March 2017

Medical Recall News 
 
Shoulder Implant Recall:  The Zimmer Biomet Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder is a shoulder replacement that is surgically implanted to help restore arm movement. The device is beneficial for patients with rotator cuff tears who have developed a severe type of shoulder arthritis known as arthropathy and previously failed shoulder joint replacement. The manufacturer is recalling their shoulder implant because the devices are fracturing at a high rate and causing serious adverse health consequences. Surgeries using this product took place from October 2008 through September 2015, at many hospitals, including St. Joseph Hospital in Towson, Maryland by Dr. Tim Codd. Investigations are proceeding only against Zimmer Biomet at this time, not against any physicians or hospitals.  If you get a letter from Zimmer or your physician or have already had a second revision surgery to fix defective shoulder components, call me to discuss possible legal options against the manufacturer. All consultations are confidential and at no cost.
Metal-on-Metal Hips: Patients nationwide have suffered from the release of tiny metallic particles from all metal hip implants.  Recently, a number of failed Stryker V40 Hip implants have been reported.  Check with me if this issue pertains to your situation.
SURGERY TIP: If you are having any type of Implant surgery, always be certain to ask the following less common questions of your provider:
  • What specific parts will you be implanting and what company makes it?
  • How long has the device been in use?
  • What is the success rate of the surgery and the product?
  • If having a revision or replacement surgery, always have any removed pieces returned to you. By law, if it goes in your body, you own it.

 

Breast Implant Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma: This is a rare cancer that can develop following breast implantation surgery.  About 290,00 women in the U.S. had implants for breast enlargement in 2016; 109,000 were for reconstruction after breast cancer. This lymphoma is related to implantation of breast implants with textured surfaces (used to stick in place and not move) rather than those with smooth surfaces.
Tales in Law: In the blink of an Eye. In May 2014, a Maryland man, shot and paralyzed, lay dying in a hospital bed.  The detective showed him an array of six photographs and told him to blink hard when he saw the person who shot him.  A videotape shows the victim blinking hard at the photo of the shooter.  The victim dies two days later.  At trial, the alleged shooter’s attorney argues that the video and identification is inadmissible because, under the Sixth Amendment, he could not confront and cross-examine the witness. Will this defendant walk? The rule of law is if the victim is in fact is dying, he has no reason to lie; thus, his dying declaration is indeed admissible.  Shooter is serving a life sentence. Justice is served.
Call me for all your legal needs.  John CM

Fall 2014

Legal Update: It is October 1 and while most of the leaves will begin turning colors, Maryland has a new law on the one staying green: possessing less than 10 grams (about one-third of an ounce) of marijuana is no longer punishable by arrest and jail.  You will now receive a civil citation, like a parking ticket, and pay a fine from $100 to $500, depending on the number of violations.  It continues to remain illegal to smoke marijuana and to possess paraphernalia.  If you are carrying medical marijuana for a loved one, do not carry the smoking device.

For parents who drop their young ones off to play before they workout or shop, the Maryland Court of Appeals says that a retailer can legally enforce the liability waiver agreements they make you sign before allowing your children to enter the store’s play area.  If they get hurt, as little ones do, you cannot sue Walmart for negligent supervision.

CSI fans: Law enforcement agents in Maryland may now freely search the DNA in the sweat people leave behind in police stations.  Officer, why is it so hot in here?

Medical Cases: Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a jury to pay $3.27 million to a woman who said a defectively designed vaginal mesh implant had eroded inside of her leading to serious illness and multiple surgeries.  

The Depuy Pinnacle metal on metal hip replacement litigation is in full swing in Dallas.  The Depuy ASR cases are settling in New Jersey. If you had a mesh implant or a metal on metal hip replacement, please consult with me to discuss your medical and legal issues.

Science: Scoliosis, or spinal curvature, affects thousands of people, young and old.  There is a new therapy, an exercise regimen called the Schrothmethod. If you suffer from this genetic abnormality, surf this technique, it is worth the effort to help alleviate pain and the potential need for surgery.

Notes: When you go to the airport and park your car, take a picture of the parking space number with your phone.  Do the same with your hotel room numbers. 

No hand-held phones or texting while driving; I just spoke to the St. Paul’s tenth grade on this important safety matter.  Call me if your group would like a presentation on this topic.

Cheers to The Baltimore Station on their Silver Anniversary.  The Station is a therapeutic residential treatment program supporting Veterans suffering from addiction and helps them turn their lives back around to self sufficiency.  Their celebration event is over Veteran’s weekend, November 8.  More information?  Call Kim Callari, 410-752-4454.  I will see you there!

Be well.   John CM 

Spring 2014

THE SECOND JEWEL

Chevy Cobalt Recall - it would of only cost General Motors 57 cents to fix a defective ignition switch linked to 13 traffic deaths and over 100 serious accidents.  After years of deceit and denial, GM finally agrees to a recall. Are you impacted by this issue?

Did You or a Family Member Take Actos? - this diabetes drug can cause bladder cancer.  Big verdict in Louisiana against Takeda and Eli Lilly for failure to warn consumers of the risk. Are you affected? Remember to always look for a black box warning on your Rx. Trust your EPIC pharmacist to help advise you.

Retailers - shopkeepers are permitted to detain suspected shoplifters in order to recover the illicitly taken merchandise.  The detention should be just brief enough to allow for recovery.  At that point, the person held must be set free or can be arrested by law enforcement or store security (BTW, Nordstrom’s has a great security team and always goes to Court).

Crosswalk - the local police are setting up crosswalk stings; sending an ‘injured ped” slooowly through the crosswalk hoping you will let him pass then drive behind him BEFORE he gets to the sidewalk or median.  The law says you have to WAIT the whole way until he exits the crosswalk.  Be cautious.

Landlords vs Squatters - Maryland’s highest court has ruled that staying in a vacant home without payment or consent of the owner can constitute theft by deception; it is no longer just trespassing.

Marijuana and Sobriety - it is too early to talk about.  I handle many DWI/DUI style cases; I will keep you posted on how the Courts and Police address these actions.

Estate Planning after the Defense of Marriage Act - Maryland recognizes same sex marriage; the Supreme Court has also agreed that you are protected under Federal law. Be aware of these new provisions.

Musings: California Chrome! Orioles in 1st place at the quarter pole; keep up the intensity and get everyone healthy.  From John Wayne: “Look everybody straight in the eye and never double cross a pal.” And of course, a Happy 5-oh to the Class of ’82.  Tempus fugit…John CM

Energy Surprise!

My home energy bill arrived Thursday night and my electric charge was $1198.  My wife commented that it could be right, as the weather was so cold and the heat has been running non-stop for a month.  Hmmm…Upon further inspection, I compared last month’s bill to this one and noticed that the electric rate that I was being charged had increased over 60%.  How could that be?  I learned that when I signed up with a company called North American Power, they guaranteed me a fixed rate 8.29 cents per kWh, but for only six months.  The six-monthfixed rate expired on February 12 and the new crazy highvariable rate (18.99) automatically kicked-in on February 13.  BGE bills me on a cycle starting February 14, so my bill was the result of being charged the high rate for the entire thirty day billing cycle, instead of just two days.

 First call went to BGE to request that I switch out of North American and back to them for a nice fixed rate; but, alas, they cannot accept my business until I first cancel with the other supplier.  Uh oh.  This could be trouble and take some time.  Well, just in case, I cancel my automatic payment feature so I can contest the charge and leverage my position.  Second call to the supplier, North American.  They are not picking up the phone, but the CEO in a recorded loop tells me how much they care about me.  Next call, the Maryland Public Service Commission to file a complaint which states that I cannot ‘cancel’ my service with the supplier.  Ok, so now I have stopped payment to these bandits so I can contest the charge and have documented with a State agency my desire to terminate the expensive rate immediately.  Time to check in again with my friends at North American.  We finally chat.  They tell me I do not have a fixed rate and even if I did, their bill is still correct.  Then comes that light bulb moment: I remember that I kept that silly piece of paper they mailed to me that defines the term and the cost of the contract.  “Mr. Angelos, fax that right over and we will review your account”.  Refund of $554.74.

 I hope by relating my experience, you will remember to save those simple paper contracts and to continue to watch your home costs and expenses carefully.  BGE can be reached at 410-685-0123, the Maryland Public Service Commission, 410-767-8028.

 Be well.  John CM

January 2014

MANDELA

School Science Experiment - The United States Chemical Safety Board had issued a warning to Science teachers across the country on the dangers of showing students the ‘Rainbow’ demonstration (the video is on their website).  This is where a teacher uses methanol as an accelerant to burn dishes of different minerals producing multi-colored flames to examine various chemical reactions. Just last week, a 16 year-old High School student in Manhattan, New York was critically burned when a snakelike flame tore through the air, missing the students closest to the teacher’s desk, but searing and melting the skin on his face and body.  This accident has occurred several times before in schools across the country and is bringing to light many safety issues facing our children.  Please, pretty please, ask questions of your school and their science department about this serious matter.

Annapolis -the 2014 Maryland Legislative session will be taking up two important matters that concern the alcohol beverage industry: Dram Shop liability and Liquor Licenses for Supermarkets.  Dram Shop liability is a cause of action that holds a restaurant or tavern owner accountable if a patron harms or kills another person after becoming intoxicated at the owner’s establishment.  The typical case involves an automobile accident and a drunk driver.  Maryland has been one of only a handful of states that does not allow a victim to pursue this type of claim in Court.

Do you think we should allow the big supermarkets to sell beer and wine as they are able to do in so many other states?  Or do we continue to support and protect the small local retailer?  Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, will be the lead dog here in Maryland looking to change the existing law.  Cheers to the victor.

Fracking FYI - In Wyoming, state regulators approved one of the nation’s strongest requirements for testing water wells near drilling sites to prevent contamination of groundwater. The Republican run state leads the nation in enacting environmental regulations that strike a balance between valuing our natural resources and permitting Oil and Gas interests to conduct business. Take notice State of Maryland.

Rush to Judgment: The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape seven years ago has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her boyfriend this past November.  She was sentenced to 14 to 18 years in prison. As you may recall, this woman in 2006 claimed Duke lacrosse players gang-raped her at a team party where she was hired as a stripper, a charge that was proven to be a complete fabrication.  In the spirit of Mandela and our Constitution, let us remember that all men are created equal, whether they are the young, rich, preppy, white, educated men of Duke or simply your neighbor down the street.

Amendment I (1791) - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  

Note: Metal on metal hip replacement procedures are on the rise here in Maryland, call, e-mail or simply text me, 410-913-5560.  Happy 2014.  John CM

November 2013

AUTUMN CHEER

There was so much happiness from October to talk about, where to begin?  The Government shutdown, Obamacare, Rehoboth senior week parties or the Ravens’ bottoming out?  I think maybe we needed an eclipse and the return to Standard time….

1791

The 4th Amendment to our Constitution reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.  A couple of salient points for my readers:  if a police officer asks to search you, your home or your car, you may, in the most polite terms, say no.  If a police officer pulls you over for using your cellphone, not wearing your seatbelt, or a moving violation, unless he has reasonable suspicion of other trouble, he is not permitted to ask you if you have any contraband in your car.  A citizen has the right to resist an unlawful arrest.  Resistance includes the right to use any reasonable means, including force, to effect an escape.  Interesting, eh?  I do not advise ever resisting, take your lumps and call me, we will raise hell in the Courtroom.

 Where is That Advance Care Directive? 

Most of the time, patients who have advance directives (living will) and don’t bring them to the hospital have simply left them at home. But lawyers’ offices and safe deposit boxes are also popular locations – all of which are useless if a person cannot direct his own care, or if family members are at odds, or they are rummaging through drawers and files while the emergency room staff stands by. People with advance directives should provide copies to their primary care physicians and to the individuals named as their health care decision-makers, and keep copies on hand themselves.  You may even wish to broaden the distribution and give copies to other doctors as well – your cardiologist, your neurologist – and to additional family members or friends. The more copies there are in circulation, the better the odds that one will materialize at the hospital when you need it.

For more estate advice and to chat about beneficiary designations, give me a call.

 Bambi Beware

The confluence of mating and hunting seasons makes November the month with the most deer-vehicle collisions in our area.  Safety tips: be aware that deer tend to travel in groups; are most active in the evening between 6 to 9 p.m.; and that they are highly unpredictable, especially when caught in headlights, exposed to loud noises like horns or confused by fast-moving vehicles. Be on the lookout and slow down.

Kudos to the folks at The Baltimore Station and GBMC for all their good work in the community and a Happy Veterans Day to all our service men and women.

If you need any legal help, give me a call, send an e-mail or simply text me, 410-913-5560. Be well. John CM

September 2013

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

As we approach October 1, several new laws go into effect in the Old Line State.  But let us pause and return to 1791, when our constitution was amended to include ten new articles, one being the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  It states: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.  Twenty-seven words and 222 years later, our democracy is divided on what these words mean.  Will we find a balance that attempts to prevent tragedies while still allowing Americans to defend their home and themselves? Will our two party system stop fighting and provide meaningful compromise? For now, know that new regulations and restrictions go into effect next week.  Call for specifics.

Driving and Texting

You will also be reading that effective 10/1/13, the ban on cell phone and driving is now a primary offense.  This means that the police can pull you over for chatting while driving, they do not need an unrelated offense. Fine is $75.00. Seat belt violations, also a primary offense, are up to $50.00.  Child safety seats are now mandatory for all children under 8. NEWS FLASH: NEVER TEXT OR CALL ANYONE YOU KNOW IS DRIVING.  In New Jersey earlier this month, their Appellate Court outlined a first of its kind legal duty that can actually make a remote texter liable, in certain circumstances, for accidents caused when a driver responds to his or her text.  Set the example for our children: no phone when the school bus is next to you.

MUSINGS: Hats off to the American Engineers who brought the Italian Cruise Ship, The Costa Concordia, back to equilibrium after listing for almost two years.

Men of Fiction: who are you, Tony, Don or Walt?

My Irene said I need to represent, pro bono, the gentleman arrested at the Baltimore County school board meeting for speaking out.  I wondered why a Howard County resident whose kids go to school in Howard County was there in the first place.  Your vote?

Congrats to the new class of Master Masons of Amicable, may our brotherhood strengthen through the seasons of our life.  To the ECSM, many thanks for your friendship.

If you need any legal help, give me a call, send an e-mail or simply text me, 410-913-5560. Be well. John CM

When Disaster Strikes, Know the Drill

It isn’t easy to get an insurer to pay a claim after a natural disaster.  When pursuing a claim, always be the first to do everything – visit the scene, take photos and read your policy.  Insurers will pay only if the covered claims are documented. You should:

* locate a copy of all insurance policies.

* contact the insurer immediately and file a claim.

* videotape or photograph the damage in the light most favorable to ensuring coverage.

* save copies of receipts, checks, estimates, and invoices of all pre- and post-disaster expenses, purchases, rentals, and leases.

* mitigate damages through temporary repairs after documenting the damage and allowing the adjuster to inspect.

* obtain the latest appraisal of the premises, equipment and business and personal property.

* prepare a map of the premises and the location of personal property, equipment, and machinery.

* obtain a licensed contractor’s estimate for damage and a timeline for repair, and retain an engineer to diagnose any structural damage.

* diary and confirm conversations with insurance representatives, adjusters, and experts.

* timely send the “proof of loss” under the policy.

For a homeowner’s claim, know the policy’s terms, including the deductibles and whether it covers actual cash value or replacement cost.  You should also know when the deductible is to be applied before making a claim; the deductible often comes off the top and it may eliminate your claim depending on the amount.

If you need any legal help, just give me a call or send me an e-mail.  Go Orioles.  Be well.  John CM

Be the Wall Between Teens and Alcohol: Set the Example

It is the time of graduations, beach week and the opening of the Pool.  The rugged and busy month of May has come to an end and we are all ready for a collective exhale.  However, let’s take a moment to remain vigilant when it comes to the party scene for the younger jetsetters and understand your liability as a parent, adult or host.

What Will It Cost to Host An Underage Drinking Party?  

Alcohol Adult Responsibility - Criminal Code 10-117 (b):Allowing Minors (under 21) to drink on your property isillegal.  Penalty: $2,500.

Furnishing Alcohol for Minors - Criminal Offense – CR 10-117(a)  and/or Obtaining Alcohol for Minors Under 21 - Civil Offense – CR 10-116: Up to $2500 fine and $500 per minor.

And of course, the underage drinker will get cited as well:  Consumption of Alcohol by person under age 21 -CR 10-114(2) Civil: $500 per minor consuming alcohol at party.               Think twice: is it worth it?

The New Rules for Sunscreen:  Skin cancer rates (melanoma) have risen 2% a year since 2000 and are increasing more among young white women.  In addition to limiting your time in the sun and protecting your skin with hats, shirts and cover-ups, be aware of new FDA labeling rules starting July 1 which should help you purchase the right sunscreen.  The experts recommend choosing a lotion product with an SPF of 15 to 50 and labeled ‘broad spectrum’, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays (higher SPF values can be misleading); keep children inside when the sun is the harshest, from 10 AM to 2 PM; avoid sunscreen sprays (not enough makes it on the skin and the spray gets inhaled into your lungs); and avoid products with additives and fragrances (too many additional chemicals).  Finally, take the endorsements on the label with a grain of salt; The Skin Cancer Foundation  gives a seal of recommendation from any manufacturer who gives them $10,000.

 End Distracted Driving: I want to thank the administration of Maryvale Preparatory School for again participating in the End DD campaign.  They invited me to make  my first presentation there one year ago and on my return visit this May, I spoke to the entire upper school of 160 students to push my one year total to over 2000 students.

 If you need any legal help, just give me a call or send me an e-mail.  Go Orioles.  Be well.  John CM

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, I wonder where the truth is……

News from The Old Line State - in addition to raising our taxes to pay legal bills for chicken farmers and build soccer fields for college students, Maryland politicians passed sweeping restrictions on gun ownership this past session.  When our founding fathers wrote the 2nd amendment, the musket was in vogue; today, Maryland becomes the fourth Democratic-led state (NY, Colorado, CT) to enact new restrictions which include a ban on purchases of assault weapons, a 10 bullet limit on magazines and requirements that handgun buyers undergo fingerprinting and target training.

Health News and Product Liability Update - DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant cases going to trial as well as the Johnson & Johnson Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh cases.  Do not delay in speaking to a lawyer if you or a loved one are affected.  New Alert:  Mirena, a T-shaped birth control intrauterine device (IUD) manufactured by Bayer Healthcare, can spontaneously perforate the uterus and migrate into the abdominal cavity, leading to organ damage, adhesions, infection, pain, and surgery to remove the IUD. Despite the risk, the U.S. label does not warn of post-insertion perforation.  Also, Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella are combination oral contraceptives that have been linked to serious side effects and health concerns. Yaz and Yasmin are also manufactured by Bayer Healthcare and despite recent FDA warnings and independent studies linking them to serious side effects, these products continue to be marketed and sold today. Many women have faced serious health conditions that have been fatal or life changing such as heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.

A Tow Truck Story - If your car is pulled a few minutes after the four-o-clock do not park time, hold your panic;  those crafty devils most likely towed your car around the corner and dropped it while they scooped up all the other time violators.  One truck will pull the whole block and then take the cars back to impound over the next several hours.  If you see the tow truck, watch where he goes, he may lead you back to your car.

END DD - Many thanks to the administrations of the McDonogh and Gilman schools.  I lectured to over 700 students and parents last month on the Dangers of Distracted Driving; rivals on the field, teammates in saving lives.  Stay safe on the roads and let’s have a quiet Prom season.

Be well.  John CM

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