Take a moment and repose yourself

Most people are familiar with a statute of limitations, a law that gives you a certain amount of time to bring a claim starting from the date of the injury.  That makes sense, since you know when you are injured.  A “statute of repose,” on the other hand, is a limitation on the amount of time starting from the date a product is made, whether you have been injured yet or not.

Seeking enlightenment

What makes these laws – such as Ohio’s law – particularly vicious is that they can cut off the ability to file a claim BEFORE THE INJURY HAS EVEN HAPPENED.  One a product had been made – whether that’s a medical device like a hip implant, a smoke detector, or a baby’s high chair – after 10 years, no claims can be made against the manufacturer.

What does this mean to you?

Not surprisingly, Ohio’s statute of repose has been described as “a victory for manufacturers.”  If manufacturers won, who lost?  And by the way, how does this make products safer?

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And another thing about that Instagram…

The Facebook world was aghast this week when Instagram changed its Terms and Conditions so it could claim ownership of photos posted there.  What was also changed, but not as well known, was the requirement for mandatory arbitration of any disputes with Instagram.  Thanks to the Pop Tort for pointing out this equally clandestine yet more nefarious change!

shrug

What does this mean to you:

Always read the fine print.  Forced arbitration means you cannot file a lawsuit if they treat you unfairly.  You cannot have a jury of your peers hear your case and decide what is right.  You “agree” to have any disputes decided by an arbitrator, who sees the company in arbitration all the time.  There is usually no appeal from an arbitration decision – you must live with whatever the arbitrator decides.

 

It’s the most dangerous time of the year – sing it with me!

The opportunity for household fires seems to increase around the holidays, whether it be candles, electric lights in the tree, or even the yule log.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted a handy 12 point safety checklist to address some of these risks.

broken ornament

What does this mean to you:

The frivolity (read: alcohol) of the holidays can easily lead us to lower our guard.  Take two seconds and look at the above list so you are at least aware of the potential issues.  And as always, be safe, use common sense, and have a great holiday.

Tis the season

I saw this list recently – the top 10 most dangerous toys of all time.  Some of the toys on the list are downright jaw-droppingly dangerous and would make Irving Mainway proud.  Take, for example, the CSI fingerprint kit made with asbestos dust, made as recently as 2007(!)  Others, like the Hannah Montana card game laced with lead, are not as obvious.

child gun

What does this mean to you:

Always fill out and return the warranty cards that come with children’s products so you know when a recall happens and you can be up to date with the most current information.

 

Injured workers in Ohio dealt a legal blow

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that if an employer removes a safety device, like guard on a press, and someone is injured while working there, like losing losing their fingers or hand, they cannot hold their boss responsible for their injuries unless they PROVE that their boss meant to hurt them.

Yellow hardhat

The idea in someone’s head and what they were intending to do is an extremely difficult, if not impossible, thing to prove.  Today’s ruling is an unfortunate extension of an earlier decision from the Court.

What does this mean to you:

Someone injured or killed on the job is not always left out in the cold. If a person or company other than your employer was at fault – such as a sub-contractor doing work at an industrial job site or construction site, the manufacturer of a defective product, or any other third party – they may be entitled to make a claim, even though the injury happened while on the job.  A major part of any case brought by a lawyer or law firm is investigating all potentially-liable parties.  Workers comp may also be available, but by no means makes the person whole.

 

I thought there were supposed to be drugs in my glass

Image

Be advised the Ranbaxy and the FDA have recalled the generic form of the cholesterol drug Lipitor, called atorvastatin, because they found glass particles in the drug.

What does this mean to you:

Obviously, people should stop taking this drug and call their doctor.

 

Everybody gets an award these days!

Most of us have seen the email floating around for the “Stella Awards,” named for Stella Leibeck, the 79 year old woman who had third degree skin burns and skin grafts in her crotch who had the gall to ask McDonalds to help her with her medical bills.  Though these awards are meant to highlight “frivolous” cases, many are actually fictitious or trumped up.

You really are a winner.

Now come the Hazelwood Awards, so named for Capt.. Hazelwood of Exxon Valdez fame.  These awards highlight corporate greed and malfeasance.  This year’s winner is the hospital in Florida that performed unnecessary surgeries in order to bill for them.

What does this mean to you:

Corporations and insurance companies often put profits before people, notwithstanding what their slick commercials and handsome spokesmen would have us believe.

It can wait

 

As noted earlier this year, April is Distracted Driving Awareness month.  Since then, though, the number of deaths from texting while driving just in Ohio – not to mention nationwide – continues to rise.

At least she’s got one hand on the wheel…

There is a new resource available at EndDD.org.  It shares the real-world story of Casey Feldman who was struck and killed by a texting driver as she crossed the street.  EndDD.org also has a checklist of pledges, which can be especially helpful for teenage drivers.

What does this mean to you:

Ohio’s texting while driving ban went into effect at the beginning of September.  Not only is it now against the law, its just dangerous.  Put down the cell phone while driving.  Nothing is that important.  It can wait.

 

Think inside the (jury) box

 

While not all jury deliberations are watched by hordes of people in underground bunkers with wiretapping equipment and video monitors like those in movie The Runaway Jury, they are serious nonetheless – and meant to be secret.  But in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, jurors posts or internet research about a case can have dire consequences.

I cannot believe it. An iPhone 4?!?

Judges around the country are concerned.  In one case, a juror’s Tweets may have even let a murder off of death row.  Some states have outlawed the practice.  There are proposals online for jury instructions to help steer jurors in the right direction.

What does this mean to you:

Our civil justice system depends on fair and impartial jurors deciding cases based on the facts presented.  Trial lawyers should keep abreast of these constantly evolving technologies to best represent their clients.

 

That is NOT normal

I am not sure if this video is a critique of engineering standards, politicians, or just Australians.  Nonetheless, it seems to illustrate the often odd, and sometimes belligerent, lengths some will go to in order to deflect personal responsibility away from themselves.

The front fell off.

What does this mean to you:

As wacky as this video seems, corporate decision-makers and insurance adjusters often don’t like to admit reality when there is money at stake.  That’s why a lawyer’s ability to take depositions of these folks in litigation and put them under oath is a powerful tool.