Articles Posted in Toxic Torts

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Recently a Hepatitis A outbreak has been linked to contaminated frozen berries sold in grocery stores. The frozen berry mix was identified as a berry and pomegranate mix that was sold at a couple different retail stores including Costco. The outbreak affected people in 7 different states in total and at the time of the story had made 79 people sick by exposing them to Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a disease that causes a very serious and even fatal form of liver disease. When it is found in food it is likely caused by the food preparer handling the food with dirty hands.

When the outbreak initially occurred, health officials were worried that the disease would be spread to a number of children, since frozen berries are used in a bunch of treats that are common for children, including smoothies and ice popsicles.

Surprisingly, once more people became infected it became clear that children were actually not the ones likely to be infected during this particular outbreak. Of the 79 reported cases, only one case involved a young child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) credits this surprising statistic to childhood vaccinations. Routine childhood vaccinations currently (since 2006) always offer protection against Hepatitis A. The CDC’s thought was further supported by the fact that the only child that was infected by this outbreak was a young boy who had not had routine vaccinations.

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An Illinois asbestos lawsuit is on its way to federal court after the Defendant was granted its request to move the lawsuit last week reports the Madison-St. Clair Record. The plaintiff, as administrator of the deceased’s estate, filed the lawsuit against CBS Corp., the successor in merger to the corporation formerly known as Westinghouse Electric Corp., and 30 other defendants. The plaintiff claims that the decedent was injured while he was working as a United States Navy machinist on several ships between 1958 and 1980 that contained asbestos-laden equipment. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant corporations failed to exercise care and caution for the decedent’s safety by knowingly including asbestos in their products when they knew or should have known about the dangers of exposure to deadly asbestos. The decedent developed lung cancer and died in June 2012 as a result of his prolonged exposure to asbestos.

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in damages and includes counts for negligence, willful and wanton conduct, conspiracy, negligent spoliation of evidence and strict liability. The defendants deny that they caused or contributed to the decedent’s alleged exposure to asbestos and have moved to dismiss the lawsuit. The decedent had a rare form of cancer, called mesothelioma that is associated with exposure to asbestos. Once a victim is diagnosed, the cancer often progresses throughout the body very rapidly and sadly claims many lives. The trick with mesothelioma is that it often appears decades after the first exposure to asbestos, which creates a problem for many of its victims in terms of their legal rights. Our attorneysknow that it is difficult and can be intimidating to sue large corporations for their negligence. That is why victims count on experienced lawyers who are not afraid to stand up for the rights of victims and their families, even against large corporations with huge legal teams. A diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating to any family, as it unfortunately is often a death sentence for the sick. We understand that behind each and every diagnosis is a scared family and that every diagnosis involves a different and unique chance to fight for justice. We understand that the emotional toll is just as taxing as the financial toll that the devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma brings. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma, consider contacting our offices for a free consultation to discuss your options under the law.

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Although manufacturers likely don’t intend to produce a product that poses a threat to small children, MSNBC reports that cases of detergent poisoning among children under age 2 are on the rise after the advent of single-wash packets of laundry detergent that toddlers mistake for candy.

Because these new single-use packages are colorful and tempting to children, they pose a very serious hazard. Young children are often curious and explore new objects with their mouths; the single-wash packets are designed to melt quickly in the washing machine, and because the outer-casing holding the detergent dissolves easily, it will disperse in saliva, delivering the concentrated laundry detergent directly into the child’s mouth.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the statistics for these types of accidents are alarming: in the United States alone, nearly 2,200 children age 5 and under either swallowed or got the detergent from laundry packets into their eyes between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year.

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Illnesses from food poisoning can be alarming, but perhaps even more terrifying are cases in which you don’t even have to eat the food to be sickened by it; in those types of situations, identifying the contaminated product and holding the negligent company can prove to be even more difficult.

Fortunately, however, a number of cases of a recent potentially deadly outbreak have been linked back to a particular source: dog food.

According to a recent article on MSNBC, Diamond Pet Foods, a U.S.-based commercial pet food manufacturer, has expanded a recall of its dry dog food, taking precautionary steps after several of its brands were linked to an outbreak of a rare strain of salmonella poisoning that infected at least 14 people in nine states. The common link between all of the victims were that they had dogs or dog foods prior to their illness.

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In March of this year, our Chicago personal injury lawyers and the entire country were disgusted by the prospect of “pink slime,” a meat product consisting of bits of meat and muscle salvaged from slaughterhouse floors, that is treated with ammonium-hydroxide, a chemical generally used for window-cleaning and furniture-making.

Illinois product liability law requires that when corporations put a product on the market, they are responsible for ensuring that the product is safe for consumer use. This is especially true for food manufacturers whose merchandise has to be thoroughly inspected before it is allowed to be distributed to the public. When dangerous or contaminated foods harm consumers, the corporations may be liable for the injuries caused and may be legally responsible for damages caused by those injuries. This may give rise to an Illinois personal injury lawsuit. Nevertheless, using small amounts of ammonia to make food is more common than originally understood.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are concerned for the well being of consumers who have been unwittingly consuming the chemical; exposure to high levels of ammonia can cause irritation and serious burns on the skin, mouth, throat, lungs, and eyes, and in some cases may lead to death. Though eating a single portion of the foods made with ammonia won’t in and of itself lead to poisoning, if an individual consumes a high number of affected foods, serious health effects could potentially arise.

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Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were fascinated to read a recent article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, which stated that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a direct relationship does not need to exist between a company and a person exposed to secondhand asbestos in order for that company to be considered responsible for injuries resulting from exposure.

Chicago asbestos exposure cases are a relatively recent form of workplace injury cases and Illinois personal injury lawsuits. Before the health risks became apparent, asbestos was originally mined to use in construction of buildings. As a building material, it was sound-absorbent, and resistant to heat, fire, and electrical and chemical damage. As a result, manufacturers and builders regularly used it in the 19th century. Many workers were exposed both in the mines and in constructing buildings using asbestos.

Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to serious illnesses, such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk of associated health problems. When workers are exposed to asbestos in their work environment, the corporations for which they work may be liable for the injuries they suffer as a result of the asbestos exposure.

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Executives from Staples, Inc. are probably wishing there was an ‘Easy Button’ to fix this latest conundrum.

Though it’s generally known for retailing office supplies, this week Staples, Inc. came under fire from U.S. health regulators for violating certain distribution practices related to food products stored in a company facility; food that was being provided for employees was kept in unsanitary conditions and was infected with disease. The reprimand was issued following an FDA inspection to one of Staples’ largest facilities, late last year.

Staples, Inc. is an office supply chain conglomerate, and has more than 2000 stores worldwide, spanning 26 countries. It is the largest U.S. office supply retailer, and primarily does business selling provisions, office machines, promotional products, furniture and technology both in stores and online. In 2010 alone, Staples reported revenue of $24 billion.

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You certainly wouldn’t want to feed it to your kids. At least, not on purpose.

According to an article published last week by the Associated Press, school districts around the country are serving to school children hamburgers that contain as much as 15 percent of a processed product that has come to be known as “pink slime.”

What is “pink slime?” As per the Associated Press‘ recent report, it’s a product that consists of bits of meat and muscle salvaged from slaughterhouse floors, and that is treated with a pink chemical to kill any dangerous pathogens. Moreover, according to an earlier report by MSNBC, the pink goo is widely used in the food industry as an anti-microbial agent in meats and as a leavener in bread and cake products. Despite the fact that the U.S. Agriculture Department classifies it as “generally recognized as safe,” before it is served to children, it is treated with ammonium-hydroxide, a chemical generally used for window-cleaning and furniture-making.

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Earlier this year, our Chicago personal injury lawyers reflected on the potential dangers caused by consuming raw milk. However, according to a study published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, the danger is even worse than originally thought.

A recent report by MSNBC, detailing the findings of the CDC’s investigation revealed that the rate of food-poisoning outbreaks caused by unpasteurized, or raw, milk and dairy products is more than 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.

In many cases, before milk is sold to consumers, it undergoes a process known as pasteurization, which involves heating milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds for the purpose of sanitizing the milk. Although the CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say that pathogens from raw milk make it unsafe for people to consume, some organizations argue that, because farm sanitation has greatly improved, raw milk can now be produced hygienically. Nevertheless, many outbreaks stem from raw milk products produced at seemingly hygienic farms.

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Every Chicago personal injury attorney knows that corporations who manufacture food products have a duty to consumers to ensure that products they sell to the public are safe for human consumption. Ideally, foods should be tested extensively before being put on the market. However, when infected, or unsafe foodstuffs are sold to consumers, and those foods cause injury, the companies may be held liable for the damages caused by those injuries, and an Illinois personal injury lawsuit may arise.

According to MSNBC, Organic Pastures Dairy Company, a popular American dairy corporation is currently under quarantine because its raw milk products were recalled after milk infected with E. Coli sent three children to the hospital. The company otherwise sells 2,400 gallons of raw milk per day, but will stay under quarantine until it is found to have met all state sanitation requirements.

Often, before milk is marketed to consumers, it undergoes a process known as pasteurization, which involves heating milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds for the purpose of sanitizing the milk. Although the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say that pathogens from raw milk make it unsafe for people to consume, some organizations argue that, because farm sanitation has greatly improved, raw milk can now be produced hygienically.