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New York State Working to Give Prisoners a Chance at Clemency

According to the Huffington PostNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo has revealed a plan to help inmates struggling with monetary difficulties. It can be challenging for inmates to find the funds to fight against court rulings. Many individuals who want to take their cases to a higher court or make a plea for a pardon are kept from pursuing their best interest due to financial constraints. New York aims to make it easier for convicted individuals to obtain the legal resources they need to petition the Governor for a pardon, the eradication of someone’s criminal record, or clemency, which often involves commuting an individual’s prison time. When an individual’s sentence is commuted, their time in prison is cut short. However, commuting does not entail erasing someone’s criminal record. A pardon retroactively absolves you of crime, but when someone’s sentence is commuted, it does not necessarily relieve them of criminal guilt.

Individuals seeking a pardon or a sentence commutation from the Governor frequently have difficulty funding their legal plea. That’s why Governor Cuomo joined together with legal organizations such as The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Foundation for Criminal Justice, and Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Together, the Governor and these groups are looking to make legal resources much more readily available for those that require assistance. His partnership is based upon a federal effort that encouraged legal groups to train criminal defense attorneys to identify potential clemency petitioners and assist them in applying. This partnership furthers goals set for New York by Governor Cuomo two years ago.

Governor Cuomo has made an efficient, just legal system a key part of his political platform. Starting in 2015, the Governor backed efforts to increase free or “pro bono” legal representation for inmates looking to petition for clemency. Since its inception, this initiative has found over 1,700 individuals to assist. His program encourages private lawyers to give their services to individuals who wanted to build a case for a pardon or for commuting their sentence. He himself has used his office to grant various forms of clemency to convicted individuals, pardoning 114 people and reducing the sentences of 10 others.

This new partnership, along with the continuation of Governor Cuomo’s program, will doubtlessly help many individuals access the resources they require. It’s unfair that so many are kept from using the law to its fullest extent due to financial restraints. Many individuals and organizations in New York agree that convicted and accused individuals should be able to obtain legal representation when they need it most. John S. Wallenstein, the president of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, says, “This partnership is a welcome expansion to the existing project, as it will bring more lawyers together with applicants who lack the resources to pay for representation.” He goes on to express, “With more training, mentoring, and electronic access to client materials, this partnership will help our members better represent reformed and rehabilitated applicants in the State’s process, and assist them in their efforts to apply for clemency.”



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Wrong Diagnosis as a Medical Malpractice Case

There is a reason why medical professionals need licenses. Health is a serious industry, and you really need to show how competent you are, to qualify to the caring of the medical condition of a patient. But sometimes, even the most competent and licensed medical professional become negligent, resulting into the harm of the patient instead of the cure. This is called medical malpractice.

According to the website of Russo, Russo & Slania P.C., those who have experienced medical malpractice may have legal options, such as trying to hold the negligent medical professional accountable for the physical harm, emotional trauma, and financial strain they have sustained.

There are various kinds of medical malpractice, such as the lack of informed consent, medication error, surgery error, and even wrongful death. But there is one that is not as talked about as the others – wrong diagnosis.

A wrong diagnosis happens when a medical professional’s negligence has resulted into a mistake in the diagnosis process. However, take note that negligence is the most important part here. As said earlier, health is a serious industry. It is extremely complicated that a wrong diagnosis is truly possible even if the medical professional has done everything competently. If the medical professional has been negligent, or incompetent in a way that a reasonable medical professional should not have been, he may be held liable for medical malpractice.

There are generally four kinds of misdiagnosis:

·       A healthy person diagnosed as ill

·       An ill person diagnosed as healthy

·       An ill person diagnosed with a wrong medical condition

·       An ill person diagnosed with a wrong subtype of a medical condition

Each kind has its own threats to health. For example, a healthy person diagnosed as ill may undergo undeserved treatment, an ill person diagnosed as healthy may not receive the treatment he deserves, and an ill person diagnosed with a wrong medical condition or with the wrong subtype of a medical condition can undergo an ineffective treatment method.

These errors can lead to new complications or the worsening of existing ones, not to mention the financial troubles that may arise, just because a medical professional has been negligent.

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Four Elements Required in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

A personal injury lawyer states that when you are ill or injured, you should be able to trust that the medical professionals caring for you will work to improve your health. Unfortunately, these professionals sometimes make negligent mistakes, which can have negative consequences. Doctors that do not hold to the high standards of medical care can worsen conditions and cause lasting damage to a patient.

Medical professionals, from doctors and surgeons to nurses and pharmaceutical technicians, as explained by the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, carry a tremendous level of responsibility for the health and safety of their patients. As a result, individuals and organizations in this field are held to a remarkably high professional standard in order to protect patient well-being. Medical malpractice laws therefore play an important role in helping to hold doctors and other medical practitioners accountable for the consequences of unprofessional or dangerous behavior.

Medical malpractice can have devastating consequences for victims, ranging from serious injuries to wrongful death, and pursuing a medical malpractice claim may be essential to helping victims receive justice in the wake of a medical mistake.

Medical malpractice can occur in a variety of ways. Grievous mistakes such as being prescribed the wrong medication or receiving treatment that was meant for another patient occur with surprising frequency. Other examples of medical malpractice that are committed with greater frequency than others include:

  • Improper or delayed treatment
  • Emergency room errors
  • Hospital negligence
  • Wrongful death
  • Wrong diagnosis
  • Lack of informed consent
  • Surgical errors
  • Pharmaceutical errors

The US National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health defines medical malpractice as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient. Medical malpractice is a specific subset of tort law that deals with professional negligence.

A medical malpractice lawsuit in the U.S., besides needing to be filed in timely manner, that is within the “statute of limitation” period, requires four legal elements:

  1. the existence of a legal duty on the part of the doctor to provide care or treatment to the patient;
  2. A breach of this duty by a failure of the treating doctor to adhere to the standards of the profession;
  3. A causal relationship between such breach of duty and injury to the patient; and,
  4. The existence of damages that flow from the injury such that the legal system can provide redress.
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The Open Carry Law

Though open carrying of firearms in public is not restricted by the Federal law, there are specific rules when this is done on properties owned or operated by the federal government.

There are only five states where the open carrying of handguns in public places is prohibited. These are California, Florida, Illinois New York, and South Carolina; this is to prevent gun violence.

The past years, gun-toting individuals openly carrying firearms in public places, such as political rallies, public parks, restaurants and coffee shops have become a common sight in many U.S. states. Many of those who openly carry firearms, who argue that they are only “exercising their rights,” identify themselves as part of the growing “open carry movement.”

The open carrying of firearms, however, does not only intimidate the public, but also makes very likely accidental or intentional use which can result to injury or death.

Besides using the argument of “exercising their rights,” many say that open carrying is needed for self-defense. No research, however, supports this argument. On the contrary, even if used in self-defense, having a gun does not reduce a person’s chance of getting injured during a crime, but it increases the possibility of him/her injuring an innocent bystander.

One study even suggests that carrying a firearm may actually increase a person’s risk of firearm injury. Thus, instead of improving safety, open carrying unnecessarily increases the possibility of everyday interpersonal conflicts turning into deadly shootouts. This is because anyone will have ready access to firearms. Open carry laws also correlate with higher rates of suicide. States with open carry laws, in fact, have 36% more suicides and 71% more firearm suicides per capita. Additionally, when stopping an individual who is openly carrying a firearm in these states, law enforcement officers may be prohibited from demanding identification.

In the state of Texas, particularly, the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter says, “As of January 1, 2016, licensed gun owners in the state of Texas may openly carry a handgun in public and in many Texas open carry gun laws private settings. This open carry laws stipulates that handguns must be carried in a belt or shoulder holster at all times, unless there is a legally justifiable reason to use the weapon. The moment you remove your firearm from your holster you should expect to be under police scrutiny. In the event that you are charged with a gun-related criminal offense like aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or deadly conduct, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately. Even if you believe that you have not broken the law, it will be in your best interest to work with a lawyer throughout the coming legal process.”

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Morcellator Lawsuits Still being Filed Against Johnson & Johnson

Morcellator Lawsuits Still being Filed Against Johnson & Johnson

On April 30, 2014, Ethicon, the unit of Johnson & Johnson that is responsible for the manufacture, sale and promotion of power morcellators, ceased distribution and sales of said devices, and ordered their withdrawal from the market.

Ethicon’s move came barely three weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert on April 17, 2014, which advised doctors and hospitals against the continuous use of power morcellators in laparoscopic surgical procedures, specifically in the removal of uterine fibroids or myomas, through myomectomy, and in the removal of the womb or uterus, through hysterectomy.

FDA’s decision is based on medical reports regarding the possible spread of unsuspected cancer tissues, called uterine sarcomas, during morcellation treatment of women with uterine fibroids. Due to the lack of a device that can accurately detect the presence of uterine sarcomas, risk of spreading it beyond the uterus can happen as uterine fibroids are divided or morcellated into pieces.

Power morcellators are medical devices designed to cut an overgrown uterus or fibroids into pieces that are tiny enough to allow them to be extracted through 0.5-1cm incisions. These devices have been approved by the FDA to be used in laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgeries. Due to the many advantages of power morcellators, including performance of surgeries that require very tiny incisions that healed faster, shorter hospital stay for patients, lesser blood loss, reduced pain and minimal chances of infection or complications, many doctors began using them in the early 1990s to perform laparoscopic surgeries instead of the traditional open surgeries (such as abdominal hysterectomy, which required incisions between five to seven inches long).

Johnson & Johnson introduced three of the best engineered power morcellators in the market in 1998 which, many believe, actually set the standard on the way the device should be designed. These devices included the Gynecare Morcellex, the Morcellex Sigma and the Gynecare X-Tract. Despite the accuracy and efficiency of J&J’s power morcellators, however, the FDA found the risk of cancer a valid reason for doctors and hospitals to cease use of the device.

As mentioned in the website of the law firm Williams Kherkher, up to 50,000 morcellation treatments are performed in the U.S. every year, with most of these for the purpose of removing uterine fibroids. In a number of U.S. states, morcellator lawsuits are on the rise, adding to the growth in the number of women seeking compensation.

Many more patients are expected to come to the open and file civil lawsuits they are legally entitled to pursue. These lawsuits may be their chance of seeking compensation for whatever damages the devices have caused in them.

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Xarelto Ranked Among The Most Dangerous Drugs In The United States

Xarelto is one of the newest anticoagulants in the market today. It belongs to a class of drugs known as blood thinners. These substances are designed to prevent lethal blood clots that can prevent blood from flowing to the vital organs. Manufactured by Johnson and Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Xarelto is now regarded as one of the most lethal drugs in the market.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Xarelto for preventing stroke in patients who suffer from a condition called atrial fibrillation. Likewise, it is used for treating and preventing blood clots. In addition, it is also used for the prevention of blood clots in patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgeries. Unfortunately, the manufacturers have marketed it for other unapproved uses.

According to the website of Abel Law Firm, drugs should be tested for functionality and prospective side effects. The bad news is that manufacturers do not re-test the drugs upon submission to the FDA for approval. One of the worst side effect s of Xarelto is uncontrolled bleeding. When this happens, blood flow to organs such as the brain, lungs, or kidney can be interrupted causing them to malfunction. The effects of Xarelto should be felt within 8 to 12 hours a day but with uncontrolled bleeding, the normal clotting of the blood can be prevented. As a result, the patient could experience gastrointestinal bleeding, epidural bleeding, and stroke.

According to data compiled by heath website HealthGrove from 2004 through 2015, Xarelto was ranked 24th on the list of the top 50 most dangerous drugs. It yielded 81 percent of reactions which is considered serious. Reports by the FDA revealed that 50 percent of the adverse effects of Xarelto accounted for blood clots. For this reason, several product liability and wrongful death suits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson for their failure to inform patients of such effects.

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Types of Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents can happen all the time. In most instances, the damage can be devastating resulting to injuries or deaths. According to statistics from the Association for Safe International Road Travel, almost 1.3 million people die in road crashes yearly or 3,287 deaths daily. An additional 20 – 50 million are injured or disabled. Road traffic crashes ranked as the 9th leading cause of death and accounts for 2.2% of all deaths worldwide.

Depending on the nature of collision, there are different types of car accident injuries that can happen. They range from mild to severe. In this article, we shall learn about the common types of injuries in a car accident.

Head and Back Injuries

This is one of the most serious injuries that a person who get hurt in a car accident can incur. Drivers and passengers can hit their heads on steering wheels, dashboards, or windows. This can result to brain injuries, mild concussions or comas. It will often require long-term medical treatment. Severe injuries can include skull fractures, hearing loss, or vision problems.

For back injuries, damages to the spinal cord can result to significant nerve damage. Patients may experience reduced sensation of and control in their arms, hands, legs, and other body parts. Severe spinal cord injuries can result to permanent paralysis. Another possible injury is a herniated disk. While less severe than spinal cord or head injuries, it can still cause a problem.

Neck and Chest Injuries

Perhaps the most common car accident injury is whiplash. Sudden movement of the head and neck can lead to serious neck and muscle ligament damage. In the case of whiplash, the injury may vary from one person to another depending on the accident and the health of the person involved. Serious injuries may include trauma in the chest area. It may also cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs.

Other chest injuries may include internal bleeding which can be an immediate concern after a car accident. There could also be damage in the internal organs, pelvis, and abdomen. They require immediate medical attention.

Other Injuries

Other common car accident injuries can occur in the arms, legs, hands, and feet. Crashes and collisions most often cause emotional distress. In some instances, post-traumatic stress disorder may be needed.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

While many individuals may develop carpal tunnel syndrome in their lifetime, those who work in the physically demanding construction industry are even more prone to this injury. The nerve that runs over the carpal bone causes carpal tunnel syndrome. When the nerve is pinched, it can cause pain in the hands, wrists, or fingers. While medication can reduce pain associated with carpal tunnel, it is a progressive disease, meaning it usually gets worse over time. When individuals develop carpal tunnel because of a construction job, they may expect their employer to give them the full compensation they need for their injuries. However, this is often not the case, as many employers leave their workers to deal with medical bills and lost wages alone.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

People often mistake carpal tunnel syndrome for less serious muscle spasms or muscle tightness. To avoid misdiagnosis, it is important to recognize the symptoms of carpal tunnel, including:

  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the affected areas
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Loss of dexterity in thumbs or fingers
  • Constant pain in hand
  • Grip weakness
  • Hand clumsiness, such as frequently dropping objects
  • Hand pain at night

If you experience any of these symptoms and discover you do have carpal tunnel syndrome, medical treatment will be necessary. Unfortunately, according to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, this treatment often comes at a high cost, making worker’s compensation money or compensation from a lawsuit necessary. Financial relief received from either of these instances can help cover costs, including:

  • Lost wages due to injury
  • Cost of medical visits
  • Cost of any surgeries needed
  • Cost of medications

While no amount of money can make up for the injuries you received while working on a construction site, financial restitution can help individuals achieve a sense of justice. Workers’ compensation is available to individuals who have sustained an injury at work or due to the circumstances of their jobs.

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Car & Truck Accident : Who Has The Liability?

Accidents involving cars and trucks are always deadly. In cases like these, it is always the former who feels the consequence of the collision given the latter’s size. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, accidents involving the two vehicles will often result to serious injuries, pain and suffering, and huge medical bills. Recovery can be difficult for the surviving family members especially if the deceased is a bread winner.

Statistics compiled by the website of  Evans Moore, LLC, revealed that more than 9 million crashes involving cars, trucks, and other vehicles were reported in 2011 alone. In order to recover damages, you have to prove the liability of the truck driver. With car accidents, you simply have to prove negligence on the part of the other driver. In the case of truck accidents, this can be a difficult task because of the complex nature of liability.

On the average, a passenger car weighs 4,000 pounds while trucks at a whopping 80,000 pounds or higher. Aside from this, there are other factors that will come into play such as ride height, stopping distance, and the driver’s field of vision. And with the added pressure on truck drivers to travel long distance in the quickest possible time which can put the safety of car drivers and its passenger in jeopardy.

There are instances when the fault cannot be directly blamed on the negligence of the driver. It could also be due to some defects that the manufacturer of the car and truck was not able to check. In this way, the manufacturer may also be held liable for any injury or accident that may arise from their failure to check.

Thus, it is very clear that the car & truck accidents are purely not the fault of the driver. This is where having an experienced attorney will come in handy.

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Does a criminal background affect child custody?

One of the major issues that is discussed in divorce proceeding is child custody. In cases like these, the best interest of the child is the deciding factor. Whichever parent can best look after the overall well-being of the child will be the one to have full custody. There are many factors that can affect the court’s decision on which parent will get custody of the child and one of them is the criminal background of a parent.

On the effects of a criminal record on child custody, Appleton criminal defense attorneys at Kohler Hart Powell, SC will tell you that being criminally charged can have a huge effect on the life and freedom of an individual. In determining child custody, the criminal history of the parents will be reviewed. The weight on the criminal record will be dependent on various factors such as the victim, the type of offense, the age they were charged, nature of the sentence, and multiple convictions.

Depending on the identity and relationship of the parent to the victim, the judge deciding on your case may limit your custody and visitation rights. For example, if the victim is one of your children, the court may presume that you could hurt your child again. If the nature of the charge is of a higher level such as sexual abuse or life-threatening injuries, it may hurt your custody rights even further.

The nature of the conviction is another factor that can impact child custody cases. If it involves domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse, it can also have a significant weight on your child custody case. In most states, courts have the presumption of domestic violence against you if your former spouse established a history of domestic violence. This means that the court may assume that you are a bad parent because of your abusive background.

Moreover, your age of conviction will also be reviewed by the court. If you were previously charged with DUI and evidence showed that it was an isolated case, the negative effect of the case may be reduced. Instead they would look at your present charges and its impact on your child.

Lastly, the frequency and nature of your charge will also affect child custody. While they may not be violent crimes, frequent or multiple convictions can impact your chances of getting full custody of your child.

According to the website of BB Law Group, PLLC, determining custody rights should be fair to both parents and at the same time will not hurt the child involved in the case.

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