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ap_170707_brenda_fitzgerald_250x188Former Georgia health commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald was recently named the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Trump administration. Almost immediately, critics raised concerns about the 71-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist’s history. During Fitzgerald’s tenure as Georgia health commissioner, she had the Herculean task of combatting the state’s child obesity rates. To her credit, Fitzgerald succeeded in bringing the state down from second to seventeenth in child obesity. To do so, however, Fitzgerald formed a less-than-wholesome alliance with Coca-Cola, a company many would argue is, in part, responsible for the United States’ obesity epidemic.

Fitzerald’s actions do make sense, to some degree. After all, not only was combatting the child obesity rate a daunting challenge: there was also the question of sourcing money to do so. Fitzgerald helmed a program called Power Up for 30, which encouraged schools to give children 30 more minutes of exercise every day, and was almost entirely paid for by Coca-Cola.

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New-York-State-Supreme-Court-300x192It is widely believed that state courts are drowning in lawsuits. Many corporate lobbyists would have you believe that tort lawsuits are on the rise, when in fact the opposite is true: tort lawsuits have declined sharply in recent years.

In 2015, less than two people out of 1,000 filed tort lawsuits, and tort cases accounted for just four percent of civil filings in state courts. Compare this to 1993, when roughly 10 people per 1,000 filed tort lawsuits and tort cases made up 16 percent of those filed. This downward trend has raised some concern among judges. If victims are no longer filing tort lawsuits, perhaps they no longer see the courts as a legitimate avenue for finding justice in civil cases.

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ct-truck-bus-speed-limit-20160826-300x191A collision between a personal vehicle and a big rig can be devastating. Those involved may experience injury or death, while their loved ones are tasked with caring for them (if they’re lucky), or making arrangements for a memorial service (if they’re not). Under such tragic circumstances, the victims and their families should be provided with fair and adequate compensation to aid with their expenses. However, many commercial trucks carry the absolute minimum amount of insurance coverage— and typically, that’s not nearly enough.

The federal minimum for liability insurance for truckers is $750,000. Although that may sound like a lot of money, the damage that tractor trailers inflict in a collision often dwarfs this minimal sum. Congress set the minimum at $750,000 back in 1985, and has not been changed it since. It has not even been adjusted for inflation. If it were, the minimum would now be $2.2 million. Needless to say, the victims of collisions caused by negligent truck drivers are increasingly finding themselves fighting for compensation that is woefully insufficient to cover their medical bills.

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0515-Jeb-Columba-300x200Susan Kalitan was undergoing carpal tunnel surgery in a Florida hospital when the anesthesia tube administered by her doctor punctured her esophagus. Susan awoke after the surgery and immediately told her doctors that she was experiencing severe pain in her back and chest, but they dismissed her complaints. The doctors gave Susan pain medication and sent her home.

The following day, a neighbor found Susan unconscious in her home. Susan was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery and was put in a medically induced coma for several weeks. The treatment saved Susan’s life, but to this day she experiences significant pain and struggles to live a normal life.

Susan filed a lawsuit against the North Broward Hospital District and other liable parties in 2008. She was awarded $4 million in non-economic damages. However, when it came time for Susan to receive her compensation, it was reduced to a fraction of the original number.

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whb_caterpillar0131-300x199It is not unheard of for companies go to extreme lengths to avoid paying taxes. From the collapse of Enron to the leaking of the Panama Papers, stories of corporations violating laws to avoid taxes are constantly in the news. Fortunately, a little-known law has given the U.S. government a powerful tool to uncover these crimes, recover ill-gotten gains, and reward the “whistleblower” at the same time.

The False Claims Act, aptly nicknamed Whistleblower Law, rewards citizens for informing the government when they have evidence of corporations committing fraud. Under the False Claims Act, these whistleblowers are eligible to receive 15 to 30 percent of the amount the government recovers.

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NP0914_poty_img3Since 1919, the International Labor Organization has brought together governments, employers, and workers from 187 UN Member States to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work environments for all women and men. During a convention to address migrant workers’ rights, the ILO pronounced that employers should provide migrant workers “treatment no less favorable than that which is applied to its own nationals,” and that it is necessary “to respect the basic human rights of all migrant workers.” Here in the United States, that is simply not the case. 

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https://blog.caesarnapoli.com/files/2017/06/Screen-Shot-2017-06-04-at-3.34.53-PM-300x225.pngIt may be illegal, but hiring undocumented workers is a long-standing practice in the agriculture and food production industries. While the oft-given justification is that these workers “do jobs Americans won’t,” this is not necessarily the reason many employers hire them. A more accurate statement might be that undocumented immigrant workers tend to do jobs Americans would do, but they do it for lower pay and under unsafe conditions. And that, at its core, is the problem: employers who hire undocumented workers often treat them poorly because they can. Meanwhile, undocumented workers are risking life and limb for their income, and if they complain, they risk losing their jobs or being deported.

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construction-300x200When he turned 18, Fernando Vanegaz immigrated from his home country of Ecuador to the United States. His parents had made the move years earlier for work, so when Fernando arrived there was a home in Queens waiting for him. He was eager for financial independence, and quickly found a job with a Brooklyn-based construction company. 

The work was dangerous. Fernando would often frighten his mother with accounts of close calls on the job. One such incident occurred at a construction site at 656 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, when a retaining wall nearly toppled over. 

A little under a month later, there was another incident with the retaining wall. This time, it collapsed entirely. Fernando was working underneath the wall at the time. He was killed less than a year into his new life in the US.

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140523122801-gm-ignition-recall-repair-1024x576-300x169It seems as though every time we turn on the news, we’re met with another story about an auto recall. Some of the most infamous include GM’s faulty ignition devices, responsible for the deaths of at least 169 Americans, and the defective airbags manufactured by Takata, which killed 14 and injured over 180 Americans. In 2016 alone, 53.2 million cars were recalled.

It is illegal to sell new cars if they have not been repaired after a recall. However, there is no federal regulation that specifically prohibits used car dealers from selling recalled vehicles as “safe”— even if they have not been repaired.

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picture-12-300x260Mayor Bill de Blasio brought the Vision Zero plan to New York City in 2014, with the goal of reducing the number of deaths caused by traffic collisions to zero by 2014. While the first two years of Vision Zero led to fewer traffic deaths, the initiative has not been as effective as many New Yorkers hoped.

Every day, auto collisions still occur by the hundreds throughout New York, totaling 53,000 since the start of 2017. Last year, the city actually saw a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths.
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