Month: April 2021

3M hit with $6MM punitive damages by U.S. jury in first combat earplug trial

3M Co was found liable on Friday for hearing damage suffered by three U.S. military veterans who accused the company of covering up design defects in its earplugs, a blow to 3M which faces more than 200,000 similar claims.

The jury awarded each of the plaintiffs $2.1 million in punitive damages and a total of $830,500 in compensatory damages for their medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.

The company was accused of hiding design flaws, fudging test results and failing to instruct the military in proper use of the earplugs, which were used by the Army between 2007 and 2013.

“The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our servicemembers to suffer these life-altering injuries,” said a statement

Southwest Airlines flight attendant sues after husband dies of COVID-19

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her employer, accusing the company of lax COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing that eventually led to the death of her husband.

Carol Madden, 69, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Maryland seeking more than $3 million in damages, USA Today reported.

Madden attended a one-day training session at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on July 13. Her husband, Bill, drove her home from the event.

The couple got sick days later and later tested positive for COVID-19, according to the lawsuit. His condition quickly deteriorated and he died a few weeks later. COVID pneumonia was listed as the first cause of death.

Bill Madden, a veteran and retired railroad signal engineer, was 73 years old.

“He was a phenomenal man. He had a heart of gold,” Madden said of her husband of 35 years. “There is nothing and no one that can replace him.”

Madden told USA Today that she “firmly believes my husband would still be here” if Southwest had applied the same safety protocols for employees as it does for passengers.

“They were cleaning the seats. They were cleaning the air vents. They were cleaning the seat belts. Every touchpoint was cleaned,”‘ she told the outlet. “They did not do that in my training last year.”

The training is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration and Madden said she was initially signed up for it in April 2020 but it was pushed back to mid-July when the pandemic started.

According to the complaint, Southwest flight attendants and instructors were not screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to or during the daylong training. They allegedly were not asked about potential exposure.

5 things to know about USA TODAY’s investigation of discrimination within EEOC

What do you do if you experience workplace discrimination? You report it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the government agency charged with routing out workplace discrimination, right?

So what if you experience workplace discrimination WHILE you’re working at the EEOC?

USA TODAY published an investigation this week about discrimination allegations from employees of the agency charged with routing out workplace discrimination: the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Here are five key points:

New Diocese list of abusers includes 16 former local priests

A recent bankruptcy court filing by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre sheds new light on the scope of sexual abuse by clergy who served on the North Fork, but critics say they believe an attached list of abusers omits the names of dozens more perpetrators. 

The April 15 filing documents allegations against some former local priests who hadn’t previously been publicly accused of abuse and offers new details about locations where incidents occurred here and elsewhere on the East End.

But attorneys representing victims of clergy sex abuse say the report excludes allegations leveled at prominent figures in the Catholic church on Long Island, including the late Bishop John McGann and Msgr. Alan Placa. 

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, Mass., whose work with clergy sexual

Michigan needs $7M to pay wrongfully convicted, avoid going into debt

The state of Michigan is running short of cash in its Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act fund as about $9 million in claims from formerly incarcerated individuals is coming due.

The fund is expected to have a balance of about $1.2 million in the next 30 days — a $2.7 million dip from the $3.9 million balance at the end of 2020 — and the state has about $9 million in claims pending in the state Court of Claims.

“That means reviewing any of several of the outstanding claims would put the fund in the red,” said Lynsey Mukomel, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office.

The Department of Treasury has requested about $7 million in supplemental funding to tide the fund over and avoid

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