Thursday, 28 October 2010

Poll Shows Californians Have Positive Views on Immigration and Oppose Deportations

Immigration has become a political football around the country, and California has been no exception. Immigration issues typically arise during election times, and this election year has seen similar mudslinging. However, a new survey shows that Californians actually have a much more positive view on immigration than politicians would like to have you believe.

The poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times/USC has no surprises for Los Angeles immigration lawyers. It shows that California voters overall have a positive view of immigration, and favor legalization of undocumented workers who have held jobs in the state.

When asked whether immigrants are a benefit or a burden to the state, approximately 48% of Californians in the survey called them a benefit, and of these, 36 % felt very strongly that they were a benefit.

Only 32% of respondents in the survey felt that undocumented workers were a burden to California because of the impact of public services. Further, among these people, only 22% felt very strongly that way.

59% of respondents believed that an undocumented worker who had lived and worked in the country for at least two years should be allowed to remain in the US.

Only 30% of the respondents felt that all undocumented workers should be deported.

Not surprisingly, liberals were much more likely to be supportive of undocumented workers and a smooth phasing into legal immigration status for these groups. Conservative respondents were more likely to be in favor of deportations.

Obviously, the Hispanic population was much more supportive of immigrants, with 76% saying that undocumented workers should be allowed to stay on in the country.

Respondents over the age of 65 were split equally, but even in this demographic, 55% believed undocumented workers should be allowed to keep their jobs.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Alabama Street Task Force Announces Accomplishments

Last week, the Northeast Alabama Safe Streets Task Force announced a list of accomplishments by the organization since 2007, when it was started. According to the task force, since 2009, the organization has been responsible for:

• 67 state/local arrests
• 13 federal arrests
• 11 federal indictments
• 10 federal convictions
• Seizure of 25 firearms
• Seizure of more than 11 kilos of cocaine
• Seizure of more than 2400 grams of crystal methamphetamine

The Northeast Alabama Safe Streets Task Force consists of full time members from the Albertville Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, Etowah County Sheriff's Office, Marshall County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Northeast Alabama Safe Streets Task Force was established to identify organized criminal groups involved in drug trafficking, alien smuggling, money laundering, murder, robbery and aggravated assault. The task force also targets these entities for prosecution focusing especially strongly on violent street gangs.

Federal crimes include white-collar crimes, drug crimes, firearms and weapons crimes, crimes involving child pornography, identity theft and bank robberies. Local crimes include those for DUI. Whether you have been charged with DUI or a federal crime, the implications for the rest of your life can be substantial. Even a simple DWI conviction in Alabama, can lead to license suspension, fines and even jail time. Depending on the number of convictions, you could even be looking at the revocation of your license, installation of an interlock device on your vehicle, impoundment of your car, mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment programs and increased insurance rates.

Whether you're facing charges for state crimes or federal offenses, it's important to consult with an experienced Alabama criminal defense lawyer immediately. An attorney can help you understand exactly what you're up against, and can devise the best possible strategies to mount a defense for you.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Medtronic Agrees to $258 Million Settlement in Sprint Fidelis Lawsuits

Medtronic has agreed to pay $258 million to settle more than 8,100 personal injury lawsuits arising from injuries caused from fractured wires in the Sprint Fidelis cardiac defibrillator leads. Sales of the devices in question have been stopped since 2007. At least 13 deaths have been linked to defibrillators which came with the fractured wires. Four of those deaths occurred when patients underwent surgery to remove the devices.

The settlement will provide an average payout of approximately $33,000 to patients who currently have the defibrillators implanted with the defective wires that are likely to break, or those with devices that already have fractured wires. The actual amount of the payout will depend on the defect and the severity of the injuries.

The wires in the defibrillators are responsible for delivering electric shocks to the heart when the device recognizes a faulty or irregular heartbeat. In the defective defibrillators that California pharmaceutical liability lawyers have come across, persons received an unnecessary electric shock, causing serious injuries, or the device failed to regulate the person's heartbeat altogether.

Between 2004 when the devices were introduced and 2007, the company had a lion’s share of the $5.8 billion international market for defibrillators. According to Medtronic, about 170,000 people worldwide still have the defibrillators implanted in them. For persons who have these devices implanted in them, the choice has been hard to make. If they continue to retain the implanted devices, there is the risk of suffering an electric shock somewhere in the future if the wires break. There might also be the risk of malfunctioning of the device, in which case, the device would fail to serve its purpose. If they choose to have surgery to remove the device, they are at risk from a procedure is fraught with challenges and risks.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Accutane and The Effects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Over 400 pharmaceutical liability lawsuits mention the use of anti-acne drug Accutane as a factor in the development of debilitating Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Research has found a strong link between the use of the anti-acne medication and the development of IBD.

According to a study conducted by University of North Carolina researchers, persons who used the medication are at a risk of developing IBD that is twice as high as those who did not use it. Besides, the researchers found that the risk of developing IBD increased with increasing use of Accutane. In 2009, Accutane was removed from the American market. However, California Accutane lawyers find that patients may be at risk from the gastrointestinal disorders and injuries caused by generic versions that continue to remain on the market.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is the term used to describe chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Broadly, there are two conditions that are included under the term IBD. Persons may suffer from either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease. In both these cases, there is severe inflammation of the digestive tract. The person may suffer from severe pain and diarrhea. There may also be infection, and this could cause other complications, like bowel obstruction.

In both these conditions, the symptoms may not always be chronic or consistent. Sometimes, they may suddenly flare up without warning. There is no complete and final cure for these conditions. Treatment mainly consists of controlling symptoms.

There are several complications that patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease face. For instance, the consistent inflammation in the digestive tract can lead to infections, and can also result in scarring. When infections develop, it leads to narrowing of the intestine, and this could lead to bowel obstruction. In severe cases, patients may be forced to have part or all of their intestine, removed.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Car Insurance: A Competitive Industry for Your Money

Spend any time in front of a TV or listening to the FM radio and you will hear a multitude of  advertisements for car accidents. Many gimmicks, catch phrases, taglines, and mascots are ever present. Some insurance companies even have a few of each of the aforementioned.

Insurance is an important thing. Having insurance protects you from overwhelming costs in the event of unforeseen incidents like car accidents, floods, fires, health issues and untimely death. For anyone who drives, auto insurance is practically the most imperative insurance to have - as car accidents seem inevitable.

For those that are involved in motor vehicle accidents, insurance and attorneys may be words that go together. Negligence, distracted drivers, hit and run, and drunken driver related accidents might easily become highly contested litigation. Having insurance can protect and provide.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Feds Will Soon Roll out Enhanced Medical Helicopter Safety Rules


Inspired no doubt, by a string of deadly medical helicopter and air ambulance crashes this year, the Federal Aviation Administration is soon expected to roll out its new safety standards for the medical helicopter industry. So far, we've lost more than a dozen people in medical helicopter crashes this year, and it looks like we are well on our way to beating the record of 29 medical helicopter crash fatalities set in 2008. Unless the FAA quickly moves in to set stricter restrictions, and stronger regulations that provide for greater oversight over medical helicopter operators, we will continue to see unnecessary deaths occurring in these crashes.

Some of the provisions that the proposed new regulations are expected to include are enhanced training for pilots, tighter restrictions on medical helicopter operators and requirements for enhanced safety equipment. Terrain Avoidance Warning Systems are likely to feature in the new proposed regulations. These systems are in place in several medical helicopter fleets and can prevent crashes that occur in poor weather. The National Transportation Safety Board has for years now recommended that all medical helicopters come with these Terrain Avoidance Warning Systems. In spite of this, an estimated 60% of all medical helicopters in the country are not equipped with these systems.

Another factor in medical helicopter crashes that has concerned California helicopter crash lawyers and which the FAA is likely to address is enhanced risk assessment before medical helicopters are operated in poor visibility or adverse weather conditions. Many helicopter crashes occur in poor visibility conditions, and there must be rules that require operators to undertake proper risk assessment before they allow medical helicopters to take off in such conditions. The Federal Aviation Administration is also likely to require night vision goggles for all medical helicopter pilots.

However, the federal agency is likely to not address the two-pilot rule. It's safer to have two pilots in a medical helicopter, but the FAA is likely not to include this in its proposed regulations.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

California Dog Owner to Spend 15 Years to Life in Prison in Fatal Attack

A San Francisco Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction of a woman in a fatal dog bite attack that killed lacrosse player Diane Whipple. The court upheld Marjorie Knoller’s conviction of second-degree murder. She is now looking at spending 15 years to life in prison.

Diane Whipple was Marjorie Knoller’s neighbor. On January 26, 2001, she was walking into her apartment, when she was attacked by the two dogs. Witnesses would later confirm that Knoller had been present at the scene and had insufficient supervision of the animals. In the ferocious attack that followed, Whipple suffered approximately 77 bites all over her body. She suffered massive blood loss, and consequently died.

The case took several unexpected turns. In 2001, a grand jury indicted both Marjorie Knoller and her husband Robert Noel for involuntary manslaughter. In addition, Marjorie Knoller was indicted for second-degree murder. The San Francisco Superior Court ordered a new trial for Knoller, but that order was reversed by the Court of Appeal. Ultimately in September 22, 2008, a trial court ruled that Knoller be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Last month, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that Knoller had acted in conscious disregard of the danger to human life on the day of the attack.

It wasn't the first time that the animals had displayed an aggressive temperament. There had been several instances where the animals had growled, barked and displayed aggression and a ferocious temper even before the fatal attack that killed Diane Whipple. Both dogs were put down after the attack.

The attack that killed Diane Whipple was a ferocious one and received wide attention around the country. Los Angeles dog bite lawyers believe that pet owners have a responsibility to keep pets that can cause that kind of damage to a human being as far away from people as possible.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

New California Legislation Ensures Strict Oversight of Diagnostic Scans


It doesn't include all the points that California radiation overdose lawyers would have liked to be covered in legislation aimed at reducing the number of radiation overdose-related injuries in California. However, it is a start. This week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed new legislation that is aimed at increasing oversight over CT scans and preventing overdoses.

The legislation comes in response to serious injuries suffered by hundreds of patients from radiation overdoses between 2008 and 2009. The patients had undergone CT brain scans for stroke, and the injuries surfaced last year at Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai medical Center. Up to 269 patients received severely high doses of radiation during the scan process. In some cases, the overdose was as high as eight times the recommended dosage. These overdoses continued for up to 18 months before they were discovered. Eight hospitals nationwide have been identified as having been the sites of radiation overdoses, and out of these, six are in California.

Discovery of these overdoses has coincided with increased use of radiation for diagnostic purposes across the country, including in California. More diseases are now diagnosed through the use of medical radiation. These scanners are believed to improve diagnosis, but because the technology is so new and so undeveloped, and training so insufficient, the incidences of overdoses have been unforgivably high.

Serious errors have been made while programming the machines and have resulted in major overdoses. The machines have not been equipped with safeguards that prevent radiation from being emitted when the device is not programmed correctly. In many hospitals, staff has not been trained to use this equipment correctly, or to identify errors. This has meant devastating consequences for patients.

Much of the problem lies in the fact that there has been lax regulation of the medical scanner industry, and California and other states have been guilty of lack of oversight over the industry. Legislation is the first and most important step in improving scanner safety standards in California, and this legislation is a first step towards that direction.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Fox News Named in Gender, Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against News Corp.'s Fox News alleging that the broadcaster discriminated against a reporter on the basis of gender and age.

The lawsuit has been filed against Fox News Network LLC, which owns the Fox News Channel in Washington DC. The lawsuit alleges that Fox News retaliated against reporter Catherine Herridge, after she complained of discrimination in pay and employment opportunities on the basis of her age and gender. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for Herridge. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit is also seeking an injunction against Fox News from discriminating against employees who oppose the company’s employment practices.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Herridge has claimed that she was demoted, denied equal pay, and repeatedly denied assignments and promotions based on her gender and age. In 2007, Herridge complained several times to Fox News management about the alleged discriminatory employment practices. Fox says it conducted an investigation into the complaints and found no basis for them. In 2008, when Herridge's contract came up for renewal, Fox included language in it that referred to the complaints that Herridge had made.

The language was apparently intended to discourage the reporter from making any further complaints. When Herridge refused to sign the contract with such language included, Fox simply stopped communicating with her or her agent about a contract. Because the company refused to proceed with a new employment contract, Herridge was placed in the position of being an “at will ”employee which she claims caused her considerable distress.

Fox insists that Herridge continues to remain an employee of the company since before and even after the complaints were filed. As any Los Angeles employment lawyer will tell you, retaliation does not simply have to mean terminating an employee from his or her position.