Category: Uncategorized

Car Crashes on the Rise with Marijuana Legalization

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that the probable cause of a crash that killed 12 people on a church bus near Concan, Texas, in March 2017 was that the 20-year-old man whose truck hit the bus was under the influence of marijuana and a sedative.

In its report, the board says there has been an increase in the number of drug-impaired drivers across the country and that something must be done about it.

That call to action seems to match up with a report released Thursday from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

Though a 2017 study found that the legalization of recreational weed has not increased the number of accidents involving fatalities, states that have legalized recreational use are seeing more car crashes overall, according to the report, which includes two studies presented at the Combating Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving summit at the insurance institute’s Vehicle Research Center.

The first study found that crashes are up as much as 6 percent in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized recreational use of weed.

Researchers estimated the frequency of collision claims per insured vehicle year, controlling for differences in other factors that could contribute to an accident, including age, location, job status and weather, and still saw an increase.

The second study looked at the number of police-reported accidents before and after the legalization of recreational use of weed.

The findings were similar: A 5.2 percent increase in crash rates after legalization than before weed was legal in those states.

Other research has found that in a small sample of drivers who used weed before driving, they had slower thinking and perceptual skills.

Drivers under the influence of weed tended to weave more when tested in simulators, studies show, although scientists say more research needs to be done to better understand the correlation between blood or oral fluid concentrations and psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Driving while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, is illegal in all states.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in its report on the fatal accident in Texas — where recreational use is illegal — that police across the country need better training and better tools to detect whether a driver is under the influence of drugs.

It also encouraged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with a system of best practices and model specifications for oral fluid drug screening devices that police can use when they pull someone over.

There are no national standards or standardized tests for weed-impaired drivers like there are for alcohol.

The tests designed to determine whether someone is driving drunk are only moderately successful in determining that someone is impaired from using weed, studies have shown.

About 6 in 10 Americans support marijuana legalization, an October poll found, and thus more states will probably legalize recreational use — meaning there will probably be more drivers on the road under the influence.


Article originally posted on KVDR News (Fox 31) via CNN Wire

Is Your Car Winter Ready?


Fall is upon us in Colorado, and with the leaves falling and temperatures dropping that can mean only one thing: Winter is coming. With winter right around the corner, it’s important to make sure you (and your car) are prepared for the changing conditions. Just last year it was reported by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) that “preliminary data indicates that traffic fatalities have risen by 54 percent since 2014.” As many of us all know, winter driving only seems to make driving much more of a headache than normal. With these tips however, you can make sure that getting yourself and the ones you care about from point A to B is as easy as possible.

  • Check out those Tires – Even cars that have all-wheel or four wheel drive can be prone to slipping and sliding in icy conditions. Make sure you have enough tire tread. Worn down tires cannot grip the road as easily. You can also invest in snow tires that are specifically made to handle snow/icy conditions.
  • Two’s a Crowd – In inclement weather, cars may not be able to stop as quickly especially if your tires are worn. Be sure to allow extra space for the car in front of you. This can help to allow enough time to brake if needed.
  • If the Weather outside is frightful… – In low visibility conditions be sure to drive with caution. Driving too fast in poor conditions can cause a domino effect of sorts with the potential for multiple crashes to occur.
  • Don’t Drive Too Close to the Snowplow – Be sure to give snowplows a wide berth to allow them to safety move snow out of the roadway. If you must pass a snowplow do so on the left, and with extra vigilance, if laws permitting.
  • Do you know what your Winter Emergency Plan is? – If you get stuck in your car during a storm: do not leave! If possible, keep the engine running regularly and wait for help. Make sure you have a winter travel kit with items such as extra blankets, flashlights, water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, shovel, jumper cables, scraper, and sand (to help with traction) that will hold you over until the storm passes or help arrives.

Even with all precautions being taken, we know life happens and accidents do occur. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident, contact our office at 303-999-9999 or at 303-835-9342 to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our experienced attorneys. You may also visit our practice area page on motor vehicle accidents at  for more information.

A Hidden Secret of Asbestos Exposure


What is asbestos?

Asbestos are types of silicate minerals which when the fibers are inhaled, they stick and form a protective layer in the lungs. These fibers remain in the lungs for years and eventually create cancer cells where it goes undetected often for several years.

Who is most at risk?

While asbestos has mainly been thought to be a hazard for “blue-collar” jobs such as construction and automotive work, as up until around the 1970’s asbestos was extensively used in areas of insulation for construction projects and fireproofing. However, it has come to light that even “white collar” jobs such as dentistry, jewelers, and even science teachers can also be at risk for asbestos exposure. For example, dentists may have been in contact with asbestos through the use of old dental fillings created with antiquated waxing methods that were in use starting from the 1930’s until at least the 1970’s when initial discoveries about the toxicity of asbestos were beginning to be made. With jewelers the practice of soldering (joining two metal parts together with the use of a third metal that has a lower degree of melting) can bring a possible risk of contact, and science teachers using gauze pads under Bunsen burners (as according to a UK news reports, those particular types of pads were shown to contain asbestos from at least the 1970’s).

What is the result of prolonged exposure?

One of the most common results of routine contact with asbestos is the development of Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that commonly affects the lining of the lungs or the chest wall. It can also form in the lining of the Pericardium (the protective sac around the heart), or in the lining of the abdomen

What if myself or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos? What are my options?

Contact our office at 303-999-9999 or at 303-835-9342  if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or are experiencing other asbestos related symptoms to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our experienced attorneys. You may also visit our website at for more information.

Changes to Xarelto’s Label are Not Enough


Despite facing multiple lawsuits over patient’s experiences with heavy and sometimes fatal bleeding problems, Xarelto’s label still lags behind in giving patients a sufficient safety warning regarding the use of the medication.  The label was modified in June of 2018 to let medical providers know about a FDA approved agent called AndexXA which is intended to reverse the side effects of Xarelto. AndexXa was cleared for use in May of 2018, and is the first of its type to help reduce the effects of taking Xarelto. This is a critical step in helping those patients who suffer from significant internal bleeding as a result of using Xarelto.

Even though these changes have been implemented, essential information about the severity of the risk of prescribing Xarelto is still being overlooked. For example, the label does not mention that using both Xarelto and aspirin together can cause a 93 percent increased chance of major bleeding, in comparison to just taking Xarelto by itself. Furthermore, due to the medication’s drastic fluctuation from patient to patient some individuals can have a higher concentration of the drug in their system allowing them to be at a higher danger for bleeding, versus another individual taking the same dosage. Even though testing has been made available to allow for monitoring the amount of the drug in a patients system, However the current U.S. label continues to claim that no such testing is available to measure the concentration of the drug. This claim directly disputes the label that is provided on the medication in Canada and Europe, which hinders U.S. physicians and puts their patients at a greater danger to having serious or fatal bleeding problems while taking the medication.

If you or a loved one have experienced severe or fatal bleeding issues as a result of taking Xarelto, contact our office at 303-999-9999 or at 303-835-9342. You may also visit our practice area page on pharmaceutical drugs at for more information.


General Mills Changing up Nature Valley Advertising

Nature Valley

General Mills announced in August of 2018 they will be removing the “Made With 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats” tagline from its line of Nature Valley granola bars, due to a settlement of a lawsuit filed against them over the claim that glyphosate was found in their products. Three consumer groups filed the suit after it was discovered through outside research that glyphosate was found in a number of various food products.

The Nature Valley bars were discovered to have a higher than normal amount of glyphosate. The lawsuit also alleged that the tagline for the bars was misleading for a consumer assuming the ingredients in the bar would all be considered as ‘natural.’ Currently there is no set legal definition for the word “natural” which can allow for marketing strategies that lead an individual to purchase a product that may not necessarily be as natural as it is advertised.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that no more than 30 ppm (parts per million) of glyphosate are allowed to be present in foods such as granola bars. In comparison, the Nature Valley bars were found to have 0.45 ppm and other grain based foods like Cheerios and Quaker Oats which are also products of General Mills, were found to have related high levels of the chemical. Glyphosate is a controversial chemical, recently deemed by the International Agency of Cancer to be a possible carcinogen that can cause serious health issues.

Glyphosate has also recently been in the spotlight due to lawsuits faced by Monsanto Corporation regarding their product Roundup and a potential link to the diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma . More information on Roundup and current litigation developments can be found here and here.

Contact our office at 303-999-9999 or 303-835-9342 if you or a loved one have been affected by glyphosate in these food products to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

LaCroix Faces Lawsuit Over Insecticide Claims

la croix

The makers of the wildly popular sparkling water LaCroix, which has become a phenomenon over the past year, were hit with a lawsuit alleging the beverage contains “non-natural flavorings,” including an ingredient said to be used as a “cockroach insecticide.”

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, was filed in Cook County, Illinois, against the drink’s parent company, National Beverage Corporation, and slammed what it said was the “practice of mislabeling their signature product, LaCroix Water, as ‘all-natural,'” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

The beverage makers “mislead consumers into believing that their product is natural when it is not,” the complaint added. Moreover, the suit alleged the bubbly water contains the ingredient “linalool” which it says “is used as a cockroach insecticide.”

The National Beverage Corp. “categorically denies all allegations” in the suit, the company said in a statement, slamming it as “without basis in fact or law regarding the natural composition” of LaCroix sparkling waters.

“Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors,” the statement added. “The lawsuit provides no support for its false statements about LaCroix’s ingredients.”

Legal expert Areva Martin told “Good Morning America,” that if the suit’s “claims are substantiated, this could have a dire effect on the company.”

“It may be forced to change it’s labeling, we know the company prides itself on providing a natural and organic water, so if they have to change that labeling, that can change their entire marketing strategy,” she added.

But experts say that even if the allegations are true, consumers shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the bubbly beverage, saying LaCroix would have to contain 50 percent of the linalool in order to pose a health risk, and that the natural chemical is often found in fruits and spices such as cinnamon.

“The consumer should not be alarmed by this lawsuit,” Roger Clemens, a food safety expert from the University of Southern California, told “GMA.” “The compounds under discussion occur naturally and citrus beverages like orange juice, lime juice.”

Massive Beef Recall Issued over Salmonella Concerns

More than 6.5 million pounds of beef products are being recalled nationwide due to a salmonella outbreak, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The beef, which was produced by JBS Tolleson, includes “various raw, non-intact beef products,” the USDA said in a press release issued Thursday. The beef was packaged on dates ranging from July 26 to Sept. 7 of this year and has establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection. It was sold under the brand names Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart, and JBS Generic.

Health officials have identified JBS Tolleson as the “probable source” of 57 cases of salmonella illnesses that were reported in 16 states between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6.

The USDA is urging people to check the beef in their freezer.

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers,” officials said in the press release. “Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause a person to develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being infected with it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without being treated. However, some people have diarrhea so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

Freezing contaminated beef “may slow down continued growth” of salmonella, but it won’t eliminate it, food safety expert Darin Detwiler, PhD, director of the Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industries program at Northeastern University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Although cooking the beef thoroughly will kill salmonella, it’s still not something you want to risk, Felicia Wu, PhD, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “If you prepared the uncooked ground beef on a surface such as a dish or a cutting board, and then put the cooked finished product back onto that dish or cutting board, then you could inadvertently contaminate the finished product with whatever bacteria were originally in the uncooked ground beef,” she says. Failure to wash your hands properly could also cause cross-contamination.

“Cooking it above 160 degrees is going to take care of reducing risk of bacteria in the product but I would worry much more about handling it,” Benjamin Chapman, PhD, an assistant professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “During the thawing and cooking process, you could contaminate your hands and equipment and spread that to other foods.”

If you discover this beef in your freezer or refrigerator, you should discard it or return it to the store where you bought it. “Consumption may cause harm or even worse,” Detwiler says.


If you or a loved one have been affected by this recall please call our office at 303-999-9999 or at 303-835-9342 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Please visit our page on food borne illness for more information.

Article originally posted on Yahoo News by author Korin Miller

Colorado Meat Recall: What You Need to Know


What is the basis for the recall? Who is involved?

Cargill Meat Solutions, a meat packer based out of Fort Morgan Colorado announced yesterday it is recalling over 132,000 pounds (about 66.3 tons) of ground beef due to it being contaminated with E. Coli bacterium. The ground beef has already been linked to the death of one individual and has sickened 17 others.The beef was dated and packaged on June 21st, 2018. The beef was then sold in various grocery stores and supermarkets in and outside Colorado.The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) division announced the recall this past Wednesday. According to an article by the Denver Post, Cargill released a statement in regards to the recall stating ” ‘We were distressed to learn a fatality may be related to an E.coli contamination of one of our products…our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by this issue.’ “

What is E. Coli?

E. Coli is a type of bacteria that is typically found in the intestines of humans and species of animals. While normally the bacteria doesn’t cause any harm, certain strains have been known to cause food poisoning when under cooked or raw foods (such as ground beef) are consumed. These symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • abdominal cramps

  • diarrhea

  • fever

  • fatigue

  • nausea

If I have been affected, what are my options?

Contact our office at 303-999-9999 or 303-835-9342 to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our experienced attorneys if you or a loved one have been affected by this recall. Our firm has extensive experience handling these types of claims. Visit our practice area on food borne illness for more information.

Recall Underway for Colorado Meatpacker

FORT MORGAN, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado meatpacker is recalling more than 132,000 pounds (60,000 kilograms) of ground beef after a suspected E. coli outbreak killed one person and sickened 17, officials said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday the beef was produced and packaged at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan on June 21 and shipped to retailers nationwide.

The products include 3-, 10- and 20-pound (1.3-, 4.5- and 9-kilogram) packages of ground beef under the Our Certified, Excel, Sterling Silver, Certified and Fire River Farms brands with July 11 use or freeze by dates.

Regulators warned that people should also check for the products in their freezers. They advise throwing the products away or returning them to the location of purchase.

In a statement on Thursday, Cargill said all of the affected products have been removed from supermarkets. Food safety teams are reviewing the Fort Morgan facility and others “to ensure we continue to deliver safe food,” the statement said.

“We were distressed to learn a fatality may be related to an E.coli contamination of one of our products,” it said. “Our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by this issue.”

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service did not release information about the people who died or became ill, including locations.

A spokeswoman referred questions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A representative for the CDC did not immediately return messages seeking more information.

The Cargill plant had a smaller recall of Excel ground beef in August, but no illnesses had been reported at that time.

Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea and vomiting. More severe infections can lead to kidney failure.

If you or a loved one have been affected by this recall, please call 303-999-9999 or 303-835-9342 to speak with an experienced attorney. Visit our page on food borne illness for additional information.

-Article originally posted by Yahoo News via Associated Press (AP). 

$28 Million in Damages Requested in J&J Talc Case

LOS ANGELES – The attorney for plaintiff Carolyn Weirick during closing arguments asked a jury for $28 million in damages for his client over allegations that Johnson & Johnson Baby Power caused her to develop asbestos-related disease mesothelioma.

The defendant contends there was no asbestos in Weirick’s baby powder and her disease was a spontaneously developed tumor.

“It’s your job to access the facts in this case and apply the law to decide what’s fair and reasonable,” Jay Stuemke of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, the attorney for Weirick, said.

The trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court is being streamed courtesy of Courtroom View Network.

During Sept. 13’s session, Stuemke held a bottle of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for the jury to see.

“This is about trust,” he said. “When I bought this, I should be able to trust this is safe – that there’s no asbestos in there. We should trust the product in this bottle has been properly tested.”

Weirick is suing Johnson & Johnson over allegations the baby powder she used for 40 years caused her to develop mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer of the lungs. Her case is one of hundreds filed by women against the cosmetic talc powder company across the country, though most allege the powder caused them to suffer ovarian cancer.

A co-defendant in the suit is Imerys Talc America, a San Jose mining company that supplied J&J in recent years with its talc powder.

“Carolyn Weirick will die early from her mesothelioma,” Stuemke said. “How early no one can say, she has already survived past the normal life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma.”

Stuemke said some of the finest surgeons in the world, such as Dr. David Jablons at the University of California San Francisco, Dr. John C. Maddox and asbestos expert Dr. Arnold Brody, had warned about the dangers of asbestos in talc.

Stuemke exhibited microscopic findings in Weirick’s bottle of baby powder that he said under testing revealed 25,000 asbestos fibers per gram of talc powder.

“Dr. Longo (William Longo, microscopist for the MAS lab in Georgia) found 6 million fibers in that bottle,” Steumke said, calling it “direct evidence.”

Stuemke said sampling and testing of talc mines in Vermont and Italy that supplied Johnson & Johnson with the crushed rock powder for their product had been found to contain asbestos and also stated that some samplings taken in Vermont contained more than 85 percent in some samplings.

“There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos above background (ambient low) levels,” Stuemke said. “They (Johnson & Johnson) told customers they could wash out the asbestos. This is fraud.”

Stuemke said Johnson & Johnson had produced defense witnesses who were paid to say what they said during testimony and falsely contending the talc powder had no asbestos. One example, he said, was Dr. Matthew Sanchez of the RJ Lee Group, a Pennsylvania materials testing lab.

“Dr. Sanchez made $20 million testifying,” Stuemke said. “Why are they (J&J) willing to pay so much, because he (Sanchez) is willing to come and testify as he did.”

Steumke said the defense witness testimony amounted to courtroom argument and not the truth.

“They’re willing to say whatever it takes for money,” he said.

Describing the pain and mental suffering of his client, the loss of enjoyment of life, grief and anxiety, humiliation and emotional stress, Stuemke appealed to the jury.

“Carolyn can’t be Carolyn anymore,” he said. “She wants to work but can’t. Her sons don’t know what kind of cancer she has. She fought to have these children and now they’re being taken away. They had their whole life in front of them; now it’s stopped.”

Chris Vejnoska of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the attorney for Johnson & Johnson, quoted researchers who said the product was free of asbestos.

For years, miners had dug the talc rock that supplied the powder and this resulted in no cases of mesothelioma, Vejnoska noted.

“The mill and the mine – that’s where it starts,” he said. “It doesn’t magically change once it’s in a bottle. This is massive exposure compared to use in the home of supposedly contaminated talc. Not one single case of mesothelioma. Use your head.”

Vejnoska cited Dr. Richard Attanoos, a pathologist at University Hospital in Cardiff, Wales.

“There is not a single study showing that cosmetic talc causes mesothelioma,” Attanoos had written.

“He knows what causes mesothelioma,” Vejnoska said.

Dr. David Weill, a lung disease specialist, agreed no cases of mesothelioma had been found among miners of talc.

A hot point of the trial has been the argument whether cleavage fragments (mineral particles) contain asbestos. Vejnoska said Sanchez testified that asbestos has to form as asbestos, it can’t be created by crushing non-asbestos rock.

“Asbestos has a high-tensile strength, but non-asbestos does not,” Vejnoska said. “Those fibers break. The non-asbestos can’t get into the lungs.”

In addition, Vejnoska indicated elongated fibers can appear to be asbestos without being asbestos and can be misidentified. He said according to the Internal Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), when minerals are not asbestiform, they are referred to as cleavage fragments.

Vejnoska said the plaintiff’s case was based on unrealistic assumptions, for example Longo, a witness for the plaintiff, determining that virtually everything he found was an amphibole mineral form of asbestos.

He said the testing of Weirick had detected no “objective markers” indicating long-term exposure to asbestos, such as the presence of pleural plaques, collagen material indicating exposure for perhaps 20 years after inhalation of fibers.

“Dr. Weill said in 75 percent to 95 percent of cases, you see plural plaques in mesothelioma,” Vejnoska said. “No pleural plaques means something.”

Attanoos had stated 60 to 90 percent of mesothelioma cases in women were spontaneous in nature, Vejnoska explained.

“The plaintiff has the burden of proof,” he said. “It has to be more likely to be true than not true.”

Vejnoska asked that given Johnson & Johnson’s exhaustive testing of its talc both in-house and by outside independent labs, “How can a zero tolerance policy (for asbestos) be bad?”

“They (J&J) tested every day every shift,” he said. “The question is, did Johnson & Johnson act in a despicable manner? You can make fun of their credo (to insure safety of talcum products worldwide), but it’s on the walls and every employee knows what they owe to their customers.”

Two researcher witnesses for the defense, Dr. John Hopkins and Julie Pier, used Johnson & Johnson baby powder on themselves and with their family members, including Pier’s four children when they were infants, Vejnoska recalled.

“What does your common sense tell you when people who work with it (talc) in its raw state (miners) – no one has gotten sick?” he asked.

Vejnoska said baby powder is a small part of the Johnson & Johnson business, but the company is proud of it.

He asked how the company could convince outside independent labs to fabricate findings of no asbestos?

“How did they get these people to put their reputations on the line?” Vejnoska asked. “Would the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) say, ‘We’ll help you kill babies if you’ll pay us a modest fee?’ Did Johnson & Johnson powder cause Mrs. Weirick’s mesothelioma? I think I’ve told you why not.”

-Article originally posted by Norcal Record by author John Sammon