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January 2011 Archives

Dr. Kayoko Kifuji Settles Medical Malpractice Suit For $2.5M

Rebecca Riley's parents sued Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, their daughter's psychiatrist at Tufts Medical Center, for medical malpractice after Riley overdosed at the age of 4 on some psychiatric drugs prescribed by Kifuji. According to the Boston Globe, the lawyers for Rebecca's estate recently announced that Kifuji decided to settle the lawsuit for $2.5 million.

The settlement did not include any admission of wrongdoing on behalf of Kifuji, although the Riley family's Boston personal injury lawyer Andrew Meyer said the doctor's decision to settle could suggest some recognition of responsibility on Kifuji's part. Tufts, however, said officials chose to settle the case to help spare Rebecca's siblings from additional distress.

Why Do Consumers Reject Safer Products?

Boston locals may have wondered why some people reject products, like air bags or vaccines, that could actually make them safer, when they find out there could be a relatively small possibility for injury.

Northwestern law professor Jonathan Koehler and University of Texas marketing professor Andrew Gershoff conducted a new study that found most people reject safer products because of a what they call the "betrayal effect." According to the ABA Journal, this generally means that consumers feel betrayed when they learn that a safety product can carry some risk. The emotion ultimately keeps some individuals from making more rational decisions.

MA Proposes Rules To Reduce Brain Injury Among Student Athletes

The Boston Globe reported Massachusetts health authorities will be proposing strict regulations to help reduce head injuries among young athletes and ensure that these adolescents are kept away from the field until their brains have recovered. The policies are focused on resolving the concerns for the long-term effects of concussions after years of allowing athletes to return to a game after suffering head injuries.

Nearly 200,000 students in Massachusetts are involved in extracurricular sports in high school. In a survey, the Mass. Department of Public Health found that 18 percent of middle and high school students suffer sports injuries. These injuries were severe enough to trigger nausea, blurred vision, headaches, and unconsciousness.

Portland Shellfish Stops Shipments Due to Listeria Contamination

Boston locals love their shellfish. However all crab, shrimp and lobster lovers throughout the Bay State should take notice of the report that Maine-based Portland Shellfish Co. has agreed to temporarily stop shipping its prepared lobster, shrimp and crab products to retailers in Massachusetts and other states, according to an announcement by the FDA on January 20.

The FDA is alleging the company violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, reports The Boston Globe, by shipping food across state lines that was "prepared, packed or held under unsanitary conditions." The agency says Portland Shellfish has had problems in the past concerning contamination of its products by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. The FDA says it tested samples at Portland processing plants last year which "confirmed the presence" of Listeria in the facility and in the ready-to-eat seafood products.

Spectrum Microwave Employees Sent To Hospital After Chemical Spill

Fire officials reported 19 people were sent to a local hospital after a chemical reaction occurred inside a factory in Marlboro. According to the Boston Herald, a 30-gallon plastic container with chemicals burst while under pressure and spilled out into a lab at Spectrum Microwave Inc.

All Spectrum workers were evacuated, but Deputy Fire Chief Ron Ayotte said one employee started having respiratory problems an hour after firefighters arrived at the scene. Eighteen other workers were taken to the hospital to get evaluated, and another employee even drove himself to the Marlboro Hospital.

CPSC Recalls Arien Company Snow Throwers

Boston locals may have to worry about more than just a slip and fall when trying to clear snow off their driveway or on the streets. According to the Office of Information and Public Affairs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall for snow throwers from the Wisconsin-based Ariens Company due to potential injuries that may occur when operating the device.

The CPSC warned consumers that attempts to clear the snow throwers’ collector or discharge chute could lead to possible and dangerous finger or hand injuries. Even though no reported injuries have been received, the CPSC ordered a recall on the orange and black snow thrower with model number 921020 and serial numbers ranging from 000101 to 001229.

Federal Insurance Company Seeks Recovery For Fire Truck Accident

Two years ago, a 49,000 pound fire truck sped down a hilltop street and crashed into a Mission Hill apartment complex, killing the firefighter inside the truck. The Federal Insurance Company, which insured the apartment building, alleged that the City of Boston and six truck maintenance shops were responsible for the accident.

The company filed the lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court and sought over $410,000 in damages to cover attorney fees and the repairs of the apartments, according to The Boston Globe. Federal Insurance claimed the defendants were negligent in allowing the fire truck to be on the road with defective brakes and failing to supervise the vehicle's overall brake system.

Class Action Suit Claims New Balance Shoes Do Not Tone

California local Bistra Pashamova filed a lawsuit in Boston’s U.S. District Court against New Balance, a sneaker company based in the city. The lawsuit alleged that the shoe maker mislead consumers to believing that its popular toning shoes, which cost about $100, would help develop a firmer rear-end and legs.

Pashamova also claimed that other people were also harmed by New Balance’s false representation of its product, in the class-action suit seeking in excess of $5 million in damages. The Boston Globe reported the company’s toning shoes had been designed with an unstable sole, which causes a person’s leg muscles to work harder and maintain balance while doing everyday activities.

MA School Districts Move Forward With Anti-Bullying Plans

All Massachusetts school districts but six have filed anti-bullying plans with the state as part of a new Massachusetts law aimed at implementing anti-bullying lessons in classrooms and reducing bullying on school campuses. Education officials announced that 390 districts and charter schools submitted their plans by December 31, according to the Boston Herald.

Officials said the other six districts, such as the Gosnold Public School District, are rushing to catch up with the rest of the Massachusetts school systems. Even with only four students attending Gosnold, the school's superintendent Russell F. Latham confirmed that the institution would include anti-bullying in its curriculum this year.