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DEA introduces new drug take-back program to combat prescription drug abuse

A new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rule aims to combat a growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction and abuse by authorizing pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and others to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription medications. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the new regulation will help save lives and protect families from the dangers of prescription drug misuse. In 2011, unintentional prescription drug overdoses accounted for more than half of the 41,300 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Prescription opioids, which are increasingly prescribed for pain relief, are particularly addictive and likely to be abused. Opioid pain killer overdose caused ... Read More

Last unresolved lawsuit from Continental Flight 3407 crash headed to trial

One wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 in Clarence Center, New York, has not been resolved, and the case appears to be headed to trial in the coming months. Flight 3407 crashed on Feb. 12, 2009, as the twin-turbo prop airplane was making its final approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The crash killed all 49 people aboard the airplane and one person on the ground — 61-year-old Doug Wielinski, who was at home with his wife and daughter when the airplane hit his house. It’s the Wielinski family’s lawsuit that remains unresolved out ... Read More

Federal court holds Chinese drywall companies in contempt for ignoring U.S. litigation

China’s state-owned drywall manufacturers have abandoned litigation in the U.S. involving thousands of American homeowners who sued the companies over allegedly toxic and corrosive drywall they claim has damaged their homes and their health. In addition to not responding to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Louisiana federal court, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and other gypsum manufacturers owned by the Chinese government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission ignored a $2.7 million default judgment against them in 2010. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan in civil and criminal contempt on July 17 for its refusal to appear in court to ... Read More

Listeria testing triggers nationwide recall of walnuts and hummus

Just days after Walmart settled 23 civil claims with families of victims harmed by a deadly listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe, two more U.S. food manufacturers have issued recalls after finding listeria in their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that one recall involves walnuts from St. Louis, Missouri-based Sherman Produce Company. The company said it is recalling 241 cases of bulk walnuts after routine sampling detected the bacteria. The other recall involves Lansal Inc., a Massachusetts processed foods manufacturer that is commonly known as “Hot Mama’s Foods.” The company said it is voluntarily recalling hummus and ... Read More

Jensen Farms cantaloupe victims reach settlement with Walmart

Walmart agreed this week to settle nearly two dozen lawsuits filed by families of victims who died in a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people and was traced by federal health officials to cantaloupe grown by Colorado-based Jensen Farms. The terms of the settlement remain confidential, but it resolves all 23 claims against Walmart, which sold the tainted cantaloupe in several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska. The plaintiffs have reached settlements with a few other smaller retailers, but the lawsuits will proceed against Kroger grocery chain, food safety auditor The Primus Group, and Frontera Produce, ... Read More

Toyota seeks sudden-acceleration closure after Oklahoma verdict

Less than two months after an Oklahoma jury found that Toyota had acted with ”reckless disregard” in its response to two women injured in a sudden, unintended acceleration crash, the Japanese auto maker has decided to enter an intensive settlement process. The decision to negotiate a settlement hasn’t surprised many following Toyota’s sudden-acceleration saga. Even though it appeared the carmaker had gained some momentum fighting earlier lawsuits brought by crash victims and their families — as well as vehicle owners suffering monetary losses — the jury’s verdict in Oklahoma likely derailed Toyota’s hopes for prevailing over some 300 additional lawsuits ... Read More

Dozens injured after casino-bound bus crashes on California highway

Dozens of passengers were injured Thursday morning when a low-cost tour bus headed to a casino crashed on a freeway in Irwindale, Calif., about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. At least eight of the passengers required hospitalization for critical injuries. The bus was owned and operated by a Monterey Park-based company, Da Zhen, which offers one- and two-day trips to California and Las Vegas casinos and other transportation services that are popular with the Chinese community in the San Gabriel Valley. Both the company and the driver of the bus, a Chinese national who has been living in the ... Read More

Children drowning deaths peak during July 4 week, CPSC warns

All children should learn how to swim. That was one of the messages conveyed by a public advisory the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued before the Fourth of July holiday week, when the number of summer drowning injuries and deaths peaks. According to CPSC officials, 26 children on average lose their life in pool and spa-related accidents each year in the United States during the week of July 4, when thousands of gatherings take place around private and public swimming pools. The CPSC relied on data compiled by USA Swimming, the National Governing Body for the sport of ... Read More

Drowning is subtle and unrecognizable to most, unlike movie depictions

“Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people that most people expect,” says former Coast Guard rescue swimmer Mario Vittone in a story published by Slate. “There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.” In fact, Mr. Vittone’s report explains, children sometimes drown right before their parents’ eyes simply because drowning in real life doesn’t resemble the frantic, flailing act people have come to expect from watching dramatized versions on television and in movies. Drowning is actually very undramatic, “deceptively quiet,” and subtle, and it’s usually only ... Read More

Detached trailer kills seven people on upstate New York highway

TRUXTON, NY –Seven people including four young children and three adults in their 20s were killed last week when their minivan was struck by a runaway trailer loaded with crushed cars. Authorities investigating the horrific crash in the rural upstate New York community told the Associated Press the trailer separated from the rig that was hauling it while traveling on a stretch of Route 13 about 25 miles north of Syracuse. The minivan was ripped apart by the collision, which occurred around 6 p.m. May 29. Both vehicles came to a rest on the shoulder of the highway. A Cortland ... Read More