A World Without Flavors

In recent news, the Trump administration recently announced that they plan to place a partial ban on e-cigarette pods. California lawmakers also plan to place restrictions on e-cigarette vaping products, however, these restrictions will prove to be even more strict than the administration’s. On January 6th, 2020, these lawmakers produced a proposal to ban all flavored vape pods. They rest on the position that the pod flavor options are the reason that vaping has become so appealing to minors in the U.S., a position that many citizens also hold. The proposed bill, Senate Bill 793, would entirely prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarette pods/cartridges, as well as ban flavors on traditional combustible tobacco. The lawmakers have cited surveys and studies, establishing that at least five million middle school and high school students have used an e-cigarette within the last 30 days.

However, the proposed legislation will face significant pushback from e-cigarette companies such as Juul, who have contributed roughly $388,000 campaign dollars. Juul has been facing legal pressure in the past few months, due to claims that the company was specifically targeting young people based off the design and advertising of their products. In response to this, Juul made efforts to change their image, and claim that their product is not being marketed to minors. The new bill banning all flavored vape products will have a massive effect on e-cigarette companies’ sales, as the flavored pods are Juul’s bestsellers.

The state of California currently prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing vape products, as well as e-cigarette devices. Restrictions as to which stores are authorized to sell e-cigarette products is said to have helped lower the amount in which minors are able to consume these products. While both the administration and the California state government feel that a complete flavor ban would be best to stop minor consumption, health groups are split on whether or not a complete ban is the best course of action. Their concerns are that once all flavors are banned, citizens will revert back to using traditional combustible cigarettes, which negates the reason that e-cigarettes were designed: to help users slowly lower their consumption of traditional cigarettes. The pending legislation will continue to be argued as legislators and health groups work together to come up with the best overall solution for the youth vaping epidemic.

If you or a loved one have suffered from the alleged harmful effects of Juul, give us a call at 214-210-2100 or fill out the contact form below.

The Ketchup Bottle Incident

In recent news, a San Antonio River Walk hotel is being sued after a mother witnessed a glass ketchup bottle hit her son on the head, causing serious injuries. The mother is currently suing the hotel’s parent company for gross negligence, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.

So, how did a falling ketchup bottle turn into a million-dollar lawsuit? Well, the story begins in August 2018 when Cassandra De La Cruz was taking a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk with her then two-year-old son Jacob, who was in a stroller at the time of the accident. Suddenly, a glass bottle of ketchup fell from a balcony at the Omni La Mansión Del Rio, striking Jacob on the head.

According to the reports, guests staying on the fifth floor of the hotel were eating their room-service burgers on the balcony, when one of the guests accidentally bumped into the food cart, causing the bottle to fall from the balcony. A witness backed up De La Cruz’s account and helped hotel managers identify which balcony the bottle had fallen from.

The lawsuit claims that the toddler had suffered serious injuries to his neck and brain, as well as other parts of his body. The injuries “have already impacted his health and wellbeing,” the lawsuit reads. The complaint does not provide details about his injuries or the nature of the treatment he has undergone but notes that Jacob “may continue to suffer into the future, physical pain and mental anguish.”

De La Cruz, who is being represented by an attorney within the practice of Thomas J. Henry, has named the local hotel, parent company Omni Hotels & Resorts and owner TRT Holdings, all of which are Texas-based companies. The lawsuit also named Eric McCoy, one of the guests that caused the incident by not being able to keep the ketchup bottle from falling.

McCoy has claimed that he tried to grab the bottle before it fell off the balcony, and even went downstairs to make sure no one was hurt. De La Cruz alerted hotel employees and police responded to the scene. Officers reassured De La Cruz that the incident was an accident and that this incident wouldn’t be filed as a criminal report.

Nevertheless, De La Cruz is suing Omni La Mansión Del Rio for $1 million in damages. The lawsuit also holds the hotel responsible for keeping pedestrians safe from objects that could fall off a balcony.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, give us a call at 214-210-2100 for a free, confidential case consultation.

Save Our Grandparents!|New Legislation Introduced To Reform Hiring Practices In Nursing Homes

A new piece of legislation before Congress would expand nursing homes’ ability to perform detailed background checks on potential employees. The passing of the legislation could improve hiring practices in nursing homes in an effort to reduce elder abuse.

The initiative — known as the Promote Responsible Oversight & Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act — would increase access to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for Medicare and Medicaid providers, a system that allows firms to perform background checks on potential employees. There have been several studies that find that states who spend more on background checks for front-line workers have a higher quality of care.

Provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the database verifies that potential hires do not have a history of malpractice. Families need to trust that when a loved one is living in a long-term care facility, they will be safe and cared for. Unfortunately, there have been far too many reports of abuse in these facilities.

Many states already require applicants for nursing home jobs to undergo a criminal background check, including Florida. For example, Todd Barket applied for a job as a certified nursing assistant in a Florida nursing home in late 2018. As a result of a new background check requirement for nursing home employees, he was arrested when his fingerprints linked him to a decades-old murder. After his fingerprints were processed, they matched prints entered as evidence in the killing of a 68-year-old woman in in Delray Beach, Florida in 1998.

Authorities apprehended Barket at his home, charged him with murder, thus reigniting a case that had been cold for many years. Florida is one of 26 states and the District of Columbia that now require criminal background checks for potential employees. This requirement stemmed from the National Background Check Program which was authorized by the 2012 Affordable Care Act.

The PROTECTS Act could potentially discourage current employees from attempting patient neglect and abuse, while also discouraging prospective employees with criminal records from applying to nursing home jobs. Additionally, the Act may encourage nursing homes to be more vigilant in their human resource practices. If you think you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, contact Forester Haynie at http://www.foresthaynie.com or give us a call at 214-210-2100.

If you think you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, contact Forester Haynie at http://www.foresthaynie.com or give us a call at 214-210-2100.

Cover-Ups, Cover-Ups Everywhere|A Look Into The Boy Scouts Of America

Ironically enough, the institution that vowed to teach young boys good manners, outdoor survival skills, and a sense of right wrong is now facing an alarmingly high number of sex abuse allegations. The Boy Scouts of America are being accused of conspiring to keep incidents of sexual assault a secret and protecting pedophiles.

The organization not only failed the boys and men who were taken advantaged of, but also the country. Because the Boys Scouts are a federally chartered non-profit, they are required to provide annual reports to Congress. Yet, the organization failed to include information about abuse accusations despite being busy kicking out child molesters left and right.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a recent epidemic. In 2010, a judge ordered the Boy Scouts to produce a list of men accused of molesting boys in Boy Scouts, which the Boy Scouts called the Perversion Files. From that list, a child expert hired by the Boy Scouts grossly estimated that 12,254 boys had reported sexual abuse by at least 7,800 suspected assailants between 1944 and 2016. In fact, because of the rise in reports of sexual abuse, men who have come forward so far have named more than 300 “hidden predators” who did not appear in the Perversion Files.

Abused in Scouting, a group of law firms that collaborate on bringing such cases to light, have made it their focus to spearhead previously unreported cases of child sexual abuse in one of the country’s most prominent youth organizations. The group ran television ads throughout the United States asking people who had not previously reported to “protect tomorrow’s children, identify your abuser, and help put a stop to the cover up” in the Boy Scouts by contacting the lawyers from Abused in Scouting. The ad helped the group collect countless allegations from men around the country—as old as 88 and as young as 14—who claim they were assaulted during their time in the Scouts.

If you or a loved one were a victim of sexual abuse while serving as a Boy Scout, contact Forester Haynie at http://www.foresterhaynie.com or give us a call at 214-210-2100.

A Look Into The Employment Legislation Reforms In California

A new California law states that California companies can no longer require their employees to sign an arbitration agreement clause as a condition of employment. The victory for California workers came nearly a year after Google employees forced the company to change its policy regarding mandatory arbitration agreements.

Previously, an employing company could force new workers to sign arbitration agreements that would force harassment, discrimination, and wage claims into arbitration. At the time, companies would give new workers the option to either sign the arbitration agreements or to lose out on a job opportunity.

The new California law targets exactly those manipulative tactics by companies and bans them. The law applies to new employees required to sign arbitration agreements to get hired or current workers who risk being fired if they don’t agree.

To give some context, arbitration agreements are often used by these companies in order to force claims by workers to undertake arbitration instead of a trial. Arbitration is far more likely to result in a positive result for the defendants and is often costly and burdensome for workers seeking to sue their employers.

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill concerning the FAIR Act that would ban mandatory arbitration agreements in a similar manner to the new California law. While the approval is a small victory for employment rights, the bill still has to go through the Senate where it is largely expected to be defeated.

The California law was careful not to conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act and U.S. Supreme Court decisions that allow companies to enforce mandatory arbitration agreements. Importantly, the law also does not ban arbitration agreements but simply says that they cannot be used as a condition for employment.

A big change in the law such as this one is always susceptible to challenge in the courts. It remains to be seen just how far state legislation will go and to what degree if any, federal legislation will follow.