Tennessee Legal Blog

Symptoms often listed in mass torts litigation

Many Tennessee residents suffer due to adverse health conditions. In some cases, illness is directly related to on-the-job incidents, such as asbestos exposure. Some workers have been sick for years before they receive correct diagnoses. Such situations can lead to mass torts litigation when groups of workers learn that their symptoms are similar and may have been caused by incidents that could have been prevented.

Mesothelioma, which typically affects the lungs or abdomen, is an incurable cancer that often doesn't show symptoms for years. As time passes, the symptoms often worsen to the point that those afflicted need assisted-living care. Suffering from a terminal illness can cause emotional and economic stress, not only for the person who is ill but for his or her family, as well. Employers are obligated to notify workers of asbestos risks and to provide proper training and equipment to maximize safety efforts; when workers suffer because employers were negligent, it is a grave injustice.

Living your best life after a mesothelioma diagnosis

Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is scary and can make it difficult to move forward with a normal life. Many people focus on the fact that they aren't likely going to be cured. However, treatment can help you have a good quality of life for as long as possible.

Your quality of life greatly depends on the stage of the cancer when you start receiving treatment. If it has spread or has reached an advanced stage, you may have fewer options. Regardless of your prognosis, it is important to figure out ways to live your best life.

Talcum powder mass torts cases find new evidence

One would expect to find danger in an occupation such as construction or mining. Many Tennessee jobs carry immediate hazards as well as the risk of developing illnesses due to on-the-job exposure to harmful substances. Mass torts cases related to asbestos and other cancers are common in some industries, but one does not expect to suffer from these illnesses after using a product as supposedly harmless as baby powder. Nevertheless, more evidence reveals that the maker of a popular talcum powder knew for nearly 70 years that its product may have had dangerous ingredients.

Johnson & Johnson has been fighting lawsuits for several years from thousands of people across the country who believe their cancers are linked to traces of asbestos in talcum powder. The plaintiffs suffer from ovarian cancer, other gynecological cancers, lung cancer, mesothelioma and others. They claim the cancers developed after years of using talcum powder. Recent confidential documents from within the company show that Johnson & Johnson researchers were concerned as far back as 1969 that the powder contained dangerous levels of a kind of asbestos called tremolite.

Wage and hour disputes over nurses' breaks

It is not uncommon for a nurse to work long sifts. In fact, for many Tennessee nurses, it is a way of life to work 10 or 12 hours in a day, many of those on their feet. Those moments off the clock are precious when a nurse can sit down for a bite to eat or some uninterrupted rest before going back on the floor. Unfortunately for some nurses, their supervisors do not respect the time off to which they are legally entitled, and this often leads to wage and hour disputes.

One health system in another state is facing legal action after its nurses complained of ongoing violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The lawsuit alleges that the system allowed for the habitual interruption of nurses' unpaid lunch breaks, compelling nurses to work during that time without pay. Specifically, the claim calls attention to the years between 2009 and 2016.

ERISA responsibilities include careful record keeping

Part of the fiduciary duties of the administrators of an employee retirement fund is to maintain documentation related to the plan. Those who file plan reports are responsible for holding on to all records that verify the accuracy and thoroughness of plan transactions. In other words, if a Tennessee participant, the IRS or the U.S. Department of Labor has questions about compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, the plan administrator must be able to demonstrate that compliance with the appropriate paperwork.

The types of records an administrator must keep include plan agreements, contracts, disclosure statements such as those describing fees, and any information sent to participants. It is also wise for administrators to safeguard documentation proving that he or she sent notices to participants. Of course, plan statements, distribution forms, loan documents and other articles related to individual employees is critical.

Alleged insider trading involves shareholders in mass torts claim

Access to medical advice and monitoring is becoming easier as technology makes it possible for patients in Tennessee and across the world to communicate with doctors electronically. Telemedicine is already a billion-dollar industry, and investors are making profits from well-run companies. Unfortunately, one telemedicine company is facing mass torts action from shareholders who blame the actions of its executives for a marked decline in the value of the company's stock.

The lawsuit was prompted by an investigation that revealed the CFO of Teledoc Health was in a relationship with an administrative assistant at Teladoc. The assistant told investigators that she and the CFO discussed and traded Teladoc stock, and she made her decisions based on the CFO's advice. In addition to accusations of insider trading, the report alleges that the CFO granted his girlfriend promotions in the company, and shareholders object that these actions jeopardized the operations of the company.

Asbestos: The miracle mineral that's toxic to your health

Most people know that asbestos is dangerous for their health -- particularly when it's inhaled -- but this is not the half of it. The reason why asbestos is such a problem -- and the reason why so many people have come down with cancer and other diseases as a result of it -- is because this "miracle mineral" is incredibly useful.

Avoiding wage disputes over holiday pay

Some Tennessee workers may be looking forward to the holidays for an extra day or two off to spend with their families. Others, however, may have to work on those days. Difficult as it may be for them to have to go to work, they may initiate wage disputes if their paychecks do not reflect holiday pay.

While a worker may feel he or she deserves more for working on a holiday, this is not always the case. In fact, there are no federal or state laws requiring employers to give workers off for a holiday or to pay the extra if they work. Some private employers may offer paid holidays or premium wages for holidays, but this is the choice of the employer. Additionally, an employee who is salaried is typically exempt and does not qualify for any overtime pay.

Wellness surcharges may violate ERISA rules

Employees in Tennessee who have health insurance or other benefits through their employers may feel comfort in knowing those benefits are under the protection of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. While not all such programs qualify for ERISA protection, those that do must maintain strict standards in administering the plans, including keeping participants informed of any changes and seeking the best interests of the beneficiary over those of the employer. Additionally, ERISA protects plan participants from any kind of discrimination.

One company in another state is understanding how severe the penalties can be for violating ERISA rules. The fiduciaries of the health insurance program charged participants a wellness surcharge if they used tobacco products. The federal government prohibits discrimination against plan participants based on the status of their health, and the federal district court where this occurred ruled that the imposition of a surcharge only for users of tobacco constituted discrimination.

Asbestos exposure often leads to mass torts claims

Asbestos has long been known to cause serious health issues, including deadly forms of cancer such as mesothelioma. It takes only a brief exposure to the harmful, microscopic particles to set in motion the progressive and incurable cancer that may not reveal its symptoms for decades. Because of the danger from asbestos, Tennessee and other states have strict procedures for handling and disposing of materials that contain asbestos. Those who fail to follow these rules may be open to mass torts claims if asbestos exposure leads to illnesses.

In another state, one contracting company and a property owner faced legal action after tearing down an older home in a residential neighborhood. In past generations, construction materials such as roofing shingles and siding were often made of asbestos because of the fiber's insulating qualities and fire resistance. Many older homes contain asbestos flooring and walls, which is safe as long as the materials are not broken to release the fibers into the air.

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