LLC issues a Class l recall of Digitek (digoxin) tablets. Digitek was recalled due to the possibility that tablets were doubled in thickness and could contain twice the appropriate of the active ingredient.

Digoxin is a medication used to treat congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and other heart conditions.

The existence of double-strength pills pose a risk of digitalis toxicity, which can result in nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, cardiac instability, bradycardia and even death.

Digitek is a registered trademark of Actavis Totowa (formerly Amide Pharmaceutical, Inc.) for their digoxin tablets, which are prescribed to treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. The drug is distributed by Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., under a “Bertek” label and by UDL Laboratories, Inc. under a “UDL” label.

Patients taking Digitek should contact their physician immediately for medical advice. Retailers who carry Digitek should return the product to the place of purchase. Overdosing on this drug can be very dangerous.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Enbrel

Enbrel (etanercept) marketed by Immunex Corporation, is considered the first and only treatment of its kind for rheumatoid arthritis that can be used alone.  The FDA has also approved the drug for reduction of signs and symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Enbrel is indicated for reducing the signs and symptoms and inhibiting the progression of structural damage in patients with moderately to severely active RA.

Enbrel side effects include:

  • Serious infection
  • Blood count abnormalities
  • Fatigue
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Weight gain
  • Dry eyes

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Fosamax

What is Fosamax?

Fosamax (alendronate sodium) manufactured by (Merck & Company) it belongs to a class of medications called bisphosphonates, and they decrease the activity of cells which break down bone, it is marketed alone as well as in combination with vitamin D. Fosamax was approved by the FDA in September, 1995.

What is Fosamax prescribed for?

Fosamax is a prescripton medicine for the treatment or prevention of osteoporosis (thining of bone) in women after menoplause. It reduces the chance of having a hip or spinal fracture (break). Other uses include treatment to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis and the treatment to osteoporosis in either men or women who are taking corticosteroid medicines.

What are the dangers associated with Fosamax?

Recently the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reported a link between bisphosphonates and a serious bone disease called osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). Osteonecrosis is a disfiguring and disabling condition of the jaw bone that causes infection and rotting of the jaw bone. Typical presentation of Osteonecrosis is pain, soft-tissue swelling and infection, loosening of teeth, drainage, and exposed bone. Symptoms may occur spontaneously, or at the site of previous tooth extraction.

The US Food and Drug Administration and the manufacturer of Fosamax issued a warning to health care professionals on September 24, 2004 of the danger associated with the use of this drug.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Heparin

Heparin is a prescription, injectable blood thinner, primarily used for bemodialysis and cardiac invasive procedures. Heparin has been found to be contaminated with Serratia marcescens, which has resulted in patient infections. CDC has confirmed growth of Serratia marcescens from several unopened syringes of the product on January 18, 2008. On January 25, 2008, Baxter Healthcare Corp. announced the voluntary recall of nine lots of heparin sodium infection 1000 units/ml, 10ml and 30ml multi-dose vials. We are currently investigating claims on behalf of individuals that suffered a severe allergic reaction, catastrophic permanent injury or death due to receiving contaminated heparin.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was quoted as stating that at least 81 deaths were believed linked to a raw heparin ingredient imported from the People’s Republic of China, and that they had also received 785 reports of serious injuries associated with the drug’s use.

Problems with the contaminated heparin included:

• Difficulty breathing
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Excessive sweating
• Rapidly falling blood pressure that led to life-threatening shock.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch

A recent study indicates that the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch triples a patient’s risk of developing serious and life threatening blood clots.  Ortho McNeil, the maker of this birth control patch, has been accused of failing to warn consumers about these serious potential side effects.

What are the risks of using the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch?

The hormones in the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch are associated with a risk for developing blood clots.  Blood clots and blockage of blood vessels can cause death or serious disability. A blood clot may prevent blood from reaching its destination such as the heart or lungs.  Using Ortho Evra  may increase the risk of developing a stroke, blockage or rupture of blood vessels in the brain, and heart attack, blockage of the blood vessels in the heart.

What Ortho Evra effects should I watch for?

Indicators of a possible heart attack include severe chest pain or tightness in the chest. Signs of a blood clot in the lung include sharp chest pain, coughing up blood, or sudden shortness of breath.  A clot in the leg may cause intense calf pain.  Warning signs for a potential stroke are a sudden severe headache, vomiting, dizziness or fainting, a disturbance in vision or speech, and weakness or numbness in the arm or leg.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Permax

Permax is a drug used for the treatment of  Parkinson’s Disease a progressive neurological disorder resulting from the degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement.

Since its approval in 1989, Permax has been prescribed to more than 500,000 people for the control of tremors and restless leg syndrome.

In December 2002, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic reported valvular heart disease in three clinic patients who had been taking Permax for several years.

This valvular heart disease found in these patients is similar to the damage found in patients who took the Fen-Phen/Redux diet drugs.

On April 28, 2004, results from a larger study performed by researchers from the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center found a threefold increased risk of heart valve damage among patients who used Permax.

Symptoms of valvular heart disease may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles

Some patients with valular heart disease have no symptoms at all.  An echocardiogram must be done to determine whether an individual suffers from abnormal valular regurgitation.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Serzone

Serzone (Nefazodone Hydrochloride) is an anti-depressant drug manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. This drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States in December, 1994.

On January 8, 2002, the FDA ordered that a “black box” warning be placed on Serzone. This warning states that cases of life-threatening liver failure and death have been reported in patients treated with Serzone.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or click here to request a free legal consultation.

Vioxx

What is Vioxx?

Vioxx is a COX-2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).  Vioxx is also related to the nonselective NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.  Vioxx is a prescription medicine used to relieve signs and symptoms of arthritis, acute pain in adults, and painful menstrual cycles.

Vioxx, the trade name of the generic drug rofecoxib, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 1999, for the treatment of osteoarthritis, menstrual pain and the management of acute pain in adults.  On September 30, 2004 the manufacturer of Vioxx, Merck & Co. (Merck) announced that it was voluntarily withdrawing Vioxx from the market worldwide, due to increased risks of cardiovascular problems (including heart attack and stroke) in users of the drug.

What has been the most serious health concerns raised regarding Vioxx?

Vioxx has been linked to possible cardiovascular complications, including blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, and to kidney failure.  Besides the known cardiovascular risks associated with Vioxx, which prompted Merck to pull the drug from the marketplace, other serious side effects can occur during treatment with this medicine.  Notify your doctor immediately if you develop abdominal pain, tenderness, or discomfort, nausea, blood in your vomit, bloody, black, or tarry stools; unexplained weight gain; swelling or water retention; fatigue or lethargy; a skin rash; itching; yellowing of your skin or eyes; “flu-like” symptoms; or unusual bruising or bleeding.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Vytorin

Vytorin and Zetia are drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol levels. These drugs are commonly prescribed to patients who are unable to control their cholesterol levels through diet and exercise.


Vytorin is combination of Zetia and Zocor (a “statin”). Statins, like Lipitor or Crestor, carry the risk of possible side effects, such as liver and muscle damage. Recent studies have found that Zetia and Vytorin can increase your risk of liver damage and/or disease.
A New York Times report dated Dec. 21, 2007, says the drugs’ manufacturers, Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., conducted several studies on Zetia that raise questions about its risk to the liver, but the companies have published those results.


For people taking Vytorin, liver problems that may develop include Hepatitis, Cirrhosis and even liver failure. On Feb. 12, 2008, the Associated Press reported that a Vytorin study, called ENHANCE, was completed in April 2006, but the companies didn’t release partial results until Jan. 14, 2008, then only after a congressional inquiry into the delay.

The ENHANCE study questions the efficacy of Vytorin, as it showed no significant benefit in slowing atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) when compared to using other, much less expensive, generic statin drugs alone. In fact, while the results were not statistically significant, patients on Vytorin had more plaque growth than patients taking only
simvastatin.


By withholding information regarding the drug’s effectiveness, the manufacturer caused millions of Americans to purchase the more expensive Vytorin over other less expensive cholesterol medicines. Generic statins are generally much less expensive than Vytorin, costing an average of 1/3 the cost of Vytorin.


The drugs’ manufacturers have a joint venture that markets Vytorin and Zetia, which together brought in $5.1 billion in sales in 2007, up from $3.8 billion in 2006.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.


Zelnorm

Zelnorm is used for treatment of patients younger than 65 years of age with chronic idiopathic constipation (i.e, constipation lasting more than 6 months and not cause by other diseases or medications).  It is also used for short term treatment of women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation as their main bowel problem.

In March 2007, the FDA requested that sales of Zelnorm be halted as a result of safety concerns when research demonstrated that the IBS drug significantly increased the risk of heart attacks, strokes, angina and death.

Lawsuits for Zelnorm users are being reviewed for those who used the medication and suffered any of the following injuries as a side effect:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Angina (chest pain which can become a heart attack)
  • Gastrointestinal injuries
  • Ischemic colitis (inflammation of the colon)

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Zetia

What is Zetia?

Zetia (ezetimibe) manufactured by (Merck & Schering-Plough) is one of the newer prescription cholesterol lowering drugs. Unlike the more common cholesterol medications called statins which block the enzyme your liver needs to produce cholesterol, Zetia works to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Worldwide, it is estimated that about five million people are now taking Zetia.

What is Zetia prescribed for?

Zetia is either prescribed by itself to lower cholesterol, or in conjunction with statin medications (Lipitor, Crestor, pravachol, Zocor or they take it in a single pill, Vytorin, that combines Zetia with Zocor to maximize cholesterol reduction.

What are the dangers associated with Zetia?

In addition to the side effects common to most prescription medications such as
headaches, nausea and fever, other side effects of Zetia can be much more serious. The most troubling potential Zetia side effects include muscle pain and serious liver problems. Merck and Schering-Plough, conducted a two year trial that ended in April 2006. The resulted were that Zetia had failed to benefit patients and that Zetia fail to slow the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries, it actually seemed to contribute to plaque formation.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Zyprexa

What is Zyprexa?

Zyprexa (olanzapine) is in a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics.  Antipsychotic medicines are approved to treat symptoms of schizophrenia that may include hearing voices, seeing things, sensing things that are not there, mistaken beliefs, and unusual suspiciousness.

Zyprexa is approved to treat mixed or manic episodes in adults who have a condition called Bipolar I disorder, and may also be used with lithium or valproate for short-term treatment of acute manic episodes of bipolar disorder.

Zyprexa is made by Eli Lilly and Company and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.

Zyprexa and other antipsychotic medications can cause serious problems such as:

  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a life-threatening nervous system problem, which can cause high fever, stiff muscles, sweating, fast or irregular heart beat, change in blood pressure, and confusion.  NMS can also affect your kidneys and is a medical emergency.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia (TD), a movement problem.
  • High blood sugar diabetes.
  • Strokes have occurred in older patients treated for mental illness from dementia.  Zyprexa is not approved for this use. 

Links for further information on Zyprexa:

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Zithromax

Zithromax (Azithromycin), sometimes called the Z-pack, is a highly popular highly potent antibiotic sold by Pfizer.  It can cause severs liver damage and liver failure resulting in death or requiring a liver transplant after very few doses due to its potency.

This is reflected in the fact that it is usually dispensed in a short term (three and five day) titration pack with far fewer individual doses than other antibiotics.  It is used for treatment of mild to moderate infections and is often as one pill per day.

Common symptoms of liver damages are:

  • Yellow Eyes
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Dark urine

Zithromax is frequently used to treat respiratory infections in adults and children.  In adults, these infections include certain types of bronchitis and pneumonia.  Zithromax is used to treat some skin infections and sexually transmitted diseases in adults.  In children, Zithromax has also been prescribed to treat certain ear infections and pharyngitis/tonsillitis.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

Yamaha Rhino ATV Accidents


Yamaha Rhino, a popular all terrain vehicle (ATV) manufactured by Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., is the subject of legal scrutiny after cases of serious injury and death have resulted from rollover accidents involving the vehicle. The Rhino has been in production since 2003.

Pending claims allege that design defects make the Rhino fundamentally unstable. Information on the company’s web site, www.yamaha-motor.com and in the Yamaha Rhino Owner’s Manual acknowledges that “abrupt maneuvers or aggressive driving have caused rollovers-even on flat, open areas.”

A Yamaha Rhino safety bulletin was issued to Rhino owners in August 2007 advising that vehicles could be returned to Yamaha dealers for installation of new equipment-doors and passenger handholds- at no cost to owners, to improve vehicle safety. Yamaha recommended that Rhino owners have the doors and handholds installed. Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., Customer Support Group, followed up with a letter to Rhino Owners in September 2006 urging safe operation, warning of risk of tip over or rollover under “certain conditions” and providing instructions for avoiding/correcting a tip over and safe operator/ passenger conduct in the event of a tip over/rollover. Warning labels for attachment on the Rhino passenger enclosure were enclosed with the letter.

According to the Yamaha Motor Corporation web site, the 2007 Yamaha Rhino Owner’s Manual was updated to include the now doors and handholds, and including a note that these modifications were available at no charge to vehicle owners. Rhino owners were provided a supplemental Guide to Genuine Yamaha Doors/Handholds and Rhino Occupant Protection, as well as a new on-product label to the vehicle’s dashboard.

Doors and passenger handholds are standard on 2008 models of the Yamaha Rhino, According to Yamaha Motor Corporation’s customer service line. Customer service recommends that anyone purchasing a used Yamaha Rhino (prior to the 2008 model) check to see that the doors and passenger handholds have been installed, and to see a local Yamaha authorized dealer to install these items if this has not been done.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation.


JUVENILE LAW

Juvenile crimes are crimes committed by individuals under the age of eighteen. Juvenile offenders, also known as juvenile delinquents, are the fastest growing group of criminals in the United States. Millions of dollars are spent each year on costs associated with punishing and rehabilitating juvenile offenders. Many attribute the rise in juvenile crime to the increased availability of street drugs, growing levels of poverty and inadequate prevention and intervention programs in schools.

Law enforcement agencies refer approximately two-thirds of all arrested youth to a court with juvenile jurisdiction for further processing. As with law enforcement agencies, the court may decide to divert some juveniles away from the formal justice system to other agencies for service. Prosecutors may file some juvenile cases directly in criminal (adult) court. The net result is that juvenile courts formally process nearly 1 million delinquency offense cases annually. Juvenile courts adjudicate these cases and may order probation or residential placement, or they may waive jurisdiction and transfer certain cases from juvenile court to criminal court. While their cases are being processed, juveniles may be held in secure detention.

How does the juvenile court process a typical delinquency case?

 Cases referred to juvenile court are first screened by an intake department (either within or outside the court). The intake department may decide to dismiss the case for lack of legal sufficiency or to resolve the matter formally (petitioned) or informally (nonpetitioned). If the intake department decides that a case should be handled formally within the juvenile court, a petition is filed and the case is placed on the court calendar (or docket) for an adjudicatory hearing. On the other hand, the intake department may decide that a case should be removed from juvenile court and handled instead in criminal (adult) court. In these cases, a petition is usually filed in juvenile court requesting a waiver/transfer hearing. During which the juvenile court judge is asked to waive jurisdiction over the case.

At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court judge determines the most appropriate sanction, generally after reviewing a predisposition report prepared by the probation department. The range of options available to a court typically includes commitment to an institution; placement in a group or foster home or other residential facility; probation (either regular or intensive supervision); referral to an outside agency, day treatment, or mental health program; or imposition of a fine, community service, or restitution.

If you or a love one would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation.


MEDICAL MALPRACTICE  

Simply stated, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to correctly perform his duty.  A healthcare provider’s failure to correctly perform his duty can result in an aggravated personal injury, a new personal injury or death.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a healthcare provider’s failure to correctly perform his duties, please contact our office.


PERSONAL INJURY

Personal Injury is the name given to the branch of tort law that covers any wrong or damage done to another in his person, property, rights, or reputation.  A personal injury can happen at work, in a traffic accident, because of a faulty product or a faulty repair, because of a mistake during medical treatment, or because you slipped and fell on a wet floor or a pavement.  The personal injury can be physical or psychological but, to be considered actionable, it must occur due to the negligence or unreasonably unsafe actions of your employer, a manufacturer, your doctor, your landlord, or some other person or organization who owes you a duty of ordinary care.  Examples of personal injury law causes of action include professional malpractice, wrongful birth, wrongful death, liable, slander, trespass, and nuisance.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury contact us for free legal consultation.


PROBATE LAW

During probate, a probate court will determine if an instrument offered as a will is valid. If the probate court deems the will to be valid, it will then supervise the distribution of property according to the terms of the will. Often, the deceased will have already named an executor in the will to oversee the administration of the assets during the probate process.

If a person dies intestate, or without a will, the decedent’s estate will still undergo the probate process. The probate court may appoint an administrator to divide the decedent’s property. The probate court will then approve the administrator’s distribution of the decedent’s assets. Both executors and administrators are also more generally known as personal representatives.

Property which passes through the probate process is subject to an estate tax and may also incur an inheritance tax. Estate taxes are the responsibility of the personal representative of the estate. Conversely, inheritance taxes only apply to the beneficiaries under applicable intestacy laws or a valid will.

Non-Probate Property

Some property automatically passes to a beneficiary without involving the probate proceeding, such as property owned by the decedent and another as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, trust property, or property held by decedent and a spouse as a tenancy by the entirety. Property acquired during a marriage in community property states also passes to the decedent’s spouse free from probate. Furthermore, property that passes to another person pursuant to a contract does not go through probate. For instance, a person named as the beneficiary of an insurance policy or a payable on death account will receive the decedent’s property outside the probate process.

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PRODUCTS LIABILITY

Manufacturers have a duty to design products that are safe for consumers.  If a manufacture creates a product that is unsafe or learns that their product is unsafe, it has a duty to warn consumers about the unsafe product.

Some of the types of products liability cases we handle are: Defective automobiles, harmful medicines, defective stoves & heaters, and many more.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law office.

Automated Door Failure

Baxter Intravenous Pumps

FDA Announces Class I Recall of Baxter Healthcare’s Colleague Volumetric Infusion Pumps

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that Baxter Healthcare Corporation of Deerfield, Ill, has initiated a worldwide recall of all models of its Colleague Volumetric Infusion Pumps because they can shut down while delivering critical medication and fluids to patients.  Baxter has received six reports of serious injury and three reports of death associated with this shut-down problem. The affected are Models 2M8151, 2M8151R, 2M8161, 2M8161R, 2M8153, 2M8153R, 2M8163, 2M8163R.

Based on information from a current FDA inspection and independent analysis of the failure modes by FDA’s Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, as well as a comprehensive review of adverse event reports in FDA’s database, FDA has determined that this action is a Class I recalls are the most serious type of recall and involve situations in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the affected product will cause serious injury or death.

“Given the widespread use of these pumps and the multiple failure modes, FDA is quickly informing users of this important safety issue”, said Daniel Schultz, M.D., Director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.  “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and inform the public immediately of any new developments”.

Baxter advised customers on March 15, 2005 to stop using any pumps that exhibit a failure code beginning with 402, 403, 533,535, or 599, related to these electronic problems. Additionally, Baxter advised customers to take out of service any pumps that exhibit failure codes 810:04 and 810:11 related to air-in-line sensor problems, until they are inspected by authorized service personnel.

In addition to the shut-down problem, the device may exhibit two additional failure
modes:

  • Users may inadvertently press the on/off instead of the start key when attempting to start an infusion.
  • Disconnecting or connecting the pump from the hospital monitoring system while the pump is powered on can result in a failure code, requiring the infusion to be restarted.

Also, these failures may occur during the infusion of therapy, so it is imperative that health care institutions have a contingency plan to mitigate any disruptions of infusions of life-sustaining drugs or fluids.

BOSTON SCIENTIFIC INFUSION PORTS

Boston Scientific is recalling implanted drug-infusion devices after the FDA issued a warning regarding Boston Scientifics’ manufacturing quality control standards.  These ports are implanted under the skin and deliver drugs, such as chemotherapy, through a catheter that is attached to a vein.

The company has advised doctors to consider surgery for patients to have the recalled port removed.  The FDA has received several reports of these devices causing leakage or breakage, which prompted a detailed investigation into Boston Scientifics’ manufacturing and regulatory processes.  Boston Scientific has issued a voluntary product recall of both valved and nonvalved ports including the Vaxcel Low Profile Infusion Port.

Last year, Boston Scientific announced three product recalls for similar manufacturing problems with their popular cardiac stents.  Boston Scientific is a developer and manufacturer of innovative medical products such as catheters, valved and nonvalved implantable ports, stents, and other devices.

If you have an implantable port or stent from Boston Scientific and have experienced device malfunction or feel you qualify for damages or remedies that might be awarded in a possible Boston Scientific Corp. class action or lawsuit, please contact us.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

GUIDANT DEFIBRILLATORS

On Friday June 17th, 2005, Guidant Corporation announced a recall of the following medical devices/implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs)

  • PRIZM 2 DR, Model, manufactured on or before April 16, 2002
  • CONTAK RENEWAL, Model H135, manufactured on or before August 26, 2004
  • CONTAK RENEWAL 2, Model H155, manufactured on or before August 26, 2004

There are approximately 50,000 patients in the United States with one of these recalled defibrillators.  Guidant Corp. has said that the devices have malfunctioned at least 45 times, causing two deaths.  Recalls linked to ICD’s are not uncommon, and with heart disease still the number one cause of death in the United States, the safety of these medical devices is of great concern.

These surgically implanted defibrillators can develop an internal short circuit without warning, resulting in failure to deliver a shock when needed.  The devices are implanted under the collarbone and wired to the heart of patients suffering from life-threatening heart arrhythmia (abnormal rhythm).  When functioning properly the units can detect when the heart is beating out of rhythm, and deliver a series of electrical shocks to correct the arrhythmia.

The recall is linked to a potential flaw where some could short circuit and not work at all.  So, at the very moment when the patient’s life depends on the reliability of the ICD, the device can malfunction.

If you have one of the recalled Guidant defibrillators, contact your doctor immediately to discuss your medical options.  For any given patient there are numerous alternatives, your cardiologist can recommend an appropriate course of action individualized for the patient’s health concerns.  If you feel an electrical shock from a device, or if there is an audible beeping coming from the device, it may mean the defibrillator is damaged.

FDA advises patients to take the following steps:

  • If you have not already been notified, contact your doctor to determine if you have an affected PRIZM 2, CONTAK RENEWAL, or CONTAK RENEWAL 2 device.
  • Continue to keep your regular doctor appointments.
  • If you feel an electrical shock from your device, immediately contact your doctor.
  • If there is an audible “beeping” from your CONTAK RENEWAL or RENEWAL 2 device, immediately contact your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.  Beeping may mean that your defibrillator is damaged.

Guidant also recently informed FDA that it is recalling another set of defibrillator devices called PRIZM AVT, VITALITY AVT, RENEWAL 3 AVT and RENEWAL 4 AVT.  The company has said the devices are subject to a memory error, which may device performance.

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GUIDANT PACEMAKERS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notifying health care providers and patients that Guidant Corporation is voluntarily recalling certain pacemakers.  A seal within the devices can leak, allowing moisture to affect the electronic circuits.  This defect can cause the pacemakers to fail to provide pacing or can cause a rapid heart rate.  Other unexpected device behaviors are also possible.  The problems may occur without warning and can lead to lass of consciousness, and possibly heart failure and death.

Only the following models are affected by this recall.  All were manufactured between November 25, 1997 and October 26, 2000.

  • PULSAR® MAX Models 1170, 1171, 1270
  • PULSAR Models 0470, 0870, 0970, 0972, 1172, 1272
  • DISCOVERY® Models 1174, 1175, 1273, 1274, 1275
  • MERIDIAN® Models 0476, 0976, 1176, 1276
  • PULSAR MAX II Model 1180, 1181, 1280
  • DISCOVERY II Models 0481, 0981, 1184, 1186, 1187, 1283, 1284, 1285, 1286
  • CONTAK TR® Model 1241
  • VIRTUS PLUS® II* Models 1380, 1480
  • INTELIS II Models 1483, 1484, 1485, 1384, 1385,1349, 1499

*VIRTUS PLUS II and INTELIS II models available only outside the U.S.

Guidant announced the initiation of a voluntary recall on July 18, 2005.  The recall action consisted of a letter to physicians that describes the problem and provides recommendations about how to minimize the risk of pacemaker failure.

The FDA has classified Guidant’s action as a Class I recall.  Recall classifications can fall into one of three categories, with Class I being the most serious.  These numerical classifications are based on the probability that the device failure could lead to adverse health effects.  In a Class I recall, there is a reasonable probability that the malfunctioning device will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.

“Pacemakers are complex medical devices that can extend and improve the lives of many people who have heart rate abnormalities.  However, they are not perfect and can malfunction,” said Daniel Schultz, M.D., Director, FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “We are notifying patients and physicians about this important safety matter so they can take prompt action to reduce the risk of serious health consequences.”

Some patients are very dependent on pacemakers to maintain an adequate heart rate.  For these patients, failure of the device to provide pacing output can cause sudden faintness or loss of consciousness, and can result in death.  The leakage defect can also cause a sustained rapid heart rate, which can cause heart failure and result in death.

While the failures can occur without warning, sometimes a lead-related malfunction can be detected by a physician before the malfunction causes serious problems.  Guidant has provided information to physicians about ways it identify a leak-related malfunction. However, Guidant is not aware of any test that will show if a normally functioning pacemaker is likely to fail in the future.

As of July 11, 2005, Guidant had received reports that 69 pacemakers may have failed because of the leakage.  Twenty of the devices were confirmed to have stopped providing pacing output, resulting in loss of consciousness in five patients.  Guidant also received reports of two patients who had sustained pacing at a rapid rate.  A patient whose device exhibited sustained pacing at a rapid rate was admitted to the hospital and later died.  The device problem could not be confirmed as leakage since the device was not returned.

Approximately 18,000 of the affected devices remain in service in the United States and an additional 10,000 are in service in other countries.  Guidant estimates that the failure rate from the leakage defect will be between 0.17% and 0.51% (i.e., between 1.7 per one thousand and5.1 per one thousand) over the remaining lifetime of the devices.  It is possible that the actual failure rate will be greater than this, in part, because some past failures may not have been reported to Guidant.

The FDA is not making a recommendation about whether a patient who has one of Guidant pacemakers affected by this recall should have it replaced.  This is a decision that should be made by the patient in consultation with his or her physician, based on the patient’s history and medical condition.  Removal and replacement of the device may pose some risk, so it is important that patients and physicians carefully discuss this matter before making a decision.

The FDA concurs with Guidant’s proposed recommendation to patients, which are consistent with the physician recommendations previously set forth in Guidant’s July 18th letter:

  • If you believe you are pacemaker dependent, contact your physician soon to discuss your treatment options.
  • Continue your normal doctor appointments.
  • If you experience symptoms of shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, or a prolonged fast heart rate, you should consult with your physician or go to the emergency room immediately.
  • If you are not sure which model you have, or if you have other questions regarding your device, you should consult with your physician.
  • If you know your device’s model and serial number and want to find out if it is affected by the leakage problem, you can check www.quidant.com/webapp/emarketing/lookup.isp or contact Guidant Technical Services at 1-866-Guidant (1-866-484-3268).

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.

HIP AND KNEE REPLACEMENTS

The problem can be traced be traced back to the companies’ sterilization practices.

Howmedica, as well as several other companies, used a technique known as gamma irradiation in air to sterilize the devices (hip and knee prostheses) made of high molecular weight polyethylene, which is like a pliable plastic.  The sterilization process caused the polyethylene part of the devices, once implanted in the body, to break up into small pieces that lodge into the patient’s hip or knee joint.  In the body’s fight to rid itself of those pieces, the immune system also turns on the patient’s healthy bone, causing it to decay, a condition known as osteolysis.  These patients inevitably need a second surgery to replace the device long before expected.

Oxidation, which is a time-dependent byproduct of gamma sterilization in air, has an adverse effect on the material properties and wears resistance of polyethylene.  Oxidation occurs when oxygen combines with free radicals in the polyethylene that are generated by radiation.  The oxidation can occur during irradiation, or it can occur over time as oxygen diffuses into the polyethylene and combines with residual free radicals.

Recognizing the adverse effects of oxidation, some manufacturers have abandoned gamma sterilization and began using ethylene oxide (ETO) or gas plasma to sterilize the components, thereby avoiding immediate and long-term oxidation.  However, particularly in the absence of oxygen, the free radicals generated by irradiation can combine to each other, forming “crosslink’s” between two carbon atoms on adjacent polyethylene molecules.

When packaging/sterilizing in a low-oxygen environment (e.g., partial vacuum, inert gas, or with an oxygen scavenger), the degree of oxidation that will occur is reduced.  In order to gain the benefit of the crosslinking, some manufacturers continue to sterilize their polyethylene components with gamma radiation.

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ST. JUDE ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators)

In June 2005, St. Jude Medical issued a warning to doctors and medical professionals that some of its Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD) may need software upgrades.  Shortly after, the FDA announced a recall on the following product families after the discovery of 52 reported events in the FDA database related to St. Jude’s Epic and Atlas products.

Of these 52 reported instances by consumers using the pacemaker-like devices, 10 are related to the “reset” mode which can result in the defibrillator function shutting off without warning.  The reset mode can be triggered when simply exposed to intense electrical or magnetic activity.  The FDA states that they are recalling the products for software upgrades due to the Skipped-Charge Shock and a Sensor Noise Anomaly.

Recalled St. Jude ICDs:
EPIC (Models V-233, V337, V-338)
EPIC PLUS DR/VR/HF (Models V-236, V-239, V-239T, V-196, V-196T, V-350)
ATLAS DR (Model V-242)
ATLAS PLUS DR/VR/HF (Models V-242, V-193, V-193C, V-340, V-341, V-343)

These pacemaker-like devices are used by patients with life-threatening heartbeat rhythm problems and are designed to provide cardiac resynchronization therapy to keep the heartbeat in steady rhythm.  Many of these implanted devices were only recently approved by the FDA but have already been distributed to 30,000 U.S. patients and 11,684 international patients.

Patients who are using one of these recalled St. Jude ICDs should seek advice from their doctor to undergo the software upgrade process.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss your legal rights, please call our law offices or, click here to request a free legal consultation.


SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

Have you been denied Social Security disability benefits?  If your claim has been denied contact us for free consultation.  All cases handled on a contingency basis; you pay nothing unless we obtain benefits on your behalf. Congress has defined the term "disability' for both the regular social security disability program (which appears in Title II of the Social Security Act) and the SSI disability program (which appears in Title XVI of the Act) as an inability "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

If you or a love one would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation.


SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT LAW

Sports Law

Sports Law encompasses a multitude areas of law brought together in unique ways. Issues such as antitrust, contracts, and torts are quite common. Sports Law can be roughly divided into the areas of amateur, professional, and international sports. The distinction between a professional and amateur athlete is somewhat tenuous. So-called “amateur” student/athletes at universities often receive scholarships and other forms of compensation. Also, keep in mind that even though an athlete may be defined as an amateur by one organization, he or she may not be an amateur according to another. Of course, this leads to even more confusion. A simplistic, yet useful definition is that amateur athletes participate in sports as an avocation while professional athletes are involved in sports as a vocation.

Entertainment law is a term for a mix of more traditional categories of law with a focus on providing legal services to the entertainment industry. The principal areas of Entertainment Law overlap substantially with the will-known and conventional field of intellectual property law. But generally speaking the practice of entertainment law often involves questions of employment law, labor law immigration, securities law, security interests, agency, intellectual property (especially trademarks, copyright and the co-called “right of publicity”), and insurance law. Much of the work of an entertainment law practice transaction based, i.e. drafting contracts, negotiation and mediation. Some situations may lead to litigation or arbitration.

Entertainment law is generally sub-divided into the following areas related to the types of activities that have their own specific trade unions, production techniques, rules, customs, case law, and negotiation strategies:

  • Film: covering option agreements, finance, chain of title issues, talent agreements (scriptwriters, film directors, actors, composers, set designers), production and post production and trade union issues, distribution issues, motion picture industry negotiations distribution, and general intellectual property issues relating to copyright and, to a lesser extent, trademarks;
  • Music: including talent agreements (musicians, composers) producer agreements, and synchronization rights, music industry negotiation and general intellectual property issues relating to copyright;
  • Television and Radio  including broadcast licensing and regulatory issues, mechanical licenses;
  • Theatre: including rental agreements and co-production agreements, and other performance oriented legal issues;
  • Multimedia, including software licensing issues, video game development and production;
  • Publishing and print media issues, including advertising, models, author agreements and other copyright related issues;
  • Visual arts and design including fine arts, issues of consignment of artworks t art dealers, moral rights of sculptors regarding works in public places; and industrial design, issues related to the protection of graphic design elements in products.

If you would like to discuss your legal rights please call our law offices, or click here to request a free consultation.


Veteran's Appeals

As early as the Revolutionary War this Country has been committed to assisting veterans of military service to this Nation. The concept of a veteran's administration or what is now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs, did not become a reality until after World War I. The Congress of the United States has been committed to the awarding of pension and disability benefits to those persons who have served in the armed services. The statutory scheme created by Congress was intended to be non-adversarial, pro-claimant and veteran friendly.

The reality of the bureaucracy which has evolved to administer the adjudication of veterans' benefits has not been consistent or in harmony with the mandates of Congress. In fact, the adjudication of veterans' benefits claims has in many circumstances become an aggressively and antagonistically adversarial process. As a consequence, the necessity of representation by a competent veterans' law practitioner has become nearly unavoidable.

Legislation passed during the hours of the last Congress now allows veterans to hire an attorney or "agent"· for representation in benefits claims before the Veterans Administration (VA1- The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006. Pub, L., No. 109·161. § 101).

In order to apply for benefits, a veteran must first submit a claim in writing.  Once a claim has been submitted to a Regional Office, the Regional Office is required to render a decision. In the event that a veteran desires to appeal the denial of benefits, a notice of disagreement and a VA Form 9 is requires to be submitted by the veteran to the Regional Office.  If the Regional Office turns down the veteran's claim, the Regional Office must file a statement of the case which explains to the veteran the reason for the denial of benefits.  Once a veteran has perfected an appeal, the claims folder is transferred to the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington, DC.  If the veteran receives an adverse decision from the Board of Veterans Appeals, then the veteran has 120 days from the date stamped on the adverse decision to file a Notice of Appeal to the United States Court for Veterans Claims.

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WORKERS' COMPENSATION

The workers' compensation system attempts to streamline the process for handling work-related injuries and illnesses. The system generally provides fixed remedies to employees suffering from work-related injuries without requiring the employee to prove fault, thereby minimizing the need for litigation and its associated costs. Benefits from workers' compensation insurance may include medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits.

Most states require employers to carry workers' compensation insurance so that their employees will be compensated in the event that they are injured or become ill in the course of or due to their employment. Employers may purchase workers' compensation insurance from a private insurance company or a state-run workers' compensation insurance fund, if available. Some states also permit certain employers to self-insure for such claims. A minority of states do not require workers' compensation coverage by employers with less than a designated number of employees.

Workers' compensation insurance covers most on-the-job injuries, even those diseases and illnesses that result gradually from working conditions. Coverage may apply to pre-existing conditions as well if a subsequent work-related injury aggravated the condition. Workers' compensation also covers injuries caused by an employee's own carelessness; however, some exceptions exist. For instance, if the employee's injury is self-inflicted or caused because the employee is under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances, benefits may be denied.

Although the workers' compensation system limits the liability for employers and often for fellow employees, injured employees may bring claims against other parties responsible for their injuries. For instance, an employee may choose to sue the manufacturer or supplier of a toxic substance, such as asbestos or lead, or the owner of the premises where the injury occurred. If the injury was intentionally or recklessly caused by the employer, the employee may avoid the Workers' Compensation system and bring claims in court against the employer.

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