Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

April 2006 Archives

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to a landmark research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use, and drowsiness.

Family of Vioxx User Awarded $32M

A Texas jury found Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. liable for the fatal heart attack of a 71 year-old man who had used the painkiller for approximately one month prior to his death. The jury awarded $32 million ($7M as compensatory damages and $25M as punitive damages) to the man's family, after two days of deliberation.

FindLaw nominated for 2006 Webby Award

The Webby Awards, the leading international honor for Web sites, has nominated FindLaw for the Best Web site of 2006 in the category of Law.  As a nominee for a Webby Award, FindLaw is also eligible to win a People's Voice Award, which is given based on votes from the public.  You can vote through May 5th at http://peoplesvoice.webbyawards.com

IRS Urges Taxpayers to E-File Extension Requests

The IRS urges taxpayers who need more time to complete their tax returns to e-file their extensions. E-filing an extension is convenient, safe and secure, and taxpayers receive confirmation to keep with their records. "If you haven't finished your return, don't panic," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Just file an extension, either by e-file or by mail." The agency expects to receive 9.6 million extensions during 2006. Taxpayers can get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file their tax returns by filing Form 4868 [PDF], Automatic Extension of Time to File.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness of child abuse both as a family problem and as a serious crime, and an opportunity to pay special attention to prevention of child abuse in communities nationwide. This year's focus is "Safe Children and Healthy Families are a Shared Responsibility."

More information on child abuse and Child Abuse Prevention Month:

More Taxpayers Choosing E-File and Direct Deposit

The Internal Revenue Service announced that taxpayers are continuing to e-file in greater numbers than ever before. As of March 31, 2006, the IRS had received almost 54 million tax returns through e-file, up from 52 million returns for the same period last year, an increase of more than 3 percent. More people are also choosing to have their tax refunds directly deposited than ever before.

N.J. Jury Splits Verdict in Vioxx Trial

A New Jersey jury found Merck & Co., Inc. liable for a former Vioxx user's heart attack, awarding a 77 year-old plaintiff $4.5 million in damages based on the drug manufacturer's failure to properly warn of the painkiller's safety risk. The jury cleared Merck of liability in connection with a second plaintiff's heart attack, finding that use of Vioxx was not a factor in the 60 year-old's illness.

Justice Department Reports on Identity Theft

An estimated 3.6 million households, or about 3 percent of all households in the nation, learned that they had been the victim of at least one type of identity theft during a six-month period in 2004, according to the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. Households headed by young people (18-24 years old), those in urban or suburban areas and those with incomes of $75,000 or more were the most likely to experience identity theft.