Swartz & Swartz Files Suit In New Hampshire On Behalf Of Man Paralyzed While In Police Custody

The Valley Street jail, Manchester police and Elliot Hospital are named in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Fern Ornelas, a Manchester resident paralyzed last October at some point while he was under the care of one or more of the three organizations.

The lawsuit also names Hillsborough County Corrections Superintendent David Dionne, Police Chief David Mara and other corrections officers, jail nurses, hospital security guards and police officers who came in contact with Ornelas over a two-day period.

The 71-page suit was filed late last week by attorney David P. Angueira of Swartz & Swartz of Boston.

It lays out the altercations and injuries that Ornelas suffered at both the hospital and jail. And it claims his symptoms were ignored by law enforcement, jail officers and medical professionals as he was moved from hospital to police station to jail.

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Stroller Activity Trays Recalled Due To Strangulation Hazard


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall for about 860 Tray Vous™ snack and activity trays with connectors sold in the United States and Canada. The opening between the recalled tray and stroller seat bottom allows an unharnessed child’s body to pass through, but could trap a child’s head, posing a strangulation hazard.

The snack and activity trays have connectors that fit into strollers; the three-piece units include a black plastic tray with a cup holder, a left connector and a right connector.  The products were sold at Dainty Baby in Brooklyn, N.Y. and other juvenile product stores nationwide, and online at daintybaby.com, mystroller.com, pacifier.com and trayvous.com from May 2011 through June 2012 for about $50.

At any point during the infant swing design and manufacturing process, significant failures may contribute to products’ hazards, including (1) missteps during the early design stages; (2) inadequate testing to ensure safe performance; and (3) marketing efforts that include inadequate instructions and warnings, or even fail to include any relevant cautions. Even one act of negligence during the process from a product’s conception to its sale can cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death once the product reaches unsuspecting consumers.

If you or a family member have questions regarding this recall, or generally regarding personal injuries, a defective product or negligence, 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 across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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

Child Deaths Lead to Beanbag Chair Recall

About 2.2 million bean bag chairs, made by Ace Bayou Corporation, are being recalled after two children were able to crawl inside, leading to their suffocation deaths. The chairs are made with zippers, which are easily opened by curious youngsters. A 13-year-old boy from McKinney, Texas, and a 3-year-old girl from Lexington, Kentucky, were found dead inside the chairs after they suffocated from a lack of air and inhaled the chair’s foam beads.

Significantly, the industry “voluntary” standard requires non-refillable bean bag chairs to have closed and permanently disabled zippers, to prevent such tragedies from occurring. Tragically and inexplicably, the standard was ignored by this manufacturer.

The chairs were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Specialty, Wayfair and Walmart stores and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com. They cost between $30 and $100 and were sold before July 2013. They come in all different colors, shapes, fabrics and sizes.

Suffocation hazards presented by children’s products, as well as products made for homes and schools where young children are expected to be living and plating, account for numerous deaths and injuries each year. A dangerous beanbag chair, or other furniture items such as cribs and juvenile beds,  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.

Parents and caregivers – please carefully inspect any such items prior to purchasing. Do not assume that because a product reaches retail shelves, it is necessarily safe. This example highlights that safety standards are not always followed by manufacturers.

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

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Massachusetts sees an Overwhelming Jump in Hospital Mistakes

Within the last year, Massachusetts acute-care hospitals reported over 750 serious medical errors and patient injuries. This number is a 70 percent jump from previous years, causing concern for Hospital executives, as well as the patients and their families who were harmed by these errors.

Health officials attribute this annual jump to the expanded definitions of what constitutes medical harm.

Some of the hospital errors reported include instances where patients underwent a procedure on the wrong body part, were burned by an operating room fire or were exposed to contaminated or improperly sterilized equipment.  Patient falls, assaults, serious bed sores and suicides are also amongst the list of reported errors.

Commissioner of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, said it’s unclear whether the increase in incident rates is attributable to the state broadening the type of incidents hospitals are now required to report.

Since 2008, Massachusetts hospitals have been required to notify the health department, patients and their families, about serious reportable medical errors.

Prior to 2012, hospitals were required to only report errors which resulted in a patient having a serious disability. Now, hospitals are required to report any “serious injury”, which could be a plausible cause for the increase in mistakes.

Despite this, hospitals still need to improve some of their practices. The broader reporting requirements do not eliminate the occurrence of medical errors. Biondolillo states that hospital reports for the 2014 year should give regulators a better idea of whether errors are rising because no more major changes to the notification system are planned. “We are always concerned. One of anything is too many,” she said. “But next year we’re going to be able to give a much more definitive answer to that question.”

If you or a family member have suffered significant injuries due to a medical error or if a loved one has suffered a wrongful death as the result of the negligence of a medical professional, please contact one of our personal injury attorneys 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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Former Emerson Student Sues for Mishandling of her Sexual Assault Case

Jillian Doherty, a former Emerson student filed a federal Title IX complaint against Emerson College on Friday August 8th.  Title IX is a section of the Federal Educational Amendments of 1972 that protects students from discrimination based on gender — and the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires colleges to disclose campus crime information.

According to the complaint, Doherty was raped by a male Emerson student after a consensual act in his dorm room in April 2012. Due to her “fear and concern about her privacy and how she would be treated as a rape victim,” she did not report it to the school until almost a year later in March of 2013.  She names President M. Lee Pelton; Dean of Students Ronald Ludman; Director of Housing and Residence Life David Haden; and the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and the case’s Title IX investigator Michael Arno, with mishandling her rape case.

Doherty is seeking “compensatory and punitive damages, resulting from her pain and suffering resulting from the Defendants’ deliberate indifference” in addition to legal fees. Although she has declined to comment on the recently filed complaint, her attorney, David P. Angueira of Swartz & Swartz, in an interview with the Beacon, said that Doherty Hopes the case will improve the way Emerson handles student sexual assault cases.

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Oeuf Recalls Sparrow Cribs Due to Entrapment Hazard




On July 22, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled a particular model of cribs due to the safety hazard it posed to infants.

Over 14,000 Oeuf “Sparrow Cribs” were recalled this past Tuesday. Oeuf, a nursery furniture retailer which specializes in modern eco- friendly nursery furniture, issued a recall including four models of their Sparrow Cribs. The recalled cribs were manufactured between July 2007 and January 2014 and were sold in specialty stores nationwide and online for $800.

The CPSC reports that the slats/spindles and top rail of the crib can detach and pose an entrapment hazard to infants. Consumers should immediately stop using the cribs.

Product recalls are a cause for concern in households across the country. Infant product recalls are especially concerning due to the expected environment of use, particularly involving the youngest, most innocent consumers. Defective cribs are particularly concerning, since infants are foreseeably left alone for hours in what is supposed to be a safe, secure environment for playing and sleeping.

If you or a loved one has questions about this crib or any other children’s products, please contact a personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside of the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We have significant experience regarding applicable safety regulations and relevant hazards, and can answer any questions you might have.

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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