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October 2015 Archives

Confessed Child Rapist Set Free Due To Attorney Negligence

Judgement states attorney negligence on behalf of prosecutor caused delays that violated defendant's right to speedy trial.

Aaron Fisher, who confessed to sodomizing his infant daughter, was set free this week due to a judge's ruling which points to a systemic problem in the Lake of the Ozarks region's justice system, resulting in citizens being held for excessive time while awaiting trial.

School Board To Pay $2 Million In Serious Brain Injury Case

Family of former high school football player who suffered serious brain injury to receive record-setting $2 million in school board settlement.

The largest settlement in the history of Florida's Hillsborough County School Board will be paid to the family of former Wharton High School football player Sean McNamee. The settlement also sets forth a uniform protocol for the school district to follow for protecting students from traumatic head injuries. "It means a lot to our family," said Sean McNamee's father Todd, who sat through the school board meeting Tuesday with his son, who now sports long curly hair and a wide smile. "We're very grateful." In 2013, Sean McNamee was playing catch with his Wharton High football teammates before practice on Oct. 9, 2013, when he jumped into the air to catch a pass and hit his head on a paint machine used to line the field. He wasn't wearing a helmet. McNamee, 16 at the time, was briefly evaluated by his trainer and coaches but allowed to drive himself more than five miles to his home after the accident. When his father saw his condition he took him immediately to Florida Hospital Tampa, where it was discovered his skull was fractured. "Every day is a struggle, I don't know if you've ever had a headache, but it's significant," Sean McNamee said outside the school board meeting. "I'm just building myself up day by day, getting ahead in school and trying to succeed and do my best." Under the agreement, the school board will provide an additional $1 million in insurance coverage for every high school athlete starting next school year. Students will also have the $300,000 in insurance the state allows school districts to pay out in cases of wrongful injuries or death, for a total $1.3 million in insurance coverage. That's about as much as the McNamee family spent on Sean's medical bills, said the family's lawyer, Steve Yerrid. When McNamee fell, the school district did not carry any such insurance. The school board will also pay a lump sum of $300,000 to the family within 30 days - the maximum amount state agencies like school districts are required to pay out under Florida law. The board will support the family's separate claims bill with the Florida Legislature to authorize the school district to pay the remaining $1.7 million. The claims bill would have to be passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, but Yerrid said the school board's support should help it get through. "Sean is a great kid and we want to make sure his future is bright," said Superintendent Jeff Eakins. The lawsuit filed on behalf of the McNamee family asserted there was a breach of contract by the school board to obtain and have in place a $1 million general liability insurance policy as mandated in the bylaws of the Florida High School Athletics Association at the time of the injury. The family was intent on ensuring that, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the more-than 200,000 students participating in athletics in the school district will fall under protection of a new liability insurance plan as a result of the settlement. "It was extremely important to Sean and his parents that other students be better protected from the kind of events that led to Sean's devastating injuries and an inability to obtain appropriate reparations for those injuries,'' Yerrid said. The settlement also created "The McNamee Protocol," a uniform policy for staff members to follow if they suspect a student has sustained a head injury. After his fall, McNamee was left alone in the school training room for several minutes, and his absence went unnoticed for more than half an hour, his lawyer said. The school district has always had procedures in place for helping student with injuries, but no formal policy to ensure those steps were carried out, said Hillsborough schools spokeswoman Tanya Arja. Certified trainers and volunteer doctors attend athletic practices and games whenever possible. The specifics of the new protocol are still being developed, said Superintendent Jeff Eakins. The policy will dictate not only how student athletes, but all students, are cared for in the case of an injury. Yerrid said he has been in contact with the FHSAA and hopes other school districts in Florida will adopt the McNamee Protocol. He also encourages all school districts to provide an additional $1 million in insurance coverage to more adequately protect student-athletes. Sean McNamee is currently continuing his education in Tallahassee. According to his attorney, McNamee must cope with epileptic seizures and other medical problems that have resulted from his serious brain injury. "Sean dreamed of playing football in college, and he also dreamed of joining the Marine Corps and serving his country," Yerrid said. "These are things that he will never be able to do. But he is a truly courageous person and a fine young man blessed with a loving and supportive family." Originally posted by Anastasia Dawson on Serious Brain Injury - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

Misconduct By Judge Earns Public Reprimand

Special court of review issues public reprimand over misconduct by judge.

A special court of review has sanctioned former Judge Etta Mullin with a public reprimand, having determined she failed to follow the law and treated lawyers and criminal defendants with disrespect. Mullin had appealed to the special court following a public admonition by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Settlement Reached In Drug Labeling Lawsuit

Drug manufacturer settles drug labeling lawsuit with packaging firm over errors affecting cancer drug clinical trial.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals and Clinical Supplies Management have settled a lawsuit filed over an alleged labeling mix-up that led to costly failure of a cancer drug clinical trial. Terms of the settlement, reached in U.S. District Court in central California, were not disclosed, but Peregrine Pharmaceuticals claimed in its drug labeling lawsuit that it would cost at least $20 million to fix problems caused by the mislabeling in the research trial between 2010 and 2012. Clinical Supplies Management, based in Fargo, ND, denied doing anything wrong and said Peregrine "consented to and approved the alleged acts" in the legal dispute. Messages seeking comment from CMS's lawyers were not returned Friday, and Peregrine's lawyer declined to comment on the settlement. Peregrine, based in Tustin, CA, hired CMS to package, label and distribute vials used in the trial of a drug called bavituximab. The trial was designed to be randomized and double-blind, meaning that Peregrine wouldn't know which of the 121 patients received the drug being tested or a placebo. CSM was to distribute 8,000 vials to three groups of patients. In distributing the vials, CMS erred by mixing up some vials sent to two of the groups, according to Peregrine's lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal dismissed Peregrine's lawsuit at the request of both parties. The settlement came after Bernal issued a ruling granting CMS a partial summary judgment, a decision throwing out some of Peregrine's claims, but allowing breach of contract claims to go to a jury. A trial had been scheduled for February. Peregrine's lawsuit claimed it was the victim of fraud, negligence and concealment. "The damage resulting to Peregrine from the failure of its clinical trial is many times the amount paid to CSM for its services," Bernal wrote in his decision. He said the study cost more than $12 million. If the study had been successful, the judge wrote, Peregrine might have achieved "commercial success" and could have gotten the drug to market three or four years sooner. Before it found some vials had been mislabeled, Peregrine's stock soared after it reported encouraging early results for the drug, but its stock plunged after it disclosed the mixup, in 2012. Originally posted by Patrick Springer on Drug Labeling Lawsuit - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles  

Xarelto Lawsuits In Mass Tort Group Reach 430

Ever-rising number of Xarelto lawsuits filed in Philadelphia mass tort group.

Lawsuits filed against Xarelto manufacturers Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals allege use of the drug led to severe internal bleeding, serious injuries and deaths. There are currently 430 cases filed in the mass tort group and this number is expected to rise as litigation continues. Currently, the litigation is only in the pretrial stages and the trials are not expected to start for quite some time. The lawsuits are able to be consolidated into a mass tort group because they all make similar allegations against the same defendants. These Xarelto lawsuits all similarly allege that Xarelto causes severe internal bleeding which can lead to serious injury or death in patients using the drug, that the manufacturers of Xarelto failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about the real dangers of the drug, and that the manufacturers of the drug were reckless in releasing the product to market without an antidote. Xarelto is a part of a new class of blood thinners called Xa inhibitors. Xa inhibitors work differently from the traditional blood thinners on the market because they prevent clots by blocking the agent in blood that makes it clot, thrombin. By blocking thrombin, Xarelto completely takes away the blood's ability to clot. This is very dangerous considering the drug does not have an antidote to its anticoagulant effects. This means that if a patient suffers from an internal bleeding injury there is no way to stop the bleeding short of extreme life saving medical interventions. This is very different from the situation that patients are in if they are taking the drug Warfarin, a historically successful blood thinner. If a patient experiences an internal bleeding injury while taking Warfarin, a doctor can administer Vitamin K, the effects of Warfarin will be reversed, and the blood will clot again. Since Xarelto's release, the FDA has issued several warnings regarding the safety of the drug and the drug has two 'black box' warnings attached to it. The black box warning is the most strict warning the FDA can attach to the drug short of recalling it and it usually means that there is a reasonable risk of harm associated with usage of the drug. Originally posted by Marc Goldich on Xarelto Lawsuits - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles  

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