Seven People Dead After Fire In Lowell, Massachusetts

According to authorities, seven people died in an overnight fire at an apartment building in Lowell, Massachusetts. All of the victims were discovered in two third-floor apartments. The origin of the fire remains unknown. An extensive investigation, including the fire department as well as State police, is ongoing.

Residence fires unfortunately are a fact of life. Although we hope of course that we and our loved ones will not be involved in any fire incidents at home, it is important to understand your rights should such a fire occur. Proper investigations will focus on the existence, placement and operation of smoke and fire detectors; access to emergency exit routes; and other related potential building code violations. The first step is knowing whether or not you even have grounds to file a claim for your injuries. The accident scene should be investigated, coordinated (when necessary) with a proper team of professionals and experts, examining all evidence relating to the cause of the fire.

If you or a family member have suffered significant burn injuries as the result of a fire, or if a loved one has suffered a wrongful death as the result of burn injuries, please contact one of our personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

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Medical Devices – Injury Risks Can Be Significant

While technology advances, so do the prospects of healing the sick and repairing the disabled parts of our bodies. However, with progress comes costs ¾ the costs of the people injured and the lives lost by medical devices being designed and manufactured with defects and without sufficient safeguards or warnings.

In many respects the defective medical device is subject to the same considerations of liability as any other products manufactured and sold to the public. This holds true whether the device is bought directly by the consumer, or is sold to a physician or a hospital for use by the physician or other practitioner in the treatment of the patient who is the ultimate consumer. A product defect, be it in design, manufacture, or labeling, is unlikely to be unique to a given class of products.

Unlike the consumer of other products, the patient may be in a position of risk before use of a given medical device is even contemplated. In the medical setting, risk-benefit considerations must involve at least two additional components: the risk of not using the device (i.e., not performing the operation) and the fact that a device is often used in an emergency situation or when the patient is unconscious and unable to give consent. Furthermore, the availability of alternative options is generally limited, particularly after an operation has begun. A further complicating factor in the analysis of medical devices is that not all applications occur in emergency or life-threatening situations. The elective operation, which frequently involves implantation of a device or material, is apt to be undertaken to improve the quality of life of the patient, who up to the time of the operation has been existing in a state of discomfort or disability.

Because of the nature of the risks to a patient from the underlying disease or injury, as well as from the treatment (including the use of devices), and because the patient is frequently powerless to exert a choice, medical devices are subject to a greater degree of regulation than any other class of device. The responsibility of regulation is delegated to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as set forth in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 301–399, and its subsequent amendments, most notably the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 (MDA). These regulations cover the manufacturing process, premarket review or classification, and regulation of devices by risk categories.

Our legal system must learn to address new issues presented by the growing use of advanced medical devices. The attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.  have the resources and experience necessary to assist with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your medical care, or care provided to a loved one. Please contact our Boston, Massachusetts office at  (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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2 Year Old Boy At Daycare Dies In Fall From Roof

Daylan Walker, a 2-year-old who had been dropped off at a Columbia Road day care where he had started only two weeks earlier, somehow made his way to the roof of the building. Daylan fell from the roof in an unimaginable tragedy for his family.

Investigations are ongoing, probing the question of how did the young boy wandered out of his day care, climbed four flights of stairs and push through a door onto the roof.

Boston’s Inspectional Services Department issued a violation, finding the door to the roof didn’t fully shut automatically and had to be manually pulled closed. The day care at 129 Columbia Road is licensed to Marisol Rondon-Ramos for up to six children by the Department of Early Education and Care. The building is owned by Urban Edge and managed by Winn­ Residential.

The most important aspect of any child care is the safety and supervision of children. We too often we hear about the neglect many children are subjected to while in a nursery or daycare setting. Claims have arisen when children are neglected by staff members who are inadequately trained or screened. Many day care facilities do not properly educate their staff, resulting in the hiring of careless employees. Many times there is inadequate staff to supervise and protect children, which can lead to tragedy.

Since these innocent victims cannot protect themselves, it is critical to report any instance of suspected child abuse or neglect. There are many state agencies that can assist you in these matters.

Concerns also may arise when a property owner (or a party in control of the property) fails to provide security to make the property safe. In such circumstances, the owner/occupier can be held responsible and legally liable for inadequate security.

At the Boston law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C., our injury attorneys are at the forefront of protecting victim’s rights by bringing personal injury cases to court for inadequate security in premises liability cases. If you have questions about the laws relating to premises security, feel free to contact the law office of Swartz and Swartz, P.C. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts, office at (617) 742-1900, or if you live outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Posted in Catastrophic Injuries, Consumer Protection, Fall Hazard, Negligence, Nursery Schools & Daycare Abuse and Neglect, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Safety, Wrongful Death | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Federal Authorities Investigating Circus Incident Involving Broken Clip

On Sunday May 4, 2014, eight circus acrobats suffered injuries when they fell to the ground while performing a hair-hanging stunt. Evidence including a broken clip and other material has been turned over to federal workplace safety investigators. A ninth performer, a dancer below the falling Ringling Brothers group, was also hurt.

The carabiner clip was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that was suspending the acrobats during the performance in front of 3,900 people at a Rhode Island venue. It is not yet clear why the 4- to 5-inch steel clip broke into three pieces, one fire investigator stated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will attempt to answer this question, and many others.

Reportedly, the cause of the broken clip has been reduced to two possibilities: a manufacturing defect or improper use (such as the manner in which it was installed in the rigging).

At any point during the design and manufacturing process, a manufacturer’s failure to address safety issues associated with its products may contribute to a product’s hazards. Such efforts are of critical importance for devices that are intended to be safety devices, such as carabiner clips. Our law firm has wide experience in cases involving material failure, including C-clamps, eye screws, piping and numerous other metal components. If you or a family member have suffered significant personal injuries result from the use of a defective product, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states, call toll-free  1-800-545-3732.

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Suspected Gas Explosion in Dorchester, MA Injures At Least 12 People

A suspected gas explosion on last week damaged a multi-family house and initiated a three-alarm fire in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The 2 1⁄2-story house is located at 27 Hansborough St., near Harvard Street and Blue Hill Avenue. At least 12 people were reported injured – some of those people were reportedly outside the building.

The house was still standing, with large holes blown in the walls. A door was also blown across the street, according to fire officials.

There were reports at the scene of a “smell of gas” just prior to the explosion. As of last week, investigators had not yet confirmed a gas leak.

Factors causing or contributing to gas explosions resulting in burn injuries or wrongful death have included improper gas line locations, faulty parts and equipment in mobile homes, workplace equipment, camping equipment, and defectively designed propane stoves. One important signal indicating the potential for a catastrophic event is the odor of gas (note that although gas has no smell, laws require that odorants be added for safety purposes). Should a gas leak be suspected, the property owner or occupants should immediately evacuate, then contact the proper authorities.

If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries from a fire, explosion or electrocution, contact a personal injury attorney at our Boston law office. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz, P.C.Permalink

Posted in Burn Injuries, Catastrophic Injuries, Consumer Protection, Gas Explosion, Negligence, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Products Liability, Safety, Wrongful Death | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Federal Arbitration Act and Forced Arbitration – Your Consumer Rights Are Affected

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) is an act of Congress that provides for private dispute resolution through arbitration. Over the years, the rights of consumers to seek legal remedies have been significantly eroded. Some have seen — and many others have not seen the small print language buried in lengthy text — those clauses in cell phone, credit card and other consumer service and goods contracts, requiring that any and all disputes be submitted to an Arbitration process that is weighted heavily in favor of large corporations.

In a recently published book by law professor Imre Szalai, the papers of the three men who drafted and lobbied for the Federal Arbitration Act are examined. In painstaking historical detail, with reference to numerous primary materials, he establishes convincingly that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was never intended to (a) apply to employment contracts at all; or (b) apply to take-it-or-leave-it contracts. This book is an important development in the historical scholarship on the Act, and demonstrates conclusively that the FAA has been distorted and mis-shaped by the U.S. Supreme Court in recent decades. The Act now covers millions of consumers and transactions that it was never intended to address.

Paul Bland, Senior Attorney at Public Justice in Washington, D.C., has posted a full discussion of this issue, and its effects on your rights, at http://publicjustice.net/blog/important-new-book-proves-federal-arbitration-act-badly-distorted-by-supreme-court.

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Construction Site Accident In Boston’s Theater District Being Investigated

On March 20, 2014, a partial building collapse in Boston’s Theater District caused injuries to three workers. While the investigation is in its early stages, initial reports indicate that a heavy load of steel placed on the unfinished 12th floor of the apartment tower under construction may have caused the incident.

Inspectors from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will conduct more interviews today and examine the debris field inside the damaged building. The federal investigation could take several months to complete. One focus will be whether there were any workplace safety violations that contributed to the event.

The planned 30-story tower at 
45 Stuart Street is being built by AvalonBay Communities of Arlington, Virginia; the developer’s general contractor is John Moriarty & Associates Inc. of Winchester.

Construction work is one of the most dangerous areas of employment, with thousands of workers hurt on the job every year. Many of these injuries are the result of contractors’ and management’s failure to maintain a safe jobsite. Some of these injuries are the result of defective equipment. Other injuries are the result of carelessness or negligence on the part of a general contractor or subcontractor, for example failing to properly inspect the jobsite, failing to provide safe machinery or tools, or failing to provide workers with adequate fall protection equipment.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a construction site accident or workplace accident, and you have questions, please contact an injury lawyer at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink

Posted in Catastrophic Injuries, Construction Accidents, Construction Site Accidents, Fall Hazard, Negligence, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cork Block Stacking Toys Recalled Due to Choking Hazard

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On February 26, 2014 the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of about 720 Cork Stacker block sets. Small pieces of cork can break off the blocks, posing a choking hazard to young children.

This recall involves a three-piece cork block stacking toy imported by manufactured by A Harvest Company, of Huntley, Illinois, and sold online by StorkStack.com. The toy was sold for babies as young as six months, an age that is particularly prone to potential choking hazards. There were at least seven (7) reports of cork pieces breaking off of the blocks, including two reports of children mouthing the cork pieces.

Choking and ingestion hazards in children’s toys and other juvenile products account for numerous deaths and injuries each year. A dangerous toy may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.

If you or a member of your family has questions about a dangerous toy, please contact us. We will answer any questions you might have, and can advise regarding your legal rights.

 

Posted in Catastrophic Injuries, Choking Hazard, Consumer Protection, Dangerous Toys, Injuries to Minors, Negligence, Personal Injury, Products Liability, Safety, Suffocation Hazard, Wrongful Death | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Infant Pacifiers Recalled Due to Choking Hazard

On January 30, 2014, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recalled about 200,000 (in the United States and Canada Fred & Friends Chill Baby Artiste, Volume and Panic pacifiers. These pacifiers reportedly failed to comply with federal safety standards. Specifically, the beard on the Artiste and the knob on the Volume pacifiers can detach, posing a choking hazard to infants. Furthermore, the ventilation holes on the Volume and Panic pacifier guards are too small.

This recall involves three styles of Fred & Friends Chill Baby pacifiers, including the Artiste with a black plastic beard and mustache, Volume with a black volume control knob  and Panic with a red panic button. The pacifier’s name and UPC are printed on the packaging.  These products were sold at department stores, gift, drug, toy, baby product, grocery and home decorating stores, and hospital, museum gift shops nationwide and various websites in 2013.

Small-parts hazards are of particular concern regarding products that are intended for use by babies, with the expectation babies will put the items in their mouths. Such reported defects are a stark reminder that toys and children’s products reaching retail shelves are not necessarily safe. Parents and caregivers should carefully inspect any such products before giving them to children.

If you have questions or concerns about pacifiers, or other toys or children’s products, please contact us. We will answer any questions you might have, and can advise regarding your legal rights.

Posted in Choking Hazard, Consumer Protection, Dangerous Toys, Negligence, Personal Injury, Products Liability, Safety, Suffocation Hazard, Wrongful Death | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baby Rattles Recalled by Midwest-CBK Due to Choking Hazard

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On January 22, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled about 1,900 donut-shaped polyester knit fabric baby rattles with heads and arms to resemble a bear, monkey and a lion. The head on the rattle can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. The rattles were imported and distributed by Midwest-CBK LLC, of Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and were sold at small gift stores from July 2013 through December 2013 for about $10.

Small-parts hazards are of particular concern regarding products that are intended for use by babies, with the expectation babies will put the items in their mouths. Such reported defects are a stark reminder that toys and children’s products reaching retail shelves are not necessarily safe. Parents and caregivers should carefully inspect any such products before giving them to children.

If you have questions or concerns about baby rattles, or other toys or children’s products, please contact us. We will answer any questions you might have, and can advise regarding your legal rights.

Posted in Choking Hazard, Consumer Protection, Dangerous Toys, Injuries to Minors, Negligence, Personal Injury, Products Liability, Safety, Suffocation Hazard, Wrongful Death | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment