In one of my favorite Holiday movies, “A Christmas Story” the main character Ralphie is a young boy who has his heart set on a “Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle.”  But, whenever he brings it up he is told “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Unfortunately in many cases, the dangers presented by toys are not so obvious as Ralphie’s BB gun.

The World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has published its “Worst Toy” List for 2016, and some of the items are surprising.

Toy #1 is “Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family”.  Although some packages contain choking hazard warnings and “age 3+” recommendation, other packages are sold for children as young as two and up with no warnings about toy-related hazards.

pictureWith the holidays approaching, more people are on the roads and more accidents are going to happen.

A stark reminder of what happens with increased traffic accident and poorly designed vehicles came out this week. A Georgia court decision this week upheld a $40 million judgment in the death of a four-year-old boy who died when his family’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear-ended and burst into flames.

Safety advocates say Remington Walden is one of at least 270 people that have died in similar accidents involving older Jeep Cherokees with rear-mounted fuel tanks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied the cases for years but never ordered a formal recall. Lawyers allege that, instead of issuing a recall, federal officials and top FCA executives agreed to a “customer satisfaction campaign” that called for installing safety hitches as a protective measure, even though that solution was never scientifically proven to be effective at a secret 2013 meeting at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has linked more than 50 deaths to the fuel-tank problems.

Samsung recently announced the recall of its popular Note 7 smartphone. After its batteries were shown to overheat and cause fires, the company issued a recall to replace the batteries. Unfortunately, the recall was not able to fix the overheating problem, and Samsung did the right thing and pulled the items from the shelf.

More recently, Samsung was forced to recall 2.8 million washing machines due to a defect that allows the drum to become loosened on the inside of the machine and come into contact with the user, causing significant injuries. Given the speed and force with which new washers spin clothes, the danger of the drum coming loose is severe.

Samsung has faced complaints and lawsuits about injuries from these products, and fortunately they are doing the right thing at this point by recalling the dangerous items. Sometimes companies find defects on their own and recall products. More often, it takes complaints, and often injuries, from many consumers before recalls are issued. And unfortunately, even after numerous complaints, injuries, and even lawsuits, sometimes companies still refuse to recall dangerous products.

Samsung has recalled all its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after a series of fires and explosions.  At first Samsung was offering replacement phones, but when these too showed a tendency to explode, Samsung has now apparently pulled the entire product line.  And it is now against the law to even take one of these devices on board a commercial flight.

Like most other electronic devices, the Galaxy Note 7 is powered by a lithium ion battery.  It has been known for years that lithium ion batteries can experience something called “thermal runaway.”  When this happens it creates the possibility of a fire or an explosion.  Fortunately, this is very rare but Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 seems to have a higher probability of experiencing this problem.

As consumers demand faster and faster devices with shorter charging times manufactures may be pushing the limits of lithium ion technology.  This can lead to disastrous results.  Most of the lithium ion batteries used in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphones is actually supplied by its affiliate, Samsung SDI Company, Inc…  However, some of the batteries used in the Galaxy Note 7 may have been supplies by Amperex Technology, a subsidiary of TDK Corporation, a Japanese company.  The Samsung SDI batteries are manufactured in Cheonan, South Korea and in Tianjin, China but put together in a Vietnamese facility.

The old saying, “money is the root of all evil” never rang truer than it does today.  And in no sector of human endeavor does it ring truer today than it does in the political arena.  It is reasonable to think that conservatives, liberals, libertarians and independents alike could all agree on at least one thing:  Our country would be better if we could find a way to take the money out of politics.  If we could close the revolving doors between government offices and the corporate offices of the companies who desire government action that benefits them financially, wouldn’t there be less corruption, fewer conflicts of interest and less temptation on the part of those our citizenry has charged with the responsibility to write and enforce our laws and ensure fairness to all?  If we could end the practice of political contributions as a means of purchasing access to those in our government with the power to enact laws which have a financial impact on those who make those contributions, wouldn’t that benefit all Americans, especially those who don’t have the means to make such political contributions?

Most people, regardless of their political affiliation, would answer yes to those questions.  But somehow, in each political cycle, we seem to have gotten further and further from those common sense ideals upon which most Americans agree.  And finally, with just a little research, it is possible to point to a reason why:  the current United States Supreme court (at least until February, 2016, back when it was fully staffed with nine justices).  With holdings in cases like Citizens United, which codified such previously unheard of legal theories as “corporations are entitled to the same rights as persons,” and “money equals speech,” the court has given free rein to those who seek the cover of law in committing what is known in most democracies (and once was in this one) as open bribery.

It would be nice to say that all sides are responsible, and to some extent all are.  But some are more responsible than others.  The facts speak for themselves.  The Republican appointed justices prevailed in these cases, and they did so over the objection and dissent of those four justices appointed by Democrats.  Justice Scalia was the deciding vote in these cases, and his death leaves a vacancy that has engendered a ferocious battle over his replacement.  Despite their constitutional duty to do so, the U.S. Senate has refused to even consider the appointment of Judge Merrick Garland as Scalia’s replacement, with nearly eleven months available to do so, simply because President Obama, a Democrat, was the president who made the appointment.

Photo of PillsA drug manufacturer’s attempts to get another opioid painkiller approved by the FDA has been shot down again this week.  Durect Corporation and Pain Therapeutics, Inc. have been attempting for several years to get Remoxy ER approved by the FDA.  The FDA once again rejected their claims, focusing on the company’s failure to adequately address the potential for abuse of these drugs as well as problems with the labeling on the drugs.

Despite Remoxy not being approved by the FDA, Durect is advertising the drug, claiming that the drug is “long-acting” and “tamper-resistant.” That part of the website did not state that the drug was only an investigational new drug and not authorized for marketing in the U.S., which made the advertising misleading, according to the FDA.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as the illicit drug heroin.

car-accident-2-14492951-e1449528550287When a loved one is in an automobile accident that results in a serious injury or even death, it is not uncommon for a family to hire a law firm to represent their interests.  Medical bills, lost wages, the inability to pay for basic things in life because of a loss of income, pain, rehabilitation, loss of life or loss of the enjoyment of life – these are all things that no one is truly able to understand until they have to go through it.  If a serious injury or death is caused by the bad driving or bad decisions of another driver, that person needs to be held accountable for the harm they caused.

Unfortunately, most people driving the roads are not adequately insured to cover a serious injury or death claim.  In Alabama, the minimum insurance limits that are required by law for a driver is $25,000.  If a person with minimum limits seriously injures or kills your loved one, $25,000 is all that is available from the opposing driver’s insurance, which is a drop in the bucket for a serious injury or loss of a loved one.  Many people carry their own underinsured motorist coverage that can also pay, but it is extremely rare for these policies to provide adequate coverage for a serious injury or loss of life.

While most people assume the insurance of the opposing driver and your own insurance is the only possible source of recovery, there are always others avenues that need to be explored by a lawyer in a serious injury or fatal car accident.  One of the main areas our firm researches when helping a family with a serious injury or loss of life is defects in the vehicles themselves.  An issue with steering or a defective tire that blew out may have cause the other car to lose control.  There may have been a defective part on one of the cars that could have prevented the accident from happening in the first place.

Most electronic devices are powered by lithium ion batteries.  This includes cell phones, portable music players, GPS devices, notebook computers and many others.  Lithium ion batteries have long run times, are small and produce a relatively greater amount of energy than other batteries.  However, they do pose certain risks.

The lithium ion cell has a carbon anode (positive) and a metal oxide cathode (negative).  Lithium molecules leave the carbon anode and lose a negatively charged electron leaving behind a lithium ion.  These ions flow through an organic solvent between the anode and the cathode.  This produces electricity.  If the battery is overcharged or produces too much current, or if there are impurities in the cell as a result of sloppy manufacturing procedures, this can result in a short circuit which leads to something called “thermal runaway.”  This is a rise in heat and pressure which is impossible to stop and can cause fires or even an explosion.  Thermal runaway can produce temperatures of over one thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

Needless to say these fires and explosions can cause serious personal injury.  Fortunately, the types of failures that lead to these incidents are extremely rare.  However, electronic devices that have lithium ion battery components have been the subject of many safety recalls and product safety warnings.  Many laptop computers were recalled in 2006; the FAA has recommended restricting their cargo carriage on flights and the International Civil Aviation Organization has banned the shipment of these batteries as cargo on passenger flights.  Recently Samsung issued a massive recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone because of the risk of these batteries exploding.

Now that football season is here, we should be mindful that the highest priority of the game should be the safety and well-being of the athletes.  Unfortunately,  this has not always been the case.

On August 28, 2011, Derek Sheely died as a result of second-impact syndrome. This syndrome occurs when the brain swells rapidly after a person suffers a second concussion before symptoms from an earlier concussion have subsided.  On August 22, 2013, the family of Derek Sheely filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NCAA, Kranos, George L. Heider, Inc., two Frostburg State University coaches, and a Frostburg State athletic trainer, asserting that Derek’s death was a preventable tragedy.

Last month, the Parties announced that a settlement was reached. The settlement provides that the Defendants will pay $1,200,000.00 to The Derek Sheely Foundation. In addition to the this payment, the Parties agreed to the following terms that are aimed at increasing awareness and research about concussions.

Our firm handles personal injury cases from around the country.  Many of them involve commercial motor vehicles.  Understanding the basics of commercial vehicle operations and regulations is imperative to litigating and successfully representing our clients.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was formed in 2000 with the goal of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.  It regulates and enforces a variety of rules that apply to large trucks and buses.  When there is a crash, injury or fatality involving a large truck or bus, it’s important to understand commercial trucking basics and these regulations in order to pursue the claim.

Motor carrier safety regulations are designed to protect the public from the risks associated with the operation of commercial motor vehicles. Among other things, motor carrier safety regulations ensure that a commercial motor vehicle is safely maintained and operated, prevent confusion about which party bears ultimate financial responsibility in the event of an accident, and ensure that injured parties are compensated.

Contact Information