Archive for Misc.

From Hallucinations to Heart Problems: The Effects of Concerta and Its Generic Equivalents

259502894_f3e435ebd8_zOn October 18, 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed withdrawing two generic versions of Concerta. The FDA ran tests on both drugs and it was determined they had insufficient effects on patients. The drug, Concerta, is alleged to have a number of side effects on people who take it including suicide, agitation, convulsions, disturbed sleep, hallucinations, hostility, stroke, anxiety, depression, drug addiction/abuse, heart issues, mania, and psychosis. The two drug manufacturers are Kremers Urban (subsidiary of the Lannett Company), and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which were both given opportunities to request a hearing by the FDA to show why their drugs shouldn’t be withdrawn. Ordinarily, a move like this from the FDA would lead to a flurry of lawsuits.

Patients cannot sue the manufacturers relating to efficacy or labeling of the drug. Also, because they are generic manufacturers, the companies cannot change the formula or labels on their own even if new information about safety and side effects are discovered. The United States Supreme Court upheld this idea in a 5 to 4 decision that overturned a New Hampshire jury verdict; the verdict awarded over $20 million to a woman who took a generic version of a drug. Generic drugs exist to help consumers save money on buying drugs they need to treat illnesses. According to the Congressional Budget Office, generic drugs help consumers save an estimated $8 to $10 billion at retail pharmacies. Institutions like hospitals and clinics save billions when they use generic drugs.

According to the FDA, a generic drug is developed under patent protection when it is first created. This gives the company the sole right to sell the drug while the patent is in effect, essentially giving it a monopoly on the market. Once the patent wears off, generics can enter the market submitting their new drug application for approval. The Orange Book provides a way to look up generic versions of brand name drugs. Concerta is manufactured by Janssen (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson). It is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

 

Photo credit: Michael Chen, photo

Revisiting the Chinese Drywall Crisis

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Since 2001, Chinese drywall has created problems for homeowners in the United States. A specific kind of drywall imported from China that contained sulfurous compounds left many people in a state of distress. From health complications to visible damage in household appliances made with copper and/or metal, the installation of Chinese drywall has proved to be disastrous. The sulfurous compounds contained in the drywall have been identified by The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and carbon disulfide are just a few that have been found in the drywall testing.

The manufacturing of Chinese drywall consisting of sulfurous compounds has stopped since 2012 due to the Drywall Safety Act.

Most of the people affected by the negative side effects linked to contaminated Chinese drywall are located down south in states like Florida and Louisiana.

The hotter the air is, the more humid weather conditions are, which in turn causes the emission of said sulfurous compounds to be released from the drywall. When temperatures rise, the sulfurous compounds emit a rotten-egg like smell, and also corrode appliances like air conditioners and fire alarms causing appliances to fail and be replaced.

Though sometimes the sulfurous smell cannot be detected, it is still damaging to homeowners who are unaware of the complications that can arise from the defected Chinese drywall. Sulfurous compounds not only damage household appliances, but they also create serious health issues for people who are living in a house built with Chinese drywall. There have been reported complaints linked to homeowners living with Chinese drywall that include dry eye, headaches, sinus infections, nosebleeds and difficulty breathing.

Problems have and will keep arising if the Chinese drywall is not replaced.

In order to detect if you’re experiencing a Chinese drywall problem, a threshold inspection must take place. If the inspection validates that you’re indeed suffering from Chinese Drywall Syndrome, then legal action may be taken in order to receive compensation for any issues you’ve experienced while living with the defected Chinese drywall.

Photo Credit: Georgia National Guard, photo

Victims Compensation Fund Pays $234 Million To Claimants

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According to the 9/11 First Responder’s Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), they have paid an estimated $234 million to claimants seeking compensation. Their latest update on March 1st was made by Sheila Birnbaum, the Special Master and main point person for the fund. The $234 million went to pay 1,000 claims and Birnbaum has pledged to continue to focus on expediting the payment of claims. This is big news which comes on the heels of the extension of the James Zadroga Act in 2015. That fight which went on for months required the assistance of Jon Stewart and others to shame and prod Congressional members to vote to extend the act.

Birnbaum also said the priority for the VCF will be the Group A claims. Group A claims are ones that have been received and computed due to the regulations before August 2011. The extension also makes these claims a priority to be paid. A timeline produced by the VCF shows that all Group A claims should be paid by June 2016. Group B funding and payments should begin in September 2016.

The extension of the James Zadroga Act has provided permanent funding to the VCF and has extended the window of when claimants can receive medical care. The Zadroga Act expired around October 2015. Until December 2015 when the extension was passed, it was a fight everyday to get meetings with members of Congress to hear the pleas from the 9/11 First Responder community. Activists like John Feal, 9/11 Health Watch, the entire New York Congressional Delegation, celebrities like Jon Stewart all worked together to get the bill passed.

The Utah Association for Justice’s 2016 Brain Injury Conference

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The Utah Association for Justice (UAJ) is holding their 2016 Brain Injury Conference on February 26th at the Law and Justice Center in Salt Lake City. According to the UAJ’s website, online registration for the conference is closed, but it may be possible to apply in person. The one day conference will touch on a variety of topics important to those plaintiffs’ attorneys who litigate brain injury cases. Generally, brain injury cases can take a long time to resolve because of the amount of evidence and testimony from experts needed.

Scientifically speaking, there is a lot about the brain as a society we still don’t know. What years of science has shown us is damage to the brain whether one time or over time can be very dangerous to people. The issue of brain injuries has become mainstream. The National Football League (NFL) settled a huge class action with some former players on the issue. Now. there are issues being discussed about sports like soccer and hockey that can have some damaging effects on the brain. Leagues like the National Hockey League (NHL) and organizations like Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA) are dealing with complaints from activists and reports from the media about the damage some players may have or former players may have had when they played the sport. The settlement the NFL reached with its former players on the concussion issue shows a growing awareness of the problem. So trial lawyers are going to need the tips to properly litigate the brain injury cases and get advice from those plaintiffs’ attorneys that have litigated cases like them in the past.

Ohio Justice Association’s New Podcast Civilly Speaking

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To date, the Ohio Justice Association (OJA) is the only one of the 50 state justice Associations to have its own podcast.The podcast titled Civilly Speaking focuses on topics that plaintiff attorneys and anyone involved on the plaintiff side of the law would be interested in. This is a new dynamic that may spawn a trend of podcasts for other justice associations to participate in. Podcasting is the new media phenomenon. Podcasts like Serial, Planet Money, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, are getting huge audiences to tune in to their programs. What’s more, the audience isn’t tied to a set time where they have to listen, they can simply listen at their own time. That’s the appeal of podcasting which the OJA appears to want to tap into.

According to OJA, each episode is 20 minutes or less and is perfect for the plaintiff attorney who has a little bit of downtime throughout their day. So far, there are only three episodes of Civilly Speaking. The topics discussed in those three episodes includes dealing with opposing counsel, defense medical exam doctors, and issues with cases about Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Aside from the new podcast, OJA will be holding their annual convention in May. The topics important to trial lawyers are going to be discussed at the convention. Topics including worker’s compensation, medical malpractice, mass torts, and trucking litigation. The podcast maybe highlighted during the convention.

The New York Review of Books On Entrepreneurial Litigation: It’s Rise, Fall, And Future

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In 2015, the New York Review of Books (NYRB) reviewed John Coffee Jr.’s book Entrepreneurial Litigation: It’s Rise, Fall, and Future.  In his book, Coffee writes about the reality of lawyer financed, lawyer controlled and lawyer settled cases and the murky agenda some attorneys may have in pursuing those cases. He also touches on the topics of class actions and how they play a role in entrepreneurial litigation. The NYRB’s article focused on the effect class actions can have stopping corporate wrongdoing. That article written by Judge Jed S. Rakoff, of the Southern District of New York, broached on the history of class actions, the possibility of misconduct on the part of plaintiffs’ attorneys, the future of class actions, and the recent moves by Congress and the Supreme Court on the topic of class actions.

At the very outset of a plaintiffs’ attorney’s career, they know they will have to carry the reputation and financial burden alone on their shoulders. In addition to being lawyers, they are also entrepreneurs. The firm lives and dies by the skill of the plaintiffs’ attorney, the cases they take, and their financial standing. Whenever they take part in litigating big or high profile cases, their motives are questioned. Whether they are driven by fees, bringing justice to their client or gaining the stature associated with the litigation. One would assume its a mix of all three, but a plaintiffs’ attorney’s main job is to be a strong advocate for their client. They have to be skilled enough and knowledgeable enough to present their client’s case in court. Plaintiffs’ attorneys have to be able withstand the wherewithal to litigate these cases where delays are imminent and payment is delayed.

Mauritius Upholds Criteria For Enforcing Foreign Judgments

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Recently,Mauritius, a small country off the coast of Africa, reaffirmed their criteria for enforcing foreign judgments. The issue of foreign judgments can be tricky because there are a lot of factors that can play a role in that judgment and whether it will be enforced. That is why many countries have signed treaties where they agree to certain conditions on foreign judgments. In an article written by Gilbert Noel, a Partner at Appleby Global Group Services Limited, he states the benefits of Mauritius’ Supreme Court upholding the criteria. He says it give the business community confidence investing in Mauritius and keeps the country in line with international trends.

As the globalization trend continues across the world, people and companies who are doing business in different countries have to be aware of what can be done in the and legal system. Businesses and people need consistency and the ability to fix a problem should one arise through the court system. That is why investing in different countries isn’t as easy because what’s legal matters. When a foreign national or business runs into a problem where the legal system is needed, they need to know the steps that need to be taken. If they are successful in bringing a claim, they need to be able to enforce that judgment. For any foreign national or company that brings a legal matter in the legal system, it can be difficult enforcing that judgment. First, they are at a disadvantage because of they are dealing with a different kind of court system. Next, asset classification, publications, and seizure may be next to impossible. Third, the role of foreign policy can not be ignored. The relations between two countries can have an effect on how the citizens from those countries are treated. Lastly, it may also depend who the judgment is against. That person or company could be a highly respected in their country and it could be damaging for them to suffer such an indignity. So efforts might be made to protect them from such a fate.

However, Mauritius has made their criteria clear and what’s needed to enforce a foreign judgment. The country is a hub for business and thus its important for any foreign national or company who is doing business in the country as well as any who would like to what they are facing should they dive in.

Mauritius Criteria For Enforcing Foreign Judgments: 

(a) the judgment must still be valid and capable of execution in the country where it was delivered;

(b) it must not be contrary to any principle affecting public order;

(c) the defendant must have been regularly summoned to attend the proceedings; and

(d) the court which delivered the judgment must have had jurisdiction to deal with the matter submitted to it.

Photo Credit: Mauritius Grunge Flag by Nicolas Raymond

San Francisco Airport Prepares For Super Bowl 50

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Super Bowl 50 is expected to be one of the biggest events to date. This year, the event will be held in San Francisco. As the city prepares itself for the mayhem that is to come with the Super Bowl, San Francisco International Airport was turned into a celebration of players of yesteryear. The Pro Football Hall of Fame contributed most of the items that are exhibited in the airport. The exhibit is titled The Nation’s Game, The NFL from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. People arriving, departing, or waiting for a connection in San Francisco International will be able to see the museum in Terminal 3, free of charge.

Once the announcement was made about San Francisco being the host of Super Bowl 50, the anticipation started building. The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest sports event in the United States. Every year, the event seems to get bigger. The Super Bowl is no longer just about the game, its about the hype, the lead up to the big game, the commercials, the musical performance, and then the game. This year’s Super Bowl will be taking place in San Francisco. As the time inches closer, stories will be written on the commercials, excitement from city residents and those traveling to attend. In addition, stories will be written about the players, coaches, personnel from both teams as they compete for the title of NFL Champions of 2016. There will also be stories about the players who paved the way for the athletes of today and the struggles they had to deal with. Those same players will be honored at some point during the events. Issues like player safety, concussions and the NFL Concussion settlement are sure to be discussed. So like previous Super Bowls, Super Bowl 50 will be the epicenter of entertainment for a period of time and Terminal 3 in San Francisco International Airport is leading the way.

Photo Credit: DJ Animal 

Disgruntled Uber Drivers Protest

taxi cabs in New York CityUber, the celebrated company that developed an app to connect drivers and riders, is facing opposition from its very own drivers.  The company, making news recently for being valued at $18 billion, is facing accusations from several of its drivers regarding their pricing and compensation policies. They claim discounts the company promotes are eating into their profits while their expenses keep increasing. In addition, most drivers make their money on tips, and Uber’s policies misinform customers about inclusion of the tip in the pricing.

Protests against Uber have taken place in California and New York. In addition to pricing and compensation, some drivers have accused the company of falsely advertising their benefits and the rating system for drivers. Taxi cab companies have been fighting Uber because they claim the company is skirting regulations under which traditional cab companies have to operate.

Read the full story at http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-new-york-city-office-protests-2014-9.

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Written by Lulaine Compere

NYPD Sgt. Paul Ferrara Dies of 9/11 Related Cancer

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reported Sgt. Paul Ferrara of the New York Police Department lost his life to cancer which he got as a result of working at Ground Zero. Ferrara, who was 43 years old, battled the cancer which started in his lung but spread throughout his body. Ferrara was stationed at the 110th Precinct in Queens. Current Police Commissioner Bill Bratton tweeted his condolences.

The outpouring of support from his colleagues and strangers was initiated to raise funds for his family to help with the medical expenses. Anyone interested in sending a donation can make a check payable to the “110 Pct General Fund” and mail to:

110 Precinct
Attn: 10-13 Sgt. Ferrara
94-41 43 Avenue
Elmhurst, NY 11373

To read the full story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140903/elmhurst/nypd-sergeant-mourned-after-dying-from-911-related-cancer.

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Written by Lulaine Compere