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11 Million Cars to be Recalled for “Cheating Software”

/ Defective Products /

11 Million Cars to be RecalledNEW YORK – Volkswagen owners should be nervous, if not worried about recent news erupting from the German automaker regarding emissions testing. The carmaker recently admitted to installing software that was designed to cheat clean emissions testing in the United States and around the globe.

Under fire from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and governments around the world, the resulting recall will be the largest in VW history – affecting about 11 million cars. The recall is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 but the automaker could face huge lawsuits and according to the EPA, up to $18 billion in fines.

A defective product attorney at Cellino & Barnes says nearly 500,000 vehicles were sold in the United States and they could affect the resale value and the health of millions.

“These vehicles were marketed as ‘clean diesel’ cars to thousands of families in New York,” defective product attorney Steve Barnes said. “Many families bought these cars because they were told the vehicles were better for the environment – now we’re discovering that advertising may not have just been false; we’re finding out these cars were a health hazard.”

The EPA said the cars would emit as much as 40 times the legal limit of pollutants during normal driving. During official emissions testing, the software was programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode to pass the test.

Class-action lawsuits have already been filed by Volkswagen and Audi owners. Many of the claims cite fraud, breach of contract and a diminished value of the recalled diesel vehicles, which generally sell at a higher price over standard gasoline vehicles.

Lawyers say the cars may have fuel efficiency problems and degraded horsepower after the recalled vehicles are fixed.

“If all the allegations are true, consumers were not only filling their homes and neighborhoods with pollution; they were getting ripped off too,” Barnes said.

The vehicles subject to the recall include:

    • 2012-2015 VW Beetles
    • 2013-2015 VW Beetle Convertibles
    • 2009-2015 VW Jettas
    • 2009-2014 VW Jetta SportWagens
    • 2009-2015 VW Passats
    • 2010-2015 VW Golfs
    • 2015 VW Golf SportWagens
    • 2010-2015 Audi A3s

If you or a family member bought one of these vehicles, it may be equipped with fraudulent emissions software, which is illegal.

 

“Freak of Nature” Blamed for Train Derailment

/ Train Accidents /

“Freak of Nature” Blamed for Train DerailmentNEW YORK – Another train derailed Monday morning, injuring at least 7 passengers in central Vermont. Officials say the train struck a rockslide about 10 miles south of Montpelier, the state’s capital. At least one person was seriously injured, according to news reports.

The train named the “Vermonter” travels between St. Albans City in Vermont to Washington D.C. with stops in Connecticut, Manhattan and New Jersey.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration sent investigators to the site of the crash, one of several train derailments being investigated this year.

Manhattan train crash attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say passengers could have died in a crash like this and the scenario may have been prevented with adequate safety features.

“These crashes happen too often on trains heading to or going through Manhattan,” train crash attorney Ross Cellino said. “Train companies have promised safety but we still see dozens of derailments and more injuries each year.”

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin blamed the Vermonter’s crash on a “freak of nature,” saying rocks above the tracks broke off and tumbled into the path of the train, owned and operated by Amtrak. The tracks are owned and maintained by the New England Central Railroad.

A total of five cars fell off the tracks.

While an investigation will officially determine the cause of the crash and if anything could have prevented it, Manhattan train crash attorneys say the area is known for rock slides.

“Many mountainous highways have nets along the side of the road to trap rocks from falling into the paths of oncoming cars,” Cellino said. “The same principle could be applied to train tracks.”

Passengers on the Vermonter said the crash was like ‘severe turbulence;’ as people and luggage were tossed around in the cabin. Some of the luggage reportedly hit passengers and some of the seats came loose.

Seat belts are not a practical option to improve passenger safety, according to a 2006 study by the Transit Cooperative Research Program. Experts say most injury crashes can be blamed on broken rails, which the Federal Railroad Administration is responsible for inspecting.

A new technology called Positive Train Control (PTC) would reduce the number of accidents, officials said. Congress signed legislation that would mandate all trains to be equipped with PTC, which uses satellites to monitor and control certain aspects of a locomotive. However, many train companies have not installed the safety feature and have asked Congress to extend the deadline, which is slated to expire at the end of the year.

Monday’s derailment happened along a stretch of track that will be exempt from the December 31 congressional deadline to install PTC.

As part of the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act, the Federal Railroad Administration determined what rail lines would need positive train control, putting the highest priority on routes carrying passengers and toxic chemicals. Congress gave the agency freedom to exclude rail lines it determined did not carry a significant amount of traffic. New England Central rail lines were among those that met the criteria for exemption.

Keyless Ignition Linked to Carbon Monoxide Poisonings

/ Defective Products /

Carbon Monoxide PoisoningsNEW YORK – You don’t have to turn the key anymore to get the engine revving in your car anymore. We have buttons for that. What was once a sci-fi idea is now the norm but consumer safety advocates are warning car owners about the dangers associated with keyless ignitions.

Several people have walked away from their vehicles, taking the keys with them but they forget to turn off the engine. Long Island defective product attorneys say this common mistake can be deadly.

“Some people have died because they accidentally left their car running in an attached garage on Long Island,” defective product attorney Steve Barnes said. “The carbon monoxide from the engine can build up inside the garage and sometimes even seep into your home – and this gas is deadly.”

Many cars have no alarms to detect the build-up of carbon monoxide and most don’t have an automatic shut-off. An ABC News investigation found it took just two and a half hours for the carbon monoxide to build-up to lethal levels. Experts say a person could feel the effects immediately and possibly lose consciousness within just five minutes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently proposed a requirement that would equip all vehicles with an audible alarm but officials have not mandated this piece of equipment. Currently, public comments are under review and NHTSA officials plan to make a final ruling in February.

“Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and deadly,” Barnes said. “Unfortunately, several people have died because they didn’t receive any kind of warning that there were elevated levels of the gas entering their garage and home – that seems unacceptable.”

At least 13 people have died because automakers concealed the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a new lawsuit. Nearly 30 consumers filed the lawsuit against 10 major car manufacturers in federal court, accusing the companies of failing to warn drivers about the “deadly defect” associated with keyless ignition.

Nearly 30 complaints were submitted to the NHTSA since 2009. Since then, several lawsuits have been filed claiming automakers knew about the risks associated with keyless ignition and instead of addressing the dangers, companies continued to market their vehicles as ‘safe.’

Barnes and the Long Island defective product attorneys at Cellino & Barnes hope the lawsuits force automakers to design safer vehicles and equip cars and trucks with technology to alert people of rising carbon monoxide levels.

“Unfortunately, many families have already suffered an injury or a loss due to carbon monoxide poisoning,” Barnes said. “These families could be entitled to significant compensation because these accidents could have been prevented.”

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or wrongful death due to carbon monoxide, Long Island defective product attorneys at Cellino & Barnes offer free case evaluations. Contact a lawyer today to discuss your claim.

The Injury Toll in the US

/ Personal Injury /

The Injury Toll in the USROCHESTER, N.Y. – If you’ve ever been injured, you understand the pain and the costs associated with it. From hospitalizations to lost work to recovery costs, injuries are expensive. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimate that injuries cost the nation $671 billion in 2013.

The CDC study released this week examined both fatal and non-fatal injuries; determining more than 3 million people are hospitalized, 27 million are treated and released at emergency rooms, and more than 192,000 people die as the result of accidental injuries and violence-related injuries.

“Injuries cost Americans far too much money, suffering, and preventable death,” CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “The doubling of deaths by drug poisoning, including prescription drug overdose and heroin, is particularly alarming.”

Prescription drug overdoses and other drug poisonings accounted for 27 percent of the costs associated with fatal injuries, ahead of transportation-related deaths (23 percent) and gun-related deaths (22 percent).

Falls (37 percent) and transportation-related injuries (21 percent) tallied the most costs associated with non-fatal injuries.

Rochester personal injury lawyers at Cellino & Barnes say the costs can be staggering for anyone who has been wrongfully injured.

“When you crunch the numbers, the average injury can cost someone well over $20,000 in Rochester,” personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Some injury victims are not only paying that cost out of their own pockets, they may have to live with that physical pain for a long time.”

Cellino, a partner at Cellino & Barnes, represents victims of accidents, negligence and wrongful death. The firm boasts impressive results, earning more than $1.5 billion in settlements and verdicts for injured clients.

“When someone files a claim for their injuries, they could get significant compensation and we try to maximize those results because we understand how much of a burden an injury can be,” Cellino said. “Our personal injury lawyers are trial-tested and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the best possible results for our clients.”

More than $289 billion were spent on injury-related hospitalizations, according to the CDC. Those who were treated and released racked-up a bill of over $167 billion, most of which were the result of falls and transportation-related injuries.

Doctors and researchers with the CDC said their research underscores the need for effective injury prevention and urged communities to increase their efforts to prevent injuries, violence and implement programs that would minimize the costs associated with them.

Essure Birth Control Problems Heard by FDA

/ Defective Products /

NEW YORK – Severe headaches, heavy bleeding and countless other complications could be the result of what was once marketed as a ‘safe’ implant. Thousands of women are now questioning the safety of the popular birth control device “Essure” after many of them have reported severe side effects. ABC News reports some of these women were in Washington, demanding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pull the product off the market.

“These side effects are real and our experiences are real,” Amanda Holt told the team of FDA panelists.

Patients like Holt have reported a long list of potential side effects ranging in scope and severity. Many women claim the device failed and resulted in pregnancy and in some cases the device may be linked to stillbirths. The device, which is inserted into the fallopian tubes, was placed on the market in 2002 but the device manufacturer didn’t change its warnings until 2014.

Defective product attorneys at Cellino & Barnes are now evaluating Essure cases – and those injured could be entitled to significant compensation.

“This device has been documented to cause severe injuries included but not limited to device migration, perforations and debilitating side effects,” dangerous drug attorney Mike Williams said. “Some women had pain so severe they required doctors to surgically remove the device, which was supposed to be a permanently emplaced contraceptive implant.”

Other birth control devices such as the Merina IUD require removal after five years. Other implants like hip devices can be under warranty for a decade and patients should expect future surgeries. However, Essure is marketed as a permanent implant and it’s not specifically designed to be the surgically removed.

Doctors report some women have even died as a result of complications from the surgery or the device itself.

The FDA panel will recommend more research about allergic reactions and side effects caused by Essure, according to ABC News. The panel will also suggest adjustments to the label and more training for doctors who are implanting or removing the implant.

On its website, the FDA acknowledges receiving a large number of reports and complaints related to Essure, including at least 11 deaths:

From Nov. 4, 2002, Essure’s approval date, through May 31, 2015, the FDA received 5093 medical device reports related to Essure. The majority of reports received since 2013 have been voluntary reports, mostly from women who received Essure implants.

The most frequently reported patient problems during this period were pain/abdominal pain (3353), heavier menses/menstrual irregularities (1408), headache (1383), fatigue (966), and weight fluctuations (936). Most of the reports received listed multiple patient problems in each report. The most frequent device problems reported were patient device incompatibility (941) (for example, possible nickel allergy), migration of the device or device component (482), device operating differently than expected (301), device breakage (259), and malposition of the device (133). Multiple device problems can also be listed in each report.

Seventeen of the reports received were coded as death reports. Six of these reports were mistakenly coded as death, but no death occurred. Five reports involve fetal deaths that occurred in women who became pregnant following placement of Essure. The remaining six death reports were related to a total of 4 adult deaths: one death due to Group A Strep infection post-procedure, one death reportedly due to uterine perforation during device placement, one death related to an air embolism during device removal surgery and one death from suicide.  Confirming whether a device actually caused a specific event can be difficult based solely on information provided in a given report.

“These are life-altering side effects that stop you from functioning as a person,” Angie Firmalino said in a statement to the FDA.

The FDA reports it has received over 20,000 complaints regarding the product manufactured by Bayer, which defends Essure and continues to market the product to women as an alternate and permanent method of birth control.

If you believe you or a family member has suffered adverse health effects while using this implant, contact an attorney at Cellino & Barnes online today or call 800-888-8888 for a free case evaluation.


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Prescription Drugs Fuel Spike in Highway Deaths

/ Car Accident /

Prescription Drugs Fuel SpikeNEW YORK – Drive sober or get pulled over. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Sure, you’ve heard them before and rightfully so: over 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-fueled car crashes each year. Boozing drivers have long plagued U.S. roadways (and they still are) but now, there’s a rival that could be deadlier than driving under the influence of alcohol.

Drugs. We usually think these are dangerous and deadly substances like heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines. Yes, those are dangerous drugs and they are the root of a number of deadly crashes but researchers say prescription drugs can be just as dangerous when used while operating motor vehicles.

According to a new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the use of prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999. Brooklyn car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say the numbers are concerning as the amount of prescription painkillers become more prevalent and more states permit the use of marijuana.

“Any drug – whether it’s illegal, prescription or over-ther-counter – could potentially impair a driver at your neighborhood intersection in Brooklyn,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Almost all of the prescription drugs warn consumers about the dangers of operating a car and taking medication but many people ignore that warning.”

The most recent national data show drunk driving is declining while drugged driving is occurring more often. Researchers examined federal data and discovered drugs were present in almost 40 percent of the drivers who were killed and tested following a car crash. According to a recent roadside survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 22 percent of all drivers tested positive for some kind of drug or medication.

“The effects of some prescription drugs can be compared to the effects of alcohol,” Barnes said. “That’s how dangerous some of these drugs are – and the consequences of driving under the influence can be severe.”

Drugged drivers can be slapped with large fines associated with DUI and DWI laws. When a drugged driver causes a crash, it could cost even more. The Brooklyn car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes will pursue the largest possible compensation for their clients, some of whom have been injured in crashes with a drugged driver.

Researchers are now pleading with state governments to address the rise in prescription and illegal drug use; pushing education via public service announcements, grassroots engagement and other efforts to curb the number of drugged drivers on the roads.

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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