Week Adjourned: 11.5.10

What comes with that blowout?Top Class Actions

What’s Blowing in During that Blow-out? Well, the makers and distributors of Brazilian Blowout could be in for a thorough waxing. A class action lawsuit was filed against the hair-straightening folks this week, alleging Brazilian Blowout violated California consumer laws by falsely advertising that the Brazilian Blowout hair straightening product is formaldehyde-free. 

According to testing by the Canadian government and Oregon OHSA, this is absolutely not the case. Their testing has shown Brazilian Blowout products contain between 6% and 12% formaldehyde. Yikes! California and federal regulations require disclosure when formaldehyde content exceeds 0.1%. And in Canada formaldehyde is permitted in cosmetics at less than 0.2 percent when used as a preservative. FYI—formaldehyde is a known irritant, sensitizer, and is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled chronically over a long period of time. No doubt this stuff could do a good deal more than straighten your hair. Just reading about it is enough to turn it grey!

The lawsuit claims that because consumers were unaware of the high formaldehyde content in BB, they were deprived of the opportunity to make a meaningful decision about the products they were purchasing and using on their bodies, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs said. 

I think the future is in wigs. 

Top Settlements

Car Accident Victim Awarded $10M. It might seem like a lot of money—but it’s a huge loss. A teenage girl who was struck by a car while crossing an intersection in 2006 and has been in a coma ever since, was awarded over $10 million by a jury recently.  

Emily Liou was 17 at the time of the accident, and suffered massive brain damage as a result. She’s alive, but has never regained consciousness.

It seems that in addition to the driver’s liability, the location of the crosswalk may also be to blame, or at least the jury thought so. The driver of the car contended that she didn’t see Liou until it was too late. The lawsuit, which named the driver of the car and the state of California as defendants, alleged that the location of the marked crosswalk was dangerous given that it is in a busy uncontrolled intersection with multiple lanes of traffic, and that it gives pedestrians a false sense of security. The jury found the state 50 percent liable, the driver 30 percent liable and Liou herself 20 percent liable.

Anyone Seen that Sponge? This case of medical negligence is nothing short of baffling. A 45-year old man who underwent surgery in 2008 at DeTar Hospital Navarro to have his gallbladder removed, later found out, the hard way, that the surgeons had left a surgical sponge inside him which was causing a serious infection and necessitated a trip to the emergency room. I would think so.

And to add insult to injury when scans were done it was discovered that he still had his gallbladder.  

So Ronald Molder sued for negligence and won, with the jury awarding him $4 million in damages. The hospital and the surgeon, Dr. John Barber, were named as defendants, but Barber was cleared of negligence. According to court documents, the nurses are responsible for counting sponges and other supplies after surgeries. Barber wrote in his post-surgery report that the nurses twice confirmed the sponge count. So either someone can’t count or they never had the amount of sponges they thought they had to begin with. Very, very scary.

Anyone Heard of the Buddy System? Ok—isn’t this just everyone’s worst nightmare? I think a couple of movies have been made about this type of incident. A man who went out for a day’s diving off the coast of California—read Pacific Ocean—got left behind by the dive charter boat.  

In 2004, Daniel Carlock went on a diving charter run by Sundiver Charters of Long Beach, CA. They were diving near the oil rig Eureka when he surfaced some 400 feet away from the boat having experienced trouble clearing his ears.

The ever astute ‘dive master’ (?), crew and clients failed to see him so he tried to swim back to the boat. What else could he do? Problem was he developed leg cramps. So, the folks on the charter boat, believing they had everyone safely aboard, headed off to the next dive site 7 miles away! 

Unbelievably, Carlock was also mistakenly marked down has having done the second dive. It wasn’t until 3 hours after the second dive that anyone realized he wasn’t onboard. At this point the coast guard was contacted. Carlock was eventually picked up miles from the original dive site by a boat load of boy scouts crewing on the tall ship Argus.

Carlock, needless to say, sued, alleging he developed post-traumatic stress syndrome and skin cancer from his exposure. A jury awarded him $1.68 million in damages. Time to take up chess. 

Ok—that’s it for this week. The bar—the one on dry land—requires my presence.

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