Legal Help – Our lawyers represent people nationwide who have been injured by dangerous drugs and medical devices. Read some of our client Testimonials to see how we have helped others. Find us In the News for some of our recent trial results. Call us now for a free legal consultation: 888-520-5202.
What’s the difference between a class action and a mass tort lawsuit? Class action lawsuits can get a bad name because they may sometimes give lawyers a nice payday while offering meager compensation for class representatives. Class action lawsuits are most often launched to change some questionable, negligent, or criminal behavior on the part of a corporation. Class action lawsuits are not typically launched to deliver a big payday for the people who are called upon to act as class representatives.
Those who have received a small, inconsequential check from an insurance company like Allstate or State Farm, or perhaps from a bankrupted investment company (maybe getting pennies on the dollar) will understand. In many of those types of class action lawsuits, perhaps as many as a million people were either overcharged or somehow misled by a company they trusted. The class action settlement divided among so many brings the total for each way down, though their lawyer representatives may end up with a large fee as part of the settlement.
The nature of class action lawsuits is the reason why they often seem to fail real people, at least in the short term. The goal of a class action is not only to punish the offending corporation, but to change laws to put an end to the behavior that triggered the lawsuit.
Hot Fuel Litigation
The so-called “hot fuel” class action litigation is a good example of a class action lawsuit brought for worthy reasons. Hot fuel is a term meant to help explain the reason the litigation was necessary. For at least 100 years, gas and oil companies have known that consumers were often not getting the BTU’s (British Thermal Units) listed on the gas pump. A BTU is the amount of energy provided by the gasoline. However, when temperatures rise above 60 degrees (the typical temperature in underground holding tanks), the gas begins to vaporize and lose BTU’s. Consumers, consequently, don’t get the BTU’s for which they are paying.
Matthews & Associates Law Firm was involved in the hot fuel litigation several years ago, but in the large majority of its cases, the firm does not handle class action lawsuits.
Class Action can Makes Sense
“Our firm handles virtually all of its cases on an individual basis,” says firm founder David Matthews. “With hot fuel, it made a certain amount of sense to prosecute as a class action. That was really the only way it could be done, to try to get gas companies to calibrate our BTU losses with the kinds of technology at the gas pumps which they use for airlines and other commercial concerns. The litigation didn’t lead to that kind of change, but I still feel it was a worthwhile goal. It could have potentially saved billions of dollars for consumers across the board.”
Class Action vs. Mass Tort
We usually handle what are known as mass torts, as opposed to class action lawsuits. But there’s really nothing mass about mass torts, the way we handle them. We pursue and prosecute each case on its own merits. It only stands to reason that people who have differing injuries deserve different compensation.
Houston is a dangerous city to walk, and it grows more dangerous by the day. More pedestrians were killed by Houston drivers in 2016 than in any previous year. In Houston, even the police chief hits walkers with his car.
As of October 31, 2016, at least 71 pedestrians were killed, and the year isn’t yet complete. Local police say they are investigating the rising death toll for walkers, but that itself may be problematic. Houston police chief Charles McClelland was suspended in 2013 by Mayor Annise Parker after video showed him running over pedestrian James Harris. Mr. McClelland was driving a city-owned Jeep Cherokee at the intersection of Travis and Clay when a walking man got in his way.
Mr. Harris was six steps into the crosswalk when the chief smashed into him. He was lucky to survive. Houston police, meanwhile, have determined that many of the walker deaths in the city occurred when pedestrians did not use crosswalks while attempting to cross local streets or roads. The police chief’s own walker smash up, however, undercuts that conclusion. Many experienced walkers have learned to fear crossing at a crosswalk for good reason, including (no doubt, now) the hapless Mr. Harris. Other studies have shown crosswalks can be more dangerous places for pedestrians to cross a street than jaywalking places.
Not using the crosswalks is clearly not the only reason for the dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths in Houston. Houston’s urban planners guess that the mortality increase for walkers is due to more and more people walking. Many people do walk to improve their health, which in Houston clearly may not be a “healthy” choice.
The solution may lie in narrowing car lanes (which Houston has done in some cases, as on Drexel Lane in Greenway), strongly emphasizing safe speeds, building more sidewalks, adding more crosswalks. Much of Houston’s urban design may well be flawed; it could certainly use some improvements. In addition to distracted driving such as the Houston police chief’s, distracted walking with a cell phone may be a factor in some accidents. (We’ve all been annoyed by a dawdling walker texter not paying attention to the 3-D world we all need to abide.) Distracted driving combined with distracted walking can clearly be a perfect storm, a deadly combination.
Texas is not the only state to see an increase in pedestrian deaths. In October 2016, U.S. Department of Transport figures show that January to June saw an increase of 10.4 percent more traffic deaths in the United States compared to the same period in 2015.
The constant pull of texting and the internet have allowed us to imagine that life is more abstract than it is. It’s a terrible wakeup call for the Houston chief of police or some other distracted driver to smash into and injure or kill a pedestrian. Let’s hope the rest of us Houston drivers and walkers wake up before it’s too late.
Free Legal Consultation
Contact a Houston Pedestrian accident attorney if you or someone you love was injured in a car accident. We offer a no-obligation free legal consultation.
December 21, 2016 – A big rig fell off a Houston 59 ramp and killed at least one person this morning. The 18-wheeler crash and fire slowed traffic both north and south on the 59 Eastex Freeway. At 7 a.m., TranStar cameras showed flames shooting from the toppled big rig on the side of the freeway’s northbound lanes at the 610 North Loop.
KHOU reported that all northbound main lanes of 59 remained shut down at 9 a.m. Traffic was being forced onto the loop eastbound. Only one southbound lane of 59 was getting by, with significant delays, inbound from Humble and Kingwood.
Truck falls on Car
Police at the scene said they believed the 18-wheeler fell off an elevated ramp onto the lanes below, then burst into flames. Firefighters said another car was also involved in the incident. The truck is believed to have fallen on or in front of that other car and killed at least one person.
Officials said the 59 freeway will probably not reopen until sometime in the afternoon.
Truckers often not at fault in crashes
Truck drivers are often automatically blamed in such crashes, but often they are not the ones most at fault. Companies frequently push truck drivers too hard for too many hours, and pay them too little for their trouble, making their work lives dangerous for all of us.
OTR Truckers often Overworked
In the spirit of the holidays and our shared responsibilities to watch out for one another, it is important to remember that OTR truckers perform a task as vital to our lives as food and water. In fact, most of us would not have food and water were it not for 18-wheeler drivers trucking these life essentials to our neighborhoods. In point of fact, the comfortable living most of usually take for granted would not even be possible without truckers. The food we eat, the fuel that heats and cools our homes, the wood and steel that builds them, the clothes we wear – nearly our entire lives are dependent on those driving 18-wheelers.
Dangers of Tired and Overworked Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are, unfortunately, often expected to drive too far in too short a time. Many trucking companies pay drivers by the mile rather than by the hour, putting added pressure on truckers to overwork themselves. Under certain circumstances, this type of compensation might arguably be seen as a company’s negligent encouragement of an employee’s speeding, driving without proper rests or breaks, driving while fatigued. This can create treacherous conditions for the driver as well as everyone else risking their lives on the same roads.
We mourn the tragic loss of another human life this morning on Houston’s busy highways, and we pray for the safety of our truckers and all the rest of us driving this holiday season.
Cell Phones and car crashes are as American as the glorification of fake news and military violence. America’s cell phone obsession comes at an awful steep price. Drivers using cell phones cause 1.6 million auto crashes each year, according to the National Safety Council. Some 330,000 accidents are caused by texting while driving. One of every four car accidents involves texting and driving. Texting while driving is even more dangerous than drinking and driving; a driving texter is six times (6x) more likely to cause an accident than a drunk driver.
Teen Texters fare worse than Adults
Eleven teenagers are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of texting while driving. A Triple poll shows 94% of teens acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, yet 35% admit they do it anyway. So many will be killed by this habit, or will kill or maim others. Statistics show that twenty-one percent (21%) of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted by cell phones. Teen drivers are four times (4x) more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.
Texting & Driving tops Danger List
Texting while driving is by far the most dangerous cell phone activity. (Though holding it tightly to the head may also get you cancer, eventually.) Answering a text takes focus from driving for roughly five seconds, which, at 55 mph, gives a distracted driver the length of a football field to do some damage. That leads to a lot of dead teens, or their unwitting passengers, or other drivers or pedestrians trying to share the road.
It is quite ironic how many continue to text and drive and kill and maim one another, because 94% of Americans support a ban on texting and driving, while 74% support a ban on the use of a hand-held cell phone.
Cell Phone Distractions
At any given moment in the day, roughly 660,000 people are distracting themselves with their phones while commanding a two-ton murder machine. Doesn’t anyone have time just to drive anymore? How is all of our so-called “multi-tasking” improving our lives when we are killing one another at such appalling rates?
U.S. Cell Phone Driving Statistics – 2013
In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in distraction-related crashes. Roughly 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. (That is a LOT of people. Imagine the cost, and what is lost.) In 2013, 10% of all drivers aged 15-19 involved in fatal crashes were reported to be distracted at the time of the crash.
Drivers would do well to be especially wary of teenaged drivers. You might want to take a road that bi-passes that local school down the street. Consider: one-fourth of teen drivers respond to at least one text message every time they drive, while 20% of teens and 10% of parents report that they engage in multiple life-threatening text message exchanges while driving.
Meanwhile, nearly half (48%) of all death machine operators admit to answering their cell phones while driving.
Cell Phones and Car Crashes
Of those drivers who answer their cell phones, 58% continued to drive while talking. In the survey, 24% of drivers reported that they are also willing to make a phone call while driving. One in ten drivers surveyed said they sometimes send text messages or emails while driving. Of the drivers surveyed, 14% said they read text messages or emails while driving.
Texting Pedestrian Study – 2012
The only thing more annoying than waiting for the texter in front of you to drive his car through the green light may be waiting for the ambulating texter to move her butt across the crosswalk. We all know the interminable time it seems to take to watch texters react to the three dimensional world outside of their text bubbles.
University of Washington researchers studied 20 of Seattle’s busiest intersections. They found that walkers texting are four times less likely to look before crossing the street, cross in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals. They also found walking texters take an average of two seconds longer to cross the street. (Aargh!)
Cell Phone Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it may have been caused by a texting driver, or one distracted by a cell phone. In such cases, we typically secure the perpetrator’s cell phone records. Contact us for a free legal consultation.
Dec. 5, 2016 – The Navajo Nation asked the federal government for more than $162 million for damages and costs caused by Colorado’s catastrophic Gold King Mine spill last year. The mine spill disaster sent three million gallons of toxic waste pouring into two tributaries of the Colorado River. The spill devastated the Navajo tribe’s economy and way of life.
The Navajos filed the claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The nation filed for damages that stemmed from the toxic spill that turned the San Juan River bright orange, and continues to disrupt Navajo lives today.
The river basin runs directly through the Navajo Nation. The lawsuit petition says Navajo farmers and ranchers depend on the water for their crops and livestock. The spill destroyed crops because the nation was forced to shut off irrigation from the poisoned river. Livestock had to be fenced and watered from expensive water shipments.
Spill decimated Navajo Nation
The nation declared in a claim letter: “The spill disrupted the Navajo Nation’s economy and damaged the people and environment in numerous ways. (It) fundamentally altered economic, cultural, ceremonial and spiritual practices that support the Navajo way of life.” the nation said the river is the lifeblood of the Navajo people.
The spill appeared in images seen around the world as a poisonous orange snake slithering down through the Navajo land via the Animas and San Juan rivers. The horror was caused by a contractor the EPA had hired for environmental remediation. That contractor somehow breached an earthen barrier that held back the toxic payload. The water flowed downstream into the Animas River and eventually into the San Juan River, through northwest New Mexico.
New Mexico vs. Colorado Fight
New Mexico and Colorado are fighting in court over Colorado’s culpability in the disaster. Colorado had approved environmental remediation work at the nearby Sunnyside Gold Mine, work which would prove disastrous. New Mexico criticized Colorado for allowing that mine’s owner to plug up an abandoned mine tunnel with concrete bulkheads, instead of continuing expensive perpetual wastewater treatment.
Plugging that tunnel pushed the water into the connected Gold King Mine. According to court documents, the toxic water accumulated there until the EPA’s contractor let it loose.
The Navajo Nation filed the lawsuit against the EPA, its contractor, and Sunnyside Gold Corp. The petition alleges that their misdeeds had caused significant damage to the tribe’s lands, livestock, farms and way of life.
EPA Failure, Negligence
The Navajo said in its claim that the EPA knew there were signs of trouble for years, yet failed to follow reasonable and necessary precautions to prepare for a possible blowout, which occurred in August 2015.
Navajos make $162M Mine Spill Claim
The Navajo nation’s petition outlines its current and future costs stemming from the spill and its aftermath. The claim includes monitoring, water treatment, and mental health counseling.
The letter is addressed to Kenneth Redden, claims manager for the U.S. EPA Office of General Counsel. The EPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours on Monday.
The claim is Re: Navajo Nation FTCA Claim For Damage Resulting From Gold King Mine Blowout.
Roundup is much more toxic than glyphosate alone. Most studies of Roundup have focused solely on glyphosate, ignoring its so-called “inert” ingredients. Nothing in our world is inert. When glyhosate is mixed with the other ingredients in Roundup, which it always is before being sprayed on food crops – like corn, soy, beets – then it becomes carcinogenic.
Roundup not tested
Glyphosate herbicide formulations with Roundup have never been tested for long-term safety. The only industry testing prior to regulatory authorizations for glyphosate were carried out with glyphosate alone. The glaring problem is that commercial glyphosate herbicide formulations (as sold and used) contain many other chemicals, or adjuvants. Not only are these adjuvants toxic in themselves; their toxicity increases with glyphosate, up to 1,000 times.
Toxic Adjuvants not inert
These toxic adjuvants partly increase the toxicity of glyphosate by enabling it to penetrate plant and animal cells more easily. These adjuvants are widely found in the environment, so people and animals are likely to be affected by them. The half-life of the Roundup adjuvant POEA is (21–42 days), for one example, longer than the life of glyphosate alone, which can be 7–14 days.
Examining glyphosate toxicity in itself is patently absurd. In real life, humans and animals are never exposed solely to glyphosate; we are exposed to the complete formulations. Sadly, and criminally, Roundup and other glyphosate formulations have never been tested for long-term safety.
Fundamental Regulatory Flaw
Testing so-called active ingredients separately instead of in the witches brew formulations to which we are all exposed is a fundamental regulatory flaw. It’s also a flaw that applies to all regulatory authorizations of pesticides worldwide. The presumed active ingredients are the only ingredients tested and assessed for safety, before they are mixed into the complicated formulations that are released on us all.
Formulations up to 1,000 times more toxic
In one in vitro study, eight out of nine major pesticides tested in their complete formulations – including Roundup – were up to 1000 times more toxic to human cells than their isolated active ingredients or adjuvants. This increased toxicity of the complete formulation compared with the active ingredient alone was found to be a general principle of pesticide toxicology.
Roundup more Toxic than Glyphosate
This principle has been confirmed by experiments in mammals. An in vivo study in pigs showed the adjuvant POEA and commercial glyphosate herbicide formulations were toxic and lethal to the pigs, whereas glyphosate alone had no such effects. An in vivo study in rats showed POEA and Roundup formulations containing POEA were more toxic than glyphosate by itself.
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini also found that other, supposedly “inert,” ingredients associated with Roundup are even more dangerous than its primary toxin, glyphosate. Séralini and others have shown that Roundup is much more toxic than glyphosate alone. Any true assessment of glyphosate toxicity must be considered with its so-called inert ingredients which mix in the real world.
WHO declares Glyphosate probably carcinogenic
In 2015, the World Health Organization finally declared glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.” The state of California also labeled Roundup a probable carcinogen. Monsanto promptly sued the state because it could. If something Monsanto makes causes cancer, it simply hires lawyers so that it can continue spraying Roundup on the public and its food crops. Hence, many know the company as Monsatan.
Adjuvants hidden from Public Scrutiny
Regulators evaluate the safety of a pesticide or herbicide mainly by looking at the active ingredient – such as glyphosate – while commercial versions of pesticides contain other adjuvants which Monsanto and other companies may keep confidential, with the help of corporate-friendly judges.
Companies say that they add ingredients to pesticides other than the active ingredient in order to make the product easier to spray, easier to stick to plants, easier to store longer, easier to stick if it rains. These “additives” (as if they aren’t really there at all) can make up as much as 95 percent of a given pesticide. Based on this study, how much longer will Monsanto get away with keeping the whole Roundup formulation untested. This study shows ‘adjuvants’ are part and parcel of the whole poison package, despite the fact that companies are not required to list inert ingredients on most pesticide labels.
EPA Regulations Woefully Inadequate
EPA regulations regarding glyphosate and other poisons are obviously woefully inadequate. The EPA requires that only the active ingredient be studied for medium- and long-term toxicity. This must change. We deserve better from our government agencies, and the politicians who work for and with Monsanto to poison us all.
Total information awareness has at last reached critical mass. The whole world is now well aware of the conflicts of interest between those who own the mainstream media and those who profit from endless wars and bank fraud against working people all over the world. The whole world now knows, beyond any doubt: those who own the major networks are the same people making billions of dollars from war and misery. They are the same people who game the banks and financial markets at the expense of working people. We know you, CBS. We know, CNN. We know, MSNBC. We know, Fox “News.” Fake news indeed!
Journalist admits Mainstream News Faked
Mainstream Pot calls Kettle Black
Ludicrous is the only word that comes to mind when one hears the chorus of hair-sprayed mainstream media (MSM) heads purporting to tell us what is and what is not fake news. This latest disinformation appears to be the first salvo in a long-game movement to shut down real news outlets in favor of the Corporatocracy-sponsored ones spoon fed from our giant home screens. Google and other corporate-controlled information platforms are beginning to announce (which is something of an improvement, as they formerly worked more in secret) that they are taking steps to prevent users from accessing “news” not sanctioned by the state.
Google decides What is and What is not Fake News
Google recently announced it will be prohibiting “fake” and “misrepresentative” sites from using its AdSense program.
Google told Reuters: “Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property.” This policy, Google said, will include websites labeled as “fake news.” Can you say censorship? Can you say the First Amendment is not dead?
Follow the Money
Who gets to do the labeling? Whoever has the most ad money, right Google? Has it ever been any other way? Give Google enough money and they’ll give you a Pay-Per-Click position on the top of any web page you like, as long as you are not deemed politically unpalatable.
Google, if it’s “serious,” needs to get and give us full disclosure from CBS or NBC when those networks are flying the flag to cheer the latest American-sponsored war crimes. It bears repeating what this whole game has made clear: The same people that make billions in war also own the networks they use to frighten, manipulate, propagandize the public. This is only common knowledge to any educated or well-read peoples of the world; but to Google, is that ‘fake news’? (We report, you decide.)
Corporatocracy spokesmodel Barrack Obama has even been drawn into the act. The Hill reported that during a press conference in Germany last week, Mr. Obama said that if Americans can not “discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.” We do have problems, all right.
President Obama argued that because websites containing misinformation are often packaged “very well” it may “inappropriately” affect voter attitudes towards political candidates. Whoever uses the word “inappropriately” is, of course, the grand-prize winner of any PC argument in our upside-down world. Just use the word “inappropriate” and you can demand whatever treatment you want.
We Know What to Fight For, if President Obama doesn’t
“If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect,” President Obama said. “We won’t know what to fight for.”
We know what to fight for, if Mr. Obama doesn’t. It’s called the right to free speech; everyone always seems to be in favor of it until someone whose view they don’t like tries to exercise it. Hello! Do we all understand that “appropriate” speech is not free speech?
Mr. Obama continued the “appropriate” Obamaganda: “Part of what’s changed in politics is social media and how people are receiving information. (It’s) easier to make negative attacks and simplistic slogans than it is to communicate complex policies. But we’ll figure it out.”
Independent and alternative media sites have always been a thorn in the side of the military-industrial complex that uses the U.S. as its own private Murder, Inc. Those outlets that have worked tirelessly to expose the lies of the corporate media may eventually be blocked or even banned, if we don’t keep an eye on the ever-unfolding Orwellian nightmare. The truth is always a threat to those in power, to the oppressor.
Enjoy this moment in history. It’s fun to watch some of these mainstream media outlets running scared. Their biggest fear is that they’ve failed to serve their corporate masters of the universe by continuing to hoodwink the great unwashed, the rabble, the rest of us. Will they lose their seat at the adults’ table and be forced to join all of us working stiffs? Do they fear being dis-invited to meetings of the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergs, the Bohemian Grove “picnics,” or to the lairs of those grand reptilian creatures who gather to discuss the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).
A quick glance at history will suffice to show that real fake news is the news we’ve all been getting for decades.
“The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
– former CIA Director William Colby
The CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, first run by Cord Meyer, was and is a concerted effort by the agency to spin news events, or to create the news itself from whole cloth, to manipulate information however they see fit.
Propagandizing (Lying) made Legal for U.S. Government
The United States Government recently passed a bill which allows it to propagandize, lie, to us all. They do it in the name of “national security,” the oldest ruse of all. (You can’t make this stuff up.) Michael Hastings reported on it shortly before he met his end is a strange “accident” in which his car exploded and burned him to cinders.
The mainstream media has gotten high on its own supply for so long, in its great echo chamber, talking to itself, that it apparently believes its own spiel. CNN recently tried to tell us that reading Wikileaks is illegal, that the only acceptable way to read Wikileaks was to have it filtered through CNN. Yes, you have been instructed to let CNN read Wiki and tell you what it found; then they won’t put you in Guantanamo, you enemy of the state, you.
CNN News Fakers
Anderson Cooper and CNN are well-known liars. In an ironically reverse Pinocchio tableaux, you can watch Cooper’s nose disappear in telltale Green screen evidence in front of a fake set, as he pretends to stand in front of Sandy Hook school, in a tableaux which the controllers floated to disarm the public. CNN was also caught pretending to have reporters in Saudi Arabia during a Scud missile attack. The CNN clowns were in reality on the roof of a Florida hotel. One put on a gas mask. It’s really quite amusing, if you don’t mind fake news being passed off as real.
CBS News Fakers
CBS and Dan Rather lied to us all after JFK was slaughtered in Dallas. The network had Rather tell us all that he had seen the Zapruder film and that it proved Kennedy was shot from behind. A few years later, the whole WORLD could see Kennedy’s head jerk violently backwards, proving he was hit from the front, and thereby proving there was a conspiracy in his murder. CBS and all the other mainstream news fakers also failed to report on the FACT that the House Committee on Assassinations declared in 1978 that JFK was killed in a “likely conspiracy.”
Fox News Fakers
George Bush’s cousin was running Fox “News” in 2000 when the state of Florida had not yet counted all its votes. While the country waited to see who would be elected President, Fox struck. The foxy news fakers decided they would call the state for Bush, facts be damned. All the other news fakers followed suit, not wanting to be seen as “scooped,” hence setting Al Gore up to look like a sore loser. Gore, in fact, won the total vote count in Florida, and hence won the election, but Fox’ fake news nevertheless carried the day. The network’s subterfuge also helped bury the deeper story, of how the state and hence the entire election was stolen by, among other criminals, Katharine Harris and then Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who presided over the illegal and immoral purging of some 90,000 Black voters from the rolls. Greg Palast has had that story well documented since it was happening in 2000. Did you know that? Of course you didn’t. You were watching “real news” fakers.
To get any real “news,” one needs to go directly to the source. Every idiot knows one must look directly to the source. Wikileaks is the only outlet which does that, printing emails verbatim, which are time-stamped and easily verifiable. News from anywhere else that you haven’t witnessed yourself is nothing but spin, or dis- or misinformation.
Grade School Lesson Revisited
You remember that grade school game where the kid in the front corner whispers a story secretly and then that kid passes it to the next kid, and so on down the line through the whole class. You remember the final story bears no resemblance to the truth. You remember that little exercise in truth telling? If you learned nothing else in school, you did learn that, right?
Technology runs amok today. Most people seem to accept that the “latest” technology, whatever it is, should be embraced and celebrated. Each new apple product or so-called “Smart phone”or appliance is trotted out with a public relations blitzkrieg that seamlessly blends “news” with advertising. Many of us and our friends and relatives become salespeople ourselves, promoting the latest gadgets to one another.
Machines Ascend as Humanity Descends
Mahatma Gandhi was still alive as the industrial revolution began to alter the values of the world. Technology began to make human beings less important in the means of production, as in Henry Ford’s assembly lines. Machines were made to seem increasingly indispensable, human beings less and less so.
Machines replace and delimit Humanity
Human survival becomes more and more dependent upon our ability to run machines, while increasingly the machines run us. More and more jobs are replaced by machines. People become secondary. Human labor is needed primarily to keep the machines going, while liquid capital from labor is used to pay for “new and improved” or “upgraded” machines: smart phones (not so smart for us), televisions, automobiles, dishwashers and other so-called “Smart” appliances and “Smart” meters, which are not smart at all. Meanwhile, credit cards replace cash so that everything is cleverly calibrated to track our every move, purchase, emotion, to corral us for advertisers who want to understand and manipulate us in order to sell us more machines.
Hate Not The Machines
Mahatma Gandhi said, “I hate not the machines, but this growing passion for machines. I hate the passion for the machines which work upon diminishing man power. (I) want the wealth to be accumulated not just in a few hands but for all the people in the world.”
The Worship of Technology
Gandhi was not against technology. He was against worshiping technology as a means of salvation. He thought salvation could not come from outside; it could only be attained internally. Gandhi thought that technology encouraged the soul to be led astray by greed.
The dishwasher, the leaf blower, the so-called “Smart” TV, cell phone or computer – we quickly buy whatever new technology is thrown at us. Most hold a decided prejudice that whatever is newer must necessarily be better. Old bad, new good, seems to be the prevailing “wisdom” with all new technologies. Those who aren’t using the latest whatever are seen as fools or losers. Why wouldn’t one want to “take advantage” of the latest gadget?
Medical Device Technology runs Amok
In the world of medicine, there may be no better example of technology run amok than with IVC blood clot filters. Thousands of IVC filter lawsuits have been filed because any risk-benefit analysis shows they are clearly not worth their risks. Anyone taking a few minutes to handle and examine one of the flimsy IVC filter devices could readily see that the notion of jamming one into a human being’s vena cava is a terrible idea.
Studies show IVC filters fail to improve anticoagulant therapy, while studies also show they are not being retrieved in timely fashion. The longer they remain in the body, the more difficult they are to remove. In addition, the longer they remain implanted, the more likely they are to cause problems, including life-threatening complications.
Morcellator Lawsuits are being filed because power morcellators were sold as less invasive for hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal than prior methods of surgery for women; however, power morcellators can spread undetected cancer that can kill the woman who has been unwittingly talked into having one used on her.
Plastic mesh was sold to gynecologists primarily as a money-making scheme. Johnson & Johnson, Bard, AMS, and other mesh makers used very well-funded advertising blitzes to convince doctors that this product was a good idea. It was easier to put plastic mesh into a woman to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence than it was to find a surgeon with the surgical chops to do the job the way it had been successfully done for more than 100 years.
Metal on metal hip implants were, at one time, the latest, greatest thing. The problem was and is that they grind against each other and eventually cause tiny shards of metal to enter the bloodstream. Cobalt and other metal poisoning results, in addition to enormous pain as the metal on metal hip replacements fail.
Technology runs Amok
Here’s a short list of technological “advances” trotted out as advances that are questionable at best, and nothing of the sort if one looks closely at them, and what their real cost is to human beings.
Each of these fails a risk-benefit test. Each was meant to replace something that already worked just fine. Each of these cost more than the thing it was meant to replace. Each causes at least as many problems as it solves. Each nullifies or belittles the human element, the man power of which Gandhi spoke. Each takes more from us than it gives. Would that we could turn them all off, or stop using them, and take back some of the humanity that we’ve allowed their makers to steal from us.
The Takata air bag exploded Sept. 11, 2016, in the low-speed crash of a 2002 Honda Civic. The defective bag sent shards of metal into Serena Martinez, 42 in Fort Bend County, Texas. The shrapnel severely cut her chest and arm.
Ms. Martinez said she is lucky to be alive. The metal shards narrowly missed a major artery as they pierced her chest instead of her neck.
“I thought I was going to bleed to death,” said Ms. Martinez. “I don’t understand how something that was supposed to protect me (caused) my injuries.”
Exploding Takata Airbag
The air bag in the 2002 Civic was made by Takata Corp., a Japanese auto parts company that enjoys 30% of the world’s airbag market. Takata air bags are inflated by explosive ammonium nitrate in a metal canister. The problem can occur if the ammonium nitrate burns all at once. That occurrence can then blow the canister into metal shrapnel that can penetrate passengers and injure or kill them.
Exploding Airbag Deaths
Exploding Takata air bags are believed to be implicated in the deaths of at least 16 people, while more than 50 injuries have been reported, most of them in America. The potentially fatal aibag problem has triggered the largest safety recall in U.S. history – some 70 million airbag inflators sold by 15 automakers.
Humidity, Moisture Related Problems
Air bag injury lawyers allege that Takata has known for decades ammonium nitrate can be dangerously unstable, especially with moisture exposure. Most explosions have occurred in hot and humid regions in the U.S. By year 2019, regulators want Takata to recall all of its airbags which use ammonium nitrate with no drying agent.
Exploding Air Bag Lawsuit filed in Texas
Ms. Martinez lawsuit was filed October 31, 2016 in state district court in Houston, Texas.
Takata Air Bag Settlement in Houston
A confidential settlement was recently reached in a similar case. On March 31, 2016, 17-year-old Huma Hanif was killed in a 2002 Honda Civic near Houston. She rear-ended another auto in a low speed accident, but her Takata air bag exploded and sent metal shrapnel into her neck. Ms. Hanif died at the scene of that accident.
Another Oklahoma earthquake damaged homes and businesses Sunday. On November 6, 2016 at 7:44 CST, a quake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale rattled central Oklahoma. The epicenter was near Cushing, some 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. The shock was felt as far away as Dallas, Kansas City and Little Rock, Ark.
Pictures of the damage were shown in social media; debris lay piled up at the base of commercial buildings.
Pipeline Crossroads of the World
Cushing (pop. 7,900) is home to the world’s largest oil storage facility, Cushing Tank Farms. The city calls itself the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.”
Scientists have linked Oklahoma’s sharp uptick in earthquakes to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production. In the process of fracking, millions of gallons of water and frack chemicals are pumped into the earth in order to fracture the shale rock far below and force out “natural” gas. That fracking fluid is then extracted and pumped deep into the earth at another location, which experts think is what triggers the quakes.
Oklahoma experienced roughly one or two earthquakes a year for some 100 years. That all changed in 2009 with the introduction of widespread fracking throughout the state. More than 50 earthquakes fractured the state that year and every year since. More than 300 quakes rattled the Sooner state in 2010.
Property owners who have seen their homes and businesses damaged by the quakes have begun to file earthquake lawsuits against the fracking companies they believe responsible for the damages.