E Cigarette Hazards

Electronic Cigarettes or vapor cigarettes are devices made from metal tubes which contain a cartridge filled with nicotine laced liquid. The liquid is vaporized by a battery powered heating element.  E Cigarettes mimic cigarettes and come in a variety of flavors.  Manufacturers of e cigarettes falsely claim they are a less dangerous alternative to smoking cigarettes and an alternative smoking cessation device.

In a 2009 analysis of certain electronic cigarettes, the FDA found that e cigarette cartridges contain carcinogens including nitrosamines and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol.  The FDA has major concerns about the safety of e cigarettes for the smoker and non-smoke

“If you are around somebody who is using an e cigarette you are breathing in aerosol of exhaled nicotine, ultra-fine particles, volatile organic compounds and other toxins,” reports Dr. Stanton Glantz, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of Southern California, San Francisco.  The vapor inhaled and exhaled is not pure water vapor and can lead to major health risks.

Americans for Non-Smokers Rights are concerned that e cigarettes are being falsely marketed as something that smokers can use in the workplace and public places where smoking of tobacco is prohibited.  Others fear deceptive marketing practices and believe false claims of e cigarettes as a “safe alternative to smoking tobacco” are tempting teens to addiction.  The variety of flavors they come in are an added temptation to teens.

Currently, e cigarettes are unregulated and manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients in e cigarette liquid, nor the substances present in the aerosol.  The FDA aims to regulate them as tobacco products after a U.S. Court of Appeals decided that the FDA cannot regulate them as a drug delivery device, which is how nicotine replacement products are regulated.   In September 2010 the FDA sent warning letters to 5 retailers advising that their practices are in violation of the FDA and Cosmetic Act.

As of April 2015, 354 municipalities and 3 states include e cigarettes as products that are prohibited from use in smoke free environments.  Cities and states can enact laws that regulate when and where they can be used as well as laws that regulate sales to minors or where product can be sold.  City and state law makers must address these issues.

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At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

Wandering Off Hudson & Castle

Cyber Bullying Stories: The Ryan Halligan Case (1989 – 2003)

The Cyberbullying Story:  The website operated by Ryan’s parents, John and Kelly Halligan, states that early concerns about Ryan’s speech, language and motor skills development led to him receiving special education services from preschool through the fourth grade. Ryan’s academic and physical struggles made him the regular target of a particular bully at school between the fifth and seventh grade. In February 2003, a fight between Ryan and the bully not only ended the harassment at school, but led to a supposed friendship.

However, after Ryan shared an embarrassing personal story, the newly found friend returned to being a bully and used the information to start a rumor that Ryan was gay. The taunting continued into the summer of 2003, although Ryan thought that he had struck a friendship with a pretty, popular girl through AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Instead, he later learned that the girl and her friends thought it would be funny to make Ryan think the girl liked him and use it to have him share more personally embarrassing material—which was copied and pasted into AIM exchanges with her friends. On October 7, 2003, Ryan hanged himself in the family bathroom. After his son’s death, John discovered a folder filled with IM exchanges throughout that summer that made him realize “that technology was being utilized as weapons far more effective and reaching [than] the simple ones we had as kids.”

Aftermath: There were no criminal charges filed following Ryan’s death because no criminal law applied to the circumstances. Seven months after Ryan’s death, Vermont’s Bully Prevention Law (ACT 117) was signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas. John Halligan also authored Vermont’s Suicide Prevention Law (ACT 114), which passed unchanged in April 2006.

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At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

 

 

 

Charging the Jury

In jury trials, juries are the fact finders or trier of fact.  It is the jury’s responsibility to sort through disputed accounts presented in evidence before coming to a decision during deliberation at the end of the trial.  The judge decides questions of law, i.e., how the law applies to a given set of facts. In most trials, jurors can take reasonable notes while paying close attention to the evidence and arguments presented.  They cannot be given a transcript of the trial, but must rely on their notes and collective memories.  They are permitted to have all the trial exhibits with them in the jury room during deliberations.

To aid jurors during the deliberation process, the judge, at the end of the trial, “charges the jury.”  Jury instructions are a set of lengthy legal rules that jurors must follow when deciding a civil or criminal case.  The instructions explain how a jury should deliberate and how they should analyze the witnesses and the evidence.  In jury instructions, the law of the case is explained in detail and they are instructed to make their decision strictly according to the law.  Jury instructions are given to the jury by the judge orally, in writing or both.  Jury charges are reviewed beforehand by attorneys on both sides in the case.

The majority of the states in the United States have a basic set of instructions, usually called “pattern jury instructions,” which provide the framework for the charge to the jury. Delaware follows “Delaware’s Civil Pattern Jury Instructions.” Jury charges are often very complex and play a significant role in jury discussions.

You may read the State of Delaware’s Civil Pattern Jury Instructions here

http://courts.delaware.gov/Superior/pattern/pattern.stm

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

The Civil Justice System: Supporting Women’s Health

The civil justice system plays a key role in women’s health that many people are unaware of.  Access to the civil justice system makes women’s health safer and helps keep corporate misconduct in check when regulators of medical devices have been unwilling to rank the health of women above financial profit.  Corporations have rushed products to market without properly conducting safety studies and concealing known safety issues in exchange for profit.

In addition, women historically have underrepresented in Phase I clinical drug trials.  According to an investigative study published in Women’s Health Issues in 2009, “Although the last US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study (published in 2001) showed that women’s participation may have been statistically large enough to determine whether the drug was effective in women, the rate of women’s participation throughout the whole process of testing a drug was variable, with women clearly underrepresented in most trials.  By 2002, studies indicated that only 24% to 25% of subjects in many phase 1 and 2 clinical trials were women.”  As a result, women have suffered disproportionately from the effects of dangerous and defective drugs and medical devices.  Recently in the news lawsuits are being filed against manufacturers of NuvaRing and Essure, both contraceptive methods used by woman and marketed by doctors.

Following are some historical examples of known abuses against women:

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy – With the knowledge that breast cancer is the second most deadliest form of cancer affecting women, pharmaceutical companies, since 1942, have marketed estrogen supplements as HRT even with known links to breast cancer, heart attacks and blood clots.
  • The Dalkon Shield – The manufacturer, A.H. Robbins knew the contraceptive caused fatal infections but it wasn’t until 1980 that, after lawsuits, the company finally agreed to issue a letter to doctors recommending the removal of the device.
  • Surgical Mesh – These devices cause organ perforation, infection and many more side effects. Many versions went to market without FDA approval and at least 70,000 women have vaginal mesh implants each year.  Johnson & Johnson stopped selling it’s product in 2012 after facing 4,000 lawsuits from injured women.
  • Deputy Artificial Hips – Introduced in 2015 by Johnson & Johnson, the ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement system immediately began attracting attention. Doctors reported the device shed large portions of metallic debris and caused infection, fractures, dislocations, necrosis and nerve damage.  The device stayed on the market for 5 years until sales were halted in 2010.  Johnson & Johnson payed over $4 billion to settle thousands of cases.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

Keyless Ignition Starts Trouble

A lawsuit seeking an injunction requiring automakers to install automatic shut-off features on all existing and future vehicles sold with keyless ignitions was filed in Los Angeles on August 26, 2015 against ten of the world’s biggest automakers.

Toyota, Nissan, Honda, GM, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford are some of the automakers facing a class action lawsuit on behalf of millions of Americans who drive cars with keyless ignitions.

The automakers sold keyless “fobs” without instituting safeguards, warnings or other safety features including audible engine-on alerts or “auto off,” which would automatically turn off the engine of a car left unattended.  There have been at least 13 deaths and numerous injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning after drivers failed to manually shut off their engines.

Such a device can be implemented without significant cost, but automakers refused to make the repair, recall the cars or provide an auto off software update.  GM and Ford even took steps to patent a shut off feature.

27 complaints have been logged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2009 concerning keyless ignitions. 

The lawsuit seeks to hold the automobile industry liable for defects that make driving unsafe, similar to the Takata airbags cases and ignition switch lawsuit against GM motors.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

The Essure System : Evaluating The Contraceptive Device

The Essure System was approved and marketed as a non-incisional approach to permanent birth control by the FDA on November 4, 2002.  The Essure procedure involves placing a small, flexible device called a micro-insert into each of your fallopian tubes.  The inserts are made from polyester fibers and metals (nickel-titanium and stainless steel).  Once the inserts are in place the body tissue grows into the inserts, blocking the fallopian tubes.  Blocking the tubes is intended to prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg, ultimately preventing pregnancy.

From November of 2002 to present, it is reported that the FDA has received more than 4,000 adverse event reports on Essure and that the original manufacturer has received 16,047 complaints.   Complaints received by the FDA range from symptoms such as naseua, chronic fatigue, hives, abdominal pain, pain during and after intercourse, headaches and abnormal menstrual bleeding to misplaced and protruding coils.  The side effects have been severe enough to warrant surgical removal of the coils or total hysterectomies.

It was reported in April of 2015 that the FDA opened an investigation of the Essure system after allegations that the company falsified and altered medical records during clinical trials, failed to report adverse events, deceived the public and the FDA about the device’s safety and efficacy and used defective materials in manufacturing.  In 2002, Essure was given premarket approval which shielded the manufacturer from product liability and litigation.  If Conceptus violated the conditions of it’s premarket approval, they may lose their protective status.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

Medicare’s Stringent Requirements For Post Hospital Care

AARP reported in an article dated October, 2012 that an elderly patient, Jean Arnua, spent five days in the hospital for a fractured spine following an emergency room visit.  Neither she nor her family was aware that Jean had never been “formally” admitted to the hospital.  The stay was recorded as “observation” and not “in patient” by the hospital.  Once discharged, the family wanted to place Jean in a Skilled Nursing Facility for post hospital rehabilitation care.  This is when they discovered she was never fully admitted to the hospital.  The financial consequences were staggering.

Medicare will only pay for post hospital care in a Skilled Nursing Facility after the patient has been an “in patient” at a hospital for three consecutive days.  They will pay for the full twenty days in a Skilled Nursing Facility if the patient meets this requirement.  If they do not, the patient is financially responsible for the entire bill at the Skilled Nursing Facility.

Another example is Amau, an 84 year old widow, who received a bill for $3,900 from a Skilled Nursing Facility for a two week stay.  Medicare did not cover her stay because she did not meet the three day “in patient” hospital stay requirement.

Are elderly patients being financially exploited?  Experts believe hospitals are using the observation status in order to protect themselves against new policies that penalize hospitals for unnecessary admissions and frequent readmissions of the same patient.  Medicare is auditing hospitals where they believe the hospital is admitting patients unnecessarily.  Elderly patient are caught in the crossfire between hospital administration and Medicare policies.  Due to these policies, elderly patients have suffered negative health consequences and substantial financial loss.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

ANESTHESIOLOGIST TRASHES SEDATED PATIENT AND PAYS FOR IT!

The Washington Post recently reported that a Vienna, Virginia man pressed the “record” button on his smartphone prior to the start of his colonoscopy with the intention of recording post-op instructions the doctor would give him following the procedure. The man’s phone, which was left in his pants, was placed beneath the surgical table and therefore recorded the conversation between the medical staff during the procedure in its entirety.

After he awoke from the general anesthesia and recovered enough to safely drive home, he hit the “play” button on his phone and listened to much more than post-op instructions from his doctor. He was shocked to find that the surgical team had mocked and insulted him throughout the procedure. While the patient was sedated, the female anesthesiologist was recorded as saying to him, “After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op, I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit.” When an assistant noted that the patient had looked queasy while watching a needle administered to his arm, the anesthesiologist was recorded as saying, “Well, why are you looking then, retard?” There were also disparaging comments made about a rash on his genitals, suggesting he had syphilis or tuberculosis.

In addition to these unwarranted remarks, the doctor, in order to avoid the patient after the colonoscopy, instructed an assistant to lie to the patient after he awoke from the anesthesia.  The assistant was to tell the patient that the doctor had already discussed the findings with him, but the patient just couldn’t remember. If that was not enough, a false diagnosis of hemorrhoids was entered into the patient’s chart even though none was detected.   Why would he do this? Evidently, the doctor felt, “People are into their medical problems. They need to have medical problems.”

The patient rightly sued the two doctors and their practices for defamation and medical malpractice and after a three-day trial,  a Fairfax County jury awarded him $500,000.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Res Ipsa Loquitur is a legal term which in Latin means “the thing speaks for itself.” It is a doctrine of law that one is presumed to be negligent if he/she/it had exclusive control of whatever caused the injury even though there is not specific evidence of an act of negligence. An example would be a foreign object left within a patient who underwent surgery or a surgeon who operates on the wrong limb or organ.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are usually based upon a claim that a medical provider was negligent and the doctors actions fell below an accepted standard of care. Establishing that a doctor’s actions fell below the accepted standard of care requires the expert testimony of another health care provider in the same field of medicine as the defendant.

What if the patient was unconscious when the negligent act occurred and there is insufficient documentation regarding the health care provider’s actions during the medical procedure or surgery, such as in the above examples? It would be very difficult to prove negligence even with the assistance of a medical expert. In cases such as these, medical malpractice attorneys rely on the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, as it allows for the admission of circumstantial evidence to infer negligence.  Once res ipsa loquitur is established, the medical practitioner is then presumed negligent and the burden of proof shifts from the plaintiff to the practitioner to prove otherwise. The plaintiff, or patient, need not prove who committed the improper act. The court instructs the jury to infer that the health care provider was negligent.

Laws differ from state to state regarding the law of res ipsa loquitur in medical malpractice cases. To ensure the proper applicability of res ipsa loquitur, it is advisable to retain a qualified medical malpractice attorney who will consider your possible case and your state’s statutes.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

Erin’s Law

Erin Merryn, childhood sexual abuse survivor, author, speaker, child advocate and activist is the founder and President of Erin’s Law, a non-profit social welfare organization in the State of Illinois.  Erin is a survivor of rape by an uncle from the age of 6-8, without her parent’s knowledge.  She is now on a mission to persuade all 50 states to pass Erin’s Law, which mandates all public schools to use age appropriate curricula to teach students how to tell on anyone who touches or attempts to touch their private parts.

The law was originally introduced in her home state of Illinois, in 2011.  The law was named after Erin in honor of her efforts to protect children from sexual abuse.  Once it was signed by legislators, it caught on nationwide.  She has met with dozens of state legislators, testified in front of State Senate and House committees, served on several committees to draft bills and implement the new laws.  Due to her efforts, 26 states have passed Erin’s Law.

According to Erin’s Law.com, every six minutes a child is sexually abused in the United States.  One in every 4 girls and 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18.  More than 90% of the assault are from a family member or friend.  Only 1 in 10 sexually abused children ever tell anyone about it.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.