Of Course Johnson & Johnson Knew About Risks of Asbestos in Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson has long denied that it had any knowledge about harmful ingredients in its talcum powder products. But a recent article in The New York Times reports that the company has known for years that its popular baby powder was potentially contaminated with asbestos. According to the article, the company was warned about the possibility of asbestos contamination in its baby powder by a company executive as early as 1971. The executive recommended to senior company leaders that Johnson & Johnson improve its quality control of talc, a mineral that is the main ingredient in the powder. Asbestos, which has been on the world radar screen for years as a cause of cancer, is often found near talc mines. Two years later, another executive also warned the company about possible asbestos fibers in its talc. Other warnings followed over the years. Instead of removing the product from the market, changing the main ingredient, or at least adding warning labels, senior company leaders instead sought to hide the findings. The deception and denials from the company have gone on for years, to the life-threatening detriment of consumers who use the product. Recent internal documents and memos that came to[…..]

What Do Airbnb Deaths Say About Safety and Accountability?

Kitchen

Many people book rooms in private homes or entire properties using the Airbnb website, or similar online rental sites, as an often more convenient or affordable option to staying in traditional hotels. But who should be held accountable if a person is injured or killed because of unsafe conditions or even violence at an Airbnb property? Several recent deaths of travelers have put the spotlight on culpability when things go wrong at Airbnb and other such lodgings. USA Today reported the cases of a woman who was murdered in Costa Rica and a couple and family of four who died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in rentals in Mexico. While a hotel is typically liable if people are injured on the property because of unsafe conditions, in this relatively new private-home rental environment, liability is not so clear and might be shared among the property owner and Airbnb. Liability becomes even murkier if, for example, someone leases a home and rents out rooms to travelers and a traveler is injured. The actual property owner may say that they were not aware that the person leasing their property was using it as an Airbnb; and perhaps they were not, but they[…..]

Who’s Responsible for the Duck Boat Disaster?

Who’s Responsible for the Duck Boat Disaster?

On July 19, 2018, a tour boat known as a “duck boat” capsized during a storm on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. Among the two crew members and 29 passengers on board, a total of 17 died—16 passengers and one from the crew. One woman lost nine of her family members in the tragedy. The sinking near Branson is far from the first duck boat fatalities in the U.S. Over the past 20 years, almost 40 people have died in duck boat accidents, either on the road or in the water (a duck boat can navigate both). Thirteen people died when a duck boat sank on a lake near Hot Springs, Arkansas, in May, 1999. What is a Duck Boat? Duck boats come from the military. During World War II and the Korean War, the U.S. military used DUKW (duck) boats to move goods and troops over both land and water. The boats are amphibious, meaning they can move smoothly from land to water and vice versa. The boats were never intended to have a long life span, and yet a number of them are still in use as commercial tourist transportation. It has been determined that the duck[…..]

A Deceased Worker’s Family Loses Their Fight in the Maryland Courts

People Holding Hands

A recent ruling by the US District Court for the District of Maryland may have implications for future liability and negligent action lawsuits. The court dismissed claims brought by a deceased worker’s family which alleged that his death resulted from prolonged exposure to a substance containing a powerful carcinogen. The story goes back to the 1950s. Specifically, the company operated a manufacturing plant that produced chromium ore processing residues (COPR). The company then used the COPR as landfill on which they built a marine terminal along the Patapsco River. The worker in question was employed at the marine terminal from 1973 to 2001. He died from lung cancer in 2012, and it was alleged that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to the COPR. Maryland’s statute of repose was cited as grounds for dismissal of the case. Wait, What’s a Statute of Repose? A statute of repose shares some similarities with a statute of limitation, in that the statute eliminates specific legal rights and recourse if action is not taken by a certain deadline. The deadline for a statute of repose operates differently in that it defines the legal right that’s involved in terms of the amount of time[…..]

Wear It!

Life Jacket While Water Skiing

Summer is the time when many of us like to go boating. But remember, every time you are out on the water, make sure you “Wear It!” Wear your life jacket, that is. Always wearing your life jacket was the focus of this year’s Safe Boating Week (May 16-22, 2015) and also the focus of the yearlong North American Safe Boating Campaign. The campaign is co-sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council and the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division. The Wear It! campaign aims to educate people about the necessity of life jackets and the different varieties of life jackets, in an effort to reduce drowning fatalities. In 2014, drowning was the reported cause of death in 78 percent of all boating fatalities, according to U.S. Coast Guard ‘s statistics. Of those drowning deaths, 84 percent did not have a life jacket on. Obviously, we could greatly reduce drownings if people would simply wear their life jackets, and wear the right kind of life jacket for them, while boating. What Kind of Life Jacket Do I Wear? Choosing the right life jacket for you and all your boat’s passengers can be a little intimidating. We’ll take this step by[…..]

Liquid Nicotine — A Little Can Be Lethal

Liquid Nicotine

Would you leave a bottle of bleach within the reach of a toddler? Parents know to store household chemicals behind locked cabinet doors or on a high shelf, aware and wary of accidental poisonings that befall curious children. And yet, too many parents are leaving containers of significantly more toxic and enticing liquids where children can get their hands on them. Bearing pictures of candy canes, juicy fruits and sweets, and lacking childproof caps, bottles of liquid nicotine for refilling e-cigarettes are fatal temptations. Comparing the toxicity of liquid nicotine and bleach, Henry Spiller, Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, asked, “Would we be concerned if a child drank an entire bottle of bleach? Concerned yes, corrosive elements yes, but fatal? Highly unlikely. A child would not voluntarily drink even 8 ounces of household bleach because of the smell and taste and large amount they would need to drink to prove lethal. In comparison, a child could easily consume even a teaspoon of liquid nicotine and have it prove fatal.” In December 2014, a one-year-old in upstate New York died after ingesting liquid nicotine at his home. He was found unresponsive and rushed to a[…..]

Amusement Park Accidents Aren’t Amusing

Roller Coaster

On Sunday, August 10, two dozen roller coaster fans got more than they bargained for at Six Flags America, 30 miles southwest of Baltimore. They had purchased tickets to ride the Joker’s Jinx, a roller coaster that propels riders from zero to 60 mph in a little more than three seconds. But a computerized system stopped the ride while some were almost at its highest point, nearly 80 feet in the air. The Prince George’s County Fire and EMS worked for four hours to rescue the riders, using a tower ladder and rescue bucket. Fortunately, no one was injured in this amusement park incident. Earlier this summer, on July 7, a tree branch fell on the tracks at Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles, derailing the Ninja roller coaster, leaving it dangling and stranding occupants for hours. Four passengers were injured. Last summer, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington shut down its Texas Giant roller coaster after a woman was thrown from her seat and plunged to her death. Do these incidents mean you’re taking an unreasonable risk if you take your family to an amusement park? No, but there is a risk. In 2012, 30,342 people visited[…..]

Pick Your Order, Not Your Injury

Spine Injury

A worker falling from a scaffold, platform or forklift just doesn’t have time to react in a way that could lessen his injuries on impact. In fact, it only takes 2.5 seconds to fall 100 feet. That’s not much time, is it? And falls of shorter distances take seem to happen almost instantly but can be just as deadly. That’s why workers must be protected from falls by safety harnesses and lanyards. Safety belts alone don’t do the job. It’s critical to note, however, that all the safety equipment in the world will not help if it is not properly installed and if the worker is not adequately trained in its use. According to an OSHA incident report, a Circuit City employee was restocking a New Hampshire warehouse shelf with a color television, using a stock picker lift. He fell approximately 8 feet from the picker to the concrete floor. The employee suffered severe head trauma and died in the hospital two days after the accident. He had been wearing a body belt, but the belt was not properly attached to the stock picker. In addition, the guardrails on the picker’s work platform had been removed. An employee of Baxter[…..]

Wrongful Death in Assisted Living Facilities

Elderly Injury consultation

Unfortunately, when residents of assisted living facilities pass away, the cause may not always be natural. Sometimes wrongful deaths at assisted living homes take the lives of our loved ones, and tragically, those deaths could have been prevented. An Example of a Wrongful Death in an Assisted Living Facility Walk a mile in these shoes: Your elderly mother, who has multiple ailments and dementia, has been in a Maryland assisted living facility for eight months. At 7:30 a.m., an aide reports to a medical staff member that your mom has symptoms of fever, but the medical aide says she is too busy to check on her. Even by 10:00 p.m., no one has assessed her condition, which has worsened to include vomiting and severe diarrhea with blood loss. Aides clean her up, but she is not seen by a nurse or a doctor. Sometime after 8:00 a.m. the next day, the facility calls 911, but it is too late. Your mother has died of neglect. She wasn’t given last rites, and you didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, because when they finally did call you they did not convey the seriousness of her illness. You trusted them to give[…..]

Unlawful Restraint Methods Used in NY Juvenile Detention Centers

Juvenile detention centers are supposed to rehabilitate wayward youths, not harm them. However, a lawsuit recently filed against an agency that operates nine New York state juvenile detention centers is being accused of wrong doing, specifically the improper use of force and illegal methods of restraint used against detention center residents. A poughkeepsiejournal.com article discusses multiple instances where juvenile offenders were mistreated. In some of these cases, some individuals sustained physical injury as a result of negligent and unlawful care administered. One such mistreatment involved a young man who had his arm broken, and then later had that same arm pinned behind his back as he attempted to leave a room. What’s even more problematic is that the youth’s arm was not treated by facility staff, and remained untreated until the victim’s grandmother noticed the break during a visit. In another instance of juvenile facility abuse, it was determined by the Justice Department that staff members at four different detention centers “violently and unlawfully restrained (young people) and failed to provide legally required mental health services.” Nearly 1,600 juvenile offenders in New York are incarcerated in detention centers each year. However, just because these youths have been sentenced to detention[…..]