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Homeless Registered Sex Offenders in California May Have Higher Recidivism Rates

Friday, October 29, 2010

There’s no data to indicate that where a registered sex offender lives after he's released from prison has any impact on recidivism rates. However, many offenders in California, who can't find a place to live because of residency restrictions, may actually be at a high risk of offending again. San Diego sex crimes lawyers have notched a spike in the number of homeless sex offender parolees or sex offenders on probation, because of restrictions on residency in neighboring cities and towns.

According to Los Angeles police, for example, out of the 5,100 registered sex offenders in the city, about 20% are on parole or probation. These offenders are prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks, or in areas where children gather. These restrictions mean that these offenders have severely limited options when they begin looking for accommodations. Parole agents have taken to accommodating sex offenders in apartments or other such facilities. However, those that do not find accommodation may end up living on their own out in the open, with no access to the kind of support facilities they need to prevent re-offending.

Restrictions on residency for registered sex offenders have meant a huge population of homeless sex offenders. In Los Angeles, the numbers of homeless parolees spiked from 191 in October 2007, to 526 in 2010. Those numbers have also increased because several neighboring cities have imposed strict restrictions on where parolees can live. Some cities have restricted parolees from living in apartment buildings, while others are moving to declare beaches and green belts as parks, thereby preventing sex offenders from living there.

Besides, there has been a decline in the number of sober living homes that house sex offenders in residential neighborhoods. In 2005, there were 67 such facilities, and these had dropped to about 25 in 2010.

Glaxo Smith Kline Will Pay $750 million in Settlement of Defective Drugs Lawsuit

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The US Justice Department and GlaxoSmithKline have announced that the company will pay $750 million in settlement of civil and criminal complaints, arising out of allegations that the company sold adulterated drugs. That settlement includes one of the biggest criminal penalties for the sale of adulterated drugs, as well as the largest whistleblower award in US history.

The settlement is related to a whistleblower lawsuit brought by former Glaxo quality control manager Cheryl Eckard. Eckard brought the quality control issues at the company's Puerto Rico plant to her superiors at the company. Instead of investigating the matter, Glaxo fired her. She then brought a lawsuit against the company under the Federal False Claims Act, as well as state laws, that allow whistleblowers with insider knowledge of fraud to bring a lawsuit against a company on behalf of the government.

As part of the resolution of the lawsuit, the Justice Department has announced that Glaxo will pay $750 million to settle civil and criminal charges. That includes $150 million in settlement of criminal complaints, one of the largest settlements paid by a manufacturer for selling adulterated drugs. It also includes $600 million in settlement of civil complaints, as well as a $96 million whistleblower reward, believed to be the largest such health care fraud whistleblower reward to date.

The adulterated drugs manufactured at the Puerto Rico plant include several drugs that have been the target of California pharmaceutical liability lawyers for their dangerous side effects. For instance, one of the drugs that were produced at the Puerto Rico facility was Glaxo's diabetes drug Avandia, which was recently placed under severe restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration. Another drug that was produced at the Puerto Rico plant and believed to be contaminated was the antidepressant Paxil, which has been linked to birth defects.

Workplace Injuries - Data Shows Accident Types for Workers

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It takes a long time to compile, but the 2008 numbers of non-fatal occupational injuries causing missed days of work in state government and local government positions was released earlier in the year. These are essentially workers compensation statistics for the non-private sector. The report is available on the US Dept. of Labor Statics site. Many other results and reports are also available.

A quick overview of the numbers: there were 277,680 occupational injuries in the public sector. Sprains and strains comprised were the largest group of injuries, approximately 40%. Falls, occurring on the same level - accounting for 36 percent of injuries and are most common in the following positions:

  • janitors and cleaners
  • police and sheriff’s patrol officers
  • elementary school teachers
  • teacher assistants
  • secondary school teachers

These numbers are very interesting, and here in Los Angeles, Workers Compensation Lawyers know how common injuries are in the workplace. However, public and private sector numbers are different. Do governmental workers get hurt more are they just more likely to report being hurt?

Regional Airlines Oppose New Rules Requiring Experienced Pilots

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It doesn't really come as a surprise to California plane crash lawyers that regional airlines have opposed key safety rules passed earlier this year by Congress which require these airlines to hire pilots with more flying experience. The biggest concern that these airlines have is that if they are required to have pilots with more experience, they would be required to pay higher salaries.

Under the rule, the minimum numbers of flying hours required for copilots would be increased from the minimum 250 hours currently in place, to 1,500. That is the same requirement currently in place for captains. The regional airlines, however want to reduce that requirement by two-thirds. The opposition is being put forth by an advisory panel of the Federal Aviation Administration, comprising of airlines, university flight schools and companies that employ pilots who fly corporate planes. The panel is proposing that the FAA allow airlines to hire pilots from university flight schools with as little as 500 hours of flying experience. University flight schools have a unique concern here. Their fear is that if the 1,500 hour experience rule goes into effect, then applicants will forgo expensive university flight training, in favor of hour-based instruction in order to quickly clock 1,500 hours of flying experience.

Lawmakers including Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat-New York, have already rejected the panel's recommendation. In fact, Senator Schumer has called for Congress to reject the recommendation outright. California plane crash lawyers would agree. The financial concerns of the airlines should not take precedence over the safety of passengers.

Explosion of DePuy Orthopedics Hip Implant Recall Lawsuits

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The lawsuits against DePuy Orthopedics are piling up. From California to Louisiana, persons implanted with the company's hip implants have been consulting with DePuy hip implant recall lawyers, researching their legal options.

Earlier this year, DePuy Orthopedics recalled approximately 93,000 implants because of the high risk of revision surgery. The recall involves the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. In both the systems, there is a risk of the implant becoming loose or dislocating after implantation. This can lead to severe pain or fracture. The recall came after complaints from patients that they needed a revision surgery about five years after they received the implant.

The recall was also linked to a study that confirmed that DePuy implants had a high risk of revision surgeries. A study out of the UK showed a strong link between high rates of revision surgery and hip implants. The study showed that after about five years, approximately 13% of the patients with the ASR XL Acetabular System required a second revision surgery. Approximately 12% of the patients who had been implanted with an ASR Hip Resurfacing System require a second revision surgery.

Many of the lawsuits that DePuy hip implant lawyers are seeing involve patients with symptoms including pain, swelling and inflammation. Besides, the friction between ball and socket in the system could cause metal debris to be dispersed into the body, with potentially deadly consequences. DePuy Orthopedics has advised persons implanted with the systems to consult their physician.

Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as that. For patients who have been implanted with these devices and are suffering from pain or swelling, revision surgery can be risky and painful. Even for patients who are not suffering from the symptoms, the possibility of these problems developing in the years ahead is quite high, considering the high rates of revision surgery.

If you have been implanted with a DePuy Orthopedics ASR XL Acetabular System or an ASR Hip Resurfacing System, consult with a DePuy hip implant recall lawyer immediately.

New Improved FDA Is a Delight to Behold

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
For California pharmaceutical liability lawyers who had been resigned to a federal food and drug safety agency that seemed continually lethargic and dead on its feet, it has been a pleasant surprise to see the Food and Drug Administration in an entirely new light this year. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration has announced strict restrictions on the sale of the anti-diabetes medication Avandia, investigated massive recalls of eggs for salmonella poisoning, and this week, pulled the controversial anti-obesity drug Meridia from the market altogether. It is a welcome change from the FDA of old, which preferred to wait until things were beyond repair to step in. It's all part of the Obama administration's focus on ramping up food and drug safety around the country using executive orders, instead of the long and cumbersome process of Congressional approval.

For too long, California dangerous drug attorneys have known the FDA to be slow to act, rattled by allegations of corruption and rumors of coziness with the very companies that it is supposed to regulate. Over the past few months however, it has been good to see that the agency had become more assertive, and quicker to act. It is now a matter of routine to see the FDA issuing warning letters for products that it believes could possibly be dangerous for Americans, and placing pressure on companies it believes violates rules.

For instance, the number of warning letters issued by the FDA for misleading labeling and other violations jumped from just 21 in 2006, to 103 in 2009. Those were just the warning letters issued by the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Additional warning letters were sent out by the agency's regional offices, as well as other offices that are responsible for safety of food, medical devices and cosmetics.

That doesn't mean that this new and improved FDA couldn't improve further. For instance, the agency stopped short of a complete ban on Avandia, even as European regulators moved to do so. It has also refused to ban bisphenol A in spite of evidence of its harmful health effects.

Distribution of Personal Effects Is Also Part of Estate Planning

Friday, October 08, 2010

When most people speak of estate planning, they mean divisions of land, property, houses, vehicles, stocks, retirement funds and bonds. However, there's much more that a person leaves behind, and much of it can be invaluable.

Some of this wealth can include photo albums, personal effects, furniture, books, stamp and coin collections and jewelry. Besides these items, you may have other things that you use at home as part of your daily life that could mean a lot to your loved ones, like that old rocking chair that you’ve used for years, or your old baseball glove. Golf sets and other sports equipment, guns and other such items may be considered untitled property, because there are no clear-cut legal documents that signify ownership of the property. Non-titled property may not have much financial value, except in the case of stamp or coin collections, but they are rich with emotional value. Not including these items during estate planning could mean conflict and hostility in the future.

It's never too early to think about distribution of personal property as part of your estate planning. This is easily the most personal part of the process. There is no specific advice that a California estate planning attorney can give to every person. It is all depends entirely on how you feel about these items and the persons who will ultimately own them.

For instance, you may want to take into consideration, the age of the family member, marital status, or birth order. You may also want to take into consideration how involved the person has been in your care over the years. Be warned that it's important to be fair during this part of the process, but the definition of "fairness" may vary among members of your family. You may also want to distribute these personal assets in a manner that ensures that they remain in the family for generations to come, or you may choose to donate these to a public organization, like a gallery or museum for others to enjoy.

Increase in Deportations of Immigrants with Criminal Convictions

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Data from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggests that there has been an increase in the number of illegal immigrants with criminal convictions being deported from the country in recent years. However, the number of deportations for illegal immigrants with no criminal convictions has actually declined.

According to the data, out of the 350,000 deportations from the US this year, more than 50% had criminal convictions. The deportations of immigrants with no criminal convictions have actually dropped by 30%. The same kinds of figures are being seen in regional offices too. For instance, the San Francisco office had a 12% increase in deportations of immigrants with criminal convictions, compared to a 29% decline in non-criminal deportations.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, this trend indicates that immigrants with criminal convictions are being deported from the country at high numbers. That doesn't mean that the ICE is going to exclusively focus on immigrants who are in the country illegally and have criminal convictions. However, if there is a choice between two illegal immigrants, one with a criminal conviction, and another with no criminal record, the ICE will choose to deport the one with a criminal conviction.

There are plenty of problems that Los Angeles immigration lawyers will have with this. For one thing, most of the deportations under these new policies seem to involve persons who are not criminals, or have been charged with low-level offenses. These low-level offenses could include something like petty theft. In fact, according to some analysts, immigrants are being picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement prior to being charged for any crime. There seems to be an effort to mark persons out for deportation, and then charge them as criminals.

Why a Viking Class Action Lawsuit?

Monday, October 04, 2010

When you charge your customers a premium price for what you call a premium product, you must be able to deliver a product that is reliable, durable and efficient. That, however, has not been what happened with the Viking refrigerator recall of 2009, which involved defective refrigerators costing $4,700 to $6,400 whose door hinges caused the refrigerator doors to detach and fall.

It is not just the fact that consumers, who paid a fancy price for these refrigerators and freezers, were put to great inconvenience and hardship when the problem with the refrigerators was discovered. It's also the fact that repairs were delayed, and often came after months of waiting and many telephone calls to Viking’s Customer Service department. The repairs in many cases failed to correct the problem. Ultimately, hundreds of Viking refrigerator owners were left with refrigerator doors that were supposedly fixed but were still improperly aligned which reduced cooling significantly, and were in a nutshell, simply useless.

You don't expect that lack of quality or customer service standards even for a refrigerator that costs $1,500. There is no reason consumers should settle for this.

Many consumers have complained to Viking class action lawyers about their frustration when the Consumer Product Safety Commission advised these consumers to stop using their refrigerators. The service technicians were often themselves stymied as to how to fix these defective refrigerators. Replacement parts were not available, and when they were, there were either delivered late, or didn't fit the refrigerator properly. Some consumers simply replaced these refrigerators with non-Viking units, often at considerable additional expense because, of the damage done to floor surfaces and cabinetry.

CA State Budget Cuts Might Affect Safety on Highly Dangerous Road

Friday, October 01, 2010

The California Highway Patrol was to begin additional safety measures aimed at motorcyclists using a 1.2 million dollar grant - but the sate budget crisis has resulting in the suspension of the grant. Specifically, efforts in the grant included ways to promote safety on one of the most dangerous roads in California - the Angeles Crest Highway. The highway is a popular place for recreational motorcyclists, but obviously tragic accidents occur too frequently; as recently as four days ago a person who crashed on his motorcycle needed to be airlifted out.  Much of the information above is from a story in, the local newspaper near the highway, including the portion below:

The CHP's Altadena-area office had planned to conduct a special enforcement campaign on Sunday on Angeles Crest Highway, a popular route for motorcycle enthusiasts and frequently the site of accidents.

One stretch of the highway (leading into La Canada) has been closed for some time, but apparently motorcycle enthusiasts have been using an alternate route (Big Tujunga Canyon) to access the upper portion of the crest, where winding curves are appealing to sportbike riders as well as motorcyclists of other types.

Motorcycles can be efficient and fun method of transportation, but just ask any Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer about their notable cases. Freeman and Freeman LLP has several motorcycle accident settlements listed on their website - all for significant amounts. Some information is included about the location (one was listed as occurring on PCH), and I wonder if any of them happened on twisty mountain roads like Mulholland Drive or the Angeles Crest.

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