Sometimes our quest for justice has not ended merely with the successful resolution of the lawsuit but has continued long afterwards in an attempt to prevent similar harm to others.
We believe, at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, that being a safety advocate is very much a part of our firm’s purpose. Efforts have been made by the firm’s attorneys not only to represent their clients in getting them full and just compensation, but also to become advocates for improving safety in aviation, commercial trucking, rail passenger safety, structure integrity, and prescription drug safety, among others.
Many of our firm’s attorneys have spearheaded, and participated in, campaigns that have led to safety improvements. Baum Hedlund attorneys have testified on at least eight occasions at state and federal levels regarding commercial transportation, building and drug safety and to a foreign government who invited a Baum Hedlund attorney to their country to testify about the risks of a certain U.S. manufactured medication which severely affected their people.
Some examples can be seen below:
Dedicated group of attorneys | Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, P.C.
Paul Hedlund and several of our clients testified before state legislators in a train crash investigation in order to improve train safety
The California State Assembly’s Committee on Commuter Rail Safety invited Paul Hedlund, attorney and mechanical engineer, to testify about how to improve passenger train safety in the wake of the January 2005 Metrolink derailment in Southern California. Mr. Hedlund played two test crash films created by the federal government in order to show improved crashworthiness for passenger cars. He also discussed push vs pull. “Pulling trains with locomotives is not a magic bullet. . . but it is hard to imagine that there would have been any deaths and injuries on Jan. 26 had the train been pulled,” The Los Angeles Times quoted Paul Hedlund.
Baum Hedlund and several clients testified before the FDA on three different occasions about the risk of suicide in children and adults taking antidepressants.
Several Baum Hedlund staff and clients attended three different antidepressant safety hearings held by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Baum Hedlund and several clients testified at each hearing about the risk of suicide in children and adults taking SSRI-antidepressants. Two hearings were held in 2004 by the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs and Pediatric Advisory Committees about the risk of suicide in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. After examining data from the clinical trials of antidepressants, the FDA concluded that the risk does, indeed, exist. Shortly thereafter, the FDA ordered manufacturers of more than thirty antidepressants to include a black box warning (the most severe warning) on their label stating that the drugs increase the risk of suicidal behavior in children and adolescents. The FDA also required that Patient Medication Guides be distributed to patients prescribed the drugs. Our firm and our clients testified a third time, in 2006, before the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee about the risk of suicide in adults. Testimony and evidence presented at this hearing resulted in the expansion of the black box warnings to young adults. We are doing what we can to ensure the suicide warning applies to everyone, regardless of age.
Michael Baum presents evidence of fraud to Taiwan’s hemophilia community.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Health urged Michael Baum to present evidence of fraud to their hemophilia community. After reading a quote by Michael Baum in the New York Times, Taiwan’s Ministry of Health invited him to their country for an urgent meeting. Officials wanted to see Baum Hedlund’s smoking gun documents showing that the U.S. manufacturers of hemophilia medication were, in fact, committing a fraud on Taiwan by knowingly urging doctors to prescribe HIV contaminated medication to their hemophilia community.
Baum Hedlund testified before the California State Senate on antidepressant drugs and suicide.
Baum Hedlund accepted an invitation from Senator Tom Torlakson to testify at the joint informational hearing of the California State Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Statewide Task Force on Youth about suicide and antidepressant medications. Senator Torlakson’s niece committed suicide after taking an antidepressant. The purpose of the hearing was to review the possible connection between suicide and antidepressant drugs.
Members of the House and Senate met with member of Baum Hedlund regarding the risks of antidepressants.
Baum Hedlund assisted Congressional Investigators from two separate Committee investigations looking into the safety of antidepressants. Two Congressional hearings were later held at which pharmaceutical executives and FDA officials were interrogated about their failure to protect the public health related to antidepressants and their association with suicidality.
The media films Paul Hedlund speaking out on a safety issue.
Other continuing safety efforts have included arranging for one of our clients and Paul Hedlund to testify before the California State Legislature regarding seismic safety after the death of our client’s son due to the collapse of a building known to be vulnerable to tremors during an earthquake.
A Baum Hedlund attorney testified at a special California State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing
On behalf of truck safety, at the request of a California State Senator, a Baum Hedlund attorney testified at a special California State Senate Transportation Committee hearing to probe events leading to a fatal trucking accident which killed our clients’ son. The Committee was investigating the safety concerns regarding Caltrans, a state agency, issuing a permit to truck company, to carry a load two inches higher than the overpass under which it would be traveling. When the truck began to travel under the overpass the large tank it was carrying was ripped from the truck as it struck the bottom of the overpass, knocking it down on top of the car traveling behind it, killing the car’s driver.
This sketch by safety expert, Byron Bloch showed the location of the bus’ gas tank beside the door, outside the chassis rails.
After we tried the last of the cases against Ford Motor Company arising out of the deaths of 24 children in Carrollton, Kentucky, we mailed packets of information about fuel tank placement to bus manufacturers, regulatory agencies and school transportation officials in all 50 states and Canada. We urged them to relocate the gas tanks to an unexposed position inside the frame.
Newer drain cover on the right has smaller holes, less risk.
Our firm arranged for our clients to participate in the recall campaign of defective drain covers in spas, hot tubs and whirlpool bathtubs after their daughter’s hair was caught in a drain causing her to drown. The manufacturer of the drain cover recalled 206,000 of the 6-inch plastic disks.
Baum Hedlund staff helped obtain legislation to provide $100,000 per family in humanitarian aid to thousands of families affected by HIV-contaminated hemophilia medication.
Once the legislation was passed in the form of the Ricky Ray Act, Baum Hedlund staff helped secure lobbying support which led to full funding for the act shortly thereafter. This financial assistance helped families who had been emotionally and economically devastated by the impact of AIDS on their lives.
Baum Hedlund helped advance the long term effort to amend the “Death on the High Seas Act.”
We also helped advance the long term effort to amend an unjust 80-year-old federal law, the “Death on the High Seas Act.” We asked all of our clients from the TWA 800, SwissAir 111 and EgyptAir 990 tragedies who were affected by this law to participate in a campaign, which we organized, to write Congress urging them to pass corrective legislation. Congress did so and the new law now provides more equitable treatment for families of passengers involved in international aviation disasters.