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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Traumatic Brain Injury Mistaken for PTSD for war veterans

KATE WENNER of the New York Times reports…

FIVE years ago I saw a television report about Iraq war veterans in California who were being treated for a new kind of brain injury. I was stunned to watch a female soldier who could no longer recognize her daughter. So I tracked down the therapist treating her and began a nine-month journey in which I interviewed dozens of vets with traumatic brain injuries and their families, eventually turning their heart-wrenching stories into a play.

These vets suffer from a particular kind of brain damage that results from repeated exposure to the concussive force of improvised explosive devices — I.E.D.’s — a regular event for troops traveling the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s Russian roulette,” one vet told me, “We had one guy in our company who got hit nine times before the 10th one waxed him.” An I.E.D. explosion can mean death or at least a lost arm or leg, but you don’t have to take a direct hit to feel its effects. A veteran who’d been in 26 blasts explained, “It feels like you’re whacked in the head with a shovel. When you come to, you don’t know whether you’re dead or alive.”

The news that Robert Bales, an Army staff sergeant accused of having killed 16 Afghan civilians last week, had suffered a traumatic brain injury unleashed a flurry of e-mails among those of us who have been trying to beat the drums about this widespread — and often undiagnosed — war injury. New facts about Staff Sgt. Bales are coming out daily. After we heard about the brain injury that resulted when his vehicle rolled over in an I.E.D. blast, we were told that he had lost part of his foot in a separate incident. Then we learned that the day before his rampage, he’d been standing by a buddy when that man’s leg was blown off. There are also reports of alcohol use.

People with more appropriate professional skills than mine will have to parse these facts, but from what I have learned in my work as a storyteller, this tragedy may be related to something I heard about in my interviews: a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop. If alcohol was indeed part of the picture, it could have further undermined his compromised frontal lobe function.

Defense Department officials have said that his brain injury was insignificant. And an individual military base has been singled out for investigation. All of this will be played out in a media frenzy, while the agony of tens of thousands with similar injuries goes unnoticed.

Doing the research for my play educated me to some of the reasons this injury continues to be back-burnered. They fit in three categories: medicine, money and memory.

Medicine: For years traumatic brain injuries — T.B.I.’s — have been scored as “mild,” “moderate” or “severe,” and this is based, in part, on the amount of time a person was unconscious — from seconds to years. Unfortunately “mild” and “moderate” sound minor and easily fixable. That may be true with a traditional brain injury. But I.E.D. brain damage isn’t always the result of a single incident in which a soldier may have blacked out for seconds. Rather, it can be the cumulative impact of several such blackouts over weeks and months of exposure to blasts that put the brain through a sudden and powerful change in atmospheric pressure, expand and contract it, and produce changes at the molecular level.

Money: the terminology “mild” and “moderate,” while technically correct, helps minimize costs for lifetime medical care and disability. In comparison, post-traumatic stress disorder is cheaper to treat and often easier to manage, and many vets told me they were routinely given that diagnosis and not tested for brain damage. One soldier, who had been given so many medications for PTSD that he carried them around in a fishing tackle box, got the proper diagnosis of traumatic brain injury months later only when his tenacious wife insisted on taking him back to be tested.

This is another danger connected to the failure to properly diagnose brain injury: the cognitive impairment of a T.B.I. can prevent a patient from remembering how many pills he took or when. I interviewed one mother whose son had been found dead from a drug overdose, face-down in the pizza he’d been eating alone in his room. She told me, “They gave my son all these drugs and they murdered him.” We don’t hear about cases like this; often they are recorded as drug overdoses or suicides.

One last story. I interviewed a gentle bear of a man, a devoted father, beloved by his troops. He told me stories of going into sudden and uncontrollable rages in Iraq. His men had to pull him back. Afterward, he was filled with regret and shame. Luckily he was given a proper diagnosis of PTSD and T.B.I. and was not redeployed. Unluckily, his inability to control his explosive rage made it unsafe for him to continue to live with his wife and child.

Finally, memory’s role, which is what drew me to this subject in the first place — the woman who couldn’t remember her own child. Don’t so many of us lose our memory when it comes to the consequences of wars fought far from home? Aren’t we all a little guilty of wanting to turn away from the shameful and painful reminders?

Is My Sex Life Over?....For transvaginal Mesh Victim

Females that suffered from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) may have consented to the implant of a transvaginal mesh to treat their symptoms. Unfortunately, more and more instances of transvaginal mesh complications and serious vaginal mesh side effects are being reported.

The major manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices include Bard and Gynecare. Their products (Avaulta and Prolift, respectively) have been used by thousands of women with vaginal prolapse, an unfortunate condition that manifests as a protrusion of a woman’s sexual organs. These meshes or slings support pelvic organs that have slid forward and downwards, relieving the pressure on the uterus and bladder that causes prolapse and urinary incontinence.

Unfortunately, the transvaginal procedure, performed through a slit in the vaginal wall, has been linked to serious issues with these products. Thousands of women have reported serious transvaginal mesh side effects such as:

  • Erosion of the mesh through the vaginal wall
  • Infection and bleeding
  • Vaginal shortening and tightening
  • Bowel, bladder, and blood vessel perforation
  • Pain and discomfort during sex (dyspareunia)
  • Painful urination

Additionally, many women have reported a reappearance of their vaginal prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, the very conditions the devices were designed to treat. Vaginal scarring due to mesh erosion has let some patients permanently injured, and revision surgeries could leave a woman disfigured.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zoloft linked to Birth Defects

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It was introduced to the market by Pfizer in 1991. Sertraline is primarily used to treat major depression in adult outpatients as well as obsessive-compulsive, panic, and social anxiety disorders in both adults and children. In 2007, it was the most prescribed antidepressant on the U.S. retail market, with 29,652,000 prescriptions

SSRIs work by preventing certain receptors in the human brain from absorbing serotonin that has already been released. Serotonin helps maintain feelings of well-being, so preventing its re-absorption alleviates negative feelings. Unlike other drugs (such as buproprion–also known as Wellbutrin—for example), SSRIs minimally affect noradrenaline and dopamine, which regulate stress levels. But SSRIs can cause many side effects, most common among them nausea, somnolence, and sexual dysfunction.

Zoloft in particular has been linked to numerous birth defects in children born to mothers who were taking the drug while pregnant. These include: clubbed foot; cleft lip/palate; delayed development; persistent pulmonary hypertension; gastrochisis; heart defects; skull defects; and brain/spinal cord defects. Moreover, Zoloft can cause premature birth or even miscarriage. And a child exposed to Zoloft in utero can experience withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Injury Attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates have handled some of the countries TOP Birth Injury/Birth Defects cases. Call today for a free evaluation of your claim at 1-800-669-4878.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Abbott Laboratories Faces Whistleblower Lawsuit Concerning Depakote

Off-label use is the practice of prescribing pharmaceuticals for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, unapproved dose or unapproved form of administration. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) reviews a company's New Drug Application (NDA) for data from clinical trials to see if the results support the drug for a specific use or indication. If satisfied that the drug is safe and effective, the drug's manufacturer and the FDA agree on specific language describing dosage, route of administration, and other information to be included on the drug's label. More detail is included in the drug's package insert.

A study published in 2006 found that off-label use was the most common in cardiac medications and anticonvulsants. This study also found that 73% of off-label use had little or no scientific support.

In 1993, the US FDA approved gabapentin, marketed by Pfizer under the name "Neurontin", only for treatment of seizures. Pfizer subsidiary Warner-Lambert used activities not usually associated with sales promotion, including continuing medical education and research, to promote gabapentin, so that within 5 years the drug was being widely used for the off-label treatment of pain and psychiatric conditions. In 2004, Warner-Lambert admitted to charges that it violated FDA regulations by promoting the drug for pain, psychiatric conditions, migraine, and other unapproved uses. The company paid $430 million to the federal government to settle the case.

Access to pharmaceutical industry documents have revealed marketing strategies used to promote drugs for off-label use. The United States federal government is aggressively pursuing criminal and civil cases against pharmaceutical companies and their employees for promoting off-label uses of prescription drugs. Between 2003 and 2008, U.S. federal prosecutors and state attorneys general brought more than a dozen cases against drug makers for off-label marketing and won more than $6 billion in criminal and civil settlements. In September 2009, Pfizer paid $1.3 billion, the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States, for the off-label marketing of Bextra and three other drugs. Pfizer paid an additional $1 billion in civil penalties resulting from the same illegal activities

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are Native Americans at Greater Risk for Diabetes?

Native Americans are at a greater risk of having diabetes than anyone. While almost six percent of the U.S. population has some form of this disease, among the Native American populations, that number is twice as high.

Diabetes Among Native Americans

Prevalance of type 2 diabetes among Native Americans in the United States is 12.2% for those over 19 years of age.

One tribe in Arizona has the highest rate of diabetes in the world. About 50% of the adults between the ages of 30 and 64 have diabetes.

Ten to twenty-one percent of all people with diabetes develop kidney disease. In 1995, 27,900 people initiated treatment for end stage renal disease (kidney failure) because of diabetes. Among people with diabetes, the rate of diabetic end stage renal disease is six times higher among Native Americans.

Diabestes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations. The risk of a leg amputation is 15 to 40 times greater for a person with diabetes. Each year 54,000 people lose their foot or leg to diabetes. Amputation rates among Native Americans are 3-4 times higher than the general population.

Diabetic retinopathy is a term used for all abnormalities of the small blood vessels of the retina caused by diabetes, such as weakening of blood vessel walls or leakage from blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs in 18% of Pima Indians and 24.4% of Oklahoma Indians.

The Dangerous Toll of Diabetes

There are 15.7 million or 5.9% of the population in the United States who have diabetes.

While an estimated 10.3 million have been diagnosed, 5.4 million people are not aware that they have the disease.

Each day approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes. About 798,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the sixth-leading cause of death by disease. Based on death certificate data, diabetes contributed to 193,140 deaths in 1996.

Each day approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes. About 798,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

Health care and other costs directly related to diabetes treatment, as well as the costs of lost productivity, run $98 billion annually.

Statistics from the American Diabetes Association

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Mounting...

If you or someone you know suffered complications as a result of the transvaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse you need to call our office RIGHT AWAY. Before the statute of limitations expire on your claim call our qualified attorneys for a free consultation. We can help you. 1.800.Now.Hurt (1.800.669.4878).

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

LABOR LAW – $1.3 Million Settlement for Fall from Scaffold - spinal injuries

Labor – Fall from Scaffold Results in Spinal Injuries


SETTLEMENT: Zach D. v. City of New York; Perini Corporation v. Nelson Maintenance Services, Inc.

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco of Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates, P.L.L.C., Woodbury.

Deft. Atty: David E. Potter of Lazare, Potter, Giacovas & Kranjac, L.L.P., Manhattan, for City of New York and Perini Corp.

Jeffiey S. Feinerman of Meiselman, Denlea, Packman & Eberz, P .C., White Plains, for Nelson Maintenance Services.

This case settled just before plaintiff rested for $1,300,000. Plaintiff, a 39-year-old union painter employed by Third-party defendant Nelson Maintenance Services, fell off a double Baker scaffold which collapsed under him while working at the sewage treatment plant at Coney Island in Brooklyn. Defendants contended that the accident did not happen as plaintiff claimed. Plaintiff was granted summary judgment on the issue of liability pursuant to Labor Law §240(1 ).

Injuries: bulging cervical disc at C4-5; bulging lumbar disc at L4-5, with radiculopathy on the right side confirmed by EMG; torn medial and lateral menisci in the right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery and future total knee replacement; mild concussion with post-concussion syndrome and headaches; questionable chip fracture of the right calcaneus. Defendants claimed that the arthroscopic surgery that was performed was a routine operation, and did not result in permanent disability. Defendants also contended that there was no fracture to the calcaneus. Plaintiff claimed that he is unable to work, and he has not returned to work. He claimed lost earnings in the range of $40,000 to $50,000 per year plus benefits. Defendants disputed the extent of plaintiff s lost earnings, claiming that he had a sporadic work history with union earnings of only $20,000. Plaintiff’s vocational rehabilitation expert testified that plaintiff had sustained past lost earnings of $500,000 and future lost earnings of $1,500,000. The judge struck his testimony, finding that there was insufficient factual basis, since no W-2s or tax returns, were provided. Specials: $26,000 for past medical expenses; $200,000 for future medical expenses. Demonstrative evidence: MRIs; EMGs; models of the spine and knee. Settlement apportionment: Perini paid $150,000; Nelson paid $1,000,000, policy coverage, and $150,000 from the State Insurance Fund 1B coverage. Carriers: GAN for Nelson ($1,000,000 policy); St. Paul for Perini.

Pltf. Expert(s): Dr. Irving Friedman, neurologist, Brooklyn; Dr. Ali Guy, physiatrist, Manhattan; Dr. Frank Carr, orth surg., Brooklyn; Stuart Sachnin, Ph.D.,vocational economist, Manhattan, ( testimony striken).

Deft. Expert(s): Defendant would have called Dr. Jerome Block, neurologist, Manhattan; Dr. Aldo Vitale, orth. surg., Brooklyn.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. The term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff's injury has been caused by the negligence of another, but also arises in defamation torts.

The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, accidents in the home, defective products (product liability) and holiday accidents. The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermititis, and repetitive strain injury cases.

If the negligence of another party can be proved, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Side-Curtain Airbags - Are they safe for children?

How do they work?

The curtain airbag activates instantaneously in the event of a side impact crash, deploying from the top of the door rails above the side window. They form a cushion between the driver or passenger and the window and stay in place if the car rolls over to protect their head.

Why do I need them?

Research conducted in the USA estimates that head protecting airbags can reduce driver deaths in the event of a side impact crash by close to 40%*. Without them, in a side impact crash there is little to protect your head from striking the side of the car or rigid objects like trees or poles.

How are curtain airbags different to other types of airbags?

Curtain airbags are one type of head protecting side airbag. There are other kinds too, such as combination head and torso designs.

Combination head and torso airbags mostly activate from the seat, but some types deploy from the door, offering you good protection to both head and body in side impact crashes. However, combination designs are less effective than curtain airbags in rollover crashes.

Most people have heard of driver airbags (or frontal airbags). While these come as standard in many cars, they do not protect you in a side impact crash. Also, side airbags without the combination of head/torso design only protect the chest and thorax area, not the head.

How dangerous are side impact crashes?

Side impact crashes at intersections account for approximately 22% of all major crash types where people are killed or seriously injured.

However, according to IIHS spokesperson Russ Rader, "Even if a head curtain airbag covers the rear seats where children are most likely sitting, it won't necessarily offer them any protection. Most children are too short to receive any protection from a curtain-type side airbag."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Surge in Avaulta Transvaginal Mesh Claims

With the thousands of injured woman injured as a result of the transvaginal mesh complications we beg the question: why did the FDA approve it in the first place?

If you are suffering injury as a result of a defective implantation call our office right away at 1-800-Now-Hurt

Brand names of Bard’s transvaginal mesh patches include:
  • Avaulta Plus™ BioSynthetic Support System
  • Avaulta Solo™ Synthetic Support System
  • Faslata® Allograft
  • Pelvicol® Tissue
  • PelviSoft® Biomesh
  • Pelvitex™ Polypropylene Mesh

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dangers of Yasmin/Yaz/Ocella

Yasmin is a type of birth control originally developed by Berlex Laboratories (a U.S. affiliate of Schering AG, Germany) that was first approved for use in 2001. In 2006, the drug company, Bayer, acquired Berlex and marketed a more recent version of Yasmin, called Yaz. Ocella is a generic version.

Yasmin/YAZ/Ocella contains two types of hormones: an estrogen and a progestin. The estrogen is “ethinyl estradiol.” The progestin is “drsp” or “drospirenone”. Yasmin/YAZ/Ocella is the first type of birth control to contain drsp. Yasmin contains 3 mg drsp and 30 mcg ethinylestradiol per tablet. YAZ contains 3 mg drsp and 20 mcg ethinylestradiol per tablet. The drug prevents ovulation by working against the usual body chemistry of a woman of childbearing potential by suppressing endogenous gonadotropins and, thereby, inhibiting ovulation and altering other changes associated with the menstrual cycle.

The manufacturers of Yasmin/YAZ/Ocella have touted its latest creation as a “pill that goes beyond the rest,” and promises multiple additional benefits above and beyond unwanted pregnancies. They also claim that this latest drug creation is as safe as other types of accepted birth control pills that are on the market. In light of these promises made in slick advertising campaigns, the new product has made Bayer/Berlex millions of dollars. For example, in 2008, sales of YAZ reached $616 million (an approx. 18% U.S. market share), and Yasmin sales reached $382 million (an approx. 11% U.S. market share). It is now the best-selling oral contraception pill in the United States.

However, in putting the interest of corporate profits over public safety, Bayer/Berlex’ advertisements have focused almost exclusively on the positive affects of its newest drug creation. It has continually omitted or minimized the very significant risks associated with or increased by the novel drug, including heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), strokes, gallbladder disease, hepatic adenomas or benign liver tumors, and other serious injuries and sudden death. These life-threatening risks include, but are not limited to, those risks that Bayer knew or should have known are associated with or increased by the unprecedented use of this new hormone, drsp.

Bayer has also improperly encouraged the use of Yasmin/YAZ/Ocella in circumstances other than those in which the drug has been approved and over-stated its benefits. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly reprimanded Baxter/Berlex for marketing the drug in a way that minimizes these very serious side effects, thereby misleading millions of women and their prescribing physicians about the safety of this new type of birth control.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Traumatic Brain Injury ("TBI") and the UNIQUE questions involved in representing TBI victims

traumatic brain injury side effects
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a little understood injury in which the injured victim is injured as the result of direct (and sometimes indirect) trauma to the brain. As attorneys involved in the representation of victims of ALL TYPES OF ACCIDENTS we are very much aware of the peculiar issues involved in representing clients who are the victims of TBI. Some of the issues presented in TBI cases are unique to these types of cases.

One of the most difficult aspects of handling a TBI case is that the victims of TBI often look exactly like other healthy people. Indeed, they may look no different than anyone else you may meet on the street so it is hard for decision makers (judges, juries, claims adjustors) to appreciate the full impact of the injury to the victim. They also look no different than they may have looked BEFORE the accident so this poses a special challenge to the attorney who is trying to communicate the seriousness of this injury to a judge or a jury or an insurance adjustor, in order to get fair and adequate compensation for his client. Many of these cases are settled for insufficient amounts because the lawyer himself does not appreciate the seriousness of the injury or the significance of the complaints the client is making. It is, therefore VERY IMPORTANT for a client to have a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer who is experienced in handling and understanding TBI cases.

In many TBI cases the victim of the TBI is often not able to report a "LOC" or "loss of consciousness." Think about it. How can someone tell if they lost consciousness if they were not conscious?! It is often necessary to rely on the testimony of third party witnesses to tell us whether the patient was unconscious at the scene of the accident. Even a short loss of consciousness can be very significant in diagnosing a TBI. The lawyer must do a thorough investigation of the events surrounding the accident.

Furthermore, loss of consciousness (LOC) is NOT NECESSARY for even a serious TBI, a strange as that may seem. There is the famous case of Phineas Gage, a railroad man at the turn of the last century. By a freak accident, he had a an entire railroad spike embedded in his brain (through his eye) and he NEVER SUFFERED A LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS!!! Amazing. His case is still studied and cited by experts everywhere. Serious brain injury with no loss of consciousness!! He may not have suffered any loss of consciousness but his entire personality changed after the accident. He was a different man! And not in a good way.

Finally, YOU DON'T NEED A DIRECT IMPACT TO THE BRAIN TO SUFFER A TBI! There are many reported cases, especially involving women (who have more delicate bone structure in the neck) where a WHIPLASH type injury caused a serious TBI. These cases present a special challenge as the opposition tries to defend these cases by saying that there never was any head trauma. The point, however, is that you do not need head trauma to have BRAIN TRAUMA!! The brain can slosh around inside of the head and cause serious neurological injury to the "white matter" without any bump whatsoever to the head. Any decent expert will concede that.

It is also important to note that each and every person's brain responds differently to trauma. It is possible that what may be nothing to one person's brain may result in serious injury or even DEATH to another person with the identical trauma. In other words, strange as it may be, some brains can withstand trauma more than others. I recently had a client who died as a the result of a very minor blow to the head. Two people can be in the exact same car during the same accident and one can die (or be seriously injured) while the other is fine.

Thankfully, there have been many recent strides made in the diagnosis and treatment of TBI cases. Much of the publicity and research is being driven by the recent spate of news stories involving head injuries of NFL football players who have suffered devastating effects of TBI that few would have thought possible. The statistics are becoming alarming as a significant number of players are experiencing early death and becoming debilitated in late life from what they thought were "minor" concussions they sustained as players. This has spread awareness and concern to similar injuries in high school athletes where the equipment worn for protection in contact sports my not be adequate to protect the players' brains. Furthermore, much research is being done on soldiers with head injuries returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and breakthroughs in technology and computerized testing is now available to more adequately diagnose and treat these serious TBI injuries.

The brain is a complex and delicate organ. It is composed of both "grey" and "white" matter. Experts will uniformly tell you that the brain has the consistency of Jello. The curves, folds and indentations of the brain that we often see on diagrams and models is what we typically refer to as the "grey matter." That is the brain tissue, if you will. It is what you would be holding if you were holding a brain your hand (this is an oversimplification, of course). the white matter is the "wiring" of the brain and is composed of many millions of delicate neurons, axons and dendrites and other connective wiring that makes the brain function. It is the wiring of the brain that lets the brain communicate to itself.

Until recently, the only damage that could ever really be visualized in medical tests such as CT scan or MRI was damage to the grey matter. Many TBI victims were often undiagnosed because the MRI and CT scan tests would report back as "normal" when the patients were anything but normal. These patients continued to experience TBI symptoms of headaches, inability to concentrate, dizziness, vision problems, reactions to loud noises, personality changes, loss of taste or smell, balance issues, confusion, memory loss (both long and short term) and other symptoms. What was going on? They wondered.

While there have always been sensitive and talented neurologists and neuro-psychologists that were able to clinically diagnose these patients by spending considerable time on evaluating their complaints in detail, many patients were given short shrift and told that they were "OK" and should just "get on with heir lives." This was very discouraging for those TBI patients who simply knew that they did not feel well and could not perform and face life's challenges the way they used to. It was very frustrating for them to be told that they were healthy when in fact, they were not.

With the invention of new technology such as DTI (Diffuse Tensor Imaging) and other sophisticated tests, we can now "see" damage to the white matter (brain wiring) and are able to diagnose neural axonal shearing, which is a tearing disruption of the brain's wiring. In addition, there are other sophisticated tests which can measure loss of brain volume and "see" microscopic "bleeds" in different areas throughout the brain that may correspond to the particular complaints and difficulties the patient is having. This gives strong credibility to the TBI patient and is comforting in assuring them that they are "not crazy" or "faking" as some heartless people have claimed. They are, in fact, seriously neurologically injured and need our help. In the handling of accident cases it may be surprising to learn that it is often the lawyer of the victim who assists in actually diagnosing the patient with TBI and not the doctors because it is the lawyer who has the most regular and constant interaction with the patient over time and comes to realize that the patient is having difficulties processing information which the patient often may not realize, themselves. The lawyer may then refer the patient to the appropriate specialist to finally get the tests needed to get the patient help.

The other important thing to realize about Traumatic Brain Injury is that it is an injury that is more like a disease than an event (like a broken bone, for example). In a typical trauma to the body case, the body suffers an injury and then that injury gets treatment and, over time, it heals. In the example of the fractured (i.e. broken) bone, it typically heals up stronger than it was before the accident and the patient can resume his/her normal activities. Brain injuries are not like that. Brain injuries can be PROGRESSIVE, meaning that they get WORSE as time goes on and as the patient gets older. TBI has been known to bring on, for example, an EARLY onset of Alzheimer's Disease in patients that would have suffered from that disease eventually. There is something about TBI that causes loss of brain volume, as well. There are also now tests that can measure this. Although much is still not understood about TBI, we are making progress. TBI is best understood as an ongoing disease process, not as a one time event.

TBI patients need lots of help. They need cognitive retraining and other expensive services that cost many thousands of dollars over many years to make they more functional. Lawyers have to project and present the FUTURE COST of treatments to TBI patients in FUTURE DOLLARS so that the jury or judge can understand what will be necessary for the patient in the future. This is the only way to ensure that the victim of a TBI receives the care that he/she needs. Most of this treatment is not covered by health insurance.

One of the saddest things about TBI is that the patient becomes a "different person" than he/she was BEFORE the accident. This is sort of a "death" of the patient, as it were. with the patient being replaced by a new and completely different person, in more extreme cases. This can be terribly taxing on the family and particularly the spouse of the TBI victim. There are many situations in which the family simply deteriorates after a TBI to a family member because the family is not able to cope with the special needs of a TBI victim. It takes a great deal of patience, love and understanding for families to deal with problems of this magnitude.

The next time you encounter someone with a TBI, even though they may "look normal" try to be understanding and open minded to their plight and understand that they are going through a very difficult and painful life change and will likely never be the same person again.

Buttafuoco & Associates
Top Brain Injury Lawyer
Voted BEST LAWYER five years in a row!
Over $250 Million recovered for our clients.

Can I change attorneys in the middle of a case? Can I switch lawyers?

The experienced Personal Injury Attorneys/Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Buttafuoco and Associates answers: "Can I switch attorneys in the middle of a case? Can I change lawyers during a personal injury case? How do I change lawyers? "

Buttafuoco & Associates
Personal Injury Attorneys/Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Voted BEST LAWYER five years in a row!
Over $250 Million recovered for our clients.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

18 Hurt When Partial Building Collapse Sends Debris Onto Bus At 125th Street In Harlem

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Part of a building collapsed Tuesday morning, striking a city bus at 125th Street between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and St. Nicholas Avenue.

The brick facade of a 2-story building at 305 West 125th Street, which was being demolished, collapsed and sent debris onto scaffolding protecting the sidewalk surrounding the site around 9:15 a.m. Part of that scaffolding collapsed as well. Debris from the collapse struck the back of a city bus which had 30 passengers on board, 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports.

Officials said a total of 18 people were injured, including a mix of passers-by, workers and passengers. Two police officers also suffered minor injuries trying to rescue people.

Gisselle Ubeda, an employee of the nearby Rainbow store, described the scene. “It looks terrible,” Ubeda said. “Part of the building has fallen.”

Witnesses said the front of the building started leaning forward amid the demolition, and tipped over.

If you have been injured due to the negligence at a construction site: debri/tools, pipes, etc falling from a height causing serious injury or an electrician, plumber or mason injured while on the job. Call our experienced Construction Injury attorneys today at 1.800.Now.Hurt (1.800.669.4878)

Home Fires Prompt Dehumidifier Recall

WASHINGTON, D.C. - LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co., in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is urging consumers to check if they have recalled Goldstar or Comfort-Aire dehumidifiers. The firm is re-announcing the recall of about 98,000 of the dangerous dehumidifiers that pose a serious fire and burn hazard, and are believed to be responsible for more than one million dollars in property damage.

The power connector for the dehumidifier’s compressor can short circuit, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers and their property.

The dehumidifiers were first recalled in December 2009 following eleven incidents, including four significant fires. Since that time, the company has received sixteen additional incident reports of arcing, smoke and fire associated with the dehumidifiers, including nine significant fires. No injuries have been reported. Fires are reported to have caused more than $1 million in property damage including:

  • $500,000 in damage to a home in Gibsonia, Pa.
  • $200,000 in damage to a home in New Brighton, Minn.
  • $183,000 in damage to a home in Hudson, Mass.
  • $192,000 in damage to a home in Valparaiso, Ind.
  • $139,000 in damage to a home in Salem, Ohio
  • $129,000 in damage to a home in Brielle, N.J.
  • $ 95,000 in damage to a home in Philadelphia, Pa.

Because of the severity of the risks, CPSC and LG Electronics are concerned with the lack of consumer response to the recall. Only two percent of the 98,000 consumers who purchased these units have received a free repair, which means that consumers and their property remain at serious risk.

Anyone who has the recalled dehumidifiers is strongly encouraged to immediately stop using them, unplug them, and contact LG Electronics for the free repair.

The recall involves the 30 pint portable dehumidifiers sold under the Goldstar and Comfort-Aire brands. The dehumidifiers are white with a red shut-off button, controls for fan speed and humidity control, and a front-loading water bucket. “G

oldstar” or “Comfort-Aire” is printed on the front. Model and serial number ranges included in this recall are listed in the table below. The model and serial numbers are located on the interior of the dehumidifier, and can be seen when the water bucket is removed.

The recalled dehumidifiers were sold at The Home Depot, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Do It Best, Orgill Inc., and other retailers nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $140 and $150. They were manufactured in China.

For additional information about the recall and for the location of an authorized service center for the repair, contact LG toll free at (877) 220-0479 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, and between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. CT on Saturday, or visit the firm’s website at

If you have been injured due to a defective product call Buttafuoco & Associates today at 1-800-Now-Hurt

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Birth Injury Lawyer answers - What is the difference between a Birth Inj...

"What is a Birth Injury? What is a Birth Defect? What are the different types of birth injury? What is: Cerebral Palsy, Temporary Paralysis, Brain Damage, Erb's Palsy, Fractured Collar Bone, Klumpke's Palsy and Brachial Plexus Palsy?"

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

NJ Amusement Park Accident Sends Teen to Hospital

New Jersey Amusement Park Accident Sends Teen to Hospital

A 13-year-old was hospitalized after a ride partially collapsed at Mariner's Landing Pier in Wildwood last night, police said, the second serious accident at the amusement park in the last three months.

Wildwood police said shortly after 9 p.m., the center mast of the sea dragon ride -- a large pirate ship that swings riders back and forth and high into the air -- snapped while the ride was in motion.

Police said a 13-year-old, who was not identified, was transported to Cape Regional Medical Center for treatment. His or her condition was not immediately released. Four others, who were on the ride, were treated for minor injuries by EMS officials at the scene.

Wildwood police detectives were investigating the incident alongside the New Jersey subcode official of amusement parks.

It was the second ride-related accident to occur at Mariner's Landing Pier during this year's summer beach season. In June, an 11-year-old Pleasantville girl died after falling about 100 feet off of the amusement park's ferris wheel.

Have you suffered a serious injury at an amusement park? Amusement Park Accident?

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Drug Recall, Lawsuit: Birth Control Pills Containing Drospirenone (DRSP): YAZ Yasmin Ocella...

Our firm is now accepting cases involving YAZ, YASMIN, OCELLA (birth control pills). These drugs may be linked to Blood Clots, Pulmonary Embolism, Stroke, Heart Attack and even Death. If you or someone you know has been injured while taking one of these drugs call our offices today at 1-800-Now-Hurt.
What are YAZ, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvi, Zarah, Loryna, Syeda, Beyaz, and Safyral?

YAZ, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvi, Zarah, Loryna, Syeda, Beyaz, and Safyral are the only birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, to contain drospirenone (DRSP).

YAZ, Yasmin, Beyaz, and Safyral are manufactured by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Yasmin was originally made by Berlex Laboratories, which was acquired by Bayer in 2006.

Ocella is a generic version of Yasmin. Gianvi is a generic version of YAZ. The Ocella and Gianvi birth control pills are from Teva Pharmaceuticals and Barr Laboratories.

Zarah, another generic version of Yasmin, is made by Watson Pharmaceuticals.

Loryna, a generic version of YAZ, and Syeda, a generic version of Yasmin, are made and sold by Sandoz, Inc.

Each of these birth control pills contain ethinyl estradiol and the progestin drospirenone (DRSP). These DRSP oral contraceptives have also been associated with adverse side effects such as:

Daniel Buttafuoco
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Can I settle my case without hiring an attorney? - Top New York Attorney...

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Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Lawyers and Settlements writes a featured article about Christian Lawyer Daniel Buttafuoco

Christian Lawyer Daniel Buttafuoco on Giving Back vs Giving Haircuts...

Lawyers Giving Back looks at a side of lawyers you don’t hear too much about—the side that gives back…pays it forward..and shares the love. We’ve found quite a number of attorneys who log non-billable hours helping others—simply because they believe it’s the right thing to do. Their stories are inspiring, and hey, who knew lawyers were so…good? If you’ve got a story to share about an attorney who’s doing the right thing, let us know—we’d love to let others know, too. Today, we’re talking with New York attorney Daniel Buttafuoco…(click to view full article)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doctor can sue Amusement Park for bumper car injury

Amusement Park Accident: Doctor Can Sue for Injury

San Jose Mercury News reports...

Bumper car patrons at Great America theme park and other amusement parks may be able to sue if they get hurt in that laundry cycle of getting bounced and jostled on the popular rides.

In a ruling Friday, a divided San Jose-based state appeals court found that a local doctor could sue the owners of Great America for breaking her wrist riding a bumper car with her son in 2005. The decision overturned a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge who tossed the lawsuit because of the conclusion the park did not have a legal duty to guarantee against such an injury.

The 6th District Court of Appeal disagreed, saying a jury should decide if Cedar Fair Entertainment, Great America's owners, was negligent in failing to taking steps to prevent head-on collisions on the bumper car ride. The lawsuit alleges Cedar Fair took precautions at other amusement parks it owns, but not at Great America's "Rue Le Dodge" bumper car ride.

"(Cedar Fair) holds the park open to the public with the promise of safe fun and excitement," Justice Conrad Rushing wrote for the court. "Without question, it is best situated to minimize any risks associated with its rides.

"Although bumping is part of the experience of a bumper car ride," the court continued, "head-on bumping is not. In fact, it is a prohibited activity."

The lawsuit was filed by Smriti Nalwa, identified in court papers as a San Jose doctor who took her young son and daughter to Great America in July

2005. According to the ruling, she was one of 55 people injured on the bumper car ride out of several hundred thousands patrons during the 2004 and 2005 park seasons, although the only person to suffer a fracture.

Patrick Hurley, Cedar Fair's lawyer, could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2006, a year after the accident, Cedar Fair changed Great America's bumper car ride to add an island in the middle to keep drivers headed in the same direction, as was done at other parks around the country.

Justice Wendy Duffy wrote a long dissent, maintaining the ruling stretches the reach of liability for amusement park operators and that park patrons assume a certain risk when they jump in a bumper car.

"The name of the game is to bump and to attempt to avoid (often unsucessfully) being bumped," Duffy wrote. "(The record) discloses no evidence that Cedar Fair increased the risk inherent in riding Rue Le Dodge."

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FDA: Risk of oral birth defects in children born to mothers taking topiramate

New Test from Standard MRI Could Yield New Insights on Brain InjuryNew data suggest that the drug Topamax (topiramate) and its generic versions increase the risk for the birth defects cleft lip and cleft palate in babies born to women who use the medication during pregnancy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today.

Before prescribing topiramate, approved to treat certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy, health care professionals should warn patients of childbearing age about the potential hazard to the fetus if a woman becomes pregnant while using the drug.
Topiramate also is approved to prevent migraine headaches, but not to relieve the pain of migraines.

“Health care professionals should carefully consider the benefits and risks of topiramate when prescribing it to women of childbearing age,” said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Alternative medications that have a lower risk of birth defects should be considered.”

Cleft lip and cleft palate, collectively called oral clefts, are birth defects that occur when parts of the lip or palate do not completely fuse together early in the first trimester of pregnancy, a time when many women do not know they are pregnant. The defects range from a small notch in the lip to a groove that runs into the roof of the mouth and nose, possibly leading to problems with eating, talking, and to ear infections. Surgery often is performed to close the lip and palate and most children do well after treatment.

Data from the North American Antiepileptic Drug (AED) Pregnancy Registry indicate an increased risk of oral clefts in infants exposed to topiramate during the first trimester of pregnancy. Infants exposed to topiramate as a single therapy experienced a 1.4 percent prevalence of oral clefts, compared with a prevalence of 0.38 percent – 0.55 percent in infants exposed to other antiepileptic drugs.

Infants of mothers who did not have epilepsy and were not being treated with other antiepileptic drugs had a prevalence of 0.07 percent. Similar data from the United Kingdom Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register supported the North American AED Pregnancy Registry data.

Based on the data, topiramate will have a stronger warning in its prescribing information (labeling). The pregnancy category will be changed to Pregnancy Category D. This means that there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on human data, but the potential benefits of the drug in pregnant women may outweigh the risks in certain situations. The FDA previously designated the drug as Pregnancy Category C because of the lack of human data. More information about the Pregnancy Categories can be found in the FDA’s Drug Safety Communication.

The patient medication guide and prescribing information for Topamax and generic topiramate will be updated with the new information.

Before starting topiramate, pregnant women and women of childbearing potential should discuss other treatment options with their health care professional. Women taking topiramate should tell their health care professional immediately if they are planning to or become pregnant. Patients taking topiramate should not stop taking it unless told to do so by their health care professional.

Women who become pregnant while taking topiramate should talk to their health care professional about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, a group that collects information about outcomes in infants born to women treated with antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy.

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Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why should I hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Many people choose to settle minor (no injuries) car incidents claims with their insurance company, but it is a wise idea to hire a lawyer if involved in a major accident such as a fatality or even death. Accident lawyers can help you figure what options are best for your particular case when it comes to settlements.

  • Car accident lawyers are able to evaluate car accidents from a legal point-of-view, which means they can help the victims that were involved receive the compensation that they are legally entitled to. Without the help of a car accident lawyer, you could end up paying out thousands of dollars for a claim that you could should receive money for.
  • There are several things that you should look for before hiring a car accident lawyer such as years of experience, professionalism, reputation and legal fees. Most of this information can be researched on websites such as or Also remember that legitimate attorneys are registered with the American Bar Association.
  • Hiring a car accident lawyer decreases your workload since they are the ones capable of negotiating with all parties involved in the accident, including the auto insurance company. The lawyers also deal with important documents like police reports, medical bills and other statements that are needed for the case or settlement.
  • There are many insurance companies that try to intimidate or take advantage of the victims that have been involved in a car accident, but a skilled lawyer is able to present the evidence and facts needed to prevent any false claims. It is also the lawyer’s duty to protect the client’s rights.

George Washington Bridge fatal car accident snarls morning commute

A 32-year-old Manhattan woman was killed in a single-car wreck Tuesday morning after she lost control of her minivan on the George Washington Bridge, authorities said.

Patricia Salcedo's Toyota van flipped several times and landed on its roof on the New York side of the bridge's upper level about 4 a.m., authorities said.

She was pronounced dead on the scene. There were no other injuries reported, a Port Authority spokesman said.

The crash prompted the temporary shutdown of the upper level's outbound lanes, causing a nightmarish early morning commute for motorists heading to New Jersey.

The lanes were reopened about 7:30 a.m., authorities said.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Wind gusts send 3 'bouncy houses' flying at Long Island spring fair; 13 injured, including kids


Bodies began tumbling when a two-story red, white and blue inflatable slide went soaring into the air at a youth soccer tournament Saturday. Two other inflatables also flew off the ground that breezy afternoon, causing youngsters to suffer bumps and bruises but critically injuring a mother who had an inflatable crash-land on her.

Fathers, coaches and bystanders sprinted toward the airborne amusement rides, some grabbing knives to furiously stab the rubber-filled edifices before anyone else was injured. "I never thought there would be any serious issues, any concerns with safety," one father, Mike Perniches, later told The Associated Press. "But now, I'm like, forget it."

Thirteen ended up at the hospital that day। And people in Oceanside, on Long Island, learned a lesson that is becoming all too familiar: Inflatable amusement rides - with their hit-and-miss regulation and a lack of industry-wide standards - can endanger lives when not properly installed or operated.

At least 10 inflatables around the country have been toppled by winds or collapsed under too much weight in the last two months, injuring more than 40 people, according to, a website that tracks amusement ride accidents.

In a little more than a week beginning in late April, two slides collapsed at separate events in California, injuring nine children, according to media reports.

In Arizona, two accidents in the Tucson area injured four children, including sisters who were inside a bounce house in February when wind bursts tossed it onto a roof. In April, a boy and girl were in a bounce house that was blown across three lanes of traffic.

"I wish this was a rarity, but it's not. It happens all the time," said Jim Barber, a spokesman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials, based in Brandon, Fla. "These are probably the most dangerous amusement devices they have."

It's not the rides that are the problem, he said, it's the way they are set up and supervised.

Too many companies that rent inflatables will drop them off at a party with little instruction, said Barber. "If they're going to rent these things, they should be rented with an operator," he said.

"A lot of times they never get anchored down, they put too many kids in, they put two- and three-year-old kids in with a 16-year-old," said Barber, who oversaw New York State's ride inspectors before retiring.

"They don't fly away if they're properly installed," he said.

Police on Long Island did not immediately have the name of the vendor who provided the rides at the Oceanside United Soccer Club festival on Saturday. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said her office would investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident.

A woman identified as Cathleen Hughes, 36, of Oceanside, suffered head and spinal injuries when the flying slide landed on top of her, according to Newsday. An update on her condition was not immediately available from South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, where she was being treated.

"She was walking on the track and it hit her," Perniches said. "She was lying still on the ground, there was blood coming out of her mouth."

Most injuries from inflatables involve bumps and bruises but, as in Oceanside, there are more severe hazards. Most accidents are caused by improper anchoring, high winds and lack of supervision, according to a risk management advisory which New Hartford, N.Y.-based Utica National Insurance issued to groups which use inflatables.

A Pennsylvania man died June 2010 just days after an inflatable slide collapsed and pinned him at a Cleveland Indians game.

A 5-year-old boy was killed in March 2010 when he fell off an inflatable and landed on a concrete floor at an indoor entertainment center in Wichita, Kan.

In January 2010, winds blew a bounce house at Florida birthday party into a pond with a 5-year-old girl inside. Neighbors pulled the child out of the water.

Regulating amusement rides is left up to each state. While most have laws and inspectors overseeing mechanical rides at amusement parks and fairs, only a handful give inflatables the same scrutiny.

Barber, the spokesman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials, said states don't have enough inspectors or money to keep up with the thousands of bounce houses and inflatable slides in operation. Still, he thinks it would be a good idea for all states to regulate them.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati banned inflatable rides at southwest Ohio church festivals in 2009 after a boy was injured when a gust of wind flipped over a slide at a softball tournament sponsored by another group. The wind tossed the slide about 70 yards, carrying the 11-year-old boy with it. He came away with just bruises.

A Consumer Product Safety Commission report released in 2005 linked the growing popularity of inflatables with an increasing number of injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms from 1997 to 2004.

The agency found there were an estimated 1,300 injuries in 1997 and 4,900 injuries in 2004.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that operators should anchor inflatables to the manufacturer's requirements and that bigger rides such as slides should have a least two people operating them. It also says weight limits should be watched closely.

The escalating problems and lack of industry-wide standards led a group of inflatable operators to form a trade association in 2003 to promote safety and develop guidelines and training programs. The Responsible Operators of Amusement Rentals has about 50 members, most on the East Coast. That's a fraction of the companies operating today.

Michael Mazzocco, who was coaching his 6-year-old daughter's soccer game when the inflatables went airborne Saturday on Long Island, said it was difficult at first to believe what he was seeing.

"We were all sprinting toward it, trying to grab the bug one and get the air out of it," he recalled. "There was kind of pandemonium at first with kids not knowing where their parents were and parents on the other side trying to find their children. There were a few tense moments."

He said his wife, who was shooting video of the soccer match, immediately turned the camera on the flying projectiles.

"We're just hoping that this is a lesson for others to make sure these things are anchored properly," he said. "I don't know if that was the case here, but it is always windy down there. It we can get someone to make sure this doesn't happen again, I will be happy."

Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio। Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York also contributed to this report.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Study Finds Criminal Pasts of Nursing Home Workers

Nursing Home Abuse CriminalMore than 90 percent of nursing homes employ one or more people who have been convicted of at least one crime, federal investigators said Wednesday in a new report. In addition, they said, 5 percent of all nursing home employees have at least one criminal conviction.

The report was issued by Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, who obtained the names of more than 35,000 nursing home employees and then checked with theFederal Bureau of Investigation to see if they had criminal records.

“Our analysis of F.B.I. criminal history records revealed that 92 percent of nursing facilities employed at least one individual with at least one criminal conviction,” Mr. Levinson said. “Nearly half of nursing facilities employed five or more individuals with at least one conviction. For example, a nursing facility with a total of 164 employees had 34 employees with at least one conviction each.”

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On ‘Dooring’ of Bicyclists, and Experts’ Fees

AL BAKER - Cyclists sometimes call it “the door prize,” or simply being “doored.”

And in a city where the tension between two- and four-wheeled transportation devices can sometimes seem as shrill as the sound of squeaky brakes, accounts of collisions between bicyclists and drivers are passed around on blogs, in newspapers and among members of various cycling clubs and organizations.

One compilation of episodes in which drivers opened the doors of their parked vehicles into the path of oncoming cyclists can be found on and includes details of cases from places as diverse as India, Canada, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco.

Among the harrowing accounts is one about Dana Laird, 36, a “doctoral student at the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts,” who was killed in 2002 as she rode along Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Mass.

It said: “A motorist opened the door of a parked sport utility vehicle across the bike lane in which Ms. Laird was traveling. Ms. Laird swerved and lost control. According to eyewitness accounts, she yelled, `flew through the air,’ and apparently struck the door. She went under the right rear wheels of a passing transit bus, and she was killed instantly.”

Such collisions are not foreign in New York City — and they can lead to occasional charges being lodged by the police or prosecutors, depending on the circumstances.

In a crash on Atlantic and Washington Avenues in Brooklyn on Sept. 11, a driver opened her car door into the path of Jasmine Herron, who was bicycling by, sending her into an oncoming bus that struck and killed her, officials said. Among the charges filed against the driver, Krystal Francis, was “opening and closing vehicle doors,” a violation of Section 1214 of the State Vehicle and Traffic Law, according to a criminal complaint from the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

The charge popped up again, this time phrased as “unsafely exiting a vehicle,” in a crash in East Harlem on Friday. In that case, the driver of a 2008 Honda was issued with a summons for “unsafely exiting a vehicle” for opening his car door and causing a bicyclist to fall into the path of an oncoming truck, which killed him, the police said.

The Honda driver, who was not identified by name, was in his parked car and opened his door as the rider, Marcus Ewing, 27, was pedaling his Cannondale bicycle eastbound on East 120th Street, just west of Third Avenue, about 8 a.m., the police said.

The driver of the truck that hit Mr. Ewing was issued five summonses, for equipment violations.

As for the driver whose door knocked over Mr. Ewing, the charge he faces — unsafely exiting a vehicle — “is a V.T.L. traffic summons” (Vehicle and Traffic Law) and not one found in the New York State penal code, according to one city official.

Another official said such citations were aimed at preventing drivers from opening their car doors into traffic in ways that would create “dangerous conditions for bicyclists or motorists” coming by at the same time.

“You cannot just swing your car door open,” the official said.

“It is not that often that officers issue those kinds of tickets,” the official said. And sometimes, it requires a patrol officer to witness the offending behavior for it to rise to a summons, or an inquiry by the Accident Investigation Squad when a death is involved. Then, that sole charge can carry similar penalties to other traffic violations, like going through a red light, the official said.

Whether termed “unsafely exiting a vehicle” or something else, Nick Cantiello, a spokesman for the State Department of Motor Vehicles, sent along a copy of Section 1214 of the State Vehicle and Traffic Law. It said:

Opening and closing vehicle doors. No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

Mr. Cantiello said the fine for the violation could be as much as $150. Asked about the number of “doorings” — in which people open a door into a bike or a car — he said that as of Oct. 22, there had been 147 tickets issued for that offense around the state.

In all of 2009, he said, there were 179; in all of 2008 there were 207; and in 2007 there were 164.

“So it’s not a lot,” he said. “You can see there’s not a real trend there.”

A spokesman for the New York Police Department said the department did not keep statistics on such incidents around the five boroughs.

Noah S. Budnick, the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit pedestrian and bicycle transportation group financed by members, said the issue of cyclists being hit by doors had long been a concern.

“It’s always been a top complaint and, anecdotally, a major contributing factor to crashes in New York City,” he said. “If you talk to anyone who’s ridden a bike in New York, everyone has a story about, at best, narrowly avoiding a car door that’s been swung open in their path and bike riders quickly learn that one of the safest ways to ride is to take the whole lane, so they are not biking in the door zone.”

Of Fees for Experts

There it was in black and white on Page 103 of a new study critiquing the Police Department’s controversial stop-question-and-frisk policy: the hourly rate a Columbia Law Professor received for his work.

“I have been compensated for this work at the rate of $350 per hour,” the professor, Jeffrey A. Fagan, wrote. There was no total, but one can imagine it was high, as he spent 15 months over three years on the project.

He even scribbled in the date, as another contemporaneous bit of evidence: Oct. 15, 2010.

The study — for the Center for Constitutional Rights — found that in more than 30 percent of the street stops, officers either lacked the kind of suspicion necessary to make a stop constitutional or did not include enough data on the stop to determine whether it was legally justified.

Eleven days later, when Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly was asked for his response, he took the occasion to point out that Professor Fagan was paid well. (Still, he overinflated the price a bit, asserting that the professor was paid $375 an hour.)

“This is a document prepared for plaintiffs who paid that sort of money to have this document prepared,” Mr. Kelly said. “When you pay that sort of money, you’re going to get a view point that pretty much goes along with your view point.”

Mr. Kelly called Professor Fagan’s 217-page study (pdf) “an advocacy paper.”

“I wouldn’t take the position that this is an objective document,” he said.

But wait. Mr. Kelly acknowledged that the city was paying its own expert, Dennis C. Smith, a professor at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service of New York University, to write its own study. He said Professor Fagan “had three years to develop” his study, while the city had “30 days to respond.” His point: It will cost less money.

Questions about Professor Smith’s fee hung in the air: At what hourly rate was he being paid? Over what time? And by whom?

Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, responded in an e-mail: “unknown at this hour — but not $375 an hour for three years.” In another e-mail, on Wednesday, he said Professor Smith was not paid by the Police Department and referred questions to the city’s Law Department, which did not immediately respond to questions.

Professor Fagan, in this current effort, has been paid for about 15 months’ worth of work, according to people familiar with the arrangement. But he has done research, and published on the subject, for more than a decade. Before beginning on his work on the current study, he worked for the City Council under a contract to Columbia University, with the payments going to the school. It was the same arrangement when he worked for the state attorney general’s office under a contract to Columbia as part of that office’s 1999 study of the issue.

Some critics and law enforcement analysts raised the same sort of questions when the Police Department — through the Police Foundation — commissioned the nonprofit Rand Corporation in early 2007 for an independent study of the stop-and-frisk issue.

The department was under fire because the increasing number of street stops were leading some critics to suggest that minorities were unfairly singled out, a charge that the police have repeatedly denied. The Rand study (pdf), in November 2007, found no racial profiling being done by police officers in New York.

At the time, the study was said to cost in the six figures — and at least $120,000 — a bill footed by the foundation, a charity that supports the department. The police on Wednesday reiterated that figure.

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