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Babies born addicted to opioids won’t get separate track in MDL

Babies born addicted to opioids after being exposed to the drugs in their mothers’ wombs will not get a separate track in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) blaming opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies of fueling the opioid epidemic, the Ohio federal judge overseeing the litigation ruled. Attorneys representing the so-called opioid babies argued in May that their clients deserved a special track in the MDL to address their special medical needs, such as long-term cognitive impairments. But U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster denied the request. The complicated multidistrict litigation includes various local governments as well as Native American tribes, each ... Read More

Man sues Hillshire, Tyson after losing lower arms in workplace accident

A sanitation worker in Cameron, Missouri, has filed a civil lawsuit after losing both of his lower arms in a workplace accident in February 2015. Brent Sherman, who cleaned Cozzini Inc. blenders and other meat-processing equipment at the Hillshire Brands plant in St. Joseph, was using a hot water hose to clean the discharge doors on the blender when the blender suddenly started without warning. Sherman’s forearms, the hose and the nozzle were sucked into the blender and got caught between a rotating paddle and the framework of the machine’s discharge openings. Hillshire Brands is a subsidiary of Tyson Foods. The ... Read More

AbbVie, Besins fined for delaying generic versions of AndroGel

AbbVie Inc., and its affiliate Bensons Healthcare were ordered to pay $448 million for allegedly reaping more than $1 billion in profits after filing sham lawsuits to keep competitors from launching generic versions of the companies’ top selling testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel. The companies filed patent lawsuits against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Perrigo Co., which were later ruled baseless by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle. If not for AbbVie and Besins’ efforts, Perrigo could have entered the market in June 2013 with its own generic version of AndroGel. “The patent attorneys also clearly recognized that the entry of generic versions ... Read More

Judge refuses to toss $117 million talc verdict

A New Jersey state judge said a $117 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys Talc America over claims its talc products were contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos and contributed to a man’s deadly disease, did “not shock the judicial conscience,” and would stand. Stephen Lanzo III and his wife sued Johnson & Johnson and Imerys alleging that Stephen’s decades-long use of Johnson’s Baby Powder regularly unknowingly exposed him to asbestos, which lead to his mesothelioma diagnosis. Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, as well as ... Read More

CPSC: Sparklers Are the Top Cause of Fireworks-Related Burn Injuries

Most burn injuries caused by holiday fireworks are caused by sparklers, federal safety officials warn as consumers flock to fireworks stores in anticipation of Fourth of July celebrations. In 2017, hospital emergency rooms treated 12,900 fireworks-related burn injuries. Nearly 70 percent of those burn injuries occurred in the one-month period from June 16 to July 16, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said. During this time, sparklers were the leading cause of burn injuries, accounting for about 14 percent of all burn injuries stemming from fireworks. According to the CPSC, sparklers appear deceptively harmless to many people. “Parents don’t ... Read More

‘Fixer Upper’ stars hit with EPA fines for violating lead paint rules

HGTV “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, have agreed to pay $200,000 in fines and upgrades, and to inform their audience about the dangers of lead-based paint to settle allegations brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding violations of the safe handling of lead paint during their televised home renovations. As part of the settlement, the Gaineses and their home renovation company Magnolia Homes will pay $40,000 in civil penalties and an additional $160,000 to abate lead-based paint hazards in homes and child-occupied facilities in Waco, Texas. Furthermore, the couple will ensure that their company is in compliance ... Read More

OSHA cites company for putting employees at risk for falls

Crown Roofing LLC, based in Sarasota, Florida, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Jupiter worksite. The company was investigated by OSHA as part of the Agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction. Crown Roofing was cited for a repeat violation for failing to utilize a guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest systems while working at heights greater than six feet. The violation carries a maximum penalty of $129,336. OSHA also cited the company for failing to have a competent person regularly inspecting ... Read More

Whistleblower Key in Recovering $8.5 Million from Tennessee Hospice Provider

A Tennessee hospice provider will pay the U.S. $8.5 million plus interest to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a former nurse who claimed the company defrauding Medicare and Medicaid with false claims. The settlement resolves allegations lodged against Caris Healthcare L.P. by whistleblower Barbara Hinkle, a registered nurse who formerly worked for the hospice provider.  Ms. Hinkle sued Caris on behalf of the U.S. government under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which helped prosecute the case, Caris sought and admitted patients into its hospice ... Read More

OSHA slaps JK Excavating with citations, penalties for endangering workers

JK Excavating & Utilities Inc., of Mason, Ohio, was slapped with more than $202,000 in penalties and placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an employee fell to his death during a trench collapse. An OSHA investigation found that employees of the company at a residential construction site in Morrow, Ohio, were working in trenches up to 16 feet deep without adequate cave-in protections. JK Excavating & Utilities was cited for failing to use protective systems to prevent a cave-in; implement methods to remove accumulating water; properly ... Read More

NTSB Final Report, 2016 Alabama Medical Helicopter Crash

In March 2016, a Haynes Ambulance LifeFlight medical helicopter crashed in a heavily wooded area in Southeast Alabama, according to the Jere Beasley Report. The air ambulance was transporting a motor vehicle accident (MVA) victim to a hospital in Montgomery. Darkness, rain and fog hampered the search for the downed flight, which wasn’t discovered for seven hours. The pilot, flight nurse, flight medic and MVA victim were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and released its final report last month. The investigation determined that pilot error combined with inadequate oversight by the operational control center (OCC) was ... Read More