Thomas Law Offices - Louisville Personal Injury Lawyers

Volkswagen to Extend One Thousand Dollar Credit to Owners of Clean Diesel Vehicles

In an effort to sweet talk owners into not filing claims, Volkswagen has announced plans to give cash and dealer credit to US owners of its clean diesel vehicles affected by the recent auto emissions cheating scandal.  The company will issue $1000 cards of which half can be spent anywhere and half at Volkswagen and Audi dealerships.  Owners of the 482,000 affected vehicles will also receive free 24-hour road side assistance for three years.

Volkswagen continues to develop a software solution to fix the affected vehicles. The automaker passed initial emissions testing by hiding a sophisticated software program installed on the vehicles that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative elements of the vehicles’ emission control system that exist to comply with CAA emissions standards.  The results show emission levels for test driving situations, not actual driving scenarios.  Volkswagen is planning a recall to correct the effected existing models.  Model year 2015 vehicles will most likely be fixed with software updates.  Previous model year vehicles will require installation of additional components which will take much longer to bring the vehicles up to regulations.

The repair to bring the vehicles back within US emissions standards will likely hurt performance and fuel mileage, the two main reasons why customers buy the clean diesel engine vehicles.  Volkswagen has already offered a $2000 trade in credit to the owners who wish to trade their vehicle in for a different Volkswagen.  This new $1000 credit is in addition to the trade in offer.

Owners of the vehicles retain the right to sue the company.  There are currently thousands of cases against Volkswagen as a result of the scandal, with customers claiming their cars have dramatically dropped in value.  However, attorneys are warning those who wish to take the $1000 offer from Volkswagen that the automaker may require customers to sign an arbitration clause to get the money.  Many suspect this gesture will be presented to customers as an act of goodwill but is truly an attempt to reduce the number of future lawsuits.  Those eligible to receive the credit are advised to accept it with caution if they plan to bring a case against the automaker in the future.

A Drug Price Increases by 5,000 Percent Overnight and Doctors Demand to Know Why

Infectious disease physicians and advocates are in outrage as the decades-old drug Daraprim increases in price overnight from $13.50 per tablet to $750.00 per tablet.  Daraprim, the common name for the drug pyrimethamine, is the only medication for treating toxoplasmosis, an infection contracted from cat parasites that can cause birth defects.  It is also a co-treatment for HIV infections, some cancers, and malaria.

The rights to Daraprim were recently purchased in August by a company named Turing Pharmaceuticals.  Doctors and advocates wrote a letter to the drug company urging them to reconsider their price increase, as it raises the cost of treatment to as much as $634,500 annually.  “This cost is unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient in need of this medication, “the letter said, “and unsustainable for the health care system.”  Turing Pharmaceuticals claims the drug is not overpriced compared to its peers was unprofitable at the former price.  They stated that the drug will now return what they consider to be a reasonable profit, not excessive at all, and the additional money will allow them to develop newer, better drugs.

Daraprim is part of recent trend in increasing costs among older pharmaceuticals where drug companies purchase the rights to an older, neglected drug and attempt to turn it into a high priced specialty drug. This is a frequent occurrence in the cost of drugs for rare diseases because competition in the particular field is so small.  Drug companies often reset the prices when they purchase these drugs because they now have a monopoly on the most common treatment for a given disease.

Companies like Turing Pharmaceuticals attempt to appear understanding and offer discount programs to patients who struggle to pay the new increased price.  However, these programs are often very complicated to register for and are not a sustainable source of assistance for patients who require taking the medication long term.  Research for generic drugs that require a lesser out-of-pocket expense has been growing in recent years, but mainly in drugs that are taken for more common, widespread illnesses like heart disease, high cholesterol, and blood pressure regulation.  The cost necessary to research generic drug options for rare diseases is not something drug companies are interested in paying, especially when little to no competition exists for their current, brand-name product.

Pharmaceutical companies who control drugs for rare diseases claim that the patients who need their products are their highest priority.  But dramatic price increases in Daraprim and uncommon drugs like it leave physicians and patients alike questioning the true motive behind the action.  To learn more about the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals and the likelihood of this action to continue in the future, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.

A Deadly Crash Results in Greater Monitoring of the Safety Requirements for Stretch Limousine Vehicles

A recent deadly crash in Long Island of a limousine carrying eight women has brought attention to the modifications of “stretch” limousine vehicles and their inability to provide protection for passengers in side impact crashes.  Federal officials have agreed to investigate limousine accidents and evaluate the safety requirements currently in place to regulate how these vehicles are modified in aftermarket facilities.

The modification requirements for stretch limousine and bus vehicles currently are not specific, leaving great variation in the way these vehicles are transformed once they leave a manufacturer.  For example, some vehicles have three steel reinforcement bars in the side panels, but others, in order to save time and cost, may have only one.  Many vehicles lack basic safety protections, including not enough side impact air bags, rollover bars, and appropriate exits.  Often times the changes made are for superficial reasons, leaving little concern for the safety cost of the change, such as removing a side exit to lengthen the seating area of a vehicle.  When a limo or bus leaves the manufacturing floor it has passed all of the required federal tests necessary to protect drivers and passengers.  However, these same limos are often taken to aftermarket shops where they are stretched, modified, or changed, leaving safety standards at risk and both drivers and passengers in danger.

Since the deadly crash in Long Island, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer has been very outspoken about the need for greater safety standards for stretch limousines.  The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has heeded his call and agreed to investigate future limousine accidents as they occur on a case-by-case basis.  This agreement is critical as it lays the groundwork for the NTSB to formally issue safety recommendations for altered stretch limousines.  Combined with already available data, these recommendations can be used to place additional requirements and safeguard on altered stretch limousines.

Stretch limousines are most often used by passengers on monumental occasions, such as weddings, proms, birthdays, and anniversaries.  Many passengers are completely unaware of the risk of traveling in one of these vehicles and what little protection it would actually provide in a crash.  1 in 4 accidents involving stretch limos are side-impacting.  Despite this fact, side airbags and other protections are requirements left absent during the secondary alteration of limousines.  The deadly crash in Long Island was caused by a pick up truck crashing into the side of a stretch limo traveling to Wine Country, killing four women and severely injuring the other four.  Had their vehicle had side airbags, rollover bars, or more bolstering in the doors, the women might have survived.

Passengers of stretch limousine and other special event vehicles should be free to enjoy their exciting life moments without having to worry about the unregulated safety of their transportation.  If you want to learn more about the changes the NTSB is making to increase passenger protection, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.

Mishandled Allegations at a Kentucky Nursing Home Facility Allow for Three Cases of Abuse in One Month

Earlier this year, three residents at a nursing home facility in Louisville, KY were abused by staff members.  The Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center located at 1155 Eastern Parkway failed to provide protection for its residents and properly discipline the employees who committed the acts of abuse.  Following the first incident, the facility provided an Allegation of Compliance stating that it had properly removed the employee, provided training to all remaining employees, and notified State Agencies of the incident.  This report was found false when two more incidents of abuse were reported later that same month.

The first incident of abuse occurred when a Certified Nursing Assistant was harsh in speaking to a resident who was requesting to be repositioned.  The CNA responded to the resident angrily, stating that she had just repositioned her fifteen minutes ago, she would not do it again, and left the room.  The resident laid in bed in pain, too afraid to call for help, fearing the CNA would return angry again.

The second incident occurred eighteen days later and involved a different CNA and resident.  The allegation stated that the CNA was mean and rude and threw the bed covers over the resident’s head.  Though the CNA was removed from caring for the resident, she was still allowed to remain on the unit to care for other patients until a supervising staff member arrived and suspended her.

The third incident of abuse involved an Outreach Technician Restorative Aide who kissed a resident on the lips.  Although the act was observed and confirmed by other employees, the ORT Restorative Aide was allowed to continue working his full shift and cared for more than forty more residents before leaving for the day.  The facility did not report the sexual abuse to the State Survey Agency until two days later.

The Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center’s failure to protect residents after a reported allegation of abuse caused serious harm and potential injury.  Had the facility followed appropriate steps to resolve the first incident, the two succeeding incidents could have been prevented.   This nursing home has been cited for neglect, however it does not change the reality that incidents like these occur frequently in homes like it across the state.  Residents deserve to feel comfortable in the care they receive and their families should be able to trust that their loved ones are properly cared for.  If someone you love is living in a nursing home and you suspect they are being or have been abused, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information on what can be done to protect them.

Tad’s Favorites, Louisville’s Finest

So, this weekend I decided to do something a little different for my blog.  Let’s lighten things up a little bit.

Living and working in Louisville is often a balancing act of finding time to appreciate the finer points in life while keeping a busy schedule that revolves around rush hour traffic, business deadlines, and other daily responsibilities. The good news is that there isn’t a shortage of ways to enjoy the finer points of life in Louisville. Every inch of the city teems with richness, an exquisite taste of classic, Americana-inspired history, and the possibility for new adventures.

As someone who’s lived and worked in Louisville my entire life, I thought I’d share some of my favorite places in Louisville and shine a light on many of the finer establishments hidden within the city’s bustling streets. These suggestions will be ideal for Louisville residents who are new to the area as well as those who have lived here for years and maybe just haven’t explored every nook and cranny.

For the first installment, it’s time to bring out your inner foodie. Louisville has some of the finest bars and restaurants in all of Kentucky, but three of the finest places to grab a bite to eat include these personal favorites:


Located in the historic Crescent Hill neighborhood, Porcini is one of Louisville’s most famous Italian restaurants for a great reason. Well, a few actually. Their appetizers simply cannot be beat—especially the Fritto di Formaggio di Capra, a breaded goat cheese appetizer served with Pomodoro sauce and toasted ciabatta. Their wines are also among the city’s best selections. If you’ve ever wanted to eat from an exquisite menu that includes many fresh, local food options, look no further than Porcini.

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

When it comes to a delicious steak, no steakhouse can top Jeff Ruby’s. Being one of two nationwide locations, the Louisville version of Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse offers a menu that perfectly suits Louisville residents who are accustomed to eating right on the waterfront. Ruby’s local menu boasts fine steak entrees and seafood. For first-timers, I heartily recommend the Steak Collingsworth—a Filet Mignon crowned with crab meat, béarnaise, and asparagus. You can also never go wrong with any of Ruby’s fresh shrimp appetizers.

Silver Dollar

The Silver Dollar is a nationwide chain of restaurants featuring food, spirits, and music that serves as a reimaging of a 1950s Bakersfield, California honky tonk. Best known for its down home country menu that’s 100% southern and 100% tasty, Silver Dollar also has one of the best bourbon, beer, and spirit menus in all of Louisville. My recommendation? Don’t leave the restaurant until you’ve tried at least two different types of bourbon.

And that’s it for Tad’s Favorites for today. Stay tuned next time for more of Louisville’s best, brightest, and finest.

Stay classy, Louisville,

Tad Thomas

Thomas Law Offices







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