October 2, 2014

Unsafe EPA Asbestos Experiment and the Federal Tort Claims Act

According to an internal audit conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of the Inspector General titled "EPA's Alternative Asbestos Control Method Experiments Lacked Effective Oversight and Threatened Human Health," asbestos removal experiments conducted by the EPA for more than a decade threatened both human health and the environment.

The OIG report, which was released on September 25, 2014, provides that experiments conducted between 2004 and 2012 to study alternative methods to demolish building containing asbestos may have exposed workers and the public to harm. Included in the OIG report are conclusions that the EPA used its enforcement discretion to ignore violations of environmental law, and that the EPA's research lacked appropriate oversight and research goals.

If the AACM experiments caused harm, the government may be liable for damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Basic information about the FTCA can be found in a previous post titled "Suing the Government For Negligence Under the Federal Tort Claims Act."

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September 30, 2014

Nationwide Recall of Mars Products For Egg and Peanut Ingredients

According to an FDA announcement titled "Mars Chocolate North America Issues Allergy Alert Voluntary Recall On Undeclared Peanut Butter In M&M's® Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box," there may be unlabeled allergens in two Mars brand products. Specifically, Twix Brand Unwrapped Bites Stand Up Pouch and its M&M's Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box.

On September 5, 2014, Mars Chocolate recalled its Twix Brand Unwrapped Bites Stand Up Pouch for reportedly containing undeclared peanuts and egg. Specifically, the affected product is Twix Unwrapped Bites in a 7 ounce, metallized golden package, with code date 421BA4GA60 and an expiration date of 03/2015. This lot was shipped and distributed to customers' warehouses in Indiana, Texas, Oregon, Tennessee, and Connecticut, which then redistribute products for retail sale nationwide.

Mars Chocolate North America recalled the second product, the M&M Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box, on September 19. The affected M&M's boxes contain peanut butter M&M's inside an M&M's Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box. The affected M&M's theater boxes are 3.40 ounce brown, 3 inch by 6.5 inch cardboard boxes stamped on the right-hand side panel with a lot number and best before date. The affected boxes are identified by UPC #40000294764, and were shipped and distributed to several states, including New York, between May 8 and July 1, 2014.

People with allergies to peanuts and egg run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume these products and may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer for damages caused by improper labeling.

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September 30, 2014

FedEx Delivery Truck Accident In Granby New York

Yesterday, two people were killed and one was critically injured after a FedEx delivery truck collided with a car around 4:30 p.m. in the town of Granby, New York. Granby is located in Oswego County, approximately 25 miles northwest of Syracuse.

Multiple news reports provide that the FedEx delivery truck was traveling east on State Route 3 between County Route 8 and Rathburn Road, when it crossed over into the westbound lane and collided with a 2013 Honda Civic. The force of the crash caused both vehicles to leave the roadway and come to rest partially submerged in a nearby pond.

Why the accident occurred is under investigation. "The cause for a motor vehicle accident can be complicated," said Syracuse injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar. "To determine fault, we review all potential causes for a crash, including driver error, roadway defects and equipment malfunction or failure."

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, FedEx drivers were involved in 1170 crashes between September 30, 2012 and September 30, 2014. Thirty-one (31) of the crashes involved fatalities.

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October 31, 2012

Syracuse Construction Accident Lawyers Secure $2 Million Verdict For Scaffolding Collapse

According to a Syracuse.com article titled "Syracuse Jury Awards Injured Roofer $2 Million For Fall From Binghamton Dorm Project," on October 26, 2012, a Syracuse jury deliberated for more than three hours before awarding David Stauber $2,007,658 for injuries he sustained in June of 2010. Mr. Stauber was represented by Syracuse construction accident lawyer Aaron Ryder, of Bottar Leone, PLLC.

In June of 2010, Mr. Stauber was employed by Apple Roofing. He was installing a roof at a Binghamton University dormitory project when, suddenly and without notice, the platform from which he was working collapsed and he fell approximately 60 feet to the ground. The central New York scaffolding accident caused a traumatic brain injury and other orthopedic injuries.

Before trial, the general contractor, LeChase Construction, conceded liability for the accident. During the week long damages trial, Ryder called a number of the plaintiff's treating physicians who testified that he sustained a brain injury with sequela including post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a severe elbow injury. Representing LeChase, attorney Lisa Coppola from the 35 attorney law firm of Rupp Base Pfalzgraf Cunningham & Coppola, LLC, argued that Mr. Stauber sustained minor and temporary injuries as a result of the five story fall.

Four months before trial - when Mr. Stauber was represented by a TV law firm - LeChase offered $300,000 to settle the case. Mr. Stauber discharged the TV law firm and retained Bottar Leone, PLLC to prosecute his case to verdict.

March 20, 2012

Suing The Government for Negligence Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

In 1946, the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FCTA") was passed. The FTCA permits citizens to file a lawsuit against the United States for negligence. Government employees can make mistakes in countless ways. Examples of government negligence include VA medical malpractice, postal vehicle collisions, and air traffic controller mistakes.

The FTCA, 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2401(b) and 2671-2680, constitutes a limited waiver by the United States of its sovereign immunity" and allows for a tort suit against the United States under specified circumstances. Under the FTCA, a private citizen may sue for injuries caused by "the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred. Under the FTCA, sovereign immunity is waived if a claim meets six requirements (1) brought against the United States, (2) for money damages, (3) for injury to or loss of property, or personal injury, or death, (4) caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government, (5) while acting within the scope of his or her office or employment, and (6) under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.

The general public and many lawyers do not know that a lawsuit against the Government cannot proceed unless an administrative claim is submitted to the appropriate federal agency within two (2) years of claim "accrual." "Accrual" is a legal term of art that should be defined by an attorney. If an agency denies the claim, or does not respond to the claim within 6 months, a lawsuit may be filed.

Identifying the relevant agency, determining what information to present, and where/how to preset it can be complicated. Indeed, the particulars of a federal tort claim formed the basis of an 84 page guide recently published by Syracuse personal injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, titled "A Desktop Guide to Federal Tort Claims Within the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit."

There is a limited amount of time to file appropriate documents to protect your rights. To determine whether you have a case against the Government, contact Bottar Leone, PLLC, to speak with a New York Federal Tort Claims Act attorney.

February 27, 2012

Goodyear Wrangler SA Tire Recall Follows Reports of Tread Separation

According to Reuters.com, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has recalled approximately 41,000 tires manufactured in 2009. The recall covers Wrangler Silent Armor tire sizes LT235/80R17 LRE, LT325/60R18 LRE, LT275/70R18 LRE, LT265/70R17 LRE, LT245/75R17 LRE and LT285/70R17 LRD.

Apparently, some of the tires may experience partial tread area separation. In its letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Goodyear said that "[u]se of these tires in severe conditions could result in partial tread separation which could lead to vehicle damage or a motor vehicle crash."

If a tire's tread were to separate while the vehicle was in motion, there could be a blow-out or loss of control, followed by injury to the vehicle's occupants. If this happened in the State of New York, an injured driver passenger may have a claim against the manufacturer. This type of claim, for a dangerous or defective product, is known as a product liability lawsuit.

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February 18, 2012

Syracuse New York Car Accident Lawyers Review Deadly School Bus Crash

Every parent's worst nightmare occurred on February 16, 2012, in Burlington County, New Jersey, approximately two hours south of New York City.

According to NJ.com, at around 8:05 a.m. that morning, a school bus being operated by a new driver was struck by a Mack truck. Apparently, the bus had stopped for a stop sign and was inching out around an environmental sight-line obstruction to visualize oncoming traffic. Several kindergarten through 6th grade children were critically injured and one was killed. According to reports, the Mack truck that struck the bus was overloaded with asphalt at the time of the crash.

"Determining who is responsible for this accident will not be simple," said Syracuse personal injury lawyer Michael Bottar, of Bottar Leone, PLLC. Unlike the routine fender-bender car accident, when a crash involves a school bus and a commercial vehicle, there are other factors at play, such as driver training, distractions, vehicle momentum and equipment maintenance. Additional variables include blind spots and difficulty seeing around an environmental obstacle such as a tree, bush, or hill. This is known as a sight-line obstruction. Sometimes an accident like this is are caused by a series of failures, such as inattentive drivers, over-weight vehicles, lack of appropriate safety equipment, and poor roadway maintenance. "I imagine the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate this matter," Bottar added.

Bottar Leone, PLLC has decades of experience investigating complex bus and truck accidents, including tour bus crashes and accidents on the New York State Thruway. Contact us to learn about your rights.

January 25, 2012

Syracuse Construction Accident Lawyers Report Death of Liverpool Worker Following Building Ceiling Collapse

Moments ago, a ceiling inside of the University/Snow Building, located at 120 East Washington Street, collapsed onto Steven Pallotta, a 25 year old construction worker who was on the 9th floor. According to a Syracuse.com article titled "Worker Removed From 9th Floor of University Building After Ceiling Collapses", the worker was severely injured. The cause of the ceiling collapse is unknown at this time.

"I happened to be driving by the building minutes after the ceiling collapsed," said Syracuse construction accident lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC. "From the outside, you would never know that renovations were underway inside of the this 100 year old building. I'm sure OSHA will investigate what happened."

New York State has special laws that protect construction workers injured on the job. Those safety laws, known as Labor Laws, hold property owners and general contractors liable for injuries in certain circumstances, including during construction, demolition and renovation. New York's Labor Laws may provide an injured worker and his or her family compensation in addition to benefits from Workers' Compensation.

December 21, 2011

Syracuse Stairway Collapse Injures Two

According to Syracuse.com, on December 20, 2010, a stairway collapsed inside of a home located on Oswego Street in Syracuse, New York. Apparently, two people were walking down the staircase when it gave way. The individuals fell approximately ten feet and were injured.

At the present time, the cause of the stairway collapse is unknown. "We have investigated a number of stairway collapse cases," said Syracuse accident lawyer Michael A. Bottar, of Bottar Leone, PLLC, a New York personal injury law firm.

Staircases can fail for any number of reasons, including improper design, shoddy construction, and/or poor maintenance. "Generally, we send an expert to the scene of a stairway collapse shortly after the incident to preserve evidence and identify why the failure occurred," Bottar added.

November 21, 2011

Syracuse Tractor Trailer Accident Report: Trucker Hits Mattydale Man Working On New York State Thruway

According to Syracuse.com, the New York State Police have identified 53 year old Mattydale resident Todd S. Young as the man killed on Sunday while operating a Northern Lights tow truck on the New York State Thruway. Young was providing assistance to a disabled vehicle parked on the shoulder of eastbound traffic when an Estes Express big rig struck him near Manlius.

"We are currently representing nearly 40 individuals injured in a similar incident just down the New York State Thruway," said Syracuse tractor trailer accident lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., a New York personal injury attorney with Bottar Leone, PLLC. "While that case involves a Michigan tractor trailer driving into the rear of an Ontario-based tour bus, what happened on Sunday is equally tragic."

When it comes to prosecuting a claim against a trailer driver and his or her employer, an experienced attorney is essential because there can be complex insurance coverage and liability issues. If you were involved in an accident with a tractor trailer and wish to speak with a Syracuse personal injury attorney that is actively pursuing tractor trailer negligence lawsuits, contact us at 800-336-5297 or by email at info@bottarleone.com.

October 9, 2011

Syracuse Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Report: USPS Mail Truck Injures Jamesville Biker

A Jamesville, New York biker was killed yesterday when a United States Post Office mail truck made a left hand turn in front of him. Forty-seven year old William J. Allen was traveling north on Apulia Road, at or about the intersection of West Shore Manor Road, when the mail truck turned into his path. According to Syracuse.com, a witness driving behind the mail truck said that there was sun glare which may have made it hard for the mail truck driver to see Allen.

"While this sounds like an ordinary motorcycle accident, it is not," said Syracuse wrongful death lawyer Michael A. Bottar. Because the United States Postal Service owned the mail truck involved, there are special rules that apply to any legal proceedings that may arise out of this incident. Generally, under a doctrine called "sovereign immunity," a private citizen was not allowed to "sue the King." The doctrine was continued into modern times and prohibits private citizens from suing the government - unless the government authorizes the lawsuit. The details about whether a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the government is authorized can be found int the Federal Tort Claims Act.

In order to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the injured and/or or the injured's family must first file an administrative claim with the federal agency allegedly responsible for the negligence. The claim typically is reduced to a document called a Form 95. This is where may lawyers fall short. If a Form 95 is not filed, then the private citizen lacks standing to file a lawsuit against the government. Also, the window to file a Form 95 is only two years from when the claim accrues.

To speak with a Syracuse personal injury lawyer with nearly three decades of experience filing claims against the United States Government, contact us at 800-336-5297 or by email at info@bottarleone.com.

August 28, 2011

Plattsburgh New York Falling Roof Debris Injures Construction Worker

A construction worker was injured on Friday in Plattsburgh, New York, when debris from the roof of the shopping center in which he was working fell on him. The worker was trapped by the debris until he was freed by rescue personnel. He was transported to CVPH Medical Center for medical treatment.

Construction workers, like this project supervisor, are protected by New York Labor Law sections 200, 240 and 241(6), which hold property owners and general contractors responsible for serious personal injuries that occur on construction sites.

To speak with an experienced New York construction accident lawyer, contact us at 800-336-5297 or by email at info@bottarleone.com.

August 27, 2011

Another Syracuse Ladder Fall Accident Triggers OSHA Investigation In Salina New York

According to Syracuse ladder accident attorney Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC, "hundreds of ladder accidents happen every year despite OSHA regulations that require companies to make ladders safe for construction workers to use." Some of those regulations are discussed in our recent release titled Syracuse Ladder Accident Lawyers Discuss New York Construction Site Fall and OSHA Injury Statistics.

A shocking 127 people died in 2009 due to falling of a ladder. That number rose to 129 in 2010. Fortunately, a ladder accident that occurred yesterday on Old Liverpool Road in the Town of Salina, did not result in a fatality.

Even so, worker Richard Coe was badly injured. Syracuse.com reports that Coe, 49, fell approximately twenty-five (25) feet to the ground when the aluminum ladder he was working from tipped over. Coe, who was employed by Landmark Constracting & Development Co., sustained a traumatic head injury and back injury. OSHA and Syracuse construction accident lawyers will be investigating the accident.

"New York State Labor Law section 240 may apply to this accident. While a worker cannot file a claim against his/her employer, the Labor Law gives construction workers special rights to recover from property owners and general contractors," Bottar said.

August 9, 2011

New York Confined Space Wrongful Death Lawyer Reacts To Work Accident

A Syracuse man died yesterday after falling into a hydro-turbine. On Monday, July 8, 2011, Wave Hydroelectric, LLC co-owner Jon C. Stranburg fell off of a walkway and into the turbine water tank below. Because the turbine was running, Stranburg was pulled below the surface of the water. According to Syracuse.com, the turbine's braking system malfunctioned.

In the State of New York, a worker cannot sue his or her employer for lost wages or pain and suffering unless he or she suffers a "grave injury." According to section 11 of the Workers Compensation law, a "grave injury" is defined as a "death, permanent and total loss of use or amputation of an arm, leg, hand or foot, loss of multiple fingers, loss of multiple toes, paraplegia or quadriplegia, total and permanent blindness, total and permanent deafness, loss of nose, loss of ear, permanent and severe facial disfigurement, loss of an index finger or an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in permanent total disability."

By definition, the tank Stranburg fell into is a "confined space." A confined space is an area that limits the way a worker can enter or exit the space. Confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy.

Confined spaces are very dangerous. "According to a recent study, almost every attempt to rescue someone trapped in a confined space led to the death of the rescuer," said Syracuse construction accident lawyer Michael A. Bottar.

August 3, 2011

Binghamton Bus Crash Lawyer Reacts to Whitney Point Tour Bus Accident

"The third New York tour bus accident in sixteen days just occurred on Route 81, in Whitney Point," said Michael A. Bottar, Esq., a Syracuse bus accident lawyer. Whitney Point is located in Broome County, roughly 50 miles south of Syracuse and 20 miles north of Binghamton. The bus was carrying 28 passengers, many of whom were injured when the bus left the roadway and flipped onto its roof. The injured were transported to Wilson Hospital in Johnson City and Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.

We reported on the July 18, 2011 accident in a blog post titled New York Tour Bus Crash Lawyer Reviews Steuben Tour Bus Accident. That accident appears to have been caused by a tire blow-out. We reported on the July 22, 2011 accident in a blog post titled Waterloo Bus Crash Lawyer's Analysis of Tractor Trailer Accident With Tour Bus On New York State Thruway. A mechanical problem or a failure to yield appears to have caused that accident. The cause of the third accident, which occurred only three hours ago, remains under investigation.

"The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may want to take a look at what is happening in central and upstate New York," Bottar said. "In the past year, more than 100 people have been injured in central New York bus accidents."