Triplet Sisters Torn Apart By Florida SUV Accident

Three young sisters had been playing in their front yard in Hudson, Florida with a friend when an SUV careened across the yard and struck the children. One of the 5-year-old triplets lost her life in the fatal car accident and one was critically injured. The third triplet and their young friend were released from the hospital with minor injuries.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a neighbor down the street had been driving the SUV and was responsible for the crash that occurred on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at approximately 7:30 p.m. She allegedly had an argument with her husband, got into the vehicle and drove away in anger. The woman responsible for the crash had been a part of a pre-trial intervention program for a fraud conviction which required her to refrain from placing herself in situations that could lead to further criminal charges.

Police have not yet charged the woman with a crime for her involvement in the situation, but officials say the investigation is ongoing. Residents on the street have voiced their concern about a nightmare such as this one caused by reckless drivers. Drivers often speed down the road where their children play. “I understand people get mad,” a relative admitted, “they get upset, but you can’t drive erratically in a neighborhood like this.”

Occupants in a vehicle can hit their head on objects in the vehicle as their body is jolted around in the car. The head trauma from the external impact can result in a brain injury.

However, traumatic brain injuries do not necessarily have to include a foreign object as their cause in an accident. A sudden deceleration of the head’s forward motion can result in a brain injury during an accident. When the forward motion of the head is abruptly halted, the brain’s motion also dramatically shifts toward the impact causing the brain to collide with one side of the skull. In some cases, the brain can ricochet inside the skull and collide with the other side.

A car accident law firm in east meadow is more than qualified to handle these cases.


Should student loan debt be discharged in bankruptcy filings?

Last month on our blog that discusses debt relief, we discussed how many students in California and throughout the entire country are discovering after they graduate from college, law school or medical school that they can barely afford to make their monthly student loan payments let alone pay for rent and groceries. The job market is extremely competitive, forcing many recent graduates to accept jobs at lower pay rates or positions outside of their field of study.
Student loan debt is certainly forcing many Californians to live paycheck by paycheck or to rely on their credit cards, but this debt is also preventing many recent graduates from being able to contribute to the growth of our economy by purchasing homes or investing in stocks. To make matters worse, no matter how unmanageable one’s student loan debt may be, San Diego residents and other U.S. consumers currently cannot have this burdensome debt discharged by filing for bankruptcy protection.
Economists and financial experts have warned that student loan debt could be the next crisis to hit the U.S., having similar effects on the economy as the mortgage meltdown in 2008 and 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, the average amount students owed in student loan debt increased by 5 percent. During 2010, students borrowed more than $100 billion to pay for tuition, room and board and other educational expenses.
With the reality that many students are graduating with debt that they cannot afford, some bankruptcy attorneys have suggested that laws be changed to allow students to discharge this debt in bankruptcy proceedings. Of course, another solution would be to regulate tuition hikes but many do not see that happening anytime in the near future.
By 2011, the total amount students and graduates owed in student loan debt exceeded $1 trillion.

Father’s rights groups argue Illinois still favors mothers, continued

Last week, we began discussing the concerns of some Illinois fathers who believe that the Washington DC family court system continues to favor mothers over fathers in child custody cases, even though the court system is supposed to approach each case by evaluating what will be in the best interest of the child. As a result, many have joined father’s rights groups in Illinois to fight for the equal rights of mothers and fathers in child custody cases.

Prior to Illinois adopting the “Best Interests” doctrine in the 1970s, the state’s family law court system followed the “Tender Years” doctrine when determining child custody. The Tender Years doctrine basically implied that it was more important for a child to be with his or her mother from birth through the age of 13 because women were viewed as better caretakers than men. Many fathers argue that judges are still more inclined to misinterpret a child’s best interests for needing the care of a mother instead of the equal care of both the mother and father.

When determining what will be in the best interest of a child, one attorney said that a judge will most importantly look at the stability each parent can offer to his or her child. If each parent lives in a different community, a judge may be less inclined to award shared parenting or joint custody in a case. Some believe that extensive traveling and going to different schools may also disrupt a child’s life.

Illinois Fathers, a father’s rights group, determined that mothers are granted custody nearly 90 percent of the time in Illinois while fathers are only granted primary custody 3 percent of the time. The group believes that only 7 percent of child custody cases result in joint custody or shared parenting in the state.

Fortunately, the importance of fathers’ rights is gaining recognition throughout the state and the entire country. Fathers’ legal rights have improved when it comes to adoption, child custody and visitation cases. However, Illinois Fathers believes that the state still has a ways to go before the family court system truly treats mothers and fathers equally.



Labor Management Relations

We work with employers in employment law in all aspects of labor management relations, including management training and union avoidance campaigns.  If an election petition is filed, we assist management throughout the campaign.  We hold meetings with supervisors to provide them with legally correct responses to common employee questions, and we draft appropriate campaign materials, from speeches to leaflets.  Of course, we also represent our clients in all proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and during collective bargaining negotiations.  In the event of a strike threat, we assist our clients by drafting strike preparation manuals tailored to their individual needs and holding meetings with management and supervisors.  We have extensive experience in seeking necessary injunctive relief regarding picket line activity, including violence, threats, and trespass.  Finally, we represent our clients in unfair labor practice charges and litigation, and arbitrations

Late Congressman to be Honored With Life-Sized Statue

Plans have been announced to honor late U.S. Congressman John Murtha with a statue in the 12th Congressional District in Pennsylvania, where he served 36 years.

According to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Murtha died in February of this year of complications resulting from gall bladder surgery.

The newspaper says the life-sized statue is being paid for by veteran’s groups. It will be erected in Johnstown’s Veterans Park, an appropriate location for a memorial to the long-time military man.

Murtha joined the Marines in 1952, serving in active duty and later the reserves until retiring in 1990. He was the first veteran of the Viet Nam War elected to serve in Congress.

He received a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts during his tours in Viet Nam.

Murtha’s widow, Joyce, said the statue is a wonderful tribute to her late husband.

She said, “Jack’s priorities were always Johnstown and the military.”

While John Murtha lived a full life, the congressman and war hero was prematurely taken from his family and constituents by a remarkably common operation.

Over half a million gall bladder operations are performed annually in the United States.

After Murtha’s death, it was widely reported that doctors inadvertently sliced his intestine in the course of the laparoscopic surgery. The cut caused an infection that proved fatal.

Many observers wondered aloud afterwards if the longtime public servant hadn’t been killed by a preventable medical error.

Medical experts told media outlets that a nick to the intestines is extremely rare during gall bladder surgery.

Murtha had been discharged from the hospital following the surgery, but was readmitted a couple of days later with a fever and infection. Several days later, he died from complications.




Restaurant accused of contributing to slip and fall accident

It is very important for restaurants to maintain a safe dining environment for their customers. Slipping hazards are one thing that can compromise the safety of restaurant customers. Thus, restaurant owners need to take steps to promptly address these hazards when they arise. Recently, a restaurant in Texas has been accused of contributing to a slip and fall accident by negligently allowing a hazard to be present on its premises.

The accident reportedly occurred on December 24, 2010 at a restaurant in Houston, Texas. That day, a woman was eating at the restaurant. The woman claims that water was present on a section of the restaurant’s floor. The woman alleges that she slipped on this water and fell. She claims that this fall caused her to suffer serious injuries.

The woman has now brought a lawsuit against the restaurant. The woman claims that the restaurant was negligent in allowing the water to be present on the floor, as it posed a slipping hazard to customers. The woman claims that this negligence caused her accident and injuries.

When water is spilled or pools on a restaurant’s floor, it can become a dangerous slipping hazard. Slipping hazards can cause restaurant patrons to suffer accidents which can result in serious injuries, as is alleged in this case. Thus, it is very important for restaurants to have practices in place to promptly detect water-related slipping hazards. Also, it is important for restaurants to take steps to promptly address hazards that are detected, such as removing the hazards, barricading them off or warning customers of their presence.


No prescription drug is completely safe, because every drug comes with the risk of some side effects. It is important for pharmaceutical companies to disclose all relevant information about the dangers of a drug so that patients can weigh the benefits against the possible side effects and make an informed decision.

If pharmaceutical companies intentionally withhold important information about dangerous drugs, they may be subject to personal injury and pharmaceutical liability lawsuits when the truth finally comes out.

Recently, a New York trial against Swiss drug company Novartis ended in a $10.45 million jury award to the plaintiff. In 2006, the woman filed a complaint against Novartis alleging that the drug Zometa, which had been taking during treatments for breast cancer, had ultimately caused osteonecrosis of the jaw. In plain English, this means she suffered bone death in her jaw.

The woman’s attorneys were able to provide the jury with some damaging pieces of evidence. A 2003 email from a Novartis marketing employee warned of a “quite damaging” report that linked Zometa to jawbone complications such as osteonecrosis. A later email from the same employee detailed plans on how to prevent or mitigate the damage caused by the report. The email said: “In summary: we’ll try to avoid that the paper is ever published; we will be ready to react in case it gets published.”

Based on this evidence, it seems clear that Novartis tried to conceal important information about potential Zometa side effects. As such, the plaintiff and other patients were unable to make an informed decision about taking Zometa, and they suffered serious health consequences as a result.

This case is one of only eight Zometa-jawbone cases that have gone to trial. Of the eight cases, four have resulted in victories for the plaintiffs. Hopefully, more injured victims will be able to successfully hold Novartis accountable in court.


In recent weeks we have highlighted the pressing issue of devastating teen auto accidents. We noted that New Jersey legislators are renewing their commitment to curb distracted driving among teens and older drivers. We also discussed the fact that grass-roots efforts aimed at educating and inspiring teens to drive safely are being spearheaded by the families of accident victims. Each of these stories focused on those elements of teen driving safety concerns that have not yet been adequately addressed.

Thankfully, one New Jersey effort focused on reducing the rate of serious auto accidents among teens seems to be actively benefitting the state’s youngest drivers. The small, red decals that teens are required to display on their license plates seem to have inspired a significant reduction in crashes among drivers in this age group.

It has been over a year since the controversial red dots first became a fixture on New Jersey roads. They are meant to alert law enforcement officers to drivers who are prohibited from certain behaviors, and also to inspire teens to adhere to their probationary license restrictions.

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, teen auto accidents have fallen by nearly 10 percent since the red dots became mandatory. In addition, law enforcement witnessed a nearly 15 percent increase in the citation rate for teen driving restriction violations. Essentially, more teens are being held accountable for irresponsible driving behavior and their accident rate is falling dramatically as a result.

There is still much work to be done toward keeping New Jersey’s teen drivers safe, as we have noted in recent posts. However, significant progress on this issue has been made in the last year and that is a milestone worth celebrating.


When a loved one becomes too ill or injured to care for himself or herself, the situation may require that he or she be temporarily or permanently placed in a nursing facility. Many nursing home staff members are caring, considerate and professional individuals. These dependable staff members are an asset to society and should be commended for their hard work.

However, not all nursing home employees are professional and considerate caregivers. The current statistics indicating how many patients are affected each year by nursing home abuse prove this fact. Therefore, it is critical for the residents’ loved ones to both stay alert to signs of abuse and to advocate on their behalf if any of these signs become evident.

If the resident seems malnourished, dehydrated, does not have his/her hygiene properly attended to or suddenly loses his or her independence, it is important that you start advocating for your loved one before the situation becomes critical.

In terms of advocacy, it is often beneficial to communicate directly with the patient’s caregivers before speaking with nursing facility administration. If these caregivers do not appropriately respond to your concerns, then by all means take your concerns to the administration. If administration then fails to respond, it may be advisable to seek experienced legal advice on this situation. By advocating through the “ranks,” you give your loved one the best chance of obtaining help immediately. However, if the situation presents an emergency, seek whatever help you need in the moment.

Lawsuit Claims New Jersey Woman Died From A Defective Supplement

Health supplements are a booming industry. Americans want nutrition to be convenient and quick, and are therefore willing to pay big bucks for products that deliver concentrated doses of vitamins and nutrients. In some cases, supplements can be a good way to restore or maintain health in older or physically infirm individuals.

But like all products, health supplements can be dangerous if there is a compromise in quality or manufacturing standards. Recently, the family of a deceased New Jersey woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a company that manufactures a popular herbal health supplement drink.

The 88-year-old woman reportedly took 60 servings of the product over a period of three months in late 2009 and early 2010. She did not exceed the dose recommended on the packaging. However, due to supply contamination at the factory, the drink powder which she was consuming allegedly had levels of Vitamin D that were 1,000 times higher than recommended.

In certain cases, Vitamin D can reach toxicity levels in the human body. According to her family, who filed the lawsuit in Manhattan, the woman was “in good physical health” before consuming the herbal supplement. However, taking the product allegedly caused “extremely painful, severe and life-threatening injuries to body and mind,” including heart damage and kidney failure, her family says.

The grieving family’s case against the manufacturer could be aided by news of other health complaints and lawsuits against the company, including a lawsuit by a New Jersey lawyer the very nutrition expert and radio-show host whose name endorses the product.

Health supplement products often make claims such as “all natural,” and most do not require a prescription. But it is important to remember that they can be just as dangerous as defective drugs if quality and manufacturing standards are not maintained.