This week’s National Law Journal published a letter I submitted in response to a tone-deaf op-ed from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform.
Richard Smith, an active retired PE teacher, was admitted to the North Shore Medical Center’s ICU for shortness of breath after receiving routine kidney dialysis. The next day, Richard was alert and stable, but complained of an upset stomach and his doctor prescribed an antacid. But Richard’s nurse disregarded nearly every single protocol in place to ensure safe drug administration and instead gave him a paralytic drug – pancuronium – that was inappropriately stored in the nursing area. This negligence sent Richard into cardiac arrest, and although he was revived, he remained in a vegetative state and died a month later.
There were 34 toy recalls in the 2011 fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, down from 172 in 2008.
Still, a Consumer Product Safety Commission report out today shows toy-related deaths of kids younger than 15 increased last year, and injuries remain alarmingly high, says CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Seventeen child fatalities last year were toy-related, up from 12 in 2010. Almost half were from choking on balloons and balls — products so common they're hard to regulate.
The U.S. House and Senate will examine a number of civil justice issues in committee hearings and bill markups this week.
This afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law will take up the issue of foreign judgments. The hearing will address the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments by U.S. courts, but will unlikely address an even greater issue: the lack of accountability foreign manufacturers face when their negligence harms Americans here in the U.S.
This legal discrepancy between foreign and U.S. manufacturers gained national attention after Chinese drywall left American homeowners with millions of dollars in property damage and numerous health problems. Current law requires foreign manufactures to be brought to court in their home country and under their rules of service.
On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products, a case which will test a railroad worker’s rights to hold a railroad manufacturer responsible for contracting mesothelioma, a disease caused by asbestos exposure.
The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) has the sole mission of restricting the ability of individuals harmed by negligent corporations to access the civil justice system. One ILR board member, Johnson & Johnson, has not only plowed money into this cause, but also has a sordid legal history that underscores the hypocrisy of ILR and its corporate financers.