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El Tribunal De Apelación De Illinois Confirma La Solicitud De Declinatoria Del Tribunal De Primera Instancia En Relación Con El Accidente Aéreo De Tans Perú De 2005

CHICAGO, Illinois (15 de junio de 2009) – El día de hoy el Tribunal de Apelación de Illinois, Primer Distrito, ratificó una Orden dictada por el H. Juez William D. Maddux el pasado 5 de septiembre, la cual rechazó las solicitudes de declinatoria del demandado para desestimar los casos sobre la base de jurisdicción inadecuada.Las demandas originales fueron entabladas por Nolan Law Group en el Tribunal de Primera Instancia del Condado de Cook, Illinois, en representación del patrimonio de ciertos pasajeros que fueron víctimas de homicidio culposo, en contra de The Boeing Company y United Technologies Corporation, como resultado del accidente ocurrido el 23 de agosto de 2005 en el que un Boeing 737-200 operado por Transportes Aéreos Nacional de Selva (TANS) se estrelló en la selva a aproximadamente 5.5 km al sur del Aeropuerto de Pucallpa.

La aeronave transportaba a 98 pasajeros, de los cuales 40 perecieron y muchos otros resultaron gravemente heridos, lo que lo convirtió en uno de los peores desastres en la historia de la aviación peruana.

En respuesta a la apelación de la orden del H. Juez Maddux presentada por los demandados, el 29 de mayo de 2009 Nolan Law Group presentó alegatos y réplicas escritas al tribunal de apelación, que describían la incapacidad de los demandados para respaldar adecuadamente su argumento de que el Tribunal de Illinois era un foro inadecuado.

Durante los procedimientos, los abogados de Nolan Law Group adoptaron la posición de que los demandados no lograron demostrar circunstancias excepcionales que favorecieran la transferencia o sobreseimiento de los casos y que, debido a que la decisión de admitir o rechazar la solicitud de sobreseimiento basado en una jurisdicción inadecuada es a discreción del tribunal de primera instancia, un tribunal revisor tendría que confirmar dicha decisión, a menos que se demostrara un abuso de facultades discrecionales.

“Sin un abuso de facultades discrecionales, un desacuerdo entre las opiniones de los jueces no es comparable a demostrar la existencia de circunstancias excepcionales”, señaló Donald J. Nolan, abogado de Nolan Law Group.

Nolan Law Group argumentó que era correcto el equilibrio de factores en los intereses públicos y privados del tribunal de primera instancia para rechazar la solicitud de sobreseimiento de los demandados, y que no existía un abuso de facultades discrecionales. Asimismo, reiteró su argumento de que el contexto de responsabilidad derivada del producto requería tomar en cuenta todos los aspectos de la solicitud de jurisdicción inadecuada de los demandados.

Además, Nolan Law Group demostró por qué Perú no es un foro “disponible” para volver a presentar los casos señalando que ciertos principios jurisdiccionales existentes en países sudamericanos están en conflicto directo con la jurisprudencia de jurisdicción inadecuada de los Estados Unidos, incluyendo la aplicación inflexible del Código Bustamante.

Nolan Law Grup representa actualmente a clientes que han entablado demandas por homicidio culposo en contra de Boeing y United Technologies Corporation como resultado del accidente del 23 de agosto de 2005, y esta resolución favorable le permite proceder con los casos en su contra en el Tribunal de Primera Instancia del Condado de Cook, Illinois.

In English | En Espanól

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court’s Denial Of Forum Non Conveniens Motion Arising Out Of The 2005 Tans Peru Plane Crash

CHICAGO, Illinois (June 15, 2009) – Today the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District affirmed a September 5, 2008 Order issued by Judge William D. Maddux which denied defendant’s motions to dismiss cases on the grounds of forum non conveniens.

The original lawsuits were filed by Nolan Law Group in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of certain passenger’s estates who have filed wrongful death and survival actions against The Boeing Company and United Technologies Corporation as a result of the August 23, 2005 crash where a Boeing 737-200 operated by Transportes Aereos Nacional de Selva (TANS) crashed in the jungle about 5.5 km south of Pucallpa Airport.

The aircraft was carrying 98 passengers, of which 40 were killed and many others were seriously injured, making it one of the worst aviation disasters in Peruvian history.

On May 29, 2009 in response to the defendants’ appeal of Judge Maddux’s ruling, Nolan Law Group presented written and oral arguments to the appellate court which outlined the defendants’ failure to provide adequate support for their contention that the Illinois Court is an inconvenient forum.

During the proceedings, Nolan Law Group attorneys took the position that defendants failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances favoring the transfer or dismissal of the cases and that since the decision to grant or deny a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens lies within the discretion of the trial court, a reviewing court would have to uphold the trial court’s decision unless abuse of discretion was demonstrated.

“Without an abuse of discretion, a disagreement between judges’ opinions is not tantamount to showing exceptional circumstances” said Nolan Law Group attorney Donald J. Nolan.

Nolan Law Group argued that the trial court’s balance of private and public interest factors to deny defendants’ motion to dismiss was correct and that there was no abuse of discretion. Nolan Law Group also reiterated its argument that the products liability context of the case guided consideration of all aspects of defendants’ forum non conveniens motion.

Additionally, Nolan Law Group demonstrated why Peru is not an “available” forum for re-filing the cases, citing that certain existing jurisdictional principals in South American countries are in direct conflict with American forum non conveniens jurisprudence, including Peru’s steadfast application of the Bustamente code.

Currently, Nolan Law Group represents clients who have filed wrongful death and survival actions against Boeing and United Technologies Corporation stemming from the August 23, 2005 accident. This favorable ruling allows Nolan Law Group to proceed with its cases against Boeing and United Technologies in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

In English | En Espanól

Jerome Skinner: System should be tweaked to further empower families

Continental Flight 3407, just like every aviation disaster, is a terrible tragedy for all who lost loved ones and for the Buffalo community in general. And like other air disasters, including the US Air Flight 427 crash near Pittsburgh and the Pan American Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland – it has given the families affected an opportunity to change the system and make family information and input much more important than it previously was.

It was out of the Pan Am 103 disaster that families became more aggressive in formally organizing and seeking involvement in post-accident investigative and fact-sharing activities. It was the long causal uncertainty of the investigation of Flight 427 that stirred the families to lobby for the Family Assistance Office concept put in place by the National Transportation Safety Board after the accident.

My law partner, Jim Hall, was chairman of the NTSB at the time and is thought of as the “father” of the Family Assistance Act. He believes that the office should consistently update the families and provide them with as much assistance as possible in understanding the investigative process.

This is the ideal. In reality it does not always function this way. I have worked in aviation litigation for almost 30 years and I share his opinion. No matter what the differences from family to family or accident to accident, the families always want to know why and how. They also want a voice.

A Buffalo News article seemed to come to grips with the fringes of the argument by dealing with the extreme claims that the system is so flawed that it is “intellectually dishonest,” or that the system is perfect from the viewpoint of the aviation industry that it represents. Neither is true.

Hall and I have a more useful suggestion, and one that will take the considerable muscle of the Flight 3407 families to implement. The existing party system will not be replaced. There are not enough investigators, testing laboratories or dollars to eliminate industry participation and make the system a truly independent process.

But the Office of Family Assistance must be called upon to provide families with consistent and complete information as the investigation is ongoing. This is already supposed to happen, but it will not unless the families demand it. The families could also call for the designation of a technically educated liaison to provide them information.

With that technical person in place, all that is needed is to “tweak” the system to give the families an opportunity to give the board input, offer suggestions and ask questions before the investigation goes into its analysis phase.

If the families ask for full information, a technical head to talk to and an opportunity to speak through that person before the process closes, it will be a big step that benefits all and ultimately enhances aviation safety in the future.

Confidential Settlement Reached in Product Liability Lawsuit From Fatal Helicopter Crash Involving Petros VII Pope and Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church

On September 11, 2004, His Beatitude, Pope and Patriarch Petros VII, along with 16 others including his brother, clergy, lay members of the Orthodox Church, and the Greek Army crew perished when the helicopter they were aboard went out of control and crashed into the Aegean Sea approximately 15 nautical miles from the shoreline near Mt. Athos, Greece.

pope

The helicopter used for the flight was a CH-47D, commonly known as the “Chinook” which was manufactured in 2001 by The Boeing Company and sold to the Greek Army as part of a U.S. Foreign Military Sales Agreement valued at over 300 million dollars.

The fateful flight departed the Pachi Megaron Army Airfield west of Athens at approximately 9:30 a.m. for a routine flight to the holy monasteries at Mt. Athos on the Chalkidiki peninsula. However, at approximately 10:53 a.m. local time, after the pilot requested clearance to an altitude of 4,500 feet, things began to go tragically wrong. The last six radar points beginning at 10:54 a.m. (see below) indicate that rather than continuing in a north northeast heading toward Mt. Athos, the helicopter began to take a slight left turn. This heading change was then followed by a loss of the transponder signal and a steep left turn and a final high-speed plunge into the ocean.

The recovery process was hampered by the sea’s depth and weather. Nevertheless, investigation into the accident revealed several anomalies with the helicopter which including illuminated caution lights on the maintenance panel without illumination of corresponding lights on the Master Caution Panel, significant damage to the aft rotor droop stops, DC power present in the aft section of the helicopter but absent in the cockpit, damage to gear teeth in the aft rotor drive system, and an over current in the A11 circuit card of the automatic flight control system (AFCS). Additionally, switch positions in the cockpit indicated the pilots were trying to isolate a hydraulic problem.

The diagram depicts the last six radar points recorded for the helicopter. The last three are from ground based radar following failure of the helicopter’s

The diagram depicts the last six radar points recorded for the helicopter. The last three are from ground based radar following failure of the helicopter’s transponder

This was to be the first official trip by Petros VII to the holy monasteries at Mt. Athos. He, a new-calendarist ecumenist, was reportedly traveling to the Monastery of Vatopedi to celebrate that Monday the Feast of the Deposition of the Precious Sash of the Mother of God according to the Old Calendar.

Nolan Law Group’s helicopter accident attorneys represented the estates of Patriarch Petros VII, his brother, Georgios Papapetrou, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Carthage, and Hierodeacon Nektarios Kontogiorgis. The cases were settled during voluntary mediation conducted by Hon. Edward N. Cahn, retired Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Papapetrou v.The Boeing Company, et al., Case No. 07-cv-3768, E.D.Pa.

Jim Hall: Aircraft icing needs harder look

Thursday’s crash of a de Havilland Dash 8 Q400 in Clarence was deeply saddening. Fifty persons were killed in the tragedy, and the 2z-year period of fatality- free flying in commercial aviation was brought abruptly to an end.More tragic, this crash was foreseeable and likely preventable, if not for the preference of profit over safety in some of the aviation industry and for the lax oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration in its failure to adequately address known safety risks related to icing.

Initial reports strongly indicate that airframe icing played a major role in the crash of this turboprop aircraft. This type of occurrence is not without precedent. On Oct. 31, 1994, American Eagle Flight 4184 dropped from the sky when ice accumulated on its wings. It crashed into a soybean field in Roselawn, Ind., killing all 68 people onboard. On Jan. 9, 1997, Comair flight 3272 dropped from the sky over Monroe, Mich. when ice accumulated on its wings, killing all 29 people on board.

Like Thursday’s crash, both of these planes were turboprop-an Avions de Transport Regional 72 and an Embraer 120, respectively. Both aircraft were equipped with pneumatic deicing boots, a technology invented in the 1930s that has not changed much since.

As chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, I oversaw the investigation into the Roselawn and Monroe crashes. It became apparent that, while deicing boots are more fuel efficient than the heated wing technology that larger jets use, they are not as effective at reducing the risk of an icing accident.

Furthermore, the FAA is charged with overseeing the certification process of each make and model of aircraft, yet we found in our investigation that the FAA failed to ensure that this certification adequately accounted for hazards that can result from all known icing conditions. After our extensive investigation at Roselawn concluded, I signed the NTSB’s recommendations to the FAA regarding these issues.

More than 10 years later, the FAA has not adequately addressed these concerns, and the NTSB has placed safe flight in icing conditions on its “Most Wanted” safety improvements list.

The aircraft model that crashed Thursday was certified by the FAA on Jan. 26, 2000, and the accident aircraft itself was not manufactured until 2008-well after the Roselawn recommendations were issued and with full knowledge of the dangers that turboprops and deicing boots face in freezing conditions.

There was no move to incorporate the more effective (but more expensive) heated wing technology. What’s more, an airworthiness directive published by the FAA in 1996 notes that the earlier, 40-seat model of DHC-8 aircraft had an unsafe condition which could result in loss of control of the aircraft when flaps were extended during icing conditions-as they were in Thursday’s crash-and further that the autopilot should not be engaged in “severe icing conditions,” a vaguely defined term.

But because the FAA basically ignored the NTSB’s recommendation to adequately test aircraft in these conditions before declaring them airworthy, the certification of this new version of the DHC-8 went along without a hitch. The most substantial change to the new model was not related to safety: the aircraft was stretched to allow 78 passengers to be carried by the aircraft. In short, even in light of the Roselawn and Monroe accidents, safety was compromised so that these aircraft would be allowed to fly more people at cheaper cost.

In this instance, the FAA and the airline industry clearly placed a higher value on profit than on their passengers’ safety. Well-known risks were overlooked, well-documented recommendations were ignored. That this plane was allowed to fly in dangerous conditions for which it was not thoroughly tested and prepared, and without recommended safety measures and devices in place, demonstrates this.

This attitude must change. The NTSB should move quickly to identify any deficiencies and FAA should take the requested action, such as prohibiting this aircraft from operating in icing conditions until remedies are established. I hope this accident will finally cause the FAA and the commercial aviation industry to take icing risks seriously so that a tragedy such as this will not happen again.

Jim Hall, an attorney with Nolan Law Group, was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1994 to 2001.

Timeline of NTSB Icing Recommendations


October 31, 1994:Crash of ATR 72-212 (turboprop) at Roselawn, ID. 68 people were killed. American subsequently moved operations of ATR 72 to the Caribbean and southern U.S.

July 9, 1996: NTSB Aircraft Accident Report regarding Roselawn accident released. Probable cause was a “loss of control, attributed to a sudden and unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal that occurred after a ridge of ice accreted beyond the deice boots.”

August 8, 1996: NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations A-96-48 through A-96-69. Among these are Recommendations A-96-54 and A-96-56 which read as follows:

  • Revise the icing criteria published in 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 23 and 25, in light of both recent research into aircraft ice accretion under varying conditions of liquid water content, drop size distribution, and temperature, and recent developments in both the design and use of aircraft. Also, expand the Appendix C icing certification envelope to include freezing drizzle/freezing rain and mixed water/ice crystal conditions, as necessary. (A-96-54

 

  • Revise the icing certification testing regulation to ensure that airplanes are properly tested for all conditions in which they are authorized to operate, or are otherwise shown to be capable of safe flight into such conditions. If safe operations cannot be demonstrated by the manufacturer, operational limitations should be imposed to prohibit flight in such conditions and flightcrews should be provided with the means to positively determine when they are in icing conditions that exceed the limits for aircraft certification. (A-96-56)

 

August 20, 1997: NTSB classifies the FAA’s response to A-96-54 and A-96-56 as “Open-Acceptable” after FAA created an Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to develop certification criteria for the safe operation of aircraft in icing conditions.

1999: De Havilland Dash 8 Series Q402 receives type certification.

January 27, 2003: NTSB writes letter to FAA regarding the work of the ARAC, saying it is concerned about the “slow pace of the [the ARAC’s work].” The NTSB stated, “Although the FAA, through its referral of this work to the ARAC, is responding to these recommendations, the Safety Board remains concerned that in the 6 years since these recommendations were issued, the work has not been completed. The Board would like the FAA to provide a schedule for completion of the recommended actions.”

May 19, 2003: FAA responds to NTSB’s concern, stating that “The FAA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking based on these recommendations by June 2004.”

November 9, 2004: After an NTSB meeting regarding “Most Wanted Recommendations,” NTSB classifies Recommendations A-96-54 and A-96-56 as “Open-Unacceptable.”

February 15, 2005: Cessna Citation 560, owned by Circuit City Stores, Inc. crashed in Pueblo, CO 4 miles east of Pueblo Memorial Airport. 8 people were killed. NTSB stated probable causes as: “the flight crew’s failure to effectively monitor and maintain airspeed and comply with procedures for deice boot activation on the approach, which caused an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to establish adequate certification requirements for flight into icing conditions, which led to the inadequate stall warning margin provided by the airplane’s stall warning system.” (Emphasis added)

May 10, 2006: Two years after the FAA’s own deadline for action, the NTSB issued a statement again lamenting the lack of action: “There does not appear to have been any progress since the FAA previously informed the Board of the status of this recommendation on September 15, 2003.”

February 27, 2007: From NTSB update on FAA action regarding the Recommendations: “[T]he FAA has still not received the recommendations from [its working group studying deicing certification], prepared regulatory analyses, issued the NPRM, analyzed comments, or completed the many other tasks involved in issuing new regulations.”

April 16, 2008: Aircraft involved in Buffalo crash issued certificate of airworthiness.

February 12, 2009: Crash of de Havilland Dash 8 Q-402 (turboprop) outside of Buffalo, NY killed 50 people. Cockpit Voice Recorder indicated that crew mentioned significant ice buildup on windshield and leading edge of wings.

Nolan Law Group Files Lawsuit on Behalf of the Parents of a 14-Month-Old Girl Killed in October 15th 2008 Medical Evacuation Helicopter Crash Near Aurora, Illinois

CHICAGO, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ — A lawsuit stemming from the catastrophic October 15, 2008 crash of an Air Angels EMS Helicopter near Aurora, Illinois was filed today on behalf of Robert and Brooke Blockinger, who suffered the tragic loss of their 14-month-old daughter Kirstin Reann Blockinger.

Kirstin Reann Blockinger was one of four individuals who was killed when the emergency medical evacuation helicopter bound for Children’s Memorial Hospital hit a radio tower and its supporting structure and crashed in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois.

The EMS helicopter which belonged to Air Angels Inc. was carrying a 3-person crew which included a pilot, a nurse and a paramedic, all of whom were employed by Air Angels Inc. Kirstin Reann Blockinger was being transported to Children’s Memorial for the purpose of receiving treatment for a medical emergency.

The crash of this Medical Services (EMS) Bell 222 Helicopter was the latest in a tragic wave of EMS helicopter accidents last year. The families of the four victims join dozens of others who mourn the loss of loved ones that have been killed in EMS Helicopters in the past months. Despite the long list of recent tragedies, however, there has been no change to the rules governing EMS safety — rules that are known to be flawed and insufficient.

“What makes this accident even worse is that is was preventable,” said aviation attorney Donald J. Nolan. “In February of 2006, the NTSB made safety recommendations which were largely ignored,” Nolan added. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will draw attention to this issue and help bring about industry change.”

Named in the suit are Air Angels Inc., Reach Medical Holdings Inc., and Richard D. Hoffman, as personal representative of the estate of Delbert Lee Waugh.

The complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County and alleges that Kirstin Reann Blockinger’s untimely death was caused as a direct and proximate result of the defendant’s breach of duty of care.

The lawsuit also asserts that the defendants were responsible for exercising the highest and/or ordinary degree of care in the operation, maintenance, possession and control over the subject helicopter so as not to cause injury and further specifies the following acts or omissions by defendants:

— Negligently and carelessly failed to require and provide two pilots for operation of subject flight

— Negligently and carelessly failed to equip the subject helicopter with a proper and adequate Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TWAS)

— Negligently and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate time and information to the pilot for flight planning

— Negligently and carelessly failed to keep sage and proper separation between the subject helicopter and existing tower hazard

— Negligently and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate flight following measures

— Negligently and carelessly operated, controlled and equipped and maintained the subject helicopter in particulars to be determined through the course of discovery

Robert Blockinger and Brooke Blockinger have been appointed co-special administrators to their daughter’s estate and, as such, are seeking personal and pecuniary damages, including but not limited to, loss of society, love and companionship for the loss of their daughter in a sum in excess of the minimal jurisdictional limits of the Cook County Circuit Court.

In early February of 2009, there will be public hearings regarding the safety of EMS helicopter operations. Nolan Law Group and the Blockingers are planning to attend.

Nolan Law Group is a Chicago-based personal injury law firm concentrating in aviation accidents, construction accidents, brain injury litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, and trucking accidents.

Passengers escape burning jet in Denver; 38 hurt


DENVER – Firefighters said it was like something out of a movie – passengers emerging from a smoke-filled ravine where the remains of a Boeing 737 lay in flames, its landing gear and left engine shorn off.

Denver Fire Department Division Chief Patrick Hynes called it “surreal.” The fire burned the entire right side of the plane, and melted plastic from overhead compartments dripped onto the seats below.

Thirty-eight people suffered injuries including broken bones, and two were in critical condition with fractures after the Saturday evening accident, officials said.

Passenger Mike Wilson of Denver described a chaotic scramble to leave the burning plane on updates he posted on Twitter.com from the airport using his cell phone.

“By the time the plane stopped we were burning pretty well and I think I could feel the heat even through the bulkhead and window,” he wrote. “I made for the exit door as quickly as I could, fearing the right wing might explode from the fire. Once out, I scrambled down the wing.”

The 107 passengers and five crew members made it out through slides, and firefighters put out blaze quickly, said airport spokesman Jeff Green.

By P. SOLOMON BANDA, Associated Press Writer

Lawsuit: Heparin caused dialysis patient’s death Breckinridge County man died a day after receiving blood thinner

CHICAGO – Attorneys seeking compensation and answers surrounding potentially deadly lots of the anticoagulant Heparin say a contaminated batch of the drug made its way to Elizabethtown last year and was administered to a hemodialysis patient who died the next day.

Franke Leon Isom, 59, of Webster, died Dec. 14, 2007, a day after he received the drug at Elizabethtown’s Woodland Dialysis Clinic.

When he experienced adverse symptoms, Isom was taken to Breckinridge Memorial Hospital where he later was pronounced dead by Dr. Peter Rives, according to staff and records at Alexander Funeral Home in Irvington.

A warning from Heparin’s distributor about possible adverse effects from the drug was issued a month later.

Attorneys with Chicago’s Nolan Law Group say the Heparin administered to Isom was among 55,000 gallons of blood-thinner contaminated with over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS) during its manufacturing process in China, where most of the world’s Heparin originates.

The claim, filed on behalf of Isom’s estate Thursday in Cook County, Ill., is among more than 50 similar civil tort claims against the Wisconsin-based Heparin manufacturer, Scientific Protein Laboratories, and one of its major distributors, Baxter International Inc.

Isom’s suit – the most recently filed – claims Baxter and Scientific Protein Laboratories are responsible for allowing Heparin to reach hospitals and medical facilities, such as Woodland Dialysis Center, where it could be administered to patients.

Heparin is used as a blood-thinner in many medical procedures, with large doses given to patients undergoing heart surgery, moderate doses administered during hemodialysis and smaller doses used in minor medical procedures.

After Isom’s death and a highly publicized civil claim filed in January by actor Dennis Quaid, regarding an alleged overdose of Heparin given to Quaid’s infant twins, Baxter recalled nine lots, or about 10 percent of its annual production.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported a $750,000 settlement between the Quaids and a hospital that administered an overdose.

A February recall by Baxter ordered more of the drug to be pulled from hospital and medical facilities’ shelves.

In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a link to contaminated Heparin and a Chinese manufacturer. Scientific Protein Laboratories owns a majority stake in that manufacturer, according to Tom Ellis, detective and spokesman for Chicago-based Nolan Law offices.

According to the FDA, there were 246 deaths blamed on contaminated Heparin between January 2007 and May 31, 2008. Of those reported deaths, 149 included patients experiencing allergic symptoms associated with OSCS – such as hypotension and swelling.

Ellis said contaminated Heparin reached all parts of the United States. While recalls were issued by Baxter, Ellis said lots from those tied to contaminated batches were found on the shelves of 92 California hospitals after March.

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for Elizabethtown,” Ellis said. “Per the February recall, some 55,000 gallons of Heparin may have been contaminated.”

No answer to Isom’s claim against Baxter and SPL had been filed as of Tuesday. Leslie Smith, the Chicago attorney representing Baxter and SPL on both federal and state cases, did not return calls as of Tuesday evening.

Michelle Murphy, spokes woman for Hardin Memorial Hospital, said HMH reacted quickly after the January and February recalls – immediately removing all lots of suspected contaminated Heparin from the shelves.

“We have very stringent policies and procedures and we comply promptly with any mandatory recalls,” Murphy said.

State Medical Examiner Barbara Weakley-Jones said chondrointin sulfate occurs naturally in the body, but confirmed OSCS does not. OSCS is, however, found in medications designed to aid joint function, she said.

Weakley-Jones said she has not heard of any other deaths stemming from contaminated Heparin. Neither had coroners from Hardin and Breckinridge counties.

“But how would I know?” said Breckinridge County Coroner Tim Bandy. “These people are usually already sick and under a physician’s care.”

Bandy, as did Hardin County Coroner Dr. Bill Lee, said under situations such as Isom’s, where ongoing care was overseen by a physician, coroners don’t normally sign death certificates.

“Those are usually considered death by natural causes,” Lee said. “We only get involved when someone dies for unknown or unnatural reasons.”

Ellis said he’s seen “death by natural causes” and even “air embolism” noted as the cause of death in contaminated Heparin-related death cases.

Rives, who could not be reached for comment, no longer practices in Kentucky, according to multiple officials at medical facilities in Daviess, Meade and Breckinridge counties.

The chief administrator and regional director of Woodland Dialysis Center would not comment on Isom’s death, acknowledge if any patients had been exposed to contaminated Heparin, or discuss the lots of Heparin recalled. The two officials, instead, deferred to a spokesperson in California, for comment.

A statement released Tuesday night by California-based DaVita – parent company of Woodland Dialysis Center – failed to address any issue relating to contaminated Heparin or answer the two questions asked of it by The News Enterprise.

“At DaVita, quality patient care is our utmost concern. However, our existing corporate policies and the active nature of this litigation involving parties outside of DaVita, preclude us from making any further comment,” DaVita’s statement reads.

SPL issued a statement in March saying there was no intentional contamination of the Heparin. SPL spokesman Wayne Pines told the New York Times on March 6 there had been no evidence of tampering or counterfeiting uncovered.

Ellis said all “bad lots” of contaminated Heparin should by now have been removed from medical facilities’ shelves.

Along with the deaths, hundreds of patients claim to have survived after having adverse allergic reactions to OSCS, according to the FDA.

“No one can fix what’s already happened,” Ellis said. “And it’s a personal decision for anyone exposed to know if they could be subjected to some kind of long-term effect.”

Ellis said there has not yet been any answer to the question of long-term negative effects of Heparin contaminated with OSCS.

Story By BOB WHITE bwhite@thenewsenterprise.com

Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.

American Law Firms File Claim Against The FAA And Seek Discovery On Behalf Of Family Of Aeroflot Plane Crash

CHICAGO – American law firms, Nolan Law Group and Ribbeck Law Chartered, today filed a Petition for Discovery in the state court in Chicago arising from the Boeing 737 crash of Aeroflot-Nord Airlines in Perm, Russia on September 14, 2008. The petition was filed on behalf of Aleksey A. Afanasenkov, Sr., whose son perished in the crash, and seeks documentation and information concerning the individuals or companies that may be responsible for causing the crash.

Additionally, the law firms asserted a formal claim on behalf of Mr. Afanasenkov against the United States Federal Aviation Administration for its failure to properly regulate U.S. training institutions which provided training to the crew of the accident airplane. The US-Russian treaty entitled “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of Aviation Safety” entered into force on September 2, 1998. Under the treaty, the U.S. government agreed that the FAA would monitor, among other things, aviation training establishments in the United States providing training to Russian pilots in accordance with the standards, rules, practices, general procedures and Implementation Procedures established pursuant to the treaty.

While the investigation of the crash is ongoing and no probable cause determinations have yet been made, the circumstances of the crash have highlighted the dangerous shortcomings in the training of pilots accustomed to Eastern-built aircraft transitioning into operation of Western-built airliners. It futher highlights the need for proper oversight in the FAA airworthiness certification process of transport category airplanes.

It was previously reported by the airline, Aeroflot-Nord, that the captain of the accident airplane received training in the 737-500 at a U.S. based training institution in 2006, and had 452 hours as pilot-in-command of this model airplane. The first officer began flying the 737-500 airplane earlier this year and had only 219 total hours in the model airplane. Both pilots had spent the majority of their careers operating Russian-built aircraft which have some significant technical differences in cockpit instrumentation from Western-built aircraft such as the Boeing 737.

For further information on this news item please contact Thomas J. Ellis, Director of Litigation Support, Nolan Law Group, 20 North Clark Street, 30th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602. Office: (312) 630-4000; Mobile (312) 493-3349 or e-mail: tje@nolan-law.com

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