Senators Request FDA Investigate Dietary Supplements

According to The Hill (2/5, Wheeler, 224K) Senators are encouraging the FDA to launch a “nationwide investigation after four major retailers were accused of selling mislabeled and tainted dietary supplements in their New York stores” by the state’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said in a statement, “Today, Sen. [Richard] Blumenthal [D-CT] and I are calling on the FDA to…take steps to protect all American consumers from an industry shown to be selling products they know are at best, ineffective, and at worst, truly harmful.” Sen. Blumenthal said in a statement, “The apparent widespread sale of fraudulently-labeled dietary supplements by four major national retailers should be a major wake-up call that the industry is in desperate need of additional oversight.”
The need for increased oversight over dietary substances is substantiated by the fact that US consumers “are nuts” for products they believe help them “boost their health and lose weight,” despite a “series of studies and investigations that have cast serious doubt on the safety and reliability of” dietary supplements, the Washington Post (2/5, Millman, 5.17M) “Wonkblog” reported. The popularity of dietary supplements is maintained by the “common public misperception that these products face the same rigorous oversight that pharmaceuticals receive from the FDA.” A report from the HHS Inspector General in 2012 “found that 20 percent of the weight loss and immune system support supplements they purchased made illegal claims about their ability to treat and cure disease,” and just a year later, researchers from Harvard “found that between 2004 and 2012, there were 237 recalls of dietary supplements — accounting for more than half of FDA recalls of Class 1 drugs,” which signifies that “the products contain substances that can cause death or serious health problems.”

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Your honor, Your Honor

 

It’s time for a little levity. Kentucky State Judge Martin Sheehan presided over what must have been an incredibly contentious and time consuming civil lawsuit.

In his ruling, which was posted on the legal humor blog, loweringthebar.net, Judge Sheehan expressed his relief that a case has been settled and thereby removed from his dockets.

In his order, Judge Sheehan wrote:

“Such news of an amicable settlement [has] made this court happier than a tick on a fat dog because it is otherwise busier than a one legged cat in a sandbox and, quite frankly, would have rather jumped naked off a 12 foot step ladder into a five gallon bucket of porcupines than have presided over a two week trial … which, no doubt, would have made the jury more confused than a hungry baby in a topless bar and made the parties and their attorneys madder than mosquitoes in a mannequin factory.”

Judge Sheehan concluded his ruling by instructing the Clerk of Court to “engage the services of a structural engineer to ascertain if the return of the [case] file to the clerk’s office will exceed the maximum structural load of the floors of said office.”

Nice work, Judge.

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Read the Constitution

Have you read the U.S. Constitution, including the ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights? If not, take an hour out of a weekend and read the Constitution. You may be surprised at what you find. I would especially encourage our politicians to read the Constitution. I am afraid that many of our elected officials, both state and federal, Democrat and Republican, are not familiar with the contents of our Constitution. 

The Seventh Amendment to the Constitution is a part of the Bill of Rights. My profession is based on the rights granted by the Seventh Amendment. That’s why I felt it appropriate to discuss this Amendment to the Constitution in my first blog. The Seventh Amendment gives each U.S. citizen a constitutional right to a trial by jury to resolve civil disputes. The Seventh Amendment states “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”

Our right to a trial by jury in civil cases is slowly but surely being infringed upon. In future blog posts, I will discuss the various ways in which the Seventh Amendment is being marginalized. But, to begin with, let’s read the United States Constitution. I have included for your review the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. 

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Boyd B. Newton PC is a prominent Atlanta Trial Attorney.  To Learn more about his practice and credentials follow this link http://www.injurylawyerofatlanta.com

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Trial by Jury in the United States of America

In the United States today, both sides of the political aisle like to invoke the principles of our founding fathers. It doesn’t matter the subject, no matter how important or trivial, Democrats and Republicans claim to be upholding the Constitution. So what did our founding fathers actually say about the right to a trial by jury? Below are a few quotes: 

Without trial by jury we have no way to keep us from being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, fed like swine and clothed like hounds. John Adams (1774)

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. Thomas Jefferson (1788)

Trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any of the pre-existent rights of the nature. James Madison (1789)

The friends and adversaries of the plan of the constitutional convention, if they agree on nothing else, concur at least in the value they set upon trial by jury; the former regard it as a valuable safe guard to liberty; the latter present it as the palladium of free government. Alexander Hamilton (1788)

I am especially interested in what John Adams had to say about the right to a trial by jury in civil cases because he was a practicing attorney before devoting himself full time to public life. After obtaining a law degree from Harvard, he supported himself and his family by representing people in civil and criminal matters throughout the Massachusetts Circuit. He traveled throughout present day New England trying cases. He was a trial lawyer. Therefore, John Adams had in depth understanding of the importance the civil jury trial system.

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