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Topics: CongressChris PappasSteven Liebermansubstandard careveteran carehuman failinglicense requirementsrecent VA Inspector General report

  • In the past months, a former VA pathologist was charged with manslaughter in the deaths of three veteran patients and is alleged to have botched diagnosis in 3,000 cases, a former nurse has been charged with stealing pain medication from veterans, a VA staff member is accused of sexual assaults and another former staff member is a person of interest in multiple veteran homicides , among others.
  • "VA removes people who willfully cause harm in patient care," Lieberman said.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is "severely" short of nurses, psychiatrists, police and human resources staff.
  • A new bipartisan bill introduced into the House last week hopes to address some of those issues with HR staff -- reforming hiring practices.
  • Human resources management hires are the top non-medical staff shortage at VA, followed by police.

 

Veterans deserve the utmost care and medical assistance. We are here to provide justice for those who have been a victim of medical malpractice at a VA hospital or another medical facility. For more information, including an explanation of what to expect in the legal process, a checklist for parents and victims, answers to frequently asked questions, and other information, please click here, call or text Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. today at 312.553.4900.

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Topics: RemingtonSandy HookNational Rifle Associationfederal shield lawcriminal misusefirearm industryyear campaign

  • The Newtown families' lawyers have asked for internal Remington documents, market research, emails and other communications related to the company's marketing practices.
  • At the time, the firearms industry and President George W. Bush, who signed the law, said it was necessary to protect gun makers from " frivolous lawsuits " that could bankrupt the companies.
  • In a major blow to the firearms industry, the U.S. Supreme Court will not block the families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting from suing the gun maker Remington.
  • The nation's highest court on Tuesday denied an appeal by the Remington Arms Company to review a lower court's ruling that allowed the families to take on the gun maker in court over how it marketed the rifle used in the 2012 school massacre.
  • One of the weapons Adam Lanza used at Sandy Hook was an AR-15 style Bushmaster.
  • The Court's decision not to take on the Remington case is significant and suggests the court is not yet willing to weigh in on challenges to a federal law that has protected gun companies from lawsuits since it was enacted in 2005.
  • Remington argued it was protected under the law, but the families' suit said the federal law did not apply because they were accusing Remington of violating state laws in the marketing of the weapon.
  • The case will be remanded back to the state court for further proceedings against Remington.

 

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Topics: MolineBaby Powderovarian cancercase studiesTalctalc litigationcompelling causal evidence

  • In the paper, Moline and her colleagues present case studies of 33 people, mostly women, who were confirmed to have malignant mesothelioma, and whose only substantial exposure to asbestos was through the use of talcum powder-theoretically ruling out other causes of the disease, since asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for malignant mesothelioma.
  • On one hand, Gold says, linking mesothelioma tumors to asbestos in talc offers compelling causal evidence.
  • On Oct. 18, J&J announced a voluntary recall of a single lot of its Baby Power, after the Food and Drug Administration found "sub-trace levels" of asbestos contamination in one bottle of powder purchased online.
  • "Asbestos of the type found in talcum powder was found in all six cases evaluated," reports lead researcher Jacqueline Moline, MD.
  • Since there was no other way for these patients to have come in contact with asbestos, Moline and her team conclude that regular use of talcum powder can cause mesothelioma.
  • Because of its strong link with asbestos, some people refer to mesothelioma as asbestos cancer.

 

 

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Uber: The ride-hailing app that says it has ‘zero’ drivers (ride.guru)

Topics: Uberusual courseindependent, third-party transportation providerschief lawyerMichael toddReality distortion fieldlegal strategy

  • Uber contract drivers helped bring in more than three-quarters of the company's revenue in this year's first six months.
  • "They are not Uber drivers," Valentino, Uber executive said. "They're independent, third-party transportation providers."
  • Uber faces many lawsuits, over issues ranging from fender benders to wage disputes to more-serious incidents. 
  • If Uber drivers are reclassified as employees, Uber is susceptible to a new range of liabilities and will be held more responsible for their actions. 


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Child Abusers Run Rampant as Tech Companies Look the Other Way (nytimes.com) (jamesmarshlaw.com) - Nov 09 2019

Topics: YahooTimesGoogleMicrosoftsexual abuseDropboxPhotoDNA detection toolknown illicit content

  • The scope of the problem is only starting to be understood because the tech industry has been more diligent in recent years in identifying online child sexual abuse material, with a record 45 million photos and videos flagged last year.
  • The largest social network in the world, Facebook, thoroughly scans its platforms, accounting for over 90 percent of the imagery flagged by tech companies last year, but the company is not using all available databases to detect the material.
  • The two sisters are among the first generation of child sexual abuse victims whose anguish has been preserved on the internet, seemingly forever.
  • Mr. Gonzalez told the authorities that he had used Microsoft's search engine, Bing, to find some of the illegal photos and videos, according to court documents.
  • The web addresses were sent to Microsoft's PhotoDNA service , which is used by technology companies to identify known abuse imagery.
  • Tech companies have known for years that videos of children being sexually abused are shared on their platforms, according to former employees at Microsoft, Twitter, Tumblr and other companies.
  • A Florida man, Gregory Householder, told investigators that he had used online platforms for eight years and had regularly shared logins to Dropbox accounts with other offenders.
  • Though platforms bar child sexual abuse imagery on the web, criminals are exploiting gaps.

 

Victims of sexual abuse and electronic child pornography deserve justice. We help them find it. For more information, including an explanation of what to expect in the legal process, a checklist for parents and victims, answers to frequently asked questions, and other information, please click here, call or text Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. today at 312.553.4900.

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Grand jury indicts former Boy Scout troop leader on child porn charges (wandtv.com)

Topics: Champaign, child pornography, boy scout, Boy Scout troop leader, nudist colony, sworn affidavit, Boy scouts of america, Boy Scout programs

  • A grand jury has formally indicted a Boy Scout troop leader with child pornography trafficking charges.
  • He faces charges of receipt and possession of child pornography.
  • Champaign police and the Illinois Attorney General's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were involved in the investigation that led to charges against the suspect.

Forsberg spent more than 40 years involved in Boy Scout programs, and was arrested on Oct. 16. Authorities said they had searched his Champaign home and discovered images of boys on computers and external hard drives. 

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           New reporting reveals that over 1,000 cases of sex abuse by priests associated with the Archdiocese of Chicago have been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] since 2006.  Twenty-four new investigations have been launched in response to concerns that those cases were not properly investigated by DCFS.

           In 2006, DCFS implemented a policy that required the Archdiocese of Chicago to report suspected cases of sexual abuse involving its priests and employees. The need for this policy arose from the horrific crimes of the notorious Father Daniel McCormack and other priests who sexually abused thousands of children in the Chicago area. (Cherney, 2019).

          This 2006 program was designed to:

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        Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament (OPLL) is a relatively common but often overlooked and misdiagnosed condition that can occurs when a ligament that runs along the spinal column, in from of the spinal cord, becomes thicker and bony [“ossifies”].  This usually occurs as we age.

            If you have these symptoms, you may have OPLL:

  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand
  • Difficulty walking and leg weakness
  • Difficulty with bowel and bladder control

             OPLL exists in up to 25% of the U.S. population of individuals suffering neurologic issues that impact the neck, arms, hands and legs. Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons—the physicians who treat spine and spinal cord problems—often overlook and misdiagnose the symptoms of OPLL, due to inexperience or failure to order proper testing in patients with the above neurologic symptoms.

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     A recent report regarding medical malpractice in the U.S. estimated that diagnostic errors by physicians and hospitals resulted in “serious permanent damage” or “immediate or inevitable  death” in up to 4 million Americans annually. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 227).  These errors include:

  • Failure of physicians to properly diagnose medical conditions
  • Miscommunication between medical personnel and between physicians and patients; and
  • Failure of physicians, nurses and hospital technicians to accurately communicate test results.

    The three most common conditions that physicians and hospitals misdiagnose are:

  • Vascular events [i.e., strokes, brain bleeding, internal bleeding and hemorrhage];
  • Infections; and
  • Cancers

    These conditions are known as the “Big Three” and are responsible for nearly 75% of serious misdiagnosis-related harms in the United States. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 238). 

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       A recent report regarding medical malpractice in the U.S. estimated that diagnostic errors by physicians and hospital employees resulted in “serious permanent damage” or “immediate or inevitable death” in up to 4 million Americans annually. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 227).

      A recent study showed who is most likely to be affected

  • Average age: 49
  • Female: 51%

       The three most commonly misdiagnosed diseases, which represent 75% of the serious misdiagnosis-related harms, are:

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Boy Scouts could be hit with more sex abuse claims.

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“Thousands of “perversion” or “ineligible volunteer” files kept secret by the Boy Scouts for decades sit ready for trial in the offices of Hurley McKenna and Mertz.”

Willowbrook Plant Sterigenics Releasing Cancer-Causing Gas

Last Tuesday, a bipartisan lawsuit was filed urging the state to shut down Sterigenics, a plant located in the western Chicago suburb of Willowbrook, because it is violating laws and harming residents. Attorney Lisa Madigan and DuPage County’s State Attorney Robert Berlin have insisted that the plant be closed or the emissions limits should be enforced. 

 

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Posted on in Personal Injury

President Donald Trump continues to provide false information to Americans regarding preexisting conditions related to health coverage. 

 

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Christopher T. Hurley Selected for Plaintiff Attorney Achievement Award

b2ap3_thumbnail_image_166_20181022-163906_1.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_image_167_20181022-163908_1.JPGOn October 11th, the annual reception and awards for Trial Lawyer Excellence was hosted by the Jury Verdict Reporter, a division of the Chicago-based Law Bulletin. In attendance were more than 300 Illinois judges and trial attorneys and forty-five professionals received individual awards. 

 

Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. in Chicago is excited to announce that Attorney Christopher T. Hurley was awarded for Trial Lawyer Excellence by being selected as the recipient of the Plaintiff Attorney Achievement Award

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b2ap3_thumbnail_MRI-Image.jpgAs recently discussed in The Boston Globe, new research confirms the deadly toll of medical errors in the United States.  After heart disease and cancer, mistakes by medical providers are the third-leading cause of death in the US, claiming over 251,000 lives every year, according to a study published in 2016 in the journal BMJ.

While hospitals have taken steps to try to reduce mistakes, physician failure to diagnose conditions, misdiagnosis of conditions, miscommunication and the failure to accurately communicate test results continue to result in needless suffering and death of patients in America.  The risk of mistakes is greatest in situations where the physician never meets the patient and doesn’t know the patient. 

Victims of medical mistakes can include physician patients—HM&M represents several physicians injured due to medical malpractice – as well as lawyers who know about what can go wrong in a hospital.  One such victim is our friend Michael Mone of Boston, a top trial lawyer who has spent his life representing victims of medical malpractice. 

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Posted on in Wrongful Death

b2ap3_thumbnail_gunman.jpgThe attorneys at HMM have dedicated their lives to obtaining justice for victims of violence.  However, the NRA is actively involved in preventing any meaningful change in the law to protect Americans from gun violence.  The NRA’s advocacy of unlimited gun ownership in America contributes to a culture of violence that places all of us—and especially our children—at tremendous risk.

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Christopher T. Hurley joins the ranks of America's Top 100 Attorneys

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b2ap3_thumbnail_web1_Paccar_med-640x6392x.jpg

The Bellevue Reporter released an article this week about the $20M verdict against Paccar Inc.—The truck manufacturer based in Bellevue, Washington. See the full article here

.b2ap3_thumbnail_2000-kenworth-t800-wrecker-tow-truck-trucks-in-new-hampton-ia.jpgOn Jan. 23, 2012, Hurley McKenna & Mertz client, Quentin Ravizza was driving a 1997 Kenworth T-800 tow truck in a southwest suburb of Chicago. After detecting a mechanical error, he pulled over to assess the problem. While looking under the hood, a gust of wind slammed the hood closed, with the force of almost 1,000 pounds. It fell directly onto Mr. Ravizza’s head. He suffered severe facial fractures and the loss of his right eye.

The Hurley, McKenna & Mertz team proved that PACCAR, Inc. was negligent in its design and manufacture of the 1997 Kenworth T-800 truck because there was no adequate safety feature to prevent an unintended closure of the hood. But HM&M didn’t stop at poor design. The team presented damning evidence that PACCAR headquarters knew of similar life-threatening incidents dating back to the 1980’s, and still chose to do nothing about it.

Back in 1991 a Conoco driver, Greg Ragle, observed the involuntary hood-closure as a serious safety issue and invented a solution. He designed and produced an easily installable safety bar to hold the hood open. The invention reached PACCAR’s chief engineer, and he assured Ragle that the design had merit and would be installed on Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks in the future.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-chris.jpgNobody likes taxes— but everyone wants a qualified air traffic controller.

At tax time we complain. But it’s important to remember why we pay taxes. We want our garbage hauled away. We want the fi re department and the police nearby. We hate potholes. We want clean water, fresh air, and beautiful parks. We want someone to make sure the medicines we use are safe. We want qualified air traffic controllers. We know these things are not free, but we still complain about taxes.

The State of Oklahoma just passed a “loser pays” rule for all civil suits. This is how it happened: there was a bill with strong bi-partisan support to establish a statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases. Then at the last minute, an amendment was tacked on which requires the court to award costs and attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in ALL civil suits -- not just sexual abuse cases. There was no committee discussion of this amendment – no floor debate – it passed 44-0 in the Senate and 92-2 in the house. Then the bill was quickly signed by the Oklahoma governor. And now the people of Oklahoma have something rich people and corporations have wanted for a long time. Now in Oklahoma, the courts belong to the rich.

Imagine that your neighbor is Bill Gates and he decides to build an addition onto his big house. Imagine that his contractor excavates in a way that undermines your foundation and causes damage to your home that will cost $500,000 to repair. Would you sue him? In Illinois, you would. Not in Oklahoma. With his $87 billion net worth, Bill Gates can lose $500,000 in his sock drawer. If he loses the case and pays you and your lawyer - so what? It might just amuse him to hire some high-priced law firm to see if he can win and bankrupt you in the process. Maybe he has been wanting to tear down your house anyway? With loser pays, rich guys win - the rest of us don’t even get to play.

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