Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Judge Seeks Lawyers' Advice on Katrina Lawsuits

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. of Mississippi wrote to the 180 lawyers who filed insurance lawsuits related to Hurricane Katrina claims, asking them whether the cases should be tried separately or in groups. Attorneys for insurance companies want the cases tried separately. You might know! Why would an insurance company make it easy? Plaintiff attorney Richard Scruggs is fighting to keep the cases joined in a mass action. Judge Senter handled the first Katrina-related trial that challenged insurance companies and may have a decision this week. Associated Press, The Advocate 08/15/2006 Read Article: The Advocate

Louisiana Municipalities Join Arkansas in Probe of Entergy Rates

26 municipal governments in Louisiana have joined more than other businesses, associations, consumer groups, and local government agencies in a request from by Arkansas Public Service Commission for a federal investigation into the business practices of Entergy Corp. The request asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to look into whether Entergy is manipulating the cost of electricity generation and transmission. Nah, American corporations don't do that, do they? Mark Ballard, The Advocate 08/15/2006 Read Article: The Advocate

Need Insurance? Try the LA Dept. of Insur. Web site

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has a new link on its Web site to help residents find an insurance company. Of the 300 companies writing coverage in Louisiana, about 34 have joined a special database that allows residents to search names of companies who will write coverage south of I-10 in the state's major hurricane strike zone. Ted Griggs, The Advocate 08/15/2006 Read Article: The Advocate

Yeah! Insurers Extend Hurricane Claim Deadline, But There's strings Attached..

Most Louisiana insurers have agreed to comply with the state commissioner's request to extend the deadline in which homeowners can settle claims. Each of the 385 compliant companies has different conditions for their extensions. Sounds like Pres. Bush's prescription drug plan, doesn't it? Rukmini Callimachi, Houston Chronicle 08/14/2006 Read Article: Houston Chronicle

More fake-bake news! Cancer Rates Prompt Tanning Legislation

NY Times reports minors face restricted access to the indoor tanning industry as a result of increasing skin cancer rates. 19 states have been barred minors from using indoor tanning beds that the American Academy of Dermatology has labled a "health-peril equivalent" to cigarettes. Contradictory studies between health agencies and the tanning industry have caused a controversy over tanning guidelines. Paul Vitello, The New York Times 08/14/2006 Read Article: The New York Times

FDA fails us again: FDA Drug Directory Fails Inspection

LA Times reports the Department of Health and Human Services claims the FDA prescription drug directory is incomplete and inaccurate. The erroneous directory prevents the FDA from properly assessing recalls and medication errors, according to the report.
But, I thought there were no medical errors or faulty products. You know frivolous lawsuits and all that. Anyway, the FDA agreed with the findings and will work to fix its deficiencies. The Associated Press, LA Times 08/14/2006 Read Article: LA Times

What goes up, must come down: Problematic Elevators on the Rise

Several NY apartment buildings are failing to maintain proper operation of elevators. The FDNY has responded to over 11,000 elevator-related emergencies, which have doubled in frequency the past couple of years. According to a safety and health consultant on elevators, NY is among the most lenient on verifying repairs. Robin Stein and Mathhew Sweeny, The New York Times 08/15/2006 Read Article: The New York Times

Dell PC Batteries Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

New York times reports that Dell is recalling 4.1 million of its notebook computer batteries because they have a tendency to erupt in flames. The lithium-ion batteries used in these notebooks are also found in cell phones, digital cameras, and several other popular electronics. The batteries were manufactured by Sony, who sells its batteries to most of the major computer manufacturers. Damon Darlin, The New York Times 08/15/2006 Read Article: The New York Times

Cancer Treatment Linked to Heart Problems

The Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that radiation and the drug, Herceptin, are linked to certain heart problems. Radiation treatment in breast cancer patients is also exposed in the heart and coronary arteries, increasing the risk of future heart disease. Research of the drug Herceptin revealed a loss of pumping ability in the heart in addition to shortness of breath. Denise Grady, The New York Times 08/15/2006 Read Article: The New York Times

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wow...fake bake can be fatal. Concern Over Minors' Unregulated Use of Tanning Beds...

Wow...that fake bake can be fatal.

Studies have shown an increase in skin cancer among the population, but experts are most concerned about its incidence among young children. The goood-guys have been lobbying for laws restricting access to tanning salons for anyone under 18 or to have information posted in salons showing different types of skin cancer. Louis DiGioia, a tanning bed distributor, compares proposed legislation to telling people how to raise their kids.

But, is the analogy fair?

Some people don't just let their kids ride in the bed of a pick-up truck; they make ride in the bed of a pick-up truck. It's still dangerous, even if parents don't recognize the danger. Paul Vitello, The New York Times 08/14/2006 Read Article: The New York Times

Dr. Moreau comes to U.S. prisons: Medical Panel Wants Testing of High Risk Drugs on Inmates

H. G. Wells would be proud. A federal panel of medical advisers wants to change drug testing programs to allow experiments with greater risks on prisoners. Ouch...that hurts! But, critics wisely cite abuses by prisons across the country that occurred prior to the 1970's, when testing was curbed by regulations. The Holmesburg facility in AL was one prison that spurred a change in pharmaceutical testing. Ian Urbina, The New York Times 08/13/2006 Read Article: The New York Times

NJ High Court Limits Use of Testimony Extracted by Hypnosis

The NJ Supreme Court reversed its position on the use of refreshed hypnosis testimony by saying there is doubt that such evidence meets the standards of admissibility. However, the refreshed testimony will still be allowed if it comes from the defendant on trial. The decision stems from a rape case in which the defendant questioned whether proper procedures were followed regarding the use of hypnosis evidence provided by the alleged victim. Jeffrey Gold, Philadelphia Inquirer 08/14/2006 Read Article: Philadelphia Inquirer

Jury Verdict is a Major Blow to Lexington Medical Center in SC

A jury awarded the estate of Dr. Asif Sheikh nearly $30 million in damages for his death. The physician died after undergoing knee surgery at Lexington Medical Center and the hospital allegedly engaged in a "massive-cover up" in which records were lost or possibly destroyed. However, the hospital's insurer will not pay the full amount because of an agreement early in the trial and state law limiting the liability of public hospitals. John Monk, The State 08/12/2006 Read Article: The State

Medical malpractice at its most tragic level! High Risk of Medication Error for Kids With Leukemia

Medical malpractice at its most tragic level! A recent study found that kids treated as outpatients at Seattle Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center have a one-in-five chance of receiving the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage. At least one error affected 13 of the 69 children involved in the study. According to the bean-counting researchers, the mistakes were trivial, but three of them could have caused problems for the kids. The bean-counters wouldn't say it's "trivial" if it were their children. Associated Press, The Seattle Times 08/14/2006 Read Article: The Seattle Times

Veterans' Lawsuit Blames Military Weapon for Illnesses

Herbert Reed, an Army National Guard veteran, suffers from a number of serious ailments he believes were caused by exposure to depleted uranium. The military has been using the byproduct of enriched uranium to coat thousands of artillery shells and hundreds of tanks. Depleted uranium is 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium; however, the Department of Defense maintains that it is safe and tests have not revealed any negative side effects. Deborah Hastings, Boston Globe 08/13/2006 Read Article: Boston Globe

Letter to the Editor: Allstate Defends Cuts in Wind and Hail Coverage

B-L-L-S-H-I-*....B-L-L-S-H-I-*....B-L-L-S-H-I-* An Allstate manager explains that the company's proposal to drop wind and hail coverage for about 12 percent of its Louisiana policyholders is good for business. The letter states, "This change would help Allstate manage risk in a way that is least disruptive to our customers, while also allowing them to continue their relationships with their Allstate agents." Letter to the Editor, Allstate, The Advocate 08/14/2006 Read Article: The Advocate

State Farm and Allstate Agree to Extend Prescription Deadline

The Louisiana State Insurance Department reports that State Farm and Allstate agreed last week to comply with extending the one-year deadline to allow their policyholders more time to file lawsuits over hurricane-related storm damage. State Farm agreed only if a new state law requiring the extension is found constitutional. If the courts do not uphold the law, State Farm will give policyholders 30 days from the date of the court ruling to file suit. Under the deadline extension, policyholders would have until Aug. 30, 2007, to sue for Hurricane Katrina damages and until Sept. 25, 2007, to sue for Hurricane Rita damages. Ted Griggs, The Advocate 08/12/2006 Read Article: The Advocate