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Virginia 230 articles

Duke Energy pleads guilty to criminal coal-ash pollution charges

coal ash - photo by appvoices.org

North Carolina’s Duke Energy pleaded guilty Thursday to nine violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act and will pay $192 million in criminal fines and restitution for illegally releasing toxic waste from five of its power plants into the environment. The energy giant’s plea is part of a settlement with federal prosecutors and concludes an investigation that began after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash waste pond in February 2014, spilling 82,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River on the North Carolina-Virginia border. The spill covered 70 miles of the river in toxic gray sludge – waste ... Read More

Blue Bell won’t resume making ice cream for several months

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

Blue Bell Creameries said on its website that its ice cream won’t be back in stores for several months as the company cleans it three manufacturing facilities in the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak and develops a plan for its ice cream products to return to production. “Unfortunately, we do not yet have a firm timeline for when Blue Bell Ice Cream will be back in stores, but we believe at this time that it will be several months at a minimum,” said Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse. “We are evaluating all of our operations in light ... Read More

Blue Bell recall expanded to all products

Blue Bell Recalled Products

After initiating two large recalls and suspending operations at an Oklahoma plant, Blue Bell will now be recalling all of its products in order to implement a “test and hold” procedure. The process will allow Blue Bell time to test all of its many ice cream products and determine which are safe and which are not. According to Blue Bell’s press release, all of its ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks are included in this recall due to the potential presence of Listeria monocytogenes, which causes the infection Listeriosis. The ingestion and infection of Listeria monocytogenes in a ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuits help U.S. recover nearly $50 million from medical testing labs


Three separate whistleblower lawsuits against a series of diagnostic laboratories and their administrators have been settled, leading to a recovery of nearly $50 million for federal health care programs, the U.S. Justice Department announced. Richmond, Va.-based Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc. has agreed to pay $47 million to settle the whistleblower complaint, which alleged the company effectively paid physicians for patient referrals and billed Medicare and other federal health care programs for medically unnecessary testing. Singulex, Inc., a medical diagnostic technology company based in Alameda, Calif., agreed to pay the U.S. $1.5 million to resolve similar allegations. The U.S. government also ... Read More

Virginia, Duke Energy reach agreement over coal ash spill

coal ash - photo by appvoices.org

Duke Energy Corp. has agreed to pay $2.5 million as part of a proposed settlement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over its 2014 coal ash spill that flooded the Dan River with 39,000 tons of toxic waste. The settlement, one of the largest the agency has ever proposed, designates $2.25 million for environmental projects benefiting Virginia communities harmed by the spill. The remaining $250,000 will be deposited in a fund that state regulators tap to cover expenses involved in responding to environmental emergencies. “This order is a significant step forward in Virginia’s efforts to protect our communities ... Read More

Ford must submit source code in sudden unintended acceleration case


Ford Motor Co. must turn over portions of its proprietary source code to plaintiffs suing the auto manufacturer over alleged defects in the electronic throttle control (ETC) system of certain vehicles, causing them to accelerate suddenly and unexpectedly, a West Virginia federal judge ordered Friday. Attorneys representing plaintiffs in a proposed class action argued that the source code is instrumental to understanding an alleged glitch that can cause sudden unintended acceleration in vehicles made from 2002 to 2010. They likened the problem to nearly identical claims made against Toyota for sudden unintended acceleration. Electronic source code played a key role ... Read More

Van crash kills four heavy metal band members, injures eight others

van crash Huntsville band 2 - image courtesy Fox5 Atlanta

A van carrying members of two heavy metal bands, one of which is based in Huntsville, Ala., crashed on I-85 in Georgia Monday morning, killing four band members and injuring eight others. Investigators don’t yet know for certain why the van hauling 15 members of Wormreich, a heavy metal band from Huntsville, and Khaotika, an Atlanta band, veered off the interstate around 7 a.m. in the town of Commerce, about 70 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, but they suspect that Khaotika member Sergio Quesada, 27, may have fallen asleep at the wheel. The bands were on their way from Spartanburg, ... Read More

Man claims Xarelto makers withheld bleeding risk information


A man is suing the makers of Xarelto claiming the drug companies wrongfully represented the blood thinner by withholding information about serious bleeding risks with the drug. Xarelto was approved in 2011 to prevent and treat blood clots in patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery, and to prevent strokes in some heart patients, such as those with a common heart rhythm abnormality known as atrial fibrillation. Jermaine Tavon McMillan claims when he was prescribed Xarelto that he and his doctor were convinced by the drug makers that the medication had been tested and was found to be safe and/or ... Read More

Victims of toxic Chinese drywall may soon see relief


The sudden turnaround of a Chinese drywall manufacturer that has repeatedly snubbed U.S. courts is a promising sign for thousands of U.S. homeowners whose homes, and even their lives, have been ruined by toxic, highly corrosive drywall, plaintiffs’ lawyers say. Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a drywall company owned by the Chinese government, last week paid $3.2 million in damages to a federal court in New Orleans. That money will be disbursed to seven Virginia homeowners whose complaints against Taishan were tried as bellwether cases representative of a much larger, complex body of litigation still pending. The payments stunned those involved ... Read More

Another lawsuit filed in wake of superbug outbreak


A Washington state woman has filed a lawsuit against the makers of a specialized endoscope blamed for a life threatening superbug outbreak in some medical facilities, alleging she became infected at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle two years ago. The hospital, however, says it has no record of a carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infection caused by the medical devices. Debbie Newton, 54, claims she contracted CRE after undergoing a procedure with a duodenoscope made by Olympus America Inc. on Feb. 7, 2013. Duodenoscopes are a type of endoscope that is fed down patients’ throats to treat or diagnose various gastrointestinal ailments. About ... Read More