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Traveling to Canada? Consider their tough new drunk driving laws

At Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers, we believe in keeping you up to date about the changing state of impaired driving laws across the country and around the world. This is not only to provide a comparison to the laws of Tennessee but also to give you a sense of what trends could be coming our way.

While we do not represent people in Canada, that country's crackdown on impaired driving could affect U.S. citizens who travel there. If you plan to travel to Canada, here are a few things you should know:

6th Circuit: Tennessee's cap on punitive damages unconstitutional

In 2011, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Civil Justice Act, which set limits on non-economic damages and punitive damages in civil lawsuits. Punitive damages are those meant to punish wrongdoing. Punitive damages were capped by the act at twice the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.

When Tamarin Lindenberg sued Jackson National Life Insurance Co. for refusing to pay out a life insurance policy, she sought punitive damages. In breach of contact cases, punitive damages can be awarded for intentional, fraudulent or reckless behavior by the defendant.

Safety concerns: Will self-driving cars be able to keep up?

The closer American consumers get to an autonomous automobile market, the more they may want to pay attention to the safety concerns with these vehicles.

Americans remain skeptical these cars will be able to meet the safety standards they enjoy in their manual cars. Fifty-two percent of respondents to a 2018 survey said they were confident self-driving technology would develop enough to persuade them to trade vehicles.

Can police search my vehicle during a DUI stop?

There is a certain amount of panic that comes with seeing police lights flashing in your mirrors. There is the hope that the officer is after someone else. Once you realize you are getting pulled over, the process is fast and slow at the same time.

On one hand, the time the officer spends in the squad car running your information seems long. On the other hand, your interactions with the officer may seem so fast it is difficult to remember what happened.

You may not have thought twice about allowing the officer to search your vehicle or you might have felt like you did not have a choice. Here's what to think about when an officer asks to search your vehicle during a DUI stop.

10 years after coal ash spill, cleanup workers are sick and dying

Just before Christmas in 2008, over 1.5 million tons of coal ash escaped from an unlined containment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired power plant. It poured into the Clinch and Emory rivers and flooded 300 acres of land. The ash came in the form of a thick sludge that contained toxic substances including lead, mercury, arsenic and radium. The cleanup took years. Now many of the cleanup workers -- and their family members -- are suffering serious and fatal illnesses caused by exposure to the sludge.

Limits dropping, consequences rising for DUIs in other states

Tennessee has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation -- but other states are working to crack down on drunk driving, too. This could affect you when you travel to other states, and it potentially could indicate how Tennessee may deal with the issue in the future. Changes to DUI laws are often part of trends, as advocacy groups and regulators take their proposals from state to state.

Concussions in youth sports: 3 things for coaches and parents to know

Youth sports coaches and parents are always contending with multiple goals. Sure, you want to win. But it's also important to instill values of hard work, teamwork, and enjoyment of the game while protecting the long-term health of the kids.

If you're coaching or have a child who plays a sport with frequent head injuries, such as football or soccer, the goal of protecting your players' long-term health is especially critical.

In this post, we'll take note of three useful things to know about responding to concussions.

Report: Johnson & Johnson tried to cover up asbestos in its talc

Reuters recently reviewed internal Johnson & Johnson (J&J) documents and found that, between at least 1971 and the early 2000's, J&J talc products sometimes tested positive for asbestos. Company executives suspected as early as 1957 that their talc products contained asbestos.

J&J is facing over 12,000 lawsuits from people claiming J&J talc products such as baby powder caused their cancers. Ovarian cancer is a common claim in these lawsuits, as many women use Johnson & Johnson baby powder for routine feminine hygiene. A link between ovarian cancer and asbestos was first flagged in 1958, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed in 2011 that asbestos can cause ovarian cancer. Other lawsuits allege J&K talc products caused mesothelioma.

J&J has defended its talc products as asbestos-free, but its apparent certainty is belied by decades of evidence that company executives, researchers and others have worried over asbestos-positive test results.

Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder had asbestos

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been under fire in the past for the health risks posed by its baby powder, but a new investigation has revealed the company's liability may run even deeper.

In prior cases, plaintiffs alleged -with some success - that J&J's baby powder caused ovarian cancer by traveling to the ovaries via the fallopian tubes. One such lawsuit led to an award of $4.7 billion to a group of 22 women (amounting to about $25 million each), who developed ovarian cancer due to using the baby powder.

However, a recent Reuters investigation determined that while J&J denied claims for decades, the company knowingly sold baby powder with traces of asbestos in it. The earliest mentions of tainted powder date back to 1957 and 1958, meaning J&J has potentially sold contaminated powder for at least six decades.

Older drivers' medications could be a DUI risk

According to recent research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost half of older adults remain active drivers while using seven or more prescription medications. More disturbing is the fact that almost 20 percent of those drivers may be using medications that are considered potentially inappropriate, meaning that their risks generally outweigh their benefits. Some of those, like benzodiazepines and older antihistamines, can cause driving impairment and may increase the risk of a crash by as much as 300 percent.

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