Author

Kurt Niland

4088 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

Deadly Car Crashes Leave Nine Dead in Blount County, Alabama

seat belt crash site

Another deadly car crash in north-central Alabama claimed the lives of a Locust Fork woman and two children Wednesday, May 24 – the latest car crash victims in a series of collisions that have occurred in Blount County in a span of 10 days. According to AL.com, Alabama State Troopers said that a 2007 Jeep Cherokee driven by a 16-year-old Blountsville teenage boy left its lane on Alabama 79 at 9:33 a.m. and veered into the path of a Cadillac SRX. The head-on collision killed 47-year-old Locust Fork resident Deanna Whitfield and two of her granddaughters. One of the granddaughters, ... Read More

Ohio Worker’s Fatal Burn Injuries Lead To Criminal Charges

explosion

A Cincinnati hazardous waste management company faces multiple criminal charges and permanent closure after a Dec. 2013 flash fire and explosion severely burned two workers, one of whom died hours later. Twenty-year-old Zachary Hanzerling had started working for Environmental Enterprises Inc. just three weeks before the workplace accident that claimed his life. He was cleaning air filters at the facility when a chemical reaction created a flash fire that left him with severe burn injuries over 90 percent of his body. Mr. Hanzerling was also blinded when the safety goggles he was wearing were melted onto his eyes by the ... Read More

Whistleblower Says Hawaii GMO Farm Used Monsanto Herbicides Unsafely

Hawaii by Julius Silver, WIKI

A former farm worker has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against GMO seed company DuPont Pioneer, claiming she was fired for voicing concerns about the how the company handled toxic herbicides on a Hawaiian farm. Shannell Grilho alleges DuPont Pioneer fired her and her husband last year after she questioned company officials about spraying practices on the company’s Waialua, Oahu, farm, according to a report by Hawaii News Now. Ms. Grilho alleges that Pioneer continued its unsafe spraying practices even after employees raised concerns about them. She says Pioneer instead retaliated against workers who complained, and that its unsafe herbicide sprayings ... Read More

False Claims Act Complaint Against DynCorp Over Iraq Billing Fraud Stands

whistleblower USA

Government contractor DynCorp International will have to face the bulk of allegations made in a False Claims Act lawsuit that accuses the company and a subcontractor of grossly and fraudulently overcharging the U.S. Department of State for security work performed in Iraq. While most False Act Claim lawsuits are filed by private parties under the Act’s whistleblower provisions, the complaint against DynCorp was initiated by the U.S government. Federal Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in Washington D.C. trimmed some claims from the government’s $135 million complaint but allowed the bulk of them to move forward, Law360 reported. Judge Huvelle said May ... Read More

ExxonMobil Not Cooperating in Discovery, Family of Man Killed in Texas Plant Claims

exxon mobil logos

The family of a worker who died in an industrial accident at an ExxonMobil petrochemical plant in Beaumont, Texas, has filed a motion to compel discovery in the case, alleging the corporate energy giant refuses to cooperate. According to the SE Texas Record, Hector Barron filed suit against ExxonMobil in Jefferson County, Texas, Court, May 17, 2016, seeking damages of more than $1 million for the death of his brother and coworker Miguel Barron. The lawsuit also names AltairStrickland, an industrial engineering company that specializes in petrochemical plant turnarounds, and B&G Crane Service. The lawsuit alleges that on May 11, ... Read More

CFTC Adopts Stronger Whistleblower Rules and Protections

whistleblower USA

Anti-retaliation whistleblower protections are getting a new boost under the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), after the agency’s board unanimously approved amendments to current rules in an effort to make it less risky for would-be whistleblowers to call out fraud and other wrongdoing. Changes to the Commodity Exchange Act will now allow the CFTC and whistleblowers to bring an action against an employer in cases of alleged retaliation. The amendments also bar employers from using confidentiality, pre-dispute arbitration, or similar agreements to obstruct potential whistleblowers from communicating with CFTC staff about possible commodities laws violations, the agency said. In ... Read More

Bill Banning Distracted Driving Passes Texas Legislature

texting

A bill addressing distracted driving has passed the Texas Senate, making its way closer to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk and to becoming law. Texas House Bill 62 takes aim at texting and driving specifically. If signed into law, the bill would take effect Sept. 1. The bill, HB 62, would make it a misdemeanor criminal offense to use a “wireless communication device” while driving to “read, write or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.” A Distracted Driving Law With Exceptions Though it addresses texting and driving, which in recent years has emerged ... Read More

Amtrak Engineer Faces Criminal Charges For Deadly Philly Derailment

Amtrak derailment, Philly - image by Google

Former Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was arraigned last week on numerous charges related to the deaths and injuries of passengers aboard Amtrak 188, which derailed in Philadelphia two years ago, killing eight passengers and injuring numerous others. Mr. Bostian, 34, was charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe, and multiple counts of reckless endangerment. He was arraigned Thursday, May 17, and released on an $81,000 bond, with his next scheduled court date set for June 7. Mr. Bostian was operating the seven-car Amtrak commuter train on May 12, 2015, when it approached ... Read More

CVS/Omnicare Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit for $8 million

whistleblower reward justice

A lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act by a whistleblower who accused CVS subsidiary Omnicare of cheating Medicare and Medicaid through its prescription verification system has been resolved with an $8 million settlement, New Jersey U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick announced. The deal resolved civil claims that Omnicare, in an effort to increase business efficiency and profit, designed and implemented an automated label verification system that used improper drug codes, resulting in the submission of claims for generic drugs differently from those actually dispensed to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The whistleblower complaint also alleged that the false, patient-specific information on ... Read More

Botulism Outbreak Hospitalizes 10 People In Sacramento Area

nacho cheese sauce - Shutterstock

A rare outbreak of botulism linked to a gas station and convenience store near Sacramento, California, has hospitalized 10 people, including at least one woman who has been fighting for her life in an intensive care unit for more than three weeks. Theresa Kelly told Fox40 Sacramento that her sister Lavinia had drizzled nacho cheese sauce on some Doritos she bought at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove on April 21. Hours later, Lavinia called Theresa and tried to articulate with slurred speech that she needed help. Basically she’s saying “Sister, I need you here ... Read More