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LRANY Video Series – Too Much Ice in Starbucks ICED Beverages: Most Outrageous Lawsuit of the Month May 2016

This month Phoebe Stonbely will discuss a lawsuit puts the ICEing on the cake for ridiculous.

A Chicago woman has brought a $5M lawsuit against the coffee giant Starbucks for adding TOO much ice in their ice beverages.

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Most Outrageous Lawsuit of the Month July 2015: Beggin’ Strips Isn’t Bacon?

This month Phoebe Stonbely discusses a lawsuit that will have you begging for common sense.

Though it’s advertised that “beggin strips,” the bacon-like dog treats that claim to make your dog go crazy, are made with real bacon, it’s pretty obvious that there are other ingredients in the doggie snacks. But apparently this was not evident for a Dutchess County man who has filed a $5 million class action lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against the makers of the treats claiming the packaging and advertising is misleading.

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The Most Outrageous Lawsuit of the Month Jan. ’15: Woman Sues When Tights Don’t Cause Orgasm

Welcome to the first 2015 edition of the most outrageous lawsuit of the month.

This month’s lawsuit is not guaranteed to hit the spot.

This week, Phoebe Stonbely will discuss a lawsuit about, Mung Wang – a woman from Queens has brought a federal class action case against the tights manufacture KushyFoot – for $5 Million. Why you ask, because the tights did not give her an orgasm.

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LRANY Video Series: Ridiculous Lawsuit of the Month October 2014 – Red Bull Wings Lawsuit Settled

This week, Phoebe Stonbely will discuss the recent settlement from Red Bull following a lawsuit claiming false advertising for the energy drinks slogan that “Red Bull gives you wings”.

This ridiculous lawsuit was settled by Red Bull to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation – for $13.5 MILLION DOLLARS

Now experts now predict that the high dollar settlement from Red Bull could start a tidal wave of more false advertising lawsuits looking for a similar big pay-day.

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LRANY Video Series: The Cultural Impact of Lawsuits

This week on the LRANY Video Series, Tom Stebbins brings you a video on the cultural impact of lawsuits in New York.

We often touch on the economic impact that lawsuits have on our state but it starts with the cultural changes impacted by lawsuits. Lawsuits create a sue-happy mentality and fear of lawsuits continuously enacts changes in business practices, product development and even in our schools.

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Syracuse Post Standard: Bar Stool Lawsuit No Laughing Matter for New York Business

bar stoolThe Syracuse Post Standard recently posted a letter to the editor written by LRANY’s Executive Director, Thomas B. Stebbins, in response to a $1 million lawsuit filed against a Syracuse hotel after a woman fell off of a bar stool.

An Excerpt:

“To the Editor;

New York’s justice system is once again the subject of international scorn for a lawsuit filed right here in Syracuse. As the Post Standard reported, a women is suing the Crowne Plaza Hotel for $1 million because she fell off a bar stool (Woman suing Syracuse hotel for $1 million after falling off bar stool, injuring wrist) – which, according to her, is obviously the hotel’s fault.

It’s easy to laugh at this type of lawsuit but lawsuits like this are a disaster for our economy and culture. New York is ranked highest in the nation for litigation risk and we have more lawyers per capita than any other state.”

Read Full Letter

Facebook Tote Bag Warning Label Contest

Attention LRANY Facebook Fans!

We want your ideas! (And you may win a tote bag for them!)

We will be creating a tote bag with warning labels, ridiculous warning labels that show how crazy our lawsuit culture has become.

Some of our ideas: ‘Warning: Not to be used as a parachute’ – ‘Warning: Not to be used to fend off bears’.

The best submission will win a FREE LRANY tote bag with your idea right on the bag!

visit www.Facebook.com/LawsuitReformNY to share your idea!

bag warning

What Trial Lawyers and Ticks Have in Common: They Spread Lyme Disease

By: Michael Seinberg

In 1975, Dr. Allen Steere was sent to Connecticut to investigate a strange cluster of children who had developed arthritis. After diligent research, Dr. Steere and his colleagues discovered the disease we now know as Lyme disease also finding that ticks were the cause. By the early 1990s, two major pharmaceutical companies were on track to produce a vaccine for the growing threat, and by the mid-1990s clinical trials were underway. Results showed a whopping 80 percent of test subjects became immune to Lyme disease. So what went wrong? Trial lawyers, the media and public hysteria.

The fully tested vaccine was introduced in 1998, and sold very well until people began to claim they got arthritis from it. Despite NO actual clinical data to support those claims, the public began to believe the claims, and as is too often the case, lawyers got involved and started to put a class action lawsuit together. Anti-vaccine groups were formed, and the scientists involved began to receive threats. Dr. Steere had to hire a security detail things got so out of hand.

To make it clear, the Centers For Disease Control and The Food and Drug Administration looked into the anti-vaccine claims but found nothing and recommended those in tick infested areas get the vaccine. But the damage was done, and SmithKline Beecham pulled the vaccine. Pasteur Mérieux Connaught was working on its own vaccine, but never released it as a result.

So here we are in 2013 only able to offer a Lyme vaccine to animals.  With cases growing every year from 10,000 confirmed in 1995 to at least 30,000 in 2009, there is a renewed push for a human form of the vaccine. “In my opinion, this is a public health fiasco,” said Stanley A. Plotkin, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. “There are well over 20,000 annual cases of Lyme disease and probably more than that. When else do you have a disease with that incidence where you know you can prevent it with a vaccine, but you don’t make it?”

With that sort of growth (Lyme is now the most common tick-borne disease in the U.S.) and the severity of the disease, it would seem that making a vaccine for people would be a forgone conclusion, but that’s not the case. When deciding when to develop a drug, pharmaceutical companies must weigh profit versus legal risk factors. In Massachusetts, where the disease is very widespread there has been a call for the state to step in since private industry appears unwilling or unable to do so.

At a hearing last summer, of the Massachusetts Lyme Disease Commission, veterinarian Sam Telford suggested the state license GlaxoSmithKline’s FDA-approved vaccine. He suggested that it could be produced at a state lab, but Glaxo has not said if they’d jump on board, no doubt waiting to hear from their lawyers. “We all know that the market has changed,” Dr. Telford said then. “People are fed up! This is a terrible situation we’re in, which means that a vaccine still makes sense.”

“I’m personally aware of individuals, who in desperation have gone to veterinarians and remarkably convinced the veterinarian to inject them with the canine vaccine,” said Dr. Gregory Poland a vaccinologist at the Mayo Clinic

While keeping the Lyme vaccine away from humans may prevent lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, it hasn’t stopped the lawsuits altogether.  Just this past March, a Connecticut woman won a $41 million lawsuit against her school for contracting Lyme disease while on a school trip to China.  Had the vaccine been available, this woman would likely still have her speech and the lawsuit would have been prevented.

So while lawyers argue over liability and manufacturers worry about class action lawsuits, people – many of them children – are left to suffer if bitten by an infected tick.  It’s hard to tell what’s more harmful, ticks or trial lawyers. They’re both making people sick and keeping them that way.

Buckyballs Attract Another Lawsuit

By: Michael Seinberg

If the stroller you bought for your child is recalled due to safety concerns, what do you do? Get it replaced or repaired as quickly as possible. If you get a letter from the maker of your car that there has been a recall of your model, what do you do? You take it into the dealer and have the issue dealt with. However, while this reaction to recalls may seem like common sense, that appears to have slipped the minds of Dr. Raymond Turner IV and his wife Magdalena.

The Turners bought a set of Buckyballs magnets for their older daughter around September 2010. Then things got murky. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall for the rare earth magnets in May of 2010 – before the Turners bought them. Between 2009 and 2011 about 1,700 children who swallowed the strangely tasty magnets had to be treated in emergency rooms all around the US. Just a note here folks, Dr. Turner is listed as a neurological surgeon who also practices vascular and interventional radiology in Charleston, SC. Seemingly a pretty bright guy.

So he and the wife buy their older daughter a box of 216 of these little tasty treats and their younger daughter, Karolina manages to wolf down 15 of the little buggers in May/June of 2012, a good two years after the recall. The magnets caused her to become “completely immobilized” (stuck to a metal surface?) and she had to undergo abdominal surgery after a colonoscopy noted, “Something metallic and magnetic blocking Karolina’s upper GI tract.”

Rather than be happy that their daughter came through this OK and admit that they should have noted the recall, or that the product had warning labels to keep away from younger children,, the good doctor and his wife chose to sue Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, the distributor of Buckyballs. They are demanding compensatory damages, punitive damages, court costs for negligence, negligent hiring, breach of warranty, product liability, and unfair trade.

They feel the fault is all on the company, not themselves for leaving a potentially dangerous product within reach of a young child even after a recall and lots of publicity. Listen to what the release from the CPSC said: “The press release warned that ‘[Buckyballs] found by young children can be swallowed or aspirated. If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal,'” according to the complaint.

The Turners even suggest that the company waged a public campaign to downplay the danger and cast doubt on the CPSC findings, so obviously this is a great reason  to keep them with your unsupervised toddler. I suppose if little Karolina brought home a set of lawn darts the parents wouldn’t get rid of them until she popped the tires on the Lexus or nailed the family pet to the deck.

The bottom line is that if a parent gets a fair warning of danger and fails to act on it in a timely manner, it’s more than a little ridiculous to blame the maker of a product that is not inherently dangerous if used properly (the box is covered in warnings noting that Buckyballs are not for use by children). Once again, an inability to take responsibility will affect us all with court costs, increased liability insurance and greater difficulty finding powerful magnets and lawn darts.