Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Police: Passenger Killed when Car Failed to Stop, Hit by Tractor Trailer

The Day reports on a fatal collision involving a tractor trailer in Griswold.  "Joanne M. Gulmond, 75, of Seabrook, N.H., was a passenger in a Ford Taurus driven by 73-year-old Roland Gulmond that was struck by a tractor-trailer after police said the Taurus failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of Route 138 and the Exit 85 northbound access road from Interstate 395."   This is a very sad tragedy for all involved.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DAFR Responds to State's Motion to Dismiss

Here is the link to Plaintiff's Memo in Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss filed by the State of Connecticut Attorney General's office on behalf of Gov. Malloy. The State moved to dismiss this declaratory judgment action on the grounds of lack of standing and sovereign immunity. The case challenges the constitutionality of Connecticut's recently enacted gun control statute that was enacted in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, in particular, the expansion of the State's "assault weapons" ban and limit on magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Plaintiff Scott Ennis founded DAFR, which now has a national membership of about 15,000, including 3,500 in Connecticut, with the goal of providing opportunities for disabled Americans, including disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, to engage in recreational and competitive shooting events. DAFR’s mission also includes the education of the public and elected officials concerning the unique needs of disabled individuals when exercising their fundamental rights in the lawful use of firearms. They claim that the language of the Act, particularly the adoption of a "one feature test" that bans guns based on features like pistol grips and adjustable stocks, precludes many disabled individuals from being able to safely and effectively use a rifle for self-defense.
The plaintiffs claim violations of Connecticut constitutional and statutory provisions, including (a) Art. I § 15 of the State constitution, which guarantees that all citizens have a right to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State; (b) Conn. Gen. Stat. § 27-2, which affirms the rights of all citizens to bear arms as members of the unorganized militia of the State; (c) Art. I §1 of the State constitution, which guarantees equality of rights of all citizens of the State; (d) Article I § 20 of the State constitution, as amended by amendment XXI, which guarantees equal protection of the law, and prohibits discrimination in the exercise or enjoyment of civil or political rights based on physical disability; and (e) Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-58(a), which prohibits the deprivation of civil rights on the basis of physical disability.
The plaintiffs argue that it is a well established principle of Connecticut law that sympathy and emotion make for bad legal outcomes. However horrible and terrifying was Newtown, the constitution and laws of our state require--and our citizens deserve--more than a knee-jerk, feel-good emotional legislative reaction, one that was poorly thought out, not debated, hastily passed and implemented, and which does nothing to keep people safe from homicidal/suicidal sociopaths who perpetrate random acts of violence that were already illegal before the Act.
We know from our own experience in Connecticut, as well as nationally, that the assault weapon bans do not work to reduce violence, we know that American cities with the strictest gun control laws have the highest gun murder rates (i.e., Chicago), and we know that highly restrictive gun laws in other countries like Australia and Great Britain have not made those societies any safer, or prevented mass shootings there. At some point we have to admit that these laws do not accomplish their stated purposes. They only infringe the rights of honest people.
The assault weapon ban is a misguided, ill-considered distraction from the real issue of gun violence in this country and this state. It is already illegal to kill one’s mother, steal her lawfully-owned guns, drive them to a school, and murder students and staff inside. None of the laws against these activities prevented the Newtown incident, and there is nothing in the Act that will prevent another homicidal maniac from attacking another school or other “gun-free zone” with a legal pistol and a dozen 10-round magazines.
Incidents like Newtown are among the most isolated and rare crimes in this country. Sadly, crimes against the disabled happen with much more frequency and regularity. Sane, law-abiding citizens, particularly disabled ones who are among the most vulnerable in our society, deserve the ability to defend themselves with appropriate arms that are suitable for personal and home defense. The language of P.A. 13-3, particularly the expansion of the “assault weapons” ban and limitation on “large capacity magazines,” deprives disabled persons such as the plaintiffs of the right to bear suitable arms in self-defense. For these reasons, the plaintiffs maintain that the provisions of the Act should be declared unconstitutional.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Energy Drinks Face More Scrutiny

The NY Times reported "The distributor of the top-selling energy 'shot,' 5-Hour Energy, has long claimed on product labels, in promotions and in television advertisements that the concentrated caffeine drink produced 'no crash later' - the type of letdown that consumers of energy drinks often feel when the beverages' effects wear off." However, "an advertising watchdog group said on Wednesday that it had told the company five years ago that the claim was unfounded and had urged it then to stop making it." The article mentions that "the dispute over 5-Hour Energy's claim also comes as regulatory review of the high-caffeine drinks is increasing." The US Food and Drug Administration recently said that it has received reports over the past five years of the possible role of 5-Hour Energy in 13 deaths, although this does not necessarily mean that the product was actually responsible for a death or injury.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Surgical Errors Rise in CT, Despite Efforts to Prevent Errors

The AP reports that the Connecticut Dept. of Public Health "says reports of wrong-site surgeries in Connecticut hospitals increased by 62 percent last year, while the number of patient deaths or disabilities resulting from surgery or falls also rose."

Also, 96 patients died or were seriously injured from falls in 2011 — up from 91 the year before.

"Dr. Mary Reich Cooper, vice president and chief quality officer for the Connecticut Hospital Association, tells the Connecticut Health Investigative Team that hospitals are working together to eliminate errors."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Opinion: Focus on Patient Safety to Reduce Malpractice Cases

Mary Alice McLarty, president of the American Association for Justice, wrote in a CNN op-ed that "preventable medical errors are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and cost our country $29 billion a year," adding that while medical malpractice lawsuits are a symptom of the problem, the root of the problem is medical malpractice itself. Writing that "the civil justice system gives families of patients who have died or have been injured by medical negligence an avenue to seek accountability," McLarty argues that proposals for medical malpractice reform are misguided because they only strip away patients' rights and remove accountability. She argues that the most effective way to address the medical malpractice crisis is to focus on patient safety efforts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NHTSA: Nearly 10% of Fatal Crashes Involved Distracted Driving reported that "Distracted driving was cited as a contributing factor in nearly 10% of all fatal crashes in 2010, while that number nearly doubles (to 18%) for crashes where individuals were injured, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The report studied all vehicle crashes in 2010, analyzing how influential distracted driving behaviors were in those crashes. ...  NHTSA found that 416,000 people were injured that year in motor vehicle crashes that involved distracted drivers, while 3,092 people were killed in crashes where someone was exhibiting distracted driving behaviors."  Read more.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Infant Bathing Seats Recalled

The AP reported that "More than 2 million infant bathing seats are being recalled after reports of four infants sustaining skull fractures in falls when the frame came unhinged." The AP notes that in the recall notice, "the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the manufacturer Summer Infant Inc. of Woonsocket, R.I., said four children between 2 weeks and 2 months old received skull fractures, including one that required intensive care for bleeding on the brain." The notice adds that "falls can occur when the bather is lifted and/or carried with an infant in it." The company will provide a free repair kit that includes a locking strap and instructions.