Month: July 2015

United Policyholders

United Policyholders & Raizner Slania LLP

Raizner Slania LLP is proud to announce its continued support of United Policyholders (UP), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. UP was co-founded in 1991 by Amy Bach and Ina Delong to help those recovering from natural disasters bridge the gap with their insurance policies. Amy and Ina bring over 22 years of insurance and legal experience to their programs and the funds they raise support disaster survivors through preparation, recovery, and legal action.

Raizner Slania LLP is a Gold level sponsor, and the funds we donate support UP’s three programs:

  • Roadmap to Recovery™ provides tools and resources for solving insurance problems after an accident, loss, illness, or other adverse event.
  • Roadmap to Preparedness promotes disaster preparedness and insurance literacy through outreach and education in partnership with civic, faith based, business, and other non-profit associations.
  • Advocacy and Action advances pro-consumer laws and public policy related to insurance matters.

The attorneys at Raizner Slania LLP believe their goals match those of UP, helping insurance policyholders with successful claim resolution after natural disasters, injuries, and illnesses.

Partnership helping Texas Policyholders

United Policyholders and Raizner Slania LLP are working to help their neighbors in Houston, Texas with the recent flooding citywide, as well as other hail and windstorms throughout the state. The attorneys at Raizner Slania are working on behalf of Texas business and property owners to recover funds from mishandled insurance claims, while UP has published resources and tools to help business and homeowners through the arduous process of filing their claims, including links to the Disaster Survivor Support Network and The Disaster Recovery Handbook.

Raizner Slania LLP

Raizner Slania LLP represents clients in Houston, Texas, and throughout the country in significant commercial property insurance disputes, mass tort litigation, and catastrophic life-changing injury cases. Our firm remains technologically advanced in order to best serve our clients nationwide.

Our attorneys have extensive experience working with clients who have been underpaid, paid late, and wrongfully denied by their insurance companies; and, we have succeeded in recovering what our clients were entitled to under their policies.

Hail Damage

Insurance Lawsuit Filed By Houston Hotel Owner

Our client, a Houston hotel owner and operator, has filed suit against a London-based insurance carrier, Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC, a third-party adjusting firm, Brezina Claims, and its adjuster in Harris County District Court. The lawsuit stems from a claim the hotel filed against its insurance for damages sustained in what eventually became two wind and hail storms, which our client claims were not handled properly and in a timely manner.

According to the insurance lawsuit, there was a severe wind and hail storm on April 4, 2012, which caused serious damage to the hotel property, including the roof, windows, HVAC, exterior and interior spaces, including ceilings and furnishings. Right after the storm, our client filed the claim pursuant to its insurance policy with Great Lakes Reinsurance.

There was another storm on December 25, 2012, less than two weeks after Island Suites signed a renewal for their insurance policy, which resulted in further damage to the roof, HVAC, windows, and more. The insured immediately filed a second claim with Great Lakes for that damage.

Hotel Insurance Claims
Hotel Insurance Claims

During the time between each storm, Great Lakes, a foreign company, assigned Brezina Claims to handle the insurance adjustment, and they, in turn assigned an individual adjuster. The insured contends that no competent consultants or adjusters were assigned to objectively evaluate the damage. The only adjuster Brezina did assign showed up only once, on August 13, 2012, to inspect the property; however, he prepared no damage estimates. Subsequently, Brezina and Rayburn told Great Lakes that there was no hail damage to the property and the claim was denied.

When the second storm hit on December 25, 2012, the second claim was made by the hotel owner, after which Brezina and its adjuster “grossly underestimated” the extent and value of the property damage from that storm. The situation was so bad that our client hired its own consultants and adjusters to prepare its own estimates, all of which Great Lakes ignored.

The complaint alleges that Great Lakes, Brezina, and the individual adjuster wrongfully denied and underpaid our client’s’ claims for property repairs under the policy and that the adjuster wrongly misrepresented that some damages and losses were not covered under the policies when they were. All three parties delayed the claims process and Great Lakes refused to issue further payments under the policy, which our client claims has caused them serious financial harm.

Our hotel owner client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, mostly involving the failure to act in a timely manner to initiate an investigation and to reasonably settlement their claims. The insurance lawsuit allegations also include that the other parties acted in bad faith by misrepresenting the insurance policy and by making misleading statements about several aspects of the claim. They also allege breach of contract, breach of duty of bad faith and fair dealing, as well as the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA). In all, our hotel owner client is asking for in excess of $1 million in damages for their losses, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees.

Invokana Lawsuits Being Readied

The prescription drug Invokana (Invokamet) is what is called a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, which is used to treat patients who have Type 2 diabetes. When the drug is used in combination with diet and exercise, it is designed to lower blood sugar and improve the patient’s glycemic control. If Type 2 diabetes is left untreated, it can leave the patient with serious medical problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure and blindness, and it is also the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

The way Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors are supposed to work is by triggering the kidneys to remove blood sugar through a patient’s urine. However, though Invokana has been on the market for a relatively short time, there have been a disturbingly high number of adverse events reported to the Food and Drug Administration, linking the use of the drug to a number of health problems. The problems concerned the FDA enough to trigger the issuance of a Drug Safety Communication linking SGLT2 inhibitors to diabetic ketoacidosis.

The potential side effects of Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors include the following:

  • Heart attacks, or myocardial infarction, which involves the death of cells within the heart due to restricted blood flow, usually due to an arterial blockage, which starves the blood of oxygen and nutrients, also called “cardiac ischemia.”
  • Kidney failure, which occurs when the kidneys can no longer function properly and causes a build-up of fluids, waste products and electrolytes, which can then result in dizziness, shortness of breath, lethargy, physical weakness, abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death.
  • Ketoacidosis is usually associated with uncontrolled Type 1 Diabetes, and occurs when the body produces insufficient insulin. That means the body is unable to use glucose for energy, so the body breaks down fats and proteins, which leads to a buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream, which are called ketones. Excess ketones can lead to ketoacidosis, which is a very serious, life-altering medical condition that can lead to organ failure, primarily renal failure or a diabetic coma, both of which mean extended hospitalization or even death.

Invokana Side Effects Lawsuits

Unfortunately, there is a statute of limitations on bringing a claim against Johnson & Johnson regarding Invokana, so the time to look into taking action is now. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered negative health effects from taking Invokana or any other SGLT2 inhibitor, we can review all of the facts and evaluate your case. But don’t wait too long; waiting too long can possibly result in losing your right to bring a claim against anyone.

Raizner Slania Invokana Lawyers

The trial lawyers of Raizner Slania are reviewing Invokana side effects claims for injured parties across the country. If you or someone you care about took Invokana and suffered a serious adverse event, please contact us today for a free, confidential review of your facts.

Sports Concussions

NCAA Athlete Concussions Too Little, Too Late?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the body that governs most college sports nationwide, has made concussions among student athletes a priority recently, after many years of discussion. One thing they did earlier this year was to establish the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee (CSPC), which will attempt to encourage schools to develop and implement written procedures for handling concussions, and then review and approve these procedures annually.

NCAA athlete concussion injuries is an important issue; one that, if handled properly, can save the lives and the livelihoods of college athletes, not just in sports, but in whatever they do in their life after college. However, it is a problem that many experts claim the NCAA ignored for far too many years, resisting a number of calls to create rules designed to better diagnose, treat and prevent brain injuries, which can be debilitating for many people.

When Do Concussions Occur?

Concussions occur because the brain is made of soft tissue surrounded by spinal fluid and encased in a hard shell; the skull. When an athlete sustains a concussion, the impact or the sudden movement jolts the brain, which can cause nerve damage, bruising to the brain or damage to blood vessels in your head. Any or all of these can cause problems on the short term, including dizziness, confusion, a loss of equilibrium or it can cause them to lose consciousness. In some cases, it can also cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, depression and even amnesia.

While symptoms don’t seem to last for most people, recent studies indicate that the effects of a concussion don’t necessarily disappear when the early symptoms fade. According to a research paper released in 2013, the damage to the brain caused by the initial trauma may actually last for decades. For that study, researchers conducted a number of visual and auditory tests and tested the brain chemistry of athletes who had suffered concussions during their playing careers, in order to determine the extent of any possible damage. What they found was that abnormal brain activity stuck around for many years after the concussion. They also noted a partial decay of the motor pathways, which is believed to lead to adult attention deficit disorder, or ADD.

Another study compared the brains of healthy athletes with those of athletes who had suffered a concussion at least 30 years earlier, and found symptoms reminiscent of people with early onset Parkinson’s Disease, in addition to the aforementioned problems with memory and attention deficits. Further tests on the older ex-athletes revealed a thinning of the cerebral cortex similar to those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.

Are Recent Scientific Studies Too Late?

Even now, as more and more experts and studies are coming forward to warn of a serious problem, there are many who believe that any effort may be too little, too late, and that the efforts being undertaken now are indeed exactly that. Finally, the NCAA has embarked on a three-year study, along with the Department of Defense, to track the effects of concussion on student-athletes. The study, which will cost $30 million, will cull medical data from more than 36,000 such athletes and examine it for clues as to what happens to them in subsequent years. In addition, they will mandate schools to report on concussions to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, which will put together the data to examine injuries, recovery and training data related to a number of sports.

Again, while this and a number of efforts undertaken by the NCAA recently are better than nothing, one has to wonder what took so long. Even now, there are promises of progress, but what they’re doing now seems to be less than they could do. For example, the newly-formed CSPC cannot penalize a school whose procedures are inadequate, or if they don’t follow them exactly.

Contact NCAA Athlete Concussion Lawyers Today

If you were or are an NCAA athlete, and you have suffered a sports-related concussion, you may have a legal claim. Contact Raizner Slania today for a no cost, confidential review of your individual facts. We are here to help.