Friday, September 28, 2012

The Importance of Trial by Jury and The Civil Justice System


Seventh Amendment

·         A cornerstone of our democracy is a uniquely American civil justice system that allows judges and juries to enforce the law and protect the principles of accountability and responsibility. 

·         Our founding fathers knew that without the ability to enforce the law, the law becomes meaningless. 

·         The 7th Amendment to the Constitution grants the right to trial by jury and is at the very heart of our civil justice system. 

·         The 7th Amendment:

o   preserves the right of Americans to a fair and impartial trial even against large and powerful interests;

o   ensures that every citizen can get a “fair fight” when injured and harmed by others’ wrongdoing; and

o   gives citizens the right to participate directly in our democracy in an important and meaningful way.

·         Through the 7th Amendment and access to the civil justice system, Americans can to affect positive changes in our society, including:

o   safer consumer products;

o   enhanced safety in the workplace; and

o   increased quality and safety in health care.

·         It is important to our democracy and our society that the 7th Amendment is protected and that the civil justice system remains accessible to all citizens so that they can seek justice and accountability.



Civil Justice System

          America’s civil justice system gives people a fair chance to receive justice and hold wrongdoers accountable.

          When corporations and their CEOs act irresponsibly – by delaying or refusing to pay fair and just insurance claims, producing unsafe products, polluting our environment or swindling their employees and shareholders – the last resort for Americans to hold them accountable is in our courts.

          Over the years, big corporations and their front groups have attacked the civil justice system, trial attorneys and those who are injured through no fault of their own – all in an effort to pad their profits and escape accountability.

          Our legal system also serves as a powerful deterrent for corporations to act responsibly.

          The campaign to limit Americans’ access to justice is run by corporate front groups looking to undermine the civil justice system so negligent corporations can avoid accountability.

          These corporate front groups have been funded by tobacco, chemical, oil, and insurance companies – all who have the most to gain by preventing Americans from accessing the courts.

          The U.S. Chamber is the most active tort reform group on the state and national level, spending millions of dollars annually to destroy the legal system and prevent Americans from holding negligent corporations accountable.

          All Americans should have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system – even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations or their front groups.


"Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty.

Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses,

fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds."

John Adams, 1774


“I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by

which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson


“The right to trial by jury in civil cases at common law is fundamental to

our history and jurisprudence. A right so fundamental and sacred

to the citizens . . . should be jealously guarded.”

William H. Rehnquist, Former Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court

Nominated to the Court by Richard Nixon; nominated Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan


GM Recalls Pontiacs, Malibus and Saturns for Transmission Problem

General Motors Co. is issuing new recall campaigns, calling back 480,000 vehicles to fix transmission gear shift cables — including 430,000 in the United States.
The Detroit automaker said Friday it is recalling 426,240 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn sedans in the United States to repair a condition in which the transmission gear position may not match the gear on the shifter. That could lead to the vehicles rolling when drivers think they are in park.
"The driver would be able to remove the key from the ignition, but the door locks may not unlock automatically and the PARK indicator lamp would not be illuminated. The driver may not be able to restart the vehicle and the vehicle could roll away," GM said.
The recalled vehicles are 2007-10 Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6 models, all with four-speed automatic transmissions. GM is aware of four crashes but no injuries because of the condition.
Dealers will add reinforcement to the shift cable end fitting to prevent the end fitting from fracturing. GM is also recalling 47,600 in Canada, Mexico and other markets outside the United States.
GM discovered the issue while responding to a related investigation by the National Highway Traffic safety Administration into the 2007-08 Saturn Aura on a related shift cable condition. That investigation remains open.
GM observed elevated shift cable warranty claims on certain GM models with a unique shift cable design produced by a new supplier starting the second half of the 2008 model year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Specialized recalling about 12,000 bicycles over concerns about front forks breaking

Specialized recalling about 12,000 bicycles over concerns about front forks breaking.

The AP (9/26) reports, "Specialized Bicycle Components Inc. is recalling approximately 12,000 bicycles because a part can potentially break off and lead riders to fall and get hurt." The story notes that Specialized Bicycle Components "which made the announcement in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said Tuesday that the front fork on the bicycles can break. It has received four reports of front forks breaking, resulting in facial fractures, head and shoulder injuries and cuts." The CNN (9/26, Sperry) website and WTVQ-TV Lexington, KY (9/26) also cover this story.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jury Holds York Hospital Responsible in Patient's Death

A York County jury has held York Hospital and a local cardiology practice responsible for violating patient safety rules, which, as a result, caused the death of a 53-year-old York County woman.  

While representing the victim's family, Jaime Jackson, Esq., an attorney with the law firm of Atlee Hall, LLP in Lancaster,  presented extensive evidence concerning multiple violations of patient safety rules, including the fact that a York Hospital resident did not follow the cardiologist's orders to notify the doctor if the patient's blood pressure dropped too low or heart rate rose too high.  

Jackson also argued that the resident and doctor violated a patient safety rule that shock must be treated as an emergency because they failed to promptly act and order the proper tests.  

Another fundamental patient safety rule discussed at trial was that "doctors must communicate clearly with one another." Some of the trial's most dramatic points centered around a telephone call between the York Hospital resident and on-call cardiologist.  

At times during their testimony, it looked as though the two were blaming each other. The incident in question occurred after the patient had just undergone a successful cardiac stent procedure and been transferred to the hospital's ICU for observation. She arrived in the ICU with a blood pressure of 65/46 and a heart rate of 128 -- clear signs of shock, yet, according to testimony, the resident proceeded in a routine fashion, without ordering any tests to find the cause of the shock and/or attempt to fix the problem before the patient was harmed. 

The resident testified that he spoke to the on-call cardiologist and described the patient's status, including low blood pressure, high heart rate, anxiety and pain, and that he was concerned because she was in shock.  

However, the cardiologist testified that he was never given any such information and was informed that the patient was in stable condition. The cardiologist further testified that had he known the patient's true condition, he would have responded with emergent treatment and ordered tests to find the cause of the shock and fix it. If he had done so, the patient's life could have been saved at any time. 

In his closing arguments, Jackson urged the jury to do the right thing: share this type of information with the community -- that hospitals and doctors cannot violate patient safety rules; doing so, resulted in the death of a human being. As such, they should be held accountable and responsible. 

Upon reaching a final verdict, the jury announced a $6 million decision on behalf of the woman's estate and surviving husband of 33 years, along with their three children.