$11,750,000 Verdict Involving Wrongful Release

posted on:
January 15, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Personal Injury and Product Liability | Landmark Verdict

1983 – In this case, our client's son was killed by Defendant who had recently been let out of a mental institution. Immediately prior to him being let out of the institution, he had written a letter to his girlfriend, which the mental institution had a copy of, stating that he was going to kill someone. Within a day or two of being released, he killed our client's son. The jury was outraged by this conduct and awarded a substantial verdict to try to stop this from ever happening again.

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Whistleblowers expose illegal drug recycling in Penn pharmacy company

posted on:
December 15, 2017

author:
Lance Gould

lance gould2 Whistleblowers expose illegal drug recycling in Penn pharmacy companyTwo separate whistleblower lawsuits accusing pharmacy company Med-Fast of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Iserve Technologies, a Med-Fast subsidiary, and executives of the companies have led to a $2,666,300 resolution of criminal and civil charges connected to a scheme of recycling unused drugs for re-use and re-sale to nursing homes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania said that Iserve pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to fill prescriptions for nursing homes with recycled unused drugs that were shuffled into drug stocks on hand at Med-Fast’s Institutional Pharmacy. Iserve will pay $400,000 in forfeiture, a $44,600 criminal fine, and a $400 special assessment.

Additionally, the court ordered Iserve to pay the U.S. $1,555,000 as part of a civil settlement agreement to reimburse Medicare and the Pennsylvania Medicaid program for overbilling.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Med-Fast drivers collected the unused medications from nursing homes and delivered them to an Iserve operation inside the Med-Fast facility in Aliquippa. Workers at the facility would remove the recycled unused drugs and return them to stock.

This practice caused drugs from different manufacturers and different expiration dates to be mixed in with other drugs in stock bottles. The employees were then ordered to produce fake labels and send the medications out for resale to other nursing homes.

The criminal charges against Iserve follow earlier guilty pleas on related charges against Gino Cordisco, 47, of Mars, Pennsylvania, the former Med-Fast vice president of store operations, and Correna Pfeiffer, 37, of Monaca, Pennsylvania, the former manager of a Med-Fast Institutional Pharmacy in Aliquippa.

Med-Fast and its owner Douglas Kaleugher also agreed to pay the U.S. about $666,000 to settle civil False Claims Act allegations, bring the total amounts paid to 2,666,300.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the civil settlement resolves allegations in two separate whistleblower lawsuits filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The whistleblower complaints alleged that Med-Fast violated the False Claims Act by distributing and submitting claims to Medicare for the drugs it had recycled from nursing facilities serviced by its institutional pharmacy and submitting claims for drugs that differed from the medications identified as part of the claims submitted to the federal healthcare programs.

The settlement stemming from the whistleblower complaints also resolves allegations that Med-Fast violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Pennsylvania Medicaid for the retail-packaged version of diabetes testing strips when it had actually supplied patients with cheaper mail-order-packaged version of the same strips.

The conspiracy charge against Mr. Cordisco carries a maximum total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. The conspiracy charge against Iserve Technologies, Inc. carries a maximum total sentence of five years probation, a fine of $500,000, or both.

* * *

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Sources:
U.S. Department of Justice
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Don’t let fraud scams leave you ‘Scrooged’ this holiday season

posted on:
December 15, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud

consumer money loss bank fraud shutterstock 547096873 Don’t let fraud scams leave you Scrooged this holiday seasonHigh-profile data breaches have snagged headlines consistently throughout 2017, according to Wired, which maintains a running list of the incidents. From Uber to Equifax, to Yahoo, to Chipotle, each breach has whittled away at consumers’ confidence in cyber security, and rightly so.

But it isn’t only the big data breaches that can plague consumers financially. NBC News reports that online fraud attempts during 2016 increased by 31 percent. Scams tend to be the same throughout the year, even during the holidays, but consumers “are more apt to fall for them during the holidays,” said Donna Gregory, unit chief for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is known as IC3.

As scammers, who obviously don’t mind being on the “naughty list” this holiday season, have grown more cunning, there is no doubt consumers should be on high alert when making online purchases, opening electronic greeting cards or responding to Facebook posts soliciting “Secret Santas.” While the holiday season is a scammer’s favorite time of the year, even the meanest of Grinches should not leave you “Scrooged” this holiday season.

Here are some of the more prevalent scams to watch for and tips to try and avoid scammers’ traps.

Holiday Gift Exchange or Secret Santa/Secret Sister on Social Media
Social media has helped propel scams. The IC3 unit reports that “social media played a role in more than $66 million in losses [n 2016].” One of the most recent scams started popping up on social media in 2015, Forbes reported. The Holiday Gift Exchange, also known as Secret Santa or Secret Sister Gift Exchange, resurfaced in 2016 and again this year.

The viral hoax promises the unwitting that if they buy a gift for $10 or more and send it to one secret sister, they will receive 36 gifts in return. Experts say it is nothing more than an old-fashioned pyramid scheme, which is against the law and, at least for Facebook, violates the terms of a user’s agreement. They warn that sharing personal details, often encouraged by such scams, makes consumers vulnerable to identity theft and other scams.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to be aware of “too-good-to-be-true deals.” The savvy consumer should decline offers for virtual gift exchanges.

Gift Card Scams
Gift cards are at the top of 41 percent of Americans’ wish list for the 11th consecutive year, NBC News reports. They are also a hot commodity for scammers. A more recent gift card scam targets consumers through online gift card exchanges, which allow people to sell unused gift cards at a discount. Often, however, the purchaser risks not getting the card at all or getting a card that has already been used. Gift cards have unique barcodes or numbers and once someone has the numbers, they can easily drain the gift card’s value.

While there are reputable sites where consumers can purchase discounted gift cards, experts say it is still safer to purchase the card at full price from the retailer.

Those purchasing gift cards at brick-and-mortar retail stores should also beware. Thieves with inexpensive scanners can scan the barcodes of gift cards that line store shelves and kiosks. The personal finance site GoBankingRates.com recommends:

  • Be suspicious of and avoid buying any gift cards that are in packaging that appears to be tampered with.
  • If a retail outlet keeps its gift cards out in the open and not in any packaging, ask the clerk or manager if he has any gift cards behind the counter or in the back of the store.
  • Only purchase gift cards from trusted retailers or their websites; avoid purchasing them from third-party vendors you aren’t familiar with.

Electronic Greeting Cards and other phishing emails
If electronic holiday greeting cards, or e-Cards, pop up in your inbox it may just be a fraudster’s phishing attempt. NBC News explains that while “these emails appear to be coming from any popular e-Card site” they include a malicious link that can expose a device to malware. Fraudulent e-Cards are usually not personalized to the recipient, and the sender’s email address will likely seem suspicious. The recipient can also hover the cursor over the link, without clicking, to see the website. If the link doesn’t match the purported website that is also a tell-tale sign the e-Card is fake.

The Detroit Free Press reports that two in five consumers in the U.S. become victims of online phishing attacks. The outlet warns consumers to slow down, especially when shopping online, know how to spot fake websites that mimic real retail sites, and be alert for fake email alerts.

Also, consumers report receiving email alerts about order confirmation despite not having placed an order. The alert is another phishing attempt. If a consumer receives an email, for example, from FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service claiming a package cannot be delivered, the recipient should not open any attachments or click on any links. Rather, they should consider calling the company to determine if the alert is legitimate. Consumers should also be suspicious of incoming phone calls from unknown or unsolicited sources.

Counterfeit Goods
Deep discounts, say 75 percent off retail price, on luxury items like Louis Vuitton handbags and Rolex watches should send up red flags rather than celebratory jubilations. While knock-off or copycat products “don’t pretend to be the real deal,” the BBB explains, “[c]ounterfeit goods mimic original merchandise, right down to the trademarked logo, but are made with inferior products and workmanship.”

Items that carry a name brand logo, smart phones and other electronics, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, auto parts, perfume and blue jeans are among commonly counterfeited products and can be sold online, by street merchants, at flea markets and even in traditional retail stores. Consumers should avoid purchasing from unknown or sketchy sellers. If a to-good-to-be-true deal is too hard to pass up, consider checking the business out on the BBB website (bbb.org) before making a purchase.

Coupon Scams
The couponing craze has boosted the demand for sites that provide users with coupon and promotional discount codes for online shopping. Experts warn that legitimate sites usually don’t require users to register personal information or buy anything to use the discounts. If a site prompts consumers to share personal information, it may be better to move along to a different, safer site.

 

While Grinches are working to rob wallets and steal holiday cheer, consumers can arm themselves with information about scams, slow down a little amidst the hustle and bustle and employ some common-sense defense tactics to keep them from saying, “Bah humbug,” this year.

Sources:
Wired
NBC News
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Forbes
Better Business Bureau
GoBankingRates.com
Detroit Free Press

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Beasley Allen representing Houston County against opioid companies

posted on:
December 14, 2017

author:
Staff

opioid oxycodone Shutterstock Beasley Allen representing Houston County against opioid companiesBeasley Allen has filed the second lawsuit in as many days against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The complaint filed on behalf of Houston County, Alabama, alleges the marketing of these drugs contributed to the creation of the opioid epidemic, a public health and safety crisis. Responding to the opioid crisis has required Houston County to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. On Dec. 13, Beasley Allen filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of the City of Greenville, Alabama. Houston County is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton and Ryan Kral.

“These lawsuits demonstrate how communities are struggling under the burden of the opioid epidemic,” Jones said. “This is a crisis created by the pharmaceutical industry, which instead of investigating suspicious orders of prescription opiates, turned a blind eye in favor of making a profit. They intentionally misled doctors and the public about the risks of these dangerous drugs, and municipal governments are left struggling to cope with the consequences.”

Economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic include costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care and treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.

Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, LTD.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Noramco, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLS; Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis, LLC; Actavis Pharm a, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.

The complaint is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, case number 1:17-CV-838.

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

A Christmas present safety guide from the North Pole

posted on:
December 14, 2017

author:
Staff

Santa list naughty nice Christmas A Christmas present safety guide from the North PoleAs the song goes, “You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.” Saint Nick’s big night is quickly approaching. He’s making his list and checking it twice.

Which list you ask? His toy safety list, of course. How else would Santa make sure he has the perfect gift for each girl and boy? He’s kindly provided us with his pro tips from the North Pole as we work on buying the perfect gift for everyone on our gift lists. Check out a few of Kris Kringle’s toy safety tips below:

  • Buy Age-Appropriate Toys – Check the label before buying to make sure the gift recipient can safely handle the toy. Avoid toys with small parts – think anything with parts that can fit through a toilet paper tube – for children younger than age 3, including fidget spinners and small bouncy balls. Keep deflated balloons from children younger than age 8 and avoid sharp edges or points on toys.
  • Check For Toxins – Toys can contain elevated levels of lead and even asbestos. A recent study from U.S. PIRG Education FUND, a nonprofit that works to protect consumer interests, tested fidget spinners from Target and found two distributed by i Toy LLC “contained extremely high levels of lead,” which can negatively impact physical and cognitive development.
  • Think Twice About High-Powered Magnets – Though they may look like a fun time for children, high-powered magnet sets should be kept away from those younger than age 14. These magnets can attach to each other inside a child’s body if they are swallowed and can cause internal perforations. “These aren’t like normal magnets. If they’re swallowed, they can cause serious, lifelong injuries or even death,” said William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports.
  • Ride Safely – Make sure you have the right size helmets and safety gear for children who are receiving bikes, scooters, skateboards, skates and hoverboards. Ensure they are worn properly.
  • Beware of Explosive Batteries – Lithium ion batteries have exploded in devices such as smartphones, electronic cigarettes and hoverboards. Using a third-party charger could increase the risk of a device exploding. Be sure to keep the batteries out of the reach of children.
  • Fly Drones Safely – Just like with a sleigh, flying a drone makes you a pilot under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Always fly a drone below 400 feet and keep it within your line of sight. Don’t fly over groups of people, stadiums, sports events, near emergency response efforts or other aircraft. For additional drone safety information visit, the FAA’s unmanned aircraft page.

As this list shows, all the toys from Santa’s workshop are held to the highest quality standards, and the rest of us must take precautions to make sure our Christmas gifts bring nothing but joy, too. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for recalled toys and additional product safety information.

Sources:
Consumer Product Safety Commission
CNN
U.S. PIRG Education FUND
Consumer Reports
Beasley Allen
Federal Aviation Administration

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Beasley Allen recognizes firm’s Litigator of the Year, leading lawyers

posted on:
December 13, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

Mike Andrews Beasley Allen recognizes firms Litigator of the Year, leading lawyersBeasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., announced Mike Andrews was selected as the firm’s Litigator of the Year for 2017. The annual recognition is presented to the attorney who demonstrates exceptional professional skill throughout the course of the year and best represents the firm’s ideal of “helping those who need it most.” Mike practices in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability Section. He handles complex product liability cases involving serious injury or death and has handled several cases against manufacturers of aircraft, light and heavy trucks, automobiles, and agricultural and construction equipment.

In addition to selecting the overall “top attorney,” Beasley Allen recognized excellence in its four sections, naming the Lawyer(s) of the Year in each. Honorees for 2017 are LaBarron Boone, Personal Injury Section Lawyer of the Year; Leslie Pescia, Fraud Section Lawyer of the Year; Leigh O’Dell and Ted Meadows, Mass Torts Section Lawyers of the Year; and Rick Stratton, Toxic Torts Section Lawyer of the Year.

“I am honored to work with a group of such outstanding lawyers who make it their personal duty to take good care of their clients,” firm founder Jere Beasley said. “Our attorneys receiving these awards know the value of exceptional work. As members of the Beasley Allen team, they do an excellent job of providing our clients with their best and working with colleagues and staff to seek justice. We are blessed to have them here at the firm. These are recognitions that are well-deserved.”

In addition to the professional awards given each year, the Board of Directors elects to recognize an attorney each year in memory of Beasley Allen lawyer Chad Stewart, who passed away in 2014. The Chad Stewart Award was created to recognize a lawyer who best exemplifies Chad’s spirit of service to God, his family and the practice of law in the task of “helping those who need it most.” The 2017 Chad Stewart Award was presented to Andy Birchfield. He is the head of the firm’s Mass Torts. He is an attorney dedicated to his clients and focused on helping others.

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Beasley Allen files lawsuit related to opioid epidemic for City of Greenville

posted on:
December 13, 2017

author:
Staff

opioid oxycodone Shutterstock Beasley Allen files lawsuit related to opioid epidemic for City of GreenvilleLawyers from Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the City of Greenville, Alabama, against a number of manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid medications. The complaint alleges the marketing of these drugs contributed to the creation of the opioid epidemic, a public health and safety crisis, and as a result of responding to the opioid crisis within its communities the City of Greenville has sustained economic damages and continues to incur a significant financial burden. The City of Greenville is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton and Ryan Kral.

“These manufacturers aggressively pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, turning patients into addicts for their own corporate profits,” Jones said. “The manufacture and distribution of these dangerous drugs, along with the intentional misrepresentation to doctors and the public about their risks, breached these companies’ legal duties under federal and state law. Rather than investigate suspicious orders of prescription opiates, they simply pocketed the profits at the expense of the public.”

Economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic include costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care and treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.

Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, LTD.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Noramco, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLS; Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis, LLC; Actavis Pharm a, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.

The complaint is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, case number 2:17-CV-836.

For more information about litigation related to the opioid epidemic, contact Rhon Jones, Toxic Torts Section Head, at 800-898-2034 or email Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com.

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

More than 3,000 lawsuits pending against Cook Medical IVC filters

posted on:
December 13, 2017

author:
Melissa Prickett

melissa prickett1 More than 3,000 lawsuits pending against Cook Medical IVC filtersThe U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) reports that there are 3,081 lawsuits pending against Cook Medical, Inc. (Cook), in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the company’s retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters.

Retrievable IVC filters are used as an alternative in trauma patients when they are unable to take blood thinners. The cage-like device is used to help prevent venous thromboembolism, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. It is implanted in the inferior vena cava to catch blood clots that form in the legs and keep them from reaching the heart, lungs and other vital organs, as discussed previously by Beasley Allen.

Patients have filed lawsuits nationwide against Cook and other IVC filter manufacturers because the design is more fragile than that of their predecessors – permanent IVC filters. Fragmented pieces of retrievable IVC filters can travel through the body perforating or puncturing organs and causing other potentially life-threating injuries. In one study, the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology reports, Cook’s Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters have 49 percent and 43 percent perforation rates, respectively.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in August 2010 that retrievable IVC filters should be implanted only for short-term use because of the adverse effects linked to the devices, as Beasley Allen previously reported. Following the FDA safety warning, filter placements dropped by 29 percent. Yet, the rate of IVC filter placement remains significantly higher in the U.S. than in five large European countries.

The Cook MDL is located in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District for Indiana. Another IVC filter MDL has consolidated 3,085 claims against C.R. Bard, Inc. That is pending in U.S. District Court in Arizona, according to the JPML, while cases involving Cordis IVC filters are consolidated in California state court.

If you would like more information about IVC filters, contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Beasley Allen
Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

International Agency for Research on Cancer finalizes benzene carcinogenicity

posted on:
December 11, 2017

author:
John Tomlinson

john tomlinson International Agency for Research on Cancer finalizes benzene carcinogenicityIn October, 27 scientists from around the world met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a working group to finalize their assessment of benzene’s link to cancer, the Lancet Oncology reports.

The earliest evidence of the toxic chemical’s link to cancer dates back to the late 1920s, though the carcinogenicity link was not conclusively proven until 1979 through the use of animal studies. The working group this year reviewed important new findings “from several large occupational cohort studies” offering more evidence of the link between occupational benzene exposure and cancer, specifically AML and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia.

Beasley Allen has previously reported that prolonged exposure to benzene, such as in the workplace, is a risk factor for the development of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which begins as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

Benzene is a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries, and is also found in cigarette smoke, gasoline and motor vehicle exhaust, and some glues, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies, and paints. Workers within these industries are at a higher risk of benzene exposure.

The sweet-smelling toxic chemical can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes, as Beasley Allen has discussed. Those who develop AML may not initially be aware they are displaying symptoms of the disease. This is because the symptoms, including fever, feeling tired, and easy bruising or bleeding present gradually and can be easily linked to other more common conditions. A combination of blood and bone marrow tests is used to diagnose AML.

* * *

If you would like more information about benzene exposure and benzene-related cancers such as AML, you can contact John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com. You can also find more information at www.benzene-exposure.com.

Sources:
The Lancet Oncology
Beasley Allen

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

CFTC whistleblower program finally gaining steam

posted on:
December 8, 2017

author:
Archie Grubb

category:
Fraud

archie grubb1 CFTC whistleblower program finally gaining steamThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) whistleblower program has seen a surge of activity in the past few months, and the agency expects to pay whistleblower awards of $45.5 million.

Speaking at a recent conference in Washington D.C., CFTC Whistleblower Office director Christopher Ehrman said “This year for us is going to be huge.”

“As of Sept. 30, 2017, the Commission has determined that it is probable that it will make whistleblower awards of approximately $45.5 million as a result of valid whistleblower claims on Commission-imposed sanctions that have already been collected,” an independent auditor’s report commissioned by the CFTC Office of Inspector General stated on Oct. 27, according to Forbes.

Payouts of $45.5 million would be a record for the CFTC since its whistleblower program was created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. In fact, the figure is more than four times the total amount the CFTC has paid to informants since its whistleblower program launched.

According to Forbes, the CFTC’s whistleblower program still lags behind the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program, which was also created by Dodd-Frank to combat the rampant Wall Street fraud that dragged the U.S. into an economic crisis in 2008.

However, annual increases in reports submitted to the CFTC whistleblower program indicate that more and more people are becoming familiar with it and its potential benefits.

In May, the CFTC announced it that its board unanimously approved measures to make it less risky for would-be whistleblowers to call out fraud and other wrongdoing. These measures prohibit employers from retaliating against whistleblowers and allow employees to sue their employer for whistleblower-related retaliation.

Additionally, the new measures also give the CFTC authority to take enforcement action against any employer that retaliates against its employees for whistleblowing activity. Like the SEC’s whistleblower program, the CFTC does not disclose any information about a case that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

The CFTC pays monetary awards to whistleblowers ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the total sanctions when those sanctions top $1 million.

According to Forbes, some of the whistleblower reports the CFTC received last year related to “virtual currency trading, spoofing, market manipulation, false reporting, misrepresentations to customers regarding the handling of their accounts, fraud involving foreign currency exchanges, Ponzi schemes and other off-exchange investment scams involving futures.”

* * *

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Sources:
CFTC
Forbes

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

76 years after Pearl Harbor: technology advancements for military-related TBI

posted on:
December 7, 2017

author:
Mike Andrews

Mike Andrews 76 years after Pearl Harbor: technology advancements for military related TBIToday we honor the 2,402 military personnel and civilians killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago, which launched the U.S. into World War II. As we honor their courage, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by our veterans and active-duty service members to defend the freedom and values Americans hold dear. While some return with very visible reminders of their sacrifices, others return with less apparent wounds, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).

Beasley Allen has previously described a TBI as a “blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.” It has become the signature injury of the of the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center notes that 361,092 military-related TBIs, or mTBIs, have been reported since 2000. However, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains that “[t]he first large-scale evidence of military-related mTBI occurred in World War I… in association with the frequent use of high explosives in trench warfare.”

In the more than seven decades following Pearl Harbor, the military has invested significant resources in researching mTBIs, including how to quickly diagnose and treat the injuries. These injuries can have long-lasting effects on service members, which has raised concerns among military leaders regarding the health and safety of individual service members, the level of unit readiness, and troop retention.

Most recently, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracted with Neural Analytics, Inc. to develop the Lucid System, a device “designed to measure and monitor physical signs of TBI,” according to Army Times. With a half hour of training, ideally, the device and software will give troops the capability to more effectively diagnose mTBIs and their severity and take swift action to save more lives on the battlefield. The estimated completion date is within 18 months, or by March 2019.

While there is no effective treatment or intervention for TBIs, the NCBI reports that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be promising. While the therapy remains an experimental treatment for TBI, it has shown beneficial results in stroke patients and varying results in people suffering PTSD and TBIs.

Last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin announced that the VA will begin offering HBOT to a limited number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – even though the treatment is still considered off-label for treating the condition, according to Task and Purpose. The military will monitor the results to determine the treatment’s effectiveness in patients with PTSD.

The step could open the treatment up in the future to those suffering from mTBI since researchers have found evidence linking the two conditions. One study of active-duty Marines reported by JAMA Psychiatry found that “[e]ven when accounting for predeployment symptoms, prior TBI, and combat intensity, TBI during the most recent deployment is the strongest predictor of postdeployment PTSD symptoms.”

With new technology and more awareness about the less visual wounds of war, veterans and active-duty service members may have more opportunities to address injuries that resulted in conditions such as mTBIs. Yet, more can and must be done to better protect those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.

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Mike Andrews, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, handles cases involving traumatic brain injuries. You can contact him at 800-898-2034 or Mike.Andrews@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Business Insider
Beasley Allen
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Army Times
Task and Purpose
JAMA Psychiatry

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