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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Results in Lawsuits by Defrauded Consumers

Published on Oct 7, 2015 at 10:59 am in General.
Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Results in Lawsuits by Defrauded Consumers

In a massive deception which will likely result in billions of dollars in costs to the German automaker, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that Volkswagen installed a device in some of its cars specifically to deceive air quality smog inspections. The EPA claims that Volkswagen installed software in cars manufactured between 2008 and 2015 that enables cars equipped with diesel engines to bypass emissions standards that they would otherwise not pass. The “defeat device” software is engineered to ensure that, while the car is undergoing emissions testing, it emits minimal pollutants, but does not control these pollutants while the car is on the road. The EPA estimates that the cars actually emit the harmful pollutant nitrogen oxide at 40 times the federal limit. Should Volkswagen’s cars be found noncompliant with EPA guidelines after a full investigation is completed, the manufacturer may be liable for up to $18 billion in civil penalties. These fines would be on top of the cost of recalling and repairing the vehicles, as well as any damages in civil lawsuits.

Attorneys General from at least 27 states, including Mississippi, have come together to investigate the Volkswagen fraud, and a number of states have already filed suit against the car manufacturer. The US Department of Justice has also opened an inquiry, as have the governments of South Korea and Germany. A number of private class actions have been filed on behalf of Volkswagen and Audi owners, as well, including on behalf of owners in Iowa, New York, Illinois and California, by owners who feel defrauded by the company’s false statements regarding the environmentally-friendly and fuel-conserving nature of the cars.

There are believed to be roughly 11 million vehicles using the defeat device worldwide, with roughly 482,000 of those being diesel cars in the US. Owners of the following models manufactured between 2009-2015 should contact their local dealer regarding the recall: Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Beetle, Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Passat, manufactured between 2014-2015.

If you have been the victim of fraud or of a defectively manufactured product, ensure that you’re compensated for the deceit perpetrated on you by contacting skilled product liability attorney Corban Gunn to discuss your claims, at 228.284.6805.

Did my Car Accident Give Me Whiplash?

Published on Sep 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm in General.
Did my Car Accident Give Me Whiplash?

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that results from car accidents. If you’ve recently been in a car accident, determine whether you developed a case of whiplash, seek treatment, and request the compensation you’re owed from the driver who caused your injuries with the help of a skilled Mississippi car accident attorney.

  • Whiplash results most commonly from rear-end accidents, but also from sports injuries, or from physical assault. Anytime your head is whipped backward and forward abruptly and violently, whiplash can result.
  • Whiplash may not show up right away. You may walk away from a car accident feeling fine, only to wake up a day or two later in pain. However, the most severe cases of whiplash are often associated with pain occurring immediately after the injury.
  • The pain of whiplash results from damage to the soft tissues in the neck, including ligaments, nerves, and muscles, as well as damage to bones in the neck and spine, and damage to spinal discs.
  • Symptoms of whiplash include: stiffness and soreness in the neck; tenderness in the neck and shoulders; a diminished range of motion in the neck and pain from turning the neck; dizziness; headaches typically stemming from the base of the skull; and numbness and tingling in the arms.
  • When you see your doctor for a case of whiplash, the doctor will likely discuss your pain with you and test your range of motion, as well as have you undergo an X-ray, CT and MRI scan, in order to ensure that no bones are broken and you did not incur a concussion in the crash, as well as whiplash.
  • Treatment of whiplash will likely include rest, ice, heat, over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin, prescription pain killers, muscle relaxers, and numbing injections. The doctor will also likely recommend gentle neck stretches and exercises, and may prescribe physical therapy. Whiplash typically lasts somewhere between several weeks and a few months.
  • In more serious cases of whiplash, symptoms may include difficulty with concentration or recall, depression, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and blurred vision. Chronic neck pain can persist for many months, and even years, in the most severe cases.

If you have been injured in a Mississippi car accident and developed a case of whiplash, contact skilled Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation, at 228.284.6805.

Massive Recall by IKEA of Popular Malm Line of Furniture

Published on Aug 25, 2015 at 9:08 pm in General.
Massive Recall by IKEA of Popular Malm Line of Furniture

In a recall spanning a line of products sold over the course of the last 13 years, IKEA has issued a recall notice for its Malm line of dressers and chests of drawers. The recall, issued through the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), warns those with pieces of the Malm furniture that there is a risk that the furniture items can tip over if not anchored securely to the wall. The furniture had long been sold without anchoring hardware. The CPSC and the popular Swedish furniture manufacturer are issuing the recall after having received a number of reports of the furniture tipping over, including reports of the deaths of two young children who were killed by the furniture in 2014. Since 1989, IKEA has received 14 reports of pieces of Malm furniture tipping over, which include four reports of injury, and three additional reports of individuals receiving fatal injuries. The recall includes the Malm line of dressers and chests of drawers sold since 2002, as well as any other IKEA chests and dressers intended for children’s rooms that are taller than 23 ½ inches, or chests and dressers not intended as children’s furniture that are taller than 29 ½ inches. If you own furniture subject to the recall, call IKEA’s toll-free hotline to receive a free wall anchoring kit in the mail, which you should use as soon as possible to anchor the furniture to the wall.

Injuries from furniture tip-overs most commonly occur to children who are playing on or near the furniture, who are small enough to be trapped under or seriously injured by the falling object. Tip-over injuries and deaths are believed to be highly under-reported, due to the fact that the children were typically unsupervised when the injury occurred. Since the injuries are under-reported, many parents don’t understand the potential dangers of un-anchored or cheaply manufactured furniture. International ASTM furniture safety standards advise manufacturers to ensure that their products can withstand at least 50 pounds of force being exerted on an extended drawer without tipping over. However, meeting these standards is not mandatory for furniture manufacturers, resulting in furniture that can be unstable or fails to include anchoring kits. However, while compliance with ASTM guidelines may not be legally required, manufacturers do have a duty not to sell items that they know or should know could cause injury or death to the consumers buying those products. Purchasers who are injured by these products may have a legal claim for compensation for such injuries.

If you or a loved one have been hurt by furniture that was negligently designed or manufactured, contact a Mississippi attorney who understands the technically complex field of product liability and can zealously represent you in court. Biloxi attorney Corban Gunn is an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight to ensure that you’re compensated for your loss. For a free consultation on your potential product liability or personal injury lawsuit, call 228.284.6805.

Families Suing Drug Maker for Birth Defects Believed to be Caused by Zofran

Published on Jul 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm in General.
Families Suing Drug Maker for Birth Defects Believed to be Caused by Zofran

Families across the country, including many in Mississippi, are filing lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for birth defects which they believe to have been caused by a drug manufactured by GSK. Several studies have now shown a link between use of Zofran early in a pregnancy and the occurrence of certain birth defects. For example, one study showed a link between Zofran use and the occurrence of fetal heart malformation, namely in the septum dividing the baby’s heart’s ventricles. Another study found a possible link between Zofran used to treat pregnancy-related nausea and the increased likelihood of craniofacial defects, including cleft lips, cleft palates, and malformed skulls. GSK denies that there are any links between the defects and Zofran use.

Zofran, also known by its generic name Ondansetron, was initially developed for use in treating nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and it was this purpose for which the FDA offered approval of the drug. When physicians saw how well the drug performed as a treatment for nausea, doctors began to prescribe it off-label to pregnant women who suffered from particularly severe nausea and morning sickness. “Off-label” indicates where a drug is prescribed for a use for which the FDA has not specifically approved it. While such prescriptions are not illegal, the companies manufacturing drugs which become popular for off-label uses are not legally permitted to promote the drugs for those off-label uses. The U.S. Department of Justice found cause to believe that GSK was promoting Zofran for use as an anti-nausea drug for pregnant women, and even that GSK was paying physicians to prescribe the drug to pregnant women, despite a growing number of claims that the drug was linked to birth defects. The Justice Department filed both civil and criminal claims against GSK based on these and other allegations, which GSK settled for $3 billion, all while denying that they had committed any wrongdoing.

Birth defects are tragic events in a young family’s life, and can lead to decades of struggles with health and enormous treatment and rehabilitation expenses. If you or someone you know gave birth to a child with birth defects after taking Zofran during early pregnancy, contact a skilled personal injury attorney to explore your legal options. Contact experienced Biloxi, Mississippi attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation on your possible birth defect lawsuit at 866-212-7533, or online.

SUV Crashes Into Restaurant while Driver Has Medical Emergency

Published on Jun 15, 2015 at 3:52 pm in General.
SUV Crashes Into Restaurant while Driver Has Medical Emergency

A driver of an SUV recently crashed into a restaurant, causing injuries to herself and three restaurant patrons. The driver, unnamed in news reports, was driving along Interstate route 80 when she began to experience a medical emergency. This incident caused her to lose control of the SUV, subsequently crashing. The restaurant in question was a Duke’s Steakhouse on route 80 in Pelahatchie. At the time of the crash, there were 40 to 50 people in the restaurant. Fortunately, only three were injured by the crash. Emergency responders initially struggled to extract the driver from the vehicle, but they were eventually able to do so. The driver and another patron were taken by ambulance to the hospital, while the two other injured individuals were taken by friends or family to receive medical attention.

While a car accident caused by a medical emergency can be a sudden, unanticipated event, if a driver is aware of a medical condition that could make her unsafe on the road, she bears a legal responsibility to ensure she is symptom-free before getting behind the wheel. Drivers who know that they are at risk of losing consciousness, fainting, or otherwise becoming unable to continue driving are obligated to stay off the road until the condition is under control, and can be held liable for damages if they drive despite the risk and cause an accident while doing so.

One common example is that of someone with epilepsy experiencing a seizure while driving. Epileptics may have restrictions placed on their licenses when they have experienced seizures in recent months, but if medical treatments are successful in helping them manage the condition, such restrictions can be lifted. Individuals with certain heart conditions that can cause sudden dips in blood pressure should also exercise caution when driving if the condition is not under control. Unmanaged diabetes can also cause swings in blood sugar leading to the individual experiencing a diabetic coma. In one recent incident in New Jersey, a driver of a large dump truck caused multiple accidents and killed another driver while he drove with highly erratic blood sugar and was unable to control his vehicle. If the medical emergency causing a crash is the first time the individual has experienced those symptoms, or there was no reason to believe that the condition was not under control and being successfully managed with medication, then the driver may be able to escape liability for damages caused in an accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can help to ensure that you receive what you deserve for your injuries. Contact the compassionate and seasoned Biloxi attorneys at the law office of Corban Gunn for a free consultation on your possible car accident claim, at 228.284.6805.

Lumber Liquidators Laminate Flooring Contains Possibly Unsafe Levels of Chemicals

Published on May 5, 2015 at 10:41 am in General.
Lumber Liquidators Laminate Flooring Contains Possibly Unsafe Levels of Chemicals

A recent 60 Minutes report describing an investigation into the manufacturing practices of Lumber Liquidators has revealed that the flooring may contain unsafe levels of formaldehyde. Investigations into the Chinese facilities used by Lumber Liquidators for certain laminate products found that the facilities have been mislabeling the products they manufacture as being compliant with safety standards when, in fact, that is not true. Additionally, California environmental nonprofits and attorneys have been taking a closer look at the flooring installed in homes in that state. As reported by 60 Minutes, those investigations have discovered that the levels of formaldehyde present in the Lumber Liquidators flooring manufactured in China were six to seven–and up to twenty–times the amount of formaldehyde permitted by state safety standards. While there is no equivalent federal standard, the amount of formaldehyde being emitted by the tested Chinese-manufactured flooring is at a level deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Formaldehyde is a colorless and flammable chemical used in a wide range of products, including pressed woods, preservatives, and glues. The U.S. National Toxicology Program, as well its European equivalent, have determined that formaldehyde is a human carcinogen. Additionally, medical specialists in toxic substances have found that prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can cause chronic respiratory irritation and create a greater risk of developing asthma, especially in children.

It is possible to be exposed to formaldehyde without knowing it. Formaldehyde emits gaseous fumes which, in very open or well-ventilated spaces, are not always harmful to humans, since the gases are not sufficiently concentrated. However, in enclosed homes or offices, the gases are more likely to remain at concentration levels which can cause acute and long-term health effects to those inhaling it. This is especially concerning where young children or infants may be playing on the floor, possibly breathing vigorously, and thus inhaling the gas directly from the flooring in higher quantities. Typically, someone inhaling formaldehyde gas would notice its pungent odor, but if someone inhales the gas regularly, they can become acclimated to the scent and fail to notice it.

Lumber Liquidators has challenged the testing done by 60 Minutes and has produced a report detailing their long history of manufacturing safe products. Lumber Liquidators has also issued kits to individuals who have recently had flooring installed that was manufactured by the company to test air in the home for possible chemical emissions from the laminate. Experts recommend that, if you have recently had laminate flooring installed in your home that was manufactured by Lumber Liquidators, you contact the flooring installers to request assurance that your flooring is safe.

If you are in the Biloxi, Mississippi area and believe you may have been the recipient of possibly unsafe flooring, or if are experiencing symptoms of excessive formaldehyde inhalation, don’t wait to take action. Contact the consumer attorneys at Corban Gunn for a free consultation on your possible legal claim. Ensure that you are fully compensated for the hassle, expense, and possible health effects you have experienced. Call 228.284.6805 to speak to a seasoned personal injury attorney today, from anywhere throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast and beyond, including Biloxi, Long Beach, Gautier, Harrison County, Jackson County, and statewide.

Blue Bell Recalls All Products After Listeria Outbreak

Published on Apr 3, 2015 at 10:33 am in General.
Blue Bell Recalls All Products After Listeria Outbreak

After receiving reports in several states of cases of Listeria occurring in individuals who consumed Blue Bell ice cream products, Blue Bell Creameries has recalled all of its products currently for sale throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control reports that a number of recent cases of Listeria, some fatal, have been linked to the ice cream manufacturer’s products, including those distributed in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as products sold in grocery and convenience stores. The tainted Blue Bell ice cream was believed to have been manufactured between February 12 and March 27, 2015, and distributed throughout Mississippi, as well as Arkansas, Louisiana, and twenty additional states across the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun to inspect Blue Bell manufacturing facilities in Texas and Oklahoma, and has found traces of a strain of Listeriosis bacteria on manufacturing equipment in the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma facility that is closely related to strains found in patients recently hospitalized for Listeriosis. In addition to the recall notice issued by Blue Bell, the FDA has issued a warning about Blue Bell products, advising customers to either throw away or return any recently purchased ice creams or novelties, even if part of the product was consumed without resulting in illness. If throwing away the product, customers are instructed to first seal it in a plastic bag to ensure that other people or animals do not eat the product and become ill.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection that can be serious, and sometimes fatal, to those infected. Symptoms include muscle aches and pains, stomach pains, diarrhea, fever, and chills. While most cases of Listeriosis appear within a few days of consuming an infected product, an infected individual may not experience symptoms for up to a month. Certain individuals are at higher risk for experiencing a more serious or fatal case of Listeriosis, including children, the elderly, or individuals with weak immune systems or chronic medical conditions. Should a pregnant woman contract Listeriosis, the sickness could cause serious harm or death to a newborn baby, or miscarriage.

If you or a loved one has been made ill by a recalled Blue Bell Ice Cream product, contact Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a free legal consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost work, or pain and suffering caused by illness resulting from consuming contaminated Blue Bell products, and you deserve to be made whole. Call 228.284.6805 from anywhere throughout the state of Mississippi, including Biloxi, Gulfport, McHenry, Diamondhead, Perkinston, Stone County, and along the Gulf Coast.

XARELTO CAUSES WRONGFUL DEATH ACCORDING TO LAWSUITS

Published on Mar 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm in General.
XARELTO CAUSES WRONGFUL DEATH ACCORDING TO LAWSUITS

According to court documents and review of the inventory of filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of Xarelto, litigation proceedings against the pharmaceutical company appear to be ratcheting up in scope and depth. In December, 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) granted consolidation of pretrial proceedings for all federal Xarelto cases filed against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen subsidiary over the new generation blood thinner.

Currently, the Xarelto personal injury and product liability claims are centralized before U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are now exposed to more than 220 cases alleging excessive bleeding in the federal multi-district litigation (MDL) with more cases being filed around the country.

Complaints Allege Lack of Warnings

The plaintiffs in the lawsuits consolidated in the MDL have alleged, among other causes of action, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson failed to properly warn about the risks associated with new-generation anticoagulant and the lack of an effective antidote for Xarelto, in the event of uncontrollable bleeding.

Xarelto is a new-generation anticoagulant approved by the FDA in 2011 as a replacement for Coumadin, an anticoagulant used to treat blood clots and strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition. While Xarelto has been touted as a safer alternative to Coumadin since it does not require regular blood tests to measure the drug’s effectiveness, several recent studies have found that Xarelto does not have a reversal agent that doctors can use to stop unwanted hemorrhaging. In contrast, Coumadin’s blood thinning effects can be quickly reversed in an emergency.

Xarelto Federal MDL Lawsuits

The MDL before Judge Fallon has an important role in streamlining the litigation, as all plaintiffs and defendants are under the control of one judge to allow for the coordination of discovery and the cases chosen as “bellwether trials” to determine the strength of the people’s claims for personal injury and/or wrongful death.

As part of the coordinated pre-trial proceedings, it is common in complex pharmaceutical and mass tort cases for a small group of cases will be selected as “bellwether” cases. I am personally involved in a bellwether case on behalf of my client in the Granuflo MDL located in Boston, MA, which I intend to blog about in the near future. Bellwether cases will be prepared for trial to help the parties determine how juries will consider certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated in every individual case.

If the parties fail to find a mass settlement, Judge Fallon will remand the cases back to their home jurisdiction for trial.

If you or a family member has been injured and experienced excessive bleeding while taking Xarelto, please contact our office at (866) 212-7533 or email at us corban@corbangunn.com.

How FMCSA Regulations Can Be Important in Your Trucking Accident Case

Published on Mar 9, 2015 at 10:59 am in General.
How FMCSA Regulations Can Be Important in Your Trucking Accident Case

If you have been injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, you may be able to recover compensation from the negligent trucker or trucking company responsible for causing the accident. To be successful in your personal injury case, it may be necessary to prove that the truck driver or trucking company was somehow negligent, and that this negligence is responsible for causing the accident.

One way to show negligence is to demonstrate that the driver or trucking company was not in compliance with safety rules and regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation charged with the task of preventing commercial motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities. To this end, the FMCSA implements and enforces safety regulations covering many aspects of the trucking industry. These areas include:

Hours of Service of Drivers – The regs govern the maximum length of a work day and work week, including how long a trucker may be behind the wheel in a given day. These rules are frequently violated by truckers under pressure to reach their destination as quickly as possible.

Inspection, Repair and Maintenance – These rules require frequent driver inspections and periodic inspections by the trucking companies. Inspectors and brake inspectors must be qualified. Unsafe operations which are likely to cause an accident or vehicle breakdown are forbidden by this rule.

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation – These rules include a long list of minimum requirements for safe operation, including headlamps and reflective devices; hazard lights and fog lamps; brake systems and components, including parking brakes, brakes on all wheels, automatic brake adjusters, and breakaway and emergency braking; window construction; fuel tanks; tires and more.

After an accident, it is important to inspect trucker and trucking company logbooks and records to determine if they were out of compliance with FMCSA safety regulations at the time of the crash. It should be noted that falsified logbooks are a frequent occurrence, and it may be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation and forensic analysis to determine if false logbook entries were made to make the trucking company appear to be in compliance when it actually was not.

Biloxi accident attorney Corban Gunn is familiar with FMCSA trucking regulations and the ways in which false entries may be made in logbooks. He conducts a thorough investigation of the accident to build a strong case for the trucking company’s liability to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured in a trucking accident or other motor vehicle accident in Biloxi or along the Gulf Coast in southern Mississippi, contact Corban Gunn for a free consultation.

Loaded Semi Flips Near Woolmarket Exit in Biloxi

Published on Feb 21, 2015 at 10:03 am in General.
Loaded Semi Flips Near Woolmarket Exit in Biloxi

Around 2:30 in the morning on Sunday, February 1st, a tractor-trailer hauling lettuce and heading eastbound on the I-10 flipped just past the Woolmarket exit in Biloxi. Crews spent almost ten hours unloading lettuce from the trailer and moving the semi off the highway, keeping lanes on the interstate closed until past noon. No details on what caused the big rig to flip have been released.

What causes a semi-trailer to flip?

While the cause of this particular truck accident is not known, there are many reasons which may cause a tractor-trailer to flip, jackknife or turn over. A tractor-trailer or semi-truck is composed of two components – the tractor or cab which pulls the trailer and the trailer itself, which is technically known as a semi-trailer, because it lacks front wheels and cannot move by itself; it must be attached to the tractor to complete the vehicle. Jackknifing occurs when the tractor goes into a skid, and the semi-trailer spins around independent of the tractor, winding up alongside the cab in the opposite direction, with the entire vehicle folded in on itself like a partially-opened pocket knife.

So what cause the tractor to skid in the first place? Truck driver error is a frequent cause, although equipment failure can play a role as well. Improper braking or brake failure are the most frequent causes of a jackknife, particularly on icy or wet and dangerous road conditions.

A commercial truck may flip due to a blowout or brake failure, or because the trucker was either braking too fast or turning too fast. Oversteering and understeering can both cause a tractor-trailer to flip over. An unbalanced or shifting load can also cause the semi to flip. It is important that a commercial vehicle be initially loaded with care and not negligently. The cargo should also be inspected frequently to check to see if it has undergone shifting and become unbalanced. Sometimes it is necessary to unload and reload the trailer to maintain a safely balanced load. This of course takes up valuable time for the trucker and trucking company, but failing to take this important step may be the cause of a serious truck accident which results in catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death, for which the driver or trucking company may be liable.

Attorney Corban Gunn helps victims of truck accidents in Biloxi, Gulfport and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast recover compensation for their injuries from negligent truckers and trucking companies. If you have been injured in a Biloxi truck accident, call our office at 228.284.6805 or contact us for a free consultation.

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