November 28, 2007

16 Car Pile-up on Northbound I-5

Five separate crashes, involving 16 vehicles, slowed traffic Friday on I-5 between Burlington and Mount Vernon. This caused major problems for holiday shoppers driving to local malls. The automobile accidents included two hit-and-run drivers who troopers are still looking for.

“Everyone stopped and there was a semi in front of me and just, there it is,” said one driver, slapping his hand to show how quickly the truck accident he was involved in happened.

One bad move started the whole mess at approximately 11:30am. Traffic crossing the Skagit River Bridge started to back up. “We had a couple of cars slow down on the bridge, one of those was struck and basically a chain reaction after that,” said Trooper Keith Learn, of the Washington State Patrol.

One driver involved in the Washington Car Accident was pushed up against a concrete barrier, and almost went over. “I had no clue what was happening. I thought for sure we were going into the river,” he said.

The freeway was shut down for about an hour and a half, which led to traffic being backed up for miles. Paramedics took the injured to the hospital for treatment, but surprisingly, no one was seriously hurt.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Washington Auto accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282.

November 21, 2007

Recall of Del Rey Flour Tortillas

Del Rey Tortilleria, Inc., of Chicago, is announcing the recall of its flour tortilla products, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Flour tortillas of all sizes are included in the recall (White Flour Tortillas; 6” Tortillas de Harina; Burritos 2,3, and 4; and 8” Fajitas). All packages have the name “Del Rey” on the label, and one of the following date codes: Oct/17/07; Oct 20/07; Oct 24/07, Nov/4/07, Nov/10/07; or Nov/11/07.

A recent illness in Wisconsin schools, in which students experienced nausea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting, have caused state officials to tell the FDA that they think there is a connection between the torillas and the school illnesses. However, they do not believe the problem involves microbial contamination. Del Rey is recalling the products as a precaution while the investigation continues, although they are not certain their products caused the reported symptoms.

No other Del Rey products are included in the recall.

The recalled products were distributed nationwide through grocery stores and food distributors.

If you or someone you know has purchased the Del Rey products included in the recall, stop using them immediately and return them to the store where they were purchased. If you have medical symptoms you believe may be related to the recalled flour tortilla products, contact your physician, and call the Washington personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282.

November 19, 2007

$4.85 Billion Awarded in Vioxx Settlement

Merck & Co, the manufacturer of Vioxx, have offered to pay $4.85 billion in order to end the thousands of state and federal lawsuits over the painkiller. This is one of the largest drug settlements ever.

According to company officials, if the deal is accepted it would end 45,000 to 50,000 personal injury lawsuits. The lawsuits involve users of Vioxx in the U.S. who have suffered a heart attack or ischemic stroke after using the drug. An ischemic stroke is one in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.

“Without this settlement, the litigation might very well stretch on for years,” said Merck executive vice president Kenneth Frazier.

Vioxx was removed from the market on September 30th, 2004, after it was determined that the arthritis treatment medication doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The deadline for filing claims for this Drug Recall settlement ended Thursday, November 15th,, 2007. Plaintiffs had to meet various criteria to qualify, including proof that they received at least 30 Vioxx pills, and medical proof that they suffered a heart attack or stroke. Previously, Merck has claimed that Vioxx only caused harm after 18 months of use. But those claims were dismissed by plaintiffs’ lawyers and independent scientists. However, Merck says that the agreement is not admitting fault, and that it is not a class action settlement.

According to company executives and attorneys, every case will be fought individually. “Every claimant is going to be compensated,” said one of the plaintiff lawyers who helped negotiate the settlement. But payments will vary, depending on the length of time that Vioxx was used, each person’s risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and severity of injuries.


November 17, 2007

$2.2 Million Awarded in Gynecologist Abuse Case

Charles Momah, a former obstetrician and gynecologist in the south Seattle area, was convicted of raping four patients in 2005. He was also charged with taking indecent liberties with the patients. Momah had clinics in Burien and Federal Way.

Three of the women who said they were sexually abused by Momah were awarded more than $2.2 million by a King County jury this week.

Complaints against Momah include his making passes at former patients, giving prescription drugs in exchange for sexual contact, and using a vaginal ultrasound in a sexual manner.

Momah is currently serving 20 years at the correctional facility in Monroe.

According to the attorney who represented the women during the civil trial, the civil cases he filed on behalf of dozens of other former Momah patients have been resolved. This particular Seattle medical malpractice trial lasted nearly a month.

November 15, 2007

Catholic School Sexual Abuse Case - $1.1 Million Settlement

A man from Skagit County, sexually abused years ago by the principal of a Seattle Roman Catholic school, is receiving a $1.1 million settlement. This is one of the largest settlements in a single-plaintiff case in this state in the Catholic Church sex-abuse cases.

The man is a former student of St. Alphonsus School, and claims he was abused in 1980, at age 13. According to court documents, some church leaders knew for many years that the accused was sexually abusing students. Still, he was allowed to teach at several schools, including O’Dea High School and St. Alphonsus School. Both schools are in North Seattle. The settlement was reached with the Seattle Archdiocese, which owns O’Dea and owns/operates St. Alphonsus, and also with the Congregation of Christian Brothers, which operates O’Dea. Each party is responsible for paying half the $1.1 million.

The victim’s attorney stated that the large settlement was due to the fact that “the abuse was significant”. Another factor was the large number of witnesses who testified that both the Archdiocese and the Christian Brothers knew that many people had complained about the accused, and that he was potentially a problem.

A previous lawsuit against the same man, by five men who say he abused them at O’Dea in the 1970’s, was settled earlier this year for about $1.9 million.

According to Seattletimes.com, about 40 other men have sued the Seattle Archdiocese and the Christian Brothers, claiming past abuse by the brothers at both O’Dea, and at Briscoe Memorial School. The Briscoe Memorial School is no longer operational, but was located in Kent. These suits, most of which allege abuse at Briscoe, are being negotiated in groups. Approximately 15 of the men have settled their cases.

Since 2002, the Seattle Archdiocese has spent approximately $32.5 million in settlements with 249 plaintiffs. There are still 37 plaintiff’s claims remaining.

At Bernard Law Group, we help our client’s obtain the highest settlement possible in their cases. For more information, call now, 1-800-418-8282.

November 14, 2007

$15 Million Verdict in I-405 Car Accident Case

A 2004 freeway auto accident on I-405 in the Seattle area which left a Renton woman blind and disfigured has resulted in a $15.5 million verdict. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, 28 year Maria Federici said she hopes the money will help her get back to living a more normal, independent life.

The University of Washington graduate was nearly killed when a board flew from a U-Haul trailer and smashed through her windshield. It took the Superior Court jury nearly a week to decide that U-Haul was a big part to blame for the accident. Jurors found U-Haul to be 67% at fault in the accident, and the driver of the U-Haul truck to be 33% at fault, for not tying down the entertainment center he was towing in the open trailer.

The $15.5 million verdict will help Federici pay for the innumerable surgeries she still faces and possibly a house. Federici hopes to someday be able to live on her own. “It’ll just help me get back to living a bit more of a normal life—as normal as it can get. I hope it opens people’s eyes up on this matter,” she said, referring to bringing awareness about the dangers of driving with unsecured loads.

Maria’s Law, which stiffens penalties in Washington for motorists who fail to properly secure their loads, was inspired by this 2004 trucking accident.

Although the driver was found to be 33% responsible for this accident, if he is unable to pay his share, U-Haul would have to pay the entire $15.5 million, under state law. Jurors decided that the trailer was “not reasonably safe”, as it did not come with adequate instructions or warnings. The general consensus was that U-Haul International Inc. and U-Haul Co. of Washington were negligent. Also found negligence in part was Capron Holdings Inc., owner of the Bellevue Texaco station where the trailer was rented. However, they were not found to be a cause of the accident.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Seattle auto accident such as this, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website at www.4injured.com .

November 12, 2007

Head-on Crash in Centralia Leaves Teen in Critical Condition

A 17-year-old smashed head-on into a truck on Wednesday, leaving him with critical injuries. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after the trucking accident.

According to state troopers, the teen, who was driving a Honda, was heading north on I-5 near Centralia. He apparently drifted off the right side of the road. Then, say the troopers, he overcorrected and flew under (not over) the median.

Lt. Sean Hartsock, of Washington State Patrol, said, “His front end was down so as he went underneath, that cable barrier came back up the other side and hit this pickup. I’ve not personally seen a case where a vehicle has come under.” The crash is being investigated by both the state patrol and the state Department of Transportation.

Since the accident, design engineers with the state Department of Transportation have been taking a close look at how the cable barriers performed in the crash. Over the past few years, cable barriers have been called into question several times. According to King5.com, a recent study found that cable barriers decreased crossover collisions by 74%, except along a stretch of I-5 in Marysville. Eight people died on that particular stretch in seven years after vehicles were able to cross the median during Washington Auto Accidents. Since then, the governor has ordered improvements to add a concrete barrier on that stretch of the Interstate.

Regarding the Centralia area collision, the Department of Transportation says that before barriers had been installed on that section of highway in 2004, there were several crossover accidents. The DOT also stated that before any conclusion in this case can be arrived at, they have to wait for the state patrol to finish their report. However, investigators at this point say neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in this crash.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Seattle truck crash such as this, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website, www.4injured.com .

November 11, 2007

Recall - “Date Rape” Drug Found in Chinese-Made Toys

Millions of toys made in China have been recalled from North American and Australian shelves. It was discovered by scientists that these toys contain a chemical that converts into a powerful “date rape” drug if swallowed.

Five children, including two in the United States and three in Australia, required hospitalization after ingesting Aqua Dots, a very popular holiday toy distributed by Spin Master Toys. Spin Master Toys is based in Toronto. In Australia, the Aqua Dots are called Bindeez, and were named toy of the year at an industry event earlier this year. Both Aqua Dots and Bindeez are sold by Australia-based Moose Enterprises.

The toy beads are sold on websites and in stores for use in craft projects. They can be arranged in designs and, when sprayed with water, they fuse together.

According to king5.com, scientists say that if the chemical coating on the beads is accidentally ingested, it can turn into the so-called date rape drug gamma hydroxyl butyrate (GHB). Symptoms of poisoning from this compound can include drowsiness, seizures, unconsciousness, coma, and death. GHB is made from common and easily available ingredients.

According to Scott Wolfson, Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman, the two U.S. children who swallowed Aqua Dot beads went into non-responsive comas.

If you or someone you know has purchased Aqua Dot beads, which were sold by mass merchandisers nationwide from April 2007 through November 2007, please check store and local news sites for Washington product recall information. If you believe that your child has ingested Aqua Dot beads, contact your physician immediately. And call the Seattle personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website, www.4injured.com

November 9, 2007

Falling Cow Hits Mini-Van…Couple Escapes Injury

A couple from Michigan escaped personal injury last Sunday when a 600 pound cow fell on their mini-van in Manson, located in Eastern Washington.

The Chelan County Fire Chief said the couple was lucky they weren’t killed when the cow fell from a cliff, smashing into their vehicle. According to the Seattle Times, District 5 Chief Arnold Baker said that the couple missed being killed by a matter of inches, as they drove on Highway 150 near Manson, which is located in Chelan County.

“It was “bam” – you just saw something come down and hit the hood,” the mini-van driver told the Wenatchee World newspaper. The newspaper also reported that the man said he didn’t see the cow until it hit and didn’t realize what had happened until after the Auto Accident.

“It’s funny because it was such a close call,” Chief Baker told the Wenatchee World. “Inches different and the couple in this car would have been killed.” The van sustained damages, including a broken windshield.

According to King5.com, the cow was named Michelle. Her owner says she was a valued pet and companion. The cow had apparently been at a breeding facility since August and had escaped from their control about 3 weeks prior. The cow was euthanized at the scene. The couple was examined at Lake Chelan Community Hospital and released.

Though this is a freak auto accident, the Michigan couple is extremely lucky to have escaped serious injury. As it was, their mini-van was smashed. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website at www.4injured.com

November 7, 2007

Contruction Worker Killed in Fall

A 60 foot fall from a crane killed a construction worker in Seattle on Monday.

Helen Fitzpatrick, Seattle Fire Department Spokesperson, stated that the man, a tower crane operator, fell to the concrete below while he was climbing down the crane’s ladder. The Seattle Construction accident happened at approximately 8:30am.

The construction site is near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Bell Street. Firefighters responded to the fatal construction accident and transported the man to Harborview Medical Center. He
died there Monday afternoon.

The man is believed to be in his 40’s, but has not been identified.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website at www.4injured.com.

November 5, 2007

Recall On Frozen pizza Due to E.coli Concern

About 5 million pizzas under the Totino’s and Jeno’s labels were recalled Thursday by General Mills because of possible E.coli contamination.

It is believed that the problem can be traced to pepperoni on the pizzas, which are produced at a General Mills plant in Ohio. The pepperoni comes from a separate supplier, but the Minneapolis-based General Mills declined to release the name of the pepperoni distributor.

The first of 21 E.coli illnesses under investigation by state and federal authorities emerged in July. The voluntary recall covers pizzas containing pepperoni that have been produced since then. According to www.king5.com, 9 of the 21 people who became ill with the E.coli virus reported eating Totino’s or Jeno’s pizza with pepperoni topping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that eight of the victims have been hospitalized, and four have developed a type of kidney failure.

General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe said, “We took action on that basis as a precaution, because of the possibility that a link might exist.” General Mills says it is not naming the supplier of the pepperoni because the source of the E.coli is still being investigated. General Mills is cooperating fully with the continuing investigation.

Symptoms of E.coli can include diarrhea and stomach cramps. Typically, people are ill for up to 5 days, but they can develop complications, including kidney failure.

If you believe you have contracted E.coli from eating a Jeno’s or Totino’s pizza containing pepperoni topping, contact your physician immediately. And call the Washington personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website, www.4injured.com

November 1, 2007

Car Collision in Lacey Leaves 7 Injured

Seven people have been hospitalized following a head-on car crash in Lacey. Police are still investigating the Washington Auto Accident.

According to the Lacey Police, the collision happened on Tuesday, October 30th, 2007, near Ruddell Road and 45th Avenue. Involved were six teenagers driving a Honda, and one woman in a sport utility vehicle.

The details of the Washington Car Accident have not been sorted out yet by police, but it is known that the teens were driving southbound on Ruddell Road new Raininer Vista Community Park. The woman was driving northbound. The two vehicles collided, though the police have not yet determined who crossed the median.

Continue reading "Car Collision in Lacey Leaves 7 Injured" »