Boston Injury Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

According to an article in The Boston Globe, alarms attached to wheelchairs and beds of patients at nursing homes may be more harmful than helpful. These pressure-sensitive devices, often installed in beds and wheelchairs are meant to alert staff when someone who is at risk of falling may be about to do just that. The devices were seen as a better alternative to both physical restraints, which became illegal two decades ago, and bedrails, which have since become known as entrapment and asphyxiation hazards.

However, according to a study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012, hospital bed alarms don’t seem to be reducing the number of fall incidents. Also, while the alarm warns of a likely fall, often, by the time help has arrived the patient has already fallen. It doesn’t help that making a patient to sit or lie still so an alarm won’t go off actually restricts mobility and increases the risk of falling.’

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Maylene Maldonado is suing the Chicopee police. She is accusing them of Massachusetts police brutality. Maldonado, who was arrested of assaulting a cop after she resisted arrested in 2013 says she was the victim of excessive police force during her booking.

Recently, surveillance video of her arrest, released by the city of Chicopee, shows one cop placing her in a chokehold and forcing her to the ground. Police claim that Maldonado, who was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, became belligerent.

She is suing Sergeant Daniel Major, who is the police officer in the video physically apprehending her, and several other individuals who currently and previously with the department. She is seeking $1 million.

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A graduate of Boston College is suing the university, claiming that the school violated its own polices and federal anti-discrimination laws because of the way it handled the sex assault allegations against him. It was in 2012 that college officials charged John Doe with the sexual assault of a female student during a student boat cruise.

The school, based on its probe, found the plaintiff responsible for indecent assault and battery and he was suspended for three semesters. The student also was charged with the crime in Suffolk County District Court, but that case was thrown out last year because of video and physical evidence exonerated him.

Now, John Doe’s family wants $3 million in damages, expungement of his record, and a permanent injunction against Boston College, mandating that it must comply with Title IX, which requires gender equity on campus.

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The family of Abbie Harper is suing Walgreens and Abbott Laboratories for wrongful death. The 23-year-old law school student had been using the FreeStyle-brand test strips made by Abbott to monitor her diabetes.

The products liability case contends that the strips, along with a blood glucose meter and Omnibod insulin pump, which were made by defendant Insulet, gave Abbott the wrong glucose readouts, causing her to take less insulin than she needed. Abbott died in November 2013.

Four days after her passing, Abbott recalled the test strips, noting in certain instances that the product had provided the wrong low blood glucose findings. The plaintiffs believe that aside from the product defect, there were also issues of compatibility involving certain devices. Their legal team believes that a manufacturing error caused the test strips to become defective.

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Timothy Turley is suing the Western Massachusetts Regional Police Academy. The 47-year-old West Roxbury resident, who enrolled as a student in 2013, said that not only was he subjected to numerous indignities, but also he was the target of age-related jokes and racially charged edicts by instructors. Some of these teachers are accused of directing anti-gay slurs at students. In addition to the academy, Turley is suing Municipal Police Training Committee director Daniel Zikovich, academy director Curtis McKenzie, the Municipal Police Training Commission, Delilah Yee, and Robert Powers.

In his Massachusetts hazing case, Turley claims that because he complained, he was expelled one month before finishing the program. He appealed the dismissal, but his request was denied. Prior to enrolling in the program, he worked as a law enforcement officer with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department for twenty years.

Among the behaviors Turley was forced to endure: being made to put socks on a colleague’s bare feet, writing the “Use of Force” rule daily on a white board, and punishment for misspelling the word “volatile” in an assignment—he claims that his younger classmates who made common mistakes didn’t endure such treatment.One trainer that Turley identifies in his complaint is Sean Shattuck, a Holyoke cop who was involved in a brawl at a bar while off-duty in 2007. The plaintiff accuses him of simulating a sex act on another student while training was taking place. Shattuck has been removed from the academy as an instructor and is under investigation.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved new mandatory standard to enhance the safety of frame child carriers. The safety standard does not apply to soft carriers and slings, which are subject to different standards.

Between January 2003 and September 4, 2004, the CPSC has received close to 50 incident reports about this child product, including reports of 34 injuries. One incident involved a toddler who sustained a head injury after a frame child carrier fell from a chair.

According to the new standard, a frame child carrier is typically made of fabric placed around a frame that is designed to carry a child weighing anywhere between 16 to 50 pounds. The child typically is too young to sit up without support. The carriers are worn on the backs of caregivers, often when hiking.

Unfortunately, there have been hazards linked to frame child carriers, including small parts, lead paint, sharp points, pinching, shearing, scissoring, flammability issues, exposed coil springs, latching and locking, labeling, unintended folding, structural integrity, leg openings, dynamic stretch, stability, static loads, restraints, and handle integrity. The federal standard addresses all of these hazards. Frame child carriers made or imported on or after 18 months after the standard is published in the Federal Register will be subjected to the new regulation.

In Massachusetts, our Boston child injury lawyers represent the families of children that have gotten hurt because of defective or dangerous infant and kids’ products. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

We also handle Massachusetts products liability cases involving nursery products, playground apparatuses, child car seats, toys, furniture, and other consumer goods that proved hazardous or malfunctioned.

The New Standard
, CPSC.gov

More Blog Posts:
Transportation Secretary Asks Congress to Authorize New Enforcement Tools for NHTSA; Levies Fine on Takata For Faulty Airbag Systems, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2015

First Risperdal Injury Jury Trial Against Johnson & Johnson Results in $2.5M Verdict, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, March 4, 2015

Despite Jeep Fuel Tank Recall, Fatalities and Vehicle Fires Continue
, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2015

Thomas Donovan has filed a Massachusetts police violence lawsuit against three police officers. He claims that they assaulted and falsely arrested him because he videotaped law enforcement officers last year during the Blarney Blowout, which is a large off-campus party that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. At the 2014 event, police officers wore riot gear, shooting some 600 rounds of pepper and sting balls at revelers to keep order when there were disturbances.

According to the Massachusetts personal injury case, Donovan claims that he recorded Amherst cops using what seemed like too much force when making the arrest. Even though he shot the footage at a distance from behind a fence, Donovan contends that an officer in full riot gear and armed with a pepper-ball gun went after him. He said that when he did not stop filming, another police officer shot him with pepper spray at close range. When he still would not stop, a third police officer kicked the phone from Donovan’s hand and threw him down before arresting him. Police then allegedly repeatedly stomped on the phone to break it.

The three defendants are Amherst police Andrew Hulse and Jesus Arocho, and John Does 1 and 2. Hulse and Arocho are the ones who arrested Donovan. The plaintiff believes that the arrest report, filed by Arocho, falsely states that Donovan approached the cops that were making an arrest and disregarded orders to get out of the area. He also disputes that the reason that he was paper sprayed was because he went near the officers.

The criminal charges against Donovan have since been dropped. However, because of his arrest, UMass suspended him for a semester. That punishment wasn’t lifted until its own probe cleared him of wrongdoing.

Donovan wants a jury trial and punitive damages.

Police should refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force always. When failure to do so results in injuries or death, there may be grounds for a Massachusetts police brutality case. Excessive use of or unnecessary force is a violation of one’s civil rights.

Contact our Boston personal injury lawyers today.

UMass student sues Amherst police officers who arrested him for videotaping officers at Blarney Blowout, MassLive, February 5, 2015

UMass student files civil rights lawsuit against Amherst police after Blarney Blowout arrest, FoxNews/AP, February 25, 2015

More Blog Posts:
Massachusetts Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the City of Framingham, Police Officer May Proceed, Says Judge, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 6, 2015

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology May Be Coming Soon According to MIT Review, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 27, 2015

Teen Worker Falls 25 Feet While Shoveling Roof in Westwood, MA, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2015

A 17-year-old has died in an Attleboro, MA swimming accident. Ibrahim Iqbal was doing laps at the Crystal Village Apartments indoor pool on Wednesday when he failed to come up for air after swimming to the bottom.

A cousin who was with him called for help and a resident and a building manager pulled the teenager out of the water. Emergency responders took Iqbal to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner is expected to conduct an autopsy.

Depending on what caused the drowning death, Iqbal’s family may have grounds for pursuing a Massachusetts drowning accident lawsuit. Potential liable parties may include the apartment complex, which could lead to an Attleboro premises liability case or, if there was a defect in the pool, then possibly a products liability lawsuit against a manufacturer.

Massachusetts Drowning Accidents
In Massachusetts swimming fatalities, families may be entitled to wrongful death compensation if there were parties that could and should have prevented the accident from happening. A failure to warn about hazards, inadequate pool supervision, and not making sure emergency equipment is nearby may all be reasons for pursuing a claim.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about ten people a day die from accidental drowning. Drowning is the number five leading cause of unintentional injury fatalities in the United States. If someone is lucky enough to survive a near drowning, they still may be at risk of developing permanent brain damage, long-term disabilities, or permanent loss of basic functioning (i.e. a perpetual vegetative state). Almost 80% of those who die in drowning accidents are males.

Common causes of drowning:
• Don’t know how to swim • Inadequate barriers to prevent people, especially kids, from entering the pool area without supervision • Inadequate supervision • No lifeguards on duty • Alcohol
• Personal health issues

Teen Swimming in Sweatpants Drowns in Attleboro Apartment Complex Pool, Boston.com, February 25, 2015

Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More Blog Posts:
Two Young Girls Rushed to Hospital After Yarmouth Swimming Accident at Cape Cod Hotel, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2014

Teen Worker Falls 25 Feet While Shoveling Roof in Westwood, MA, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2015

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind have teamed up with elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry and consumer safety advocates, to ask Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall, according to a press release issued by NHTSA.

Proposed by the safety watchdog, the GROW AMERICA Act would require rental car agencies to fix all safety defects currently under recall before renting a vehicle. The act would require used car dealers to do the same before selling a vehicle. Under current federal laws, new cars must be fixed before being put up for sale. Despite the efforts made, no similar federal provision exists for rental car agencies or used car dealers.

“Every vehicle under an open safety recall should be repaired as soon as possible,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. “Requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution that would make our roads safer. Safety advocates and the rental car industry have taken a stand for safety, and we need Congress to do so as well.”
Foxx announced this week, a $14,000 per day fine against airbag manufacturer Takata for failing to fully cooperate with the NHTSA’s ongoing investigation into the company’s defective airbags.
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A jury says that Johnson & Johnson must pay the family of an autistic boy $2.5 million for failing to warn that its antipsychotic medication, Risperdal, could cause abnormal breast development in males. The plaintiffs claim that Austin Pledger, then 7, took the drug in 2002 and developed size 46 DD breasts. Gynecomastia is the medical term for this condition.

Risperdal’s generic name is risperidone. While there have been numerous Risperdal lawsuits settled, this is the first one involving gynecomastia that accuses J & J of hiding the risks to go to trial. Among those that gave testimony was former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler, who was a paid expert witness for the family of Pledger. He said that J & J knew about the risks but did not disclose the data that demonstrated to what extent young males could experience abnormal breast growth.

Despite the verdict, J & J’s Janssen unit, which marketed Risperdal, maintains that the drug’s FDA-approved label did in fact properly warn of possibly side effects. They also maintain that Pledger was not hurt by taking the drug but instead his quality of life improved “significantly” while on the medication.

Already, some 1,200 drug defect lawsuits involving Risperdal have been filed in U.S. courts. In 2013, J & J and its subsidiaries agreed to pay over $2.2 billion to resolve civil and criminal liability over allegations involving Risperdal and other drugs. As part of the deal, Janssen pleaded guilty to misbranding Risperdal, promoting it for use by elderly dementia patients even though during most of that time it was approved only for treating schizophrenia.

Gynecomastia can be traumatic for males of any age, especially juveniles, and it may lead to psychological issues. Sometimes, the condition may develop in just one breast or create uneven growth between a pair. Lactation may happen. Liposuction, breast reduction, a mastectomy, or chest reconstruction may be required.

Risperdal has also been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, as well as to Tardive Dyskinesia, Stroke, and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. At least 37 reports of stroke-like events or strokes related to Risperdal have been reported, including 16 fatalities.

You want to speak with a Boston Risperdal lawyer to explore your legal options.

J&J’s Janssen hit with $2.5 mln verdict in Risperdal suit, Reuters, February 24, 2014
Gynecomastia
, Mayo Clinic

More Blog Posts:
Hundreds of Risperdal Lawsuits Blame Drug For Causing Gynecomastia in Males, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, November 19, 2014

Medical Malpractice?: Study Says Nearly 1 in 5 Hysterectomies Are Unnecessary, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2015

Undocumented Worker Entitled to Workers’ Compensation, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2015