October 2008

Multi-Vehicle Accident involving Tanker Truck Leaves Five North Carolina Residents Dead and Two Others Injured in Harnett County

October 27, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Harnett County, five people died and two others were injured on Friday night in a multi-vehicle collision involving a tanker truck filled with gasoline.
The deadly crash occurred at the intersection of NC 27 and Old Fairground Road at around 11pm.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the deadly truck crash accident happened after the driver of a black Honda Accord ran a stop sign and drove into the path of the tanker truck. The truck drove over the Accord before the two vehicles crossed the center line and struck an Oldsmobile station wagon.

Police say that the truck did not explode or leak gas. The Honda, however, was crushed during the collision with the tanker truck. All of the victims that died were riding in the Accord. Driver Esteban Isidro (a 22-year-old Raleigh resident), Jorge Gallardo (age 23 and also from Raleigh), and Angier residents Norma Martinez, 15, Germain Chavez, 25, and Ashley Martinez, 17, died at the scene. Martinez was pregnant.

The driver of the station wagon, 18-year-old Benson resident Kimberly Jones, was admitted to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn where she received treatment for a broken collarbone and a broken ankle. She was released from the hospital on Saturday.

Truck driver and Pikeville resident Ronnie Vanatta was treated at the crash scene for minor injuries.

Car Accidents
If you were seriously injured or someone you loved died in a North Carolina or South Carolina car accident, you may be able to sue the negligent party or his or her estate for personal injury or wrongful death. To maximize your chances for financial recovery, it is important that you work with an experienced personal injury law firm that knows how to conduct an investigation on your behalf to determine the facts surrounding your accident.

There may be more than one party that can be held liable for your injuries or your loved one’s death. Your medical and recovery expenses may also be significantly more than you think. A good personal injury lawyer will know how much it will cost for you to recover.

Five killed in collision with tanker truck in Harnett, News & Observer, October 26, 2008

Troopers name 5 killed by oncoming truck in NC, FoxNews, October 26, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Large Truck Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, NHTSA

North Carolina Man Files Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Priest and the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

October 21, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, a man who says that he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was 14 years old is suing the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and Reverend Robert Yurgel for personal injury. The plaintiff, now 24, says the abuse began in 1999 when he was an altar boy at St. Matthew Catholic Church.

According to the North Carolina sex abuse lawsuit, Yurgel initiated sexual contact with the plaintiff many times, with a number of the abuse incidents occurring on diocesan property (including Yurgel’s office at St Matthew church in Ballantyne, the Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church rectory in Charlotte, and in a parked car at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia). The plaintiff says that he was afraid to report the sex abuse because of Yurgel’s close relationship with the teen’s family and role as a spiritual advisor.

In 2007, the plaintiff finally told his sister and mental health professionals about the abuse. However, his lawsuit contends that the Diocese of Charlotte knew as far back as 1999 that Yurgel was abusing him after an email from the plaintiff expressing his love to the priest was discovered.

Following the discovery of the email, the plaintiff says that Bishop William Curlin arranged a “rush transfer” with the Capuchin Franciscan Friars and reassigned Yurgel to New Jersey. The Diocese of Charlotte denies that the rush transfer occurred.

Yurgel, 44, was arrested in April. He faces criminal charges of five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and two counts of statutory sex offense. He is currently free on bond.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
If you or someone you love was a victim of sexual abuse, you should speak with a sexual abuse lawyer to determine if you have grounds to file a North Carolina personal injury claim or lawsuit. In certain instances, an adult who was sexually abused as a child may still be able to file a claim against his or her abuser.

Former altar boy sues priest, diocese, CharlotteObserver.com, October 21, 2008

Priest faces North Carolina justice, NorthJersey.com, April 5, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

Abuse in the Catholic Church, The Boston Globe

North Carolina Among 32 States to Receive $62 Million Settlement from Drug Manufacturer Eli Lilly For Marketing Zyprexa for Off-Label Uses

October 16, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. will pay $62 million to 32 US States, including North Carolina, to resolve charges that it improperly marketed Zyprexa, an antipsychotic drug. This record settlement comes a few months after North Carolina and other states reached a $58 million settlement with Merck over allegations that the drugmaker downplayed the health risks associated with the use of painkiller Vioxx in ads.

According to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and other state attorney generals, Eli Lilly allegedly applied deceptive and unfair marketing practices when it marketed Zyprexa for purposes that the US Food and Drug Administration had not approved. The states are also accusing the drugmaker of neglecting to properly disclose the antipsychotic drug’s side effects to health care providers.

Eli Lilly has agreed to change the way it markets Zyprexa and will no longer market it for off-label uses, which are not FDA-approved. The drugmaker must also offer objective, accurate, and scientifically supported responses to doctor queries about off-label uses and only give Zyprexa samples to physicians whose practices are in line with uses of the drug that are FDA-approved.

From the $62 million settlement, North Carolina will receive $1.8 million.

This is the brand name for olanzapine, which is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seven years ago, Eli Lilly began marketing Zyprexa as a drug that could be used by children for certain symptoms (rather than conditions that had been diagnosed), as well as by elderly adults suffering from dementia. Although physicians can prescribe drugs to patients for uses that are not FDA-approved, drug companies are not allowed to market medications for off-label purposes.

Dangerous Drug Litigation
If a person uses a drug for a purpose marketed by the pharmaceutical company that is not approved by the FDA and he or she is injured or dies, the drug manufacturer may be held liable in civil court for personal injury or wrongful death. Unfortunately, there have been cases where a drugmaker has released a drug into the marketplace while knowing it was potentially dangerous and marketed the medication for profit.

Eli Lilly settles Zyprexa inquiries in 32 states, AP, October 7, 2008

North Carolina to get $1.8M in Eli Lilly settlement, Triangle Business Journal, October 7, 2008

Merck agrees to settlement over Vioxx ad claims, The Bismark Tribune, May 21, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Eli Lilly and Company


North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper

AAA Carolinas Warns Against Distracted Driving in North Carolina and South Carolina

October 13, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A new education campaign by AAA Carolinas warns drivers in North Carolina and South Carolina counties against distracted driving. There are 10 counties targeted in the campaign (5 in each state). The North Carolina counties are Wake County, Watauga County, Pitt County, Durham County, and New Hanover County. The counties were selected because of annual figures pinpointing these counties as the most dangerous in each state for motor vehicle crashes and injuries.

The campaign strongly cautions about talking on the cell phone while driving. Graphic posters placed in gas stations note that a driver is four times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash while he or she is talking on a phone.

According to a 2008 Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Study, for every 10 auto collisions, eight of the auto crashes involved drivers that were using cell phones or smart phones. 65% of near-crashes also happened when motorists were talking on the phone or text messaging.

A 2001 University of North Carolina study estimates that some 284,000 distracted motorists are involved in serious injury accidents each year. The AAA Carolinas Web site says that 4,000 to 8,000 traffic collisions occur every day because of distracted driving. Driving while distracted can also be linked to up to 3 million of the 6 million auto collisions that occur in the United States each year.

Distracted driving can also occur while a driver is:

• Searching through an iPod or another MP3 player
• Eating while driving
• Putting on makeup
• Reading a book or a newspaper

AAA says distracted driving contributes to one-third of S.C. crashes, SCNow.com, September 26, 2008

AAA tackles problem of distracted driving, The Watauga Democrat, September 22, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Distracted Driving, AAA

AAA Carolinas

Drowsy and Distracted Driving, NHTSA

North Carolina Worker Sustains Life-Threatening Injuries After Fall At Charlotte Construction Site

October 6, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A construction worker sustained critical injuries in North Carolina on Saturday after falling from a more than five story height. The work accident occurred at future site of the luxury Vue Condominiums located in uptown Charlotte.

Fall Accidents at Work:
15% of disabling work injuries are a result of fall accidents, slip accidents, and trip accidents. Some 5,100 workers died in fall accidents in 1999.

Kinds of Falls:

Elevated Falls:These happen less often but result in more serious injuries.

Examples of Elevated Falls:
• Falls from the higher levels of a construction project
• Falls from ladders
• Falls from motor vehicles
• Falls from construction equipment, such as cranes and loading docks

Same-Level Falls: These happen more often but result in less severe injuries.

Examples of Same-Level Falls:
• Slip and fall accidents
• Trip and fall accidents
• Step and fall accidents

It is important that construction companies provide workers with the proper safety clothing and gear and that the correct safety procedures are followed on the site. Failure to implement safety measures can lead to catastrophic injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that fall accidents are a leading accidental cause of construction accident deaths.

Worker Critically Injured in 5-Story Fall, Charlotte Observer, October 5, 2008

Man Falls from Uptown Construction Site, WSOCTV.com, October 4, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Preventing Injuries from Slips, Trips and Falls, CDC.gov

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Charlotte Adult Care Center Will Close Today Following Reports of Drug Use and Violence

October 3, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is forcing Charlotte Manor, an adult care center, to shut down today, following reports of violence, drug abuse, and neglect. State health officials have suspended the home’s operating license, and today residents must evacuate the premise by 5pm. North Carolina health officials have said the move is to protect the home’s residents, who are in “imminent danger.”

State health officials conducted its yearly inspection of the home last month, and Charlotte Manor was cited for violations regarding:

• Personal care
• Health care
• Supervision
• Residents’ rights
• Housekeeping
• Furnishings
• CPR Training
• Resident discharge

Charlotte Manor not only houses frail and older residents, but people under 50 can also reside there. Some of its residents have criminal records or have abused drugs. According to one resident, some residents were discovered smoking crack at the home. Another resident reports that violent acts have taken place at the home, including two men getting into a physical altercation and another incident, in which the tires on a motor vehicle were deflated.

Details of this year’s inspection have yet to be released, but previous inspection reports of the home over the last two years indicate recurring problems with properly feeding and providing medication to residents with health issues. Maintenance issues are not always dealt with in a timely manner. Also, over a dozen people have to share a couple of common bathroom facilities, rather than having one bathroom for two to four residents.

Nursing homes and other care facilities are supposed to provide residents with the proper care, while making sure that they are safe from abuse, neglect, or harm by workers and other residents. When failure to fulfill these duties of care leads to injuries or death, a care facility can be held liable through a nursing home abuse and/or neglect claim or a premises liability lawsuit.

Violence and drug abuse reported at care center, Charlotte Observer, October 3, 2008

State Office Shuts Down Home for Adult Care: Officials Cite ?Imminent Danger’ at Charlotte Manor, and Residents Must Leave By Late Friday., IStockAnalyst, October 2, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Notice of Suspension (PDF)

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services


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