March 2011

Forsyth County-Owned Assisted Living Facility Accused of North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse

March 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to government inspectors, workers at Springwood Care Center of Forsyth struck a resident in the eye last October. The state says that the patient reported the North Carolina nursing home abuse incident to a relative of hers who noticed that the resident had a bruise on her face. The incident allegedly occurred last October.

Nursing home staff are supposed to report any abuse allegations as soon as possible. They are also supposed to not allow accused workers from working with the alleged victim while an investigation takes place. However, the Forsyth County-owned nursing home, which is run by Novant Health Care, reportedly waited several days before following this protocol. Since then the two nursing home assistants have been given written warnings and they must undergo more training on a regular basis. A Novant official has denied the North Carolina nursing home abuse allegations.

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse
Assault by an assisted living facility worker is North Carolina nursing home abuse. Signs of possible nursing home abuse, include:

• Unexplained bruises
• Burn marks
• Open sores
• Torn clothing
• Sudden weight loss or gain
• Fractures or broken bones
• Sudden depression
• Emotional withdrawal
• Fear of a certain nursing home worker
• Sexual assault injuries

You should speak with a Hickory, North Carolina nursing home abuse law firm to determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Although Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare site gave Springwood Care Center of Forsyth a four out of five star rating for “quality measures,” the North Carolina assisted living facility received a one star rating for staffing and an overall one star rating. Five stars is the highest rating possible and one star is the lowest rating.

In addition to physical injury and emotional trauma, nursing home abuse violates the patient’s civil rights. It can also cause a resident’s health to deteriorate.

County-owned nursing home has lowest rating, allegation that patient hit in eye, Winston-Salem Journal, March 30, 2011

Nursing Home Compare,

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes, Nolo

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Injury Lawsuit Seeks Damages from Pittsboro Retirement Center for Assault that Left Elderly Resident with Brain Injuries, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Alleged in Wrongful Death Lawsuits of Shooting Victims’ Families, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 21, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Facility Investigated Following Five Patient Deaths from Hepatitis B, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 16, 2010

Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits

March 29, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Under the House version of a North Carolina medical malpractice reform bill, a person injured by a drug that had been approved by government regulators would not be able to file a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit against manufacturer. The bill is part of a larger tort reform package that wants to cap noneconomic damages at $250,000 and for the amount that is awarded to be adjusted every three years to reflect the Consumer Price Index. Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers will continue to monitor the developments surrounding this issue, which will have an effect on medical malpractice victims.

Exempt from the proposed immunity would be drug makers that continued selling a medication even after the government ordered that it be taken off the market, as well as those that bribed a government official to get the drug approved or misrepresented/purposely kept information so that the government would approve the drug. Also, as with Senate Bill 33, the House bill only allows emergency room doctors to be held liable for North Carolina medical malpractice if he/she acted in grossly negligent manner.

North Carolina House Republicans are also pushing for the state to be able to take 3/4ths of any punitive damages over $100,000 awarded by a jury. The money would be placed in a state fund supporting public schools.

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
Our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers are well aware of the serious injuries and health issues that can result because a patient took a dangerous or defective medication. Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that their products are safe for use. They must also provide adequate warning of dangerous side effects and possible adverse reactions. If their drug contributed to causing North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death, then they should be held liable.

House bill would shield drug makers, NewsObserver, March 24, 2011

North Carolina Bill To Restrict Product Liability Suits, Pharmalot, March 24, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Read the Tort Reform Draft Bill, Representatives Rhyne and McComas (PDF)

Food and Drug Administration

Topamax as a Dangerous Drug?: FDA Warns of Possible Birth Defect Risk

March 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Following new data indicating that babies born to women who were pregnant when Topamax are at higher risk of developing a cleft palate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to strengthen the warning labels that come with the drug. Topamax’s generic equivalents will also get new labels. If you think there is a possibility that your child may have developed a birth defect or another serious health injury or issue from taking Topamax, you should contact our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug law firm right away.

Per the new data, from the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, topiramate, which is the main ingredient in Topamax, can increase the risk of oral clefts in babies during the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy by more than 20 times.

Other possible serious side effects:

• Other types of craniofacial defects affecting the oral cavity
• Genital birth defects
• Limb malformation
• Greater risk of spina bifida
• Persistent pulmonary hypertension
• Hypospadias
• Genital birth defects
• Congenital birth defects

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is the parent company of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical LLC, which makes this anti-seizure/anti-migraine drug. It was just last year that two subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson consented to paying over $81 million to settle claims by the Justice Department that they had illegally marketed Topamax to facilitate weight loss and treat bipolar disorder, alcohol dependency, and other off-label conditions that the FDA had not yet approved. A number of whistleblower complaints had also been filed accusing doctors of receiving payments to push Topamax for off-label purposes.

The FDA wants doctors and other medical professionals to make sure that they warn women of childbearing age about the risks associated with taking Topamax when prescribing it.

UPDATE: FDA Strengthens Topamax Warning On Evidence Of Birth Defects, The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2011

Moms-to-Be: Are You Taking This Dangerous Drug?, HuffPost, March 14, 2011

Related Web Resources:


Cleft Palate Foundation

$14.9M North Carolina Wrongful Death Judgment Awarded to Jimmy Blevins’ Family

March 14, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Four years after Jimmy Blevins was murdered by his uncle Fred Hammer, a judge has awarded his family a $14.9 million North Carolina wrongful death judgment–$3.74 million is compensatory damages; $11.2 million is punitive damages.

Blevins, 41, went missing on February 24, 2007. His grandmother said that he went for a ride with Hammer on the night of his disappearance. Blevins’ body was dug up more than two years later on August 4, 2009 after Hammer, who was offered $15,000 in reward money, admitted to shooting his nephew in the head.

Blevins’ family filed their North Carolina wrongful death complaint soon after his body was discovered. They sought compensatory damages of over $10,000 for his death and for the mental, physical, and emotional suffering he went through prior to his passing.

Hammer is serving several life sentences without parole for the 2008 shooting deaths of three men in Virginia and for Blevins’ murder.

North Carolina Wrongful Death
Obtaining Charlotte, North Carolina wrongful death recovery won’t bring your loved one back but it can allow you to hold the responsible party liable. Under the state’s wrongful death statute, family members may be able to recover compensation for the victim’s medical bills, pain and suffering, funeral costs, lost income, loss of services, care, protection, assistance, companionship, society, guidance, comfort, or advice, nominal damages, or punitive damages.

Slain man’s family awarded $14.9 million, NewsObserver, March 13, 2011

North Carolina Wrongful Death Filed in Murder of Ashe County Man, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, August 20, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Wrongful Death, Nolo

Wrongful Death, Justia

More Blog Posts:
Chatham Retirement Home Sued in North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed Over Fatal Elder Abuse Beatings, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 17, 2011

Deceased Man’s Estate Files Fayetteville, North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Shopping Mall and Nightclub, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 30, 2009

More Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuits Filed in Alleged Sex Assaults Involving Police Officer Marcus Jackson

March 6, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Another two woman are suing Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Marcus Jackson for North Carolina personal injury. Jackson, now an ex-cop, is already sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting six women while on the job.

In these latest Charlotte-Mecklenburg personal injury complaints, the plaintiffs contend that Jackson stopped their car on the evening of December 28, 2009. They say that he made them get out of the vehicle and proceeded to sexually assaulted them away from the police camera’s view.

One of the women says Jackson told her that he needed to search her because he smelled “weed. ” However, she says that instead of patting down her pockets, Jackson grabbed her breasts. The other woman claims that when it was her turn, Jackson placed his hands on breasts and down her pants. Both plaintiffs say they experienced emotional distress.

Also defendants of this North Carolina sex assault case are the city of Charlotte and Police Chief Rodney Monroe. Already, the city has spent over $617,000 to settle four Charlotte, North Carolina injury claims over Jackson’s actions.

The two plaintiffs are accusing Monroe of negligently retaining and supervising Jackson. Prior to his hiring by police, one of Jackson’s ex-girlfriends had taken out domestic violence protective order against him. Monroe has since admitted that the police missed certain information that would have prevented them from hiring Jackson.

North Carolina Police Brutality
A cop who sexually assaults someone while on the job is committing North Carolina police brutality. Police officers are not immune from the law and sexual assault committed by anyone is a crime. When a cop assaults someone under the guise of doing the job, he/she is abusing the authority given to a law enforcement officer and violating the victim’s civil rights.

2 women sue former officer, city in alleged sexual assaults, Charlotte Observer, March 7, 2011

Lawsuits say CMPD chief intervened twice to help Marcus Jackson, WBTV, February 23, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

More Blog Posts:
Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Case Over Sex Assault by CMPD Cop is settled for $350,000, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 7, 2011

City of Charlotte Settles North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuits Alleging Police Sexual Harassment by former CMPD Cop, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2011

Couple Suing City of Charlotte Claims Officer Marcus Jackson Sexually Violated Them During Traffic Stop, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 23, 2010



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