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PrintThe National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) recently unveiled its 2016 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. This list, which details the most important safety issues to be addressed in 2016, focuses on 10 broad safety improvements that the NTSB has previously recommended, but which have not yet been implemented. One of the top items on the list is the fight to prevent fatigue-related truck accidents.

According to the NTSB, in a recent survey performed by AAA of highway vehicles, over 43% of participants reported falling asleep at the wheel or nodding off while driving at least once in their lifetime; and a 2010 AAA study estimated that one out of every six (16.5%) deadly traffic accidents is the result of drowsy driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) Administrator recently announced at the “Asleep at the Wheel” program in November that between 5,000 and 7,000 fatalities occur annually in the United States.

Among the recommendations issued by the NTSB to combat this problem, is equipping all interstate commercial vehicle carriers with electronic logging devices that collect data on driver hours of service in a valid, accurate, and secure manner to enable the carriers and their regulators to monitor and assess hours-of-service compliance. The NTSB also recommends that companies establish fatigue risk management programs which includes policies or practices to address scheduling, attendance, education, medical screening and treatment, personal responsibility during non-work periods, task/workload issues, rest environments, and commuting and/or napping. According to the NTSB’s press release on the topic, “[u]ltimately, fatigue-related accidents can be avoided with a combination of science-based regulations, comprehensive fatigue risk management programs, and individual responsibility.”

This announcement illustrates how dangerous driving among truck drivers can be. If you or someone you know was injured in an accident, you should contact Bottar Leone, PLLC. The aid of an experienced lawyer can be invaluable in getting you compensated for your injuries.

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Research published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals an increased risk of drowsy driving related motor vehicle crashes when operating a motor vehicle during the daytime following night shift work.

In the study, 16 night shift workers completed a pair of 2-hour driving sessions on a closed track. Prior to one session, participants slept approximately 7.6 hours the night before, with no shift work. Prior to the other session, participants were tested after working a night shift. Measures of drowsiness were collected, including brief micro-sleep episodes measured by an electroencephalogram, and partial eyelid closure with slow eye movements.

The results of each session were compared, resulting in the following findings:

  • Post-night shift drives resulted in increased driver drowsiness, deteriorating driving performance, and increased risk of near-crashes
  • Over one third of the post-night shift drives required emergency braking maneuvers, and all had a significantly higher rate of lane excursions
  • Almost half of the post-night shift drives were terminated early because the participants failed to maintain control of the vehicle
  • Sleep-related impairment was evident within the first 15 minutes of driving
  • Post-night shift drivers had longer blink duration and an increased number of slow eye movements
  • Post-night shift drivers showed increased drowsiness, impairment, and crash risk over the duration of the drive

In sum, with over 9.5 million Americans, or 15 percent of the workforce, working overnight or rotating shifts, the above results are significant. If you or someone you know was injured in an accident, you should contact the Bottar Leone, PLLC attorneys.

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Bottar Leone

Season’s greetings from central New York’s largest legal team dedicated solely to injured patients, workers, motorists and consumers.

Anthony S. Bottar, Esq.
Michael A. Bottar, Esq.
Edward S. Leone, Esq.
Paul G. Lyons, Esq.
Adam P. Mastroleo, Esq.
Samantha C. (Robbins) Riggi, Esq.
Aaron J. Ryder, Esq.
Kim Wolf Price, Esq. (of counsel)

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For many, the winter holiday season means family gatherings and a resultant increase in bus tickets, to get college students home. We here at Bottar Leone, PLLC wish everyone a happy holiday and take this opportunity to ask our readers to be careful when traveling to see loved ones this year.

Recently, a motor coach owned and operated by Abbott Trailways was involved in an accident in Richmond Virginia. The motor coach was chartered to take students at Virginia Tech and Radford University back to their campuses after the Thanksgiving weekend, when it overturned. Thirty-three passengers were injured – thirty-two of which were non-life threatening and one reported as “critical.” According to state police, speed was a factor in the bus overturning, and the driver was charged with reckless driving. He was subsequently suspended from his duties.

This news story illustrates how important bus safety is. If you or someone you know was injured in an accident on, or with a bus, you should contact the Firm. The aid of an experienced lawyer can be invaluable in receiving compensation for your injuries.

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invokana-heroInvokana (canagliflozin) lawsuits have been popping up around the country. According to the claims brought against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and parent company Johnson & Johnson, these companies failed to warn of the possible serious side effects associated with Invokana use.

According to one complaint filed in the Eastern District of California, a plaintiff was proscribed Invokana to treat her type 2 diabetes and she took as directed. Sometime after taking it, she was hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a condition where the blood becomes too acidic, and can lead to serious health complications, including death.

After learning of at least 20 reports of patients with type 2 diabetes who were hospitalized for DKA after taking the drug, this past May the FDA warned doctors and patients about a possible link between Invokana and DKA. According to the FDA, DKA is a “type of acidosis that usually develops when insulin levels are too low or during prolonged fasting,” which is why DKA is most common in patients with type 1 diabetes, and is usually accompanied by high sugar levels. The FDA noted that the reports they received of patients with type 2 diabetes suffering from DKA “were not typical” because their blood sugar levels were only slightly increased compared to the greater increases normally seen in typical cases of DKA.

Recent reports associate the drug with side other effects like urinary tract infections and kidney failure. Indeed, an Invokana lawsuit filed in Canada seeks class-action status and more than $1 billion in damages on behalf of patients who were allegedly harmed by the use of Invokana. The lawsuit, filed by Rosalba Joudry, claims that she was prescribed Invokana by her doctor to manage her type 2 diabetes and a few months later, she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Joudry alleges that Janssen did not conduct adequate long-term studies on Invokana’s effect on kidney health to determine how safe Invokana was, and failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of side effects.

If you took Invokana and you were diagnosed with DKA or kidney failure, contact our legal team to determine whether you should file a Invokana lawsuit. Bottar Leone, PLLC, has decades of experience investigating and pursuing claims for cases involving products liability. To learn more about your rights, please feel free to contact the Firm by telephone, email, or by submitting an online contact form.

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently ordered Custom Ultrasonics to recall all of its automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) from health care facilities due to continued violations of federal law. The FDA also simultaneously issued a safety communication recommending that health care facilities currently using Custom Ultrasonics AERs transition away from their use to alternate reprocessing methods.

Endoscopes are devices used to look inside a body cavity or organ. AERs are units used to wash and high-level disinfect flexible endoscopes and scope accessories between patients. According to the FDA, Custom Ultrasonics’ AERs could not adequately wash and disinfect the endoscopes, resulting in deadly germs becoming trapped inside the scope and then transmitted to the next patient.

The FDA’s order could not come at a more appropriate time, as the problem with the spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens by dirty endoscopes topped the 2016 list of health technology hazards put out earlier this month by ECRI, a nonprofit organization. The order also comes amid concerns about infection outbreaks linked to improperly cleaned duodenoscopes – a type of endoscope used in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedures.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective medical device, contact our legal team. Bottar Leone, PLLC, has decades of experience investigating, prosecuting, and trying to verdict all types of cases, including those involving products liability.

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bair-huggerArguments will be heard in the District of Minnesota as to whether lawsuits involving the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Blanket will be consolidated. Sterile operating rooms are usually kept cool in order to help surgeons, nurses, and attending technicians remain alert, and also reduce the chance for infection. The Bair Hugger is a warming blanket thought to have a positive impact on healing by keeping a patient warm during an extended surgical procedure and reduce the risk of infections. It is heated with forced air, which travels up a hose connected to an external heater located at the floor. Though, according to various lawsuits, the Bair Hugger may actually be causing infections.

The allegation is that pathogens such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are picked up from the floor by the heater and transferred to the sterile surgical site, resulting in the potential for severe infection. This is especially problematic for orthopedic procedures, where infection can be introduced deep into the joint.

Various plaintiffs have alleged an infection claimed to have originated with the blanket, resulting in serious health consequences, including additional surgery. In one case, a woman who went in for a routine knee replacement claims she left with a MRSA infection that resulted in 27 additional surgeries and eventually cost her her right leg, amputated just below the hip. Dr. Scott Augustine, the co-inventor of the Bair Hugger – who is now promoting a warming blanket that does not use forced air – claims the Bair Hugger is a risk to patients. The company that now owns the Bair Hugger, 3M Company/Arizant Healthcare, Inc., disagrees.

Reports suggest that the Bair Hugger is still wide in use, with some 50,000 units active in hospitals across the nation. If you or someone you know was diagnosed with a joint infection following a hip or knee replacement surgery, contact our legal team. The lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting, and trying to verdict all types of cases, including those involving products liability.

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This past month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) consolidated lawsuits filed by families claiming that the anti-nausea drug Zofran (Ondansetron) caused birth defects in their children, including but not limited to, cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot, and heart defects.

According to the complaints, GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”), Zofran’s manufacturer, concealed a known risk of harm related to Zofran which, on-label, is used to treat nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy.  However, doctors have long prescribed the drug off-label for severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum.  Whether GSK will litigate or settle the product liability lawsuits, now consolidated as MDL 2657, is unknown.

In 2012, GSK pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $3 billion for unlawful promotion of several drugs, including Zofran.  As part of the settlement agreement, GSK conceded that it knowingly promoted the sale and use of Zofran for conditions other than those for which its use was approved as safe and effective by the FDA, including hyperemesis or pregnancy-related nausea.  Since then, several studies have raised concerns about the risk of Zofran causing congenital malformation (birth defects), resulting in a growing number of families pursuing a Zofran lawsuit against GSK.

If you took Zofran during pregnancy and your child was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot, heart defect, or other serious birth defects, contact our legal team to determine whether you should file a Zofran birth defect lawsuit.  Bottar Leone, PLLC, has decades of experience investigating and pursuing claims for injured patients, workers, motorists and consumers.  To learn more about your rights, please feel free to contact the Firm by telephone, email, or by submitting an online contact form.

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MABOn November 5, 2015, Michael A. Bottar completed the final leg of a six-city CLE tour for the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers titled “Say What?  Using, Misusing and Abusing the Hearsay Rules.”  Bottar chaired the statewide CLE, which was attended by hundreds of attorneys in Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, New York City and Long Island.  

A DVD of the lecture and accompanying print materials may be obtained from the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers members-only CLE library.  To join the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, click here.

CLE description:

“Objection!  Hearsay!” “Sustained.” Wait, was that a statement? Was it offered for the truth?  Is there an exception to the rule? Hearsay is one of the most used and least understood evidentiary rules in the history of jurisprudence. Knowing the rules can mean a commanding courtroom performance. This seminar reviews the hearsay rule, what is not hearsay, non-assertive and non-verbal gestures, excited utterances, impeachment, limiting instructions, social media, and electronically stored information.

Bottar Leone, PLLC has decades of experience investigating and pursuing claims for injured patients, workers, motorists, and consumers.  To speak with us about your case or concerns, a potential medical malpractice or birth injury claim, please contact the Firm by telephone, email, or click here to submit an online contact form.

 

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samFormerly Samantha C. Robbins, Ms. Riggi’s practice focuses on cases sounding in medical malpractice, workplace accident, motor vehicle, product liability, wrongful death and severe personal injury matters.

Ms. Riggi is a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, and Siena College, magna cum laude. She is a past member and Associate Editor of the Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, which published her note “Who’s Your Daddy: The International Market for American Sperm.” In addition to the Journal of International Law and Commerce, she is a past member of the Syracuse University College of Law Moot Court Honor Society, and was inducted into The Order of Barristers.

While in law school, Ms. Riggi won a number of trial and appellate competitions, including the 42nd annual Mackenzie Hughes LLP, Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition (winner; best final round advocate; highest-scoring brief), the 41st annual annual Mackenzie Hughes LLP, Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition (winner; highest-scoring brief), and the 36th annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition (winner)

Prior to joining Bottar Leone, PLLC, Ms. Riggi served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Gary L. Sharpe, formerly the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, as a student attorney at the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, and as an intern for (then) United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was also a litigation associate in a mid-sized Syracuse law firm, where she represented individuals and businesses in a variety of matters, including appeals, commercial disputes, and the defense of personal injury claims.

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