The Severe Complications of Improper Suturing

Posted by on Aug 2, 2014 in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury | 0 comments

On February 2, 2009, Michelle Zarick underwent a da Vinci robot-assisted hysterectomy (a surgical procedure that would remove the whole or a part of the womb) at the recommendation of her Obstetrics and Gynecology doctor, Dr. Rita Biesen-Bradley. The surgery was intended to remove the fibroids (benign or non-cancerous tumors) that grew in her uterine wall and which have caused her agonizing pains, especially during her periods.

She stayed two days at the hospital after the procedure and was advised to have a four to six week-recovery period at home. Five weeks after the surgery, as Zarick was using the restroom, she felt like something “popped” in her body. As she looked down, she was shocked at the sight of her intestines protruding from her organ.

In a hysterectomy, stitches are made at the top of the patient’s vagina after the removal of the uterus and the cervix. Stitches or sutures are basic in surgical procedures. No matter which part of the patient’s body is operated on, that part will have to be sutured before the surgery can be completed.

Sutures are required for the proper healing of the treated skin, organ, nerve or tissue. Before the introduction of the da Vinci robot in the year 2000, all surgeries (called open surgeries) and surgical site-suturing were done by surgeons; thus, any error that would occur would be tagged as human error.

Improper suturing is a serious medical error that can cause the incision site to reopen or be infected; either way, it means severe harm and pain for the patient. This medical error is usually a result of using the wrong instruments or lack of training (one probable cause of the severe complication suffered by Zarick may be the surgeon’s lack of training or experience in using the da Vinci robot); it may also be a case of simple negligence on the part of the surgeon. Its result can vary from tissue or organ damage, paralysis, scarring or disfigurement, coma and (definitely) a corrective surgery, additional medical cost, great pain and trauma.

It took another surgery, about six seeks of recovery period and a really large scar that spanned from one of Zarick’s hips to another. The scar on her abdomen would now be a constant reminder of her horrifying experience from what was supposed to be a perfectly accurate and precise surgical procedure.

Surgery is already painful and stressful enough, and improper suturing makes it even more so. No one should have to suffer because of someone else’s medical negligence. If you have been injured due to improper suturing, make sure to contact a medical malpractice lawyer, such as Pohl & Berk, LLP, today.

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Vermont Governor Signs Patent Trolling Law

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Business, Patents | 1 comment

Vermont governor Peter Shumlin has signed a law into effect that will protect businesses in the state from frivolous patent lawsuits.

Patent trolling, as it is called, has become a serious problem. Patent trolls file lawsuits with very little merit claiming some business has infringed on their patents in hopes of acquiring a payoff through a potential court ruling or settlement.

The unique law is the first of its kind in the U.S. It allows Vermont courts to determine whether or not a claim is deceptive and establishes guidelines for making this decision. These guidelines include whether or not the patent infringement claim specifies the specific patent in question and how quickly the plaintiff is demanding compensation.

The new law also helps Vermont companies that are wrongfully accused of patent infringement by offering relief and gives the state’s attorney general the power to make civil claims against alleged patent trolls. It is being celebrated for its hands-on approach, but it is yet unclear whether this power falls within the state’s jurisdiction.

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Colorado Court Upholds Firing of Medical Marijuana Patient

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Employment | 1 comment

A Colorado man who was fired after testing positive for marijuana on a work-related drug test has had his employment lawsuit turned down by the Colorado Court of Appeals.

The 33-year-old man, who was paralyzed in a car accident during his teens, worked as a telephone operator for Dish Network. He became a medical marijuana patient in 2009, and was fired after testing positive for the drug the next year. The company never reported that the man was ever unable to perform his duties. He filed a lawsuit against the company in an attempt to recover his position, but his case was later dismissed by a judge who ruled that medical marijuana is not covered by a law that is designed to protect employees from being discriminated against for lawful behavior outside of work. This law is most commonly used to protect cigarette smokers from being discriminated against as a result of their habit.

The court ruled that for behavior to be considered “lawful” in Colorado, it must be compliant with both state and federal laws. Colorado allows both medical and recreational use of marijuana, but it is still a controlled illegal substance under federal statutes.

Because of this disparity, marijuana cases in states where its use is legal in any capacity are much more complex than other states.

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What Businesses Need to Know about Consumer Protection

Posted by on Apr 21, 2013 in Business | 0 comments

Especially in the difficult financial situation of the past several years, many Americans have found themselves dealing with unmanageable levels of debt. There are a number of options available to both creditors and debtors to deal with this undesirable situation, but if you have customers who are in default or behind on payments, there are some important regulations in place that govern how these individuals can be treated.

It is essential for businesses to be aware of the consumer protection laws that are in place, because violations of these regulations could have serious repercussions on a business or business owner.

Consumer protection at the federal level

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is included in the United States Code under Title 15 § 1692 and was first enacted in 1977. It is designed to:

  • Prevent abusive collection practices for consumer debt
  • Provide a way for consumers to dispute and validate debt information in terms of accuracy
  • Provide guidelines for the legal conduct of debt collectors
  • Establish penalties and sanctions for violators
  • Codify the rights of consumers in reference of debt collection

Individual consumer protection

The FDCPA, as applied in many situations, covers personal, family, and household debt including credit card debt, auto loans, and medical care debt. It polices the conduct of third-party debt collectors, who may be any person who regularly collects debts and may include lawyers. It does not include internal collectors of the creditor. Under most laws, a debt collector may only contact a debtor between 8 am and 9 pm, and may not call at the place of work if the employer does not allow it. If the debtor tells the debt collector in written form to stop calling, the debt collector may only contact a debtor to provide additional information, such as the intention to sue. A debt collector may also not inform anyone except the debtor that money is owed.

The FDCPA cannot be used to erase debt, but when debt collectors act in ways which violate the FDCPA, issue false statements, or engage in other illegal practices as defined under the Act, then a debtor may be able to file a private lawsuit citing FDCPA consumer protection violations.

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Mandatory Auto Insurance in Illinois for Company-Owned Vehicles

Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in Auto Insurance | 1 comment

Auto insurance is required for all motor vehicles in the US with the exception of Virginia, Mississippi and New Hampshire. Each state has its own minimum coverage for third person (another car or pedestrian) liability, and in Illinois, these are:

  • Bodily injury (per person) – $20,000
  • Bodily injury (per accident) – $40,000
  • Property damage – $15,000

While many individuals make sure to get the auto insurance coverage they need, many companies forget about the importance of having the minimum amount of coverage required for company-owned vehicles. It is essential for businesses to secure at least the state-required amount of liability coverage, or they could face serious penalties under the law.

How the law is enforced

The law requires that proof of coverage, such as an insurance card, is always available in the car and has to be shown to any law enforcer when requested. Failure to do so, insured or not, will result in a traffic citation. If it turns out that youare not insured, your license plates will be suspended and you will have to pay a minimum of $500 in fines.

Illinois also makes random checks of vehicles by sending out a questionnaire regarding your insurance coverage. Failure to return the questionnaire, insured or not, will lead to a suspension of your license plates.

Getting your license plates reinstated

If this is the first time you were ever caught driving uninsured, you may have your license plates reinstated after paying a fee of $100 provided you already have insurance coverage. Repeat offenders will not be able to reinstate their plates within a four-month period. The suspension is only valid for a specific vehicle; it does not mean the driver is also suspended from driving other vehicles. Driving a vehicle with suspended license plates, however, carries a fine of a minimum $1,000.

You need auto insurance

Unless you rarely use your vehicle in Illinois, it is cheaper and less of a hassle to get at least the minimum required auto insurance coverage in Illinois. It serves not only to protect you from liability in case of an accident, it also protects the people you may injure or whose property you may damage. After all, a motor vehicle is a moving missile with the potential for causing a great deal of damage to yourself and other people. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, auto insurance is still very important.


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About Workplace Discrimination

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Employment | 1 comment

Aside from the US Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or the FLSA, which prevents discrimination against work and compensation, many other laws have been passed which would help ensure fair labor practice all across the US. Just a few of these laws are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Pay Act (EPA).

Despite all these federal decrees, many employers choose to turn a deaf ear to claims of discrimination, rather than addressing the unjust practices committed in their companies. And although an act of discrimination may oftentimes be obvious, many employees would find it hard to complain due to fear of being subjected to greater injustice or, worse, losing their job.

Discriminatory acts can inflict more and deeper harm that one can imagine. Oftentimes victims appear to be easily dismissing the issue; deep inside, though, the hurt can be much deeper. Not having any chance for promotion, getting lower pay compared to their peers, being laughed at by both their peers and supervisor, or never having been asked to participate in important meetings or company activities – these are just some of the unjust treatments employees may suffer from due to their age, race, national origin, gender, or disability status.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against in your workplace, you have every right to take action against the party responsible for the discrimination and pursue the equal treatment that you deserve under the law. If company policy cannot save you from the injustice you are suffering from, then it is likely that the best way to address the wrong done is through legal means.

Discrimination can have devastating effects on anyone and everyone in a workplace, and employers and employees alike should do everything they can to stop such illegal actions as soon as possible.

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Invest in Good Writing for Your Business

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Business | 0 comments

Website content is what drives the market today, and we’re not just talking about online businesses. With the Internet filtering through every facet of daily life, the sure way to get market attention is by being online. This is why most businesses have an online presence even if it is just on a social network. And for an effective online presence you need a well-designed website and good content writers.

Good content writers know how search engines work, so they can optimize the copy to keep your web presence in the public eye. Aside from optimization, good writers preserve the correct form, function, and flow of the content so that it not only ranks well in search engines but also gives value to the reader. This makes a good impression on the target market, enhancing the credibility of your page or website which in turn reflects on your product or service. Most people take you at your face value; if you look good, then you must be good. The next step, providing excellent service or quality products, is up to you.

It would be tempting to try doing it yourself; after all, a penny saved is a penny earned. That’s true enough if you write well, and you have the time to do the necessary research. If not, you might be doing yourself a disservice by not trusting your content writing needs to a professional. You spent good money on your website design but it’s an empty shell without good content. Also, having mediocre content (or worse, none) on your webpage or website can turn away potential customers because they are not favorably impressed by what they see. Remember that your online presence is the first thing most people will see before they ever step into your actual place of business. You need to wow them from the get go, and investing in good content writers to provide you with excellent copy is the easiest way to do that.

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Establishing LLCs for Multiple Businesses

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Business | 0 comments

If you are a born entrepreneur and have a wide range of interests, you may have several small businesses in operation at one time. Some of these may benefit from the protection afforded to limited liability companies (LLC).

Why form an LLC

Basically, an LLC is a hybrid business entity that combines the limited liability of a corporation with the tax benefits of a single proprietorship. If you have a business that would have significant tax consequences if it is turned into a corporation, or you don’t want to be personally liable for everything from lawsuits to debts under a single proprietorship, then an LLC is just right for you.

The potential for liability may prompt you to form an LLC from two or more of your businesses, but this is not always good practice. True, you save on time and money because you only have to go through the LLC formation process once. But that could be a bad decision for the following reasons:

  • Your businesses may not be related, so it would not be able to justify lumping them all under one LLC
  • You may want to eventually sell one business; it would be easier to establish the health and desirability of the business to potential buyers if you have separate accounts and books for each business
  • You may need to take out a loan with your business as collateral. If not all your businesses are doing well, it will dilute the value of the businesses that are actually successful

Forming an LLC is a relatively simple and inexpensive matter, and it is even easier when it is handled by an experienced business lawyer.


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Can There be a Breach of Contract for Verbal Agreements?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Business | 0 comments

The concept of a contract is usually associated with something that is written down, signed and witnessed. It follows that when one talks of a breach of contract, one is referring to a formal, written legal document. But the fact is verbal agreements can also be considered legally binding and enforceable under specific circumstances, so a breach of contract can also apply to oral or verbal contracts.

Oral Contracts Defined

You may not realize it, but every time you make an arrangement with someone for the purchase, trade or repair of something, you are entering into an oral contract. There are a few elements that constitute a contract, and they apply to both oral and written contracts. These are:

  1. the offer
  2. acceptance of the offer
  3. a common understanding (“a meeting of the minds”)
  4. consent to of the terms of the contract by both parties
  5. execution and delivery

When all these elements are present, the contract is considered binding. The difference between oral and written agreements is when it comes to a breach of contract. In most cases, oral contracts are entered into when the terms of the agreement is simple, easy to remember and short-term.

An example would be an agreement between two friends going on a trip to split the expenses where one pays for transport costs while the other pays for all other expenses. It is the responsibility of both parties to have the means to fulfill their part of the agreement. When one party forgets to withdraw money, forcing the other party to pay for everything, it could be construed as a breach of contract.

In most cases, however, there are no real consequences to breaching an oral agreement unless it results in injury, loss of income or damages to another person. A breach of contract lawyer would know if the oral contract is enforceable, and provide advice on whether to pursue litigation.


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Wal-Mart Sued for Retaliating against Disabled Employee

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Employment | 0 comments

A lawsuit has been filed against Wal-Mart for the way the company fired a long-time female employee who is developmentally disabled.

The garden section employee was allegedly allowed to be sexually harassed by a male co-worker. This harassment included intimate touching, occurred during work hours on the store’s premises, and was allowed to continue for more than five years.

The lawsuit asserts that the company knew how this woman was being treated and made no effort to help her, punish the harasser, or stop the abuse. Instead, when the woman finally complained to her supervisors, she was promptly fired from her job, which she had held for 11 years.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the woman by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the government entity that is responsible for enforcing employment discrimination laws.

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