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Pesticides

Robert M. Fellheimer, P.C. represented husband and wife dermally exposed to dursban. Husband died of dissecting aortic aneurysm and wife developed toxic brain injury and chemical sensitivity secondary to exposure. Tissue of husband tested six years after death disclosed dursban and its metabolites. Wife had sophisticated brain scans at University of Pennsylvania. These include Quantitative Positron Emission Tomography (QPET) that measures cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism and the Quantitative MRI that measures subtle brain atrophy. These tests demonstrate existing damage and possibility of future injury.

Solvents

  • Hexane: Woman working at major petroleum refinery was exposed to hexane and other mixed solvents. Acute exposure resulted in toxic brain injury. Issue developed as to whether acute exposure of hexane can result in permanent brain injury. Another factor considered was that worker spent ten years in refinery and probably had compromised nervous system. For two weeks prior to acute exposure, worker had significant over-time and therefore was not able to excrete solvents. On date of injury, worker had significant exposure to hexane and other solvents. The combination of the above factors contributed to the injury. Dr. Lisa Morrow from the University of Pittsburgh has written that neuropsychiatric damage frequently occurs as the result of chronic exposure followed by an acute exposure.
  • Gasoline Spill Resulting in Chemical Sensitivity and Brain Injury: Gasoline spill from gas station occurred about five years before investigation. We represented a family who lived approximately 200 yards from the spill. Sensitive soil testing revealed gasoline range petroleum hydrocarbons in 7 of 10 locations. These locations were either near utility lines entering the home or below the basis. Thus a route of exposure was established. Computer models reveal exposure by air and underground water. Antibody testing demonstrated antibodies that were consistent or specific for a gasoline exposure.Gasoline Spill Resulting in Birth Defect: Gasoline spill from gas station contaminated ground water and well water. Family was exposed to gasoline by drinking it and dermally from bathing and washing food and dishes. A baby was exposed in utero and after birth. The child developed mental retardation, grand mal seizures and emotional difficulties that can be attributed to the gasoline.

Biological Contaminants

  • Mold and mildew collected behind walls of hotel room in which husband and wife resided for several months. Couple removed an air conditioner filter that when tested, disclosed aspergilllus and other mold and mildew. Testing of the room a year later demonstrated the same toxins. This resulted in significant respiratory distress, toxic asthma, immune dysfunction and toxic brain injury.

Miscellaneous Contaminants

  • Multiple families suffered injury from radiation secondary to fertilizer that contained phosphorous and phosphogypsum that may have contained radioactive products, including Uranium 226 and its metabolites. Families were exposed by contamination of ground water as well as by air. Injuries include cancer, birth defects, chemical sensitivity, toxic brain injury and compromised immune systems.

Past Cases

In addition to our expertise in the area of chemical exposure, the firm of Rober M. Fellheimer, P.C. continues its long tradition of assisting those persons who have been injured in other areas such as medical malpractice and product liability. Following is a smpling of some of our past cases.

  • Case Summary: A thirty-five year old woman attorney was hospitalized for a minor surgical procedure on her lower back. While still hospitalized three days after the surgery, she was given a walker by one of the floor nurses. The nurse failed to warn her that the walker was a foldable model. While she was using it in her hospital room, the walker folded inward, causing the women to fall face forward. As a result of the fall she sustained a fracture of a bone in her spine, which required extensive spinal surgery. We obtained a multi-million dollar settlement against the hospital.
  • Case Summary: A thirty-year-old technician at a local oil refinery was working in a small quality control laboratory. She was making use of a machine that tests the viscosity of petroleum products. After a few hours, the technician was overcome by toxic chemical fumes [hexane] that were leaking from the machine. Following her exposure to the chemical, she became unable to concentrate or think clearly. We sued the company that had manufactured the machine, and proved that the machine was defectively designed. We also arranged for the technician to undergo extremely sophisticated medial testing which objectively proved that her exposure to the chemical fumes caused subtle brain damage which was responsible for her medical symptoms. We obtained a multi-million dollar settlement against the machine manufacture.
  • Case Summary: A woman in her mid-twenties was admitted to a local hospital for the delivery of her second child whom she had been carrying for the past 39 weeks. Hospital personnel hooked the woman up to a fetal monitor machine. However, the personnel failed to watch the fetal monitor readings and left the woman and her husband alone for the next 45 minutes. The oxygen supply to the fetus was being slowly cut off because the umbilical cord was compressed inside the woman’s birth canal. The full developed fetus died. We sued the hospital for medical malpractice. We retained experts in obstetrics and pathology to prove that the medical staff failed to provide mother and child with appropriate medical care, and that the fetus died as a sole result of the medical staff’s negligence. We settled the case in the middle of the jury trial for nearly one million dollars.
  • Case Summary: A thirty-year-old machine operator at a local linoleum factory was in the process of changing metal rolls, which were used to emboss the pattern on the linoleum. To change the rolls he was making use of a machine, which malfunctioned, causing his hand to be crushed inside the printing press. After several failed surgeries, the worker became depressed and sought the care of a psychiatrist. The worker subsequently died, allegedly the result of medication subscribed by the psychiatrist. We sued the manufacturer of the printing press machine, and proved that it had been defectively designed. We also sued the psychiatrist for medical malpractice. We obtained a total settlement of nearly one million dollars for the worker’s family.
  • Case Summary: A thirty-year old automotive worker was walking along a sidewalk carrying his infant daughter. He slipped and fell on a patch of ice on a sidewalk in front of a house in his neighborhood, injuring his wrist. We sued the neighbor, and proved that the accumulation of the ice was actually caused by a long-standing defect in the sidewalk pavement, which the homeowner should have been aware of and should have repaired. We obtained a settlement of nearly one hundred thousand dollars for our client.
  • Case Summary: While operating her car, a fifty-year-old woman was rear-ended by another car, which was traveling at roughly 15 m.p.h. The woman sustained serious injuries to her lower back, which required her to undergo spinal surgery. The woman developed complications from the surgery, which left her with a serious limp. We sued the driver of the car that rear-ended the woman. We proved that the relativity low-speed impact did indeed cause the women’s herniated disc, and that her current symptoms were a result of the accident-related injured and treatment for the injuries. Just before jury selection, we obtained a substantial settlement for our client.
  • Case Summary: A thirty-year-old man was attending an Elton John concert at a local indoor sports stadium. He was wrongfully ejected by security guards because his neighbor was smoking. The security guards beat the man, causing him to suffer extensive injuries. We sued the security company and obtained a substantial settlement.
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