Maritime, Admiralty Injury Law

Carnival Cruise Line Injury Lawyer, Cruise Ship Injury Hotline

Message to family and friends of victims stranded on the Carnival Cruiseline to let you know we are ready to begin lawsuits against Carival Cruises for any Injury, illness or emotional duress suffered. It is not to soon to call for your loved ones and family members.

In this image released by the U.S. Coast Guard on Feb. 11;2013;a small boat belonging to the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous patrols near the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico;Feb. 11;2013. The Carnival Triumph has been floating aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early Sunday;knocking out the ship s propulsion system. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. Disabled Carnival ship stopped due to broken towline
Passengers ill with Norovirus when ship docked in Halifax: Carnival Cruises

Relatives aboard a boat pass by the Costa Concordia cruise ship on January 13;2013 on the Italian island of Giglio. Survivors;grieving relatives and locals on the island of Giglio gathered on January 13 to mark the first anniversary of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster;which claimed 32 victims. Gallery: Costa Concordia One year later
The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio on January 24;2012 in Giglio Porto;Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a rock off the Tuscan coast. The official death toll now stands at 15;with a further 24 people still missing. The diesel recovery operation will start tomorrow;while the rescue operation continues. By the numbers: Costa Concordia cruise disaster

Cruise line, some passengers in dispute over state of disabled ship Cruise line, some passengers in dispute over state of disabled ship

Feb. 12, 2013: Triumph stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire

The Carnival Triumph ship left Texas for a four-day cruise last Thursday with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members destined for Mexico. The ship was about 240 kms off the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday when an engine room fire knocked out its primary power source, crippling its water and plumbing systems and leaving it adrift on only backup power.

The ship had mechanical problems last month that delayed its departure from Galveston on a previous voyage.

One passenger said the lack of ventilation on the Triumph s current voyage had made it too hot to sleep inside and that many passengers had set up camp on the ocean liner s decks and in its common areas.

Robert Giordano, of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, said he last spoke to his wife, Shannon, on Monday. She told him she waited in line for three hours to get a hot dog, and that conditions on the ship were terrible.

"They re having to urinate in the shower. They ve been passed out plastic bags to go to the bathroom," Giordano said. "There was fecal matter all over the floor."

Carnival cancelled a dozen more planned voyages aboard the Triumph on Wednesday and acknowledged that the crippled ship had been plagued by other mechanical problems in the weeks before it was left powerless in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Thursday the Triumph was scheduled to arrive in Mobile, Alabama by towboat.

August 11, 2012: Carnival Cruise Line’s Glory docked in Halifax with 212 passengers reporting being ill with Norovirus, infecting 38 more through a waterfront restaurant

A Carnival Cruise liner reportedly had 215 people on board who had fallen ill during its five-day voyage from the New York to Halifax, with stops in Boston and Saint John along the way.

Officials with the U.S. Centre for Disease Control boarded the Carnival Glory after it docked at the Port of New York.

The main symptoms among the passengers and crew members who got sick were vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the CDC, Carnival Cruise Lines responded to the outbreak by alerting passengers an illness was spreading on board, encouraged them to report any symptoms and to practice good hand hygiene.

All told, 4.5 per cent of the combined 4796 people aboard reported being ill.

Carnival Cruises stated it took the correct measures to stop the spread of what it said was a Norovirus outbreak. The company said ill passengers were required to stay on board while berthed in Halifax Aug. 9.

The Carnival Cruise Glory was linked to 38 reported illnesses in Halifax, stemming from a popular waterfront restaurant.

Carnival cruiseline injury lawyers Carnival has a history of cruiseline injury

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Pradaxa Injury For Extensive Bleeding Lawsuits Filed Here

83-Year-Old Man’s Death Due to Brain Hemorrhage May Be Pradaxa-Related

By Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney on April 30, 2012

Was Pradaxa behind the recent death of an 83-year-old Utah man who fell at home? A case study published in the May Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS) suggests that Pradaxa use may have led to irreversible bleeding in his brain, resulting in his death.

According to JNS, after falling at home, the man was admitted to the University of Utah hospital where physicians on staff discovered that he had been diagnosed with new-onset atrial fibrillation the month before and had been prescribed a 150 mg dose of Pradaxa twice a day by his primary doctor. There was slight intracranial bleeding, but the patient was alert and there was no immediate cause for concern at the time.

Some six hours after being admitted to the hospital with relatively minor brain trauma, the patient was dead. Apparently, the bleeding in his brain couldn’t be stopped, even after emergency measures were taken. Currently, there is no known reversal agent for Pradaxa.

The JNS article stated that the approval of dabigatran presents a dilemma for neurosurgeons. Since the drug is often given to elderly patients who are usually more likely to have imbalance issues and to suffer from falls, “intracranial hemorrhage resulting even from minor trauma may occur with increasing frequency as use of this drug becomes more widespread.”

Pradaxa: Know the Facts
In December of 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiated a safety review of Pradaxa after receiving so many reports of adverse effects associated with the medicine. High incidents of internal hemorrhaging and cardiovascular problems, especially among the elderly, have been the primary complaints reported. It has been reported that Pradaxa might be responsible for up to 260 patient deaths since its introduction a year-and-a-half ago. Free legal Shield Attorneys for pradaxa can help you iof you have been injured or a loved dired due to pradax

What is a Qui Tam, Qui Tam WhistleBlower Lawyers

QUI TAM, Whistleblower cases: Qui Tam Lawyers accepting Qui Tam Whistleblower Cases
Qui Tam :In Qui Tam litigation a private citizen (the whistle blower) who knows of fraud committed against the government may, through his own privately retained lawyers, file a law suit to recover the losses caused by the government fraud. The False Claims Act provides huge financial incentives to citizen whistle blowers to retain attorneys and come forward, prosecute these lawsuits and fight government fraud.
Qui Tam laws have existed for hundreds of years, with roots in England in the middle ages. In qui tam provisions the government gives private citizens the right and the financial incentive to retain a private lawyer to file a lawsuit to act in the place of law enforcement.
The Continental Congress in the early days of government in the United States enacted a number of qui tam provisions. Benjamin Franklin has been quoted as saying: “There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.” Abraham Lincoln, himself a lawyer in private practice before ascending to the Presidency, was responsible for enactment of the 1863 False Claims Act, which was necessary to protect the government from the fraudulent suppliers of faulty war equipment during the Civil War. He stated: “Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains of the south and their countrymen are moldering in the dust.” Although a significant narrowing of the provisions of the False Claims Act took place in 1943, the law was revitalized by Congress in 1986, with a significant expansion of the scope of the law and renewed attention to the federal whistle-blower and his or her attorney as a key to enforcement.
II. QUI TAM, whistleblower CLAIMS TODAY:
It has been estimated that almost 10% of the United States annual budget is paid to companies or persons who are defrauding the government. Some of them overcharge the government for products sold to the government. Others submit vouchers billing the government for services which they never provided or over billing for services provided. And still others engage in government contract fraud, defense contractor fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, or other public benefit fraud. The False Claims Act covers a wide variety of situations in addition to overcharging or billing for property or services not delivered. Virtually any situation in which the government has been cheated should be closely scrutinized by experienced Qui Tam lawyers to determine whether it is covered under the False Claims Act. The following are situations in addition to those mentioned above which would be covered under the False Claims Act and for which lawsuits could be brought:
• preparing a false record or statement or bill in order to get a false or fraudulent claim paid by the government.
• conspiring with anyone else to have a false or fraudulent claim paid by the government.
• holding property of the government intending to defraud the government or intending to conceal it from the government.
• creating or delivering a false or fraudulent receipt to the government for its property.
• fraudulently buying property of the government from someone who is not authorized to sell that property for the government.
• making a false statement to fraudulently avoid paying a debt to the government or to avoid delivering property to the government.
• causing someone else to submit a false or fraudulent claim.
To combat fraud committed against the government, Congress passed the False Claims Act, which, as noted above, was amended and significantly strengthened in 1986. Between 1987 and 1995 lawyers filed over a thousand qui tam lawsuits. For the period 1988 to 1995 alone, over a billion dollars was recovered by private Qui Tam lawyers in settlements or verdicts in hundreds of cases (law suits) filed on behalf of the United States government, with whistle blowers who retained their own lawyers to file suit receiving more than $100 million of the recovered funds. An additional $752 million was recovered in the years 1996 and 1997 alone. According to an annual report of the Department of Justice, almost $1.2 billion was recovered in whistle blower claims and law suits filed by private citizens through their own lawyers under the Federal False Claims Act for the fiscal year October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001, with more than $210 million of those funds being awarded to the federal whistle blowers themselves. The amount is growing. It is estimated that in the year 2005 $3.1 billion was collected from businesses defrauding the federal government.
The amendments make the definition of fraud broad enough to include submitting claims with deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard for the truth of statements made in the claim for US government spending or funds upon which the fraud claim is based. The burden of proof that must be met by the whistle blower’s lawyer or the government’s lawyer in a Qui Tam suit is the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, i.e., that the evidence presented by the attorneys is more likely true than not. This is the same burden of proof that ordinarily must be met by the attorney in most civil damage cases, rather than more onerous standards, such as that which must be met by a prosecutor in criminal cases of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The 1986 amendments included provisions for requiring the party defrauding the government to pay the successful whistle blower’s attorney fees and in some settlements that may mean that the whistle blower never incurs an attorneys fee. In addition, provisions were included for protecting the federal whistle-blower from retaliatory actions by his/her employer.
This law was designed to encourage private citizens to help fight government fraud by acting as a whistle blower. That is, a person who knows of fraud against the government may retain a lawyer and file a court case (lawsuit) under seal (meaning that it is kept secret during this initial phase) in a United States District Court against the company or person committing the fraud against the government. After the case is filed, the United States attorney investigates the lawsuit and allegations of fraud for sixty days. If the U.S. Attorney believes the fraud lawsuit is meritorious, the United States Government takes over the case and either enters into a settlement or pursues the lawsuit against the wrongdoer. The whistle blower still retains his/her right to a portion of the proceeds in the Qui Tam fraud lawsuit resulting in a successful settlement or recovery, even though the government has taken over the legal case. The government intervenes in approximately 25% to 33% of the cases. If the government does not intervene, the federal whistle blower, through the lawyers he or she has retained, may settle or pursue the lawsuit on his/her own. If the lawyers are successful in proving fraud against the government, the law requires the wrongdoer to pay substantial penalties, which can be assessed to up to 3 times the amount that the wrongdoer fraudulently stole from the government and, in reality, from the taxpayers. In addition, a mandatory civil penalty of between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00 per false claim will be imposed. Out of damages imposed, the private citizen whistle blower (also called a relator) can receive between 10% and 30% of the lawsuit recovery. Some relators have been paid millions of dollars. These cases are often highly technical and complex. Before filing, they must be properly investigated and assembled, which demands that you obtain competent attorneys experienced in handling Qui Tam fraud cases.

Maritime Lawyers and the BP Oil Spill, Oil Rig Injury lawyers

Oil rig accident and injury lawyers

Rigs are dangerous places that can cause serious injury and even death. Oil rig accidents, include Fishermen, Divers, shrimpers, oystermen, food processors,as well as property owners in the areas of the rig explosionGulf Coast oil rig workers work on oil rigs along or in the Gulf of Mexico. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and oil rig accidents on soil rigs are very dangerous places to work. They can cause serious permanent injury and wrongful death.

oil rig accidents, include Fishermen, Divers, shrimpers, oystermen, food processors,as well as property owners in the areas of the rig explosion

There are roughly 1,828 oil rigs located in the United States. . Working on an oil rig is probably one of the country’s most dangerous jobs. Oil rig workers , work a strenuous 8-12 hours per day; demands for increased productivity are high; there is a shortage of oil rig workers, and working conditions can be dangerous. Oil rig injuries and accidents happen frequently.

Oil Rig Explosion Injury Cases are Reviewed by Maritime Injury Lawyers

By Jef Feeley and Allen Johnson Jr.

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) How much BP Plc will pay for the 2010 explosion of a Gulf of Mexico oil rig that killed 11 people and caused the largest offshore spill in U.S. history may rest in the hands of a former maritime lawyer who began his career representing sailors in personal-injury cases.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans can draw on that experience as he oversees the first phase of the case against London-based BP and other companies over the blast on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and subsequent oil spill. The trial is set to begin Feb. 27.

“He knows maritime law backwards and forwards, and that’s one of the reasons he got this case,” Val Exnicios, a New Orleans lawyer representing a group of commercial fishermen suing BP, Transocean Ltd. and other firms involved in drilling operations at the rig. “You want a judge who knows this area of the law cold, given the complexities of this case.”

A judicial panel assigned Barbier, 67, all federal litigation over the BP spill in August 2010. The judge, who declined requests for an interview, is slated to preside over a three-month, nonjury trial that will apportion blame and determine exposure to punitive damages for the blast.

The April 2010 Macondo well blowout sent almost 5 million barrels of oil spewing into the gulf, according to a U.S. government report issued in September.

Hundreds of Lawsuits

The accident spawned hundreds of lawsuits against BP and its partners, including Transocean, the Vernier, Switzerland- based owner and operator of the drilling rig, and Houston-based Halliburton Co., which provided cementing services on the facility.

The lawsuits include pollution claims by federal and state governments and consolidated cases brought by thousands of commercial fishermen, seafood processors, property owners and tourism-related businesses harmed by the spill.

Barbier grew up in the West Bank, a cluster of suburbs, small cities and unincorporated towns straddling the border of the Orleans and Jefferson parishes, across the Mississippi River from the city of New Orleans. He went to high school in Harvey, a residential neighborhood of single-family homes that sprung up around the oilfield services industry and the Harvey Industrial Canal.

Barbier won a football scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University, where he played on the offensive and defensive lines.

Mississippi River

His father, Walter Louis Barbier, worked as a marine diesel engineer for Mississippi River Bridge Authority and the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development, according to state officials.

After earning a business degree in 1966, Barbier worked as a high school teacher and accountant, including stints at Boeing Co. and Shell Oil Co., while attending law school, he told the U.S. Senate in 1998 after he was nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton.

After finishing law school at Loyola University in 1970, Barbier clerked for state and federal judges before entering private practice, representing seamen and other plaintiffs suing under federal maritime statutes. He went on to start his own law firm.

Recoveries for his clients include a $325,000 settlement for a welder injured when a Greek tanker slammed into a fleet of barges moored on the Mississippi River in 1992, according to his Senate filing.

Fallen Driller

He also represented a driller who fell through an unsecured grating on an oil platform, winning him $300,000 in a case that was later cited by the Louisiana Supreme Court in another matter, according to the Senate questionnaire.

“He has an understanding of the fellow who has been hurt as a seaman,” Blake Jones, a New Orleans-based plaintiffs’ lawyer who handles maritime suits. Jones is representing a business owner in the spill case who contends BP’s oil damaged 18,000-acres of his oyster beds.

Barbier has planned two subsequent nonjury trials focusing on the size of the 2010 spill and efforts to contain it. Test jury trials on damages are to follow.

“The judge has already done a good job of whittling down the case to make it more manageable,” said Edward Sherman, a Tulane University Law School professor in New Orleans who teaches classes on complex litigation and mass-tort law. “Many times, judges are reluctant to make tough pretrial rulings that narrow the focus of an environmental disaster or mass-tort case.”

Maritime Law

The case is being tried under U.S. maritime law, which covers shipping and navigation activities in inland and coastal waters. Judges can choose to hear maritime disputes without juries. Maritime law requires owners and operators of drilling platforms to conduct safe operations that don’t damage the environment, plaintiffs suing BP and other defendants contend in court filings.

Barbier initially set the first phase of the trial as a limitation-of-liability action. The trial was to consider Transocean’s effort to cap its financial exposure over the spill under an 1851 law designed to protect ship owners. He later expanded that to include claims of fault for the disaster against all defendants.

BP and some defendants also are facing claims from the U.S. government under both the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act as part of the liability trial.

Exxon Valdez

The Oil Pollution Act was passed after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, when a grounded tanker dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

Under the law, a well owner is considered the responsible party and is liable for damages and cleanup costs. BP already has acknowledged that it’s among those responsible under the act. Barbier must decide who else may be liable for the spill.

The Clean Water Act governs pollution discharges into bodies of water and allows regulators to seek fines of as much as $1,100 a barrel for oil spilled through simple negligence and as much as $4,300 a barrel against parties found to have been grossly negligent.

On Feb. 22, Barbier held BP and Anadarko strictly liable under the Clean Water Act, allowing the U.S. to seek as much as $1,100 from them for every barrel spilled. Transocean’s liability is to be determined at trial.

The trial also will determine whether the companies were grossly negligent, which could boost the possible maximum fines under the Clean Water Act to the $4,300-a-barrel limit. Barbier would set the fines after a later trial.

Punitive Damages

If Barbier finds BP and other defendants’ handling of drilling operations and the spill grossly negligent, he can also award punitive damages to businesses and property owners under maritime law, said Tulane’s Sherman.

“The trial will address all allocation-of-fault issues that may properly be tried to the bench without a jury,” Barbier has said. That includes “the negligence, gross negligence, or other bases of liability of, and the proportion of liability allocable to the various defendants, third parties, and non-parties,” he has said.

Before his elevation to the federal bench, Barbier served as the head of the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association, a group made up primarily of plaintiffs’ attorneys.

As head of the group, Barbier successfully lobbied against Louisiana Governor Mike Foster’s bid to have lawmakers create a no-fault car-insurance system for the state, which would have restricted motorists’ right to sue over accidents, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper.

Sold Bonds

Barbier said in 2010 that he sold Transocean and Halliburton bonds he held in his investment portfolio “so there is no perception of a conflict in these cases.” The judge’s work as a trial lawyer prompted some critics to question his impartiality in BP spill decisions.

Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group, criticized his December ruling ordering 6 percent of settlements set aside as potential fees for plaintiffs’ lawyers overseeing consolidated claims in the spill cases.

The fee set-aside is “ludicrous and absolutely unjust,” Landry said in a January interview. “It certainly calls into question his impartiality and it certainly reminds one of his previous life.”

Exnicios, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said Barbier has issued rulings that have displeased both sides in the case.

As part of the trial, Barbier will be called on to sift through hundreds of thousands of pages of reports, depositions and exhibits to decide what companies are liable for spill damage and who can recover.

He “understands who his boss is, which is a relatively conservative Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,” Jones said. “I don’t think he will stray too far off the leash.”

The case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

Maritime News BP Oil Spill Disaster Trial

Judge: BP contract shielded Halliburton in spill

By Cain Burdeau Associated Press / January 31, 2012

NEW ORLEANS— A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Halliburton can avoid paying most of the pollution claims that resulted from the catastrophic 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill because it was shielded in a contract with well-owner BP.

Still, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said that Halliburton is not exempt from paying punitive damages and civil penalties that arise from the April 20, 2010, blowout off the Louisiana coast. Those penalties could amount to billions of dollars.

The judge also said Halliburton s indemnity could be voided if the company is found to have defrauded BP. He did not rule on BP s allegations that Halliburton committed fraud by declaring the cement safe to use.

Houston-based Halliburton supplied cement for the ill-fated Macondo well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, and federal investigators have found that the cement failed to seal to the well properly. The cement job was one of several factors that investigators said contributed to the blowout that killed 11 workers and led to the release of more than 200 million gallons of oil.

In court filings, BP has accused Halliburton of hiding information about cement tests and defrauding BP by telling the company that the cement was safe to use. Halliburton has said it did not conceal information or commit fraud.

Both sides claimed victory on Tuesday.

BP touted Barbier s ruling as a "strong signal" that Transocean and Halliburton "would be held accountable."

"These two decisions should put an end to the attempts by Transocean and Halliburton to avoid their obligations," BP said. The company added that Halliburton "at a minimum" faced paying punitive damages and civil penalties for its role in the disaster.

BP also said it "never assumed" to get Transocean and Halliburton to pay for pollution-related damages.

Beverly Blohm Stafford, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company agreed with the ruling "to the extent that it requires BP to honor its contractual indemnity obligations."

Barbier s ruling came in advance of a Feb. 27 non-jury maritime-law trial in New Orleans to determine who was at fault for the blowout that led to the nation s largest offshore oil spill. Transocean, BP and Halliburton have been sparring over what caused the blowout.

Last week, BP asked U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan to exclude trial testimony by a Halliburton employee who was working on the rig before the explosion and has been identified as a possible subject of a Justice Department criminal investigation of the disaster.

Jesse Gagliano, who worked on the well s cementing job, has been interviewed by a congressional committee and testified before a government panel probing the disaster. He initially invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to be questioned under oath for the litigation, but he recently waived that right and agreed to be questioned by civil attorneys next week.

BP suggests Gagliano s change of heart so close to the trial is designed to give Halliburton a strategic advantage. Halliburton counters that "unfounded speculation" about Gagliano s motives shouldn t preclude his testimony

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