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Closings & Delays Due to Storm - Tuesday 07.03.12

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Status of Area Closings and Delays on Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Glenville State College All Closed
Gilmer County CourthouseAll Closed


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Braxton Woman Blames Dollar General for Injuries

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The WV Record Reports:


A Braxton County woman is suing Dollar General after she claims she was injured while in one of its stores.

Dolgencorp is doing business as Dollar General.

On June 12, 2010, Opal Fox was at Dollar General when she slipped on water that had accumulated in one of the aisles and sustained injuries, according to a complaint filed June 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Fox claims the hazard imposed by the accumulated water was due to the defendant’s negligence in failing to provide for a reasonably safe place of business.

As a result of the defendant’s negligence, Fox sustained injuries to her left knee, great pain of body and mind and mental anguish and distress, according to the suit.

Fox is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Sean W. Cook.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1076

~~  Kyla Asbury - WV Record ~~

Analysis: Why Chief Justice Roberts Saved President Obama’s Healthcare Law

The Gilmer Free Press

In the end, it all came down to Chief Justice John Roberts, the sphinx in the center chair, who in a stunning decision wove together competing rationales to uphold President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan.

Roberts’ action instantly upended the conventional wisdom that he would vote with his four fellow conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and undercut the agenda of a Democratic president, who as a senator in 2005 had opposed Roberts’ appointment to the bench.

But Thursday’s extraordinary conclusion to the bitterly fought healthcare battle was quite ordinary in some ways. Roberts hewed to a traditional Supreme Court principle that if the justices can find any constitutional grounds on which to uphold a law, they should do so. The 57-year-old chief justice also followed a stated principle of his own: narrowly deciding cases and trying to preserve the integrity of the judiciary in polarized Washington.

While he has voted consistently with the conservative bloc on social issues, such as abortion rights and racial policies, Roberts in his public remarks has suggested that he seeks, as chief, to transcend an ideological label. He routinely refers to the court’s place in history and has bristled at polls and public commentary that suggest the high court acts in the same political realm as the two elected branches of government.

Indeed, in his comments during oral arguments in the healthcare case, Roberts hinted that he could be open to siding with the government. He expressed concern that the court over which he presides might be seen as ignoring more than 75 years of precedent and rolling back U.S. law to the New Deal era. The last time the Supreme Court struck down a major act of Congress was in 1936, when the court invalidated a federal law that limited work hours and prescribed minimum wages for coal workers.

“He is positioning the court as the one, competent, principled institution in Washington,“ said Pamela Karlan, a Stanford University law professor. “The chief justice’s opinion is designed to appear thoughtful, measured. He is in this for the long haul.“


DEFYING HISTORY

As the lone conservative standing with four liberals, Roberts defied recent history, most people’s expectations, and the deepest held hopes of the right-wing and Tea Party opponents of the law. He also rejected the prevailing view of Republican politicians, who had been his strongest backers when President George W. Bush nominated him five years ago.

“The court avoided, despite an enormous amount of pressure to invalidate this law, staining itself as excessively partisan,“ said Bradley Joondeph, a law professor at Santa Clara University. “Think of the people who supported Chief Justice Roberts, who put him on the court, who were rooting for him.“

On the Roberts court, the swing-vote role has often been played by Justice Anthony Kennedy, not the chief himself. For example, Kennedy, a conservative appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, was crucial to its 1992 decision to uphold the right to abortion. Thursday’s case marked the first time that Roberts joined the liberal bloc as the deciding fifth vote in a major case.

On Thursday, Kennedy fell in with the conservatives and read their joint dissent. In it, he took a swipe at Roberts’ claim that the court was acting cautiously. “The court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty,“ Kennedy wrote. “It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching.“


A PYRRHIC VICTORY

Roberts did hand the conservatives a pyrrhic victory. He rejected the Obama administration’s main argument that the core of the law, a mandate that requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty, was covered by Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. Roberts said that power, while broad, does not extend to “inactivity,“ such as the choice not to buy insurance.

Whether this apparent limiting of the Commerce Clause will hinder Congressional power in the future remains to be seen. In their briefs and arguments, both sides characterized the health insurance mandate as distinctive, and it is unclear whether another Congressional regulation could be struck down under the Roberts “inactivity” rationale. Roberts’ judgment on the Commerce Clause issue was endorsed by fellow conservatives Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

But in turning to another constitutional ground on which to uphold the mandate, Congress’ taxation power, Roberts embraced the Obama administration’s secondary argument - and delivered a victory to the President. Roberts reasoned that even though Congress had shied away from calling the penalty for not buying insurance a “tax,“ it effectively is one.

Roberts stressed that the court was not endorsing the administration’s approach. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass on its wisdom or fairness,“ he said.

As he read excerpts from the momentous decision Thursday, Roberts seemed to downplay the drama of the morning. His voice was steady and even. He kept to his script. There were few rhetorical flourishes. He occasionally looked out at the spectators. Among them was Justice John Paul Stevens, a liberal who had served with Roberts until he retired two years ago at the age of 90.

Following the usual decorum in the white-marble and crimson-draped room, the nearly 300 people listening to the chief justice gave no audible response. Roberts then named the justices who had joined him in various parts of the decision, and those who had not. All told, it took about 20 minutes.

G-otcha™: Massachusetts Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Linn, WV Sex Case

The Gilmer Free Press

The Massachusetts woman accused of posing as a boy and crossing state lines to prey on a Linn, West Virginia girl has pleaded not guilty.

Twenty-five-year-old Carissa Hads of Quincy, Massachusetts was indicted last week on one count of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

She entered a plea Thursday, June 28, 2012 before U.S. Magistrate John Kaull, who ordered her held until trial.

Jury selection is set for Monday, September 24, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley in Clarksburg, WV.

Investigators say Hads pretended to be a 17-year-old boy and began an online relationship with the victim in 2010.

She visited the teen at least three times and had a sexual encounter with her in February.

Investigators say her disguise included a back brace to cover her chest.

06.29.2012
CommunityGilmer CountyLinnCourt NewsNewsArrests

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ODC Withdraws Motion to Suspend Lewis’ License

The Gilmer Free Press

The WV Record Reports:


A Morgantown attorney accused of shooting and wounding a homeless man at his camp in Clay County will, for now, be allowed to continue practicing law.

The day following his June 13 arrest on charges of wanton endangerment and malicious wounding, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the arm of the state Supreme Court that investigates attorney misconduct, petitioned the Court for the immediate suspension of Hiram C. Lewis IV’s license. In its petition, ODC said Lewis’ “current incarceration creates a clear disability to represent and protect his clients’ interest at this time.“

“At this time, [Lewis] poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public at this time.“

Along with the suspension, ODC asked the court to appoint an attorney to act as trustee for Lewis’ clients. The next day the Court granted ODC’s motion, and ordered Chief Clay Circuit Judge Jack Alsop to appoint the trustee.

Later, the Court scheduled a hearing on Aug. 7 to allow Lewis to contest the suspension.

However, the Court on June 27 announced it granted a follow-up motion by ODC to withdraw its petition and cancel the Aug. 7 hearing. The petition came as a result of Lewis’ release from the Central Regional Jail in Sutton after posting a $70,000 bond.

Despite withdrawing its motion, ODC said it is still considering bringing disciplinary action against Lewis relating to his actions that day.

Since his arrest, Lewis, who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2004 and U.S. Senate in 2006, has maintained he shot Steven Bogart, a homeless veteran he befriended shortly after moving to his camp in Procious in early June, in self-defense following an altercation between them. At his preliminary hearing on June 19, Lewis testified the altercation was a result of Bogart becoming agitated at Lewis telling him to turn down the music he was playing because it was disturbing a neighbor.

According to Lewis, after the two exchanged words inside the cabin, Lewis ordered Bogart outside to the screened in porch where Bogart was residing. When Bogart kicked in the door, and assaulted him, Lewis said he used a pistol to shoot him in the knee.

Lewis’ case is awaiting presentation before the Clay County grand jury.

~~  Lawrence Smith - The WV Record  ~~

Governor Tomblin Issues Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision on Federal Health Care

The Gilmer Free Press

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling to uphold the individual insurance requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA).

“We know what the law is but as I’ve said before, I will continue to do what is best for West Virginia. We all know health care costs continue to rise and our health care system must be more efficient. We’re going to review the Supreme Court’s ruling, and work with our federal delegation on how we move forward.”

McKinley Reacts to Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding Bulk of ObamaCare

The Gilmer Free Press

Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) is criticizing today’s decision in upholding President Obama’s health care plan.  The nation’s highest court handed down the decision just minutes ago in Washington, D.C.

“I am disappointed the Supreme Court upheld a health care plan that clearly goes against our Constitution,” said Rep. McKinley.  “Not only is ObamaCare a bad policy that has increased healthcare costs, exploded the deficit and hurt small businesses, it is based on dubious Constitutional authority.”

ObamaCare costs America $1.76 trillion over its first 10 years and adds 17 new taxes or penalties.  In addition, it will punish small businesses with more red tape and the employer mandate will cause the elimination of 1.6 million jobs, with 66% of those coming from small businesses.

“We will continue our fight to fully repeal ObamaCare,” said Rep. McKinley.  “All Americans should have the right to make their own health care choices. Restricting choice and punishing individuals and employers is the wrong way to reform health care, whether the court agrees or not.“

“Once ObamaCare is fully repealed, we will not rush into the same mistakes made by President Obama and the Democrats,” said Rep. McKinley. “We need to listen to the American people to get health care reform right, and we should take the time to do so.”

The court was divided on a number of provisions in the health care law.

Manchin Statement on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

The Gilmer Free Press

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued the following statement about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care law.

“We should all recognize that the health care challenges that many West Virginians and Americans face are not going to go away unless Congress takes additional action to repair this bill. Now that the Court has ruled, we can move forward with fixing what is wrong with this bill and saving what is right. I have always been determined to reduce the burden on states from the Medicaid expansion, and this ruling affirms my position – and makes clear that states must have the flexibility to live within their means by determining Medicaid eligibility as each state sees fit. I have always said one size doesn’t fit all.

“In addition, I believe there are several parts of this bill that are good for West Virginians: especially ending discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, improving access to preventive care and eliminating the prescription drug donut hole for seniors. Looking ahead, we must work to find common ground on the individual mandate, which doesn’t make sense to West Virginians. I am determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with a solution.”

OddlyEnough™: Court Video Details Angry Outburst of WV Judge during Divorce Proceeding

A judge’s rant during a court proceeding in Putnam County is drawing attention after it was posted to YouTube this week.

The video is court surveillance from a May 23rd divorce proceeding.  Hurricane Pastor Arthur Hage and his estranged wife are before Family Court Judge William Watkins for a hearing over the pending sale of their home.

As the proceeding gets started, Judge Watkins addresses Hage and grows increasingly angry over a story posted to an internet news site which featured a picture of the judge’s home.

“Mr. Hage if you say one word out of turn, you’re going to jail,“ Watkins starts his address.

......  Now You be the Judge ......

Judge Watkins then proceeds to berate Hage over the pictured and the negative attention it’s drawn to his family.

“A picture of my home, on the front page, SHUT UP! DON’T EVEN SPEAK,“ Watkins can be heard screaming on the video. “My wife is disabled and you.. you disgusting piece of ...“

Watkins says his windows were broken and his home vandalized after the picture was posted. He holds Hage personally responsible.

Eventually, Watkins says he’s so angry he will recuse himself from the case.  However, he reconsiders and continues with the hearing.  Now that a month has passed, Watkins has removed himself from the case and it’s been assigned to another judge.

Officials with the Judicial Investigation Commission are aware of the video and have watched it. However, whether they’ll investigate the judge’s actions are unclear.  Hage says he’s filed several complaints with the commission about Watkins during his divorce case.

G-otcha™: Lewis County Resident Enters Plea to Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence

The Gilmer Free Press

An 18 year old Lewis County, West Virginia, resident entered a plea of guilty on June 26, 2012, in United States District Court in Elkins before Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that: CHRISTOPHER BILLS entered a plea of guilty to “Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.”

BILLS was charged with using the firearm during the robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Weston, West Virginia.

The charge stems from a robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Weston, West Virginia, on November 27, 2011.

BILLS, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zelda E. Wesley and was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 06.26.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over his motion day on Monday, June 25, 2012 in Gilmer County finishing before Noon.


•  Two fugitives waived extradition back to their respective states.

Juan Carlos Gomez (who required an interpreter) waived to return to Texas and Jason Lee McAdoo waived to return to his state of Virginia.

Both defendants were represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.


When Judge Facemire called the criminal docket for the July term of Court he directed the Clerk to reissue warrants for 25 persons who were not present, some of the cases date back to the year 2000.

Several cases were set for trial as follows:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Charles Emerson

He is represented by Kevin Duffy of Clay.

Case is set for trial on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Gary Ferrell

He is now represented by Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway.

Case is set for trial on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 and his pretrial is set for Monday, August 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Tonya Ramsey

She is now represented by Christina Flanigan.

Case is set for 2nd trial on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Jimmie Glen Stewart

He is now represented by hired attorney, Steve Nanners

Case is set for 3rd trial on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Catherine McGhee

Case is set for trial on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM with pre-trial on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

She is represented by Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway also.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Alicia Nichole Wine

Case is set for plea hearing on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

She is represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Sundee Honaker

Case is set for plea hearing on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

Her attorney is David Karickhoff of Sutton.

 

•  One juvenile case was set for Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 9:00 AM.


•  Another juvenile is set for hearing on Friday, July 06, 2012 at 9:00 AM.


•  Another juvenile case was dismissed.


•  Several other juveniles were set for Monday, September 24, 2012 at 9:05, 9:10, 9:15 and 9:20 AM.

 


•  State of West Virginia vs. Cason Jones

He was before the Court for expungement and was granted by the Court.

 

•  A civil case was reset for Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM due to party failing to appear.

 

•  A wedding was performed between Rose Greenlief and Jeff Harper after the Judge completed his docket.

 

Chief Judge Jack Alsop appeared in Gilmer County on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 with the petit jury reporting to try one or two criminal cases.

After discussion between the prosecutor and defense attorney, Judge Alsop released the jurors to call back on Wednesday regarding a final trial set for June 28, 2012.


Then he took 2 pleas as follows:


•  State of West Virginia vs. Shane Posey

He pled to failure to register as a sex offender and will be sentenced Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM.

He was represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.

 

•  State of West Virginia vs. Timothy Furr

He pled to attempted burglary and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana).

Fur was represented by Adkins of Sissonville and will also be sentenced on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM.

 

•  Also Brittany Thompson, a witness, failed to appear after being duly subpoenaed and served.

Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Hough asked for a rule to show cause to be issued against her and the clerk issued it returnable for Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM for her to explain to the Court why she failed to appear.

06.27.2012
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Gilmer County Family Court Report – 06.22.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited recently granted a divorce between Heather Yeager (26) of Jane Lew, WV who divorced Joseph Yeager (39) of Cox’s Mills, WV on 06.22.2012.

Gilmer County Receives $37K Grant

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, the administrative agency for the Court Security Fund Grant Program, has informed the Gilmer County Commission that it will be the recipient of a $37,676.00 grant.

The grant serves the purpose of enhancing the county court security.

These upgrades will help to make Gilmer Counties Magistrate Courts, Family Courts, and Circuit Courts safer, as well as courthouse employees and county citizens.

WV Supreme Court Weighs in on Medicaid Recovery

The Gilmer Free Press

A divided West Virginia Supreme Court has awarded the state’s Medicaid program a somewhat larger reimbursement from a medical malpractice settlement.

The Department of Health and Human Resources sought to recover around $289,000 spent on behalf of a severely brain-damaged child after his family received the $3.6 million settlement.

A circuit judge in 2010 instead awarded around $79,000. This week’s ruling increased that amount to $96,000 minus lawyer fees and costs.

Chief Justice Menis Ketchum and Justice Margaret Workman issued separate dissenting opinions.

Each said that as Medicaid will continue to cover the child, the program should be allowed to recover future costs.

Both also urged the Legislature to strengthen state laws governing Medicaid reimbursements.

Ketchum wrote that Thursday’s ruling will cost West Virginia millions of dollars annually.

ELECTION COMPLAINT-DISCLOSURE: WV Judge Voids Elections Complaint Gag Law

The Gilmer Free Press

A West Virginia judge has ruled that someone accused of violating elections law can rebut the allegations publicly.

Currently WV law threatens anyone who discloses an elections complaint with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and jail time.

But Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom says that blanket gag order is an overly broad restriction of speech.

He ruled the law unconstitutional in a Monday order.

As a result, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said on Wednesday that she will start confirming whether an investigation is underway.

G-otcha™:Massachusetts Woman Charged With Traveling to WV to Have Sex with a Minor in Linn, WV

The Gilmer Free Press

A woman from Massachusetts has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly traveling to West Virginia to have sex with a minor, according to United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II.

CARISSA HADS, age 25, of Quincy, Massachusetts (both pictures), was named in a one count indictment this week charging her with “Traveling in Interstate Commerce with the Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct.”

The indictment charges that on February 23, 2012, HADS traveled from Massachusetts to North Central West Virginia to have sex with a minor.

Court documents indicate that HADS posed as an 18-year old man on a social media website and also took steps to change her appearance in order to deceive the victim as to her true identity.

HADS met the alleged victim online in 2010 and the two communicated for over a year before the first in-person meeting took place.

HADS traveled at least three times from Massachusetts to visit the alleged victim, and was arrested at the Pittsburgh International Airport by F.B.I. agents on May 25, 2012 on one of her visits to the area.

A federal magistrate judge has ordered that HADS be detained pending trial after finding that she is danger to the community as well as a flight risk.

If convicted, HADS faces up to 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

HADS is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

“The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is to be commended in how it conducted this investigation,” said Ihlenfeld.  “After the tip was received immediate steps were taken to ensure the safety of the victim and to make sure that the suspect was held accountable.”

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn A. Morgan, Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Gilmer Free Press
06.20.2012
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West Virginia Supreme Court to Take Up Hiram Lewis Case

The Clay County grand jury is the next stop for felony charges against former statewide political candidate Hiram Lewis but he now faces possible discipline from the state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court announced late Tuesday that it has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, August 07, 2012 in the case Office of Disciplinary Counsel vs. Lewis.

Hiram Lewis, an attorney, was arrested on June 13, 2012 on malicious wounding and wanton endangerment charges.

A Clay County magistrate heard the case Tuesday and forwarded the charges.

Lewis, age 41, has not denied shooting Steve Bogart, age 53, last week at a house in Procious, but he says he was protecting himself.

Lewis took the stand in his own defense Tuesday.

Lewis was a candidate for state Attorney General in 2004 and 2008 and the U.S. Senate in 2006.

He remains in the Central Regional Jail.

His bail has been lowered to $70,000.

The next meeting of the Clay County grand jury is set for Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

Imprisonment Status:  Pre-Trial Felon
Full Name: Lewis,  Hiram  Carson
Height: 5’  10”
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birth Date: 01.15.1971
Gender: Male
Booking Date: 06.13.2012
Facility: Central Regional Jail
Imprisonment Status: Pre-Trial Felon

Offender Court Order Information

Court Info Number Issuing Agency Location
12F CLAY COUNTY - Bail Amount: $70.000.00

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 06.13.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over Family Court on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 and heard several matters.

He divorced:


•  Polly Ann Hensley (51) of Rosedale, WV from Anthony Hensley (43) of NC.


•  Diana Lynn Holmes (42) of Sand Fork, WV divorced Joshua Glen Holmes (33) also of Sand Fork, WV.


•  One divorce case involving Lori and Steven Carter was dismissed.


•  Another divorce case involving Alyssa and Brent Waddell was continued until Wednesday, July 11t, 2012.


•  Another divorce case was set between Robin Schimmel and James Schimmel

But both parties have lawyers so no paperwork was received.

Law Firm Files DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit on Behalf of Gilmer County, WV Man

The Gilmer Free Press

National Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Law Firm Files DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit on Behalf of Gilmer County, WV Man

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured by defective medical devices, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a West Virginia man who suffered pain and elevated cobalt levels, allegedly due to his DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant, which was used in conjunction with a metal “Ultamet” liner. The suit was filed on June 6th in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Case No. 3:12-cv-01757-N) and named DePuy Orthopaedics and parent company Johnson & Johnson as Defendants.

According to the complaint, the Plaintiff, a resident of Gilmer County, West Virginia, received the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant around June 2010. Allegedly, the Plaintiff developed injuries and complications due to the defective implant, but was initially unaware of this causal relationship due to the Defendant’s inadequate warnings. The plaintiff discovered the link between his injuries and the implant in fall of 2010, the complaint states. The defective and faulty nature of the Pinnacle allegedly caused significant pain and elevated cobalt levels. The lawsuit alleges past, present and future physical and mental pain and suffering along with past, present and future medical, hospital, rehabilitative and pharmaceutical expenses, lost wages, and other related damages.

According to Parker Waichman LLP, the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant is meant to mimic the ball-and-socket mechanism of the hip joint in patients who suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis (AVN), fracture and other degenerative conditions. It consists of a femoral stem attached to a metal head that rotates inside a titanium acetabular cup. The inside of the cup is lined with a plastic, ceramic or cobalt-chromium liner; the latter is branded as the “Ultamet.” When the Pinnacle is used with the Ultamet metal liner, it is known as a metal-on-metal hip implant.

According to the complaint, the DePuy Pinnacle and other metal-on-metal hip implants were able to circumvent adequate testing due to an approval process known as the 510(k). The 510(k) route allows devices onto the market without clinical evidence to prove its safety or efficacy, so long as manufacturers can argue that it is “substantially equivalent” to a previously approved device, referred to as a “predicate.”  DePuy managed to gain clearance for Pinnacle to by citing a previous metal-on-metal hip implant as a predicate.

The lawsuit alleges that if the Defendants had properly tested the Pinnacle to begin with, then complications such as metallosis, biological toxicity and an early and high failure rate would have been apparent. The suit also claims that the cobalt and chromium ions that accumulate in patients can lead to metallosis, pseudotumors and other serious conditions. The lawsuit alleges that the Pinnacle has problems similar to the DePuy ASR hip implant, which was recalled in August 2010 after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales revealed a failure rate of 13 percent (1 in every 8 patients) in five years. According to the complaint, over 1,300 Pinnacle-linked adverse events have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  [depuy.com/asr-hip-replacement-recall]

Since DePuy’s global recall, metal-on-metal hips have come under greater scrutiny. In February, the British Medical Journal published an exposé that criticized manufacturers and regulators for potentially exposing hundreds of thousands of metal hip recipients to dangerous complications. The Lancet followed next month, with a study demonstrating a failure rate of 6 percent in five years among metal-on-metal hip patients. The authors concluded that the devices should no longer be used. The suspected harmful effects associated with metallic debris were strengthened last month, when the Journal of Arthroplasty found that adverse local tissue reactions increased significantly with corrosion at the head-taper junction.

The most recent study, published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, discovered pseudotumors in nearly 40 percent of metal-on-metal hip recipients. Metal particles were again linked to adverse effects in this study, as the incidence of pseudotumors increased fourfold when serum cobalt levels exceeded five micrograms per liter. [bjj.boneandjoint.org.uk/content/94-B/6/755.abstract]

The effects associated with metal-on-metal hips have certainly not gone unnoticed by regulators. In late February, Europe’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued updated guidelines for the devices, advising doctors to perform blood ion tests, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Metal Artefact Reduction Sequence (MARS) as needed. Last May, the FDA asked 21 manufacturers to study the effects of metal-on-metal implants on patient health. On June 27 and 28, 2012 the agency’s Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation and Devices Panel will meet to discuss the pros and cons of all-metal hips. [http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm

Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal consultations to victims of DePuy Pinnacle and other metal-on-metal hip implant injuries. If you or a loved one experienced premature failure of your implant or other health problems associated with a DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant or other metal-on-metal hip implant, please contact their office by visiting the firm’s DePuy hip implant injury page at http://www.yourlawyer.com. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1.800.LAW.INFO (1.800.529.4636).

For more information regarding defective hip implant lawsuits and Parker Waichman LLP, please visit: http://www.yourlawyer.com or call 1.800.LAW.INFO (1.800.529.4636).

Contact:
Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney
800.LAW.INFO
800.529.4636
http://www.yourlawyer.com

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 06.13.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Chief Judge Jack Alsop appeared in Gilmer County at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 and heard 3 juvenile cases which were then reset for Monday, August 13, 2012 at 10:15, 10:30 and 10:45 AM.

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