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April 23, 2014

Owner of Back Bay Building Files Lawsuit in Fatal Beacon Street Fire

The charred shell of a building is all that remains at 298 Beacon Street in Back Bay. The prestigious address on the tree lined street was once a grand old brownstone nestled in between rows of historic homes and old Boston. The nine alarm blaze quickly tore through the building, fueled by the 50-mile-per-hour winds coming off the nearby Charles River. The eight-unit building was a total loss, but the most tragic consequence of the fire was the deaths of two Boston firefighters who were trapped in the basement. Though no criminal activity was suspected, an investigation was launched, as usual, into the cause of the deadly fire.

The investigation by officials revealed the probable cause to be sparks from a nearby welding site. It is believed that workers were welding part of a safety rail at neighboring 296 Beacon Street when the strong winds carried the sparks into the old building. After learning of the findings, the owner of the destroyed building, listed as the estate of Michael J. Callahan, is suing the owner of 296 Beacon Street, (Oliver Realty LP) the welding company, (D & J Iron Works) and the owner of the welding company (Guiseppe Falcone). The suit was filed by the executer of the estate, Herbert Lerman.

Continue reading "Owner of Back Bay Building Files Lawsuit in Fatal Beacon Street Fire" »

April 22, 2014

Boston Marathon Spectator Plunges At Least 15 Feet in Newton, MA Balcony Fall

A woman was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on Monday after she fell at least 15 feet from a second-floor balcony while watching the Boston Marathon. Authorities say that the railing broke, which caused the Newton, Massachusetts balcony fall accident.

Massachusetts Balcony Falls
Unfortunately, falls from balconies are not uncommon—especially in urban areas in the United States. According to data analyzed in 2009 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 1990 through 2006 there were about 86,500 balcony fall injuries that required hospital attention. Fall heights varied from as low as 5 feet to up to nearly 88 feet. Structural failure was a factor in about 5,600 cases.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, Boston balcony accident lawyers represent victims and their families with Massachusetts premises liability claims against property owners, as well as against other parties that may have played a role in allowing the balcony incident to happen.

Balcony falls can lead to serious injuries and death. Common causes may include structural issues, rail defects, undetected rot (if the balconies are made of wood), rusted or weakened bolts, inadequate railing (for example: a rail that isn't high enough to protect children from falling), and building code violations.

Balcony falls can also happen if the structure becomes overcrowded or if drinking is involved and the host or premise owner failed to provide proper supervision. A physical altercations on balconies may also lead to a fall, which could be grounds not just for a Boston personal injury case but also criminal charges (even if the accident was caused unintentionally).

Examples of common balcony injuries: head trauma, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and spinal cord injury. Recovery may take a long time and there may be permanent injuries and disabilities requiring not only costly medical attention but also long-term professional care.

Spectator injured when balcony railing gives way, The Boston Globe, April 21, 2014

Epidemiology of balcony fall-related injuries, United States, 1990-2006.,, February 9, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Experts Warn Many Backyard Decks can Collapse, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 4, 2014

OSHA Announces National Events for Fall Prevention in Construction, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 31, 2014

Harsh Winters Up the Risks of Massachusetts Slip and Fall Accidents, Fractures, and Not Just For The Elderly, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 18, 2014

Continue reading "Boston Marathon Spectator Plunges At Least 15 Feet in Newton, MA Balcony Fall" »

April 21, 2014

More Professional Athletes File Suits for Sports-Related Head Traumas

A group of former hockey players are seeking financial compensation for head injuries they sustained while playing in the NHL.

Retired NHL players Dave Christian, Reed Larson and William Bennett are hoping to target the violence in hockey where they believe their injuries were sustained. The players filed a class-action lawsuit last week alleging that the National Hockey League promoted fighting while subsequently downplaying the risks for head injuries associated with the [promoted] violence.

Charles Zimmerman, who filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of the three players, stated that ultimately a change to glorified violence in the game is what may come of the lawsuit. This lawsuit is similar to the one brought forth by former NFL players who are seeking monetary compensation for their long-term injuries which resulted from repeated head traumas, as well as increased medical monitoring. The NHL’s deputy commissioner Bill Daily said that the organization is not surprised by the lawsuit.

"As we have indicated earlier, another lawsuit of this type is not unexpected," Daily said. "It's the nature of these types of cases that once one is filed, a number of similarly styled cases follow. Nothing changes our belief that all of these cases are without merit and they will be defended accordingly.”

Currently there is a $765 million settlement pending against the NFL, which still needs approval by the case’s judge. Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody said she fears the $765M fund might not be sufficient enough to cover the thousands of victims impacted by head traumas. Judge Brody ordered both parties to address several issues with the settlement, which had been preliminarily agreed upon last summer. Many also believe that the attention of this case has prompted NHL players to seek damages relating to concussive injuries.

Zimmerman said that the main aspect of his clients’ case against the organization is that there is “knowledge that these types of injuries were known and protections were not put in place appropriately enough or fast enough and rules changes were not implemented in fighting.” He argued that his clients and other present athletes were (and are) at risk of suffering serious injuries because of the demands of their sport. He believes rules ultimately need to be changed and that his clients should be compensated for being exposed to unaddressed risks.

Continue reading "More Professional Athletes File Suits for Sports-Related Head Traumas " »

April 16, 2014

Newly Released Memo Reveals “Smoking Gun” in GM Recall Mess

It appears as though the smallest, seemingly insignificant decision brought an auto giant to its knees. Media outlets and the general public alike have been closely following the General Motors recall crisis, searching for answers and where to place blame. After months of mounting mistakes and shifting responsibilities, a memo discussing a fix for the ignition switch problem plaguing millions of GM vehicles was uncovered by congressional investigators. In it, according to Forbes Magazine’s Micheline Maynard, is the so-called “smoking gun memo” from then-GM Ray DeGiorgio.

The General Motors recall mess has been strewn all over front page news for months now. Most of the scrutiny around the Detroit-based auto giant revolves around a defect in the ignition switch, causing the key to easily slip into the “off” position, cutting power to the car. This defect, which has the potential to cause an accident, has affected nearly 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other Saturn and Pontiac models. The design issue has been blamed for 13 deaths so far, and GM has recalled those vehicles. In addition, the auto manufacturer warned that the ignition switch in question could have been used to repair the vehicles that had been recalled.

Continue reading "Newly Released Memo Reveals “Smoking Gun” in GM Recall Mess" »

April 16, 2014

Massachusetts General Hospital Doctors Settle Boston Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for $4.5M in Plymouth Woman’s Death

Massachusetts General Hospital doctors George Velmaho and Alasdair Conn have agreed to settle for $4.5 million the Boston medical malpractice lawsuit accusing them of negligence in the 2005 death of a 62-year-old patient. Geraldine Moran was placed under their care when she broke a number of ribs after falling off a ladder while cleaning her home.

Even after doctors at another hospital conducted a high-tech medical scan showing that one of her ribs was cracked so that a sharp portion of the bone had become positioned dangerously close to her aorta, the Massachusetts General doctors did not order chest imaging. Also, they decided to wait until the following morning to operate on her.

The morning of her surgery, Moran, who had coughing since the day before, did so in such a way that the rib went into her aorta. She went into cardiac arrest and died.

Delayed Medical Care
Failure to provide the necessary medical care to a patient can result in serious health complications and even death. This is why doctors must make sure that they properly diagnose and treat a patient as needed right away. The slightest delay may prove catastrophic. What could have been an easily treatable condition might end up requiring more serious and costlier medical care.

If you suspect that you or your loved one sustained injuries or complications because a doctor failed to do his/her job properly you may have grounds to pursue a Boston medical malpractice case against the professional and his/her place of business. You will want to work with a Massachusetts personal injury law firm that knows how to go after these types of cases.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice
Typically a Massachusetts medical malpractice case must be brought within three years of when the injury happened. However, there are exceptions, such as if the plaintiff did not find out until later that medical negligence was the cause of an injury, which is when the statute of limitations would start running. This is called the “discovery rule.” For kids under age six the statute time is longer. However, the case still needs to be filed by the minor’s ninth birthday. Other exceptions may apply, which is why you should speak with a Boston medical malpractice law firm and ask for your free consultation.

MGH doctors to pay $4.5m over death,, April 16, 2014

Massachusetts General Laws

More Blog Posts:
Medical Malpractice Payouts Increase for First Time in a Decade, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 2, 2014

Lawsuit Claims Bayer Failed to Warn Patients of Yaz/Yasmin Blot Clot Risk, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2014

Utility Workers Fatally Injured in Bourne, MA Crane Accident, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Lawsuits Continue Over Two Amusement Park Deaths

At amusement parks, screaming is commonplace— even encouraged. Eventually those screams turn to laughter and excitement as patrons of all ages gather up the courage to board the tallest, most extreme rides they can handle. Amusement parks, as the name suggests, are meant to be a place of total enjoyment, free of any stress except that very brief moment of pure panic as you sit at the top of the highest roller coaster, staring down at the ground far below.

When an accident occurs at a theme park, happiness quickly turns to tragedy. Eleven-year-old Abiah Jones’ parents watched her leave for a school trip with her classmates one spring morning, unaware that would be the last time they would see their beloved child alive. She climbed into a car on the Giant Wheel at Morey’s Pier in New Jersey as it made its way around to the top. Abiah somehow fell from the top of the ride and did not survive.

Her parents were understandably devastated. They filed a lawsuit against Morey’s Pier, Inc. However, for unknown reasons, the family filed in the State of Pennsylvania. A three-judge appellate court ruled recently that the while the case is valid, it must be tried in the State of New Jersey, where the accident occurred.

Continue reading "Lawsuits Continue Over Two Amusement Park Deaths" »

April 11, 2014

10 People Killed in Truck-Bush Crash Involving FedEx Vehicle

A fiery truck crash involving a bus and a FedEx vehicle has claimed the lives of 10 people in Northern California. According to the CHP, the victims include the drivers of the two vehicles, five students, and three adult chaperones.

There were 19 students on the bus that was struck by the truck, which drove over a grassy median on the interstate to cause the collision. Over 30 people were hurt, sustaining burns, broken bones, head lacerations, broken noses, or other injuries. A number of them were hospitalized, some in serious condition.

The bus-truck crash caused the two vehicles to burst into flames, forcing one victim to be admitted to a hospital burn unit. That patient later died. The bus was one of three charter vehicles that were travelling 12 hours from the LA area to Humboldt State University, where the students were to go to college. The students are from different Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash. Meantime, FedEx has issued a statement saying it will cooperate with the probe. The bus involved belongs to Silverado Stages.

If you or someone you love was injured in a Massachusetts truck crash, please contact our Boston personal injury law firm right away. Truck crashes can cause devastating injuries for those lucky enough to survive a catastrophic one and many trucking companies will be ready at the outset to deal with injury and death claims so as to limit the cost of litigation and bad publicity. You want to work with a Boston truck collision law firm that knows how to investigate and pursue a claim on your behalf.

Depending on what happened, there could be multiple parties to go after—a driver, the trucking company, a charter company, the manufacturer of a defective auto part that might have caused the vehicle malfunction, a government entity for failing to properly maintain or design the road (if either was a factor), and other parties.

You want to make sure you are working with a Boston truck crash law firm that knows how to make your claim and build a solid case on your behalf. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

10 killed as truck, bus carrying students collide, AP/CBS 42, April 11, 2014

10 killed in California bus crash: Victim was 'like a man on fire', Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2014

Deadly crash cuts short hopeful college trip, CNN, April 11, 2014

National Transportation Safety Board

More Blog Posts:
IIHS Crash Test Reveals SUV Safety Concerns, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 9, 2014

Deceased Worker’s Family Awarded $39 Million after Company Failed to Follow Safety Plans, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 11, 2014

Struggles Mount for Mother of Young Child Hit & Killed by Car, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014

Struggles Mount for Mother of Young Child Hit & Killed by Car

It was a normal Wednesday afternoon on the day before Thanksgiving 2013. Glendalee Alvarado was walking her daughter Brianna home from school when a young life was cut short; another permanently altered. Footage from a nearby security camera captured the horrific scene as an SUV plowed straight into Alvarado and her daughter skipping down the street, pinning them under the vehicle. Seven-year-old Brianna died at the scene while her mother sustained life-threatening injuries. “It's something that will never go away,” Glendalee told WHDH.

The Dorchester mother recounts the very ordinary events leading up to the tragic accident, explaining, “She was in front of me. We were walking and she was always in front of me, then I don’t remember. They said I tried to hold her jacket back but I don’t remember.” Glendalee Alvarado now has to cope with the loss of her young daughter on top of her own serious injuries.

WHDH reports that “Alvarado was hurt so [badly] in the accident she was in the hospital for about a week before doctors broke the news to her that her daughter did not survive.” Even now, several months later, she is in constant pain from a surgically rebuilt leg and paralysis after four strokes. Still, she says, the most painful thing is hearing her other children asking for their sister Brianna.

Continue reading "Struggles Mount for Mother of Young Child Hit & Killed by Car" »

April 7, 2014

Whistleblowers Get Protections Under Consumer Financial Protection Act with OSHA’s Interim Final Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put out an interim final rule that tackles complaints of retaliation under the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Under the CFPA, employees are protected against retaliation from entities that provide consumer financial services and products that are mainly for family, household, or personal use, including: certain kinds loans, residential mortgages, modifications to mortgage loans, relief services regarding foreclosure, debt relief, consumer credit, and other goods and services. The interim final rule sets up burdens of proof, procedures, statutes of limitations, and remedies.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Massachusetts whistleblower lawyers are here to protect the rights of those who report when a fraud is being committed against a state or the federal government. We are here to help whistleblowers in their attempts to file a successful case while making sure their rights are protected throughout the entire process. Contact our Boston law firm today.

The CFPA protects workers that reports certain types of violations to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, an employer, or a government entity. The interim rule sets up time frames and processes for how to deal with these retaliation complaints, as well as procedures involving employee complaints to OSHA, OSHA probes, appeals of OSHA decisions, and other matters.

The regulations stipulate that an employee with a complaint has protections under the whistleblower provisions as long as he/she has an objectively reasonable belief and a subjective, good-faith belief that he/she was let go or retaliated against in any other way that violates CFPA. Examples of actions that could be considered retaliation against a whistleblower and grounds for a complaint:

• Lay off
• Firing
• Reassigning
• Decreased hours
• Lowered pay
• Demotion
• Disciplining
• Refusing overtime
• Bypassing for promotion
• Refusing benefits
• Blacklisting
• Not hiring
• Not rehiring
• Making threats
• Intimidation

Complaints must be turned in within 180 days of the alleged violation. Based on data from the investigation, the agency has 60 days to offer written findings regarding whether the case has grounds. An administrative law judge will then look at the case and render a ruling unless a petition has been submitted to the Administrative Review Board, who would have 30 days to grant review of the matter. Otherwise, the decision by the ALJ is final.

We know how much courage it took to come forward and you should have the protections and representation you need. Contact our Boston whistleblower lawyers today.

Filing Whistleblower Complaints under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), OSHA (PDF)

Interim Final Rule, OSHA

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

More Blog Posts:
Families of Asbestos Workers Awarded $12.5M in Mesothelioma Case, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 21, 2014

Hospital to Pay $85M to Partially Settle Whistleblower Case Over Medicare Fraud, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 19, 2014

OSHA Announces National Events for Fall Prevention in Construction, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 31, 2014

April 4, 2014

Seniors Under Age 65 Suffering From Frontotemporal Dementia May Require Proper Boston Nursing Home Care

According to the Alzheimer’s Association up to 50% of dementia cases involving people under the age of 65 may actually be the condition known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). More likely to hit at a younger age than those struck with Alzheimer’s, doctors are also now finding that the condition occurs more commonly than previously thought.

FTD begins with behavioral problems because nerve cells in the frontal lobes have died. Then, as the condition hits other parts of the brain, memory loss occurs. Other symptoms may include loss of inhibition affecting self-control, judgment, and the ability to make decisions, as well as apathy and loss of empathy. Eventually, the symptoms become similar to that of Alzheimer’s and many patients afflicted with FTD end up in nursing homes.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers represent the families of patients who received poor care or were abused and sustained injuries or other health issues or even died as a result. Please contact our Massachusetts nursing home negligence law firm today.

A Few FTD Facts (From the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration):

• Onset often happens when a person is in his/her sixties or fifties, about 13 years before the average Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
• At least 50,000 Americans suffer from FTD
• FTD is frequently misdiagnosed

FTD, like with all other forms of dementia, requires specialized care. You want to make sure that your loved one is at a facility that understands his/her condition and knows the type of medical needs and kinds of attention he/she needs. Unfortunately, dementia patients and those suffering from Alzheimer’s are easy prey for perpetrators of abuse or neglect. Many of them aren’t aware of what’s happening and may be unable to articulate their fears or concerns or report what happened.

Signs of Possible Boston Nursing Home Neglect:

• Regular sedation
• Depression
• Moodswings
• Unexplained injuries
• Emotionally withdrawn
• Fearfulness or paranoia
• Bedsores
• Sudden illnesses

Just this year, Massachusetts regulators finalized the minimum standards for the nursing care that is provided at dementia special care units. Now, workers at these facilities must be properly trained and there has to be a therapeutic activities director at the unit. That said, Boston nursing home abuse can still happen.

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration

Nursing Homes,

More Blog Posts:
Harsh Winters Up the Risks of Massachusetts Slip and Fall Accidents, Fractures, and Not Just For The Elderly, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 18, 2014

Jury Issues $3M Topamax Injury Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson Unit, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, April 2, 2014

Massachusetts Nursing Homes Get Dementia Care Standards, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 14, 2014

April 4, 2014

Experts Warn Many Backyard Decks can Collapse

As the weather finally begins to warm up after an especially brutal winter, families are eager to get outside and enjoy the milder spring on their decks. However, home inspection experts warn that of the two million decks that are built and replaced every year, only about 40% are actually safe. Deck collapses, especially those which are high off the ground, can lead to serious injuries and death.

As with so many tragic injury cases, most deck collapses are completely preventable. Eric Kent, co-owner of Archadeck of Charlotte, a company that specializes in building decks and porches, explains that most deck accidents result from improper attachment to the house or building. Weaker decks are commonly attached using a regular bolt, which can slide easily through wood, causing the deck to collapse. Instead, Kent suggests a “thru bolt” which is a “large, galvanized bolt that literally runs through the exterior wall of a house and into the deck supports.”

In addition to the contractors installing the deck, homeowners have a huge responsibility to inspect their decks frequently. A thorough inspection starts with checking for cracks and splits around the nuts and bolts, and also includes the wood and the railings. Eric Kent warns that springiness and mold are the first signs of rot, severely weakening the strength of the structure and increasing the risk of collapse exponentially. After the long winter, deck boards can feel damp and soft, even breaking apart to the touch. Imagine loading 15 family members and friends onto a structure that could disintegrate in seconds.

Continue reading "Experts Warn Many Backyard Decks can Collapse" »

April 4, 2014

Google Acquisition Nest Labs Halts Sales of Its Smoke Detector

Nest Labs, the home electronics company Google recently acquired for $3.2 billion has stopped selling its smoke and carbon monoxide detectors amid grave concerns regarding its reliability in the event of an emergency. According to the New York Times, the smoke detector, known as “Nest Protect” can be inadvertently disabled when a person waves his or hands in front of the alarm. Perhaps inspired by the classic waving of a dish towel around the detector after cooking something especially smoky, the feature, called “Nest Wave,” was clearly not well-thought-out by the designers. Officials are worried that someone could potentially deactivate the alarm, rendering it useless in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide event.

It is easily to imagine how a child could unknowingly deactivate the alarm if it got close enough, putting the entire family at risk. A smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm is one of the only electronics in the home that goes largely unnoticed until there is an actual emergency. They are the silent lifelines that only announce their presence when a threat is detected. If the alarm was disabled, it is possible no one in the home would even notice until it was much too late.

Nest Chief Executive Tony Fadell posted an open letter to customers on the company’s website explaining that Nest is making every effort to solve the problem. Fadell stated that the company has stopped selling the product until the feature in question has been remedied. He also mentioned that Nest would immediately begin deactivating the “Nest Wave” feature on devices already installed in homes. Fortunately, this is a process that can be done remotely to prevent any incidents with current customers.

Continue reading "Google Acquisition Nest Labs Halts Sales of Its Smoke Detector" »