Month: October 2020

Trucking company slammed with historic $412M jury verdict in crash lawsuit

A jury for a state court in Florida has ordered trucking company Top Auto Express to pay a man hundreds of millions of dollars for a nonfatal crash, shattering nuclear verdict records against trucking companies.

On Oct. 2, a jury in Florida’s Second Circuit Court awarded Duane Washington nearly $412 million for damages from a July 2018 crash. Although several defendants were initially named in the lawsuit, Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based Top Auto Express was the only defendant left by the time the jury reached a decision.

According to a news release from Washington’s attorney, Ben Crump, Washington was partially paralyzed in the crash that involved a 45-vehicle pileup on Interstate 10. The crash was the result of wet road conditions and a Top Auto Express truck speeding.

At the time of the crash, Washington, a former career Army sergeant, was riding his motorcycle on the interstate near Tallahassee. In an attempt to avoid the scene, Washington tried to steer his motorcycle onto the median. However, he ended up crashing into a stopped truck. That truck did not have lights on while in the emergency lane.

Washington sustained life-altering trauma, including breaking both sides of his pelvis away from his spine, severe colon and urethra damage, permanent incontinence, and loss of sexual function, according to Crump. As a result of his injuries, Washington had a colostomy bag installed during his six-month hospital stay. Currently, Washington can walk only with a specialized arm crutch.

3M Combat Arms MDL Passes Asbestos as Largest Ever

3M Combat Arms Earplug products liability multidistrict litigation (MDL) now has the most actions of any MDL ever. And, as plaintiffs claim these earplugs were standard military issue for more than a decade, this may only be the tip of the iceberg.

According to reports from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Legislation, including the most recent Oct. 15 MDL Statistics Report, the IN RE: 3M Combat Arms Earplug Liability Litigation MDL has amassed 203,722 total actions since its 2018 inception, surpassing IN RE: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, which has been pending since 1991.

The 3M earplug litigation has its origins in a 2016 dispute under the False Claims Act between 3M and plaintiffs Moldex-Metric Inc. and the United States. In that case, 3M’s subsidiary, Aearo Technologies, allegedly supplied defective earplugs to the U.S. military, falsely certifying in response to the Request for Proposal that the earplugs met the requested medical standards, knowing they did not. In 2018, 3M settled that case for $9.1 million without admitting liability.

3M Forces VA Doctor to Testify About Hearing Exam

A Veterans Affairs audiologist must testify about a former military service member’s hearing exam for an upcoming test case in litigation over allegedly defective 3M Co. earplugs, a federal court in Florida ruled.

Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones’s Oct. 9 ruling for 3M is his second against an agency in recent months as the government seeks to avoid entanglement in the vast litigation consolidating suits by members of the military and others. The plaintiffs allege 3M’s Aearo Combat Arms Version 2 earplugs left them with hearing loss and

Coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes prompt lawsuits and questions about who is responsible

In mid-April, Faith Heimbrodt got a call from the Bria Health Services nursing home in Geneva, Illinois, saying her mother, Carol Orlando, was not in good health. She immediately feared COVID-19. But she says facility staff insisted her 79-year-old mother didn’t show symptoms of the virus, and that her illness likely was due to her advanced dementia.

Alarmed, she got permission to visit her mother, even though the facility had been on lockdown since March. Heimbrodt, who has five children at home and suffers from multiple sclerosis, went wearing a gown, respirator and face shield, but she was shocked to see staff and residents without masks. A desperate-looking certified nursing assistant asked how she got her respirator, so she gave it to him.

Her mother’s room was filthy, with dirty diapers on the floor. Her roommate was coughing, unmasked, in the adjoining bed, with no room divider. Orlando looked thin and dehydrated, her eyes sunken and her mouth covered with sores. Heimbrodt squeezed her mother’s hand and leaned in close, wanting but not daring to lift her face shield and kiss her. She left sooner than she planned, nervous about the risk of exposure to the virus.

A week later, Heimbrodt got a call that her mother was dead. 

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