When you sign the papers at a nursing home to register a loved one in a nursing home, the last thing you expect is for them to be abused, neglected, or exploited. This is especially true when the nursing home is a well-known and skilled rehabilitation facility. Unfortunately, exploitation of nursing home residents is a real issue in our country, and it has been a serious issue of concern for the state of Indiana, as well.
Indiana Nursing Home Under Investigation
Just over a year ago, The Waters of Scottsburg, a facility that serves nearly 90 residents who require daily care, was under investigation due to nude photos surfacing of one of its residents. The facility released an official statement that said: “We immediately notified all proper authorities, conducted an internal investigation, and have taken other appropriate action.” Sadly enough, this probably did not make the family of the resident feel any better about what took place.
What happened was quite simple: nude photos of a resident were allegedly found on social media. However, there is not a simple explanation for this type of exploitation. What type of person could possibly take nude photos of a vulnerable elderly person and then post them on social media? According to the news station, as many as three employees of The Waters of Scottsburg were part of the investigation that was being handled by the Indiana Department of Health and the Scottsburg police department.
The Waters of Scottsburg said that the three nursing assistants were suspended. Since that incident, no new news has surfaced on the issue, despite the fact that the case was turned over to local prosecutors, who were in charge of making any decisions regarding any possible criminal charges. In a similar sickening story, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who worked at Asperion Care in Michigan City was criminally charged for posting a video of an elderly resident in the shower on Snapchat.
Snapchat Elderly Voyeurism
The CNA involved is not worth the mentioning of her name, and due to patient privacy, the patient’s name has been withheld from the news. The court documents stated that the video showed the 85-year-old victim naked in the shower while the CNA sprayed her with water. The CNA’s voice could be heard in the video saying, “look at this crazy…she doesn’t like taking showers.” The resident was a dementia patient who certainly deserved at least her dignity to be protected while in the care of a professional caretaker. When the CNA was confronted about the video, she told her supervisor that she “accidentally” posted the video on Snapchat and she only meant to snap a photo of the elderly patient’s face.
As the investigation continued, more evidence indicated that the CNA was not telling the truth. A screenshot of the video was procured by someone who showed it to supervisors of Asperion Care. The court record denotes that the screenshot included the elderly patient sitting naked on a chair in the shower, completely exposed, with a caption that basically said “She hates showers,” when we remove the unnecessary wording that was used.
“Each facility resident and employee should be free of any fear that he or she will be photographed or videotaped, or have his or her voice recorded, copied or transmitted improperly. Therefore, employees are prohibited from possessing or using, or assisting another person to possess or use a recording device while on the premises of the facility or while working for the facility.”
Another Recent Story of Disgust
As if the last two stories were not enough to let people know that this type of behavior is not acceptable and will be prosecuted, another news story popped up in Wisconsin just recently. Eau Claire police have charged two certified nursing assistants with felony counts for sharing a naked photo of another dementia patient, as well. One of the CNAs is charged with capturing and distributing a nude representation without consent and the other CAN is charged as a party to the crime.
According to the criminal complaint, both of the CNAs were working the night shift when they noticed that a male patient had fallen in the hallway. He was on the floor, his pants were down, and he was exposed. One of the CNAs decided at that moment to snap a photo of the dementia patient and shared it on social media. According to a witness, both of the CNAs found the scenario of the poor elderly man on the floor “hilarious.” The same witness says that one of the CNAs snapped a photo and sent it through Snapchat to her boyfriend.
While a forensic examination did not turn up the photograph, however a text message between the two defendants did confirm that the incident occurred. Both of the CNAs were fired by Azura Memory Care and face criminal charges, facing up to 3 ½ years in prison each and up to a $10,000 fine.
You do not have to be a certified nursing assistant to realize that these incidents are inappropriate and disgusting. CNAs are supposed to be an elderly patient’s advocate and caretaker, not the person who degrades and disgraces them. These three incidents are clear depictions of betraying the trust of patients. Anyone who works in a nursing home should ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect their patient’s rights, their dignity, and their privacy.
If a loved one has been exploited, neglected, or abused in an Indianapolis nursing home, you need to contact an dedicated Indianapolis nursing home attorney today to discuss your options. This type of behavior is not appropriate and someone needs to be held accountable for the embarrassment and emotional distress this has caused everyone involved. Contact us today online or call us for a free consultation.
GRANT COUNTY, Ind. – Attorneys for Kendra Shaw’s mother, Bobbie Sue Frazier, have filed a lawsuit alleging the Grant County Sheriff and Correctional Healthcare Companies were negligent in Shaw’s death, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.
Kendra Shaw, 25, had an acute asthma attack on May 7, while in the Grant County Jail for probation violation and theft.
She was taken off life support and died May 8 at a Fort Wayne hospital.
Attorneys allege the jail corrections officers failed to call the ambulance in time to save Shaw’s life.
“I think it’s a tragic case,” said Tim Rowe, attorney for Frazier. “It could have so easily been prevented.”
Grant County Jail policy states that when an inmate is having an “emergency medical situation” such as “serious breathing difficulties,” officers should administer first aid immediately, and a command officer should call for an ambulance.
Records and video obtained by the Call 6 Investigators show Shaw told jail staff at 3:33 a.m. on May 7 that she was having an asthma attack and couldn’t breathe.
The lawsuit alleges jail staff did not immediately call for an ambulance or contact the hospital when Shaw complained she couldn’t breathe.
Instead, officers took Shaw into the “barber shop” room to receive a breathing treatment. Shaw never made it through the first breathing treatment.
Instead she urinated herself, foamed at the mouth and stopped breathing, records show.
“After she lost consciousness there still seemed to be a delay before the ambulance was even called,” Rowe said. “I think instead of trying to give her another breathing treatment they should’ve called the ambulance.”
The lawsuit alleges jail staff did not call the ambulance until 3:53 a.m., 20 minutes after Shaw told jail staff she was having an asthma attack and couldn’t breathe.
“She had a serious medical problem,” said Rich Waples, attorney for Frazier. “The Sheriff’s department knew about it but didn’t adequately protect her from the consequences of it.”
Attorneys for Bobbie Sue Frazier also take exception to the fact that no medical personnel from Correctional Healthcare Companies ever examined Shaw after she announced she was having an asthma attack, and “no one measured her oxygen saturation level.”
Two days earlier, a CHC nurse measured Shaw’s oxygen saturation levels at a “dangerously low 90-percent”, but the nurse released Shaw back into the jail’s general population without treatment or a plan for additional measurements of her oxygen saturation levels, the lawsuit read.
“Very simple medical treatment in this case, and this young woman would still be alive,” Rowe said. “She had asthma attacks in the past but when it got so bad, she went to the hospital and always recovered by the next day. It wasn’t anything so acute or so bad it couldn’t be remedied by simple medical care from the hospital.”
The lawsuit alleges one of the corrections officers had been on the job for several months and had not yet received training on the jail’s procedures on how to respond to medical emergencies.
“When a person suffering from asthma is having an attack and difficulty breathing, every second counts in getting them appropriate treatment,” read the lawsuit.
Rowe said Frazier is heartbroken over the loss of her daughter.
“I’m not sure this is something she will ever get over,” said Rowe. “She struggles with it every day.”
Rowe said Shaw’s family should be compensated, but Rowe said the case is about more than money.
“This can prevent another death from happening in Grant County,” said Rowe. “We want justice in this case, justice for Kendra and justice for her family. Unfortunately, we can’t bring her back.”
Kenney attempted to reach the Grant County Sheriff and attorney Kyle Persinger for comment and has not heard back.
Kenney also attempted to reach Correctional Healthcare Companies for a response and has not heard back.
It appears they are now operating under a new name, Correct Care Solutions.
A federal court search shows the provider is facing dozens of lawsuits throughout the country.
KJRH, RTV6’s sister station in Tulsa, reported last year Correctional Healthcare Companies is facing at least 20 different lawsuits alleging mistreatment and civil rights violations by the health care provider.
MARION, Ind. – The Call 6 Investigators have exclusively obtained records showing what happened to Kendra Shaw, a 25-year-old inmate who died after a severe asthma attack inside the Grant County Jail.
Until now, family and friends had little information regarding the timeline leading to Shaw’s death.
Shaw had a history of asthma and had recently begun using drugs. She was arrested March 24 on a probation violation and theft charge and was taken to jail.
Friends and family said Shaw was trying to take a television from a store.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” said Sianna Messler, Shaw’s friend. “I don’t think anyone that ends up in jail really plans on ending up in jail. Life happens and things happen.”
After Shaw suffered the asthma attack May 7, she was taken off life support and pronounced dead the next day at a Fort Wayne hospital.
Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney filed a public records request with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office on May 20 and May 27 to find out what happened with Kendra Shaw and to obtain jail policies.
When the sheriff’s office did not provide records, Kenney filed a formal complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor.
On June 24, the sheriff’s office, through its attorney, issued an apology for not complying with the public records law and provided 42 pages of documents.
Kenney also requested video from the jail showing Shaw. That video was released after RTV6 paid $200 for copies of eight DVDs.
Friends of Shaw requested to see the video. After viewing it, they told Kenney jail staff did not do enough to help Shaw and that officers should have called the ambulance much sooner.
“I really can’t believe it,” said Messler. “That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. They acted like they did not have a care in the world.”
Friends told Kenney they were also shocked by what they call a lack of urgency among jail staff as Shaw remained unresponsive and eventually stopped breathing.
Sheriff Darrell Himelick and the sheriff’s office’s attorney have ignored or refused Kenney’s repeated requests to discuss what happened to Shaw.
Kenney has emailed, called and stopped by the sheriff’s office several times, but has been unsuccessful in getting Himelick to meet in person or over the phone.
“Thank you for the opportunity but due to the threat of potential litigation in this matter the Grant County Sheriff’s Department will not comment further on this matter,” said Kyle Persinger, attorney for the sheriff’s office, in an email to Kenney.
Shaw’s mother, Bobbie Sue Frazier, filed a tort claim against the sheriff’s office notifying them of her intent to sue for negligence.
Using jail records and the video, Kenney pieced together a timeline of what happened to Kendra Shaw. This is the first part of that timeline.
- May 5, about 10:30 a.m. — Kendra Shaw told jail staff she wanted to see the nurse because she woke up having an asthma attack and could not breathe. “She was monitored and advised that she wanted to return to the cell block,” according to a timeline submitted by Capt. Randy Albertson.
- May 5, 9:06 p.m. — Shaw called her husband and asked him to bring her breathing machine and medication to the jail.
- May 6, time unknown — Shaw’s husband brought a breathing machine and medication to the jail.
- May 6, about 10 a.m. — Shaw returned to see the nurse and agreed to daily breaking treatments in a room called the “barber shop.”
- May 6, 2:42 p.m. — Shaw received a breathing treatment and returned to her cell block.
- May 6, 8:35 p.m. — Shaw and another inmate went to the barber shop for their breathing treatments, according to jail records.
- May 6, 8:55 p.m. — Shaw used the jail phone to call her mother, telling her she was still having problems breathing. “She feels the nurse does not take her seriously and treats her like an idiot,” read jail documents.
- May 7, 3:33 a.m. — A corrections officer saw Shaw sitting on her bunk with labored breathing, and Shaw told the officer she was having an asthma attack.
- May 7, 3:38 a.m. — Video obtained by the Call 6 Investigators showed Shaw walking out of her cell and then sitting at a table. “She couldn’t breathe. You can see it in her face,” said Natalie Gann, another friend of Shaw, said as she watched the video.
- May 7, 3:42 a.m. — Kendra Shaw and four officers walked into the barber shop. The department provided no video from the barber shop, saying there is not a camera in that room.
Records show Cpl. Aaron Marden called a doctor, who instructed officers to give Shaw a breathing treatment about five minutes after the first. That’s when, documents indicated, Shaw became unresponsive.
According to officer narratives obtained by Kenney, Shaw urinated herself, foamed at the mouth and stopped breathing.
Shaw’s friends said they were frustrated they could not see what happened in the barber shop room, and friends said they were struck by a lack of urgency in the jail hallway.
“They were just walking nonchalantly,” said Messler.
“They were walking slow, and they should have been in a hurry,” said Gann (pictured). “You can tell they don’t care just by watching the video.”
About 3:54 a.m., 20 minutes after Shaw’s complaint of an asthma attack, jail staff called for an ambulance.
“I just can’t believe it. I can’t,” said Messler. “It’s their job to take care of all inmates.”
Grant County Jail policy obtained by RTV6 appears to state that when an inmate is having an “emergency medical situation” such as “serious breathing difficulties,” officers should administer first aid immediately, and a command officer should call for an ambulance.
Because the sheriff did not respond to inquiries from Kenney, it is unclear what the jail considers serious breathing difficulties and whether jail staff followed policy in Shaw’s case.
Gann said jail staff should have called an ambulance for Shaw the morning of May 5, when she first told them she had an asthma attack and asked to see the nurse.
“They should have taken her to the hospital,” said Gann.
The video shows that jail staff brought in a manual resuscitator at 3:54 a.m. and an automated external defibrillator (AED) at 3:56 a.m., and records indicate CPR was attempted.
“This officer hooked the AED to inmate Shaw,” read Marden’s narrative. “The AED stated that there wa(s) no shock available. CPR was then continued.”
- May 7, 4 a.m. — Paramedics arrived on the floor.
- May 7, 4:06 a.m. — The crew from the ambulance put Shaw on a stretcher, and paramedics attempted to revive her as she was taken down a hallway and in an elevator.
- May 7, 4:08 a.m. — Thirty-five minutes after her initial complaint of an asthma attack, Shaw left the jail in an ambulance bound for Marion General Hospital.
Shaw was later airlifted to a Fort Wayne Hospital, where she died at 10:47 p.m. May 8 at age 25.
“I just want to know what happened. What really happened in that room?” Gann said. “What aren’t they showing?”
Though Himelick and his attorney refused repeated requests to talk to RTV6 about the case, the Marion Chronicle-Tribune quoted Himelick as saying his jail staff did nothing wrong and that the situation was handled correctly.
In a May 21 email to Kenney, one of few emailed responses from the sheriff’s office, Himelick said, “I have no disciplinary action occurred reference this inmate’s death.”
Doctor: Asthma Must Be Taken Seriously
Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 3,404 people died from asthma in the United States in 2010, with about 6 percent of them falling in the 25-34 age group.
Dr. Mitchell Grayson, a board-certified allergist who studies asthma, told RTV6 that in an asthma attack, a person’s airways get narrower and narrower, which reduces the ability to get air out of the lungs.
“Basically, they’re being suffocated,” said Grayson. “They aren’t getting oxygen.”
Grayson said episodes can happen very slowly or very rapidly, but asthma is a chronic illness.
He said breathing treatments, such as albuterol, work to quickly open up airways, but it usually work for just a few hours.
“You never want to forget that asthma can kill, and from that standpoint, you want to be on top of any asthma attack,” said Grayson. “If breathing treatments aren’t working, they can’t speak, that’s the time to call 911.”
Grayson is not familiar with Shaw’s case, but said asthma attacks can get bad very quickly for some people.
“Because asthma can kill, you would obviously hope they would err on the side of calling 911 sooner rather than later,” Grayson said.
Corrections Experts: Jail Staff Responded Appropriately
Inspection Reports Show 6 County Jail Deaths So Far in 2014, Two in Grant County
“She was always smiling,” said Messler. “I just want to remember her as happy, the way she always was. I’m so sad she had to go through that.”
Friends and family are selling wristbands and doing events in an effort to raise money for Shaw’s headstone.
INDIANAPOLIS — A Central Indiana organization charged with protecting the most vulnerable children is facing disturbing accusations.
Attorneys filed suit Tuesday against Damar Services, a company that provides residential and treatment services for the developmentally disabled including autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain disorders and emotional and psychological illnesses.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of “A.C.”, a then 15-year old developmentally disabled girl who was sexually assaulted while in the care of Damar Services.
“In my 31 years, this is one of the most egregious cases I’ve ever filed suit on,” said Tim Rowe, attorney for A.C. “The victim had a history of abuse, foster homes, and eventually the courts said we’re going to trust Damar to take care of this lady, this young child.”
According to the suit, Wylok Stonebraker was an employee with Damar in 2012 when she was transporting A.C. in a Damar vehicle.
Stonebraker invited adult men to join her and encouraged them to engage in sexual misconduct with the developmentally disabled girl.
A.C. was raped by one of the men, Marcus Moorman while in the care of Damar Services, attorneys said.
“Kids can not consent to sex under Indiana law and a lot of these kids have behavioral issues, low IQs, so this wasn’t an issue of consent, this was an issue of rape,” said Rowe.
The lawsuit alleges it is Damar Services’ corporate policy for employees to not be alone with children in its charge.
Stonebraker also repeatedly engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with and in the presence of A.C. as well as other minors, including voyeuristic activities, according to the suit.
“They didn’t do a background check, they didn’t monitor her, they didn’t train her,” said Rowe. “They really violated the trust that the State of Indiana put in them to take care of her and help her.”
The lawsuit alleges Damar Services was negligent.
A similar lawsuit was filed earlier this year alleging Stonebraker molested a then 16 year old boy.
“There’s been a pattern at Damar that’s disturbing and I think these lawsuits bring out that something needs to be done,” said Rowe.
Both Stonebraker and Moorman were criminally charged, convicted and sentenced in Marion County.
Stonebraker is listed on Indiana’s Sex Offender registry , and she must register for life.
Rowe said Damar Services needs to be held accountable for failing to protect children.
“We have a victim who is going to need psychological counseling the rest of her life, that’s been emotionally abused,” said Rowe. “We feel a civil lawsuit will hold Damar responsible for what they’ve caused to this young woman’s life.”
Damar Services still provides residential services for the Indiana Department of Child Services, although the state did cancel one its home services contracts with Damar Services amid concerns about safety.
Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney stopped by Damar Services seeking comment on the lawsuit filed Tuesday, and was told the organization would not be commenting.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A series of high-profile teen suicides in recent years have prompted lawmakers, prosecutors and educators to address the growing problem of cyberbullying.
At a forum on Wednesday at Rutgers University, legal and policy experts said that state and federal laws are struggling to keep up with the dizzying pace of technological advances and the new kinds of online bullying they make possible. Tyler Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers before taking his own life in 2010 after learning that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, used a Web cam to spy on his sexual tryst with another man.
“You can do a lot of damage very quickly with these new technologies,” said defense lawyer Rubin Simins at Wednesday’s event. Simins represented Molly Wei, a friend of Ravi who was charged with helping him broadcast the video and avoided jail time in exchange for testifying. Ravi was convicted last year on 15 counts, including invasion of privacy and hate crimes, and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Both sides have appealed.
The case sparked a national debate over how aggressively cyberbullying should be prosecuted. In New Jersey, cyberbullying is not a crime. Prosecutors charged Ravi in part under the state’s hate crime law, known as bias intimidation. Retired New Jersey state Judge Glenn Berman, who presided over the case, said lawmakers told him after the trial they never envisioned the statute applying to that type of case.
The law, like hate crime statutes in most states, increases the potential jail sentence when attached to an underlying crime. Under the bias intimidation law, a jury can convict a defendant in two ways: by concluding that he or she targeted the victim out of bias, or by finding that the victim believed he or she had been targeted for that reason. The latter provision is “muddled,” Berman said, since it ignores the defendant’s intent.
In January, in an unrelated case, the state’s highest court agreed, ruling that provision was unconstitutional unless prosecutors can show the defendant intended to act out of bias. That could invalidate at least one count of conviction against Ravi on appeal, though the jury found he acted with knowledge or purpose for three other hate crime charges.
‘NO CLEAR LINE’
Brian Sinclair, who heads the computer crimes unit for the Bergen County prosecutor’s office in New Jersey, said it can be difficult to determine when cyberbullying rises to the level of a crime. “I don’t think a young person always understands what he’s doing when he hits send, post, tweet,” he said. The uncertainty extends to civil liability as well.
After the Clementi suicide, New Jersey passed an anti-bullying law that requires schools to develop protocols to address bullying, including cyberbullying, a move that several other states have followed or considered. That, however, could increase schools’ potential liability for bullying incidents if victims can show that their schools did not do enough to stop it, said Elizabeth Jaffe, a professor at John Marshall Law School who has written about bullying.
Last week, the parents of California teen Audrie Pott, who they said killed herself after classmates shared a photo of her being sexually assaulted, filed a notice that they intend to sue school officials for mishandling their daughter’s complaints. The officials claimed she never reported the bullying before or after the alleged assault. In 2011 California passed new laws that require schools to have policies for addressing bullying complaints, after a gay teenage boy who was bullied committed suicide. Emily Bazelon, a journalist who recently published a book on bullying, “Sticks and Stones,” said schools across the country are grappling with whether they have the authority to discipline students for conduct that occurs outside of school, and federal courts are divided on the issue. “Eventually, the Supreme Court is going to have to take one of these cases,” she said. “There is no clear line.”
A woman who was injured when a double-decker Megabus on its way from Chicago to St. Louis smashed into a concrete pillar is suing the bus line.
Yanxin “Amy” Zhou suffered injuries that left her “disabled and disfigured” in the accident near Litchfield last August, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. The suit does not specify her injuries.
In the crash on Interstate 55, a University of Missouri graduate student, Aditi Avhad, 25, originally a dentist from Mumbai, India, died. The crash injured dozens of people, and four or five had to be extricated, including Avhad.
Zhou is also suing Coach USA, which owns and operates Megabus; Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, a tire manufacturer; and the rookie bus driver, Preston Taylor. The 25-year-old driver trainee suffered injuries to his foot and face that required multiple surgeries.
A front tire blew on the afternoon of Aug. 2, 2012, and the bus careened out of control. Illinois State Police praised Taylor for not slamming on the breaks or steering in a way that would have caused the two-level bus to tip over.
“When I heard the tire pop, I immediately grabbed hold extra tight to the steering wheel and let go of the accelerator,” Taylor told a Tribune reporter at the time. “But I did not apply the brakes because I knew at highway speed it likely would have caused the bus to roll over.”
The week after the accident, a Megabus in downtown Chicago struck and killed 76-year-old Donna Halstead, a former secretary for now-deceased Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow.
Megabus operates routes in the eastern and central United States and is known for selling tickets for as little as $1. It’s also known to pick up customers on the side of the street instead of at a depot.
Megabus settled a suit for $5.1 million days after both fatal accidents last August with the family of a man who was struck and killed by one of the buses in 2010. The bus line did not admit wrongdoing in that settlement.
Zhou is asking for $50,000 in compensation for rehabilitation costs and emotional distress and the costs of the suit.
Name of Product: Gingham Bunny forks and spoons for babies
Hazard: The pink coloring on the bunny’s ears can come off, posing choking and ingestion hazards to babies.
Remedy: Refund, Replace
Consumer Contact: Reed and Barton Corp., at (800) 343-1383 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online atwww.reedandbarton.com and click on Recall Information in the gray box at the bottom of the page.
Units: About 4,000
Description: This recall involves infant flatware from the Gingham Bunny Flatware Collection, sold three ways; as just the infant feeding spoon, in a fork and spoon set, and in a three-piece set including the infant feeding spoon with a bowl and bib. The flatware is silver-colored, nickel-plated and has a bunny with pink coloring on its ears at the end of the handle.
Incidents/Injuries: Reed and Barton has received one report of the pink coloring on the bunny’s ears coming off the flatware. No injuries were reported.
Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled flatware away from infants and contact Reed and Barton for a full refund or free replacement flatware.
Sold at: Reed and Barton factory stores and various gift shops nationwide and online at www.reedandbarton.com from September 2012 through January 2013 for between $15 and $40.
Importer: Reed and Barton Corp., of Taunton, Mass.
Manufacturer: Winkuan Metals Technology Co. Ltd., of China
Manufactured in: China
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about your experience with the product onSaferProducts.gov.
CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @OnSafety or by subscribing to CPSC’s free e-mail newsletters.
CPSC Consumer Information Hotline
Contact us at this toll-free number if you have questions about a recall:
800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054)
Times: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET; Messages can be left anytime
Call to get product safety and other agency information and to report unsafe products.
Please use the phone numbers below for all media requests.
Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800
SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
The family of a teenager killed while working at a marina in North Carolina in 2008 won a $1.5 million jury award against the manufacturer of equipment that it continued to use even after it was banned.
Nate Coppick, 19, was refueling an 80-foot charter boat at the Westport Marina on Lake Norman, using a fuel nozzle with a latch that held the nozzle open. The nozzle malfunctioned and guzzled out 30 gallons of overflowing gas, causing an explosion that killed Coppick.
His parents sued Petroleum Equipment and Services, the company that makes the fuel nozzle. They also sued the boat owner and marina owner, but settled out of court before trial.
During the trial against the manufacturer, the company argued that it had replaced all its nozzles with new ones in 2006, but the marina kept the old nozzle as a spare. The company blamed the marina for the worn out nozzle and for improperly installing the nozzle, suggesting that the marina was trying to save money instead of waiting for the company to send a new one.
But the lawyer for the dead teenager’s parents, Jason White, told jurors that the company ignored a 2002 state ban on nozzles with hold-open latches by continuing to supply the marina with the banned product.
“It was illegal, and they did it over and over and over again,” White said. “They’re negligent, no question about it.”
The jury of four women and eight men agreed, finding that the company knowingly put people in danger by installing a product outlawed at marinas and awarding $1.5 million to Coppick’s family.
His father, Richard, said after the verdict that the family accomplished their goal of finding out the truth.
“It’s a relief,” he said. “But the pain is always going to be there.”