Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Construction Worker Lung Disease

Companies Can Prevent Fatal Lung Disease in Stone Fabrication Workers

Thousands of U.S. workers are getting sick from cutting, grinding and polishing slabs of artificial stone used to make kitchen and bathroom countertops. The “engineered stone” is at risk of creating damaging levels of respirable crystalline silica in a workplace. Workers have been linked to cases of death and dangerous and irreversible lung injury in stone fabricators who cut, grind and polish high levels of the mineral silica, and then breathe in silica dust outputs.

An updated report by the Centers for Disease Control Doctors titled Severe Silicosis in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers was released on September 27, 2019, and highlighted related worker illnesses in California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington, from 2017–2019.

levin perconti zantac injury

Zantac and Generic Ranitidine May Be Harmful

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently revealed that Zantac and generic varieties contain a chemical that could be linked to cancer, called

N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Concern erupted when private lab Valisure found the contaminant and alerted FDA officials of a problem stemming from the composition of the drug. Several large pharmacy chains and stores such as Walmart, Rite-Aid, CVS and Walgreens have since suspended the sales of Zantac branded heartburn medicines and generic versions that contain active ingredient ranitidine. Three drugmakers – Apotex, Sandoz and GlaxoSmithKline – have recalled generic versions.

Children and Infants Neglected at Immigrant Detention Centers 

A new report described the humanitarian crisis involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and more than 250 children, including infants living in “squalor and neglect” due to a lack of sanitation, food, and water at a facility in Texas. Within the report were interviews between lawyers, physicians, psychologists, and caseworkers and the children who shared information about their living conditions. Several media outlets have since covered the story and shared these horrific examples of neglect.

  • The Associated Press: “The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,” said Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier. “That is, extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.”

product liability

Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Powder Product Marketing Still Aimed at Minority Groups Despite Cancer Claims

Decades of questioning the use and dangers of cosmetic talc powder in health and personal hygiene products finally came to light in 2006, when the World Health Organization began classifying cosmetic talc as “possibly carcinogenic.” At the head of the issue was well-known consumer product company, Johnson & Johnson along with its signature Baby Powder products. Despite tests revealing that the talc J&J uses is possibly harmful to humans and its related health risks, the company continues to focus on selling the product focusing on its longtime consumers. These groups include African-Americans, fitness enthusiasts and overweight women who use the products as a genital antiperspirant and deodorant. The inexpensive products are being explicitly marketed to improve the livelihood of a group of innocent consumers misinformed from a company undeterred by the concern about the health effects and cancer risks of talc.

Consequently, these same minority and overweight women audiences are being struck with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and now make up a large number of the plaintiffs alleging that J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products were the cause. And in July of 2018, J&J was ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who had claimed that asbestos in the company’s talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer and failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with its use.

work injury attorney

New Proposed Legislation for Illinois Workers Exposed to Toxic Substance Injuries Now Sits with Governor Pritzker

The Illinois General Assembly has passed Senate Bill 1596, which is now at the hands of the new Governor awaiting passage to become a law. The legislation will allow workers to file a claim for benefits after being exposed to harmful substances (such as asbestos or beryllium) and later develop symptoms of injury or disease after the statutes of limitations has run out. The current 25-year time bar has made it nearly impossible for those workers to seek support thru the Illinois civil courts for assistance in recovery from their occupational diseases. SB 1596 would amend sections of the state’s current Workers’ Compensation Act and the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act and applies to cases in which the statutes of limitations preclude recovery.

25-Year Timeline for Toxin-Related Employer Liability

A federal agency’s results from a May air quality investigation that shows the risk of cancer in Willowbrook and surrounding communities is higher than the EPA initially reported to the facility, Sterigenics, in December. Ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from Sterigenics International, Inc., a plant that specializes in the sterilization of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and foods/spices, have been given off from the facility since 1984. The federal agency behind the most recent investigation is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the EPA, the cancers associated with excess EtO exposure include:

  • Breast cancer

halloween safety

Trick-or-Treat: The Scary Truth About Halloween Injuries

Many Halloween traditions involve pumpkins, apple cider, and even a scary hayride, but we are going to bet there will be some neighborhood trick-or-treating involved too. And for the more than 41.1 million trick-or-treaters, the majority children ages 5 to 14, who hit U.S. doorsteps in 2017 requesting a Halloween treat, many injuries followed. This year, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, especially those with young families of their own including Mike Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black, Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, Colleen Mixan Mikaitis, AJ Thut, Jaime Koziol Delaney, and Pam Dimo thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways our blog readers can protect children from injury while trick-or-treating this Halloween night.

  1. Be Seen

“If you don’t have enough staff to take care of the kids, that’s negligence.”

-Casa Guadalupe employee speaking to ProPublica for Records Reveal “Lax” Supervision, Sexual Activity at Chicago-Area Shelters Housing Immigrant Children

Following on the heels of news that an HIV-positive employee at a youth immigrant shelter in Mesa, Arizona has been charged with 11 counts of sexual misconduct against minors, comes a report of similar offenses within Chicago-area facilities.

Earlier this month, a woman was awarded $500K by a Georgia jury who found that the homeowner was liable for a deck collapse that caused the woman to break her leg in two places. The woman, Monica Conover, was a party guest at the rented property in 2014. The homeowner, Tyson Martin, was found 85% responsible, while the tenants hosting the party were found to be 15% liable.

The deck was said to be over 30 years old and photos taken prior to Mr. Martin purchasing the home showed that he had since repaired certain parts of the deck, indicating that he was aware of the deck’s structural problems. A contractor who came in after the collapse to repair the damage said that the deck was not properly secured to the house and that much of the wood was rotten. Ms. Conover’s attorney quoted the contractor’s testimony, saying that “He said that deck was completely unsafe and that, had a qualified person… inspected it, there’s no way he would’ve let anybody go out there. No way.” Conover’s attorney also asked the jury “Is it reasonable for a landlord to inspect a deck that is 35 years old before they rent it out? And you all get to make that decision.”

Deck and Porch Collapses – Do You Have a Reason to Sue?

Late last year, stories began flooding the news about Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 phone, a device that bears more resemblance to a small tablet than a smartphone. Released just last August, by October so many complaints of spontaneously exploding phones had been thrown at the company that they decided to stop all sales of the Galaxy Note7 until they could determine the cause of the fires. In the same press release, Samsung implored all users to immediately turn off their phone and send back for either a refund or for an entirely different model. What many Galaxy Note7 users likely didn’t notice was that buried at the bottom of the phone’s box was a small 16 page booklet containing a paragraph stating that users could not sue Samsung. Instead, they were agreeing to binding arbitration as a means to settle any claim of injury or death arising from use of their product.

Teen Among Many Injured By Galaxy Note7

In Illinois, Michael Taylor, 19, went to sleep with his Samsung Galaxy Note7 on the charger next to his bedside. He woke up hours later to excruciating pain in his leg and to his smartphone on fire. The phone had exploded while charging, causing severe burns to the teen’s leg. When he consulted with an attorney in an attempt to sue Samsung for his injuries, it was discovered that hidden deep in a booklet seldom read by users, Taylor had unknowingly agreed to arbitration. Without knowing it, Taylor had waived his right to a jury trial, agreed to use an arbitrator chosen by Samsung to settle his dispute, and to pay Samsung’s legal fees if the arbitrator determined Samsung was not at fault. While that same part of the booklet also states that consumers can opt out within 30 days of purchase, it is hardly likely that most consumers would read a 16 page booklet of terms and conditions. Users assume that the products they purchase are safe and that they are protected by law should an injury occur from its use.  Instead of taking true ownership for the burns suffered by Mr. Taylor, Samsung hid behind the agreement they placed in the product packaging, stating that he agreed to abide by their arbitration process to settle any grievances.

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