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Benicar Lawsuits on the Rise

Posted by on 8:31 pm in Pharmaceuticals | 0 comments

Since the first two Benicar lawsuits were filed in early February 2014, more people have come forward to lodge a complaint, at least nine of which were filed and remain in the Superior Court of New Jersey instead of being transferred to federal court. All the cases have one thing in common: they allege that Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories breached their duty of care to consumers by failing to warn them about the dangers of prolonged use of Benicar.

Benicar is the brand name for olmesartan medoxomil, a formulation developed by Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo for the management of hypertension. When it was first brought to the US market in 2002, it was being lauded by Sankyo and its co-promoter Forest Labs as safe and efficacious in an aggressive marketing campaign that attracted the displeasure of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on more than one occasion for making statements that could not be substantiated.

But Benicar really became a subject of serious concern when a report published in a 2012 issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings strongly suggested a causal link between Benicar and a gastrointestinal condition called sprue-like enteropathy. This presented almost identically as the immunological disorder celiac sprue (aka celiac disease) which was characterized by intolerance to gluten, a protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. It manifested as chronic diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, malnutrition and weight loss and eventually resolving into villous atrophy.

Its doppelganger exhibited the same symptoms but did not originate from the same cause and thus could not be managed the same way, which was to eliminate gluten entirely from the diet. It took quite a long time for doctors to realize that a common denominator in the sufferers of this mysterious ailment was Benicar; when it was discontinued, the symptoms disappeared. However, for many long-time users of the drug, the discovery came too late. According to http://www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/benicar/, many of the injuries are severe and the damage irreversible. Among these are plaintiffs that have since filed civil cases against Sankyo and Forest Labs.

If you have been similarly affected, express your concerns with your attending physician and ask for possible alternatives. You should also consult with a Benicar lawyer in your area to discuss your legal rights and options.

What is Feng Shui?

Posted by on 9:24 am in Beauty | 0 comments

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that promotes harmony with the environment. The term has been kind of separated from its origins. For most modern humans, feng shui refers to the color and layout of furniture in a room. The goal is to have a room that is abundant in positive energy.

feng shui

While “positive energy” sounds like hokey new age mumbo jumbo, there are actually numerous sensible benefits to following the practices of this old philosophy. For starters, the way the energy flows through a room can manifest itself as simply having a room that is uncluttered and navigable.

It is known in psychology that an environment’s colors can have an effect on the moods of its inhabitants. Feng shui teaches the same about the use color. Certain colors should be prevalent depending on what the space is used for.

Feng shui is a complex art whose mastery calls for a lot of study. With dedication, you too can learn to design spaces that are inviting and personal.

Acne: Types, Cause and Treatment

Posted by on 11:25 am in Beauty | 0 comments

Individuals bothered by acne usually contend themselves with a daily dosage of pills and the application of creams which they hope will finally cure this facial skin disease that is very common among Americans, especially teens. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) confirms the fact that acne (scientifically referred to as acne “vulgaris” or acne “of the common type”) is, indeed, a very common teen woe; it usually affects person who are in the adolescence stage, though adults too can be affected by it.

Acne can grow on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, upper arms and on the back. Teens are most prone to it due to hormonal changes, which are effects of puberty. But while others outgrow acne completely after their teenage years, there are those who continue to struggle with it, suffering even from severe facial scars in some instances.

Acne develops when the skin pores or hair follicles become clogged with too much sebum and dead skin cells. Sebum is the oil produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands (or oil glands); it serves to lubricate the skin and hair. Clogged pores can be inhabited by bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes. Once trapped in the pores, these bacteria tend to multiply and cause swelling, redness and the beginning of acne.

Failure to treat acne correctly can lead to scarring, which may be considered a double sentence: first, for having to suffer from its presence; and, second, after it heals, it leaves scars – reminders of their once dreaded presence.

There are different forms of acne, such as:

  • Mild acne, which appears in the form of  whiteheads or blackheads
  • Moderate acne, such as the papules or red inflamed pimples and the pustules, which are red pimples that have white centers
  • Severe acne, which are painful, pus-filled lumps or cysts that cause nodules (small swellings) under the skin

The scars left by severe types of acne are more serious and are usually permanent. Thus, it is important to consult a dermatologist or a doctor for treatment to prevent acne from becoming severe. On her website, Nancy Shibayama, M.D., explains how Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) photofacials can be an effective treatment for acne, especially acne that has become immune to traditional treatment methods, like benzoyl peroxide and oral antibiotics.

The effects of IPL photofacials can last from months to years (depending on the patient’s response to the procedure). Treatments, which may be between five to six times are interspersed from one session to another; it can be two sessions in a week or once every two weeks.

About Residential Gas Explosions

Posted by on 1:24 pm in Explosion Accidents | 2 comments

Headlines are usually reserved for industrial gas explosions because they are often more devastating in terms of cost to property and human lives. But while the more mundane residential gas explosions are less catastrophic, they are ultimately more disturbing because people don’t expect to be in danger when they are at home. Those injured in an explosion in the home don’t immediately realize what happened. Gas and pipeline workers are aware of the risks of their jobs after all, while people who are sleeping in their own beds don’t expect to be woken up by an explosion in their utility rooms.

This is what happened to an elderly couple in when an improperly placed regulator and meter assembly over-pressurized, causing gas to leak and an explosion to occur a few hours after. Investigation revealed that the accident could have been prevented if federal regulations on gas utility safety had been observed.

In another incident, two tenements in East Harlem were leveled when a leak in the 127 year old natural gas cast-iron pipeline servicing the area sprung a leak, which was eventually set off to kill 8 people, injure at least 60 others, and leave more than 100 residents in nearby areas homeless. According to a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, finding out who should be held liable for the incident can be highly complex. Investigations into the incident revealed that the residents had complained about the smell of gas some time before the explosion, and that the pipes were long-overdue for repair or replacement.

Residential gas pipelines service most homes in the US, and the lack of regular maintenance and inspection is the most common cause of dangerous leaks. Other causes of residential gas explosions can be traced to defective gas appliances and improper storage of gas tanks.

Texas has been lucky when it comes to residential gas explosions; the last recorded occurred in 1937. However, it has more than made up for it in industrial explosions, although the transformer explosions in Fort Worth were apparently caused by lightning rather than human errors.

Insurance Bad Faith in Texas a Big No-No

Posted by on 8:12 pm in Insurance | 0 comments

Texas goes big in everything, and that applies to how the state frowns on insurers who do not act in good faith. State regulations exist to protect the rights of insurance policyholders when they make a claim. This is embodied in Texas Insurance Code as the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act (§ 542) and covers:

  • Misrepresentation of policy facts and provisions
  • Unreasonable delay in acknowledging a claim
  • Failing to have and implement prompt claim investigation procedures
  • Denial of fair and prompt settlement of legitimate claims
  • Forcing a policy owner to file a lawsuit in order to recover the amount due under a policy’s terms
  • Failing to maintain complete records of complaints
  • Any practice or act determined by the commissioner to constitute unfair claim settlement

According to the website of law firm Smith Kendall PLLC in Dallas, when an insurance company acts in bad faith, it is not only a violation of the law but of the trust that policyholders place on them that when the time comes, they will be there to honor their contract. Insurance is primarily a business built on trust, so when a company betrays that trust, it is actually a bad business move.

Insurance companies that are found to act in bad faith may have their license suspended or revoked and the department may impose limits, regulations and control over the company’s business activities. The state department may also impose other sanctions as deemed applicable or enforce a cease and desist order.

Aside from government sanctions, policyholders may also file a lawsuit against the company for insurance bad faith, and recover not only the amount due in the first place, but interest on that amount as well as legal fees. If you believe that your insurer is acting in bad faith over your claim, contact an insurance bad faith lawyer in your area and present your case for assessment and appropriate action.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Aphasia

Posted by on 11:16 am in Brain Injury | 0 comments

Imagine intending to tell a fellow lawyer about how lucky you were walking away from that car accident with nothing more than a bump in the head, and the next moment wondering why the words coming out of your own mouth make no sense.

One of the possible consequences of traumatic brain injury is aphasia, defined as the partial or total loss of language abilities. Most people take the ability to communicate for granted until they can no longer express themselves in a meaningful manner. This dysfunction affects about one million people in the US in varying types and degrees of severity depending on the cause and affected area of the brain.

There are 4 types of aphasia: expressive, receptive, anomic, and global. The most severe is global aphasia, in which the patient sustains extensive damage to the area of the brain that processes language and can no longer read, write, speak, or understand language.  The mildest type of aphasia is anomic or amnesia aphasia, in which the patient has difficulty remembering the names of familiar objects, people, places or events, something that writer Stephen King calls the “dead zone” in his novel by the same name. With expressive aphasia, the patient has a problem with conveying thoughts in speech or writing while patients with receptive aphasia have difficulty in understanding language.

Losing the ability to use language even temporarily is a real problem for any human being, and since each case presents differently, there is no one treatment that is effective and prognosis is uncertain. Some recover spontaneously, but most require inhouse rehabilitation and therapy as can be found in the McAllen Medical Center in Texas to learn a whole new way of communicating i.e. drawing.

If you or an immediately family member develops aphasia or sustains other serious injuries because of the negligence of others, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. This is work for competent Massachusetts personal injury lawyers. A lawyer with a good reputation will be likely to help you through the difficult times after you or someone you care about suffers a traumatic brain injury.

Fit for Duty Certification Post-Injury

Posted by on 4:41 pm in Employment Law | 0 comments

An employee who sustains a workplace injury as a result of an accident or from work-related duties is entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation for medical treatment and lost days of work. In addition, the worker is entitled to take leave without fear of losing employment under one of two laws depending on the type and extent of injury: the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, the presumption is that the injured employee is coming back to work after a period of recovery. An employer has the right to require the employee to present a Fit for Duty Certification to determine if the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the job.

Fit for duty evaluations are regulated under the Code of Federal Regulations and requiring it for returning-to-work employees post-injury must be a policy that applies to all employees. Furthermore, the evaluation must only focus on areas affecting essential job functions and that the employee was made aware beforehand that such a certification would be required before he or she will be allowed to return to work.

Fit for duty evaluation is basically a functional capacity assessment designed to determine the extent and severity of the limitations that an individual may have acquired post-injury. While an employer may require this as a condition of returning to work, the assessment can also help employers pinpoint areas that need to be prioritized for injury management as well as whether a job accommodation program may be appropriate. For example, if an employee is no longer as mobile as before getting injured but the job only requires sitting in front of a computer, a telecommuting arrangement may be recommended.

Employers would be well advised to adopt such a practice for all employees. This will not only ensure the safety and health of the employee post-injury, it will help improve productivity by reducing incidence of injuries and recurring health issues.

Liability for Railroad Crossing Accidents

Posted by on 7:50 pm in Rail Accidents | 0 comments

There is a certain sentimentality in watching a train go by, which is probably why it is often featured in movies. It symbolizes progress, constancy, and steadiness. What most people fail to realize is that trains and railroads are a major means of transportation, and as such are as much at risk of accidents as road and air travel.

This is especially true for areas where the railroad and regular roads intersect. Railroad crossings are the sites of car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and employee injuries. In many cases, the accident is caused by human error such as failing to heed the warning signs, misjudging the speed of an oncoming train, or conductor error. Railroad companies and municipalities may also be negligent in ensuring the safety of the crossing with inadequate or missing warning and protective devices, poorly maintained trains and tracks, inadequate safety training and policies, or incompetent train workers.

When non-employees are injured or killed in a railroad crossing accident, federal and state law will kick in to determine liability and applicable sanctions. For example, if a railroad crossing accident occurs in Birmingham, Alabama, the victim or victim’s family will have to file a personal injury case within two years of the incident and take into consideration that Alabama follows pure contributory negligence. This means that if the victim is in any way and any degree – even 1% – responsible for the accident, no personal injury claim can be made against the responsible party. The good news is that if eligible for a claim, Alabama has no damage caps. If you are not sure if you have an actionable case, consult with a Birmingham personal injury lawyer to tell you how it is.

If a railroad employee is injured or killed while on duty, a special protection is accorded to the victim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) if the employee has no workers’ compensation insurance coverage. FELA allows the injured worker to sue companies for personal injury or relatives of the victim for wrongful death. However, the employee first has to prove that the railroad was legally negligent before it will award full compensation.

Changes in New York Employment Law

Posted by on 9:01 am in Employment Law | 0 comments

New York has increased the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 an hour on December 31, 2013 as part of a gradated plan to elevate the minimum wage in the state to $9 by 2015. The state is only one of 14 states that increased their minimum wage rates at the start of 2014, and it is expected that all employers will comply accordingly.

Currently, New York employers are required a rate per hour higher than the federally-mandated $7.25 an hour. There is a proposal to raise the federal rate over 2 years to $10.10, so if this happens, New York employers will be well on its way.

Some employers have been less than happy with the rate increase, especially those who are already having difficulty keeping in the red. As of March 2014, it was reported that 364 cases have been filed against employers for failure to pay minimum wage. The state’s Labor Department issued warnings to the errant employers to correct the situation, or risk civil fines and criminal sanctions. The new Minimum Wage Law also requires employers to provide new hires and existing employees with written notice of pay rate and other pay details in English and in the primary language identified by each employee.

The statewide minimum wage increase is only one of the new things that employers in New York City have to comply with. In an effort to update its Human Rights law, the city government enacted a bill that prohibits employers from discouraging the unemployed to apply for jobs by requiring applicants to be currently employed. This is a form of employment discrimination that does not often grab headlines but it happens more often than people think. Employers found to have unemployment bias may be fined as much as $250,000.

If you believe that you have been subjected to this kind of employer bias, you need to find a New York discrimination lawyer to help you file a case. Alternatively, if your employer is not complying with the new laws, you may file a complaint with the labor department and as well as file a civil case with the help of an employment lawyer in New York.