June 2011

HBO’s “Hot Coffee” Documentary Examines America’s Legal System and the $2.9M Personal Injury Verdict Against McDonald’s

June 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A new documentary on HBO is asking viewers to take a closer look at America’s legal system and think about whether or not it restricts the legal rights of those seeking civil damages for personal injuries. Former public interest attorney and first-time filmmaker Susan Saladoff made the documentary film.

The documentary focuses on four “exhibits.” There is the infamous “hot coffee” lawsuit, involving senior Stella Liebeck, who a jury awarded $2.9 million for injuries she sustained when she spilled a cup of scalding coffee in her lap while in a parked car at McDonald’s. Liebeck, who sustained 3rd degree burns and had to receive skin grafts and undergo years of costly medical care, soon became the butt of jokes for such a big reward. Meantime, corporate America used her case as an example for why states should set caps on injury damages.

Also under close scrutiny is the case of 15-year-old Colin Gourley, a victim of medical malpractice who sustained a traumatic brain injury during birth. Although a jury awarded his family $5.6 million to provide for him for life, the caps on non-economic and economic damages in Nebraska reduced the award to $1.25 million.

You can check your local cable listing to see when “Hot Coffee” is airing on HBO.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm represent clients injured in accidents that were caused by other people’s negligence. It is so important that our legal system allows victims to be able to receive compensation for the harm that they suffered. Sometimes, injuries can be so severe that the victim may become disabled for life or no longer able to work. Medical and recovery expenses can be astronomical.

Hot Coffee, HBO

The McDonald’s Coffee Case, Lectlaw

Faces of Medical Malpractice, Center for Justice and Democracy (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
New North Carolina Medical Malpractice Bill Capping “Noneconomic Damages” at $500,000 Passes the State Senate, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2011

American Academy of Pediatrics Want Warning Labels on Food that Pose a Child Choking Hazard, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 24, 2010

Chapel Hill Daycare Operator Sued for Infant’s Traumatic Brain Injury, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 22 2009

North Carolina Dangerous Drug: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Yasmin and Ocella Contraceptives for Daughter’s Fatal Pulmonary Embolism

June 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Scott Prewitt is seeking North Carolina wrongful death and products liability damages from Bayer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Intendis. He is also suing Dr. William Bryan III, Asheville Children’s Medical Center, and Kelly Klaaren for North Carolina medical negligence. Prewitt’s 15-year-old daughter, Brittany Nicole died from a pulmonary embolism while taking birth control pills to treat her acne. A doctor had prescribed the medication to her.

Brittany Nicole was just 13 when she started taking Yasmin. The following year, the same dermatologist who had prescribed that birth control pill started prescribing Ocella, which is a generic form of Yasmin, instead.

Although the USDA has approved Yasmin for contraception, the pill is not approved for treating acne. While doctors are allowed to prescribe the medication for off-label purposes, the drugs’ manufacturers are not supposed to promote the drug for these uses. Prewitt claims that Bayer did just that when marketing Yaz to dermatologists and ignored the risks involved. He also says that he and his family read and watched media that led them to conclude that it would be safe for Brittany Nicole to use Yasmin and its sister contraceptive Yaz.

Prewitt is also claiming North Carolina medical negligence against Dr. Bryan, who saw his daughter after her knee became red and swollen on June 4, 2009. The doctor diagnosed her symptoms as “superficial cellulitis.” About two weeks later, physician assistant Kelly Klaaren looked at Brittany’s rash and diagnosed her with dermatitis. The teenager collapsed nine days later and was pronounced dead.

Drug manufacturers must follow FDA regulations. They also must make sure that they market the medications in a way that doesn’t prove dangerous and let consumers and medical providers know if there are any risks involved. Failure to do either of this can be grounds for a North Carolina products liability case.

Taking the Pill for Acne Was Fatal, Dad Says, Courthouse News, June 20, 2011

Related Web Resources:
US Food and Drug Administration


More Blog Posts:

Yaz Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Wrongful Death Teen Who Went into Cardiac Arrest While Attending Elon University in North Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2011

Another Dangerous Drug?: Woman Claims Humira Caused Permanent Nerve Damage, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2011

Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 29, 2011

Forsythe County, North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Resident Who Drowned in Puddle in 2009 is Identified by Police

June 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Mamie Louise Holder Shelton, a 92-year-old North Carolina nursing home resident, is the name of the woman who drowned in a puddle after wandering 200 feet from Bradford Village of Kernersville – East LLC 413 on November 12, 2009. She was discovered lying face down in water about 2 inches deep. Police say that abrasions on Shelton’s knees and hands are consistent with a North Carolina fall accident and they do not suspect foul play.

Shelton, who was legally blind, suffered from coronary artery disease and dementia. She needed a wheelchair and a walker to properly get around. The nursing home patient appears to have walked out of a facility door between 2 and 4am. No one noticed because the door’s alarm had been turned off. According to nursing home staff, alarms at Bradford Village often were deactivated so that workers could go on smoking breaks.

Following the North Carolina nursing home death, the assisted living facility fired five workers. The N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation imposed a $20,000 fine over the incident. Meantime, state regulators found that the Forsythe County assisted living facility had violated codes related to personal care, supervision, physical environment, and resident rights. They also said that the nursing home did not make sure that proper measures were executed to stop patients at risk of wandering from leaving the facility without supervision.

Our North Carolina nursing home negligence lawyers know how to prove that an assisted living facility’s negligence resulted in abuse or neglect. Many patients who suffer from dementia are a wandering/elopement risk. It is important to gather evidence showing that a patient could/should have been prevented from walking out of the nursing home without supervision.

Wandering accident can lead to fatal falls, motor vehicle accident injuries, hypothermia, and other life-threatening conditions or incidents. It doesn’t help that it may be awhile before facility workers notice and/or find a missing assisted living facility patient.

Nursing home patient who drowned in puddle identified, 2journalnow, June 2, 2011

N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation

More Blog Posts:
Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

Forsyth County-Owned Assisted Living Facility Accused of North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 31, 2011

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

Preventing North Carolina Drowning Accidents: CPSC’s Pool and Spa Drain Cover Recall a Reminder that Entrapment Can Lead to Serious Injuries and Deaths

June 6, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recent recall of nearly 1 million pool and spa drain covers is a good reminder to owners to make sure that their pools and spas are safe for swimmers. The recall was issued because the drain covers were manufactured by companies that had incorrectly rated how much flow the products could actually handle. Such inaccuracies could mean that some of the drain covers may still pose entrapment hazards, which can cause drowning accidents.

Swimming accidents that occur because of a defective pool or spa part can be grounds for a Charlotte, North Carolina products liability lawsuit. It is the responsibility of all manufacturers to make sure that their products are safe for use. It is also the responsibility of pool and spa owners to make sure there that there are no hazards that could cause entrapment or North Carolina drowning accidents.

The recalled spa and pool drain covers were made between December 2008 and April 2011 by a number of companies, including Waterway Plastics, Rising Dragon USA, Pentair Water Pool and Spa, which is a North Carolina based company, Hayward Pool Products, Custom Molded Products, Color Match Pool Fittings, AquaStar Pool Products Inc., Lawson Aquatics, and A&A Manufacturing. The drain covers were supposed to meet the safety standards set by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

The pool safety law is supposed to prevent entrapment accidents from happening. When a child or adult gets entrapped in a spa or pool drain, it can be difficult to get free and if the person ends up submerged and stuck underwater, he/she can easily drown. One young girl sustained catastrophic injuries when a swimming pool drain suctioned out part of her intestinal tract a few years ago. Even after Abigail Taylor underwent liver, small bowel and pancreas transplants, she still died from her pool drain entrapment injuries in 2008.

Eight Manufacturers Recall Pool and In-Ground Spa Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Ratings, CPSC, May 26, 2011

Lawson Aquatics Recalls Certain Pool Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Rating; Covers Pose Possible Entrapment Hazard to Swimmers, CPSC, May 26, 2011

Girl Whose Intestines Were Partially Sucked Out by Swimming Pool Drain Dies, Fox News, March 21, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (PDF)

Pool Safely

More Blog Posts:

High Point Pool Drowning Accident Claims the Life of Teenager in North Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2010

Fayetteville, North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Teen’s Drowning Accident in Drainage Ditch Can Continue, Says Judge, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2009

North Carolina Premises Liability: Two Recent Child Drowning Accidents in Hotels Claim Lives, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2009


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