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5 things to remember about the big breath-alcohol testing story

Last week, we discussed the New York Times' major investigation into the reliability of breathalyzer tests around the country. This was a big story because the Times found that breathalyzers from various manufacturers used around the country suffer from the same technical difficulties. Thousands of DUI cases are already being reopened in at least two states due to these problems.

This problem potentially affects millions of people in the U.S. alone. That's because about a million Americans are arrested for DUI every year, and many are subjected to breathalyzer-style tests. The tests are used to legally justify the arrest, and juries generally take DUI test results at face value.

The Fourth Amendment protects your cellphone

In this new age of technology, people share and store extremely personal information on their cellphones. And nearly every person in Tennessee and across the country has their cellphone on their person at all times.

Storing personal information on our cellphones might be handy. However, it could be dangerous when individuals are facing criminal charges. What if police ask to search your cellphone?

That is why it is critical to understand your rights to protect yourself in these situations.

Former executive: Juul knowingly sold contaminated vape pods

A former senior vice president for global finance at Juul, the nation's most prominent maker of e-cigarettes, recently filed a whistleblower lawsuit. He claims he was fired in retaliation for objecting to illegal and unsafe conduct at the company.

In particular, he claims that Juul shipped at least a million contaminated nicotine pods, along with others that were expired. And, he says that when the contamination problem was revealed in March, Juul refused to recall them.

Did Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary market opioids deceptively?

In September, a judge in Oklahoma ruled that Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, caused a public nuisance with its two opioid medications, Duragesic and Nucynta. He also ruled that the company had marketed these drugs deceptively. The Judge ordered J&J and Janssen to pay $572 million in damages to the State.

J&J challenges its own Baby Powder recall

In mid-October, Johnson & Johnson announced a voluntary recall of some 33,000 bottles of its Baby Powder after the FDA discovered trace amounts of asbestos in a bottle bought online. That was the first time J&J had recalled the product, despite thousands of legal claims that the company's talc-based products have been tainted with asbestos and caused mesothelioma or ovarian cancers.

It was also the first time a U.S. regulator reported finding asbestos in the product.

New York Times: DUI breath tests often inaccurate, exaggerated

In 2010, when a new person was brought in to run Washington, D.C.'s breath testing program, his first priority was to test the city's Intoxilyzer machines for accuracy. He was astounded to discover that every machine was exaggerating the test results, entering numbers that were 20 to 40 percent higher than the actual result. This discovery likely implied that innocent drivers had been falsely accused of drunk driving for years.

Tennessee Innocence Project to help the wrongfully convicted

States with similar incarceration rates to that of Tennessee have far more exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations. For example, there have been 61 exonerations of North Carolina defendants, 57 of people convicted in Louisiana, and 96 exonerations from Michigan.

Only 21 exonerations are listed from Tennessee 

What are the early signs of a vaping-related illness?

For years, e-cigarette companies like Juul advertised their products as a safer alternative to smoking. However, that statement has been proven false in just the last few months.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaping-related illnesses have been connected to over 1,200 injuries and 26 fatalities across the country. This is an epidemic. And it is causing many people to worry about their loved ones who may use these products.

So, what are the signs that a loved one might be suffering from a vaping-related illness?

Settlements and controversy in opioid litigation this week

Across the United States, over 2,500 lawsuits have been filed against pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies thought to be involved in the opioid crisis. The first one was set to go to trial this past week, but the parties settled the case in the eleventh hour.

The case involved claims by Summit and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio that the companies had created a public nuisance and engaged in conspiracy and racketeering by engaging in practices that flooded the market with opioid painkillers.

Update on the litigation surrounding Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson has been a household name for nearly 75 years, and for much of that time it enjoyed a good reputation.

In the 1980s, J&J was applauded for its handling of the Tylenol crisis, when someone tampered with a small number of bottles of the pain killer and seven people were killed by cyanide poisoning. J&J didn't hesitate then to recall the product and even redesigned the packaging to be tamper-resistant.

Now, a long series of missteps and scandals has been revealed, and the pharmaceutical giant's reputation and stock have been dropping as a result.

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