Author

Kurt Niland

5239 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.

Takata Airbag Update: NHTSA Adds 1.7 Million Vehicles to Recall

The U.S. government added an additional 1.7 million vehicles from seven different automakers to the Takata airbag recall as part of its continuing push to repair volatile airbags that can deploy with lethal force. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is managing the monstrous recall, added vehicles made by BMW, Daimler Vans, Ferrari, Mercedes, Subaru, Tesla, and Volkswagen. In its year-end report on the recall, NHTSA said that automakers have recalled 50.36 million Takata airbag units to date. Of those, 27.2 million were replaced, leaving more than 23 million unrepaired. The Takata airbag recalls collectively form the largest ... Read More

Whistleblower Helps U.S. Recover $8.1 Million from California Hospital Group

A whistleblower lawsuit accusing a Los Angeles-based hospital group of engaging in unlawful financial arrangements has led to an $8.1 million settlement with the U.S. Government. Avanti Hospitals LLC and six of its owners agreed to pay the U.S. $8.1 million to settle whistleblower allegations that they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Physician Self-Referral Law (also known as the Stark Law), and the False Claims Act. The lawsuit, filed by Dr. Joshua Luke, the former CEO of Gardena Hospital, alleged that Avanti, Gardena Hospital, and at least two other Avanti affiliates bribed a high-referring physician with payments that exceeded the ... Read More

Gas Pipeline Spill Response Inadequate, New Mexico Officials Say

Cleanup of fuel from a gasoline pipeline that ruptured in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, last month is slow and deficient, state environmental officials warned at a County Commission meeting Jan. 22. The Kinder Morgan pipeline ruptured in the southern part of the county just a few miles north of El Paso, Texas, Dec. 13. The pipeline breach released about 294,000 gallons of gasoline into the soil and possibly the groundwater around the spill site. The contamination forced the evacuation of residents near the spill site, many of whom remain in hotels at the company expense. According to the Las ... Read More

Barbie Dream Campers Recalled for Sudden Acceleration Defect

Barbie Dream Campers can become any child’s worst nightmare due to a defect that could potentially cause the kiddie car to drive out of control. The defect has sparked a recall of the affected vehicles. While consumers likely associate sudden unintended acceleration problems with Toyota vehicles, it turns out that toy manufacturer Fisher-Price is now grappling with a similar issue, though on a much smaller scale. Although the Barbie Dream Camper defect is a pee-wee one compared to Toyota’s SUA ordeal – affecting about 44,000 vehicles – it is serious enough that federal officials are urging the public to immediately ... Read More

Minor Burns Are Effectively Treated with Cannabis Topicals, Studies Show

Burns are one of the most common injuries in the kitchen and there is a massive yet still growing body of research providing evidence that cannabis-based topical treatments can provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, fight infection, and promote healing to minor burns. According to Colorado-based medicinal cannabis advocate and entrepreneur Dahlia Mertens, every home and restaurant kitchen should include topical cannabis lotions, balms, or salves as part of their first-aid kit. These non-intoxicating lotions, derived from the marijuana plant, can be highly effective in treating painful scald burns and other thermal burns that don’t require hospital treatment, she says. According ... Read More

Walgreens Settles Two Whistleblower Lawsuits for $269.2 Million

Walgreens Boots Alliance, the holding company that owns the controlling shares of Walgreens Drug Stores and several other health care companies, will pay $269.2 million to settle two separate whistleblower lawsuits. In one case, Walgreens agreed to pay $209.2 million to settle allegations that it fraudulently billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other government health care programs for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens that beneficiaries did not need. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Walgreens configured its electronic systems so that its pharmacists couldn’t dispense less than a full box of five insulin pens, ... Read More

Parents Say Tesla Removed Speed Limiter Before Deadly Crash

The parents of a Florida teen who died in a fiery high-speed crash in a Tesla Model S last May are suing the automaker, alleging a Tesla service technician removed a speed limiter device without their consent. Edgar Monserratt and Esperanza Martinez, the parents of 18-year-old Edgar Monserratt Martinez, claim the speed limiter could have prevented the deadly crash. The driver, 18-year-old Barrett Riley, also died in the crash. According to the lawsuit, Barrett Riley’s parents had a speed limiter installed on the Tesla Model S that prevented the car from going over 85 mph. They had the speed limiter ... Read More

Serious Burn Injuries Can Be Caused By Friction

According to the American Burn Association, U.S. hospitals treat about 468,000 people for burn injuries every year. And, while fire, scald, and chemical burns account for most of the burn injuries doctors treat annually, there are other, lesser known sources of serious burns. Take, for instance, Aly Vendoza, a 5-year-old California girl who suffered second-degree burns on her leg from a treadmill. According to KGET, Aly, a resident of Bakersfield, California, was seriously burned when she became trapped between a moving treadmill and a wall. The friction of the treadmill belt on her leg caused her burn injuries. Aly’s mother told ... Read More

Airplane Crashes Into SoCal Super Bowl Party, Killing Five People

A Sunday evening Super Bowl party turned into a horrific tragedy when a private airplane broke apart in the air, scattering flaming debris over a Yorba Linda, California neighborhood and triggering a house fire that killed four people in addition to the airplane’s pilot. The main cabin and one engine of the twin-engine Cessna airplane crashed through the roof of the suburban Yorba Linda home and burst into flames that immediately enveloped the house. The people inside the home were only identified as two males and two females as of Monday afternoon. The pilot and sole occupant of the 1981 ... Read More

PG&E Files for Bankruptcy as Wildfire Liabilities Mount

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in anticipation of a tidal wave of litigation stemming from the Nov. 8 Camp Fire, which destroyed an entire town and killed 86 people. Bankruptcy court filings show that PG&E’s liabilities after the Camp Fire – the largest wildfire in the state’s history – have topped $50 billion while the utility’s assets are valued at about $71 billion, according to The Washington Post. The bankruptcy announcement has riled people throughout the state, including investors, government officials, and the general public. Likely to suffer most from the filing are the ... Read More