Posted On: August 30, 2010

Should Big Rigs Be Supersize?

You drive next to a big rig on the highway. Has anyone ever that thought they are not big enough?

Well, your consumer concerns are not even in the radar of Kraft Foods Inc., MillerCoors, or Coca-Cola, which would all like trucks to be bigger so they can carry more product around the country on fewer trips. The companies then save money on gas.

Kraft is part of 150 companies that are lobbying Congress to allow trucks 20% heavier on the nation’s roadways, according to Chicago Breaking Business. Instead of the maximum of 80,000 pounds, they could weigh up to 97,000 pounds. Mega-trucks could add two, even three trailers to allow for the heavier loads, bringing the length up to 120 feet up from the current limit on most interstates of 53 feet.

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Posted On: August 27, 2010

Will a BP Worker's Check Bounce?

It’s been reported that BP oil cleanup workers are required to take a 40 minute rest after just 20 minutes of work. That’s why it appears they are not doing anything. Reporter, Larry Mendte, who writes for the Philadelphia Post reports that BP crews are everywhere, but with all the rest they have to take, locals have the impression they are not working very hard for their $18 an hour.

Mendte traveled the beaches from Mississippi through Alabama to Panama City and says the workers are doing a very good job. He also says he saw oil covered dead fishdead fish covered in oil and tar balls on the beach. Much of the beach has been combed and manicured. Residents along the Gulf shores say even if they don’t see tar, the water and sand feel different.

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Posted On: August 26, 2010

BP Workers' Claims Reduced by Guidelines

Under new guidelines it may become more difficult to collect compensation for long-term losses resulting from the BP oil spill. This is good news for BP but very bad news for consumers.

The new rules for oil spill loss claims to be processed were released Friday, August 20. Washington lawyer, Kenneth Feinberg, was picked by President Obama to oversee the $20 billion fund put aside by BP to settle claims.

So now who receives compensation?

The Associated Press reports that a flower shop in Florida probably won’t. Neither will a restaurant in Idaho that had to cut back on fish sales. The closer you are to the Gulf of Mexico, the better the chance that you will see some compensation. That is going to cut out a lot of businesses that rely on the attractions of the beach to make their livelihood, even if they don’t live near the beach.

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Posted On: August 25, 2010

Fatal Florida Pedestrian Accident on 9A

Law enforcement wants to know - why was a man walking on State Road 9A Wednesday night, August 19? Matthew Russ was heading southbound about one mile south of the intersection of 9A and Baymeadows Road. It happened about 8:20 p.m. when he was struck by a car being driven by Suzanne Talcott.

He died at the scene.

Russ’s car had broken down north of where he was hit and reportedly he was walking to seek help. News4Jax does the man a disservice when it reports that he “staggered” into the travel lane where Talcott could not avoid him due to the other cars next to her.

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Posted On: August 24, 2010

Big Tobacco Plans to Stand Up to Lawsuits

Big Tobacco is at it again. With 8,000 cases filed by smokers who are ill, or the survivors of smokers, the tobacco industry vows it will not quit fighting.

Lewis Specland, 82, even made an offer to settle after another smoker won a $2.2 million claim in a Palm Beach County Circuit Court on behalf of her late husband.

Specland has emphysema and is afraid after 50 years of smoking he will not live long enough to get to court. The tobacco industry did not even acknowledge his offer, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Keep the clock ticking and some plaintiffs will just fade away they figure.

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Posted On: August 23, 2010

Woman Killed in Lake City Head-On Auto Accident Not Wearing Seat Belt

A woman from Fort White, Florida, died Monday, August 16, after her vehicle crossed the divided highway and was then involved in a head-on collision with another car.

Nancy Vituli, 57, was heading northbound on U.S. 41, about seven miles south of Lake City. Her Honda Civic crossed the center line at approximately 2:45 p.m. near Southeast Gabe Street and struck a Ford Expedition. Barbara Chastain, 65, of High Springs, Florida was behind the wheel. Both cars then rotated counter-clockwise.

Vituli was killed at the scene. She was not wearing her seat belt.

Chastain suffered serious injuries and was taken to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her passenger, Joanne Duffy, 51, was taken by air ambulance to Shands Hospital with critical injuries. Both Chastain and Duffy were wearing their seat belts.

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Posted On: August 20, 2010

Kawasaki Recalls ATV

Kawasaki Motors Corp is recalling about 4,000 of one of its off-road motorcycles because of safety concerns. Kawasaki agreed to the recall suggested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Consumers are warned they should stop using the off-road bike. It is also considered illegal to resell a recalled motorcycle.

The motorcycle in question is the Kawasaki 2010 KLX110. It is an off-road bike distributed by Kawasaki Motors of Irvine, California.

The problem – the bike has a faulty housing for the ignition switch which can allow water to enter. That can potentially activate the starter and since this is an electric starter, it can cause serious hazard of death. No injuries have been reported.

Note that the 2010 model year is involved and includes series KLX110CAF and KLX110DAF off-road motorcycles. They are distinguished by their lime green color with the word “Kawasaki” on the side of the fuel tank.

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Posted On: August 19, 2010

20-Year-Old Charged with DUI Following Crash

Shawn Tyler Pugh told Gainesville police that opiates might show up in his system after he rear-ended a car Monday, August 9. He was arrested on charges of DUI, even though his breath test registered .000, reports the Gainesville Sun.

Pugh was driving a 2005 Pontiac when he ran into a car in the 1000 block of West University. The impact did about $14,000 damage to two cars. One person ended up in the hospital with injuries. Pugh has been charged with driving on a suspended license, careless driving, and damage to property.

The young man told police that opiates, THC, or Percocet might show up in his test. A look at the records shows his license has been suspended four times. Unable to perform any sobriety tests, Pugh appeared confused when an officer spoke to him. He was booked into the Alachua County jail.

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Posted On: August 18, 2010

Widow of UNF Business Professor Wins Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Cory Fine was 41-years-old and overweight. The University of North Florida business school professor was so unhappy with his weight that he decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery at Shands at the University of Florida. That was 2002. Fine never made it out of the hospital.

On Thursday, August 12, an Alachua County jury returned a $6.2 million medical malpractice verdict to Fine’s widow and son.

Was it malpractice? The attorney for the family said definitely yes. The surgery went well, but then Fine had some breathing difficulties. It is very easy for a nurse to check a person’s oxygen saturation levels, in other words how much oxygen they are taking in and how effectively their heart is working.

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Posted On: August 17, 2010

MRSA Rates Cut in Jacksonville Area Hospitals

Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine is one of a few hospitals across the country that has installed a new high-tech device to cut down on antibiotic resistance staph infection, MRSA. Workers just wave their hands beneath a sensor to find the drug resistant form of staph.

The good news is that it appears to be working as do other efforts nationwide to cut down on hospital-acquired infections from the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that hospital-acquired MRSA cases dropped by 28 percent between 2005 and 2008. The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Posted On: August 13, 2010

FDA: Weight Loss Pill Linked to Liver Injury

The maker of the weight loss drug Alli, has been directed to change the label for the drug about rare but severe liver injury. The weight loss drug is known generically as Orlistat and it has the potential to cause severe liver damage in rare cases among patients taking the drug.

Orlistat is sold as a prescription drug, Xenical, in 120 mg capsules. Over-the-counter (OTC) it is sold as Alli in 60 mg strength. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now identified 13 victims who developed severe liver injury after taking Orlistat. The review covered a ten-year period.

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Posted On: August 12, 2010

Widow Sues Ford Motor Over Defective Patrol Car

This story has been heard all over the country and unfortunately a Florida Highway Patrol officer is the latest victim of his exploding patrol car.

The widow of Patrick Ambroise, 35, who died when his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car was rear ended and caught fire May 15, has filed a Florida product liability lawsuit against Ford in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Ambroise’s Crown Victoria was pulled over to the shoulder when it was hit by a Lexus being driven by Jonathan Robert Garcia, of Miramar, and Euclides Garcia, the car’s owner who have both been named in the action.

The lawsuit alleges that Ford sold a vehicle with a defective design that places the gas tank in the rear “crush zone” of the vehicle where it can rupture and explode if hit from behind.

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Posted On: August 11, 2010

Long Term Health Effects From Oil Spill

The good news- the underwater camera no longer shows crude oil gushing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Now the question ahead is what are the long-term ramifications?

The University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Public Health is working with the federal government in answering that question. Researchers have formed an ad-hoc team in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine the unprecedented tragedy. The oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon is equivalent to a supertanker spill every week and many have been impacted – from workers who have cleaned up the beach and the Gulf, to children and even tourists who have been exposed. In the short-term, health impacts have been watery and irritated eyes, skin rashes and itchiness, coughs, shortness of breath and wheezing, reports ConsumerAffairs.com. Long-term studies will be launched to understand the physical and psychological impacts.

Then there are the unanswered questions about consuming seafood from the Gulf.

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Posted On: August 10, 2010

Accutane Lawsuit Says Drug Ruined Actor’s Life

A high profile trial this week in New Jersey promises to put the acne drug, Accutane, on the hot seat.

Actor James Marshall (A Few Good Men, Twin Peaks) has filed a lawsuit against Roche Holding AG, maker of Accutane, claiming the drug caused bowel problems so severe that his colon had to be removed. A number of actors are expected to testify on his behalf about the lost wages Marshall has experienced as a result of his ruined career, reports ConsumerAffairs.com.

Marshall, who has similar looks to James Dean, was taking Accutane for treatment of acne.

Accutane Actions
There are up to 1,000 similar lawsuits in a number of jurisdictions across the country presently filed against Roche. So far in seven cases, the jury has decided to rule against the company and it has cost $56 million.

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Posted On: August 6, 2010

BP Delays Paying Claims

The payout to those financially damaged by the BP oil spill appears to be as messy as the spill itself. ProPublica reports that many damage claims are in limbo and claimants are being kept waiting.

Why?

The answer appears to be within the wording of the Oil Pollution Act, a 1990 federal law that requires companies to be responsible for direct “removal costs and damages” caused by an oil spill. Not all claims are for the costs of removing oil and damages from the oil. ProPublica reports on Duane Sandy, who sells hurricane-proof storage units in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He submitted a claim in May for $3,500 since he has not sold a single unit since the spill in April. Instead, he got a form letter from BP that said he had not provided sufficient documentation to support the claim. When he called BP he got a different answer. A BP adjuster said the company is not paying claims of lost income based on commissions.

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Posted On: August 5, 2010

Surgical Mesh Pelvic Device Complication and Injury Claims

It may sound too devastating to be true, but some surgical mesh devices, including Bard Avaulta products, implanted in the vaginal walls of women to help alleviate pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) have caused serious health complications and physical injury.

The West Virginia Record reports that lawsuits are pending regarding surgical mesh devices causing organ injury in women. Requests were made to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation last month to assign all 34 mesh complication cases, in addition to two from other districts, from Georgia to West Virginia. Attorneys making the request believe that the District Judge in West Virginia has become more acquainted with the issues at hand and the situation of the parties involved through pretrial handling of consolidated cases in his court.

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Posted On: August 5, 2010

Florida's "Stop on Red" Week

If the light is red, you better stop.

Beginning Monday, August 2, the Florida Highway Patrol and multiple law enforcement agencies across the state are teaming up to enforce National Stop on Red Week. The focus is to remind drivers to stop at the red traffic signals, not run them.

Red light running is a real problem in Florida. More than 5,000 people suffered injuries last year in crashes that involved a red light runner. Fifty-six people were killed.

There were 1,400 Florida intersection accidents where at least one driver was impatient, not paying attention, driving distracted, or aggressively driving and ran a red light. Not only does that put other motorists in danger, but it endangers pedestrians and bicyclists.

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Posted On: August 4, 2010

Pedestrian Killed in St. Johns County

Florida DOT- Pedestrian Laws
A Jacksonville pedestrian accident occurred when a man was hit while he was in the crosswalk and killed by a car in St. Johns County early Saturday, July 31.

It was nearly 1 a.m. when Raymond J. Spencer, 52, was crossing State Road 16 near the intersection of the Factory Outlets in St. Augustine, according to an article on News4Jax.com. Spencer, of the 1100 block of Michigan Avenue, was crossing at the crosswalk but against the walk signal when a 1999 Mitsubishi driven by Thomas Evans, 38 hit him. Evans, of Green Cove Springs, was not issued a citation. He was okay but Spencer was killed at the scene.

Florida Highway Patrol reports that a witness said the crosswalk light said “do not walk” at the time.

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Posted On: August 3, 2010

Physician's Guide to Patient Safety and Avoiding Medical Errors

Two reports were released July 20, by the American Medical Association (AMA) that should help doctors optimize the quality of patient safety. Physicians believe the AMA is the best source to cut through all of the information that’s out there and to serve as a reliable guide for physicians concerning patient safety.

The first report, “Physician’s Guide to Patient Safety Organizations” is a guide to patient safety organizations (PSOs). It encourages doctors to join the organizations and provides a guide to learning about adverse safety events. It provides a glossary, a safety checklist, and work-flow model. Safety checklists have been shown to cut down on medical errors.

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 established a voluntary, confidential, and privileged means for doctors and others in health care to voluntarily report problems and learn from them. Often a doctor or nurse will hold back on reporting a colleague for fear of losing their job or out of respect for their co-worker.

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Posted On: August 2, 2010

Jacksonville Nursing Home Loses License

Some people writing into News4Jax.com say it is about time. The Glenwood Nursing Center, in the Arlington section of Jacksonville, has lost its license to operate after receiving poor reviews from the state. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration revoked the license after years of poor reviews. That means 106 residents will need to find a new place to live by the time the facility closes its doors for good on August 26.

A report card from May gave the center poor grades for quality of care, quality of life, and dignity. The report card says the center doesn’t do a good enough job of preventing residents from hurting other patients and themselves. Lawyers representing the owner of Glenwood have filed an appeal to extend the deadline.

Relatives of the residents who talked to News4 seemed surprised that the doors will close and said they never saw any problems. Lois Craig says she never felt her husband, Gordon, was in any danger at all. “To move him would be awful because I don’t know what to do next.”

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