Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

October 2006 Archives

Government Warns of Winter Warming Hazards

Consumers may experience a warmer than average winter this year according to the latest forecasts. But even if furnaces, space heaters, or fireplaces aren't working as hard, consumers still need to remain vigilant against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and fires in their home. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging consumers to schedule a professional inspection of all fuel-burning heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.

President Bush Signs "Secure Fence Act"

President Bush has signed a federal bill that would authorize the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Described as "an act to establish operational control over the international land and maritime borders of the United States", the Secure Fence Act of 2006 orders the Homeland Security Secretary to "take all actions necessary to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States", within 18 months of enactment.

N.J. Court Decision Makes Gay Marriage a Possibility

A New Jersey Supreme Court decision has opened the door to the possibility of gay marriage in the state. Wednesday's ruling requires New Jersey to offer all rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, and orders the state legislature to decide how to convey those rights -- through marriage, or by another legally-recognized form such as civil unions -- within 180 days.

Frail skeletons and fluorescent Jack O' Lanterns decorate homes, while children disguised as witches, ghosts and goblins begin flocking out onto neighborhood streets in search of treats. As Halloween approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants you to know that like children, Halloween’s hidden dangers also come in disguise.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), an opportunity to focus on domestic violence prevention efforts and resources on both the national and state levels, and a time to raise awareness of the dangers and harms caused by domestic violence. The following links from the federal government and from FindLaw for the Public provide more information on Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the problem of domestic violence.

E. coli Traced to California Cattle Ranch

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state officials in California announced that a recent field test of cattle feces on a Salinas Valley cattle ranch showed a match for the same strain of E. coli that has caused three deaths and sickened 199 people in 25 states. According to the FDA, the investigation into the source of the recent E. coli outbreak “has narrowed to four implicated fields on four ranches”, and “the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 from cattle feces was identified on one of these four ranches.” The four ranches (in Monterey and San Benito counties) are not currently being used to grow fresh produce.

Lettuce Recalled by California Company

On October 8th, the Nunes Company, Inc. (of Salinas, California) initiated a voluntary recall of green leaf lettuce distributed under the Foxy brand, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The recall was initiated due to E.coli contamination of irrigation water in the lettuce fields. There have been no human illnesses linked to this lettuce recall. On October 10, Nunes Company President Tom Nunes announced that testing of the water by an independent lab came back negative for the most harmful strain of E. coli. FDA testing of the irrigation water is still underway.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In 1988, the U.S. Congress designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), in an effort to increase public awareness of the skills and contributions of American employees with disabilities. Click on the links below for more information on NDEAM, and the rights of employees with disabilities.

FBI and FDA Raid California Spinach Producers

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carried out search warrants at two California produce companies, as part of an ongoing effort to determine the source of a recent E. coli outbreak linked to fresh spinach. The federal agencies are investigating possible violations of food safety laws at the two companies: Growers Express (in Salinas) and Natural Selection Foods (in San Juan Bautista).

Housing Value Data Released by Census Bureau

Across the country, median home values soared 32 percent from 2000 to 2005, according to new 2005 American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Among the nation's largest cities, some of the highest percent increases in real median home values between 2000 and 2005 were found in San Diego (127.2 percent), Los Angeles (110.2) and New York (79.1). The Census Bureau report also shows the median cost of renting a home increased nationally by 6.7 percent from 2000 to 2005.

U.S. Supreme Court Term Begins

The U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term every year on the first Monday of October.  For 2006 this is Monday, October 2nd.  You can learn more about the U.S. Supreme Court and some of the cases it will review this term in FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court spotlight.