Five New York Students Charged in Connection with Hazing Death

According to authorities, five fraternity brothers face third-degree murder charges in the wrongful death of a New York City college student. The five Pi Delta Psi members also face charges ranging from hindering apprehension to providing false information to law enforcement in connection with the 2013 hazing death of Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng, Pennsylvania police said. Additionally, charges are pending against 32 other frat members, as well as the Pi Delta Psi fraternity, including assault, hazing, and criminal conspiracy, officials stated.

Deng, 19, died two years ago from “complications of traumatic brain injury” during a hazing incident in the Poconos, according to court documents. He was fatally injured while participating in a fraternity ritual known as the “glass ceiling” in which a pledge navigates toward someone who calls his name while blindfolded and wearing a backpacking containing a 30-pound bag of sand. Other fraternity brothers then physically prevent that from happening by repeatedly tackling and hitting the pledge.

According to police, Deng fell backward, struck his head, and was unconscious and unresponsive immediately following his fall. “A minimum of at least two hours went by before he actually received any type of medical care,” Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis said after the incident. Forensic analysis found that the delay in treatment “significantly contributed to the death of Mr. Deng” and resulted in neurogenic shock, police said. Upon his arrival at the hospital, Deng remained unresponsive and was in critical condition. According to the district attorney’s office, physicians determined he had suffered major brain trauma.

“Michael was a wonderful, beloved young man, and, in his honor, the family will also continue pursuing its wrongful death case against the fraternity to cause it and other fraternities to change so that other parents will be spared the loss of a precious child,” his family said in a statement. If somebody you love has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury, contact a Kansas City personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation.

Risperdal Breast Growth (Gynecomastia) in Teen Boys


As media coverage on Risperdal continues to unfold more lawsuits are surfacing in court uncovering the drug’s potent side effects. If you are one of the thousands looking for a Risperdal lawsuit lawyer, you are not alone. The pharmaceutical mogul Johnson & Johnson’s unit Janssen manufactures Risperdal which is an oral antipsychotic medication used to control severe mood disorders of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, while treating mental illness the drug is also causing physical body changes on male adolescents who consume it such as gynecomastia (the development of breast in males) and galactorrhea (abnormal lactation) causing emotional and psychological stress on the young men.

After testing the drug in the lab it was found that Risperdal increases the levels of prolactin, a hormone that causes the enlargement of breast tissue and production of milk. Studies link up the correlation of Risperdal to gynecomastia dating as early as 1999. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16633146) The manufacturer has been accused of omitting essential information at the time of distributing the drug to doctor’s and the printed label fails to be clear on the harsh side effects when consumed.

The topic of male breast growth among both young and older men is not an easy discussion since most find it emasculating and shameful. Although it is a sensitive subject it is important to create awareness for those who are currently living with gynecomastia. Data shows this condition is estimated to occur in 48% to 64% of boys going through puberty, first appearing as early as 10 years of age, with a peak onset between ages 13 and 14. (http://www.gynecoma.com/gynecomastia-in-teenagers/) Adolescent boys who currently are living with abnormal breast growth are physically and psychologically fragile. When it comes to exercising activities such as running, jogging, curl-ups or jumping jacks the up and down movement becomes difficult with the excess mass around the chest area. The breast also become tender therefore not too much weight or pressure can be placed. Apart from the physical toll on the body emotional distress grows exponentially. In our society breasts are considered to be a feminine attribute and because the growth is not subtle boys can be constantly concerned with their appearance. The awkwardness of having to explain to others what is going on with your body leads to adjustments in social behavior leading to isolation from social interactions. Ultimately the young men’s self-esteem plummets generating other mental disorders to surface.

 

One of the solutions to gynecomastia is undergoing a mastectomy. However this surgery comes with its own set of tribulations. Most of the times the surgery leaves males with prominent scarring and absence of the nipples. Some young men may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to make the decision and commit to surgery. So for those not ready to get under the knife there are other resources that can help you through the process.

 

  • Counseling: alleviating the confusion and anxiety through the help of a counselor can be essential, sometimes a stranger can bring in some perspective rather than a family member
  • Psychiatric therapy: seeking a professional can help circumvent and also provide alternatives to surgery such as male breast reduction pills.
  • Support group: connecting with others either at an in person meet-up or an online forum who are undergoing or have gone through this process is a great way to coping with your own personal condition as well as a helpful resource for networking

As more families of young men continue to speak up the Risperdal lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical unit Janssen continue to pile up, so far over 1200 cases are being reviewed. In February of this year a recent settlement in Alabama of $2.5 million was awarded to 20 year old Austin Pledger , an autistic man, who as a side effect of Risperdal grew 46DD breasts. The jury concluded the boy who was 8 years old at the time the drug was prescribed was not given warning of gynecomastia being a possible result of his drug intake. As of today Austin still has not undergone a mastectomy. Another case in late December of 2014 a mother from Louisiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of her 21 year old son Aaron Banks. According to the article on Forbes.com, “he suffered psychological trauma after growing breasts while taking Risperdal between 1999 and 2004, starting when he was nine years old, says Sheller, who added that the antipsychotic was not approved for use in children in the US at the time.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/edsilverman/2012/09/11/jj-sees-male-breasts-and-quickly-settles-risperdal-suit/ ) Johnson & Johnson settled, however the terms have been kept confidential. Not all lawsuits have finalized in wins but small steps are being taken to make justice for all the children and teens impacted by this condition.

 

Resources:

  1. http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/11/25/risperdal-can-have-troubling-side-effects-in-boys/
  2. https://www.i-lawsuit.com/risperdal-lawsuit/
  3. http://www.gynecoma.com/gynecomastia-in-teenagers/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16633146
  5. http://www.forbes.com/sites/edsilverman/2012/09/11/jj-sees-male-breasts-and-quickly-settles-risperdal-suit/

 

Court Ruling Ends 20-Year Anna Nicole Smith Estate Battle

On Tuesday, a Texas appellate court likely closed the infamous 20-year dispute between the estate of J. Howard Marshall II and the late Anna Nicole Smith.

The decision, made by the First Court of Appeals, relieves the one-time Playboy Playmate’s estate of over $500,000 in sanctions she was ordered to pay her former son-in-law, E. Pierce Marshall, for filing a frivolous challenge to her deceased husband’s will. It comes 20 years after Marshall’s death and more than eight years after Smith’s death. Anna Nicole’s notability particularly grew during the prolonged court battle over Marshall’s estate, which prompted speculation she had married the investor for his money – claims she always denied.

The ruling also looks to have infinitely ended a complex legal struggle involving litigation in multiple states and two trips to the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeals court dismissed the sanctions against Anna Nicole Smith, stating Pierce Marshall had the onus of attaining a jury verdict on the amount of fees due, but the probate court simply set the amount without reason. The Court opinion regarding this case can be found here.

With the apparent end to this notoriously lengthy estate dispute, the importance of a properly crafted will cannot be emphasized enough. Contacting a Phoenix estate planning lawyer is your first step to ensuring your estate is distributed exactly the way you want after your death.      

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Tarheel Q Over Salmonella Outbreak

On July 10, 2015, food poisoning lawyer Ron Simon of Houston-based food safety law firm, Ron Simon & Associates, filed a wrongful death lawsuit originating from Salmonella-contaminated food served at the Tarheel Q restaurant in Lexington, North Carolina.

Along with local counsel Martin & Van Hoy, LLP, attorney Ron Simon filed the lawsuit against the restaurant on behalf of the Estate of George Allen. Mr. Allen dined at Tarheel Q on June 16th and fell ill the following days. On June 23rd, doctors admitted him to Davis Regional Medical Center, where he tested positive for Salmonella. A few days after his admission, Mr. Allen’s condition improved, but on June 26th, his health took a devastating turn for the worse and he began to experience renal failure. His condition rapidly deteriorated and on June 27th, he passed away from acute renal failure due to Salmonella poisoning. Mr. Allen was 94 years old at the time of his death.

As of July 13, 2015, 276 cases of illness associated with eating food from Tarheel Q have been identified. Updates on the outbreak can be found on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website. To date, George Allen is the only confirmed death related to the Tarheel Q Salmonella outbreak.

Salmonella attorney Ron Simon and his law firm have established a Tarheel Q Salmonella Claims Center to assist victims of the outbreak. The Claims Center can be reached toll-free at 1 (888) 335-4901.

Millions Recovered For Victim of NuC02 Truck Accident

On June 3, 2015, the San Bernardino personal injury attorneys at Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, obtained a $17,393,479.87 jury verdict for a young man who suffered severe injuries after being involved in a six-vehicle collision caused by a negligently driven NuCO2 truck.

This is reportedly the highest amount ever awarded by a jury in the North County Division of the San Diego Superior Court.

Russell Sheaffer, who was 24-year old at the time,was driving his Toyota when a 35,000-pound Freightliner truck driven by a NuCO2 employee slammed into a row of five stopped vehicles on Interstate 15.  The truck was traveling at freeway speeds, and Mr. Sheaffer’s stopped car, the third of the five, was hit with so much force that his car propelled into the SUV in front of him.

Mr. Sheaffer sustained facial fractures along his jaw, an imploded sinus and a minor traumatic brain injury.  He underwent two major surgeries, and after a year of doctor’s visits, CT scans and 3-D modeling of Mr. Sheaffer’s jaw revealed a traumatically induced, rapidly progressing, degenerative joint disease of the temporomandibular joints.

Although NcCO2 admitted liability for the accident, it denied that Mr. Sheaffer suffered the long term damages or pain and suffering that he claimed.  The jury chose to awarded Mr. Sheaffer $12,500,000 for past and future pain and suffering, $2,888,373 for past and future medical expenses, and $2,005,107 for past and future loss of earnings.

In 2012 alone, 3,802 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, a 5% increase from 2011- according to the truck accident attorney team at PS&B.

Cardinal George Gives Video Deposition in Former Priest Sex Abuse Case

Last week, Archbishop Cardinal George was questioned in a videotaped trial testimony in the sexual abuse case involving former Roman Catholic priest Daniel McCormack. The video deposition is a precaution taken due to the Cardinal’s advanced age and current health status.

The Archbishop’s videotape testimony can be shown to the jury should any of the 19 pending cases against McCormack go to trial. According to a recent statement from Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander:

Because of a protective order entered by the Court, the Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander cannot comment on the substance of the Cardinal’s testimony at this time. We can report, however, that the Cardinal was questioned for about 6 hours, by two of the Plaintiffs’ attorneys, including Eugene K. Hollander.

The Cardinal’s deposition is set to continue today, June 3.

 

 

 

Tesla Motors Challenges Model S Lemon Law Claims

Tesla Motors is challenging a lemon law claim made by a Wisconsin attorney who calls himself the “King of Lemon Laws”. Tesla released a statement on their blog stating that the attorney, Vince Megna, misrepresented the facts of the case and implies that the Model S in question had been tampered with. In the blog post Tesla re-affirms their commitment to customer service and compliance with lemon laws.

In a video released by Megna, that stars himself alongside a cardboard cut out of George Clooney, he states that the vehicle spent 66 day in a service center for repairs to faulty door handles, fuses and a battery that would not hold a charge. He also claims that his client, retired Milwaukee doctor Robert Montgomery, demanded on three separate occasions a lemon-law buy back from Tesla. Tesla Motors denies these claims, and points out that the company was actually working with Montgomery to resolve the issues up until the lawsuit was filed.

Tesla is claiming that the problems with the car in question have “elusive origins” implying that the vehicle may have been tampered with. Tesla mechanics could not replicate the issue that Montgomery was having with the door handles but did replace them. Once replaced, Montgomery claimed that they were still faulty and Tesla offered to fix them again. The issue with the fuses is also suspect according to Tesla, whose engineers discovered that the cars front trunk, where the fuse box is located, had “been opened immediately before the fuse failure on each of these occasions”.

The blog post from Tesla states “there are good reasons to be skeptical of the lawyer’s motivations” and also points out that he filed a lemon law claim last year against Volvo on behalf of the same client.

Lemon laws vary from state to state and some states even have laws that cover new as well as used cars. There are tons of valuable resources out there that detail the laws for each state. This page for example details the lemon laws in California including what consumers need to know if they think they got a lemon.

Paxil Birth Defect Lawsuit Ousted to Minnesota

A federal judge ruled that Julie Geddeck, a mother who claims that taking the antidepressant drug Paxil resulted in her unborn daughter developing a critical neural tube defect that required major surgery, must fight the Pharmaceutical conglomerate GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Minnesota

Guddeck, a resident of Minnesota sued GSK in Philadelphia County’s Court of Common Pleas back in September 2011.  Guddeck’s claim was that during her pregnancy she took the antidepressant Paxil which gave her then unborn daughter, Kaylea Geddeck, the critical neural tube defect. Kaylea has since required major surgeries and continuous treatment for the defect.

Guddeck’s suit is claiming negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability on GSK’s part. Her suit was taken from the federal courts and consolidated with other Paxil lawsuits against the Pennsylvania company.  Many plaintiffs moved to remand and in December 2011 an U.S. district judge granted the motions based on the grounds that GSK was “Pennsylvania citizen and that removal by an in-state defendant was improper,” however, it was later discovered that GSK was a citizen of Delaware and the removal was proper. Guddecks suit was removed again to Federal Court.

After the family was refused to remand the suit to state court, GSK moved to have the case transferred to Minnesota, which was approved on the grounds that the public and private factors were overwhelmingly in favor of a transfer.

It makes sense for the case to proceed in Minnesota, since Guddeck is a MN resident, GSK failed to warn her in MN, guddeck became pregnant there, was prescribed the drug there, took the antidepressant there and gave birth to her daughter there. Kaylea’s treatment has all been in MN and she continues to receive treatment there.

Paxil was first approved in 1992 but quickly faced suits in NY for withholding safety data about the drug. In 2005 the FDA issued an alert to health care professionals warning that individuals who took Paxil were at an increased risk of birth defects. Paxil is extremely risky for women in their first three months of their pregnancy.

 

Video Game Addiction and Divorce

Phoenix Divorce LawyerIf you have ever insisted on playing just “one more life” in SuperMario Bros, or have put off responsibilities to finish a game of Words With Friends, you have likely gotten a taste of the intense video game addiction that can become all-consuming and irreversibly damaging to families.

As video games have become increasingly complex and realistic,video game addicts are surfacing at a growing rate. WebMD is calling compulsive gaming a modern-day psychological disorder. It is is not only an addiction that has the ability to take over and ruin the lives of the gamers, it is killing off marriages at a rapidly accelerating pace.

“Addiction has long been a commonly cited reason for divorce,” says Scottsdale divorce lawyer Scott David Stewart.  “However, it typically has been substance abuse and gambling.  However, recently we have seen more and more cases involving video game addiction leading to divorce.”

Addiction is defined with the following criteria: The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to keep him going, and if the person does not get more of the substance or behavior he becomes irritable and miserable. Compulsive gaming meets these criteria, and can be accompanied with severe withdrawal symptoms. Kimberly Young, PsyD and clinical director of the Center for On-Line Addiction says that she has seen intense gaming withdrawals. “They become angry, violent, or depressed.” Video game addicts typically display symptoms of depression, feelings of being left out, PTSD, memories of a bad situation, anxiety, ADD, obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Studies have shown that between 10% and 15% of video game players have the potential to become gaming addicts.

A 2011 study conducted by Divorce Online found that 15% of women who cite “unreasonable behavior” as the root cause of their divorce have pointed to video games as the chief culprit. The increase is astronomical – in the previous year (2010) only five percent of those women polled cited video gaming as the primary unreasonable behavior that led to their desire to divorce.

World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Halo top the list when it comes to divorce-causing games. The most addictive are massively multiplayer online games with roleplaying components, because they give the gamers an entirely new reality to be a part of. These types of games allow players to take on a different, more impressive personality. Gamers can essentially transform into a superhuman being, and the lure can be overpowering.

“Playing `World of Warcraft’ makes me feel godlike,” Van Cleave, former video game addict, wrote in a book he authored titled Unplugged: My Journey Into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction. “I have ultimate control and can do what I want with few real repercussions. The real world makes me feel impotent … a computer malfunction, a sobbing child, a suddenly dead cell phone battery – the littlest hitch in daily living feels profoundly disempowering.”

Video game companies spend millions of dollars to produce their top games, and pay experts to make their games addicting. In some games, behavior is controlled with simple stimulus and reward methods. Other games will have new visually appealing images appear every six seconds to keep gamer attention and urge them to continue on. Repetition creates habits, and motivation to continue on to the next level.

When most people picture compulsive video gamers, they see a teenage boy eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew. In reality, only about 18% of gamers fit the stereotype of being boys under 17 years old. Many gamers are adults, and most are male. Research carried out by the Stanford University of Medicine found that the reward centers of men’s brains were more activated than those in women’s brains, making males much more easily addicted to video games.

Compulsive gaming can be just as debilitating to marriages as other behavioral addictions like Internet porn and online gambling. In fact, there has already been a name coined for wives whose spouses favored their video games to their marriage – “gamer widows.”

There are solutions for gaming addiction, that may help save marriages. Spouses are encouraged to work out a gaming agreement, in which real life events can take priority over games, and gaming agendas can depend on true circumstances. Couples are urged to brainstorm things that they can do together – many times, gamers don’t realize that they are alienating their spouse, while other times they use their games as a tool to keep themselves remote. If the gamer can address that part of the problem, and wants to fix it, they can do things like go hiking, cooking and playing interactive games with their spouse. As with any addiction, the addict has to be willing to admit their habit and have a desire to alter and improve it.

Tips on How to Deal with Auto Insurance Companies

All drivers in the U.S. are required to have valid insurance, and we can see why. Auto insurance provides us with security and protection against other drivers, as well as a way to help pay for damages in any wreck that we cause. However, dealing with the companies can be a headache. Below are some tips on how to choose an auto insurance company, and ways to deal with them.

  1. Believe it or not, fake auto insurance companies are not hard to come by. These fake companies advertise rock bottom insurance prices and trick their consumers into believing that they have real auto insurance. It is not until the driver is pulled over or gets into an accident that they discover that their coverage is invalid. Red flags that consumers should be aware of are referral fees and the transfer of money through money orders. Driving without valid auto insurance, even unwittingly, is illegal.
  2. Check your credit report. Drivers with poor ratings are considered to be higher risk. Because auto insurance companies use credit reports to determine how much they will charge in premiums, it is important that any errors that may cause your credit report to appear higher than it is are dealt with.
  3. Ask questions when insurance companies recommend mechanics and body shops. Insurance companies strike deals with repair shops, and generally choose them by price and availability.
  4. Be careful what you say to auto insurance adjusters and claims managers. When a driver is in an accident there are two insurance companies that they will need to deal with – their own and that of the other driver. When dealing with your own insurance company you should be relatively cooperative, but it is advised not to give a recorded statement. Recorded statements can only be used against drivers. Insurance adjusters can be aggressive, and drivers should understand that they are by no means obligated to speak with the other driver’s insurance companies. Insurance adjusters can ask tricky questions to invoke guilt, even when you were not the one responsible for the accident.
  5. Ask auto insurance companies about available discounts, such as student, clean driving record reductions. Insist on full disclosure and explanation about every aspect of your policy.

If you or someone you love have suffered an injury in an auto accident and are having to deal with insurance companies, contact the experienced and professional Dallas auto accident attorneys at the Franklin Law Firm, LLP for a free legal consultation today.