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Dark-Hospital-300x191In the 1990s, the use of a neurovascular stent for a procedure call “stent-assisted coiling” was considered a breakthrough treatment for treating brain aneurysms. The medical device offered a non-surgical method to address weak spots in blood vessels in the brain. An aneurysm occurs when a weak point in a vessel allows blood to bulge out the vessel wall. If the aneurysm bursts, it can cause traumatic consequences, particularly when the aneurysm is located in the brain.

A non-stent assisted coiling treatment for an aneurysm involved running a stint from a patient’s leg up into the location of the aneurysm in the brain. The catheter would then inject a string of soft platinum into the aneurysm, which coils upon itself within the “bubble” of the aneurysm. After the platinum was fully deployed, the blood in the aneurysm clots along the coil and eventually fills the either aneurysm, such that is no longer poses the threat of rupture.

The procedure described above worked well, unless the aneurism had a “wide neck.” Where a normal aneurysm looks like a bubble stuck on the side of the vessel, a wide neck aneurysm looks more like a semi-circle. Instead of having a small weak spot in the vessel bulge out into a bubble, the wide neck variety involves a larger weak spot that expands the vessel in a distorted manner. Introducing the platinum coil into the aneurysm is not feasible, as the coil is too exposed to the blood flow and will not remain in place.

Cruise-Carnival-300x169For decades, cruise lines have been the subject of lawsuits arising out of bacteriological and viral diseases that caused by the negligent implementation of anti-infectious disease measures. Noroviruses, Legionella organisms, salmonella, shigella, and Escherichia coli have all turned a boat packed with festive vacationers into floating public health disasters. Now, some of the world’s largest cruise lines have been infected with COVID-19, which has not only created devastating epidemiological consequences for the ship’s guests, but due to a failure in planning, have turned vessels with over 5,000 passengers into international refugee camps.

By failing to disclose the dangers of boarding a cruise ship during a burgeoning pandemic and failing to make suitable contingency plans in the event of a ship wide contamination, cruise ships have been forced to dock outside of nations that are unwilling to admit hundreds of infected passengers within their borders. The passengers are left afloat without proper medical care, adequate medication, or the support of their families.

Most charts tallying COVID-19 infections by country also include a line for “International Conveyance.” This is legal parlance for the cruise ships that served as incubators for the novel coronavirus. The Diamond Princess alone had 700 infections—at one point exceeding every other country outside of China. Sadly, seven of those infections have resulted in death.

Blood-Sugar-Reader-300x200The FDA announced February 11, 2020, that Medtronic recalled all 322,005 of its MiniMed insulin pumps in the United States. The agency issued a Class I Recall, which is the most serious type of recall reserved for situations where use of a medical device may cause serious injury or death. The recall comes on the heels of the first reported death caused by the device.

Insulin pumps regulate blood sugar in people with Type 1 diabetes. The device delivers small doses of short acting insulin continuously throughout the day, which replaces the traditional method of the patient periodically injecting him or herself with longer acting insulin. In operation, an insulin pump better recreates the function of a healthy pancreas.

The pump holds an insulin reservoir, from which insulin is slowly introduced into the body through a thin plastic tube that is permanently placed into the patient’s abdomen. The rate of flow is adjusted to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Insulin cartridges must be replaced periodically when the reservoir is depleted.

Child-199x300Every parent wants to provide the very best they can for their children, directly or indirectly dedicating most of their waking hours towards building a safe and happy home life, and part of the beautiful innocence of little children is their complete ignorance of their parents’ hard work and sacrifice dedicated to providing a home. The child feels safe because of the mother’s and father’s mere presence.

Sadly, we live in a world of not only childish innocence, but one of tragedy and loss. Although a parent would gladly trade places with his or her child in the event of disease or physical trauma, we are never given that choice. Yet sometimes, children do have their parents torn from them at a young age. Losing a parent at a young age is one of the most devastating life events a human can experience. Not only is there a terrible sense of loss, the child’s future is suddenly uncertain. Who will raise the child? How will they pay for the child’s needs? Will there be a family fight to determine both?

Under Michigan law, a minor that loses his or her parents will either be placed with friends or family, or in the absence of a willing caregiver, be placed into the foster care system. As parents, we do not want our bereaved children to go through any unnecessary distress or uncertainty. Consequently, it’s a parent’s responsibility to have an estate plan that nominates the children’s caretakers in the event of their death. To learn more about estate planning, you will find an article discussing the basics here.

Lots-of-Guns-300x200As I explored in a previous blog, the Protection of Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7901 (2005), et seq., (“PLCAA”) has shielded gun manufacturers from suit since its enactment in 2005. The law bars any civil liability action against a firearms dealer or manufacturer, except for certain limited exceptions. My previous blog revolved around the parents of the victims killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, who survived summary judgment on a motion conceived under PLCAA filed by the defendant, Remington Arms Company. Now, the city of Kansas City is bringing a claim against a manufacturer and several firearms dealers, which may further chip away at the Act’s once impenetrable protection.

PLCAA’s protection is broad. 1515 U.S.C. § 7902 provides that “[a] qualified civil liability action may not be brought in any Federal or State court” against a firearms manufacturer or dealer. The definition of a qualified civil liability action is explored in § 7902, which defines the term broadly, encompassing ostensibly all civil claims against licensed gun dealers and manufacturers. However, § 7903(A) identifies certain claims that will not be considered a qualified action.

Contractual disputes or claims for breach of warranty are not qualified actions. § 7903(5)(A)(iv). Neither are claims related to defective design or manufacture of a firearm. § 7903(5)(A)(v). Claims arising out of negligent entrustment, where a manufacturer or a dealer puts a firearm into the hands of someone likely to injure themselves or others, are permitted. § 7903(5)(A)(ii; § 7903(5)(B). Similarly, if a manufacturer or dealer knowingly provides a gun to a person intending to commit a crime of violence or engage in drug trafficking, immunity from suit is not available. § 7903(5)(A)(i).

asian-at-computer-300x200Immigration is a political buzzword that can be divisive in certain conversations. The debate regarding immigration policy, and the underlying statutory framework upon which the policy is executed, are innately contentious. Many people have deep, emotionally held views regarding the subject, and its mere mention can elicit a visceral response. Our beliefs regarding immigration are held in a close, even intimate, manner, as questions about immigration are questions about self-identity.

While the solution to our immigration problems—both real and imagined—may be elusive, and well beyond the scope of this blog, understanding the system in place is necessary to have a competent discussion about change. Just like any other large governmentally administered program, our migration policy arises out of laws written by the United States Congress. Prior to 1965, our immigration system was based upon quotas and was designed to favor northern and western European immigrants. That system was replaced with the passage of the Hart-Cellar Act, which created a number of categories that favor migration from individuals with existing familial or economic ties to America.

Although there are a multitude of classifications under which an immigrant can seek entrance to the United States, as a practical matter, our immigration system is based upon a handful of channels by which an immigrant can obtain a “green card”, which is an informal term referring to the card an immigrant receives when granted lawful permanent resident status.  For the vast majority of cases, an immigrant will obtain lawful permanent resident status through family, as a result of employment, for humanitarian considerations, or through the diversity lottery. These categories make up more than 95% of the total number of successful immigrants.

rifle-with-smoke-200x300Regardless of one’s personal beliefs about firearms, no one disputes the power and energy in a fired bullet. When a human is struck by a fired round, the consequences can be catastrophic. When someone injures another person by shooting them unlawfully, the criminal justice system can mete out appropriate punishment, but punishment alone does not make the victim whole. Moreover, where an individual is shot by accident, the criminal justice system many not engage judicial process at all.

Whether intentional or accidental, those suffering gunshot wounds may need to turn to a civil lawsuit in order to obtain compensation. However, questions remain about what legal theories are available and who can be held responsible?

If someone intentionally shoots another person, or if the shooter acts with reckless disregard for the safety of others when discharging a firearm, it can be a crime—except under certain circumstances, such as justified self-defense. A judge will typically order an individual convicted of unlawfully shooting pay restitution, together with the prescribed incarceration and fines. However, restitution may be limited to medical bills and other economic loss without taking pain and suffering into account. Under these circumstances, a civil lawsuit for the same shooting may be necessary to be fully compensated.

Prison-inside-empty-300x199The rates of childhood sexual assault are staggering. One in every five women under the age of 18 have been the victim of a sexual assault. The rate is lower, but still unimaginably high for boys: one out of twenty. The state legislature is finally catching up with changing social norms and cultural developments surrounding sexual assault. Until the recent passing of California Assembly Bill 218, many perpetrators of sexual assault hid behind the years of silence imposed on their victims through fear, embarrassment, disbelief, and intimidation. Now, however, the laws surrounding sexual assault are changing, allowing child victims that did not bring claims in the previously prescribed 8-year window to seek justice in a civil court until he or she reaches the age of 40. In this regard, California follows New York, New Jersey, and several other states enacting similar legislation.

            Individuals who were victimized and are still within the former statute of limitations period will be able to bring a claim up and until the day before they turn 40 years old. Individuals for which the statute of limitations has already run will be granted a 3-year window to file a lawsuit. For those individuals, claims that were already time-barred will be able to file their claim anytime between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2022.

The new law also includes a provision that drew heavy opposition, and a deluge of lobbying dollars, from the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, and the California public school system. Where a survivor of sexual assault can show that an organization covered up previous sexual assaults, and the survivor was subsequently assaulted—making the coverup its cause—the survivor can recover treble damages. The most publicized examples of such behavior regard the Catholic church, where leaders were aware of predatory clergy, but purposefully and systematically covered up the assaults and allowed the predators to have continued access to children. Some 800 lawsuits were filed in the weeks following the opening of the revival window. Between June 2017 and June 2018, prior to enactment of the law, the Catholic Church is estimated to have paid $301.6 million nationwide in relation to sexual abuse claims. That massive figure is poised to grow exponentially as more adults seek compensation for decades old sexual assaults.

road-man-broken-car-6078-300x200Buying a car is typically a stressful, yet exciting experience for most people. That sense of excitement can quickly turn to frustration when the vehicle purchased begins having mechanical trouble. Frustration can devolve into anger when the dealer repeatedly makes ineffective repairs, sometimes delaying action or denying responsibility all together.

Each state and the federal government have enacted “lemon laws” to provide redress where a purchaser is saddled with a vehicle that doesn’t meet quality and performance standards. Unfortunately, not all situations are covered by a lemon law; moreover, every state’s, as well as the federal, version of the law is different.

Generally, lemon laws protect purchasers of new motor vehicles from defects or conditions that substantially impair the value of the vehicle and where the manufacturer has failed to resolve the problem after been given a reasonable opportunity to perform repairs. However, various jurisdictions define “new motor vehicles,” “substantial impairment,” and “reasonable opportunity to repair” in a number of ways. There are also a number of variations in the scope and breadth of relief available.

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