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News Release: Belluck & Fox Secures a Major Win for Survivors of the Buffalo Mass Shooting in a Lawsuit Against Social Media Companies

[NEW YORK, NY, March 18, 2024] – Belluck & Fox LLP, part of the legal team representing the victims of the Buffalo mass shooting in 2022, has successfully opposed the motions to dismiss filed by social media defendants. Seth Dymond of Belluck & Fox and the legal team successfully argued that social media platforms can constitute products as defined by New York law and under the particular circumstances of this case, meaning the defendants may be subject to product liability.

On May 14, 2022, a racially motivated massacre occurred at the Tops Friendly Markets supermarket on the East Side of Buffalo, NY. The shooter, Payton Gendron, held white supremacist beliefs and was driven by white replacement ideology. To carry out this heinous attack, he intentionally targeted a historically black neighborhood and traveled a considerable distance from his home. The criminal attorney for Gendron conceded that the crime was fueled by racist hate disseminated through online platforms.

Plaintiffs, which include family members of the victims and survivors of the May 14th massacre, filed their lawsuits against social media companies and others. The plaintiffs allege that these defendants had a significant role in promoting and disseminating racist ideologies, resulting in the racially motivated massacre at Tops. They allege that the defendants’ platforms are not merely message boards with user-generated content but are highly advanced products intentionally designed to captivate and addict young users, and to feed them information, even when unsolicited. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ products indoctrinated assailant Gendron and then steered him towards other posts that promoted the “white replacement theory.” Gendron pleaded guilty to charges including murder and terrorism motivated by hate and was sentenced in February 2023 to life in prison without parole. He also faces federal hate crime charges in which the government has indicated it intends to seek the death penalty.

The defendants, including META Platforms, Snap, Inc., Alphabet, Inc., Google, LLC, YouTube, LLC, Discord, Inc., Reddit, Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., and 4Chan Community Support, LLC, filed motions to dismiss. They claimed their platforms only act as hosts of third-party content and that they are immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the First Amendment.

The decision denying the motions to dismiss is the first in the nation to give victims the ability to seek justice based on the nature of the products manufactured and marketed by social media companies.

Belluck & Fox will continue to advocate on behalf of plaintiffs to ensure social media platforms are held liable for any potential harm and associated dangers. The platforms should be suitably designed to prevent danger to users and others, and social media companies should be responsible for warning users of the potential risks of content and for implementing the necessary measures to ensure that all users have access to a safe and inclusive online environment.

For a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact Belluck & Fox today if you or a loved one have suffered serious harm due to social media usage.

About Belluck & Fox LLP
Belluck & Fox, founded on the philosophy of pursuing justice, one family at a time, has been dedicated to fighting for justice and securing compensation for its clients. Belluck & Fox law firm specializes in wrongful death lawsuits involving a variety of circumstances including nursing home abuse or neglect, workplace accidents, public transportation disasters, motor vehicle accidents, and defective products. While no amount of financial compensation can replace the loss of a loved one, victims’ families should be compensated fairly for the wrongful death, providing them with a degree of financial comfort and justice for those left behind.

Breast Implants by Allergan Recalled for Link to Cancer

When you have a medical procedure, you expect a certain level of assurance that the products being used are safe. That turns out to not be the case for breast implants produced by Allergan Plc, which has recalled all of their Biocell textured implants at the direction of the FDA.

Sales of Allergan’s textured implants – and textured implants manufactured by several other companies – have already stopped in Europe due to a ban in France, been banned in Canada, and are on the docket to be banned in Australia. The other manufacturers include Arrion, Sebbin, Nagor, Eurosilicone, and Polytech.

Who is affected?

Patients who have the following implants or tissue expanders are affected by the recall:

  • Natrelle Saline-Filled breast implants
  • Natrelle Silicone-Filled breast implants
  • Natrelle Inspira Silicone-Filled breast implants
  • Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone-Filled breast implants 
  • Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
  • Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs

If you or someone you know has one of the above listed products, or any textured breast implant, there may be increased risk for Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL. BIA-ALCL is actually a cancer of the immune system, rather than the breast.

What is the risk?

The Cleveland Clinic says that symptoms of BIA-ALCL include swelling or fluid accumulation in the breast or around an implant; lumps; pain; changes in the shape or size of the breast or breasts; and redness.

According to the FDA, “evidence indicated that a specific manufacturer’s product appeared to be directly linked to significant patient harm, including death.” They state that as of July 2019, there were a recorded 573 cases of BIA-ALCL globally, and 33 deaths.

CNN quoted Dr. Colleen McCarthy of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as saying that “Most patients diagnosed with BIA-ALCL will be cured by removal of both breast implants along with the scar tissue, or capsule, surrounding each implant. A small minority of patients will also require chemotherapy and radiation.”

Who can help?

If you’ve been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL and have one of Allergan’s recalled products or other textured breast implant, Belluck & Fox LLC can help. No one should have to fight for their health alone. 

With over two decades of experience standing up for patients, we are committed to finding justice for you. We will provide a free consultation, and if we can take on your case, promise to fight for you and your family as if it were our own.

OTC and Prescription Drugs Cause Drivers Accidents

The concerns about over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication use among truckers is heightened in recent years because America is gripped by a truck driver shortage. According to an article in the Washington Post, the American Trucking Association estimates that 51,000 more drivers are needed to accommodate the growing shipping demands from giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart.

The hazards of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs are widely known. But not everyone realizes that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can cause severe impairment as well. Unfortunately, the limited pool of available truck drivers means that more truckers could be hitting the roads while medicated. When truck drivers take medication and operate vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, severe and often fatal accidents can occur.

How Can OTC and Prescription Drugs Affect Truck Drivers?

Truck drivers may use OTC medications to treat minor conditions such as a cold or allergies. While it is common to turn to OTC and prescription medications to combat illnesses and other conditions, it is crucial to refrain from driving until you understand how the medicine affects you. For those whose job it is to operate large commercial vehicles on busy roads and highways, it is even more essential to make sure that the medications do not impair them in any way.

Any substance that impacts a truck driver’s coordination and alertness could lead to a catastrophic injury accident. Some common medications that could negatively affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Antiepileptics
  • Antihistamines
  • Sleeping aids
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antipsychotics
  • Cough and cold medicines
  • Eye medications
  • Some heart medicines

Prescription or OTC medications can cause side effects in truck drivers such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Impaired coordination
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Balance problems
  • Impaired spatial judgment

In addition, some OTC medications may cause drivers to experience anxiety, which could lead to a panic attack behind the wheel. All of these side effects could result in a disaster for nearby motorists, pedestrians and the truck driver.

Medications That Disqualify Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established strict regulations that truck drivers and truck companies must follow in order to protect the public. While truckers are allowed to take many OTC medications on the clock, other medications are prohibited.

Many of the prohibited medications are habit-forming and can seriously affect the performance of drivers. These include:

  • Controlled substances
  • Opiates
  • Depressants or stimulants
  • Amphetamines
  • Narcotics
  • Anti-seizure medication
  • Methadone

Some of the above medications can be exempt from FMCSA’s rules if the driver obtains written permission from a licensed physician stating that their ability will not be impaired by the dosage.

How to Prove Prescription Drug Use of a Driver After an Accident

If you have been hurt with a collision with a truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. In order to collect the compensation that you deserve, you need to contact an experienced truck accident attorney.

A truck accident lawyer can investigate the crash to prove that the trucker was impaired by a prescription or OTC drug. Medical records, medication receipts, drug tests and other vital forms of evidence can show that the driver was on medication at the time of the crash.

In addition to testing the driver, obtaining documentation from the driver’s employer can help shed light on the driver’s history. Often employers will withhold information about employee’s drug tests. Because this information is kept confidential, a court order is typically needed to obtain it. All of these steps can be taken by your lawyer with minimal input from you.

How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?

A collision with a large commercial vehicle can have a devastating impact on your health and livelihood. If you have been hurt in a crash and you believe the driver was under the influence of over-the-counter or prescription medication, the New York truck accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox are ready to fight for you.

Our top-rated lawyers have 25 years of experience representing clients who have been injured in catastrophic truck accidents. To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free case review.

Arrange your free consultation now.

Toy-Related Injuries on the Rise, Study Finds

Now that the holiday shopping season is over, you may want to be extra vigilant about children’s toys in light of a new study that finds one child is hurt every three minutes by a toy in the United States.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, used statistics from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System gathered between 1990 and 2011 to analyze toy injury trends among U.S. children. According to researchers led by Gary A. Smith of the Center for Injury and Research Policy, over that period nearly 3.3 million persons younger than 18—or 149,000 per year—were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries.

“We know that’s an underestimate,” Dr. Smith told CNN. “We know that those numbers are increasing.”

Smith says that the assessment doesn’t look at numbers from urgent care centers or doctors’ offices. It also doesn’t take into account cases where no medical care was sought or toy-related deaths. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—the federal regulatory agency responsible for toy safety oversight—there were nine reports of toy-related deaths during 2013 to go along with 256,700 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments.

Over the period 1990-2011 the injury rate per 10,000 children increased from 18.88 to 26.42 (39.9%). Slightly more than half of the injuries occurred to children under the age of six. The biggest hazards for children under the age of two are choking, ingestion and asphyxiation, while older adolescents tend to be injured by ride-on toys—particularly foot-powered scooters.

Some Toys are Unreasonably Dangerous

Parents are a line of defense against their children suffering toy-related injuries, a point that Dr. Smith acknowledges when he suggests that parents buy children helmets to go along with ride-on toys and read toy packages carefully to ensure age-appropriateness (e.g. small objects that present choking hazards to a child).

But some toys are dangerous to children despite a safe outward appearance and despite parental supervision. Consumer watchdog group U.S. PIRG recently released a report highlighting toys that not only present choking hazards, but also those that contain unsafe substances such as lead, chromium and phthalates.

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) reports that the increase in toy-related injuries coincides with an increase in imported toys, mainly from China. In fact, 95 percent of toys sold in the U.S. come from foreign markets.

No matter where toys are produced, they must meet more than 100 federal safety standard requirements and be tested for compliance by a CPSC-accredited third-party lab. AAJ, however, points out that the CPSC’s budget is tiny when compared to that of large toy-sellers such as Walmart, which spends 20 times more on marketing in a given year than the entire CPSC budget.

As a result, dangerous toys commonly find their way onto U.S. shelves and may remain there for years before being recalled (see the CPSC’s list of recent recalls). Reports have found that some of these toys contain cadmium, lead and asbestos, while others have ingestion hazards previously unknown in toys, such as small magnets that can come loose, be swallowed and damage intestines. Aqua Dots, one of 2007’s best-selling toys, even contained glue that metabolized into GHB—the date rape drug—when ingested. Another toy, an aromatherapy kit, caused more than 80 injuries, including citric acid being fired into children’s eyes.

Taking Legal Action for Dangerous Toys

CPSC toy safety standards cover things like acceptable levels of lead and phthalates in children’s products. The CPSC also requires labeling for certain products, including those that present a choking hazard for children of a certain age. Toys that are inherently dangerous (that is, which don’t meet CPSC requirements) as well as those that do not contain appropriate warnings can result in legal action against the toy’s manufacturer if they cause injury or death to a child.

Legal action can also be taken against a product’s importer, distributor and seller. Indeed, this is the likely scenario for toys made in China and other foreign markets, where manufacturer are protected from U.S. legal action.

Discuss Your Case for Free With an Experienced Product Liability Attorney

Belluck & Fox, LLP represents victims of serious accidents and injuries resulting from defective consumer goods. Founding partner Jordan Fox has served on the Product Liability Committee of the Association of the Bar of New York City. Our lawyers have won compensation on behalf of those injured by dangerous products.

If you or your child has been injured by a dangerous toy, contact our reliable product liability attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP for a no-cost, no-obligation review of your case. Please call 877-477-3158 or send us an online message. You can visit our New York law office today.