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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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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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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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In April of 2010, Syracuse University College of Law received a $15 million naming gift for a new, innovative, state-of-the-art law school.

With a great head-start, the College of Law went on to raise another $30 million to make the 200,000 share foot, five-story building a reality, including pivotal donations from the College of Law’s Board of Advisors, as well as contributions from alumni nationwide.

In support of the mission, Tiffany and Michael A. Bottar L’03 pledged $750,000.00 to name the Lorraine and Anthony V. Bottar Lecture Hall after Michael’s paternal grandparents.  The Bottar Lecture Hall is an 80 seat tiered lecture hall located on the third floor of Dineen Hall.  It is equipped with cutting-edge audio-visual and wireless technology, including the capacity to live-stream lectures.

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According to a 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 Law, 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.

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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.

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According to, 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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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, 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 Law, 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.

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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 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 Law, 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.

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According to, 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 Law, 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.

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