Hoping to Reduce Auto Accidents, New York Follows Lead of Connecticut With Tougher New Law Banning Texting While Driving

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation establishing texting while driving as a “primary offense.” New York’s initial anti-texting law, promulgated in 2009, made texting while driving only a secondary offense, which meant police needed to pull drivers over for another offense first in order to ticket for texting. The upgrade of the law will make it easier for police to enforce the ban on texting while driving since police can now pull over a driver simply for texting.

New York’s new law aligns it with Connecticut, which has had a law since the middle of 2010 that made texting while driving a primary offense.

Connecticut Companies Designated Model Workplaces by OHSA Not Models of Safety

OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) recognizes plants and other sites as model workplaces that demonstrate the “highest levels” of employee protection and safety. Aside from being a great public relations tool, “star” status in the VPP program exempts work sites from regular inspections, and protects the companies operating them from punishment for standard violations if the violations are promptly corrected. Once in VPP’s star program, companies are re-evaluated every three to five years.

So one would think that companies with “star” status in the VPP program would have exemplary workplace and employee safety records? Turns out that is not the case in Connecticut. For example, Covanta Energy operates a waste-to-energy plant in Wallingford, Connecticut. In 2007, while an application by Covanta for recognition of the plant by OSHA as a model workplace was pending, one of the plant’s employees, Robert Gootkin, was pinned against a wall and crushed to death by a hopper lid. According to the victim’s brother, Gootkin had been working a 12-hour overnight shift alone when the accident occurred, and it took facility personnel 30 minutes to respond to alarms that were triggered by the accident. In response to the accident, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill requiring operators of solid waste facilities to have at least two employees or a camera in the work area when waste is being fed into a hopper. Covanta lobbied against the bill.

Hartford Connecticut Medical Malpractice Victim Wins Nearly $1 Million Settlement

It was announced last week in the media that the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay nearly $1 million to Jose Goncalves in settlement of his medical malpractice claim arising out of a botched cataract surgery performed on the Hartford, Connecticut resident.

Goncalves was blinded in his right eye when a third-year resident at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut, incorrectly injected too much anesthetic into his eye during a cataract surgical procedure, causing Goncalves’ eye to explode.

Goncalves’ lawsuit was filed in 2009 in the United States District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A few years ago, my office brought suit against a Hartford CT, ophthalmologist and neurologist as well as an emergency room physician, all of whom ignored and evidently tinkered while an overweight uninsured woman lost substantial visual function. The case settled for two million dollars. Since then, I have launched a dedicated website for those with visual loss issues related to medical negligence or significant personal injury.

Generic Drug Manufacturers shielded from Product Warnings Liability

Consumers in Connecticut and other States who purchase generic drugs instead of brand name prescriptions have had an important legal remedy taken away as a result of a ruling just issued by the United States Supreme Court A divided Court has ruled that those injured or killed by generic brand prescription drugs because the product warnings were inadequate to explain and articulate the risks of taking the medicine can no longer sue the manufacture for damages. A wrongful death or Personal injury claim could still be brought it would appear if the drug were manufactured defectively or designed improperly in a situation where either of which circumstance caused harm. However, if there was simply inadequate information disclosed within the product literature to somebody who went into a CVS pharmacy store in Hartford, for example, resulting in their consuming the drug and suffering harm, their legal remedy now has disappeared against the manufacturer and likely the seller of the generic drugs. Since almost 75% of all prescriptions sold are generic( and cheaper than brand name equivalents) this is a big deal to the consumers.