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December 2009 Archives

FDA Addresses CT Radiation Overdose Concerns

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently investigated the possibility of CT Radiation overdose and discovered that radiation overdose is more common than it expected to find. As a result of these findings, the FDA has released a press release with instructions on how to prevent CT radiation overdose.

The press release  by the FDA reveals that there have been 206 patients that have had radiation overdose in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles over an 18-month period. The FDA has found an additional 50 patients who have been exposed to excess radiation. The press release by the FDA also chronicled how the radiation overdose sometimes exceeded eight times more than the expected level and involved more than one manufacturer of equipment for CT radiation.

As a result of these instances of radiation overdose, patients can suffer from increased risks of cancer and cataracts. Officials recommend that precautions be taken. NPR quotes Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, acting director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health as saying, "While we do not know yet the full scope of the concern, facilities should take reasonable steps to double-check their approach."

Lawsuit Over CT Brain Scan and Radiation Overdose

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the manufacturer of CT brain scan equipment G.E. Healthcare; because of radiation overdose during routine CT perfusion scans. This lawsuit comes right at the heels of an FDA press release that reveals that 206 patients in Los Angeles were exposed to a radiation overdose up to eight times more than expected.

The Huntsville Times in Alabama reports that the class action lawsuit was filed in Alabama because some of the patients exposed to the radiation overdose were treated in Huntsville Hospital. Patients treated there have complained of loss of balance, memory loss, and hair loss.

The FDA press release warns that radiation overdose from CT perfusion scans can result in an increased risk of certain cancers as well as cataracts. There was no mention of memory loss, hair loss or loss of balance. The class action lawsuit's attorney has told the Huntsville Times that he is working in conjunction with a law firm that is representing patients from Los Angeles that were exposed to excess radiation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles over an 18-month period.

Accidents: Traffic LED Light Can't Melt Snow

It's not easy being green! Even if that green initiative deals with a green light.

With all of the snow that has hit so many parts of the country, another worry has cropped up in the form of traffic LED light hazards. Detroit News reports that there are concerns that traffic LED lights could be dangerous in snowy conditions because they are too cool to melt all of the snow and ice that gets piled on to the front of the lenses of the traffic signals.  

What is a traffic LED Light?

LED stands for light emitting diodes. They are smaller lights that are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent traffic lights. Each LED light is about the size of a pencil eraser so each traffic signal contains hundreds of them. They are brighter than traditional traffic lights, last for years, and save a lot of energy.

Toyota Accused of Playing Down Toyota Defects in Safety

It seems that Toyota has a lot more motor safety issues to worry about besides the current recalls. We wrote previously about the recent recalls over sudden acceleration. The Los Angeles Times reports that the carmaker has a history of tamping down its motor safety issues. Toyota defects such as sudden acceleration have been played down by the company as human errors. Toyota recalls have been delayed until fatalities build up to a point that Toyota can not ignore.

Here are some of the key points that the Los Angeles Times made about Toyota's handling over Toyota defects in motor safety:

Holiday Driving: Prevent A Holiday DUI

A lot of government agencies across the country are trying to prevent holiday driving from escalating into a holiday DUI. According to Occupational Health and Safety, while DUI deaths have dropped since 2007, it still reaches to about 32% of 37,261 overall traffic fatalities that year, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Highway Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the year of 2008.

As a result of holiday parties, drinking, and other festivities, we put together a primer of DUI tips so that way your holiday driving is safe and DUI free.

Sandy Murphy Accuses Nevada of Malicious Prosecution

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Sandra Murphy, who was made infamous for being accused of murdering casino mogul Ted Binion (Ms. Murphy's ex-lover), has filed a lawsuit accusing Nevada of malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.

Ms. Murphy and her lover Rick Tabish were convicted of the murder of Mr. Binion back in 2000. However, their convictions were overturned and a new trial was ordered in 2003. The new trial ended with an acquittal for the murder charges of Mr. Binion, but both Ms. Murphy and Mr. Tabish was found guilty of burglary for taking silver from Mr. Binion's vault.

Her current lawsuit against Nevada claims that her attorney at the time failed to call a Nye County sheriff's deputy to testify. She claims that his testimony would have altered the outcome of her trial.

NY EMT Workers Allegedly Ignore Dying Pregnant Woman

NBC News NY reports that two NY EMT workers for the fire department have been suspended for failure to act during an emergency that resulted in a pregnant woman dying.

The two NY EMT workers, Jason Green, 32, of Long Island City and Melissa Jackson, 32, of Queens Village have been suspended because of their failure to act to save the life of Eutisha Rennix when she collapsed on the floor of an Au Bon Pain restaurant at the Metrotech Center in Brooklyn, where she worked as a cashier. She had collapsed on the floor of the bathroom in the back.

Green and Jackson were in the restaurant on break. Several employees and customers asked the two NY EMT workers for help, but the two workers allegedly just told them to call 911 and left the store without helping the pregnant woman.

The NY Post reports that Mayor Bloomberg was furious during his press conference regarding the incident. He was quoted by the NY Post as saying: "The Fire Department, including EMS, is responsible for life-saving, and their first responsibility is to do that. But even if they weren't part of the Fire Department sworn to protect all of us, just normal human beings, drop your coffee and go help somebody if they're dying. C'mon."

It seems from reports that while the NY EMT workers were on break, they were still in uniform. Whether or not they were in uniform should not matter. A union spokesperson told AP that NY EMT workers consider their job as a 24 hour kind of job: "Our people tend to spring into action whether they're on duty, off duty, whatever they're doing," said Robert Ungar, spokesman for the Uniformed EMTS and Paramedics, FDNY. The city's EMTs have a "very strong bond with the people of New York City that they serve," he said. "They view themselves as always being on duty."

While this incident is tragic, it is not the first time that trained medical personnel have been guilty of failure to act. According to NBC News NY, Ms. Esmin Green collapsed on the floor of Kings County Hospital's Psychiatric Emergency Room back in June 2008. Video footage showed how doctors, nurses, and security guards ignored her for hours.

Hockey Concussion Injuries Linked to Brain Damage

The New York Times reports that hockey player Reggie Fleming is the first hockey player to illustrate the brain damage that can occur when there is repeated trauma to the head. Mr. Fleming was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy which is also known as C.T.E.

This is the first time that hockey has been linked to brain damage. The National Hockey League has recently tried to figure out ways to decrease instances of hockey concussions.

According to AP, hockey players who suffer from concussions downplay their injuries in order to prevent from being sidelined. Former NHL defenseman Jamie Heward told AP: "When I got hit the first reaction was 'I'm not going to get paid. If I don't get back on the ice, I'm not going to get paid. Somebody's going to take my job and I need to get back on the ice.' So at times, hockey players, we're our worst enemy."

Hitting the Slopes? Ski Lift Accident In WI Hurts 12

A ski lift accident in Merrimac, Wisconsin injured a dozen skiers when a ski lift started to run backwards. According to USA Today, the ski lift accident happened on Thursday evening at the Devil's Head Resort. The ski lift was operating normally when it suddenly came to a halting stop and reversed direction.

As a result, many skiers attempted to jump off the ski lift or were injured when the ski lift hit the ground near the ski lift's base. USA Today reports that seven skiers were sent to Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital in Prairie Du Sac to be treated for "muscular skeletal" pains. One skier broke an ankle because of the ski lift accident. An additional seven skiers were sent to St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo.

While this ski lift accident is scary, it also brings up the question:

What is the Ski Resort's Liability?

Pet Lawsuits: Value on a Man's Best Friend?

We all know that everyone considers dogs as a man's best friend, but should people be able to file pet lawsuits for negligence, emotional distress and loss of companionship?

According to the Rutland Herald, many people in Vermont think so. A woman there filed a lawsuit over alleged medical malpractice on her two cats in 2002. The Vermont court did not agree with her argument, though.

The ruling was quoted by the Rutland Herald as saying, "Viewed from this perspective, plaintiffs request a judicial expansion of law to recover for loss of a pet what the law does not allow for loss of a broad variety of critically loved human beings. Whether the familial quality of companionship between humans and their pets is relatively new or ancient, plaintiffs seek a dramatic alteration to the law." Current Vermont law considers pet loss under property loss versus family loss.

Malpractice Caps Ruling By Illinois Court On Hold

The Illinois Supreme Court has delayed ruling on whether or not it will uphold its law on malpractice caps. The Chicago Breaking News Center reports that the Illinois Supreme Court has said that this is a normal occurrence. A spokesperson for the court said: "It is not unusual for an opinion that is on the anticipated list to be withdrawn before filing." The next time that the court will issue rulings will be mid-January.

While it is said to be a normal occurrence, it still brought some disappointment to the healthcare industry who was waiting to see how the law will impact them. The law addresses medical malpractice in Illinois. It places caps on awards given to victims of medical malpractice. The law, which was passed in 2005, limits recovery for medical malpractice to $500,000 from doctors and $1 million dollars from hospitals.

Epic Hotel Not the Source of Legionnaires' Disease

According to the AP, a Miami public health official has said that the luxury Epic Hotel is not the source of Legionnaires' Disease. Legionnaires' disease killed an international guest who was staying at the hotel. In addition, two other guests who stayed at the hotel also contracted the disease. We wrote about this story previously.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the disease is caused by Legionella bacteria. The bacteria grows in a temperature range of 25-42 C (77-108 F). The bacteria favors stagnant lukewarm water in places such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, showers, faucets, hot tubs/whirlpool spas, and other sources of aerosolized water.

While Epic Hotel has been cleared of any presence of Legionella bacteria, what could the hotel have done in order to get rid of the bacteria?

Epic Hotel Guest Dies of Legionnaires' Disease

A foreign guest staying at the posh Miami Epic Hotel has died of Legionnaires' disease. CBS reports that as a result of the death coupled with two other guest contracting the disease since October has forced the hotel to voluntarily relocate more than 400 hotel guests and residents.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires' disease is caused by breathing in vapor or mist that has been contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. It is typically found in warm water in places like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, and parts of air conditioning systems. It is not spread from person to person.

CBS reports that a doctor from Miami-Dade County Health Dept. has said that water samples from the luxury hotel did not have chlorine levels high enough to stave off bacterial growth.  

Consumer Popcorn Lung Disease Lawsuit Settles

A Denver man settled his popcorn lung disease lawsuit against FONA International Inc., formerly Flavors of North America Inc. The company produces the diacetyl popcorn butter flavoring in much of our microwave popcorn. 

The L.A. Times reports that Mr. Wayne Watson is reportedly the first consumer to ever suffer from popcorn lung disease.

Mr. Watson claims that he developed popcorn lung disease by eating microwaved popcorn that contained diacetyl popcorn flavoring; which is speculated to cause the disease. Diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) is a chemical that has been used to add a butter-like flavor to food products, including microwave popcorn.

Sonoma Valley Winery Settles Teen DUI Case for $3 M

A Sonoma Valley winery called Paradise Ridge Winery has agreed to pay $3 million dollars in order to settle a lawsuit over a teen DUI car accident back in 2006. The Press Democrat reports that Mr. Joshua Apodaca sustained serious brain injuries in the car accident. Mr Joshua was a passenger of a car driven by Mr. Sean Bradley who was served beer at a wedding held at the Sonoma Valley winery. As a result, Mr. Apodaca is permanently disabled.

The teens attended a wedding at Paradise Ridge Winery where a bartender served the teen driver six to eight beers even though Mr. Bradley did not show the bartender any identification. Mr. Bradley claimed that he left his identification in the car. After Mr. Bradley and Mr. Apodaca left the reception, they stopped at a local 7-Eleven where Mr. Bradley bought two more alcoholic beverages. The car crash happened shortly after.

Malpractice Report Access Gets Easier in North Carolina

Have you ever wondered if your doctor had a medical malpractice history? Well the North Carolina Medical Board wants you to know. They announced that medical malpractice report access will be available to the general public on its website.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the medical malpractice report access is in response to legislation passed by the state's General Assembly that forces the North Carolina Medical Board to publish malpractice payments, misdemeanor and felony convictions, hospital suspensions and discipline by medical boards in other states. The legislation was passed in 2007.

According to the North Carolina Medical Board's press release, some of the information they will be releasing are:

Paxil Lawsuits Cost Glaxo $1 Billion in Settlements

Bloomberg reports that Paxil lawsuits have resulted almost $1 billion in Glaxo Smith Kline settlements. The Paxil lawsuits range from class action lawsuits to wrongful death lawsuits over a reported increased risk of suicidality in patients. The pharmaceutical company has had to battle lawsuits over birth defects and antitrust claims as well.

While Glaxo Smith Kline refused to comment on Paxil lawsuits, it did issue a statement about its overall settlement total: "Paxil has been on the market in the U.S. since 1993. Like many other pharmaceutical products, it has been the subject of different kinds of litigation over the years," Sarah Alspach, a spokeswoman for Glaxo, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. "It would be inappropriate and potentially misleading to aggregate payments in these various types of litigation."

However, the massive amount of Paxil lawsuits is troubling. One lawsuit centered around a man who shot his family and then turned the gun on himself. He was a patient taking Paxil medication for depression.

As a consumer, what do you need to know about Paxil?

Nude Runner Alleges Assault by Penn State Police

A nude runner who participated in Penn State University's 2008 "Mifflin Streak" is suing the university because he claims that he was assaulted and injured by Penn State Police.

Centre Daily Times reports that Mr. Christopher Ferry has filed a lawsuit worth over $150,000 in damages because of injuries he sustained from Penn State Police while running in the "Mifflin Streak" in 2008.

The "Mifflin Streak" is an annual event held on the Sunday before spring semester finals where students from Penn State University run around nude or in their underwear.

When Mr. Ferry was running in the event, he claims that he was tackled by Penn State police. He claims that the officers did not identify themselves until after he had been tackled and roughly handcuffed. He alleges that he was dragged by the police.

Key Questions To Ask Your Plastic Surgeon Up Front

The sad plastic surgery death of Ms. Solange Magnano in Argentina illustrates the need for patients to ask questions before undergoing any type of plastic surgery.

We've previously discussed the dangers of plastic surgery tourism.. However, the US is not immune to plastic surgery death.

CNN reports that while plastic surgery death rates are not high, they still occur. The FDA says that there are between three and 100 deaths for every 100,000 liposuction procedures in the United States.

This statistic illustrates the need for patients to ask their doctor questions before undergoing any type of plastic surgery. Here are some questions to ask your plastic surgeon before you go under the knife:

Jury Award of $7 Million for Kentucky Plane Crash

A jury award of $7 millon dollars has been awarded to the family of a Kentucky plane crash victim. This award was for compensatory damages. Whether punitive damages will be awarded remains to be seen.

AP reports that the family of Bryan Keith Woordward was awarded the amount after a jury found that pilots of the airline failed to notice that they were on the wrong runway when they attempted to take off from a runway that was too short in an airport in Lexington, Kentucky. It results in a Kentucky plane crash that killed 49 people.

Another trial will take place next year in order to determine if Comair was negligent. This trial could result in punitive damages. Though lawsuits do not typically separate these two into separate trials, plaintiffs often seek both compensatory and punitive damages. 

So, what's the difference between the two?

NTSB Reports that Unsafe Buses Are On The Road

AP reports that a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation shows that passenger buses that are subpar and unsafe are still making it out onto the road.

NTSB reports that their investigation of a rollover crash in Texas was due to a bus driver falling asleep, but also discovered that the bus company had been using legal loopholes in order to allow the operation of subpar buses on the road.

The entire NTSB investigation can be viewed here on their official site. As a result of the NTSB investigation, the NTSB issued the following recommendations in order to improve bus safety by ensuring that buses are compliant with necessary inspections:

Alleged Police Assault on Autistic Teen Leads to Lawsuit

The Chicago Tribune reports that the family of autistic teen Oscar Guzman filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Dept., and the Independent Police Review Authority which is agency that handles complaints against the Chicago Police Dept. The lawsuit was filed after an alleged police assault on the autistic teen back in April 2009.

The family claims that Oscar Guzman was hit on the head by a Chicago police officer after two police officers chased Mr. Guzman into his family's restaurant in Little Village. As a result of the alleged police assault, the family claims that Mr. Guzman has night terrors and fears law enforcement in general.

The lawsuit also claims that Mr. Guzman's older sister was threatened with arrest when she asked police officers what their motivation was in attacking her little brother.

Travis Barker Plane Crash Lawsuit Settles

The Travis Barker plane crash lawsuit was recently settled. While the settlement amount is unknown, Travis Barker and the mother of his bodyguard (who died in the crash) have settled with the companies named in the lawsuit.

According to ABC News, the terms of the settlement are confidential. The lawsuit centered around a plane crash that occurred on Sept. 19, 2008. Travis Barker was on a private plane along with DJ AM (who was also known as Adam Goldstein) after playing a free concert in Columbia, South Carolina. The plane skidded off the runway, crossed a highway, and crashed after the pilots tried to abort the takeoff. The celebrities were the sole survivors of the crash. They both suffered from third degree burns from the crash.

Distracted Driving Lawsuit Blames Cell Phone Companies

The daughter of a victim of distracted driving is suing the cellphone provider and the maker of the phone used by the driver who killed her mother.

According to the New York Times, Jennifer Smith has sued both Sprint, Nextel and Samsung for the unfortunate death of her mother, Linda Doyle. This not the lawsuit placing blame on a cellphone service provider for someone else driving while talking, but the plaintiff hopes her case will fare better than its predecessors due to increased knowledge of the danger of mixing cell phones and driving. 

Linda Doyle was killed in a car accident that involved another driver who was distracted with his cellphone while he was driving. The complaint (which you can read here) alleges that both Sprint/Nextel and Samsung were negligent because they failed to properly warn the distracted driver of the hazard of cell phone use while driving. The complaint also claims that such an accident was foreseeable in the course of business of both companies.

Immunity for Prosecutors v Due Process: What's Covered?

Recent news coverage of a lawsuit from an accused high school teacher over an allegedly overzealous prosecutor highlights important questions about immunity for prosecutors and citizens' rights of due process.

According to, Ms. Nicole Howell was found not guilty in a case that charged her with having sex with a 16 year old student. Ms. Howell's attorney Eric Deters has filed a lawsuit on Ms. Howell's behalf that claims that the prosecutor of her case, Kenton Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders, improperly handled the case.

Mr. Deters is attempting to argue that immunity for prosecutors does not apply to their actions before charges are filed.

Dancer Paralyzed by E. Coli in Bad Beef Sues Cargill Inc.

A lawsuit seeking $100 million was filed this week by a dancer paralyzed by bad beef. She is suing the agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. According to the Pioneer Press of the Twin Cities, Stephanie Smith, was 22 year old dancer from Cold Spring, Minnesota. E. coli in a burger patty she ate at a family barbeque left the dancer paralyzed and fighting for her life.

Ms. Smith's attorney is quoted by the Pioneer Press of the Twin Cities as saying: "Look at what Stephanie Smith went through, which is nine months of hospitalization, she's still in rehab to gain more strength, she's severely brain damaged, she can't walk, she can't have children, she's going to lose her kidneys." The hospital bills for Ms. Smith have already surpassed $2 million.

Parents of Virginia Tech Student Sue School over Suicide

The parents of a Virginia Tech student plan to sue the school for not invervening before it was too late. The Washington Post reports that Mr. William Kim and Mrs. Elizabeth Kim are suing Virginia Tech for negligence over their son Daniel Kim's suicide on December 9, 2007.  

The Virginia Tech student committed suicide shortly after the Virginia Tech shooting. According to The Virginian-Pilot, Mr. Daniel Kim, a Korean-American confided in his sister that he feared that he resembled the Virginia Tech shooter Mr. Seung-Hui Cho who was a Korean.

Allegedly Distracted NWA Pilots Blame Controllers

The distracted pilots for NWA who overshot their destination by over 100 miles are now blaming the air traffic controllers for their alleged pilot negligence.

CNN reports that the pilots now claim that air traffic control rules were not followed when they missed their destination. Their response to the administrative judge handling case was quoted by CNN as saying, "The air traffic controller(s) did not comply with the requirements of the air traffic control manual and other relevant orders, rules, procedures, policies and practices with respect to Northwest Flight 188, nor coordinate effectively with Northwest dispatch, and such failure was a causal or contributing factor in the incident."

Tree Branch Lawsuit: Google Engineer Sues Central Park

The NY Post reports the wife of a Google engineer injured by a falling tree branch has sued the city of New York for $120 million dollars.

Sasha Balir-Goldensohn is still injured from a falling tree branch that fell on the engineer back in July 29, 2009. The falling tree branch struck Mr. Blair-Goldensohn in the head. 

According to the New York Times, Mr. Blair-Goldensohn was walking alone near a Central Park entrance when the tree branch struck him.

The NY Post quotes the attorney representing the Google engineer in the tree branch lawsuit as saying, "Sasha sustained severe brain damage, spinal fractures and spinal-cord damage resulting in paralysis, respiratory and other serious injuries, all of which have required multiple operations and his continued hospitalization to this day."

Face Off: Prof Sues for being Pictured as Murder Suspect

Stephen L. Morgan, 38, is a Cornell proffessor with degrees from Harvard and Oxford. He runs the Cornell Center for the Study of Inequality.

Stephen P. Morgan is described by his own father as a "journal scribbling loner." He reportedly has a propensity for making anti-Semitic comments and is former classmate of recent murder victim Johanna Justin-Jinich.

Can you tell which one is the real murder suspect? Wesleyan University initially could not.

Girl almost Dies after Rapid Flu Test Misdiagnosis

Rapid flu tests are a quick way for doctors to diagnose whether a patient may potentially have the deadly H1N1 flu virus. However, a rapid flu test misdiagnosis contributed to the near death of a girl in Florida.

CNN reports that 9 year old Hayli Murphy almost died because doctors failed to discern that she was suffering from an H1N1 viral infection (also known as swine flu). When she went to the hospital back in September, a rapid flu test came back negative so doctors sent her home.

As a result of not just one, but two misdiagnoses by rapid flu tests, Hayli's swine flu spiraled out of control. She ended up in the hospital for 43 days in the intensive care unit.

NJ State Trooper Alleges Sexual Assault & Harassment

An NJ state trooper has filed lawsuit for harassment this past Tuesday. According to, Trooper Alexis Hayes claims that a total of six troopers are guilty of either harassing her, or enabling her tormentors to harass her. She also claims that the NJ state police administration conducted an internal investigation which served to only humiliate her and worsen the harassment.

Her lawsuit claims that she was not only abused verbally through the state trooper hazing process, but she was also sexually assaulted by a superior officer in her unit. As a result of the assault, Ms. Hayes claims she became pregnant and was forced to terminate the pregnancy.

Unfortunately, we have written about sexual assault and sexual harassment at work before. But this brings up the common question:

No Dice: Casino Lawsuit Filed by Terry Watanabe

A multi-millionaire from Nebraska has sued the Harrah's casinos because he claims that Harrah's knowingly took advantage of his gambling addiction, to the tune of over $100 million.

CNBC reports that Terrance "Terry" Watanabe has filed a lawsuit which accuses Harrah's of supplying him with luxurious suites, alcohol, and prescription drugs in order to take prey upon the weaknesses of the gambling addict.

He claims that Harrah's efforts succeeded in costing him over $100 million. Mr. Watanabe is known as a philanthropist who made his fortune from running Oriental Trading Co. in Omaha, Nebraska. He alleges that Harrah's was well aware of his wealth and that he is a gambling addict.

Doug Barron Sues over PGA Doping Allegations

PGA golfer Doug Barron is fighting doping allegations levied against him this past November with a lawsuit against the PGA under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

According to CNN, the golfer claims that he was using beta blockers and testosterone to treat a heart condition and low testosterone levels. He claims that he has been getting synthetic testosterone shots since 2005.

CNN reports that the golfer's natural testosterone levels were 78 nanograms per deciliter of blood. The average testosterone levels for a man of his age are between 300 and 500.

Model Death Highlights Plastic Surgery Dangers Abroad

The former Miss Argentina 1994, Solange Magnano, died this week from a pulmonary embolism complication due to a gluteoplasty procedure to enlarge her buttocks. The model's death serves to illustrate how severe plastic surgery dangers are; especially through cosmetic surgery tourism.  

ABC News reports that while the procedure is rare in the United States, that it has been steadily climbing in numbers domestically and abroad through cosmetic surgery tourism.

Dr. Julius Few, director of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and clinical associate at the University of Chicago mentions how doing plastic surgery in Latin America is cheaper than it is in the United States. ABC News quotes him as saying, "One of the things that is popular, especially in South America and Europe, is injection of silicone. In Argentina one of the draws is that it's less expensive. ... It becomes tempting abroad to just shop for price."

SF Bay Bridge: Is the S-Curve a Death Trap?

Recently, the San Francisco Gate posted an article that outlined the deadly dangers posed by the poorly designed S-curve on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. That stretch of road earned a repoutation as a ganger zone after an accident earlier in November where a truck crashed through the guard rails and fell on San Francisco's Treasure Island. The trucker was killed in the accident.

Since the S-curve was opened after being added to entrance of the the SF Bay Bridge back on September 8, there have been more than 42 accidents. The truck accident was the first fatality from the S-curve.

California Highway Patrol Sargeant Trent Cross is quick to point out that many drivers have managed to navigate through the S-curve safely: "We don't believe it's a design flaw. There's nothing tricky or complicated about the curve. I can stand here with confidence and say that if you drive the posted speed limit, you will make it through the curve safely, just as thousands of drivers do every day."

$7.5 Million in Settlement Compensation to Football Player

The New York Times reports that La Salle University has agreed to pay $7.5 million dollars in settlement compensation to football player Preston Plevretes who suffered a severe football brain injury back in October 2005.

The lawsuit alleges that the university was negligent in its assessment of the player's injuries. Mr. Plevretes suffered from a concussion during a practice session. He was given the go ahead to play in a subsequent game with Duquesne. After a player tackled him, doctors speculate that he suffered from a condition known Second Impact Syndrome. However, the diagnosis was not official.

According to, Mr. Plevretes' brain became so swollen that doctors had to remove a part of his skull. As a result of his injuries, he has needed constant care and has trouble speaking. He can only communicate by typing.

Letter Stamped 'DECEASED' Sparks Suit by Mom

A mom who received a letter stamped "DECEASED" in red letters by The United States Postal Service (USPS) has filed a lawsuit in Minneapolis federal court.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Ms. Joan Najbar of Duluth, Minn. is suing the USPS because a letter that she sent to her son in Iraq was returned to her address and stamped "DECEASED" on the envelope though her son was actually alive and well.

The lawsuit claims that when she received the 'DECEASED' letter, Ms. Najbar suffered from emotional distress caused by the negligence of the post office. Ms. Najbar's complaint alleges that "as a result of receiving the letter indicating that her son was dead, Ms. Najbar suffered emotional distress with physical manifestations."

Storkcraft Crib Recall: Spurred by Suit over Child Death?

As we wrote about previously on Common Law, there was a Storkcraft crib recall announced last week. The partner of the Bell Law Firm is telling press outlets that the Comsumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) decision to recall the cribs stemmed from a lawsuit that the law firm filed on behalf of the Pack family in West Virginia.

The lawyer, Mr. Harry F. Bell, Jr. was quoted by the West Virginia Record as saying, "It has taken private lawsuits and private attorneys like us contacting the CPSC and their folks investigating to bring this action about."

Mr. Bell claims that he shared the information that he gleaned from the child death lawsuit with the CPSC.

Toyota Throttle at Fault in 2009 Recall?

As we wrote about in a previous post in Injured, Toyota has recalled over 3.8 million cars over consumer complaints of sudden acceleration. As a result of the recalls, a class action lawsuit was filed against the car maker.

The complaint set forth by the plaintiffs states that the problem is actually caused by a faulty electronic throttle system called ETCS-i. There was a fail safe mechanism in place in cars older than 2001 but that mechanism is not present in newer vehicles.

The plaintiffs alleged that this non-inclusion of a fail safe mechanism is the cause of these accidents. This implies that the Toyota recall, if limited to dealing with floor mats, does not address the crux of the problem.