In light of the recent Sherman bus crash that killed 17 people, a review of Texas charter bus companies reveals that they often continue to operate under a new name when their authorizations are revoked. At the time of the accident , the owner of the bus in the Sherman crash was operating under a different name after being closed due to safety violations. A total of 201 companies had their authorizations revoked by the state over the last 24 months. Gordon Dickson, Ft. Worth Star Telegram 08/26/2008
A Washington dentist has been ordered to pay $14.8 million for botching a series of jaw surgeries that left a patient's jaw fused shut. The Spokane jury found that Patrick Collins was negligent in performing the procedures that left Kimberly Kallestad in chronic pain and unable to work. An attorney for Collins said they plan to appeal the verdict. Staff, Seattle Times 08/26/2008
A Texas jury has ordered Dallas County to pay approximately $900,000 to a former inmate who was left partially paralyzed after he was denied medical care by the jail staff. According to the lawsuit , Stanley Shepherd was refused a prescribed blood pressure drug and subsequently suffered a seizure. The award is believed to be one of the largest stemming from negligence at the Dallas County Jail. AP, Ft. Worth Star Telegram 08/27/2008
Eli Lilly & Co. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced Tuesday that four additional patients taking the drug Byetta have died of a pancreatic illness. News of the deaths may prompt regulators to force the pharmaceutical companies to add more stringent warnings to the diabetes drug. The Food and Drug Administration announced last week that two other patients taking Byetta had died of pancreatitis. Tom Randall and Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg 08/27/2008
A widely used diabetes drug has been linked to severe pancreatic problems in dozens of patients, according the Food and Drug Administration. In an announcement, the FDA warned patients taking Byetta, marketed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co., to discontinue use if they develop symptoms of the disorder and said doctors should consider other prescription options for patients with a history of pancreas problems. More than 700,000 patients have used the drug since it was released in 2005. Matthew Perrone, Yahoo News 08/18/2008
New York City will pay $8.7 million to settle a wrongful death claim brought by the widow of a victim of the 2003 Staten Island ferry crash. John Healy died when the ferry crashed into port at full speed. The pilot was found to be on painkillers at the time, and in violation of policies requiring two pilots for docking, only one pilot was on duty. The trial was scheduled to start Monday. New York Daily News, New York Daily News 08/25/2008
COMMENT: Without the help of a wrongful death attorney, this family likely would have recovered nothing for the loss of their loved one. Obviously, a wrongful death lawyer can add value to a case, but he can also help get answers to the family's questions. Hopefully, the city has learned a lesson through this.
Federal authorities have ordered two companies linked to a fatal bus crash outside of Dallas to stop operating after finding that they posed an immediate threat to public safety. The preliminary investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that Iguala BusMex and Angel Tours Inc. had a history of safety violations and may not have been properly licensed. Authorities also noted that the driver had been convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2001. The crash killed 17 people who were traveling to a religious festival in Missouri. Andre Coe and Ana Ley, Houston Chronicle 08/10/2008
SHERMAN - At least 13 people were killed and more than 40 were injured on Friday when a private charter bus heading from Houston to Missouri crashed along northbound U.S. Highway 75, police said.
The bus was transporting Vietnamese Catholic church members from Houston to a religious gathering in Missouri, authorities said. The vehicle was part of a caravan of three buses with passengers from two Houston churches -- Vietnamese Martyrs Church and Our Lady of Lavang, said Lochphang Dhan, parochial vicar at the Martyrs Church. The bus was on its way to Carthage, Mo., for the Marian Days festival, an annual celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary.
"Please pray for us," said Holly Nguyen, a 38-year-old church member who was following behind the bus in a car but didn't see the wreck. She was anxiously waiting for word on whether her father, who was on the bus, was dead or injured.
Police were called about 12:45 a.m. after the bus carrying 55 people apparently lost control and rolled on its side near Post Oak Creek, just beyond West Park Avenue, Sherman police Lt. Bob Fair said.
The first officers to respond described a horrific scene, with luggage, handbags and pieces of the bus strewn amid a pile of bodies, some dead, some severely injured. There were cries for help and looks of shock, officers said.
Some passengers were ejected from the bus while others lay helplessly trapped inside the wreckage. Many passers-by stopped and tried to help, and some survivors climbed through broken windows.
"There were people deceased from the front of the bus to the back of the bus," said Officer Zachary Flores, one of the first on the scene.
Twelve adults died at the scene and another died at a Dallas hospital, Sherman police said. The survivors ranged in age from elderly to children, police said. All passengers who survived were transported to area hospitals, many with "crushing" injuries, said Sherman police Lt. Steve Ayers
"You've got 50-something people laying everywhere," said Officer Tony Walden, also among the first on scene. "I don't even know how to describe it."
Police and paramedics from McKinney to Oklahoma were called in. At least 18 helicopters were needed to transport the injured. Rescuers entered the bus through the front and through a hole in the bottom, police said.
A language barrier further complicated the operation, police said. "What do you say when you see bodies all over the place and screaming for help and they're talking a language you don't understand?" Lt. Fair said. "That's pretty much the definition of chaotic." Sherman police were leading the investigation and preliminary indications were that the bus may have blown a tire, causing it to lose control, Lt. Fair said. He said there was no indication any other vehicles were involved in the wreck along a stretch of highway where the nighttime speed limit is 65 mph. The bus belonged to Angel Tours, police said. The bus driver was in stable condition and had been questioned by authorities. Police did not say at a morning news conference what information the driver provided. The National Transportation Safety Board is launching a team to the accident site this morning to perform an on-scene investigation, said Terry Williams, board spokesman.
As accident investigators examined the wreckage, area funeral homes carted off the bodies, which had been wrapped in white tarp and laid in a row along a small hill not far from the white bus. By 5:30 a.m., all of the dead had been removed from the scene. Meanwhile, the survivors were shuttled to hospitals throughout North Texas. Two women and three men were taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. One woman died at the hospital. The rest remained in critical condition, the hospital said. Sixteen patients were taken to Wilson N. Jones Medical Center in Sherman. Five of those patients were in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. Spokeswomen at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Methodist Dallas Medical Center and the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma in Durant, Okla., said their hospitals each received two patients from the crash. Methodist said it had received one male and one female patient. Texoma Medical Center in Denison said it had received five patients ranging from fair to critical condition. Presbyterian Hospital of Allen said it was treating three pediatric patients, according to KHOU-TV. People seeking information on passengers can call 866-GET-INFO. In Houston, Tinh Trinh, a member of the church for the past 20 years, said he was waiting to hear how one of his wife's friends was doing. "I myself cried this morning when I heard the news," said Mr. Trinh, one of only a few people at the large brick church early Friday. The Marian Days pilgrimage, which started in the late 1970s in southwest Missouri, attracts thousands of Catholic Vietnamese Americans each year. Many attend a large outdoor mass each day while enjoying entertainment and camping throughout the city at night. The northbound lanes of U.S. 75 in Sherman were shut down and traffic was being diverted at the Travis Street exit, Lt. Fair said. The road was expected to remain closed as workers worked to repair the guard rail. The bus was being towed at about 9 a.m. The accident was the worst bus wreck in Texas since 23 people died when a bus carrying nursing home residents fleeing from Hurricane Rita was rocked by several explosions after catching fire on a gridlocked highway near Dallas. The wreck happened less than a mile from the spot where a trucker crossed the median and killed 10 people five years ago. The Dallas Morning News, Scott Goldstein and Rachel Slade. COMMENT: As with bus cases Kennedy Hodges has handled in the past, this accident raises many questions. Was the driver qualified to be on the road? Was the driver intoxicated or tired? Was the bus properly maintained? Was the driver properly trained? Did the bus driver engage in faulty maneuvers once a problem was encountered? Were the bus tires defective? And with all bus accidents resulting in death or serious injury, why don't the bus manufacturers install seat belts on these buses? Only an early investigation can reveal the answers to these questions. While the families are still grieving, the evidence nevertheless needs to be secured.
B&J Transportation has been accused of allowing a trucker behind the wheel who had tested positive for drugs. It also apparently has a pattern of overweight-vehicle violations, serious equipment defects and putting drivers on the road for unlawful periods. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against B&J Transportation, Inc. arising out of a trucking accident that killed a pickup truck driver.
Connecticut police have charged the president of a swimming pool company with second-degree manslaughter following the death of a 6-year-old boy who drowned when his arm became stuck in a drain pump. According to police, Shoreline Pools President David Lionetti was responsible for the boy's death because he failed to ensure that his company installed safeguards for powerful drain pumps. Separately, the boy's parents have filed a lawsuit in the matter. John Christoffersen, Newsday 07/21/2008 Read Article COMMENT: This is yet another example of a pool company failing to protect the swimming public from its products. Since 1985, more than 150 cases of swimming pool drain entrapments have been reported around the country. Many of these cases have lead to lawsuits because the injuries are often horrific. You should not have to have a criminal law to get corporations to act in a reasonable manner. It is reasonable to protect children from pool equipment that can kill them.
Federal researchers now say that elderly men should now forgo a commonly used blood test used to screen for prostate cancer. In an update, released Tuesday, the 16-member U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said that the benefits of the prostate-specific antigen were unclear and often led to unnecessary anxiety, surgery and complications for men age 75 and older. Among the problems cited by task force were false positive tests that resulted in high stress, unnecessary surgical biopsies and potentially dangerous surgical complications. Rob Stein, The Washington Post 08/05/2008
Two New York construction companies have agreed to pay $1.23 million to settle accusations that they failed to pay workers for overtime . In the complaint, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said that the companies ignored state law requiring time-and-a-half pay for more than 40 hours per week. The settlement covers 284 construction workers. Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times 07/22/2008
Serious medical conditions in U.S. truck and bus drivers may pose a safety threat to other drivers, according to a government watchdog report released Monday. The Government Accountability Office found that about four percent of drivers with commercial licenses suffered from medical conditions that would qualify for full disability benefits or otherwise impair their ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. A separate study concluded that physical impairments such as heart attacks, seizures or falling asleep were the leading cause of crashes involving commercial vehicles. Free Press News Services, Detroit Free Press 07/22/2008 COMMENT: These drivers, who should not be on the road, could cause trucking accidents which could severely injure the unsuspecting public. I am sure many injuries and/or deaths could be avoided by making sure qualified commercial drivers are on our roads.
A new wave of class-action lawsuits arising from two recalled drugs , generic blood thinner heparin and prescription medication Digitek could lead attorneys into new legal and geographic territory. Attorneys involved in the cases say new defective-product claims may bypass federal pre-emption defenses and could lead to suits against manufacturers linked to China. However, not all attorneys anticipate such a smooth road for such litigation. Amanda Bronstad, Law.com 07/24/2008
A New York City apparel factory cheated its workers out of $5.3 million, according to a state Labor Department complaint filed this week. In the complaint, the Labor Department says the factory, which produced apparel for Banana Republic, the Gap, Macy's, Urban Apparel and Victoria's Secret, failed to pay workers minimum wage, overtime and instructed workers to lie to government inspectors about working conditions. Inspectors characterized the factory as one of the worst sweatshops they had ever seen. Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times 07/24/2008
Complaints surrounding an artificial hip component have prompted the nation's largest orthopedics device producer to suspend sales of artificial socket. According to some physicians the Durom cup hip socket, produced by Zimmer Holdings, has show a higher than normal failure rate requiring patients to undergo replacement surgery. The company estimates that hundreds of the 12,000 or so patients implanted with the device may require replacements in the coming years. Barry Meier, The New York Times 07/24/2008 Read Article