Month: November 2016

Bair Hugger Suit

Raizner Slania Files Bair Hugger Lawsuit On Behalf of New Jersey Couple

Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New Jersey couple after the husband received an infection from the Bair Hugger warming blanket used during his surgery. The couple claim the manufacturers, 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, failed to adequately warn them the device had an increased infection risk.

The plaintiff underwent a total right knee replacement surgery in May 2015 in which the Bair Hugger device was used during the scope of the procedure. The device introduced contaminants into the plaintiff’s open surgical wound that caused him to develop a periprosthetic joint infection (“PJI”), also known as a deep joint infection (“DJI”). The infection was identified as Staphylococcus Aureus, more commonly referred to as a Staph infection.

In order to treat the infection caused by the Bair Hugger device, the plaintiff had to undergo multi-staged removal and revision arthroplasties, placement of antibiotic spacers, knee aspirations, irrigation and debridement, and antibiotic therapy via a PICC line.

The plaintiff not only experienced pain and suffering caused by the infection, but also huge economic loss from the costly medical expenses required to treat it. The plaintiff’s spouse also suffered from a loss of consortium and services.

The couple alleges 3M and Arizant were grossly negligent in failing to warn patients and the Bair Hugger is defective in design and manufacture. The couple alleges the companies committed consumer fraud and/or unfair and deceptive trade practices under the New Jersey state law.

The Dangers of the Bair Hugger

Although the body is capable of fighting infections in other regions, joint infections are incredibly difficult for the body’s immune system to combat. Post-surgical deep joint infections often require an increased length of hospitalization, additional surgeries, the prescription of strong medications, and even necessitate the removal of the implanted medical device. In severe cases, the infection can even result in amputation or death.

Raizner Slania: Bair Hugger Infection Attorneys

Patients who had a total hip or knee implant replacement surgery and developed an infection within the last five years may be entitled to compensation. The experienced defective medical device attorneys at Rainzer Slania can analyze your claim and help you understand your legal options. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Raizner Slania Files Life Insurance Lawsuit On Behalf of Houston Widow

Life Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Houston widow whose husband’s life insurance claim with American General Life Insurance Company (“American General”) was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

In late 2014, the plaintiff’s late husband purchased a life insurance policy with American to protect his loved ones from financial obligations in the event of his death. He provided a thorough medical history and underwent stringent medical review, providing American General with a thorough background so the company could underwrite his policy. Satisfied with his initial application, American issued a life insurance policy.

After the life insurance policy was in full effect, plaintiff’s husband began experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort, and he was subsequently diagnosed with colon cancer. Despite a valiant fight against the disease, he passed away in September 2015, leaving behind his wife of twelve years and their two young children.

After her husband’s death, the plaintiff informed the insurance company of his passing and filed a claim for benefits. American General assigned an adjuster to the file, but did not openly disclose that they were engaged in an aggressive campaign to manufacture fraud allegations against the deceased husband. Revealing nothing of their true purpose, the adjuster and American General continually denied the plaintiff’s request for an update on the claim and improperly told her the company was not subject to any rules determining the length of time it takes to conduct an investigation and respond to a claim.

The plaintiff fully cooperated with American General’s investigation by giving interviews, providing medical history, and meeting with investigators. The investigation continued for months. During this process, American General engaged fraud examiners and lawyers in an aggressive effort to avoid payment on the policy without any factual or legal basis.

The plaintiff’s financial situation quickly declined, but the adjuster and American General continued to delay the process. Nine months after her husband’s death, American General insurance denied her life insurance claim. The denial letter contained false, manufactured allegations plaintiff’s husband deceived the insurer on his initial application, but failed to provide any evidence to support this claim. In direct violation of Texas law, American denied the life insurance claim without any evidence of misconduct by the plaintiff or her late husband.

American General’s Misuse of Contestability Clauses in Life Insurance Policies

Under Texas law, an insurance company cannot dispute a claim filed under a life insurance policy already in effect for more than two years. However, if a claim is made within the first two years of the issuance of the policy, during what is called “the contestability period,” insurance companies are permitted to investigate claims. The purpose of the Texas law is to prohibit payment disputes after an insurance policy has been in effect for two years, not to authorize systematic denials if death occurs within the first two years after the policy is issued. An insurance company may only deny this type of claim when it has sufficient evidence to prove that the insured intended to deceive the insurer on an insurance application. There was no such evidence in this case.

Plaintiff alleges American failed to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim and failed to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim. Additionally, plaintiff alleges American misrepresented the insurance policy in such a manner as to mislead the plaintiff.

Nothing can bring back the plaintiff’s husband – and to add to her pain, she was forced to hire a lawyer to pursue her life insurance claim to give her the financial security he wanted for his family.

Raizner Slania: Life Insurance Denial Attorneys

Life insurance companies often abuse the contestability period listed in their policies, which is meant to protect policyholders, to avoid having to pay out on life insurance claims. Not only is this wrong, it’s also a violation of Texas law. If your life insurance claim was wrongfully denied, the attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. We know how challenging the loss of a loved one can be, and we want you to know that we will fight for your rightful compensation. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Bair Hugger Infection Law Firm

Wisconsin Couple Files Bair Hugger Infection Lawsuit

Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Wisconsin couple against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare after the husband suffered a severe infection caused by the companies’ Bair Hugger warming blanket. The lawsuit alleges 3M and Arizant failed to warn consumers that the device could increase a patient’s infection risk.

In February 2011, the plaintiff underwent a total hip replacement surgery during which the Bair Hugger warming system was used. Contaminants introduced into plaintiff’s open surgical wound as a direct result of the Bair Hugger device resulted in the development of a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), also known as a deep joint infection (DJI).

The infection was identified as Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). MRSA and MSSA are sometimes referred to as “superbugs,” because they are incredibly difficult to treat. These types of infections are resistant to antibiotics normally used to treat infections.

As a result of the MRSA and MSSA infections caused by the Bair Hugger, the plaintiff underwent multiple removal and revision arthroplasties, including two separate two-stage procedures, placement of antibiotic spacers, irrigation and debridement with head and liner exchange, application of the wound vac, hip aspirations, and antibiotic therapy. He also underwent additional treatments like blood transfusions and developed acute renal failure requiring dialysis.

The plaintiff experienced extreme pain and suffering and huge economic loss from the costly medical expenses required to treat his infections.

The couple alleges 3M and Arizant were grossly negligent in failing to warn patients and that the Bair Hugger is defective in design and manufacture. They believe the device is unreasonably dangerous and claim the companies violated Wisconsin’s Consumer Fraud and/or Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Law.

Raizner Slania: Bair Hugger Infection Law Firm

If you or someone you love developed a deep joint infection after a total hip or knee replacement surgery, call the experienced Bair Hugger infection lawyers at Raizner Slania today. Our lawyers can analyze your situation and help you understand your legal options. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

Concussion Lawyers

Former University of Florida Athlete Files Concussion Lawsuit

Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former University of Florida football player against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for their reckless disregard for the health and wellbeing of student-athletes. The NCAA and the SEC not only failed to properly educate student-athletes on the long-term effects of repeated head trauma, but they also failed to provide medical treatment that could have lessened the severity of head injuries.

During the course of a college football season, athletes can receive more than 1,000 impacts greater than 10g’s (gravitational force) – and, many hits to the head can exceed 20g’s, with some approaching as much as 100g’s. While this amount of force might be hard to conceptualize, it is the equivalent force experienced by a person hitting the windshield of a car in an accident at 25 mph.

The plaintiff played football at the University of Florida as a wide receiver from 1994 to 1996. During his time playing for the University of Florida, he sustained several concussions. After each concussion, the University of Florida failed to provide him with the appropriate medical treatment to help monitor, manage, and mitigate the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

As a result, he now suffers severe daily headaches, memory loss, dizziness, and other debilitating medical issues.

The NCAA, the SEC, and the University of Florida failed to implement adequate concussion management safety protocols or return to play guidelines during the plaintiff’s time on the football team. The SEC is regarded as one of the most victorious conferences under the NCAA and is extremely financially successful. However, despite the financial success of the NCAA, its universities, and its conferences, very little care is taken to protect the wellbeing of the student athletes responsible for this success.

NCAA Concussion Lawyers

If you or a loved one experienced brain trauma resulting from a head injury sustained while playing for an NCAA regulated team, please contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania today. Our consultations are free and you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover compensation for your injuries.

concussion lawsuits

Former Florida State Football Player Files Concussion Lawsuit

Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former Florida State University football player against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for recklessly endangering his health during his time playing for Florida State.

The NCAA governs more than 400,000 student-athletes with the goal of safeguarding their wellbeing both on and off the field. The ACC was established in 1953 to “maximize the educational and athletic opportunities that shape our leaders of tomorrow – in the classroom, in competition, and in life.” Despite the NCAA and ACC’s lofty proclamations, they repeatedly put profits before the wellbeing of student-athletes they are supposed to protect.

The plaintiff played for Florida State as a linebacker and on special teams from 2004 to 2008. During his time playing for Florida State, the plaintiff suffered several concussions both in games and in practices. The plaintiff specifically recalls receiving concussive hits during hitting drills and practice scrimmages where he was hit so hard he was often “seeing stars,” blacking out, or losing his balance.

After each concussive hit, the plaintiff was denied the appropriate medical treatment that would help monitor, manage, and mitigate the long-term side effects of concussions. Instead, the plaintiff was told to “shake it off” and was immediately returned to play.

As a result of repeated head trauma sustained during play, the plaintiff now suffers from short-term memory loss, feels a constant pressure in his ears and head, and suffers from headaches, among other debilitating issues.

The NCAA, its conferences, and universities have a responsibility to provide proper care after a student suffers a concussion during athletic play. During his time at Florida State, the football program failed to implement adequate concussion protocols or policies of any kind or any return to play guidelines. The NCAA also failed to properly educate student-athletes on the long-term effects of repeated head trauma.

Raizner Slania: NCAA Concussion Lawsuits

If you or a loved one experienced brain trauma as a result of a head injury sustained while playing college football for an NCAA regulated team, you may be entitled to compensation. The NCAA concussion attorneys at Raizner Slania can analyze your unique circumstances and help you understand your legal options. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

insurance arbitration

Texas Policyholders Succeed In Forced Arbitration Gambit by the Texas Insurance Industry

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Blog post featured in the Texas Bar Today

This past summer, the Texas Farm Bureau proposed a change to insurance policies in Texas. The company, which happened to be the largest Texas-based insurer, told the Texas Department of Insurance it wanted to offer policyholders lower rates in exchange for policyholders agreeing to arbitration in the event of any legal disputes.

However, there were multiple problems with this proposed change. First, the discount it planned to offer policyholders wasn’t a discount at all. The Texas Farm Bureau actually increased its rates in some areas by about 25%, and then offered customers a 25% discount for agreeing to arbitration. This would leave policyholders paying the same amount as before, but with fewer legal rights.

In addition the many inherent problems with forced arbitration, the Texas Farm Bureau proposed very specific and burdensome requirements for arbitration. Rather than a three-person panel, arbitration with the Texas Farm Bureau would only include one arbitrator who would be selected from a group called Conflict Solutions of Texas. This group is composed of mostly insurance defense lawyers and does not include a single policyholder lawyer.

To make matters worse, the arbitration would include limited discovery and the insurer could refuse to provide certain files it deems privileged. Policyholders would be forced to travel to the nearest city with a population over 100,000 just to participate in the arbitration. Unlike lawsuits, the resolution of a legal dispute through arbitration is final, and there is no appeals process. The secretive and biased arbitration proposed by the Texas Farm Bureau would leave policyholders without the legal power to dispute bad faith insurance claims.

Consumer group Texas Watch, lawyers at the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), and other advocates fought the Texas Farm Bureau and were successful in getting the company to withdrawal arbitration proposal.

According to Ware Wendell, the executive director of Texas Watch, “Texas homeowners will retain their constitutional rights and not fall prey to a flawed process that often rewards the powerful at the expense of justice.” The Texas Department of Insurance officially closed its file on forced arbitration endorsements for home insurance policyholders. At least for now…