Is Your Doctor Being Paid To Turn You Into An Addict?

By David Kennedy | August 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

As reported yesterday by the Washington Post and others, pharmaceutical companies are paying doctors to prescribe their opioids. According to the report, between 2013 and 2015, “68,177 doctors received more than $46 million in payments from drug companies pushing powerful painkillers.” That, in my opinion, is just not right.

Over 52,000 people died from opioid use in 2015, and according to the National Centers for Health Statistics, the first nine months of 2016 saw a spike in deaths related to opioid abuse. Deaths related to non-opioid drugs from Mexico – although cartels from Mexico do market opioids – pale in comparison to the carnage from marketing by drug companies. Think about it: this is legal marketing of drugs that like heroin and meth will hook their customers in an instant. And should the corporations be permitted to use physicians whose first oath to their patients is “to do no harm?” Where are the adults in the medical profession?

I recall the testimony of the ‘tobacco CEOs’ before congress in 1994. The industry they championed caused millions of deaths – and still does – all while they sold their products with impunity to public health and honesty. Congress never punished those who testified that ‘gummie bears’ were more addictive, giving at the very least tacit approval to capitalism being more important in our country than health and safety of those Congress was elected to protect. Given this backdrop, why should pharmaceutical companies and unethical doctors give a rip about the true cause and effect of their deadly scheme?

The answer lies in our demanding that corporate america play by the same rules that individuals and less-powerful citizens must play by. As an attorney, I could not advise a client to make a deal with someone who unbeknownst to my client was paying me to market to my client, i.e. a kickback. To a society that recognizes fairness as a fundamental tenet of its very existence, is there an acceptable exception to that rule of fairness for those among us to profit from non-disclosure of an obvious conflict. Couple that with ‘death’ being the cost we pay for that exception, and the answer is a screaming ‘NO.’

Until we find a way to ensure only leaders with a backbone are elected as our watchdogs, we can only rely on corporations being as good as the people who run them from the boardrooms. That doesn’t give me much hope.

Click To Add Comment

Big Mouths Can Lead To Big Lawsuits

By David Kennedy | July 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Austin American-Statesman reports today that Nancy Grace and several media outlets are being sued by an Austin, Texas dentist targeted in one of Grace’s broadcasts. The show focused on the fallout from yet another anesthesia-related death of a child during a dental procedure. Sadly, children dying during these procedures is becoming all too commonplace, and I for one would be hard-pressed to agree that anyone 21 years of age or younger undergo anesthesia – as opposed to those hated but safer shots in the gums. The risks in the dental office where many may not be trained to handle the life and death emergency, are simply too great.

But the purpose of this post is to focus on defamation, which in a very general sense is insulting a person by the spoken (slander) or written/recorded (libel) word. I won’t lose you to all of the qualifications or elements of a cause of action for defamation, but do want to impress on you just how risky it is for you to get caught up in the gossip of daily news. Grace and her media alleged and made a show out of an unproven theory that the dental procedure wasn’t needed at all, and of course had it not happened, then there would have been no death.

Certain folks are public persons who have interjected themselves into the mainstream of our lives, and they are pretty much free game. Trump or Clinton, Hannity or Maddow – they asked for it and you can pretty much say anything of an opinion about them or their issues and not be liable. A dentist who ‘may have’ committed malpractice? Be very careful.

Defamation per se is recognized as injurious without the need to show monetary loss. This is where the suit against Nancy Grace comes in. Lawyers such as myself that file suits against those who injure others – and I have handled several cases against dentists – are protected from defamation liability when we file official pleadings in court or argue to a jury. In fact, the defense demands we be specific with our ‘slanderous’ accusations. But, if an attorney stands on the street corner or goes on t.v. to make his case, then he/she is probably not protected and had better tamp the enthusiasm. And, of course, so should you on social media.

To insult someone in their profession, impute that they carry a sexual disease, or impute a crime to them, are all the types of accusations that can qualify you for becoming a defendant in court. There a quite a few things you could say or print that if they cause the loss of income to someone, you could be sued.

Now, the truth is a defense to these suits, but who wants to experience the inside of a courtroom as a defendant just to prove truthfulness? My best advice is to be very careful not to jump on the bandwagon of gossip in a matter that involves someone other than a public figure, especially via social media. It could prove to be quite costly.

Click To Add Comment

Mothers Fight For Justice Against Truck Dangers

By David Kennedy | July 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

A recent television news report focused on the efforts of two mothers who have joined together in seeing that the needless deaths of their respective daughters won’t be in vain. The goal is to prevent deaths caused directly by there conspicuously being a lack of a certain safety feature on big trucks.

Here is the issue. Years ago we had truck accident cases where injuries were routinely deaths due to there being no undercarriage bar installed on these truck’ trailers. The next time you pull up behind a large truck, you will probably notice a horizontal bar that until now you may have thought was there for the convenience of the trucker to climb into the back of his trailer. Well, it may serve a dual purpose, but those bars are required by regulations designed to prevent cars from driving up under the bottom of the big rig in rear-end collisions. Without those bars, even small fender-benders were routinely turning into death cases due to decapitation and serious head injuries. The government stepped in and mandated them – they actually cost very little – and many small accidents have remained small accidents.

The problem, however, is that without being forced to take action to save lives, many companies will refuse to act. As a result, most trucks do not have undercarriage bars on the sides of the trailers. As a consequence, we are still seeing a great number of deadly accidents that shouldn’t be, simply because the car slides under the side of the trailer, such as in a t-bone intersection accident. Again, people could walk away from such accidents but for the disparity between the height of the two vehicles involved. The roofs of most cars and SUVs are not designed to withstand much of an impact, as compared to the front end.

With that said,  it should be noted that even the bars in the back of the truck trailer that are now required are not sufficient and too often give way to impact at low speeds. So, not only are side rails needed, but the rear rails need increased crash-worthiness requirements.

I applaud those who are fighting this fight, and I can only hope the end result will be that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will step up and do its job of protecting the public.

Click To Add Comment

Death By Mac And Cheese?

By David Kennedy | July 13, 2017 | 1 Comment

As reported today in the New York Times, you – and more importantly your kids that are counting on us adults – are potentially at great risk of injury from of all things, macaroni and cheese. How we got here is really not that surprising.

According to the report, the culprit is a chemical called phthalates. It is not a food product, but is an industrial chemical used by manufacturers to soften plastics, ‘and are used in solvents, in adhesives and in ink on packaging.’ Apparently the harmful product can make its way into the food by rubbing off or seeping into the contents, and powdered mac and cheese boxes are at a high risk, according to studies by experts. Nine out of ten products were made by Kraft.

The injuries to children which are linked back to the chemicals are behavior problems in older children, and possibly birth defects in the unborn. European countries – this is getting to sound like a broken record – are ahead of the United States in that they have banned the used of this chemical in many plastics that come into contact with fatty foods, including baby food, but the F.D.A. has continued to allow their use as a ‘food additive.’ With the new administration, you cannot count on any change toward safety by the F.D.A. as they are looking to roll back protective action and regulations imposed by the Agency so that manufacturers will be able to see an uptick in products brought to market.

So, at this point there is no evidence that powdered mac and cheese in the United States will kill you as opposed to simply causing some very serious injuries – something our government seems to consider acceptable collateral damage in the name of capitalism. But , who among us consider our kids acceptable than collateral damage?

Click To Add Comment

Sign Up Now!

Stay informed about the legal issues that affect your life. We'll send you our newsletter via email.

Join 2 other subscribers

Is Your Doctor Being Paid To Turn You Into An Addict?

By David Kennedy | August 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

As reported yesterday by the Washington Post and others, pharmaceutical companies are paying doctors to prescribe their opioids. According to the report, between 2013 and 2015, “68,177 doctors received more than $46 million in payments from drug companies pushing powerful painkillers.” That, in my opinion, is just not right.

Over 52,000 people died from opioid use in 2015, and according to the National Centers for Health Statistics, the first nine months of 2016 saw a spike in deaths related to opioid abuse. Deaths related to non-opioid drugs from Mexico – although cartels from Mexico do market opioids – pale in comparison to the carnage from marketing by drug companies. Think about it: this is legal marketing of drugs that like heroin and meth will hook their customers in an instant. And should the corporations be permitted to use physicians whose first oath to their patients is “to do no harm?” Where are the adults in the medical profession?

I recall the testimony of the ‘tobacco CEOs’ before congress in 1994. The industry they championed caused millions of deaths – and still does – all while they sold their products with impunity to public health and honesty. Congress never punished those who testified that ‘gummie bears’ were more addictive, giving at the very least tacit approval to capitalism being more important in our country than health and safety of those Congress was elected to protect. Given this backdrop, why should pharmaceutical companies and unethical doctors give a rip about the true cause and effect of their deadly scheme?

The answer lies in our demanding that corporate america play by the same rules that individuals and less-powerful citizens must play by. As an attorney, I could not advise a client to make a deal with someone who unbeknownst to my client was paying me to market to my client, i.e. a kickback. To a society that recognizes fairness as a fundamental tenet of its very existence, is there an acceptable exception to that rule of fairness for those among us to profit from non-disclosure of an obvious conflict. Couple that with ‘death’ being the cost we pay for that exception, and the answer is a screaming ‘NO.’

Until we find a way to ensure only leaders with a backbone are elected as our watchdogs, we can only rely on corporations being as good as the people who run them from the boardrooms. That doesn’t give me much hope.

Click To Add Comment

Big Mouths Can Lead To Big Lawsuits

By David Kennedy | July 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Austin American-Statesman reports today that Nancy Grace and several media outlets are being sued by an Austin, Texas dentist targeted in one of Grace’s broadcasts. The show focused on the fallout from yet another anesthesia-related death of a child during a dental procedure. Sadly, children dying during these procedures is becoming all too commonplace, and I for one would be hard-pressed to agree that anyone 21 years of age or younger undergo anesthesia – as opposed to those hated but safer shots in the gums. The risks in the dental office where many may not be trained to handle the life and death emergency, are simply too great.

But the purpose of this post is to focus on defamation, which in a very general sense is insulting a person by the spoken (slander) or written/recorded (libel) word. I won’t lose you to all of the qualifications or elements of a cause of action for defamation, but do want to impress on you just how risky it is for you to get caught up in the gossip of daily news. Grace and her media alleged and made a show out of an unproven theory that the dental procedure wasn’t needed at all, and of course had it not happened, then there would have been no death.

Certain folks are public persons who have interjected themselves into the mainstream of our lives, and they are pretty much free game. Trump or Clinton, Hannity or Maddow – they asked for it and you can pretty much say anything of an opinion about them or their issues and not be liable. A dentist who ‘may have’ committed malpractice? Be very careful.

Defamation per se is recognized as injurious without the need to show monetary loss. This is where the suit against Nancy Grace comes in. Lawyers such as myself that file suits against those who injure others – and I have handled several cases against dentists – are protected from defamation liability when we file official pleadings in court or argue to a jury. In fact, the defense demands we be specific with our ‘slanderous’ accusations. But, if an attorney stands on the street corner or goes on t.v. to make his case, then he/she is probably not protected and had better tamp the enthusiasm. And, of course, so should you on social media.

To insult someone in their profession, impute that they carry a sexual disease, or impute a crime to them, are all the types of accusations that can qualify you for becoming a defendant in court. There a quite a few things you could say or print that if they cause the loss of income to someone, you could be sued.

Now, the truth is a defense to these suits, but who wants to experience the inside of a courtroom as a defendant just to prove truthfulness? My best advice is to be very careful not to jump on the bandwagon of gossip in a matter that involves someone other than a public figure, especially via social media. It could prove to be quite costly.

Click To Add Comment

Mothers Fight For Justice Against Truck Dangers

By David Kennedy | July 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

A recent television news report focused on the efforts of two mothers who have joined together in seeing that the needless deaths of their respective daughters won’t be in vain. The goal is to prevent deaths caused directly by there conspicuously being a lack of a certain safety feature on big trucks.

Here is the issue. Years ago we had truck accident cases where injuries were routinely deaths due to there being no undercarriage bar installed on these truck’ trailers. The next time you pull up behind a large truck, you will probably notice a horizontal bar that until now you may have thought was there for the convenience of the trucker to climb into the back of his trailer. Well, it may serve a dual purpose, but those bars are required by regulations designed to prevent cars from driving up under the bottom of the big rig in rear-end collisions. Without those bars, even small fender-benders were routinely turning into death cases due to decapitation and serious head injuries. The government stepped in and mandated them – they actually cost very little – and many small accidents have remained small accidents.

The problem, however, is that without being forced to take action to save lives, many companies will refuse to act. As a result, most trucks do not have undercarriage bars on the sides of the trailers. As a consequence, we are still seeing a great number of deadly accidents that shouldn’t be, simply because the car slides under the side of the trailer, such as in a t-bone intersection accident. Again, people could walk away from such accidents but for the disparity between the height of the two vehicles involved. The roofs of most cars and SUVs are not designed to withstand much of an impact, as compared to the front end.

With that said,  it should be noted that even the bars in the back of the truck trailer that are now required are not sufficient and too often give way to impact at low speeds. So, not only are side rails needed, but the rear rails need increased crash-worthiness requirements.

I applaud those who are fighting this fight, and I can only hope the end result will be that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will step up and do its job of protecting the public.

Click To Add Comment

Death By Mac And Cheese?

By David Kennedy | July 13, 2017 | 1 Comment

As reported today in the New York Times, you – and more importantly your kids that are counting on us adults – are potentially at great risk of injury from of all things, macaroni and cheese. How we got here is really not that surprising.

According to the report, the culprit is a chemical called phthalates. It is not a food product, but is an industrial chemical used by manufacturers to soften plastics, ‘and are used in solvents, in adhesives and in ink on packaging.’ Apparently the harmful product can make its way into the food by rubbing off or seeping into the contents, and powdered mac and cheese boxes are at a high risk, according to studies by experts. Nine out of ten products were made by Kraft.

The injuries to children which are linked back to the chemicals are behavior problems in older children, and possibly birth defects in the unborn. European countries – this is getting to sound like a broken record – are ahead of the United States in that they have banned the used of this chemical in many plastics that come into contact with fatty foods, including baby food, but the F.D.A. has continued to allow their use as a ‘food additive.’ With the new administration, you cannot count on any change toward safety by the F.D.A. as they are looking to roll back protective action and regulations imposed by the Agency so that manufacturers will be able to see an uptick in products brought to market.

So, at this point there is no evidence that powdered mac and cheese in the United States will kill you as opposed to simply causing some very serious injuries – something our government seems to consider acceptable collateral damage in the name of capitalism. But , who among us consider our kids acceptable than collateral damage?

Click To Add Comment

Sign Up Now!

Stay informed about the legal issues that affect your life. We'll send you our newsletter via email.

Join 2 other subscribers