Salon.com published a story addressing the dangerous work conditions millions of Americans endure every day. The article states the government documents 4,500 workplace deaths every year at a cost of $250 billion. Texas hosts “the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities”.
West, Texas being the location of a catastrophic explosion is not happenstance. Texas promotes “antipathy toward regulations” and does not require workers compensation insurance be carried by businesses operating within the state. According to the New York Times, Texas has “more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs” as Illinois. The fertilizer plant where the blast originated had not been inspected by OSHA since 1985.
The author of the article, David Sirota, attributes this lack of concern at the number of workers who die every year and the lack of reaction to “a deregulated economy whose laws are written by corporate interests”. He cites those corporate interests as the roadblock for safety regulation and enforcement who uses politicians and their campaigns to ensure they don’t spend additional dollars on making workplaces safer.
NPR released an article recently addressing the large number of worker accidents in Texas and the demographics of the employees. Many are undocumented immigrants and exploited by companies seeking cheap, tax-free labor. This contributes to a corporate environment expecting optimized profits while maintaining low labor costs and the bare minimum safety regulations.
Doyle Raizner has represented clients and their families over the years that have been paralyzed, maimed, and killed as a result of poor workplace conditions. We stand behind them in their fight against corporate entities whose greed converts a workplace death to a cost of doing business.
A 2003 Texas voter campaign for tort reform was publicized, and eventually passed, based on extreme and often inaccurate examples of supposed litigation abuses. Supporters argued doctors were limiting their practices due to liability concerns and practiced “defensive medicine” due to a fear of lawsuits. Exaggerated examples of so-called frivolous lawsuits and huge malpractice payouts were cited as reasons to pass tort reform. The promise tort reform proponents made to Texans was that tort reform would lower healthcare costs due to more doctors willing to treat patients because their lawsuit fears had been reduced. A study published this year proved that not only have health care costs in Texas not been reduced, as promised by the insurance industry, but suggests Medicare payments to doctors in Texas rose one to two percent faster than the rest of the country.
The study includes University of Texas law professor Charles Silver and was paid for by the researchers’ universities. It was published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Silver also steered another unpublished study that disputes tort reform’s supporters who claimed a mass exodus of Texas doctors before tort reform and a significant increase after.
The study focused on the Medicare spending; it compared doctors in counties with a higher risk of lawsuits against their counterparts in lower risk counties. Silver said, “If tort reform reduces spending, it would have the biggest effect on high-risk counties”. He added these counties tend to be large and urban.
The critics of the study said the 2003 campaign never promised spending would decline. The leader of Texas Alliance for Patient Access, Jon Opelt, said tort reform added nearly 5,000 more physicians in Texas. He also said patients have more access to high-risk specialists and ER doctors are more willing to be on call. Silver’s unpublished study found Texas did slightly worse than other states at attracting doctors post tort reform. Opelt says his group did
Tornados Tear through North Texas; Results in Fatalities, Injuries and Millions of Dollars in Damage
The Texas towns of Granbury, Cleburne, and Ennis experienced a rash of tornadoes last night, leaving six people dead, dozens more injured and hundreds homeless. Granbury was the hardest hit of the communities; at this time all fatalities are reported to be from that community.
The National Weather Service has reported that at least ten tornadoes touched down last night in the area. Hail as large as grapefruit was also reported. The storm stripped homes of siding, trailers were torn apart, and debris was scattered across the towns. A state of local disaster has been declared in Ennis and Granbury. Ennis city officials were expected to perform an aerial assessment later this morning.
We will update information as it becomes available.
Federal Times has reported on the mounting tensions between contractor KBR Inc. and the US Army over an ultimatum to provide a firm, fixed price on remaining work to close out the $38 billion Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III.
LOGCAP III is the 12-year-old logistics contract that has supported US military logistics operations in Iraq. The Army awarded the contract in 2001 and issued 160 tasks for everything from dining services to delivery of housing for civilian and military personnel. The original contract was considered a “cost plus” contract, which means KBR was paid its costs plus a guaranteed profit; the Army seeks to revise the pricing terms on the final work to be done on the contract to be firm, fixed pricing. KBR filed a lawsuit in response seeking to keep the “cost plus” nature of the contract.
The dispute started in July 2012, at that time the Army decided contract closeout activities must be performed on a fixed-price basis meaning KBR would need to provide a fixed dollar figure for the remaining work and absorb any excess costs. KBR responded they were unwilling to accept that due to the lack of scope or duration of work that needs to be completed.
KBR filed a case with the Government Accountability Office that was thrown out on jurisdictional grounds. The case was refiled in the US Court of Federal Claims and accused the Army of using the wrong type of contract, acting in bad faith and violating procurement regulations.
In emails submitted as part of the lawsuit, Army contracting officer Robert Egan told KBR he would not “enter further communication exchanges with” KBR’s contract team until he saw the FFP deliverable. KBR responded they were unwilling to accept such a proposal. KBR responded to Federal Times with a statement noting the company enjoys “frank, open and continuous communications with the Army.”
KBR has been paid enormous amounts for well
NPR released two articles this past week examining the dangers of the Texas construction industry and the too-common practices that often lead to wage theft, poor work conditions and injuries.
Commercial construction and homebuilding are staples of the state’s economy. Years of illegal immigration have driven down wages of construction workers. The economic crash of 2008 brought its own issues besides the decrease in construction. Many workers make far less than minimum wage and often take home $4 or $5 an hour. The workers cheated out of their wages or paid very low wages continue working because of the promise of pay from one week to another. These workers are often classified as independent contractors rather than employees. The classification of independent workers makes them responsible for their state and federal taxes.
The issue of pay is coupled with the dangerous nature of the job. According to the Worker’s Defense Project, there were 10.7 deaths per 100,000 Texas construction workers in 2010. In comparison, California had a rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 construction workers. The study also revealed one in every five Texas construction workers will require hospitalization due to injuries sustained on the job.
Doyle Raizner has represented many clients over the years whose injuries were a result of poor work conditions and an employer’s failure to honor their obligation to safety. The construction industry in a dangerous field in Texas and regulation is the ultimate route to safety.
Doyle Raizner has filed a lawsuit against the maker of Mirena; an intrauterine device (IUD) that provides continuous birth control, on behalf of a woman whose IUD migrated outside the uterus resulting in the surgical removal of her right ovary and fallopian tube.
The plaintiff’s physician implanted the device without difficulty. During the six week follow up appointment, the device was in proper placement. A short time later the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital due to severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. It was found at the hospital the plaintiff had a ligament abscess and infected Fallopian tube. She then underwent surgery to remove the right Fallopian tube, right ovary, the Mirena IUD and appendectomy. Since the plaintiff underwent this surgical removal of the device after uterine perforation, she has had difficulty conceiving a child.
Mirena has been scrutinized for the potential health risks associated with the device and the lack of warning of serious and dangerous side effects. Their overzealous and deceptive marketing tactics have also been subject to warnings from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC) concerning their failure to communicate risk information. DDMAC also stated Bayer inadequately communicated Mirena’s indications and overstated the efficacy. DDMAC contacted Bayer in 2009 regarding a consumer-directed program that represented Mirena users would increase the level of intimacy, romance and emotional satisfaction between sexual partners. DDMAC determined these claims to be unsubstantiated and pointed out the package insert states at least 5% of clinical trial patients reported a decreased libido after use.
Bayer intended for their dangerous device to be promoted as safe and effective and as a result physicians began commonly prescribing Mirena even though it was not reasonably suited to the use intended. Bayer failed to exercise due care when advertising and promoting Mirena. Further, Bayer placed its profits above its customers’ safety by downplaying the serious and dangerous side
Doyle Raizner Files Negligence Suit on Behalf of Worker Injured on Grounded Vessel off Coast of Chile
Doyle Raizner has filed a negligence lawsuit against T&T Marine Salvage and Titan Maritime on behalf of a worker who was thrown 30 feet in the air and dropped on the beach landing on his back.
The plaintiff was an employee of T&T Salvage in Texas and the company sent him to Chile to work on the salvage of a grounded vessel offshore Puerto San Antonio. While on the shore operating a winch to unload cargo from the ship, the line on the winch broke. A cable from the vessel en-wrapped the plaintiff’s leg and body and launched him into the air.
After landing on the beach, he was rushed to the hospital where a pain shot was administered and the plaintiff was released. He was taken to a motel for three days without pain medication while waiting for a flight back to Texas. The plaintiff was taken directly from the airport to an urgent care clinic chosen by T&T Salvage where a pulled muscle was diagnosed, light duty and painkillers were prescribed. The plaintiff sought an independent physician who diagnosed two protruding discs in his back after review of a MRI.
T&T Salvage negligently failed to provide safe, properly maintained equipment and work facilities for the plaintiff’s use to carry out his job duties. The company also failed to provide proper training and supervision. Managers of T&T Salvage and Titan Maritime had obligations to safety they failed to uphold by proceeding with conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of the plaintiff despite having awareness of the risk involved.
Doyle Raizner stands behind this client in their fight for justice and accountability for his injury and inability to work.
Doyle Raizner has filed a workers’ comp bad faith case against Gallagher Bassett and Ace American Insurance on behalf of an injured worker whose claim for benefits was wrongfully denied and unreasonably delayed. Ace American Insurance issued the workers’ comp insurance coverage under the Arizona Workers’ Compensation Act. Gallagher Bassett adjusts insurance claims on behalf of Ace American under the same act.
The plaintiff was injured in the scope and course of his employment in 2011, when another vehicle hit at a high rate of speed the truck he was driving. The collision resulted in traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic headaches, post-concussion syndrome, chest injuries, cervical spine injuries, among other injuries.
The plaintiff’s claim for benefits was initially accepted by Ace American and Gallagher Bassett. However, Ace American and Gallagher Bassett began to ignore their obligation to timely and appropriately approve reasonable and necessary medical treatment recommended by the plaintiff’s treating physician. Due to the denial of timely benefit payments to which the plaintiff was entitled, an attorney was hired to help secure the workers’ compensation benefits. A final and binding order was issued by the Industrial Commission of Arizona and required Ace American and Gallagher Bassett to provide the treatments. The commission noted the carrier had no evidence to controvert the plaintiff’s right to treatment and had not even bothered to appear to attempt to justify its wrongful conduct.
Ace American, as the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation insurer, breached their duty of good faith and fair dealing by refusing to properly investigate and effectively denying necessary medical care and other benefits, without any reasonable basis to do so. Gallagher Bassett acts and omissions were performed by it in its individual capacity and as an agent for Ace American. Gallagher Bassett knew the claim was not fairly debatable and substantially assisted or encouraged Ace American in delaying or denying the claim without a reasonable basis.
Ace American and Gallagher Bassett placed unnecessary
Doyle Raizner has filed suit against DynCorp International on behalf of an injured military contractor serving in Afghanistan. The plaintiff was injured when an employee of DynCorp made an unsafe and improper U-turn along a main route of Camp Davis and rammed into a portable laundry container in which she was stationed.
DynCorp International identifies itself as a “global government services provider in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.” The company also claims to “provide expertly conceived and professionally executed services.” As confirmed by the subsequent investigation, the collision was caused by the inattentive driving of DynCorp’s employee and was listed as drug/alcohol related. The collision resulted in serious injuries to the plaintiff which required medical treatment in the past and will require future medical care.
DynCorp’s acts constitute negligence in that the company, acting through its employee, failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner and violated laws and statutes of the United States. The company also acted in a way that constitutes gross negligence. DynCorp had knowledge of the risk involved at the time of the occurrences and proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of others resulting in the injury of the plaintiff.
Doyle Raizner stands behind their client in the fight against a military service provider more interested in profits than honoring an obligation to safety.