Fraud – Court Finds Defendants & Defense Law Firm Hid Evidence

September 17, 2014

This is epic! There are often times when I suspect a defense firm of playing not entirely by the rules, but those suspicions always remain at the suspicion stage and do not end up translating themselves into actual proof of malfeasance–although it is not the result of a lack of trying, it is just that either we are overly suspicious or those who do this sort off the rules acts are just very good at it. This finding however, makes me feel that perhaps I am not overly suspicious… Read on!

Last week, an extraordinary decision was issued by the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals in an asbestos case, which really should rock the corporate defense bar. In the case, Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., asbestos victims provided evidence to the court that “that BASF and [‘the New York law firm that defended it for years in asbestos cases, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP’] systematically collected and destroyed or hid evidence of asbestos-contaminated products produced by a BASF predecessor, Engelhard, in order to evade liability and forge quick settlements.” See more here. It was enough evidence to revive a fraud case against BASF and its law firm for “lying about the toxic material, then depriving those injured by it of their day in court.”

This federal decision comes in the wake of fraud allegations made against a company called Garlock Sealing Technologies, which makes asbestos-containing gaskets. In that case, victims’ lawyers were initially accused of withholding certain information from Garlock – an absurd claim because, as I wrote in an earlier post, the supposedly “withheld” information was already in the company’s possession. If I were accused of committing fraud when I did no such thing, I’d start looking into it. And that’s exactly what happened, leading to a brief filed in June by Caplin & Drysdale, finding a ton of evidence proving the exact opposite to be true; that Garlock was the party that “violated [the judges’] discovery orders, hid evidence from the bankruptcy court and presented false testimony …. ‘Garlock has committed a fraud upon the court,’ the accompanying memo said in its first sentence.'” It’s a brutal brief, which you can read here.

via Corporate Lawyers Breaking Bad | Joanne Doroshow.

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Medical Malpractice – Feds Will Release Hospital Mistake Data

September 9, 2014

This is very important news. Releasing publicly and naming providers who commit easily preventable mistakes such as leaving a foreign object inside a patient after a surgery is done will go a long way in helping these Hospitals to improve their practices. The important thins to remember is that these are mistakes that are preventable and leads to patient death or further injuries and complications.

This is very different and distinct from an operation that does not lead to an expected result–medicine is an art and human body is a complicated machine and bad results may occur absent any sort of negligence.

Federal regulators are reversing course and will resume publicly releasing data on hospital mistakes, including when foreign objects are left in patients’ bodies or people get the wrong blood type.

USA TODAY reported last month that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quietly stopped publicly reporting a host of life-threatening mistakes, after denying in 2013 that it would do so.

CMS says it will make this data on eight “hospital-acquired conditions” HACs available on its website.

“We are working to make it available as a public-use file for researchers and others who are interested in the data,” CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said in an e-mail. “It’s been requested, so we will make it available.”

via Feds reverse course, will release hospital mistake data.

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Dog Bite Prevention Tips – National Dog Bite Prevention Week

May 22, 2013

From May 20th to the 26th it’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week in the United States, an initiative put on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and one in five dog bites results in injuries that require medical attention. There are ways to make dog bites less likely and to help prevent children from being bitten by dogs.

To help prevent children from being bitten by dogs, teach the following basic safety tips and review them regularly:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream.
  • Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

via CDC – Dog Bite Prevention.

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Slip, Trip & Fall Injuries – Safety Tip from Fermilab Today: Walk Like a Duck!

November 29, 2011

duck

To avoid slips, trips and falls, walk like a duck with your feet pointed slightly outward to establish a more secure center of balance.

Each year 265,000 people in the United States lose at least one day of work time because of non-fatal injuries from slips, trips and falls, according to the National Safety Council.Slips, trips and falls result in 17 percent of all non-fatal workplace injuries per year, the highest injury rate of any regulated activity. They are also the second leading cause of injury and death in the utility and construction industry. Slips, trips and falls can result in everything from mere embarrassment to pulled muscles.

Falls are usually divided into two areas – same level and from a height. Fermilab’s incident history tells us most of our falls are of the same-level variety.

By incorporating a few of these prevention steps in your safety plan, you can reduce the amount of slips, trips and falls at your location.

  • Be aware of current weather conditions and how it could affect walking surfaces.
  • Scan ahead while walking to spot any hazards ahead.
  • Remove hazards you encounter, or Maneuver carefully around the hazards.
  • Keep your work area clean and free of clutter.
  • Choose appropriate footwear to match your environment, especially in winter.
  • Improve the lighting in your work area.
  • Alert others of hazard by using cones or other barriers and notify your supervisor or safety officer immediately.

Inclemental weather presents the greatest challenge for avoiding falls. Take five! Slow down, keep a steady footing and watch where you step. In snowy and icy areas, shorten your stride to keep your center of balance.

—J.B. Dawson

via Fermilab Today.

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