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October 29, 2014

MIT Survey Reveals Prevalence of Sexual Assault on Campuses

MIT has attempted to put a precise estimate on the prevalence of sexual violence on its campus in a comprehensive survey taken anonymously by its students.

According to results, which were published on Monday, about one in six female undergraduates at MIT who responded reported being sexually assaulted at least one time while enrolled at the university. 5 percent of those respondents said they reported the crime, according to results released Monday by the school. The Boston Globe reported that 3,800 students responded to the survey out of 10,800 who were invited to participate.

According to The Boston Globe, “MIT became the highest-profile college to put such a specific estimate on the prevalence of sexual violence on campus, amid heightened national attention on the issue. Many schools have been hesitant to conduct such surveys, but advocates have urged colleges to do so because victims are more likely to reveal that they were assaulted if they can remain anonymous. Undergraduates, in particular, are viewed as most at risk.”

MIT university president L. Rafael Reif said in a mass email sent to students and faculty of the school, that he was “disturbed by the extent and nature of the problem’’ reflected in the survey results.

“Sexual assault violates our core MIT values,” Reif wrote. “I am confident that, with this shared understanding and armed with this new data, the MIT community will find a path to significant positive change.”

Continue reading "MIT Survey Reveals Prevalence of Sexual Assault on Campuses" »

October 28, 2014

National Transportation Safety Board Announces Likely Cause of NY Train Derailment

Nearly 11 months since a Metro-North train derailed in New York City, killing four people and injuring dozens more passengers, federal investigators believe they have reached a conclusion as to what caused the horrific wreck.

According to WCVB reports, the National Transportation Safety Board said it is prepared to announce today the probable causes of the December 1, 2013 train derailment and address four other Metro-North accidents in both New York and Connecticut, which all occurred within 11 months in 2013 and 2014.

The NTSB said it has poured over hundreds of documented findings from the investigations. It is only now that the board has reached probable conclusions as to why the crash occurred. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stated that he has seen the report, which, according to Blumenthal, “document[s] the cascading catastrophes over a single year illustrating the urgent need for dramatic upgrades and improvements in safety and reliability."

Though no confirmation has yet been made, early reports in April suggested that the engineer of the derailed train, William Rockefeller, suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea, which ultimately interrupted his sleep dozens of times each night. Likely, Rockefeller was overly drowsy at the time the accident occurred, according to these preliminary reports. Investigators questioned Rockefeller on whether he was clearheaded enough to realize he was hitting the curve at such a high rate of speed, to which Rockefeller replied, “apparently not.”

According to WCVB, other accidents within the 11-month span include a derailment and collision in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that injured more than 50 people on May 17, 2013; the death of a track foreman who was hit by a train in West Haven, Connecticut, on May 28, 2013; the derailment of a freight train on Metro-North tracks in the Bronx on July 18, 2013; and the death of a Metro-North electrician who was hit by a train in Manhattan on March 10, 2014.

Continue reading "National Transportation Safety Board Announces Likely Cause of NY Train Derailment" »

October 27, 2014

GranuFlo Plaintiffs Want Massachusetts Law Applied to Their Dialysis Lawsuits

127 plaintiffs want the courts to apply Massachusetts law, not Mississippi law, to their GranuFlo injury claims against Fresenius Medical Care North America. Even though the dialysis patients are from Massachusetts state, they filed their complaints in Massachusetts.

The manufacturer is seeking to have the claims dismissed, noting that they exceed the three-year statue of limitations in Mississippi. The plaintiffs contend that there is a discovery exception to the statute that mandates a case-by-case assessment.

The dialysis patients claim that using Fresenius' GranuFlo Dry Acid Concentrate and NaturaLyte during dialysis can lead to cardiopulmonary arrest and even death. The two products are dialysate components that are designed to maintain the correct base-acid balance in the blood during hemodialysis. Unfortunately, say the plaintiffs, the powders can also cause unsafe modifications in the blood.

Granuflo and Naturalyte have been associated with heart attacks, metabolic alkalosis, which can lead to electrolyte imbalance, arrhythmia, and even coma. According to statistics, there are over 2,100 Granuflo and NaturaLyte cases pending in multidistrict litigation. In their dangerous drug cases, Plaintiffs are accusing Fresenium of not warning doctors and patients about the risks involved with the two powders. Other allegations include intentional withholding of the risks involved, and failure to warn of the increased risk to “acute” dialysis patients.

Considering that many dialysis patients, these are often people that are suffering from renal failure or diminished kidney function, typically need to undergo hemodialysis a few times week, to have Naturalyte or GranuFlo circulating through their system during this process can prove risky.

At Altman & Altman, LLP our Boston Granuflo injury lawyers would be happy to offer you a free case consultation to find out whether you have grounds for a Massachusetts drug defect case.

MDL2428: In Re: Fresenius Granuflo/Naturalyte Dialysate Products Liability Litigation


More Blog Posts:
The Number of Massachusetts GranuFlo Lawsuits Keeps Growing, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, July 19, 2014

GranuFlo Lawsuits Seek to Give Patients and Families Compensation for Dangerous Drug Injuries, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2013

Boston Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Over Meningitis Outbreak Linked to Massachusetts Compound Pharmacy Proceeds, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2013

October 22, 2014

Two Young Women Sue Website in Boston for Sex Trafficking

Two young women are suing Backpage.com after they became the victims of sex trafficking. Their Massachusetts lawsuit, filed in Boston is accusing the company of setting up a business model that enabled child sex trafficking in the U.S. The plaintiffs’ lawyers describe Backpage.com as a website that carries advertisements for illegal commercial sex.

One of the plaintiffs says that sold for over 1,000 times in 18 months when she was 15 and 16 in ’12 and ’13. The other girl says she was trafficked as a teen between ’12 and ’13. The two girls were purportedly trafficked in separate “stables” of girls who were moved to different cities, including Boston, other Massachusetts cities, and Rhode Island.

The plaintiffs claim that Backpage.com and parent company Camarillo Holdings LLC violated the Massachusetts Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2010 and the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008. They also are accusing the defendants of succeeding in purposely becoming a lead player in the online sex trade and making misrepresentations to non-profits and law enforcement to make it appear as if the website was trying to get rid of the child sex traffic ads when that wasn’t the case.

The Boston injury lawsuit is not the only litigation seeking damages from Backpage.com for child sex trafficking. The Washington Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case filed by three plaintiffs. The three young women’s’ lawyers said the victims were sold as prostitutes in ads on the web site. The plaintiffs claim they were raped on numerous occasions after pimps forced them to sell themselves for sex.

Backpage.com is arguing that both lawsuits are attempts at censorship. It claims that the Communications Decency Act grants it immunity. An attorney for the company noted that it was not Backpage.com that created the sex crime ads.

If you or someone you love was injured in a sex crime you should speak with an experienced Boston injury lawyer right away. Sex trafficking is illegal and a crime. Often, young minors are forced into prostituting themselves.

There may be more than one party that should be held liable for your injuries. In addition to the person that directly caused you harm, there may be individual or entities that allowed you to get hurt rather than protecting you by preventing or stopping the incident.

Alleged child sex trafficking victims suing Backpage.com, Boston.com, October 17, 2014

Backpage.com ask high court to throw out lawsuit, The Washington Post, October 21, 2014

CPSC Votes to Make Mandatory Standards for Window Covering Cords, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2014

MA Electrical Company Cited By U.S. Department of Labor After Deaths of 2 Workers, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 28, 2014

Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2014

October 21, 2014

Massachusetts Suspends ET-Plus Guardrail Use Because of Traffic Injury Risks

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has decided to stop the use of a guardrail-end terminal over concerns that there may be safety issues. The rail-end guardrail pieces, known as the ET-Plus, are made by Trinity Industries of Texas. The manufacturer has already have been the subject of products liability lawsuits by motorists claiming they lost their legs in traffic crashes.

This week, a federal jury ruled that Trinity should pay $175 million in a whistleblower lawsuit that exposed the hazards involved with using the guardrail end caps. It was guardrail installer Josh Harman who accused Trinity of making the ET-Plus unsafe when the company redesigned it.

He sued Trinity under the False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions. As the whistleblower, Harman is entitled to a percentage of what is recovered. Because of statutory mandate, the $175 million figure is expected to triple.

ABC News recently reported that according to highway safety experts, highways in nearly every state have been outfitted with the redesigned Trinity guardrail. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of these guardrail parts on U.S. roads.

Trinity redesigned its guardrail in 2005 without notifying the Federal Highway Administration. One of those modifications involved shrinking an integral metal piece by one inch, from five inches to four. A company engineer noted in an internal email that the change would save Trinity approximately $2 dollars a piece. However, according to The Boston Globe, before approving the guardrail for continued use in 2012, a senior Trinity engineer expressed concerns about its safety.

Highway guardrails are supposed to push the steel guard railing away from an incoming car, while slowing the vehicle to a stop. Yet, one cannot deny the serious injuries that have resulted when vehicles have collided with the redesigned Trinity guardrails.

At least five deaths and even more injuries in at least 14 motor vehicle crashes are being blamed on these Trinity guardrails. Rather than cushioning impact, the Trinity-made guardrail end caps reportedly are spearing the vehicle and its occupants.

Trinity, however, told ABC News that it didn’t think an announcement of the change when it redesigned the product was necessary because the modifications did not impact the system’s performance or its maintenance or installation. Yet certain related documents that should have been turned over to the government agency were “inadvertently omitted.” The company maintains that the redesigned guardrail parts meet federal standards and have passed two crash tests.

Other states, including Nevada and Missouri, also recently banned the Trinity guardrails. Although the Federal Highway Administration had accepted Trinity’s claim that the guardrails satisfy safety criteria, letting states use federal money to buy and install the guardrail heads, officials are now demanding that Trinity conduct new crash tests in the wake of the whistleblower verdict.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston injury law firm if you suspect that your injuries are a result of crashing into a highway guardrail.


Feds Demand New Crash Tests for Controversial Guardrail After $175M Verdict
, ABC News, October 21, 2014

Trinity Industries Whistleblower Awarded $175 Million in Guardrail Suit, The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2014

States question guardrail safety, The Boston Globe, October 12, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Nursing Home Chain Settles Medicare Fraud, Whistleblower Claims for $38M, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2014

Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2014

MA Electrical Company Cited By U.S. Department of Labor After Deaths of 2 Workers, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 28, 2014

October 18, 2014

$15.6M Auto Defects Case Against Toyota Dealership is Upheld

A three-judge panel has upheld a jury’s verdict awarding $15.6 million to a driver and passengers of a Toyota minivan. They sustained injuries when the auto malfunctioned and went into a ravine.

The defendant of this auto defects case is Center City Toyota in Pennsylvania, which had serviced the auto. Early on during the civil trial, it tried to settle with the plaintiffs for $1.7 million.

The plaintiffs also had sued Toyota Motor Corp., several Toyota affiliates, and PhillyCarShare, which had rented the vehicle to the plaintiffs, for auto products liability. These defendants were later dismissed from the lawsuit.

Per the complaint, Dr. Noreen Lewis was the driver of the rented minivan. Five of her relatives were passengers. The plaintiffs claim that the brakes failed and the steering wheel locked, causing the vehicle to go off the road and roll down a ravine.

They believe that a ball joint separation caused the van’s steering wheel to lock. They accused CCT of not properly inspecting the auto.

Meantime, the defendant argued that the ball joint was not defective and the car rental company should have told Lewis she should stop driving the minivan once the check engine indicator went off. CCT accused Lewis of speeding.

Lewis sustained bone fractures, a concussion, facial lacerations, heart and lung contusions, muscle rips, and injuries to her vertebrae and disc. Her mother broke her wrist and punctured a lung. Other passengers sustained neck and back pain, as well as broken bones.

Lewis was awarded $11.4 million for her injuries. The rest of the award is for the other passengers.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a traffic crash that you believe was caused by vehicle defects or an auto malfunction, you may have reason to pursue a Boston auto products liability lawsuit from the automaker, the dealer, a car repair company, or an auto rental company that should have repaired the safety problem or ensured that the defect never existed.

In Massachusetts, please contact Altman & Altman, LLP to speak with an experienced Boston car defects attorney.

Just this week, Toyota recalled 1.6 million cars in certain countries. About 759,000 autos made between 2005 and September 2010 were recalled over problems with the autos' fuel delivery pipes. If the fuel were to leak through these pipes, this could create a fire hazard. The other defects involve brake problems.

In the wake of so many recalls this year, automakers have been under closer scrutiny. Already, in 2014, Toyota has issued at least 18 recalls affecting over 5.2 million cars in the U.S. alone.

Going after an automaker can feel daunting, which is why you shouldn’t do this without an experience law firm by your side. There will be many pivotal choices to make that could affect the outcome of your case. You want to make sure you have someone who understands the complexities involved and can help you decide whether to settle or go to court.

$15.6 Mil Verdict Against Toyota Dealerships Upheld, The Legal Intelligencer, October 8, 2014

Toyota Recalls 1.67 Million Vehicles
, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2014


More Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Chain Settles Medicare Fraud, Whistleblower Claims for $38M, October 14, 2014

Paxil Birth Defect Lawsuit Is Sent Back to State Court
, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers, October 13, 2014

Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2014

October 14, 2014

Nursing Home Chain Settles Medicare Fraud, Whistleblower Claims for $38M

Extendicare Health Services Inc., a nursing and rehabilitation facilitation chain, has agreed to pay $38 million to settle Medicaid and Medicare fraud claims that were originally brought in a whistleblower lawsuit. The chain is accused of billing for substandard care and submitting claim for therapy services that were medically unnecessary. Extendicare is one of the largest nursing home chains in the United States.

The primary whistleblower in this Medicaid fraud case is Tracy Lovvorn, a physical therapist who was retained as a rehabilitation director by an Extendicare subsidiary. Lovvorn is entitled to $1.8 million of the government’s settlement. Another relator, Donald Gallic, also filed a qui tam case against the nursing and rehab chain. He is entitled to a nearly $260,000 award.

The allegations against Extendicare include the failure to adequately staff its 146 facilities in 11 states, inadequate catheter care, failure to follow protocols for pressure ulcers and falls, and improper administration of medications. According to officials, the nursing and rehab care was so unsatisfactory at certain Extendicare facilities that staff failed to prevent head injuries, fall accidents, and bedsores. Certain patients developed infections or became dehydrated or malnourished. Some individuals needed hospital care because of the negligent nursing care provided to them. These residents and their families could be entitled to nursing home neglect compensation.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston whistleblower lawyers or Medicare fraud attorneys if you suspect that a fraud has been committed against the federal or state government. Altman & Altman LLP can help you explore your legal options for filing a whistleblower claim or another type of civil lawsuit.

Becoming a whistleblower is a huge responsibility and there could be consequences because of your decision to step forward and report the wrongdoing. Our Massachusetts whistleblower lawyers are here to protect our clients's rights and make sure they get the award they are entitled to for filing a Qui Tam case.

Chain to Pay $38 Million Over Claims of Poor Care, NY Times, October 10, 2014

Extendicare Health Services Inc. Agrees to Pay $38 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to the Provision of Substandard Nursing Care and Medically Unnecessary Rehabilitation Therapy, US Department of Justice, October 10, 2014


More Blog Posts:

SEC Pays Over $30M Whistleblower Award in Securities Fraud Case to Informant Living Abroad, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2014

Xarelto Injury Lawsuits Sue Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2014

MA Electrical Company Cited By U.S. Department of Labor After Deaths of 2 Workers
, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog

October 11, 2014

CPSC Votes to Make Mandatory Standards for Window Covering Cords

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to start a rulemaking process that would protect kids from the strangulation hazard that comes with window coverings with exposed or dangling cords. October is Window Covering Safety Month.

A child’s neck can get caught and tangled up cord, resulting in strangulation or suffocation. Some children that are lucky enough to survive such an incident are left with permanent brain injuries.

According to the CPSC, between ’96 and ’12 approximately 184 young children and babies died from window cord strangulation. There were over 100 non-fatal strangulation accidents involving the cords of window shades and blinds during that time period, with 1,590 kids needing medical care because of incidents involving these products.

The Consumer Federation of America reports that earlier this year, four kids died from window cord strangulation incidents over a twenty-two day period. There have been at least three other window cord-related deaths and one serious injury so far in 2014.

In Massachusetts, our Boston products liability lawyers represent clients who have sustained injuries because of dangerous or defective products. Please contact Altman & Altman LLP to request your free case consultation with an experienced window cord injury attorney.

Now, the CPSC is looking to create mandatory window covering safety standards, especially as voluntary standards have not been enough to get manufacturers to only make window coverings that have the least risk of strangulation, suffocation, and death. For example, there are cordless blinds in the marketplace, yet companies persist in making window coverings with dangling or exposed cords. The CPSC’s vote comes a year after safety and consumer groups submitted a petition asking the agency to tackle the strangulation risks of window blind cords.

Meantime, those that oppose the implementation of stricter regulations say that a ban on window blinds with accessible cords could cost thousands of jobs. They also believe that the higher cost of cordless window blinds could up the chance of injury because consumers might stick to their older products longer. The CPSC’s own data indicates that over 80% of strangulation incidents involved older window blinds that did not meet even today’s standards.

Also according to CPSC data, vertical and horizontal blinds are involved in about 70% of window covering cord accidents. Pull cords are a factor in 41% of incidents, while looped cords play a part in 28% of window cord accidents. Over the years, the CPSC has announced major recalls when window blinds and their cords have caused serious injury or death.

Steps that parents can take to lower the risks of window cord injuries:

• Use cordless window coverings
• Make sure any window covering cords are out of the kids’ reach
• Keep all furniture, especially beds, cribs, and sofas, away from any window cords
• Adjust pull cords so that they are as short as possible
• Anchor the continuous-loop pull cords found on drapes and make sure the cords are pulled tight

CPSC Votes to Develop Mandatory Safety Standards for Window Coverings to Protect Children, ConsumerFed.org, October 8, 2014

October is Window Covering Safety Month: CPSC Urges Parents to Inspect Homes for Hidden and Deadly Window Cord Hazards, CPSC, October 9, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Over 1,800 Massachusetts State Police Car Crashes in the Last Five Years, Reports The Boston Globe, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2014

Xarelto Injury Lawsuits Sue Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2014

MA Electrical Company Cited By U.S. Department of Labor After Deaths of 2 Workers
, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 28, 2014

October 7, 2014

Over 1,800 Massachusetts State Police Car Crashes in the Last Five Years, Reports The Boston Globe

According to The Boston Globe, in the last five years, there have been over 1,800 Massachusetts car crashes involving State Police vehicles—that’s nearly one collision a day. Law enforcement authorities say that hundreds of these accidents occurred because troopers were speeding, disregarding traffic signs, or breaking other safety rules.

Records indicate that approximately 100 people annually are hurt in Massachusetts State Police car crashes. In 2013 alone, there were over 400 collisions, including 306 Boston auto collisions.

Also, in the last ten years the department has paid over $3 million in collision settlements. The amount could have been more if there wasn’t a $100,000 statutory limit on negligence claims brought against government agencies in the state. At least four of the Massachusetts police traffic crashes involved fatalities.

While law enforcement officials attribute some of the accidents to the many miles officers drive when patrolling, police appear to be involved in about double as many collisions per mile as other motorists.

Common causes of police car crashes:
• High speed pursuits
• Driving in poor weather conditions
• Distracted driving, including laptops, other technology devices, and listening to radio chatter
• Speeding, even if unrelated to their work

Unfortunately, there are police officers that think the laws don’t apply to them, which can lead to serious injuries and deaths. Even while in the pursuit of justice, Massachusetts and local troopers have a duty to drive safely so that no one—including a suspect or an innocent bystander—is hurt.

Police car crashes are a problem in other states as well. Just recently, in Southern California, five people were sent to the hospital following a traffic crash between a San Diego police car, another vehicle, and eight bicyclists. At the time, the police officer was heading to a domestic violence call. The couple in the vehicle said they had the green light.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a Boston car accident involving a state police car or some other vehicle and you believe the other driver may have been at fault, you should speak with a Boston injury lawyer immediately.

Troopers, public at risk from State Police cruiser crashes, The Boston Globe, October 5, 2014

Request a Police Crash Report, Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

Police Car Crashes into Group of Tourists, NBC San Diego, September 29, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Families of Two Victims Involving GM Ignition Defect Accept Compensation Fund's Wrongful Death Settlement Offers, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 6, 2014

Xarelto Injury Lawsuits Sue Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyer Blog, September 15, 2014

Cape Cod MA Crane Accident Deaths Were Preventable, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 26, 2014

October 6, 2014

Families of Two Victims Involving GM Ignition Defect Accept Compensation Fund's Wrongful Death Settlement Offers

The families of Amy Rademaker, 15, and Natasha Weigel, 18, have agreed to take the wrongful death settlement offers made to them by General Motors from its victim compensation fund. Weigel and Rademaker were killed following a 2006 car crash involving a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt that appears to have been caused by an ignition defect. The air bags did not deploy. Megan Ungars-Kerns, who was 17 at the time and the one driving the vehicle, sustained serious brain damage.

GM established its victim compensation fund for the injury victims and the families of people killed in motor vehicle crashes caused by its faulty ignition switches. Some 2.6 million autos have been recalled because of the safety issue.

How much GM will decide to offer to each party will depend on the victim’s age, earning potential, family duties, and medical costs. According to The Washington Post, one 10-year-old who became a paraplegic in a GM car crash involving ignition problems was offered $7.8 million.

The automaker has admitted that its officials knew about the ignition switch problems for over 10 years before the company started making recalls in early 2014. The defect can cause a vehicle to shut off, hinder air bag deployment, and negatively impact the brakes and steering.

According to the latest figures, at least 24 people have died in ignition defect-related collisions involving a GM vehicle. To date, the victim compensation fund has received applications from 165 families seeking payment. Ken Feinberg, the GM victim fund chief, said that he has gotten applications from 79 people claiming serious injuries and 886 others claiming minor injuries.

Meantime, GM continues to recall autos over other safety problems. This weekend, it recalled another 57,182 autos, including 46,873 Pontiac G8s (’08 and ’09 models) and Chevrolet Caprices used as police cars between 2011 and 2013. If an ignition key is struck by accident it could shift from the “run” position. This could shut off the air bags and engine.

The car manufacturer also recalled 10,005 Cadillac CTS-Vs and STS-V’s from different model years due to possible fuel pump module overheating, as well as 304 Chevrolet Sonics because of a loose electrical connection that could affect the steering column. In total, GM has already issued over 70 recalls affecting nearly 30 million autos this year. Other recent GM recalls include 430,550 Cadillac SRX and Saab 9-4X SUVs, due to worn threads and loose joints involving the rear toe link assembly, and 93,834 Chevrolet Spark cars because of the risk of the hood opening on a moving vehicle.

Our Boston, MA auto products liability lawyers represent victims and their families with claims against the world’s largest automakers. You do not want to settle without speaking to an experienced GM ignition switch attorney about your case. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

GM recalls now total almost 30 million cars in North America, Fox Sports, October 6, 2014

GM's Latest Recall Covers Over 57,000 Cars, The Daily Finance, October 6, 2014

Attorney: Two clients agree to GM fund offer, The Detroit News, September 25, 2014

GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility


More Blog Posts:
General Motors Recalls Another 800,000 Cars, Cites More Deaths Related to Faulty Ignition Switches, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 24, 2014

Judge Rejects GM’s Bid to Stop Faulty Ignition Switch Lawsuit That Spurred Recalls, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 26, 2014

Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2014

September 30, 2014

Elder Advocates Worry About Massachusetts Assisted Living Residents

According to elder advocates, the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs, which oversees some 224 facilities, is not properly equipped to protect Massachusetts assisted living residents, who are too often at risk of getting hurt. The Boston Globe reports that assisted living residences in the state are not as tightly regulated as nursing homes. However, many elderly persons—about 13,700 people—are choosing this housing alternative because it is less expensive than the cost of living in a nursing home.

Typically assisted living residents are elderly adults who need help cooking, bathing, or with other daily tasks but can otherwise live independently. Yet because of not enough supervision and inadequate staffing, this type of living situation ultimately could prove more hurtful than helpful.

The Globe says that about 100 incidents in assisted living facilities, including those involving elder abuse and deadly falls, are reported to the Elder Affairs office every week. Some recent incidents include a Stoughton fall accident involving a dementia patient who wandered into a room and fell out of a window on the second floor, a Framingham elder abuse case involving two staffers that allegedly assaulted two Alzheimer patients and filmed a third resident that wasn’t full clothed, and a Revere trip and fall accident involving a man who fell in the bathroom and bled to death before help finally arrived.

While the state doesn’t mandate minimum staffing levels in Massachusetts assisted living facilities, new employees must undergo at least seven hours of orientation and 10 hours of training every year—this also applies to the assisted living residencies with special care units for dementia patients. The state has not revised its assisted living rules in nearly a decade. There has also been a decline in the percentage of residents that are moved to Massachusetts nursing homes even though the need this more concentrated type of care.

It is unfortunate that Boston elder care abuse continues to be a problem in both Massachusetts nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, many of these residents may be too frail or impaired or sick to report the incidents when they happen. Depending on their health issues they also might be more prone to injury or illness caused by abuse and negligence.

Types of Massachusetts elder abuse:

• Physical abuse, including inappropriate disciplinary measures to get elderly residents to “behave”
• Verbal abuse, including intimidation, threats, yelling, ridicule, bullying, harassment, or ridicule
• Psychological abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Sexual abuse and assault
• Elder neglect
• Negligent care
• Financial exploitation

You want to speak with a Boston elder abuse lawyer to explore your legal options. Assisted living facility residents and nursing home patients may have grounds for a Massachusetts nursing negligence case against the facility and those directly responsible for the abuse or neglect.

If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect you should remove him/her from the facility right away and notify the authorities. Your first case consultation with Altman & Altman LLP, our Boston nursing home abuse law firm, is free.

Elder advocates raise concerns on assisted living, The Boston Globe, September 21, 2014

Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Mass.gov

September 30, 2014

$1.25 Million Verdict Awarded to Man Who Cut Off Fingers with Unsafe Table Saw

An Illinois woodworker was awarded a $1.25 million jury verdict after he was severely injured while using a defective Ryobi table saw.

Brandon Stollings, 30, lost his index finger and parts of his two other fingers when his Ryobi saw unexpectedly experienced a kickback—which occurs when a piece of wood pinches a table saw blade and forces it back toward the operator. The incident occurred in 2007 while Stollings was doing work for his mother and stepfather at their home while using the Ryobi Model BTS20R table saw. According to court documents, Stollings was injured as he fed laminate flooring through the saw, and the wood kicked back, pulling Stolling’s hand directly into the blade. Stolling’s injury and case is just one of hundreds of cases involving defective table saws throughout the country.

Stollings trial apparently lasted two weeks, whereby the table saw’s design was called into question. Former Ryobi chief engineer David Peot said that the simple addition of a piece of curved metal, called a riving knife, could eliminate all kickbacks. Yet, despite this fix Ryobi and most other table saw manufacturers did not equip their saws with riving knives until 2010. According to the National Trial Lawyers, most saws included a fixed splitter and an unwieldy and seldom-used blade guard that restricted visibility of the blade. It had to be removed for many types of cuts and was difficult and time-consuming to remove and reinstall.

Continue reading "$1.25 Million Verdict Awarded to Man Who Cut Off Fingers with Unsafe Table Saw" »