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Lawsuit kicks off class action claims against GM

General Motors Co’s new chief executive Mary Barra addresses the media during a roundtable meeting with journalists in Detroit, Michigan January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/Pool

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.reuters.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) – General Motors was hit on Friday with what appeared to be the first lawsuit related to the recall of 1.6 million cars, as customers claimed their vehicles lost value because of ignition problems blamed for a series of fatal crashes.

The proposed class action, filed in federal court in Texas, said GM knew about the problem since 2004, but failed to fix it, creating "unreasonably dangerous" conditions for drivers of the affected models.

"GM’s mishandling of the ignition switch defect….has adversely affected the company’s reputation as a manufacturer of safe, reliable vehicles with high resale value," the lawsuit said.

The recall has led to government criminal and civil investigations, an internal probe by GM, and preparations for hearings by Congress. All ask why GM took so long to address a problem it has said first came to its attention in 2001.

A GM spokesman, Greg Martin, said the company has apologized for how it handled the recall and that taking care of customers was its first priority. He did not comment on the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages from GM that include compensation for loss of the use of their vehicles and repairs and diminished resale value. They are not claiming they were injured in accidents stemming from ignition problems.

The lawsuit is reminiscent of claims faced by Toyota Motor Corp, which recalled more than 10 million vehicles starting in 2009. Toyota last year received approval for a settlement…

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After Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Bleak Struggle for Survivors

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.nytimes.com

SAVAR, Bangladesh — Inside the single room he shares with his wife and young child, Hasan Mahmud Forkan does not sleep easily. Some nights he hears the screams of the garment workers he tried to rescue from the wreckage of the Rana Plaza factory building. Or he dreams the bed itself is collapsing, sucking him down into a bottomless void.

A few miles away, at a rehabilitation center for the disabled, Rehana Khatun is learning to walk again. She lost both legs in the Rana Plaza collapse and worries that she is not improving because her prosthetic replacements are bulky and uncomfortable. She is only 20 and once hoped to save money so she could return to her village and pay for her own wedding.

“No, I don’t have that dream anymore,” she said, with a cold pragmatism more than self-pity. “How can I take care of a family?”

Eight months ago, the collapse of Rana Plaza became the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry, and many of the survivors still face an uncertain future. The shoddily constructed building pancaked down onto workers stitching clothes for global brands like Children’s Place, Benetton, C & A, Primark and many others. Workers earning as little as $38 a month were crushed under tons of falling concrete and steel. More than 1,100 people died and many others were injured or maimed.

But while the Rana Plaza disaster stirred an international outcry — and shamed many international clothing companies…

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“60 Minutes” Misses the Mark on Social Security Disability

Today’s post comes from guest author Kristina Brown Thompson, from The Jernigan Law Firm.

What happens when a major journalism program runs a program without interviewing both sides? You get something like what “60 Minutes” aired in early October in “Disability, USA.” It’s one of the media’s favorite topics, “exposing” disability fraud on the part of the claimant. But how much truth is there to the allegations made on “60 Minutes”?

After watching the show, the viewer is lead to believe that almost anyone with any medical condition could be approved for Social Security Disability. You hear from an administrative law judge that the standards are too lax. However, over 66% of all disability claims are initially denied. Thereafter, only about 10% win disability benefits on appeal. The application and appeal process alone takes months, if not years. This sure doesn’t sound like an easy way to survive. Even if benefits are ultimately awarded, they are taxable and paid only on a monthly basis with the average disability payment of about $1,100.00.

While it’s true the number of disability claimants has increased, this is hardly surprising. Overall, we have an aging population which increases the ratio of disabled claimants. Likewise, with jobs scarce, those with disabilities are having an increasingly difficult time finding work.

It’s very disappointing that no one at “60 Minutes” took the time to interview a single disability applicant. If they had taken the time, they would have learned that the application is an arduous process. Failure to present your medical records or respond within strict timeframes, results in an automatic denial. Recently, one of our workers’ compensation clients reported that he underwent two separate disability applications and four appeals (cumulatively) before finally being approved in 2013. He has been out of work since 2006.

For more information, check out “Just the Facts” as well as this article published by the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives in response to “Disability, USA.”  

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Temporary Work, Lasting Harm

Today’s post was shared by Jon Gelman and comes from www.propublica.org

Ninety minutes into his first day on the first job of his life, Day Davis, pictured above, was called over to help at Palletizer No. 4 at the Bacardi bottling plant in Jacksonville, Fla. Above is a composite image of the times Davis is seen in a surveillance video before an all-too-common story for temp workers unfolded.

A version of this story was produced by Univision and will air tonight at 6:30 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This was it, he told his brother Jojo. He would finally be able to pay his mother back for the fender bender, buy some new shoes and, if things went well, maybe even start a life with his fiancee who was living in Atlanta.

After getting his high school diploma, completing federal job training and sending out dozens of applications, Day Davis, 21, got a job. It was through a temp agency and didn’t pay very much, but he would be working at the Bacardi bottling plant, making the best-selling rum in the world.

Davis called his mother to tell her the good news and ask if she could pick him up so he could buy the required steel-toe boots, white shirt and khaki pants and get to the factory for a 15-minute orientation before his 3 p.m. shift.

Word spread quickly through the family. “Me and my brother was like, ‘Don’t mess up now, you got to do good, don’t mess up,’ ” said his younger sister, Nia.

It was a humid 90 degrees as Davis walked into Bacardi’s Warehouse No. 7 to the rattle of glass bottles,…

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As Robot-Assisted Surgery Expands, Are Patients And Providers Getting Enough Information?

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.kaiserhealthnews.org

The use of robotic surgical systems is expanding rapidly, but hospitals, patients and regulators may not be getting enough information to determine whether the high tech approach is worth its cost.

Problems resulting from surgery using robotic equipment—including deaths—have been reported late, inaccurately or not at all to the Food and Drug Administration, according to one study.

The study, published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality earlier this year, focused on incidents involving Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Robotic Surgical System over nearly 12 years, scrubbing through several data bases to find troubled outcomes. Researchers found 245 incidents reported to the FDA, including 71 deaths and 174 nonfatal injuries. But they also found eight cases in which reporting fell short, including five cases in which no FDA report was filed at all.

The FDA assesses and approves products based on reported device-related complications. If a medical device malfunctions, hospitals are required to report the incident to the manufacturer, which then reports it to the agency. The FDA, in turn, creates a report for its Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database.

The use of surgical robots has grown rapidly since it was first approved for laparoscopic surgery (a type of surgery that uses smaller incisions than in traditional surgery) by the FDA in 2000. Between 2007 and 2011 the number of da Vinci systems installed increased by 75 percent in the United…

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FEMA: No extensions to file superstorm Sandy insurance suits

Originally published: November 21, 2013 6:27 PM
Updated: November 21, 2013 7:13 PM
By JOE RYAN  joe.ryan@newsday.com

Greg Snow attempts to clear debris from superstorm
Greg Snow attempts to clear debris from superstorm…

Photo credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara | Greg Snow attempts to clear debris from superstorm Sandy from his yard on Atlantic Street in Lindenhurst. (Nov. 1, 2012)

The National Flood Insurance Program Thursday rejected requests from Sen. Charles Schumer and others to extend the deadline for homeowners to file lawsuits arguing for more money to cover damage from superstorm Sandy.

The government insurer, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, issued a memo to private companies that administer flood policies, saying the 12-month statute of limitations is dictated by federal law and cannot be moved.

“FEMA lacks the authority to extend the time limit to file a lawsuit established by statute,” wrote James Sadler, director of claims for the flood insurance program.

PHOTOS:LI damage | Then and now | Aerial views
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According to FEMA, homeowners must sue within one year of having any portion of their flood insurance claim denied in writing.

Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) and others have argued that the deadline doesn’t give Sandy victims enough time. They asked…

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Condé Nast Ends Its Internship Program

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.huffingtonpost.com

Condé Nast has decided to discontinue its internship program following a class-action lawsuit filed by two former interns saying that they were paid less than $1 dollar an hour, Women’s Wear Daily reported on Wednesday.

Condé Nast, which houses magazine powerhouses like Vanity Fair, GQ and Vogue, was sued in June by former W Magazine intern Lauren Ballinger and former New Yorker intern Matthew Leib, both who claimed their employers had violated federal labor laws.

Interns currently employed with Condé Nast will not be affected by the decision and are allowed to keep their internships until the previously determined date, Women’s Wear Daily also reported.

The decision for Condé Nast to end their internship program comes while the lawsuit against them is still pending. However, this is not the first case of media interns taking legal action against their employers. The same law firm handling the Condé Nast case is also representing an intern with Harper’s Bazaar who sued Hearst Corporation in 2012 for being made to work up to 55 hours per week with no pay. In June, intern Eric Glatt won his lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures for using unpaid interns in the production of the 2010 film, “Black Swan.”

Also on HuffPost:

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BreathableBaby Recalls Wearable Blanket Due to Choking Hazard

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.prnewswire.com

BreathableSack wearable blanket for infants
BreathableSack wearable blanket for infants

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumers should stop using this product unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20030904/USCSCLOGO)

Recall Summary

Name of Product:  BreathableSack wearable blanket for infants

Hazard: The zipper pull tabs and sliders can detach posing a choking hazard to infants.

Remedy:  Replace

Consumer Contact:  BreathableBaby toll-free at (877) 827-4442 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday or online at www.breathablebaby.com and click on Recall Information.

Photos are available at
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/BreathableBaby-Recalls-Wearable-Blanket

Recall Details

Units: About 15,000

Description:  The BreathableBaby BreathableSacks are sleeveless, wearable blankets. They come in two sizes: small (10-18 pounds) and medium (16-24 pounds) and come in three colors: kiwi Whoo, pink Hip, and blue Splash. There is one animal stitched on the left chest of each blanket of an owl, hippo or elephant. Only BreathableSacks from Lot No. 124 with a manufacture date of 04/17/2012 are included in the recall.  A tag sewn inside the recalled units where the infant’s right foot would be located states the “Date of Manufacture: 04/17/2012, Lot No. 124,” along with the washing instructions on the back of the tag.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Remedy:

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Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.