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New Orleans 192 articles

U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Revive Trinity Industries Guardrail Case

Trinity Industries will no longer have to fend off a $663.4 million judgment against it after the nation’s top court rejected a whistleblower’s bid to revive a 2014 jury verdict accusing the guardrail manufacturer of defrauding the government. The U.S. Supreme Court Justices declined to hear whistleblower Joshua Harman’s final appeal to leave the dangerous-guardrail judgment intact after it had been tossed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in 2017, according to Reuters. Mr. Harman sued Trinity Industries in 2012 under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, alleging that the Texas-based manufacturer defrauded the ... Read More

Sexual harassment allegations surface months after Sucré chef resigns

In the weeks leading up to executive pasty chef Tariq Hanna’s surprising departure from Sucré, a renowned New Orleans bakery, several female employees complained to company officials that he sexually harassed them, according to the Times-Picayune. The news surfaced four months after Hanna – co-founder and part-owner of the company – resigned saying simply that “I started to lose my creative juices.” Even Hans Baumann, Sucré’s CEO, offered no explanation for Hanna’s departure in a brief letter sent to the company’s 80 employees spread over three New Orleans-area stores, a kitchen, a restaurant and wholesale business of branded products. But ... Read More

Son Says Airbnb Needs Better Safety Oversight After Parents’ Carbon Monoxide Deaths

The son of a New Orleans couple who died in an Airbnb rental from carbon monoxide poisoning says the international home rental company needs to do more to make sure travelers who use the website to book accommodations are safe. Chris Moller told New Orleans’ WWL TV that Airbnb needs to implement stricter requirements of property owners to ensure tragedies like the one that claimed the lives of his mother and stepfather never happen again. Mr. Moller’s parents were in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in November to look for a home to live in part-time. On Nov. 17, the ... Read More

Whistleblower Tips off Coast Guard to Ship’s Illegal Oil Dumping

Federal prosecutors said a whistleblower slipped a thumb drive containing videos showing a ship illegally dumping oil waste to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors, leading to a criminal conviction and a civil fine of $2 million for a Greek shipping company. According to a U.S. Department of Justice announcement, on Dec. 7, 2017, the Coast Guard boarded the Nave Cielo, a 750-foot-long oil tanker owned by Navimax of Piraeus, Greece. Prior to a formal inspection of the vessel near Delaware City, Delaware, a crewmember whistleblower gave the Coast Guard officers the thumb drive, which contained two videos depicting a high-volume discharge of dark-brown ... Read More

BP oil spill cleanup workers sue for compensation for related illnesses

In the months following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico during what became known as the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, Walter Castro was measuring air quality on the impacted beaches, inhaling chemical fumes for weeks on end that on occasions was so strong it irritated his skin, burned his eyes, and even made him and his boat crew shake violently and become ill. Castro requested personal protective equipment like respirators, but the company refused to give him any. Instead, BP instructed ... Read More

Former NOLA councilman sues local government for asbestos exposure

Former Louisiana Jefferson Parish Councilman Jimmy Lawson is suing the local government, the Jefferson School Board and dozens of other entities over claims that he was exposed to toxic asbestos, which contributed to his recent mesothelioma diagnosis. He claims he repeatedly encountered the carcinogenic mineral decades ago while working at New Orleans school properties in the 1960s, in local government offices, and at the Avondale Shipyard, where he was briefly employed in the late 1960s. Other companies named in the lawsuit include insurers, equipment manufacturers, and corporations like Huntington Ingalls and Union Pacific Railroad. Lawson, 71, served on the Jefferson ... Read More

U.S. Fights Opioid Epidemic With New Newark/Philadelphia Strike Force

The federal government is expanding its efforts to combat the nation’s opioid crisis and health care fraud with a new regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force operation for the Newark and Philadelphia areas. The Newark/Philadelphia Medicare Strike Force location is the tenth region-specific operation. All of the Strike Force locations monitor health care activity in a specific region for fraud affecting government health care programs. The growing crisis of opioid abuse and addiction has not just harmed tens of thousands of individuals and their families across the U.S., it has also taken its toll on the Medicare program, which loses billions ... Read More

Helicopter Crash Near New Orleans Kills One, Injures Two Others

A man who survived a helicopter crash that killed one man and injured another near New Orleans May 20 reportedly told a witness that the aircraft’s landing gear became entangled in power lines. Witness Val Harmon told The Times-Picayune that he and some friends suspected a helicopter went down in a swampy area nearby when they heard crackling and popping sounds and noticed the aircraft that had been in the air nearby was nowhere to be seen. Mr. Harmon and two friends hopped on an ATV and drove out into the marshland near Boutte, Louisiana, part of St. Charles Parish. ... Read More

Southwest Airlines Engine Has Missing Fan Blade, Investigators Say

Federal investigators said they have found evidence of a missing fan blade in the engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that made an emergency landing Tuesday, April 17 in Philadelphia. The Southwest Boeing 737-700 was flying from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas when its left engine exploded, shattering a window and fatally injuring passenger Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old mother of two and Wells Fargo executive from Albuquerque. Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt said that someone found a Southwest Airlines engine cowling, the outer covering of the engine, on the ground ... Read More

Judge pushes for resolution in massive Xarelto MDL

U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon, overseeing the Xarelto multidistrict litigation, appears to be pushing both sides toward a resolution, stating in the Jan. 30, 2018, monthly status conference hearing that “I need to devise an end game.” The nationwide MDL involves more than 21,000 lawsuits alleging Xarelto makers Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer did not adequately warn about the bleeding risks with its top selling blood thinner. The MDL was created in 2014 in New Orleans, and since then, hundreds of new cases have been filed each month. Cases in state courts in Philadelphia and Los Angeles ... Read More