Gadolinium Used in MRI Increases NSF Risk for Liver and Kidney Patients

Gadolinium based contrast agents used to make MRIs easier to read significantly increases the risk of contracting a potentially fatal skin disease known as NSF or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. NSF is characterized by a thickening of the skin, organs and other tissues that leads to difficulty in movement. The disease has no known cure.
According to Reuters, “The Food and Drug Administration said a staff review found the highest risk of the skin disease, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), was associated with GE Healthcare’s (GE.N) Omniscan, Bayer AG’s (BAYGn.DE) Magnevist and Covidien’s (COV.N) Optimark.”
In 2007, the FDA issued a black box warning for these contrast agents in order to alert physicans treating patients with kidney or liver conditions.
A recent Mayo clinic study found that patients currently receiving hemodialysis treatment were at a 77-fold increased risk for contracting NSF if they received an MRI with the gadolinium contrast agent. Kidney transplant patients were at 69-fold increased risk.
NSF symptoms may include high blood pressure, itching or burning skin, skin discoloration or reddening, hip or bone pain, and muscle weakness.

Zicam Lawsuit Update

New scientific research from the University of Washington has revealed that Zicam use can permanently damage the nasal tissues leading to a partial or full loss of the sense of smell. The new findings were published on the Public Library of Science website.
Zicam Cold Remedy was pulled from the market on June 15, 2009 after the FDA received reports of Zicam users losing their sense of smell. Zincum gluconicum, the active ingredient in Zicam, has also been linked to a caustic effect on the nasal passages, which if used over a length of time can cause a loss of the sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia.

Credibly Accused of Sex Abuse Former Rochester Priest Lives in Tampa Bay

The Catholic Diocese of Rochester has found credible allegations made against a retired priest who had served in the Diocese of Rochester since 1955. Rev.Conrad Sundholm, according to the news article in the Syracuse Post-Standard, now lives within the confines of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. A SNAP press release noted that Sundholm lives in St. Petersburg but that’s not entirely clear from the Post-Standard story upon which the press release is based. The Diocese of St. Petersburg encompasses five counties on the west coast of Florida: Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties. It is also unclear from the press release or the Post-Standard story if the accused priest ever worked in the Diocese of St. Petersburg after retiring in 1999.
The release from the Diocese of Rochester states that, “An allegation concerning sexual abuse of a minor dating back to the mid-1970s against Rev. Conrad Sundholm, a retired priest now living in Florida, has been determined to be credible.”
I’ve previously written in this blog about the NY-Florida connection of priests accused of the sexual abuse of children. There are quite a number of former NY Catholic priests who moved to Florida after having abused minors in NY. In some cases, the priests abused again when stationed in Florida.
Presently, the NY State Legislature is considering legislation, “The Child Victim Act” which would provide a window in which NY survivors of sexual abuse could pursue their sexual abusers in civil court.

Zicam Shareholder Class Action Lawsuit Revived

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has restored a shareholder class action lawsuit against Matrixx Initiatives officials. The original lawsuit alleged that Matrixx officials knew about Zicam’s association with anosmia or loss of smell. The lawsuit further alleged that besides knowing that Zicam may cause anosmia, Matrixx officials made false and misleading statements about their cold remedy product Zicam in order to improve sales.
“According to Matrixx’s own SEC filings,” shareholders claimed, “from late 2003 through October 2004 Matrixx has been sued by approximately 284 individuals in 19 different lawsuits alleging that Zicam caused damage to their sense of smell.”
In reversing the lower court dismissal of the Zicam class action lawsuit, one of the three judges, Judge Tashima noted that there was a strong “inference” that top company offiicials knew about the Zicam lawsuits and failed to disclose such to shareholders.

Former Hockey Star Talks About Sexual Abuse as a Teen

To the outside world, Theo Fleury was a flashy Canadian hockey star who had it all. He’d been named to several NHL All-Star teams, won the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989, and made a ton of money doing what he loved. Yet, the inner world of Theo Fleury was filled with torment and anguish. All the while he was playing professional hockey, he carried with him the burden of being sexually abused by his mentor and hockey coach, Graham James. He tried to put the sexual abuse behind him and forget about it by abusing drugs and alcohol. He’d even attempted suicide by putting a loaded gun in his mouth in 2004.
Finally, this year he revealed the secret burden that had been tormenting him for years. He’d been sexually abused by his coach when Fleury was 14 years old. The abuse lasted two long years. Now, at the age of 41, Fleury is ready to deal with the sexual abuse issue that fueled his dependency on drugs and alcohol, shortened his hockey career, and wrecked a marriage. Even after writing his autobiography in which he recounts the abuse, Fleury is still uneasy about discussing the issue. In an interview about the book, Fleury told the press that he decided to talk about his own abuse in order to help other victims deal with sexual abuse issues when they were teenagers. Playing with Fire has lead some abuse survivors to reach out to Fleury and seek professional help themselves. Fleury says he is committed to helping other abuse victims and is contemplating bringing criminal charges against his former coach.
Unfortunately, this is not a new story. Fleury’s story received media attention because of Theo Fleury’s fame as a tough hockey player. There are thousands of other sexual abuse survivors who continue to suffer in silence. Some, like Fleury, have contemplated or committed suicide. Hopefully, the courage of this new revelation will encourage other survivors to end their silent suffering and seek help.

Chinese Drywall Detection in Your Home

Chinese drywall has been conspicuous in the news for the past year. It has affected thousands of homes constructed during the housing boom earlier this decade. So, if you’re a homeowner and your home was build during that time, how do you know if you have Chinese drywall. There are some signs of the drywall that may give you an indication that the contaminated drywall is present in your home. Check your electrical fixtures. Are they corroded? Do they appear black? Is there a rotten egg smell in parts of your home? These may indicate the presence of Chinese drywall. You may also want to check with your building contractor to see if the contractor is able to tell you what type of drywall was used in constructing your home. A building inspector may also be helpful in determining the presence of Chinese drywall. If you have the drywall and your home has been affected, you should contact a Chinese drywall lawyer immediately to learn about your legal options.

Chinese Drywall on President’s China Trip Agenda

Chinese drywall is on the presidential agenda, according to Florida US Senator Bill Nelson. While it’s not expected that President Obama will broach the subject with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. However, Nelson believes there will be discussion of the Chinese drywall debacle on a staff level during the President’s trip to China next week.
Senator Nelson believes the Chinese government should take responsibility for the Chinese drywall problems that have affected thousands of US homes. Nelson made the remarks at a Chinese drywall symposium held in Tampa last week.
Nelson has been advocating on behalf of those affected by Chinese drywall since late last year and even brought up the subject in talks with Chinese officials earlier this year. According to Nelson, the Chinese response was cool. However, officials from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission have also met more recently with Chinese officials and expressed optimism that China would take the problem seriously.

Chinese Drywall Class Action Lawsuit Against Knauf

Chinese Drywall class action lawsuit is moving forward against one defendant, Knauf, who imported the contaminated drywall. The Chinese company has agreed to accept service in the US but under certain conditions. While this is good news, there are certain time constraints that have been imposed upon those who want to participate in this class action lawsuit.
IF Chinese drywall was installed in your home, and that drywall was manufactured by Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), and if you want to sue KPT, you must do so as part of one giant complaint (an Omnibus complaint) in order for KPT to accept service of process.
While you could still sue KPT without being a part of the omnibus complaint, there would be two disadvantages to you in doing so. 1) KPT has stated that it would not voluntarily accept service of process, and therefore, you would have to personally serve it with the complaint, at a cost of $15,000.00; and 2) We believe that more money will be available for settlements in the Omnibus complaint against KPT than will be available in any complaint filed thereafter.
Under this Court Order, if you want to be a part of the Omnibus complaint, we would have until December 2, 2009 to submit proof that KPT was the manufacturer of the drywall in your home to the lead Plaintiffs attorney and until December 14, 2009 to submit a Plaintiff profile form to that attorney on your behalf. That does not give us much time.
So, if you suspect you’re a victim of the Chinese drywall, you must act now if you want to preserve your rights to bring suit in this class action lawsuit.

Church Documents Refer to Secret Archives

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article reported last week that recently released Archdiocese of Milwaukee church documents refer on several occasions to a confidential file kept by the church. The documents are part of those released in a Catholic Church sex abuse lawsuit involving the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The Journal Sentinel report notes that the existence of the secret files appears to contradict earlier sworn testimony of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland, OSB who had dismissed the notion of a secret archives as “antique”.
In his deposition last year, Weakland claimed “I’ve heard about it, but I’ve never seen those files, and I don’t know if the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has such things,” when asked about the existence of a secret archival file required by the Church’s Code of Canon Law.
The church documents released in Milwaukee concern correspondence between high-ranking church officials and Weakland himself concerning a priest, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who’d been the subject of sexual abuse allegations. According to the Sentinel the files include, “a 1996 letter from Vice Chancellor James Connell to Weakland saying he’d searched the secret archives and could find no documents pertaining to Murphy; and a 1998 decree by Canon Judge Thomas T. Brundage saying documents related to the Murphy case would be kept in the secret archives for a period dictated by canon law.”
Jerry Topczewski, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee characterized the secret archival files as merely personnel files. “When we say something creates scandal, it means taking someone away from the faith,” Topczewski said. “And secret doesn’t mean secret; it’s just another form of official file that can be kept for particular reasons.”

Florida Chinese Drywall Symposium Scheduled

A Chinese drywall symposium has been scheduled for next Thursday and Friday in Tampa. The Technical Symposium on Corrosive Imported Drywall will be sponsored by the state of Florida. According to the Associated Press, officials from the Consumer Product Safety Commission will join others from the Centers for Disease Control to discuss the Chinese drywall problem as well as possible solutions. A state toxicologist, David Krause will also give several presentations on waste disposal, fire hazards, techniques to test the drywall as well as a presentation on analyses of chemicals released by the contaminated drywall.