Last October the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sent a letter to hospitals throughout the United States alerting them to a potential serious health hazard related to open-chest cardiac surgeries performed in the hospitals. Specifically, the CDC notified hospitals that a device known as a Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler which was manufactured by a company in Germany called LivaNova and shipped to the United States could have contamination which originated in the equipment when it was manufactured in the factory in Germany.
President Trump is expected to sign executive orders scaling back the EPA’s climate change and enforcement work, but is reportedly waiting until after his nominee for EPA Chief, Scott Pruitt is confirmed by the Senate.
EPA insiders report that Trump is looking to close the EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Office (OECA) which would significantly reduce civil enforcement of EPA’s orders and mandates. If accomplished, this action would essentially mirror the tack that Scott Pruitt took in 2011 in trying to close Oklahoma’s Environmental Protection Unit. When EPA was first formed in 1970 it did not have an independent enforcement arm. Before EPA’s creation, enforcement was primarily left to the states. The OECA was created in the early 1990’s to centralize reporting and enforcement in a single department of the EPA. EPA created OECA from the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Monitoring (OECM), which, the source familiar with the plan says, did not identify enforcement cases but acted as more of a vessel to raise cross-cutting issues such as inspections, civil penalty policies, media-related information and contracts. It was only after OECA was formed that enforcement was centralized with consistent messaging from headquarters on priorities and other matters.
NFL Concussion Settlement – Registration Open
As of Monday, February 06, 2017, registration opened for the NFL Concussion Settlement. All Settlement Class Members must register with the Claims Administrator in order to be eligible for the benefits as outlined in the settlement. Settlement Class Members include Retired NFL Football Players, Representative Claimants who have a legal right to act on behalf of the Retired NFL Football Player (i.e. Power of Attorney or Administrators of Estates), and Derivative Claimants who have certain legal rights because of their relationship with a Retired NFL Football Player.
The Stigma of Mental Health Issues
“The Stigma is real and incredibly damaging for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ptsd and suicide. Millions of us suffer daily, yet we have been taught through shame that we don't talk about it. Mental Health challenges are commonly caused by either brain chemistry issues and/or experienced trauma. Both of which we normally have little control over. If you have struggled, you are not weak, or lack character. The exact opposite is true. We get up everyday and fight and struggle. We courageously deal with these challenges in all aspects of our life. We must change the perception of ourselves. If you are struggling right now, you are not alone. You are brave and courageous. Make sure you know that. #stopthestigma#strengthinnumbers”
Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
Yesterday we celebrated the life of one of our Nation’s greatest visionaries. Many of us went to church services and together with friends and family offered prayers, praise and song to his memory. Others of us revisited his teachings by reading, again, his speeches and quotes. Still others, longing for a return to his powerful oratory that sprung from his deep faith in the essential good of humanity---and his unshakeable faith that one day our Nation, and the world, would wake up to the racial and economic injustice plaguing it and by so seeing it, end it---may have watched some of his speeches preserved for our viewing. Some may have watched for the first time, others for the hundredth. And after a long and tortured course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was finally granted federal recognition as a holiday, permitting those businesses offering non-essential services to close in honor of this man.
The American Law Institute
Many of my clients, after they have read the biographies of myself and the other lawyers in the Locks Law Firm on our website, have asked me to explain to them the meaning of my membership in the American Law Institute. The American Law Institute was founded in 1923 because of the perception at that time that American common law was uncertain and complex. A group of judges, lawyers, and professors recommended that an organization should be formed to improve the law and its administration. The American Law Institute (ALI) was created as a response to that recommendation. The mission statement of the ALI is “to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work.”
Locks Law Attorneys Work to Protect Our Natural Resources
“Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself” ---Chief Seattle
With the anti-environment administration of President Elect Donald J. Trump looming over our Nation, it will be ever more urgent for all of us to be vigilant in protecting our right to clean air, clean water and clean places to live. We at the Locks Law Firm are “all in” and ready to fight to preserve those rights.
President Elect Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), E.Scott Pruitt, is a staunch critic of the EPA---the federal agency that is tasked with protecting our air, water and natural resources. Pruitt has rejected the scientific fact of climate change, calling it a hoax or a fraud. He repeatedly announced his intent to repeal all of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations. Agreeing with President Elect Trump, Pruitt lamented, wrongly, that you couldn’t use hairspray anymore because it damaged the ozone layer. Mr. Pruitt has called the EPA an “activist” organization, and as Governor of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA dozens of times. The target of Mr. Pruitt’s lawsuits: anti-pollution measures put in place by previous administrations popular with the public because they help to protect clean air and water.
APPEALS DENIED - NFL CONCUSSION SETTLEMENT FINAL
On Friday, December 9th, the US Supreme Court Justices met for a Justices’ Conference in which they reviewed the appeals related to the NFL concussion settlement. We are happy to report that they denied the appeals. The NFL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS NOW FINAL, and the EFFECTIVE DATE of the Agreement is December 12, 2016. The schedule now is:
- Within 90 days of the Effective Date, the website for claims administration and the automated phone system will be active.
- Within 90 days of the Effective Date, the Baseline Assessment Program doctors (BAP providers) will be identified, as well as Monetary Award Fund (MAF) physicians.
- Within 120 days of the Effective Date, the BAP will commence.
- Within 180 days of Effective Date, all class members must register for the settlement.
Recent Positive Developments in Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Everyone knows that asbestos causes mesothelioma. A major defense of the defendants has been that victims must prove exactly how much asbestos exposure a victim had. This is impossible in many cases because work sites often did not measure asbestos exposure. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has just issued a very favorable opinion that lays to rest this and related defenses.
In Rost v. Ford Motor Co., 2016 Pa. Lexis 2638 (Pa., Nov. 22, 2016), Mr. Rost was exposed to asbestos in potentially high amounts on a daily basis at a garage for more than three months. His medical expert, Dr. Arthur Frank, testified that every asbestos exposure contributes to the total or cumulative dose, which in turn increases the likelihood of disease. Dr. Frank testified that the asbestos exposures at the garage were sufficient, in and of themselves, to cause Rost’s mesothelioma. The Court held that this was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict in favor of Rost.
Videos show what happened, but can police refuse to produce them?
For months, amateur and police videos of confrontations between police and citizens have made headlines and stoked anger. Just last week, a video showed a police officer hitting a woman. The value and power of all types of videos is that they can show what happened. Certain police agencies in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have attempted to refuse to produce them. Whether police videos must be produced affects not only criminal cases but also civil cases alleging deprivation of civil rights.