Week Adjourned: 4.16.10

Next Batch of Census Recruits? (no, but when you hear "Hi Ho" well...)Top Class Actions 

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to court we go….

Census Looking for a Few (Really) Good Men? The feds are in hot water this week, facing a lawsuit—the first of its kind—alleging that the Census Bureau screened out job applicants with arrest records, regardless of whether or not the arrest actually led to a criminal conviction.

This has adversely affected “thousands of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans,” the suit claims, as they have been “rejected for jobs by the US Census Bureau during the federal government’s massive hiring campaign for this year’s census because of systematic discrimination.” Personally, I wouldn’t have thought the government capable of that level of organization, but hey, it’s possible. And, if it’s true, it’s no laughing matter.

According to a related press release, “Government records show that more than 70 million people in the US have been arrested, but more than 35 percent of all arrests nationwide never lead to prosecutions or convictions,” a sobering statistic indeed. No wonder the police are so busy, busy generating paperwork.

Unfortunately, as the lawsuit points out, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are far more likely to have arrest records and convictions than whites, and so Census’s hiring policies discriminate against people of color in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Ummm. 

Top Settlements

The Chinese Drywall Homes…Homes Barely Livable…We Can Rebuild Them…Ok, so it’s not quite like the $6 Million Dollar Man, but… Remember all those stinky drywall stories? Well, a critical settlement was awarded April 8, to seven families from Virginia who have suffered significant financial damages as a result of contaminated Chinese Drywall used in the construction of their homes. 

A federal judge in Louisiana ruled that the Chinese Drywall manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Company, Ltd, must compensate the families for a total of $2,609,129.99 in remediation damages.  And this could just be the beginning, as there are hundreds, possibly thousands of folk who have been caught up in this mess, quite literally.

During the case, Judge Eron Fallon heard plaintiffs describe a range of serious problems caused by the Taishan drywall, causing him to conclude that Chinese-made drywall has significantly higher levels of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and carbon disulfide—all known irritants to humans—than “typical, benign drywall…”The Court finds that scientific, economic, and practicality concerns dictate that the proper remediation… is to remove all drywall in their homes, all items which have suffered corrosion as a result of the Chinese drywall, and all items which will be materially damaged in the process of removal.” 

Let’s hope the drywall used to rebuild these homes doesn’t have similar problems. 

E-Ferol Victims Win Settlement. Remember Thalidomide? In an eerily similar type of situation, families who lost infants as a result of exposure to a vitamin E supplement designed to reduce or eliminate blindness, finally attained some resolution this week. The water soluble vitamin E supplement was called E-Ferol. FYI—this goes back to the 1980s. 

Short version: a $100 million settlement was approved by a federal judge in the class action suit brought by 369 plaintiffs, 42 of whom had children who died as a result of being given the supplement. 

The lawsuit alleged that intravenous E-ferol was linked to dozens of deaths of premature infants in the 1980s, and that the supplement was marketed and administered without FDA approval. Furthermore, the supplement remained on the market for five months after research had clearly shown that the ingredient that made the vitamin E water soluble was in fact causing symptoms including liver and kidney failure in the infants. 

The lawsuit was brought against the distributor of the product, who is no longer in business, and neither is the manufacturer. I wonder what, if any, companies those folks are running now. 

That’s it for this week. See you at the bar! (Oh yes. That bar).

(by the way, as this is a legal site, the image of the Seven Dwarfs would be ©Disney)

One thought on “Week Adjourned: 4.16.10”

  1. The Building Envelope Science Institute (BESI) endorsed a remediation protocol back in October 2009 that more than exceeds the recommendations by the CPSC & HUD interim remediation guidance.

    In fact, the institute has been certifying qualified candidates for inspection and remediation of structures with defective drywall since last year. The institute has a national directory for those looking for those qualified to perform an inspection or remediation.

    Those that have earned a designation as a remediator or consultant through the institute have attended a two-day course with a written final exam; inspectors attend a one-day course with a written final exam. There are prerequisites they have to meet, which includes being in good standing with the state if they are licensed (required for those performing remediation).

    More information about the protocols and requirements can be found at http://www.BESInstitute.org.

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