Covid-19 Nursing Home Death Lawsuit

After NY Repeals Immunity, Judge Allows Covid-19 Lawsuit Against Nursing Home To Proceed

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law giving nursing homes in NY immunity from liability for Covid-19 related deaths.

The Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA) meant that families of patients who died from Covid-19 while under a nursing home or rehabilitation center’s care could not pursue damages even if the actions of health care professionals contributed to their deaths.

The NY assembly voted to repeal the act, and the Senate similarly followed. The repeal became effective in March 2021.

The repeal of immunity for health care providers opened the door for negligence lawsuits related to Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes. However, it is unclear how these lawsuits will resolve and how the courts interpret the application of the EDTPA and its repeal.

Complaint Against Nursing Home Alleges Gross Negligence And Wrongful Death

At least one judge has decided that a lawsuit can proceed to the discovery stage. News station WKBW out of Buffalo, NY, reported that an Erie County judge denied a nursing home’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it over the Covid-19 death of a resident.

The complaint was filed in April 2021 by Cecelia Robertson on behalf of her sister’s estate, 64-year-old Annette Herron. Herron was a resident at the Humboldt House and Rehabilitation Nursing Center in Buffalo, NY, where she died from Covid-19 in April 2020.

The complaint alleges that Humboldt House failed to properly manage the Covid-19 outbreak that occurred in the nursing home. The complaint accuses the nursing home of negligence, wrongful death, gross negligence, and malpractice.

New York Judge Denies Nursing Home’s Motion to Dismiss Covid-19 Lawsuit

The nursing home filed with the court a motion to dismiss the complaint claiming all health care providers were immune from liability for Covid-related deaths under the EDTPA. The death of Annette Heron occurred during the time the EDTPA was in place, protecting the nursing home from potential liability.

The plaintiff argued that the immunity law did not protect the nursing home for two reasons:

  1. When NY repealed the immunity law, it intended to make it retroactive.
  2. Even if immunity did exist under the EDTPA, it only applies to acts of negligence. This complaint contains allegations of gross negligence, which would not fall under the immunity law.

The lawyer for the victim’s estate stated, “our claims for gross negligence was not included under the immunity law even if it did still exist. And reckless conduct, intentional or willful conduct was never excused under the immunity provisions.”

The judge denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss and allowed the case to move forward into the discovery phase. The decision applies to this case only but might have interesting ramifications on additional lawsuits against nursing homes for Covid-related deaths in NY.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP If Your Loved One Died While Living In A NY Nursing Home

Call our nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys today if someone you love died or was seriously injured in a NY nursing home during the Covid-19 pandemic. We offer free evaluations of nursing home claims to determine if you are entitled to seek compensation for the injuries or death of your loved one.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP today at 800-403-6191 to protect your legal right to file a Covid-19 lawsuit against a nursing home.

 

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You can read the entire complaint here:

https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/nyscef/ViewDocument?docIndex=n6UBuFB3Xl3N2hvh_PLUS_CZTuQ==&TSPD_101_R0=08533cd43fab20001062bacf72a746f687a8e4cf6db6db642021ed8d5184bff3020b7c2115e8107f0895178f3d14300013c3990d580f40fc0ca1d4507c81beb6ce44654c7e1ca184fcbf7289d74c639067d6be881d1db3bfa68c9f1155629578

Leachco Podster Lawsuit

Consumer Product Safety Commission Sued Leachco Over Dangerous Baby Loungers

According to Consumer Reports, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has filed a lawsuit against Leachco, the manufacturer of baby loungers. The loungers, according to CPSC, are dangerous to infants because they are a suffocation hazard.

The lawsuit, filed on February 9, 2022, comes after Leachco refused to recall its products. The CPSC asks in its suit that Leachco be forced to notify customers that these loungers can result in suffocation and to offer them a refund.

CPSC Asked Leachco To Recall Its Loungers – Leachco Refused

The CPSC had previously asked Leachco to recall its baby loungers after receiving reports of accidental suffocation. Leachco refused, claiming its baby loungers were safe when used according to instructions.

In response to its refusal to recall its dangerous products, of which approximately 180,000 have been sold, CPSC issued its own warning to consumers about Leachco baby loungers.

In its warning, CPSC told parents to stop using immediately:

  • Leachco Podster
  • Leachco Podster Plush
  • Leachco Podster Playtime
  • Leachco Bummzie

Why? Because two infants died after being put on a Leachco Podster. The infants’ position changed, causing their noses and mouths to be obstructed, resulting in suffocation. One victim was 4-months old, and the other was 17 days old. Both infants died from “accidental complications from asphyxia.”

Leachco Rejects CPSC Claims that Loungers Are Dangerous

On the company website, Leachco makes it clear that it does not agree with the CPSC’s claims that its infant loungers are dangerous.

Leachco firmly believes that when used correctly, its products are completely safe.

Leachco points out that its baby loungers are not meant for unsupervised sleep or play, which is made clear on its packaging. The company states, “Leachco has always had clear warnings on the product and its packaging not to place it in a bed or crib or use it for unsupervised sleep. The CPSC is wrongly telling consumers to stop using the Podster altogether instead of explaining that no lounger should be used in a crib or bed and no lounger is safe for unsupervised sleep.”

You can find more information on Leachco’s position at https://leachco.com/pages/important-info

CPSC Hopes Lawsuit Will Compel Leachco To Act

The CPSC can file complaints like this one when a manufacturer refuses to respond to its safety concerns. Chair of the CPSC Alex Hoehn-Saric said that it is a “last resort” employed when “in the interest of protecting consumers we are left with no other options.”

The CPSC has strong feelings about the dangers of infant loungers like the Leachco Podsters. It has issued repeated warnings never to leave a baby unattended or asleep on an infant lounger or nursing pillow. The risk of suffocation is too great.

In 2021, Boppy company voluntarily recalled more than three million baby loungers because they were connected to the deaths of 8 infants. Although Boppy, like Leachco, claimed that when used according to instructions, Boppys were safe. Boppy, like Leachco, also claimed that its products contained adequate warnings about the risks of suffocation. However, Boppy, UNLIKE Leachco, decided to recall the products because of the dangers.

At the time, then-Chair of the CPSC Robert S. Adler stated, “Since we know that infants sleep so much of the time – even in products not intended for sleep – and since suffocation can happen so quickly, these Boppy lounger products are simply too risky to remain on the market.”

What, if anything, Leachco does in the wake of the CPSC lawsuit, remains to be seen.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, if Leachco Podster injured your Baby

Call our dangerous product lawyers today at 800-413-6191 to determine if you have a claim against Leachco for injuries to your infant. We offer free consultations and can determine if you are entitled to collect compensation for your baby’s injuries. Call Alonso Krangle LLP now.

 

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DigitDots Recall – Dangers Announced by CPSC

Consumer Product Safety Commission Announces Recall of HD Premier DigitDots Magnets

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a recall of HD Premier DigitDots magnets. On March 17, the CPSC shared news of the recall and a warning that these tiny, strong, rare-earth magnets are dangerous if swallowed. DigitDots can cause severe, life-threatening injuries.

If you or your child suffered injuries from DigitDots, call our lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP today.

What Products Are Part of This Recall?

The voluntary recall announcement on www.ilovedigitdots.com states, “All genuine 3mm and 5mm DigitDots Magnetic Ball have been recalled and are no longer for sale.”

The recall involves close to 120,000 sets of Premier DigitDots magnetic sets. The recalled items were sold online at www.ilovedigitdots.com on Amazon and other websites from March 2019 through January 2022. The price range for the recalled items is $20 to $30.

HD Premier’s recall includes 3mm DigitDots and 5mm DigitDots. The 5mm magnets come as a set of 222 silver balls or 224 multi-colored balls. The 3mm magnets come in sets of 512 multi-colored balls. The recalled items are sold in clear packaging and come with a plastic carrying case. Both of these display the name and logo “DigitDots” on them.

Why Are DigitDots Dangerous?

If two or more DigitDots are accidentally swallowed, the strong magnets can attach to each other or another piece of metal that might be in the victim’s body.

Once they attach, all types of problems can follow. Injuries from DigitDots can include:

  • Perforations along the digestive tract
  • Twisting of intestines
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Bowel blockage
  • Blood poisoning
  • Infection

Surgery is often required to remove DigitDots from the body and repair the damage.

HD Premier has acknowledged that it knows of four children who swallowed DigitDots and required surgery to remove them.

CPSC claims that there are many additional reports of children and teens ingesting similar magnets (made by other companies) who required surgery. The CPSC states that it knows of at least two deaths related to ingesting small, high-powered magnets.

What Should You Do If Your Child Has HD Premier DigitDots Magnetic Balls?

Consumers should stop using these products immediately and take them away from children. HD Premier has information about returning the recalled products and receiving a refund on its website. You can access that information here https://ilovedigitdots.com/pages/recall-notice.

Small Magnetic Balls Have A Controversial History

The types of magnets recalled by HD Premier have a controversial history. The magnetic sets were originally marketed and sold to adults- as a way to exercise creativity at your desk or relieve stress. The colorful magnetic balls could be shaped into various forms and also provide a tactile experience that can ease anxiety and be very satisfying.

Unfortunately, the magnets were and are also attractive to children. They are shiny, colorful, and tiny – all the things kids love. Even teenagers, especially girls, found ways to enjoy these magnetic ball sets. Despite reports of children becoming severely injured because of swallowing the magnetic balls, they were all the rage.

The CPSC spent years warning the public about the dangers of small magnetic balls and negotiated with several toy manufacturers to place warnings on the products. The CPSC eventually implemented policies that essentially banned the sale of similar products. However, the US Court of Appeals overturned policies, paving the way for the re-introduction of rare-earth magnets into the marketplace.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP If Recalled DigitDots Caused Injuries

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP today if HD Premier DigitDots magnetic balls injured you or your child. Once we hear the facts, we can determine if you are entitled to seek compensation from the manufacturer of this dangerous product.

Call our DigitDots recall lawyers at 800-403-6191 for your free case evaluation.

 

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Optetrak Knee Replacement Lawsuits

Optetrak Knee Replacement Lawsuits Are Being Filed Against Exactech

In February 2022, the Optetrak Comprehensive Total Knee System was the subject of a massive recall. At that time, Exactech, Inc. acknowledged that nearly 150,000 of its Optetrak knee replacement devices were prone to premature degradation because of a defective packaging issue.

The premature degradation could result in the failure of the knee replacement long before expected and at a very high rate compared with other devices.

Patients across the country have already experienced complications and have required revision surgery to ease the pain, swelling, and instability caused by the defective Optetrak knee parts.
Many of these individuals are filing lawsuits against Exactech, seeking significant damages.

Our lawyers at Alonso Krangle are interviewing potential clients who might have claims against Exactech related to the defective Optetrak device. If you had a knee replacement that required revision surgery and your doctor used an Optetrak total knee system, call our office today at 800-403-6191 to find out if you are entitled to file an Exactech knee replacement lawsuit.

What Are The Allegations In Optetrak Knee Replacement Lawsuits?

One such lawsuit filed on March 9, 2022 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York lays out some of the issues that have potentially affected thousands of patients who received the defective Optetrak device as part of knee replacement surgery.

The plaintiff, in this case, suffered complications related to the degradation of her Optetrak device, which resulted in pain, suffering, and the need for revision surgery.

Some allegations include:

  • During the recent recall of Optetrak comprehensive total knee systems, Exactech acknowledged and admitted that the devices’ packaging system was defective and improper.
  • Because the polyethylene insert, a crucial component of the Optetrak knee device, was improperly packaged, it was prone to premature degradation.
  • Because of the defective packaging, the polyethylene inserts degraded prematurely and caused the patient to require revision surgery.
  • The complaint also alleges that Exactech knew that their Optetrak knee devices were prone to failure at a much higher rate than similar systems made by other companies long before they announced the massive recall.
  • That Exactech should have warned patients and doctors of the higher-than-normal failure rate and chance of degradation by placing a warning label or insert with the items.
  • That Exactech failed to notify the public of the dangers of the Optetrak device in a reasonable amount of time
  • That Exactech did not conduct adequate testing or quality control of their products.

Not all knee replacement lawsuits against Exactech will have the exact same facts. However, the issues and allegations referenced above will likely be common threads that run through future litigation relating to these defective devices.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, To Find Out If You Have A Claim Against Exactech

If you had knee replacement using the Optetrak comprehensive total knee system, ask some questions:

  • Did your surgeon use an Optetrak device that was part of the Exactech recall?
  • Did you have complications such as pain, immobility, or swelling?
  • Did you require additional surgery to fix the knee replacement?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” call our office today to find out if you can file an Optetrak knee replacement lawsuit. Call 800-403-6191 now.

UCLA to Settle Dr. Heaps Sexual Abuse Claims for $243 Million

UCLA Settles Dr. Heaps Sexual Abuse Lawsuits for $243 Million

In an announcement made on February 8, 2022, the University of California system (UCLA) has agreed to pay $243.6 million to settle more than 200 sexual abuse lawsuits involving Dr. James Heaps.

The women who filed these lawsuits allege that Heaps, the former gynecologist at UCLA, sexually abused and assaulted them and that UCLA failed to stop him. The women claim that during exams, Heaps inappropriately touched them. They also claim that Heaps made lewd comments while conducting breast examinations and vaginal examinations.

Each of the women will receive approximately $1 million in settlement money.

UCLA Doctor Accused of Misconduct By Thousands

Heaps became affiliated with UCLA in 1983. He worked in various capacities. According to an LA Times Article, UCLA received complaints about Heaps at least as early as the start of the 1990s.

UCLA’s records show that despite various allegations of inappropriate comments, touching, and sexual assault, UCLA did not take reasonable steps to protect patients.

Many complaints were ignored completely, chalked up to “misunderstanding.” A special committee investigation by UCLA concluded that the handling of allegations against Heaps was “at times either delayed or inadequate or both.”

Police arrested Heaps in June 2019, and a grand jury has since indicted him on sexually abusing seven patients from 2011-to 2018. Since then, hundreds of women have come forward with additional allegations of sexual abuse and assault by the doctor.

He is currently facing 21 felony counts “including sexual battery by fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.”

More UCLA Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Remain

The $243 million settlement is not the only one agreed to by the UCLA system regarding Heaps. In November 2020, UCLA settled a class action involving 5000 former patients of Heaps who were abused between 1983 and 2018. In that case, the women shared a $73 million settlement amount.

There were more than 500 women who chose to file individual lawsuits against UCLA rather than participate in the class action. The $243 million settlement announced in February will resolve about 200 of those cases.

More than 300 lawsuits remain unresolved.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP if You Were Sexually Abused

If you or someone you love was sexually assaulted or sexually abused at by Dr. Heaps, or by any other doctor, teacher, clergy member, or another person, call our lawyers today for help. There is a time limit to file sexual abuse claims, and we can’t know how much time you have left until we hear the facts of your case. We can determine if you are entitled to file a lawsuit or seek compensation from your abuser.

Call our sexual abuse lawyers today – 800-403-6191 – for a free consultation.

 

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DOJ Record Recovery Under FCA

US DOJ Collects Record Amounts Under False Claims Act In 2021

In its last fiscal (FY) year, which ended in September 2021, the US Department of Justice (US DOJ) collected more than $5.6 billion under the False Claims Act (FCA). This recovery, achieved through settlements and legal judgments, is the highest since 2014. According to the DOJ, it is also the second-largest annual total in the history of the False Claims Act.

In cases brought by whistleblowers, the DOJ collected more than 1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2021.

What Is The False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is a federal statute that allows the US DOJ to pursue claims against people and businesses that commit fraud against the government. Anyone who knowingly submits a false claim to the government is liable for significant damages and penalties.

The origin of the False Claims Act dates back to 1863 when it was enacted in response to fraud by defense contractors during the Civil War.

The FCA also allows private citizens to bring claims on behalf of the government in what are called “qui tam” claims. If the government is successful in these cases, the private citizen or “whistleblower” who initiated the claim shares in the recovery. The whistleblower can often receive 25-30% of the government’s recovery.

What Were The Big Cases In 2021?

In 2021, most (nearly 5 billion) of the DOJ’s billions in recovery came from healthcare-related fraud. Many claims under the FCA involved medical device manufacturers, medical labs, doctors, hospice organizations, pharmacies, and hospitals.

The largest portion of the billions recovered in 2021 resulted from settlements with the manufacturers of opioids. Indivior and Purdue Pharma agreed to huge payouts related to their drugs, Suboxone and OxyContin, respectively. Purdue alone made a 2.8 billion dollar payment.

Some of the larger false claim settlements involved issues such as:

  • Unnecessary medical services ordered with no regard for actual patient needs
  • Unlawful kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies
  • Unlawful promotion of unsafe drugs
  • False and misleading claims about medication
  • Unnecessary prescriptions of opioids and other drugs
  • Unsupported diagnostic codes- (specifically related to Medicare Advantage fraud)

The remaining False Claims Act recoveries during 2021 came from various industries. These included fraud by defense contractors, clothing companies, and state government agencies.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP

It is unlawful to submit false claims to the government knowingly. If you are aware of fraud against the government, you might be entitled to initiate a qui tam (“whistleblower”) claim.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, at 800-403-6191 today to determine if you are eligible to initiate a case under the False Claims Act.

 

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Exactech Knee Replacement Recall

Exactech Recalls Defective Knee Replacement Systems

There has been a massive recall of Exactech knee replacement systems. More than 140,000 of these systems contain defective parts that can cause the medical implants to fail and result in the need for corrective surgery.

Exactech sent a recall notice to surgeons across the US on February 7, 2022. The notice warned that defective packaging might lead to the premature deterioration of some parts of the Exactech knee replacement system. This “accelerated polyethylene wear” was causing a “statistically significant” rate of component failure and revision surgery compared to the data of other knee replacement systems.

What Exactech Devices Are Part of the Recall?

Exactech began recalling knee replacement parts in August 2021. At that time, Exactech recalled only those knee replacement systems that were a few years away from expiring.

Since then, however, Exactech has acknowledged that current knee replacement systems contain the same problem – “non-conforming” bags for the polyethylene inserts, which can cause the premature deterioration of the parts.

As of now, all Exactech Optetrak, Truliant, and Optetrak Logic knee replacement systems sold since 2004 are part of the recall. It makes no difference what the remaining shelf life is. Nearly 150,000 devices are part of this recall. The precise number of patients who have had knee replacement surgery using these defective Exactech systems is unknown. There are potentially thousands of individuals with knee replacements that can deteriorate prematurely and result in pain, discomfort, and the need for additional surgery.

Packaging Defect Results in Exactech Knee Replacement Recall

Exactech introduced its Optetrak knee replacement system to the US in 1994. However, Exactech has acknowledged that since 2004, the packaging for the systems contains a defect that can result in the premature deterioration of specific components of the knee replacement system.

Specifically, the knee replacement systems contain polyethylene inserts that are implanted between the various components of the replacement knee. The packaging of these inserts is defective and allows oxygen to reach them before they get implanted in someone’s body. The oxygen causes the polyethylene to wear-out, oxidize or become damaged long before it should. Once these parts are implanted into the body, they fail far sooner than expected.

Defective Knee Replacement System Causes Injuries

The defective packaging system and the resulting failure of knee replacements can result in complications for unsuspecting patients.

Injuries from Exactech knee replacement failure can include:

  • Swelling
  • Instability
  • Grinding
  • Clicking
  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Bone loss
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Revision surgery or other medical procedures

Call Our Knee Replacement Lawyers For a Free Evaluation of Your Exactech Optetrak Lawsuit

During the last several years, even before the recent Exactech recall, patients filed lawsuits over the high failure rate of Exactech Optetrak knee replacement systems. Now, since the recall, many more are expected.

If you or someone you loved received a knee replacement using an Exactech Optetrak, Optetrak Logic, or Truliant knee replacement system, call our lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP.

Our Exactech knee replacement lawyers can tell you if you might be eligible to file a lawsuit or receive a settlement from the makers of these defective medical devices.

Call us today at 800-403-6191 for a free evaluation of your Exactech knee replacement lawsuit. Find out if you are eligible to receive compensation from the makers of these defective medical devices.