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Levine and Slavit, PLLC - Blog

Personal Injury Attorneys - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and the Bronx

Toughen the Federal Worker-Safety Law: Make It a Crime

Posted On Jun 2, 2008 @ 03:35 PM by SEO Admin

Although it is certainly too early to cast blame, if any, for this past Friday's fatal crane collapse on the East Side, with the Manhattan district attorneys office having opened a criminal investigation into the collapse, the death and injuries sustained in the accident is perhaps just the lastest example of why the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the primary federal worker-safety law in the United States, is in need of more powerful enforcement penalties. So cogently argues David M. Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, in a recent New York Times op-ed article. About 6,000 workers are killed on the job each year, many in cases where the deaths could have been prevented if their employers followed the law. The Manhattan district attorneys criminal investigation is apparently focusing on whether a rotating apparatus, o

The Crane Brethren

Posted On May 31, 2008 @ 03:22 AM by SEO Admin

Yesterday our office received a call from a client involved in the March 15, 2008, collapse of a crane at a construction project on East 51st Street in Manhattan. The news that another crane had collapsed when the top of the crane on an East 91st Street construction site had snapped off, crashed into a building across the street and killed two construction workers had hit our client personally; he had received a telephone call from a crane operator that he knew from his work that identified the crane operator who died in the latest collapse as a friend of our client. Our client felt like he had lost a member of his family. The dead workers were identified at Donald Leo, 30, of Staten Island, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27, of The Bronx. A third worker, Simeon Alexis, had his "chest slashed open" and remained hospitalized today. Investigators are focusi

Seemingly Never-Ending String of High School Lunch-Time Car Accidents Fuels Debate Over Open Campuses

Posted On May 14, 2008 @ 01:25 PM by SEO Admin

A fatal car accident involving students driving off of school grounds during lunch period has again focused attention on whether open campuses are a concept that should be ended. Following a crash on April 10, 2008 in which two West Hempstead High School students were killed and another seriously injured, New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) renewed his call to enact his bill that would ban all school districts in the state from permitting students to leave campus in vehicles during school hours. Assemblyman Gianaris introduced Assembly Bill A.9619 this past January. As a result of the accident, in which passengers Quinntin McDonald, 17, and Saul Hernandez Lopez, also 17, were killed and the driver, Herbert Martinez, 17, was seriously injured, the West Hempstead district on Long Island suspended

Toy Industry Announces Safety Coordination Initiative in Response to Unprecedented Recalls of Dangerous Products

Posted On May 11, 2008 @ 11:23 PM by Ira Slavit

In response to toy safety concerns raised during the summer of 2007 and the record number of unsafe toys recalled last year (and doubtlessly a number of product liability lawsuits), the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have formed the Toy Safety Coordination Initiative, a developing program that is designed to improve the safety of toys sold in American and to rebuild consumer confidence in the safety of toys in the American marketplace. The purpose of the initiative may be two-fold: to increase toys' safety and to head-off stricter federal and state laws. The program has three components: 1. Design Hazard Analysis - A requirement for a risk assessment or design hazard analysis to be conducted on all new toy designs. Industry analysts say

New York City Holds 4th Annual Construction Safety Week

Posted On May 5, 2008 @ 04:50 PM by SEO Admin

Last week, April 28 - May 2, 2008, was New York Citys 4th annual Construction Safety Week, the purpose of which is to "advance safe construction practices. Seminars were offered in topics such as Scaffold Safety: Keeping Workers Safe on the Job, (held by the NYC Department of Buildings in conjunction with the Latin American Workers Project), Performing Safe Excavations, Safety First: Urban Demolition, Crane Safety: New Regulations You Must Know and Safe Concrete Operations, Design, Methods and Regulations. The previous week saw Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster resign her position at the Department of Buildings. She admitted to the City Council that the plans for a 43 story tower in Turtle Bay, Manhattan, where a crane collapsed on March 15, 2008, did not me

Possible Medical Malpractice LASIK Cases? FDA Advisers Recommend Clearer Warnings of Risks and Contraindications For Would-Be Patients

Posted On May 1, 2008 @ 06:10 PM by SEO Admin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Ophthalmic Devices Panel convened last Friday to discuss post-LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) quality-of-life issues. Of the 7.6 million people who have undergone the procedure in the United States since the mid-1990s, 140 have written letters of complaint to the FDA. Approximately one in four people who seeks Lasik is not a good candidate. Perhaps 1 percent or fewer, suffer serious, life-changing side effects: worse vision, severe dry eye, glare, inability to drive at night. One young man committed suicide because of severe eye pain and fuzzy vision. Some patients have had to have corneal transplants when LASIK went wrong. The FDA says it is concerned that doctors are not adequately informing patients about the potential risks. The FDA advisers recommended that the agency make clearer the warnings it already provides for would-be Lasik patients: Add photographs that illustrate what people suffering certain side

Exposure of Vioxx "Ghostwriting" Another Example of How Litigation Can Benefit Society (and Why Big Business/Pharma Fears It)

Posted On Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:31 PM by SEO Admin

Product liability litigation involving rofecoxib (Vioxx) has led to the disclosure of materials that has provided direct evidence of something that has long been suspected but well-hidden by industry; the manipulation by for-profit manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices of study results, using authors, editors, and reviewers to misrepresent research data and manipulate clinical research articles and clinical reviews. Reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) based upon a review of materials disclosed by Merck & Co. in the course of the Vioxx litigation claim Merck & Co. frequently paid academic scientists to take credit for research articles prepared by company-hired medical writers, a practice called "ghostwriting". The reports also contend Merck tried to minimize deaths in two studies that showed that the now

Medicare Proposes Adding to Its List of Hospital-Acquired Conditions For Which It Will Not Pay the Extra Costs

Posted On Apr 17, 2008 @ 08:55 AM by SEO Admin

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to add an additional nine categories to its initial list of 8 conditions that could reasonably have been prevented. that Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating when acquired in the hospital . In a statement dated April 14, 2008, CMS proposed to add the following to its list of conditions that it will not pay for: Surgical site infections following certain elective procedures: Legionnaire's disease; Extreme blood sugar derangement; Iatrogenic pneumothorax or collapsed lungs; Delirium; Ventilator-associated pneumonia; Deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism; Staphylococcus aureus septicemia or bloodstream infection; and Clostridium difficile associated disease. In addition, CMS is proposing to create new codes to better identify two conditions that were previously selected: foreign object retained after surgery; and pressure u

Construction Accidents: What's Up With the Cranes?

Posted On Apr 14, 2008 @ 10:14 PM by SEO Admin

Apparently it's not sufficient that an inspector makes a phantom inspection of a Manhattan construction site crane that subsequently collapses, killing 7 people, injuring another 24 people, destroying a building, and causing untold other horrors. An investigation by New York State's inspector general has found that a Crane Operator Examining Board examiner issued more than 200 improper certificates to operators even though they had failed their practical exams. Examiner Frank Fazzio even improperly issued himself a crane certificate. He has been removed from the Crane Board. The investigation was prompted by an allegation that certificates were being unfairly denied to non-union crane operators. The inspector general's office found that state labor officials were notified about 42 improperly issued crane certificates in 2004, but failed to act. Als

NYC Construction Site Crane Accident Puts Increased Attention on the City's Buiding Department Inspection System

Posted On Apr 4, 2008 @ 03:27 PM by SEO Admin

In developments related to the March 16, 2008, crane collapse in New York City, a city inspector has been charged with lying that he had checked on the construction crane when in fact he had not. The inspection was purportedly made in response to a complaint made by a retired contractor on March 4 because he had been concerned for days about the lack of braces securing the crane at a construction site. The inspector, Edward Marquette, 46, was charged with falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison. It is not believed that the absence of the inspection caused the crane to fall. In addition, New York City ordered broad changes to the way it inspects and regulates tower cranes. The Buildings Department said a city inspector will now have to be present every time a crane is erected, jumped or dismantled. It also said it will require the pro

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