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Demopolis Legal Issues Blog

It's almost flu season in Alabama again

Flu vaccines have been a great source of controversy across the nation for many years. For many, they present the classic "Catch-22." In other words, if you get one, you run the risk of adverse reactions. If you opt out of getting one, you will likely become infected with the flu virus.

What we mean is that there are some individuals who have common reactions or side effects to flu shots. Many of those reactions have been documented over time, and can be advised of prior to acceptance. Symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of vaccination, and generally subside within 48 hours.

Securities fraud can happen anywhere

Securities fraud is a white collar crime. As such, it can easily be written off by someone as "something that would never happen to me." However, that is not always the case, and this type of fraud may be happening closer to home than you think.

In 2017, a Jefferson County, AL court indicted two men in a securities fraud scheme. One was a 65-year-old Vestavia Hills, AL man and his partner was a 76-year-old Atlanta resident. Together, these men would convince investors to participate in a profit sharing agreement for the development of medical products and technology, to take place in Alabama. In their sales pitch, the men would make false statements to potential investors, as well as omit facts which could make an investor decide not to participate. They failed to inform them that no investor to the scheme had ever received a return on investment or profit.

An SSDI claim denial does not mean an end to your options

Suffering a catastrophic injury - the pain, suffering and long recovery - is difficult enough. For some, such injuries can cause lasting damage, so much so that a return to work may not be possible. When this is the case, many people turn to social security disability insurance to provide much needed financial support as a way of addressing the financial ramifications of the loss of work-based income.

Unfortunately, in some cases an initial application for SSDI benefits will be denied. This can happen for a number of reasons. For example, questions about whether medical advice was properly followed could cloud the application and lead to a denial. In addition, incorrectly or incompletely filling out necessary application forms can be cause for a denial. Because the government wants to ensure those receiving these benefits meet their guidelines, reviewers will be strict on the process and can be harsh in review.

Distracted driving is a major issue for truck drivers

Truck drivers who make long distance trips may feel the pull to reach for their phones or other devices to pass the time while driving. Obviously this is very dangerous to do in any vehicle, but the results can be catastrophic when it’s a driver behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound semi-truck.

Tips for identifying nursing home neglect

Nursing home abuse happens across Alabama, with neglect being one of the most common forms. But, it is also one of the most unrecognized. There is a wide variety of information that can be found online detailing ways to identify these crimes. Many state and non-profit organizations offer resources to better educate the public on how to identify and report nursing home issues.

Here, we are going to identify some things to watch out for that could help identify nursing home neglect. First, if one notices that most of the residents at a nursing home, or even just a friend or loved one, are always exhibiting poor hygiene, this should be a red flag. Sometimes nursing homes can be understaffed, leading to neglect of simple tasks such as changing resident's bedding, brushing teeth, or bathing. Second, if the facility seems unsanitary, this is another red flag. Examples of this may be trays with old food sitting around, stains on blankets or furniture, or dirty bathroom areas. These are signs that should be brought to attention and addressed immediately, as they can cause infectious diseases to spread.

Valsartan recall growing and spurring additional investigations

A well-known drug used to treat hypertension and heart failure has recently been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration citing the discovery of a cancer-causing ingredient. Valsartan, which is the generic name for Diovan, has been prescribed around the world, with the most recent recall affecting 20 European nations, as well as the U.S. and Canada.

The recalled product was manufactured by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals of Linhai, China, and Zhejiang Tianyu Pharmaceuticals of Taizhou, China. Investigators discovered the presence of a known cancer-causing ingredient called nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA for short. During the investigation, it was also discovered that a third manufacturer, Hetero Labs Limited, in India, not only distributed products that contained the dangerous ingredient, but that tests also showed higher amounts of NDMA in products from that lab. The Indian Lab distributed as Camber Pharmaceuticals. This discovery has expanded the Valsartan recall significantly in that drugs produced by Camber Pharmaceuticals may also be repackaged and sold under other names. The investigation is ongoing, and the recall is expected to expand even further.

Consumer fraud series: High yield investment fraud

In the fifth and final installment of our consumer fraud series, we are going to discuss high yield investment fraud. Although it can happen to anyone, this type of fraud is more common among those in a higher income class. In addition, victims can be non-profits, charitable organizations, or even municipalities. The reason is that those individuals or organizations are more likely to show interest in a high yield investment opportunity.

So, what does "high yield" mean? A high yield investment in one in which the investor is promised a large return on investment. However, the financial instruments offered in these scams are fake, though they appear to be from a top world bank, also called a prime bank by the SEC. This means that they do not exist in the banking system and have been created by the scammer for the appearance of legitimacy. Therefore, when an investor hands over money and accepts these instruments, a scammer can then disappear with the money. The investor does not receive any kind of return and loses their initial investment. Often, that initial investment can be thousands of dollars, if not more.

Consumer fraud series: Fictitious or unauthorized banking

So far in our consumer fraud series we have learned about three different types of fraud: identity theft, phishing, and cashier's check fraud. We know that there are numerous ways scammers can steal information and use it for fraudulent purposes, and we have identified some specific scenarios in which the theft could take place. This week, we are going to focus on a fourth type of fraud known as fictitious or unauthorized banking.

A fictitious or unauthorized bank is one which is not chartered or authorized. In other words, they are fake banks created by scammers to lead a consumer into believing they are working with a trustworthy financial institution in an online or mobile transaction. These types of scammers are known to actually hack into a legitimate banking system.

Mold can be dangerous, but “toxic mold” is rare

Several military families recently filed suit against the companies that own Keesler Air Force Base properties in Biloxi, Miss. over the presence of so-called toxic mold. The suit alleges that the mold was not cleaned up correctly, and the issues that caused the mold were not properly addressed.

The families are charging the companies with fraud, gross negligence, breach of contract, conspiring to conceal dangerous conditions and other charges. They are seeking compensation for medical bills, moving expenses, punitive damages and attorney fees.

Consumer fraud series: Cashier's check fraud

In the third week of our consumer fraud series, we are going to talk about what is known as cashier's check fraud. This form of fraud is becoming increasingly prevalent due to the length of time it can take for a bank to determine that a cashier's check is fraudulent.

Because funds from the deposited check are often quickly available, a consumer has the time to withdraw the funds and send them to a scammer, or otherwise spend them prior to being alerted. Once the fraud is detected, the amount of the check is then charged back to the consumer's account, and they are responsible for the full amount.


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