Asiana Flight 214 Crashes at San Francisco International Airport

In a tragic accident occurring this past Saturday at the San Francisco International Airport, an Asiana Airlines flight inbound from Seoul crash landed after touching down tail first and short of the runway. 307 individuals were on board the Boeing 777 aircraft, of which 2 were killed and 168 were injured.

While the complete investigation of the plane crash has not yet been completed, preliminary reports appear to have eliminated mechanical failure and point to pilot error as the primary cause of the accident. Excessively low airspeed on approach led to the crew being unable to throttle forward when they attempted to abort the landing seconds before impact. In an apparent departure from normal procedure, the throttles were idling on approach, which may have led to the crew’s inability to correct course on their approach to the runway.

Pilot Lee Kang-guk was landing a Boeing 777 for the first time at SFO, although he had piloted that type of aircraft 9 times prior to this flight. Kang-guk had logged more than 10,000 flying hours and could not be considered to be in training, but was acclimating to the aircraft after having much more extensive experience flying a Boeing 747. The chief pilot was Lee Jeong-min, who has been with Asiana Airlines since 1996.

Our thoughts are with all the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones.

Jim Hart to Speak at Texas Building and Construction Trades Council State Convention

Williams Kherkher attorney Jim Hart is proud to have the opportunity to speak at the Texas Building and Construction Trades Council State Convention. Since 1941, this organization has strived to provide its members with important and relevant information regarding licensing, wages, and regulations that could affect those in the construction industry.

Jim Hart will be speaking at the convention on July 15th.

The BP Class Action Settlement Agreement and Williams Kherkher’s Success

BP’s New Ad Campaign

Many of you have probably seen BP’s full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. In this ad, BP states “trial lawyers and some politicians are attempting to capitalize on this misinterpretation by encouraging the submission of thousands of claims for inflated losses, or losses that do not even exist.” The “misinterpretation” referenced in this ad is the so-called “matching” issue, which has been something we’ve addressed previously.

BP’s statements are demonstrably false and a thinly-veiled effort to intimidate the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill. BP appears to suggest that the victims of BP’s criminal acts – the very acts that directly caused the Gulf Oil Spill – are engaging in wrongful behavior by submitting claims using the rules and formulas that BP insisted were fair and reasonable. In other words, BP is complaining that the Class Action Settlement BP created is unfair to BP (even when that Settlement is being administered exactly consistent with the clear letter of the Agreement). BP apparently does not believe in the old-saying “a deal is a deal.” Try as it might, BP cannot spin the fact that it is trying to renege on its contractual obligations to the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill.

We do not disagree that it is wrong for individuals and companies to get money they don’t deserve. Ironically, that is exactly what BP is trying to do with its new ad campaign. What BP does not say in the ad is very telling: any funds that remain after the expiration of the April 22, 2014 claim deadline revert back to BP. This means that if BP is successful in intimidating victims, then BP gets to keep the money legally owed to these victims. We think that is wrong, and hope that the public will not be fooled by BP’s double-talk.

Our clients are only too aware of how difficult it is to get a claim paid. The Claims Administrator employs hundreds of lawyers and accountants (all paid by BP) who double and triple check every aspect of the claim documentation before issuing an Eligibility Notice. After that, BP has the right to appeal the Eligibility Notice. Claimants who successfully traverse this process are clearly legitimate victims that deserve to be paid.

BP Threatens to Seek Recovery of Disbursed Funds.

BP has also instructed its army of lawyers to start sending letters to certain claimants advising them that BP may attempt to seek recovery of settlement proceeds. This, as with the ad campaign, is nothing more than a baseless scare tactic.

First, the Settlement Agreement provides absolutely no mechanism that would allow BP to seek recovery of disbursed funds. In fact, the Settlement Agreement provides for the exact opposite, since by definition no claimant can obtain a payment until: (i) they have successfully traversed the Settlement Program to obtain an Eligibility Notice; (ii) they have successfully overcome any BP appeal; and (iii) they have delivered a signed Release. After the Settlement Program disburses funds that, quite simply, is the end of the process. If BP wanted to have a mechanism to recover funds, it should have negotiated for that in the Settlement.

BP’s threats are also undercut by a recent decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit, which will eventually hear BP’s appeal on the “matching” issue, already denied BP’s request to stay payments from the Settlement Program. If BP had a legitimate basis for its appeal the Fifth Circuit would almost certainly have granted this request. Frankly, BP’s actions smack of desperation. We will continue to disburse funds to our clients as soon as we receive them, and we do not believe that our clients should worry about BP’s empty threats. We have carefully reviewed each of BP’s arguments in support of the fanciful notion they can ignore their Settlement and try and recover money from the victims of the Oil Spill, and believe they are completely lacking in merit. We expect you will see quite a bit of media attention about this issue in the coming weeks and will keep you posted.

Comparing our Results to the National Average.

There are currently hundreds of law firms and accountants who are submitting Oil Spill claims, and it can be difficult for a client or local CPA firm to know who has been successful in getting claims paid (as opposed to just having a slick website and marketing campaign). To that end we’ve started comparing our claim performance against the national average by comparing our DWH 8127 Reports to the overall reports prepared by Claims Administrator Pat Juneau. You can download the Claims Administrator’s reports at the following link:

The June 11, 2013 Report provides useful statistics that allow us to compare our own results to the national averages. The Claims Administrator tracks: (i) the total number of claims submitted; (ii) how many claims received an Eligibility Notice (the notice a claimant receives when the claim has been determined to be valid and payable); (iii) how many claims received Incompleteness Notices (the notice a claimant receives when the Settlement Program needs more information to proceed); and (iv) how many claims received Denial Notices (the notice a claimant receives when the Settlement Program is denying the claim). Obviously the Denial Notice is the worst result possible, as it means the Claimant is not getting paid.

The results indicate that: (i) we have amongst the best (if not the best) results of any law firm in the country; (ii) our competition is not getting claims paid; and (iii) our competition is receiving denial notices about one-third of the time:

Claims that Receive a(n):      Eligibility Notice            Incompleteness Notice            Denial Notice
National Average                       17%                                    47%                                              34%
Our Average                                94%                                   5%                                                1%

We believe these statistics also underscore that the Settlement Program simply won’t pay inflated, fraudulent, or incomplete claims. BP’s suggestion that thousands of people are getting windfall awards is directly contrary to the actual statistics. The fact is getting a claim paid is hard work, and very few of our competitors appear to be having much luck with it.

Update on Appeals.

BP has the right to appeal any Eligibility Notice over $25,000. To date, BP has appealed 1,699 claims, of which about 20% were Individual Economic Loss (“IEL”) claims and 80% were Business Economic Loss (“BEL”) claims. As the following table of national statistics regarding claims appeals shows, overall BP has been very successful in challenging awards through the appeals process:

Claim Type                                            IEL                                           BEL
BP Prevailed                                      83%                                          50%
Claimant Prevailed                         15%                                           49%
Remanded                                          2%                                             1%

Please note that typically when BP prevails on appeal the Claimant receives no payment. In comparison, our results on appeal are dramatically better than the national average:

Claim Type                                             IEL                                            BEL
BP Prevailed                                          5%                                             0%
Claimant Prevailed                            90%                                           96%
Remanded                                            5%                                             4%

To date, we have won over 94% of our appeals and expect to continue this record (in fact, we’ve currently only lost 1 Individual Economic Loss appeal, and even on this claim the claimant still obtained a substantial award). These statistics also undercut BP’s claims that they have no protection against inflated claims. In truth, BP has had great success against our competition in the appeals process. Thus, if you have suffered either personal or professional losses due to the oil spill, find out if you are eligible to file an oil spill claim by calling Williams Kherkher at (888) 220-0640 or using our oil spill claim calculator.

Canadian woman files lawsuit against Bayer

An Okanagan woman plans to file a lawsuit against the maker of the birth control pill Yasmin after she was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.

Sarah Somerville experienced an adverse reaction after only a month of taking the birth control pill Yasmin that caused her to exhibit heart attack symptoms. When she sought medical attention at Kelowna General Hospital, a doctor told her that she had suffered a pulmonary embolism. Discharge papers from the hospital did note that obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and birth control pills were the three main reasons why Somerville had the pulmonary embolism.

Somerville now plans to join the class action suit against the drug giant Bayer and seeks to have Yasmin removed from the market.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. alone there are many women who have been negatively impacted by the birth control pill Yasmin. If you have suffered physical complications due to using Yasmin, call an attorney from Williams Kherkher at 800-641-9810. We may be able to help you obtain financial compensation.

Woman claims her daughter was harmed after using Zoloft

A Pennsylvania mother has recently claimed that her unborn daughter developed congenital heart defects after the mother’s use of the antidepressant drug Zoloft. According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on June 13, the mother is seeking compensation after her unborn daughter developed defects that required surgery to be corrected.

The mother was prescribed and took the anti-depressant drug Zoloft during pregnancy. The plaintiff’s daughter was born with severe heart defects and had to undergo several surgeries before she reached her first birthday. The plaintiff claimed Pfizer did not properly warn the public about the danger of its products.

Sadly, many babies have been born with birth defects due to Zoloft use during pregnancy. Our lawyers at Williams Kherkher may be able to help these victims and their families obtain just compensation for their losses however. Find out how we can help you by calling (888) 220-0640.

BP oil spill court administrator opens investigation on staff lawyer

Lafayette-based, court-appointed administrator, lawyer Patrick Juneau is investigating reports that the oil magnate BP can use as evidence to substantiate its claim that it hasn’t gotten a fair deal from the claims-processing team. Juneau said that, as of June 21, he has opened an investigation into the alleged misconduct of one of his staff lawyers, Lionel Sutton III, who resigned that same day according to Juneau’s spokesman Nick Gagliano.

According to Juneau’s office, they have received reports that Sutton was allegedly trying to influence the outcome of a claim filed by a New Orleans-based law firm, and such reports were given to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier during a meeting on June 20.

Sutton reportedly denied the allegations discussed with him by Juneau, even though the report contained email passages with Sutton allegedly asking about his nearly $500,000 cut.

If you have lost property or suffered damages due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, you may be owed money from the BP oil spill fund. Get in touch with a lawyer at Williams Kherker by calling (888) 220-0640 to further understand your legal options.

BP’s facing greater costs due to oil spill settlement

British multinational oil and gas company BP PLC’s $8 billion settlement deal with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill victims is slowly going awry.

BP contested settlement’s claims administrator Patrick Juneau’s interpretation of the 2012’s settlement, which could add more costs to the $42 billion bill, and appealed to have U.S. District Judge Carl Babier’s confirmation of Juneau’s interpretation corrected. Although the company is claiming that Juneau’s interpretation is incorrect, the settlement that the company agreed to states that businesses can get their damages covered if they simply meet a numerical formula.

BP’s shares dropped 1.2 percent, closing at 464 pence in London trading.

If your business or home was affected by the BP oil spill and you need help filing a claim or pursuing an appeal, contact our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers at Williams Kherker by calling (888) 220-0640 today.

Second Louisiana Explosion Leaves 1 Dead, Several Injured

An explosion occurred around 6 pm Friday evening at a CF Industries facility in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, located just miles from the site of Thursday’s deadly blast. According to State Police Trooper Jared Sandifer, nitrogen was being moved from an 18-wheeler by hose into a metallic “vessel” when pressure built up, resulting in the explosion. Sandifer is quoted as saying that this vessel should have been able “to hold thousands of pounds of pressure and it failed.”

One worker at the chemical plant has been reported dead and seven others were injured, some severely, and were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment. Sandifer also commented that the explosion doesn’t pose a threat to anyone near the site.

Our thoughts are with all the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones.

23 deaths recorded in Canada, likely due to Yasmin and Yaz use

Medical professionals in Canada suspect that the deaths of 23 women occurred due to ingestion of Yasmin or Yaz birth control pills. Documents stating this suspicion were recently released.

One of the fatalities is 18-year-old Miranda Scott, who died three years ago after she fell down while working out in a gym and complained she could not breathe. Scott died after blood clots formed in veins throughout her body, leading to a pulmonary embolism, according to the autopsy.

A recent report from Health Canada said 23 deaths and 600 people reporting adverse side effects  are suspected to be caused by the use of Yasmin and Yaz.

Bayer released a statement saying that they oppose the Canadian class-action lawsuit stating that Yasmin or Yaz use causes death and negative side effects.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. alone, many women have suffered serious health complications due to Yasmin and Yaz use. At Williams Kherkher, our lawyers are prepared to help the victims of this dangerous drug seek compensation. Thus, if you have been negatively impacted by Yasmin or Yas, find out how we can help you by calling (888) 220-0640.

Explosion at Louisiana Petrochemical Plant

An explosion at a petrochemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, has resulted in dozens of injuries and at least one death. The blast, which occurred at the Williams Olefins plant, occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 13. Soon after, authorities asked nearby residents to take shelter until the situation was contained. So far, there is no word on what caused the explosion.

The plant is a major source of important petrochemical products, annually producing 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of propylene. This is not the first such accident to hit Southern Louisiana in recent years, either: at least two chemical plant explosions have occurred in the area since 2011.

The thoughts of everyone at Williams Kherkher are with the victims of this terrible incident and their families.

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