Ironworkers ZERO Fatality-Incident Campaign

Posted in Personal Injury

During the past year the Ironworkers ZERO Fatality-Incident Campaign commissioned by General President Eric Dean, and the IMPACT board of trustees, concentrated on training and communication measures to the improve safety for ironworkers while on the job. The overarching goal of the campaign is to improve safety skills and knowledge.

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Landlords Risk Exposure to Double Damages in Suits by Tenants

Posted in Business & Corporate

In Pennsylvania, residential and commercial lease agreements are governed not only by the terms of the lease itself, but also by the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, 68 P.S. §§ 250.101, et. seq.

When a lease term ends, the landlord is required to provide a tenant with a list of damages caused to the premises within thirty days of the termination of the lease or repossession of the property.

In addition, the landlord must return any escrow monies held under the lease within that time period. If the landlord deducts any funds to pay for alleged damages to the premises, then the landlord must return the difference in the balance of the escrow funds to the tenant.

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Pennsylvania Beer Distributors Can Now Sell Six-Packs

Posted in Beer & Spirits

Gone are the days of having to buy a whole case of beer or a keg at a beer distributor in Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1196 into law, which will allow beer distributors to sell six-packs to customers.

What does this mean for beer distributors, retailers, and consumers in Pennsylvania? Among other things, earlier retail sales hours. Retail licensees can begin selling on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. rather than 11:00 a.m. Sporting venues can sell mixed drinks. Breweries can sell products of other licensed breweries, limited wineries, limited distilleries, and distilleries without having to secure a brewery pub license. A person licensed in another state may apply for a license to ship beer to customers, with certain restrictions. Distributor licensees can sell malt or brewed beverages in any amount to an unlicensed customer for off-premises consumption. This includes four-packs, 32-ounce bottles, growlers, and six-packs.

This is another win for distributors who, earlier this year, the PLCB declared that they were permitted to sell 12-packs of beer. The new law goes into effect in 60 days.

Out-of-Work Employees Can Seek Unemployment Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania

Posted in Employment

An individual who is out of work in Pennsylvania may qualify for unemployment compensation benefits through the state government. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits is responsible for processing benefit requests and determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits.

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Practicing Defensive Medicine: The Doctor’s Cure for Malpractice

Posted in Medical Malpractice

“Defensive Medicine” is a phrase used when doctors order extra tests or perform additional procedures because they are concerned about being sued for “missing something.” However, studies do not support the idea that the extra tests or procedures are warranted and actually reduce the risk of a physician being sued.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that the greatest predictor of whether a physician is likely to be sued is whether he or she has been sued before. In other words, physicians who have been sued once are much more likely to be sued again. Between 1991 and 2005, 6% of all doctors in the United States were estimated to be responsible for 58% of all malpractice payments.

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The Precision Medicine Initiative

Posted in Medical Malpractice

Recently, New York Times journalist Robert Pear published an article on the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). According to Mr. Pear’s article, in November or December of 2016 you may be selected to join the Precision Medicine cohort, a long-term population-based health research study that will provide valuable research on disease and illness in the United States.

Government scientists are seeking a million volunteers willing to share information on their genetic background, environment, and lifestyle choices.  The PMI hopes to collect ten (10) years of data related to diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, sleep patterns, and other social behavior that will permit researchers to identify possible risk factors for health, including from air pollution and lead levels in drinking water.

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Wearable Tech Injuries on the Rise: McDonalds recalls Happy Meal Fitness Trackers

Posted in Mass Tort, Personal Injury

McDonalds has recalled 29 million Happy Meal toy fitness trackers in the U.S. and Canada because of reported rash and burn injuries. The McDonalds “Step It” trackers included two versions of brightly colored, wearable tech: one that counts steps, and one that signals walking speed with flashes of light. These Step It “toys” are not high dollar adult wear and yet the injuries reported—rashes and burns—are eerily similar to injuries from Fitbits that the company was forced to recall in 2014. Just three weeks ago, another company, Basis, recalled its Peak tracker for causing burns and blisters.

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The Motor Vehicle Exception to Government Immunity in Pennsylvania

Posted in Personal Injury, Vehicle Accident

For those unaware, government immunity is the doctrine that provides federal, state, and local governments with immunity against certain legal claims arising out of torts committed by a government employee, official, or agent. The doctrine comes from English law, which held that the crown could do no wrong. What this means today in Pennsylvania, in practical terms, is that in order to sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, your case must fall into one of several exceptions to government immunity.

One of the exceptions to government immunity is the motor vehicle exception, which seeks to hold the government responsible for motor vehicle accidents caused by government employees acting in the scope of their employment as a government employee. The motor vehicle exception to government immunity essentially waives immunity where the negligent act that caused the plaintiff’s injuries involves the movement and operation of the government owned or controlled vehicle or its parts.

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Preventing Harm to Patients should be Priority #1 for Healthcare Providers

Posted in Medical Malpractice

A recent BMJ (British Medical Journal) study listed medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States. The BMJ recommends that healthcare providers make prevention of patient harm the top healthcare priority and institute policy and procedure changes directed toward that objective.

The study points out that the medical cause of an injury or death on the death certificate doesn’t reflect that “communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death.”

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