Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

December 2006 Archives

In remembrance of President Gerald R. Ford, who passed away Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at age 93, President Bush has declared Tuesday, January 2, 2007 as a National Day of Mourning. 

All executive departments, independent organizations and other agencies of the Federal government will be closed as a mark of respect for the 38th President of the United States.  More information:

Today edition of The New York Times contains an article that discusses the debate surrounding an Ohio Supreme Court ruling (PDF) that upheld a decision from the state Industrial Commission which denied workers' compensation benefits to an employee of a KFC franchisee who was injured while cleaning a pressure cooker.  The employer claimed that the employee voluntarily abandoned his employment for a number of reasons, including disregarding safety instructions and instructions from co-workers.

CDC Offers Winter Weather Safety Tips

With temperatures dropping as we reach the heart of winter, extreme cold weather conditions can present a number of potential health and safety hazards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer tips on staying safe this winter -- including protecting yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, what to do if the power goes out, and much more. Browse CDC's Winter Weather Tips.

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued three documents on the safety of animal cloning -- a draft risk assessment; a proposed risk management plan; and a draft guidance for industry.  These documents include an assessment that meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.

The FDA is seeking comments on these documents for the next 90 days.  Please view the FDA press release for information on how to submit comments.

President Gerald R. Ford Dies at Age 93

Former President Gerald R. Ford died Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at age 93.  Born on July 14, 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska, Gerald Ford served as the nation's 38th President from 1974-1977 and took office in the aftermath of Watergate.  You can find more information on the life and passing of President Ford at the following:

Update: President Bush has declared Tuesday, January 2, 2007 as a National Day of Mourning in remembrance of President Ford

Violent Crime on the Rise in the U.S.

Earlier this month the FBI released preliminary crime statistics for the first half of 2006 that show violent crimes rose 3.7 percent and property crimes were down 2.6 percent when compared to the first six months of 2005. The figures highlight the findings of a semiannual accounting by the FBI of crime in the U.S.

The report, the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January-June, 2006, compiles the voluntary submissions of 11,535 law enforcement agencies.

You can also browse Crime Prevention resources on FindLaw.

Holiday decorating is often depicted in movies by characters who hang countless strings of lights and suffer falls from ladders or rooftops for comic effect. Unfortunately, these types of incidents are grounded in reality and, unlike in the movies, they are often no laughing matter. In fact, each year it is estimated that about 12,500 people go to hospital emergency rooms for falls, cuts, shocks and burns related to holiday decorating, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics. Read the CPSC Press Release.

IRS: Recent Tax Law Changes May Affect Charitable Donations

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law changes made last summer under the Pension Protection Act. The new law offers older owners of individual retirement accounts a new way to give to charity. It also includes rules designed to provide both taxpayers and the government greater certainty in determining what may be deducted as a charitable contribution. Read the IRS Press Release outlining these changes and offering tips for year-end donations.

E. Coli Investigation Focuses on Lettuce

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that its investigation of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection linked to Taco Bell restaurants in Northeastern states is focused on finding the sources of shredded lettuce served at the stores. The peak of the outbreak occurred in the last week of November. A total of 71 cases in five states -- Delaware (2 cases), New Jersey (33 cases), New York (22 cases), Pennsylvania (13 cases), and South Carolina (1 case) -- have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New Passport Requirements Coming in January

Beginning on January 23, 2007, all people traveling by air from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to have a passport in order to enter the United States. A second phase of passport requirements will apply to land and sea travelers, beginning as early as January 2008.  Learn more in the New Passport Requirements section in FindLaw for the Public.

CDC: 61 E. coli Cases Linked to Taco Bell

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 61 persons have developed E. coli illness associated with the Taco Bell restaurant outbreak, in 5 states: Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. CDC states that other cases of illness are under investigation by state public health officials. While no specific food has been implicated yet, testing of food samples from Taco Bell restaurants is underway.

FDA: Jamba Juice Issues Alert on Strawberry Smoothies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the Jamba Juice Company and the FDA are notifying the public that smoothies containing strawberries which were sold at Jamba Juice stores in Arizona, Southern Nevada and Southern California between November 25 - December 1, 2006, may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Jamba Juice has halted all shipments from the location where the Listeria was found, and removed all strawberries provided by the production facility. To date, no confirmed illnesses have been reported by customers.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drug maker Pfizer Inc. has halted the development of its experimental cholesterol drug torcetrapib, because a number of patients taking the drug in clinical trials experienced an increase in heart problems. The director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research also announced that similar cholesterol drugs (called "CETP inhibitors") currently in development will undergo increased scrutiny.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case on Global Warming

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA (case number 05-1120).  This is the first case the Court has taken up regarding global warming.  The Court should issue a ruling by June, 2007. Learn more: