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Lawsuit Blames Defective Trinity Guardrail Amputated Man's Leg

Watch James Morris discuss Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit

ABC Team 10 News has uncovered a lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court that claims a man was badly injured when he was impaled by a guardrail in San Marcos.

The suit, filed by 26-year old Andy Weidemann, claims the guardrail was defective and the manufacturer, the City of San Marcos and other government entities knew or should have known it could cause injuries.

Read the Lawsuit : Andrew Weidemann -v- Trinity Highway Products, LLC (pdf)

Weidemann spent most of his life involved in sports. He played football all four years of high school. He played softball in an "old man's" league. He went water-skiing, snowboarding, anything to enjoy outdoor exercise. That was until last summer when Weidemann was involved in a horrific crash.

It happened on Twin Oaks Valley Road, near Cal State San Marcos. Weidemann recently graduated and had been out celebrating with friends. It was 2 a.m. on June 22, 2015.

"I woke up and I was down an embankment and I looked down and I saw that my legs were pretty much mutilated. My right leg, the calf, was pretty much hanging off the bone and there was a lot of blood," said Weidemann.

A length of guardrail sliced through the front end of his car, and through Weidemann's leg.

"I was really scared...really, really scared. I was fearing for my life because I saw how much blood I was losing," Weidemann recalled.

His mangled car was in a ravine nearly 300 feet from the road. Weidemann's cell phone lay somewhere in the bushes. He wondered whether anyone would find him.

A half hour later, fire crews arrived. "They were calming me down," Weidemann said. "They were telling me things were going to be all right, and they were there with me... I was still afraid. I knew it was a severe accident and the injuries were bad."

They used the jaws of life to cut Weidemann from his crushed car and rushed him to the hospital.

"I was in the operating room and I remember the doctor telling me that 'we have to amputate your leg. There's nothing we can do.'" Weidemann was devastated. "The facts hit me. I won't be walking ever again."

After six surgeries, Weidemann believes he will walk again. A metal plate and several pins patched his left leg back together. It is a patchwork of scars, and there is pain, but Weidemann has begun to slowly put weight on that leg.

The next step is a prosthesis for his right leg.

Weidemann isn't talking about the lawsuit filed by his attorney, Jim Morris. Morris is part of the Texas-based law firm that's filed a total of six lawsuits against the maker of the guardrail, Trinity Industries.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Weidemann claims Trinity, the City of San Marcos, San Diego County, and the State of California were negligent for installing the guardrail, saying they "knew or should have known there was a problem with their unilateral, unapproved modification of its guardrail and end terminal."

The lawsuit specifically mentions the ET Plus guardrail end-terminal, which in 2015 was the subject of a federal lawsuit. Trinity was ordered to pay more than $600 million for making false statements to the government about modifications to the ET Plus over a decade ago.

Although there have been several claims that the modified ET Plus maims or kills people instead of protecting them in crashes, to date, no court has ruled Trinity was negligent in a crash case.

A Team 10 investigation in the days after Weidemann's crash revealed the end terminal was a Trinity product, but was not an ET Plus.

We asked Morris if that would negate the claims in Weidemann's lawsuit. "They can deny that it's an ET Plus and discovery will shine a light on whether or not they're correct about that or not," he said. " What we know is that the guardrail behaved like an ET Plus as modified, because if you've seen the photographs of Mr. Weidemann's car, clearly the guardrail is going straight through his cabin, and that's what amputated his leg."

A spokesman for Trinity disagreed. Jeff Eller questioned whether the lawsuit is viable, saying it won't stand up in court from a factual standpoint.

“If it's not an ET Plus, then his lawsuit doesn’t have merit. It's either an ET Plus or It’s not. At this point, we have reasonable evidence to say that it does not appear to be an ET Plus, and we’re going to be making that fact known to the court at the appropriate time," said Eller.

Eller called the ET Plus "the most crash-tested end terminal system on the roads today. It has an unbroken chain of approval and eligibility by the federal government."

Safety advocate Josh Harman, who is a critic of the modified ET Plus, visited the crash site with Team 10 just days after the crash. He said the ET Plus wasn't in use at the site when Weidemann crashed. He said the type of end unit installed by the City of San Marcos was also dangerous because it had no break-away capabilities.

Team 10 contacted the City of San Marcos for a response to the lawsuit. A spokesperson said a statement would be made available, but that didn't happen. Both a spokesperson for San Diego County and for CalTrans declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The collision report filed by a San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy said Weidemann was driving 90 miles an hour just before the crash. After the crash, he was tested for intoxication. Weidemann tested over the legal limit, and was charged with DUI. A spokesman from the San Diego County District Attorney's office said Weidemann pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of DUI and was sentenced to five years probation.

Weidemann is now studying to become a substitute teacher while he recovers from the crash. He'd like to be a coach or a P.E. teacher.

Weidemann said he now appreciates the little things he once took for granted like walking, or being able to go to the bathroom unassisted. His advice for others who find themselves dealing with serious injuries is know that you're not alone. Reach out to others with the same disabilities for advice and comfort, as he has.

Courtesy of KGTV San Diego : ABC 10 News

James Morris Discusses Johnson & Johnson $72 Million Cancer Lawsuit

A jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who claimed she developed cancer after using the company’s baby powder.

Jacqueline Fox, of Tarrant, Alabama, was among 65 women who sued the company in June 2014.

The women claimed they had developed ovarian cancer after using products containing talcum powder.

They alleged their diseases were “a direct and proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,” according to a copy of the lawsuit.

The products named in the lawsuit were Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, a feminine hygiene product.

The women claimed that the company knew that talcum powder had been suggested as a link to ovarian cancer as early as 1971, but that the concerns were ignored.

“[Johnson & Johnson] procured and disseminated false, misleading, and biased information regarding the safety of the products to the public and used influence over governmental and regulatory bodies regarding talc,” the lawsuit states.

The case was tried in St. Louis County Circuit Court in Missouri, after which jurors found the company guilty of negligence, conspiracy, and fraud, according to a statement from the Fox family’s law firm Beasley Allen.

Ted G. Meadows, a principal at the firm, said in the statement Fox was an “incredible lady whose life was cut far too short by the callous decisions by the bosses at Johnson and Johnson.”

“Inside J&J folks have known for decades, literally decades, that the talc contained in its products could cause cancer,” he said. “Instead of warning customers, J&J executives made the deliberate decision to hide the risk and keep on selling.”

The mom had used Johnson & Johnson’s products for decades for feminine hygiene when she was diagnosed, according to the law firm.

Her son, Marvin Salter, posted a tribute to his mother on Facebook before the verdict was announced.

“My dear sweet mom,” he wrote. “The pain of [losing] you is so hard but I’m thankful your suffering is over. Forever your prince.”

The case is just one of many filed against the company over the ovarian cancer claims.

About 1,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson over the cancer claims in Missouri, and 200 have been filed in New Jersey, Reuters reported.

James A. Morris Jr., a Los Angeles-based product liability attorney, told BuzzFeed News he thinks the recent verdict will open the floodgates for multiple cases against Johnson & Johnson over similar claims.

“It’s a huge verdict in what could become a very large mass tort,” he said.

Morris hopes cases like these will “hopefully educate the public” of the alleged risks of using talcum powder, and help those who feel they were affected get compensated, he added.

Studies examining whether talcum powder can lead to an increase in ovarian cancer in women have reported mixed results, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary,” the organization says on its website. “Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase.”

“Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary,” the organization says on its website. “Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase.”

“Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary,” the organization says on its website. “Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase.”

“Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary,” the organization says on its website. “Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase.”

Courtesy of www.buzzfeed.com

Lawsuit Sparks Questions About Trinity Guardrail Safety

Watch Los Angeles Attorney James Morris discuss the lawsuit against Trinity Guardrail injuries.

Trinity's "ET Plus" has come under nationwide scrutiny following a design change. ET Plus guardrail end treatments can be found in over 3,600 locations along California freeways.

The lawsuit accuses Trinity Industries of Strict Liability, Negligence, Gross Negligence, and Fraudulent Misrepresentation and seeks to recover compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Maria Diance is a representative of her son's estate, Jose Cruz Diance of Sylmar, California. Mr. Diance was an officer of for the Los Angeles Police Department. While off duty while driving his Ford F150 and was traveling on 101 Freeway in Sherman Oaks, when he hit a Trinity Guardrail. The Trinity Guardrail entered Mr. Diance's truck, piercing Mr. Diance's pelvic and groin area ejected him from the truck. Mr. Diance was rushed to UCLa hospital where hours later he was pronounced dead from his Trinity Guardrail injuries.

Courtesy of NBC Los Angeles and Morris Law Firm

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