Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Dicamba Controversy

Thursday, November 16th, 2017



Dicamba (3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid) is an organochloride and derivative of benzoic acid. Various formulations are available and go by the herbicide brand names Banvel, Diablo, Oracle, and Vanquish. It works by increasing the growth of plants. This may sound like an odd mechanism for a herbicide, but it increases the growth rate past that which the plant can supply itself with nutrients, so the plant exhausts its resources and dies.

Recently Monsanto released genetically modified seeds that were resistant to the effects of dicamba. Monsanto also has a new formulation of dicamba. Therein lies the rub.

Dicamba had not been approved for crop use prior to 2016. This chemical has a nasty tendency to not stay put where it is applied. It likes to drift and doing so can damage crops in neighboring farms. Sometimes the damage is minimal, but sometimes the damage can be reducing a field’s yield by up to 30%. In several states farmers are suing Monsanto for damage to their crops because of the improper use of the herbicide. There seems to be about 900,000 acres of crops affected in just Arkansas.

There are more questions in this case than the usual “Did this company cause the damage?” and “Is this an inherently unsafe product?” We’ll pose some of them in our next entry.

The Modern Monsanto

Monday, November 13th, 2017


Monsanto may not be a household name, but they reach out and touch many things. If you eat, chances are you’ve been affected by a Monsanto product. They are one of the major players in the production of genetically modified seeds and the maker of one of the world’s most famous pesticides, RoundUp (TM). This is also the chemical company that has developed several famous products such as saccharin and Astroturf.

From their humble origins as a small chemical company founded in St. Louis in 1901, they have become one of the giants of the chemical field. They’ve produced numerous food and medical commodities like caffeine, aspirin, and vanillin. They branched into other chemicals such as salicylic and sulphuric acid, styrene, polyurethane, agent orange, DDT, and PCBs. Some of their industrial products, such as their LEDs (light emitting diodes) became industry standards in many consumer products like calculators and digital watches. Over time they switched their focus to medical and agricultural products. The medical and pharmaceutical business was bought by the medicine giant Pfizer in 2002. After a series of acquisitions and divestments the “new Monsanto” emerged as a titan of high tech agricultural products. These products now include a number of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), especially GMO seeds that have been bred to withstand Monsanto’s pesticides such as glyphosate and dicamba.

Many of Monsanto’s products have had a fair share of controversy. Many countries have issues with allowing GMO foods and seeds. There have been a number of issues with RoundUp (See the blog entry in July). Monsanto is now creating seeds that create their own pesticides in the plant. Monsanto produces seeds for drought-resistant corn and broccoli with increased levels of anti-microbial chemicals. Some call these “frankenfoods.”

Any one of these has produced a range of controversy. In the next entry we’re going to focus on the controversy regarding dicamba. Stay tuned.

Losing More Than Keys

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

When people get old, sometimes they forget things.

I don’t mean the little things like whether it’s Tuesday or Wednesday, or where you last put down your keys. I mean things like how old I am or what my children look like. Some seniors aren’t really in their right mind a lot of the time.  That’s troubling enough. But when you need to put your parents in a nursing home you may have other troubles. Many nursing homes want to require arbitration agreements in order to house residents. Currently the CMS (the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services) prohibits nursing homes from requiring binding arbitration as part of a contract for their services. That’s good news for the patients in case of nursing home abuse. They can get their day in court.

At least for now. Earlier this summer the CMS proposed a revision. This would reinstate the ability of nursing homes to require arbitration clauses in their contracts.

So the rule was one thing. Now it’s another. And it depending on what happens with the CMS proposal, it could be something else soon. Sometimes it’s not just the seniors who get confused.

Hopefully elder abuse isn’t something you have to worry about. If you do – give us a call. We can help you figure out where you stand.

But we can’t help you with where you put the keys.

Insufficient Lifeguards

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017


In these hot humid days of August, consider this question -Would you hire a lifeguard that could not swim?

It sounds stupid doesn’t it? Yet every day, thousands of people are using guards as a method of protecting themselves from a life threatening situation that can’t possibly do the job that they have been put in place to do.

In this case we’re not talking about the lifeguard at the beach. We’re talking about cab guards. Cab guards are also known as headache racks or bulkhead guards. These are the racks placed between the cab and the load on a semi. In theory, they are there to protect the driver from load shifts that might drive the load into the cab – specifically into the drivers head. There are several neat looking models like the one below:

Oh – shiny.

But the question is, do they do their job?
Merritt Equipment Co. is one of the leading manufacturers of cab guards. Up until 2005 they said that their guards had been tested and could handle cargo loads of up to 55,586 pounds. That sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it? Wonder why they don’t mention that anymore …

Perhaps it’s because the average load of timber for a semi is about 110,000 pounds – almost double what a cab guard could supposedly protect against. So, if the average person in the U.S. weighs 180 pounds, that’s the equivalent of having a lifeguard who can only save people who weigh less than 100 pounds. There are times when it can be real trouble to be above average.

The seas of commerce can get pretty rough sometimes. If you need us to throw you a line, give us a call.

The FDA Warning About Invokana

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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If you or someone you know has taken Invokana, we encourage you to call our office immediately. There are significant side effects associated with taking this dangerous drug, so it is in your best interest to speak with a doctor about using a different medication and then to call our office to discuss your legal options if you have suffered harm from taking this drug.

FDA Alert:  The FDA issued a formal warning for patients that are taking this type 2 diabetes medication. The warning was sent out to family practitioners, nursing staff, and those practicing Endocrinology. In other words, your doctor or physician should be well aware of the dangers associated with taking Invokana. In fact, it is likely that they were aware of this FDA alert when prescribing it to you. If not, they certainly should have been since the warning was issued in September of 2015.

The FDA alert for Invokana addressed the issue with the decrease in bone mineral density along with concerns related to bone fractures and the need to continue to evaluate the risks that are associated with taking this drug. The warning included updates to side effect labeling and for doctors to be informed when prescribing to patients. The FDA warned that any patient taking Invokana who had suffered from bone fractures or a loss of bone density in the hip and spine should speak with their doctor and discuss taking a new drug immediately.

A Failure to Warn Patients

The challenge is that many doctors have failed to warn their patients about the true risks involved with taking Invokana. If you are one of them and have suffered a serious health consequences as a result of taking this drug, you are entitled to financial compensation to pay for your injuries, additional medical bills, time you missed from work, and pain and suffering. However, your doctor is not going to simply offer this to you, nor is the drug manufacturer. To receive the compensation you deserve, you need to hire an attorney. At our office we are experienced at handling Invokana cases and know how to maximize the value of our clients claims.   Remember, as a patient you have the right to receive safe medical care and to take drugs that are not going to harm you. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and in order to hold the drug manufacturer accountable, you need to file a case in civil court. We can help you to do so.

Call to Discuss Your Case

We invite you to call the Garmon Law Firm to discuss your case in further detail.

 

Speak with a Lawyer if You Took Depakote While Pregnant

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

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Did you take the drug Depakote during your pregnancy?  If you did, and your child was born with a birth defect, you could be entitled to financial compensation. While there are some standard side effects with this drug, like fever, rash, weakness, dizziness, and hair loss, the warnings were not clear regarding how risky this drug was for pregnant women.  As a result, many were prescribed it and children have been born with birth defects as a result.

Some of the common challenges pregnant women and their children have had, include:

  • Craniofacial defects, including cleft palate and skull malformations
  • Neural tube defects
  • Cardiovascular malformations and heart defects
  • Spina bifida

Understanding the Risks Associated with Taking Depakote

According to the FDA, the risk to pregnant women and their baby are the highest during the first trimester since many women do not realize that they are pregnant.  If you were taking this drug and stopped once you realized you were pregnant, but your baby was still born with a physical challenge, you could have a case. Stopping the drug part-way through the pregnancy has not been proven to stop the defect from forming.

Were You Warned of the Risk?

The FDA has recommended that doctors prescribe a different medication to women of childbearing years due to the incredibly high risk associated with taking it.  If you were prescribed this drug but not warned about the danger of becoming pregnant while on it, your doctor could also share some liability for failing to inform you.

Depakote Was Not Initially Approved for Treating Depression

The spike in these cases is largely due to the additional way that Depakote is being used.  It was approved in 1978 to treat epilepsy but it was not until recently that the FDA gave clearance for it to be used to treat both migraines and depression.  This has led to a significant expansion in how the drug is used by women in general.  Since migraine headaches are typically not a concern for OBGYNs, the link between the medication and potential pregnancy risks are often not made in time to prevent a birth defect. This is why even if you were under the care of an OB, they may not have made the connection.

Speak with an Attorney

At the Garmon Law Firm, we understand how traumatic it can be to have a child with a birth defect. We also understand how much money it can cost to secure the proper medical care for them.  We can work to ensure that the right parties are held accountable and that you receive any financial compensation that is due to you.  To discuss your case in detail, call and schedule a consultation.

 

SSRI Medications, Including Zoloft, Can Lead to Birth Defects

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

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If you recently gave birth to child that was born with a birth defect, you may be struggling to learn why. Understandably, this can be an emotionally draining experience and the need to search for answers is all too common.  If you were taking medications during your pregnancy, that is a good place to begin your investigation.  As experienced personal injury attorneys, we have helped clients that have suffered harm due to taking SSRI medications while pregnant.  Medications including Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin, and Paxil have all been known to cause birth defects, which is alarming considering how frequently they are prescribed.

Determining Negligence and Proving Your Case

If you think that your child was harmed due to you taking SSRIs during your pregnancy, your first step should be to call our office.  Proving negligence is not as easy as it seems. It is not enough to simply say that you were taking the drug.  We need to gather evidence that can demonstrate when you were taking the drug, why it was prescribed, if your doctor gave you the appropriate warnings about not becoming pregnant, or if your doctor informed you that there was an actual risk of birth defects if becoming pregnant while on the drug. Next, we will need to gather evidence from your child’s physician to demonstrate the type of birth defect that they have suffered. Then we can go to work linking the two. It is necessary to do a thorough job of gathering evidence and building a strong case so that you and your child can receive the maximum possible compensation. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney that understands how the legal process works and also understands the complications and risks that are involved with taking SSRIs during pregnancy. We do and we have the investigative resources necessary to build a strong case for your benefit.

Determining the Value of Your Claim

One of the questions we are regularly asked by clients that have taken Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin, and Paxil during pregnancy is “what is my claim worth?” An understandable question, we need more information to provide you with an answer, we need to speak with you directly.  During your consultation, we will ask questions about the birth defect that your child was born with, their medical bills to-date, if they are likely to recover, and what their future medical bills may be.  Your doctor can help to answer many of these.  Next, we will need to know how their birth defect has impacted your life.  For example, if you had to quit your job to take care of your child, you could be entitled to compensation for these lost wages.  We will factor in all details when building a case that maximizes the compensation you and your child can receive.  To discuss your case in further detail, call and schedule a free consultation with the Garmon Law Firm.

 

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy or Myomectomy Morcellation Lawsuit

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

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If you have recently undergone a laparascopic hysterectomy or myomectomy and you have been diagnosed with cancer following the surgery, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the makers and distributors of the morcellator device, also known as the power morcellator.

What is the morcellator device?

The morcellator device is used during laparascopic hysterectomies or fibroid removal surgeries (myomectomies) to treat uterine fibroids and remove the uterus. The device divides the tissues into smaller pieces in order to remove the matter through a small incision, providing a quicker recovery and less scarring.

What is the danger associated with the morcellator device?

Recents complaints have been made associated with the spread of cancer cells due to the use of the morcellator device. Many women have been diagnosed with upstaged uterine or abdominal sarcomas. A sarcoma, also known as leiomyosarcoma, is a rare, aggressive, and often terminal cancer that starts as a malignant tumor. This type of cancer attacks the connective and supportive tissues of the body, including cartilage, fat, bone, muscle, and the vascular system.

The morcellator device may cause the spread of cancerous tissue outside of the uterus when the device is used during hysterectomies or myomectomies for uterine fibroids. While the FDA now discourages the use of the morcellator device and encourages patients to consider other treatment options, many women have already become the victims of this dangerous procedure method.

Many women who opt for a laparascopic hysterectomy or myomectomy to address uterine fibroids have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma they are unaware of. If the use of a morcellator device occurs during their procedure, there is a risk that the cancerous tissue can spread through the pelvis and abdomen, worsening their chances of the proper removal of the cancer in a timely manner.

Power Morcellator Lawsuit

If you are a victim of the spread of cancer or a cancer diagnosis associated with the use of a power morcellator during a laparascopic procedure, legal action can be taken to compensate you for your financial losses and medical expenses. With the FDAs official warning that the device may spread cancer occurring in April 2014, the makers and sellers of the power morcellator must now answer for their negligence. The spread of unsuspected cancer due to the morcellator device can significantly reduce your likelihood of long-term survival. To learn more about how we can help you gain back what you have lost financially and help you pursue other avenues of health, contact our office.  At the Garmon Law Firm, we will be happy to answer your questions during a free consultation.

 

Nausea Drug Zofran May Be Linked with Birth Defects

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

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Zofran is a popular nausea medication used to treat severe nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women.  It is often used to treat hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes debilitating morning sickness during pregnancy. Zofran and the generic ondansetron were approved to treat nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy or surgery. They have been prescribed “off-label” by many physicians to treat pregnant women suffering from nausea and vomiting.

Studies have linked Zofran to an increase in heart defects and congenital malformations. The drug label, however, bears no warning about the risks of taking the drug during pregnancy. Numerous birth defects, heart defects, and congenital malformations have been reported including:

  • Craniosynostosis – an abnormally shaped skull, caused by the premature fusion of bone plates
  • Cleft palate and lip
  • Heart defects (atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, heart murmur)
  • Club feet
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Kidney malformation
  • Skeletal defects

Zofran lawsuits are forming in many states by women who allege they were not warned of the risks associated with the nausea drug. Many of these women have given birth to children with heart defects or congenital abnormalities they believe may be associated with the Zofran they took during pregnancy.

Most pregnant women exercise extreme caution and carefully avoid certain foods, beverages, and medications that they believe may be harmful to their developing child. But when women are not notified of the potential risks or the connection with defects in children, they cannot make intelligent, informed decisions. Often these same women face heartbreak when they find that the birth defects and injuries that their child must endure may be linked to their ingestion of a medication.

It is critical that pharmaceutical manufacturers warn women of the risks during pregnancy. If you took Zofran during pregnancy and your child was born with a heart defect or a congenital birth defect, you may be eligible for compensation. These defects often result in numerous medical bills as children must visit specialists and sometimes undergo surgical treatment. That’s why it is important to hold GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Zofran, responsible for failure to warn women of potential side effects.

For more information or for a free consultation, contact the Garmon Law Firm online or at 256-543-HURT. It is essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side!

 

Testosterone Treatment Proves Dangerous

Friday, April 1st, 2016

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Testosterone products are a recent trend in medicine, prescribed to treat low testosterone or “Low T” in males. Approximately 3 to 7 percent of men experience low testosterone levels which may be associated with fatigue, infertility, and sexual difficulties. There are a variety of medications prescribed to treat low testosterone levels, including:

  • AndroGel
  • Androderm
  • Axiron
  • Depo-Testosterone
  • Fortesta
  • Striant
  • Testim
  • Testopel

A number of men have experienced heart attacks, heart problems, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and strokes while taking these medications. Many of these men claim they were not adequately warned of the connection between testosterone treatment and these dangerous side effects.

Studies, such as one performed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2009 indicate that some men may be as much as 29 percent more likely to die or suffer a stroke or heart attack during testosterone treatment. In 2015, the FDA issued a communication announcing that warnings will be placed on testosterone replacement drugs indicating the connection between the use of these drugs and the increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.

In addition, new warnings indicate that testosterone treatment should not begin until men have tested positive for hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, through clinical testing. These warnings seem to address the fact that a number of men may have been prescribed these medications to treat symptoms without being tested to determine if they were actually experiencing low testosterone.

A number of lawsuits have been filed by men alleging they were not warned about the increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and death, especially in men with heart problems, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. They further allege that pharmaceutical manufacturers recklessly advertised treatment for “Low T” as a method of treating sexual difficulties, weight gain, and fatigue. Finally, the lawsuits indicate that consumers and medical practitioners were not informed of the increased risks of heart attack and death associated with these medications, even after manufacturers were clearly aware of the connection.

If you received treatment for low testosterone and, while undergoing treatment, suffered a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot, contact the Garmon Law Firm today. If you lost a loved one to any of these conditions while he was being treated for “Low T,” we may be able to help. Many men have suffered dangerous medical conditions while receiving testosterone therapy. We can help you pursue justice against the pharmaceutical manufacturers who may have failed to warn you of the dangers. Contact us today online or by phone at 256-543-HURT for a free consultation.