Anapol Advocate Newsletter Winter 2010
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Anapol Advocate Newsletter Winter 2010

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Your Advocates - In the last six months, Anapol Schwartz has continued to advocate for clients who have been victimized by others’ negligence. We are pleased to share with you our most recent......

Your Advocates - In the last six months, Anapol Schwartz has continued to advocate for clients who have been victimized by others’ negligence. We are pleased to share with you our most recent successes.

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  • 1. In This Issue Your Advocates 1 Safety First Anapol Uncovering the Risks of Electric Blankets and Heating Pads 1 Winter Driving Safety: Don’t Slip Up! 2 Medical Woes Gardasil Vaccine: Proceed with Caution 2 Guest Advocate Long-Term Care Planning: A Case Study 3 In the Community 500+ Consumers Participate in The Anapol Schwartz advocate Foundation Campaign 4 Winter 2010 Your Advocates Safety First In the last six months, Anapol Schwartz has continued to advocate for clients Uncovering the Risks who have been victimized by others’ of Electric Blankets negligence. We are pleased to share with and Heating Pads you our most recent successes. by Miriam Benton Barish Courtside While most Americans think they are keeping their homes safe • Alan Schwartz and Stephen Pokiniewski achieved by installing smoke alarms, many are unaware of the dangers a $2.185 million malpractice/wrongful death posed by their household products – the greatest source of verdict in a case involving a 51-year old man residential fires. who died due to careless medical care. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission • Mark LeWinter secured a $3.85 million settlement (CPSC), approximately 4,000 people are killed in house fires in an Allegheny Court of Common Pleas case for annually, with faulty appliances the greatest cause. two iron workers, one severely injured and the Ironically, it’s those electric blankets and heating pads that consumers rely upon for other killed on a Bloomsburg construction site. warmth and comfort that trigger hundreds of these fires, resulting in millions of dollars • A 41-year old man, who was injured due to a in property damage and dozens of injuries and deaths. medical misdiagnosis, received a $2.1 million settlement thanks to Lawrence Cohan. Heating pads and electric blankets are not supposed to rise to temperatures that can cause ignition. So, when these products set off a house fire, it is usually because they are • Joel Feldman obtained a half-million-plus defective or damaged. settlement against a bar for serving alcohol to a minor who then suffered injuries as a result What are the culprits? Often, the fabric or electrical cord wears out long before it should of driving intoxicated. or the heating wires are defective or the controls malfunction – all of which can lead to • Bernard Smalley and Adrianne Walvoord, along excessive heat, thereby posing a risk of burn injuries, fire or damage to the blanket or with national counsel, negotiated a complex heating pad itself. What’s more, fires can start when combustible materials like bedding commercial case involving breach of contract or furniture come in contact with the blanket or pad. claims for a government entity, resulting in a To protect your family and home from these electrical fire hazards, take these multi-million dollar settlement. safety measures: • On the mass tort front, we’re actively involved • Buy newer electric blankets and heating pad models, since older ones are more likely in filing lawsuits on behalf of consumers injured to cause electrical fires. by drugs Yaz/Yasmin, Paxil, Hydroxycut and • Always turn your blankets or heating pads off when not in use. Many models have no Gardasil, and medical devices Sprint Fidelis internal temperature control to shut off when they get too hot. Medtronic Defibrillators and Stryker and Zimmer Hip implants. • Look for blankets and heating pads with their own overheating shut-off system. continued, page 4 continued, page 3 www.AnapolSchwartz.com
  • 2. Safety First, continued Winter Driving Safety: Medical Don’t Slip Up! Woes by James Ronca Gardasil Vaccine: Unless you live in North Dakota, sometimes it’s easy to forget that driving in winter weather calls for additional Proceed with Caution safety precautions. To help protect yourself and your by Lawrence Cohan and Melissa Fry Hague vehicle against winter accidents, follow these tips. Since the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine • Keep up on proper maintenance. It’s important to take Gardasil hit the market in mid-2006, more than your vehicle in for regular service to ensure no repairs 23 million doses have been administered. are needed. The vaccine is designed to protect women • Know how your vehicle responds in winter conditions. For example, and girls from several of the HPV strains most if you have anti-lock brakes, your vehicle will react differently in likely to cause genital warts and cervical a skid. cancer – the second-most common cancer among women. Tests • Check windshield wipers and fluid. Wipers should be in good have shown Gardasil to be relatively safe and effective, and women condition and the window washer reservoir should be full of should certainly take the vaccine if their physicians recommend it. non-freezing fluid. However, adverse reactions can occur with any vaccine, and • Get a grip. Make sure your tires have good tread and are properly Gardasil is no different. Women have reported Guillain-Barré inflated. If you live in an area prone to snow, use snow tires. Syndrome (a rare disorder causing potentially severe, usually • Slow down and avoid abrupt maneuvers. In any adverse weather, temporary, paralysis), as well as other neurological reactions, you need additional time to react. seizures and thromboembolic disorders. There have even been • Maintain a safe following distance. Leave extra space between several dozen accounts of deaths. Fortunately, there are simple your vehicle and others’. Remember that trucks take more time steps you can take to minimize your risk of injury: to stop, so give them more room. Taking Other Medications? Tell Your Doctor. If you’re on any • Beware of bridges. Bridges, as well as ramps and overpasses, have medicines, or if you’ve had cold or flu symptoms, tell your doctor air underneath them and freeze before the regular road surface. before receiving Gardasil. Some vaccines are contraindicated in patients with viral or bacterial infections, and some just don’t mix • Use four-way flashers. If visibility is bad and/or traction is reduced, well with other medications. put on your flashers so other drivers can see your vehicle. Say “No” to Multiple Vaccines. Doctors sometimes administer • Know how to handle skidding. If you are in a skid and the rear of multiple vaccines during a visit. However, Gardasil has only been your car goes to one side, steer into that side. tested with one other vaccine, Hepatitis B. If you let your doctor give you any other vaccines with Gardasil, you’re volunteering to be a guinea pig. Watch for Adverse Effects. Any symptoms manifesting within 72 hours of receiving Gardasil – including infections, rashes, or fainting – could be related to the vaccine. If minor reactions last several days, or if more severe ones occur, immediately seek medical help. Know Your Rights. Most vaccines, including Gardasil, are governed by the National Childhood Vaccine Act, which preempts all state action from injuries arising from these vaccines. Claims must be filed under the Vaccine Injury Program in the Federal Claims Court in Washington, Remember that winter weather is often unpredictable. Driving in D.C., by attorneys qualified to handle these cases. If you have such conditions can be a challenge, but by following these tips you suffered an injury from Gardasil, contact a lawyer who can bring can help protect yourself and your vehicle. And, remember the your case before the Vaccine Injury Program. ultimate safety tip – unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel in Shareholder Lawrence Cohan represents victims suffering from dangerous conditions, don’t! adverse reactions to Gardasil and other vaccines, and has been Shareholder James Ronca has been representing victims and their handling complex plaintiff’s cases for nearly 30 years. He families in major car and truck collision cases for more than 30 years, concentrates his practice on medical malpractice, toxic tort and achieving numerous multi-million dollar results, including a recent case pharmaceutical claims. Contact him at lcohan@anapolschwartz.com. near State College, Pa., involving a 42-vehicle pileup resulting in six Associate Melissa Fry Hague has also been instrumental in counseling fatalities. Ronca has given more than 100 lectures on motor vehicle victims who have been injured by Gardasil. She focuses her practice cases, including numerous seminars on truck cases. He is the lead on mass torts, products liability, class actions and medical malpractice. author of the most widely used treatise in motor vehicle insurance. Contact her at mhague@anapolschwartz.com. Contact him at jronca@anapolschwartz.com. 2 Anapol Advocate Winter 2010
  • 3. Guest Advocate Long-Term Care Planning: A Case Study by Jerold E. Rothkoff Jane contacted our office recently for assistance in long- term care planning for her and her husband, John. They have been married for over 40 years and have two grown children. She is quite active and in reasonably good health; however, John has multiple physical health problems, care and his long-term plan to qualify for John is receiving the quality care he needs. including macular degeneration, Medicaid. We turned excess assets that She now has peace of mind knowing her Parkinson’s and heart disease, and is otherwise could have been claimed by the home is protected, and the vast majority wheelchair-bound. nursing home into a monthly income for of her and her husband’s life savings has Their children both communicate with Jane to pay her expenses. We also secured been preserved. them regularly, but unfortunately live too additional monies from John’s monthly Jerold E. Rothkoff is an elder and far away to help out. Jane is unable to care income for her through the Medicaid disability law attorney with offices for John alone, but fears the unknowns appeals process. located in Cherry Hill, N.J., Center City surrounding nursing home placement. Jane has been able to continue her Philadelphia, and Trevose, Pa. Contact She has limited financial experience and independent, active lifestyle while knowing him at jrothkoff@rothkofflaw.com. even less exposure to the complicated nursing home admission process. The Anapol Schwartz Guest Advocate column provides a forum for attorney The couple has $200,000 in assets, plus colleagues outside our firm to weigh in on emerging legal and safety issues. their marital home, which is the one asset For comments or questions, contact us at guestadvocate@anapolschwartz.com. Jane worries about the most. She wants to stay in her house, and fears the expense Uncovering the Risks of Electric Blankets and Heating Pads of John’s nursing home care may force continued from page 1 her to sell. • Stay away from wet, creased blankets or pads. Twisting We assured Jane that she had numerous and/or creasing can damage the internal heating coils. options for planning. First, we helped her • Avoid tucking your electric blanket into mattresses or secure admission to a nursing home that mattress pads. suited John’s needs, but was close to her house. It was essential for her well-being • Don’t sit or lie on top of an electric blanket or heating pad. that she remain very involved in his care to This may damage the internal heating coils. minimize her loneliness when he moved. • Don’t put comforters, bedspreads, or anything else on top of the blanket or heating pad while it is turned on. This traps We then updated the couple’s estate the heat which can build up to a point where it may become documents to adequately protect John in an ignition source. the event that Jane died before him. Specifically, her will had to be revised to Applying the above tips can help you minimize the danger of fires from these two protect John’s Medicaid eligibility, and common household items. And, always remember with any fire: Get out of the house; both needed durable financial powers of don’t try to put it out. attorney, health care powers of attorney Partner Miriam Benton Barish concentrates her practice on products liability, toxic torts, and living wills. and other personal injury matters. A strong advocate for consumer safety, Barish represents Finally, we structured Jane’s financial burn victims who have been injured in fires caused by defective products, including heating planning to accommodate both John’s pads and hair styling devices/tools and other common household appliances and furniture. short-term need for suitable nursing home Contact her at mbarish@anapolschwartz.com. www.AnapolSchwartz.com Anapol Advocate Winter 2010 3
  • 4. The Burn Foundation. Contributions To benefit these programs, the firm support a family mentorship program contributed a portion of its fees from a that was established with a grant from case which provided restitution to a legally part of the firm’s fees in an unsafe products blind woman/prison worker whose leg was In the case involving catastrophic burns to a impaled – and ultimately amputated – due Community young child. to a hazardous tree that PennDOT and its contractors failed to remove. Caren Sydnor Locomotor Training 500+ Consumers Fund–Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. Donations benefit a fund, Since its inception in 2008, The ASF has granted more than $125,000 to local Participate in The started by our client and spinal cord injury patient Caren Sydnor, which provides 501(c)(3) public charities. As we win cases on behalf of clients and their families, Anapol Schwartz much-needed locomotor training to spinal we will continue to contribute to The cord injury patients when insurance runs Foundation Campaign out and also offers equipment to optimize ASF and to critical community programs. Visit www.anapolschwartz.com/ASF to In keeping with our commitment to therapy time. learn more. community health and safety programs, we Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs recently asked consumers to vote online for Coalition. Contributions go toward an Contact Info one of four charities we support through award, made in the name of a client, which The Anapol Schwartz Foundation (ASF). is supporting Philadelphia high school Anapol, Schwartz, Weiss, Cohan, More than 500 individuals participated, special-needs graduates who are continuing Feldman & Smalley, P.C. and we made contributions in their names. on to higher learning. www.AnapolSchwartz.com The benefiting non-profits, to which the The Mayor’s Commission on People with Reach us at 866-735-2792 firm designated a portion of its fees, were: Disabilities. Donations help support And, find us in… scholarships for people with disabilities. Philadelphia 1710 Spruce Street Your Advocates • Bernard Smalley was also appointed Philadelphia, PA 19103 continued from page 1 to the Board of Overseers at Widener Cherry Hill, NJ University School of Law. 1040 Kings Highway North, Suite 304 Honors Cherry Hill, NJ 08034 • Eight attorneys were honored as 2009 • Amber Racine was elected to the Harrisburg, PA Pennsylvania Super Lawyers®: Thomas executive board of the Barristers’ 252 Boas Street Anapol, Lawrence Cohan, Joel Feldman, Association of Philadelphia. Harrisburg, PA 17102 Mark LeWinter, James Ronca, Alan Reading, PA Schwartz, Bernard Smalley and Sol Weiss. American Lawyer Media recently 146 North 6th Street Reading, PA 19601 • The Anapol Schwartz Foundation published “The Library of Pennsylvania Media, PA received the first official Chairman’s Personal Injury Forms” book, authored by 230 North Monroe Street Award from the Burn Foundation for Joel Feldman, Michael Barbiero and Amber Media, PA 19063 providing funds to create a mentorship Racine. The book provides information Wheeling, WV program that assists burn survivors to assist plaintiff ’s attorneys in handling 89 12th Street and their families. all types of personal injury cases. Wheeling, WV 26003 www.AnapolSchwartz.com Anapol Advocate Winter 2010 4