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Is Cyberbullying Really On the Rise? And How Harmful Is It?

By Richard Console on November 23, 2015


How prevalent is cyberbullying? Is it really as bad as you might think?

If you talk to Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young girl who took her own life after being filmed having non-consensual sex with a number of young men, he’d likely tell you that it’s not only prevalent, it’s a plague. He’d say that a few photos and a few words can kill.

But is that really true, or just the words of an understandably distraught father?

How Bullying Has Evolved

Just look at a newspaper, Google, or even talk to your friends, and you’ll likely find that more and more young people are being bullied online.

Bullying used to take a bit of effort. A bully would have to wait for you after school, or catch you unawares on the weekend. Maybe a scribble on a bathroom wall. Now, all that’s needed is a few keystrokes, or maybe an uploaded photo, and it’s all done. The whole world is the bully’s schoolyard or bathroom.

Blog posts and Facebook statuses can be seen by literally thousands of people. Think of cyberspace as the school bathroom that anyone can enter, and they don’t just have to pull out a pen and scribble something on a wall. They can upload a video, post a picture, and have their hateful message sent instantly.

It Takes No Time

Bullying used to take time. You had to take out your pen, and scrawl your message onto that bathroom wall. Then you had to count on no one else coming around and taking out their pen, and scratching it out. On the Internet, bullying is forever. Awful comments are NEVER erased. And you can never count on hateful messages not going viral.

What Does the Future Hold?

We don’t know if cyberbullying can be stopped. Maybe it can’t. It’s a sad world if kids really and truly want to hurt other kids, and perhaps the solution is in trying, in the early grades, to teach children about the ways in which cyberbullying can affect people forever.

Have you been cyberbullied? Do you know someone who has been cyberbullied? What do you think?


Posted in: Personal Injury

Is Caitlyn Jenner Really a Woman

By Richard Console on November 18, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner

Unless you’ve been living in cave or on another planet lately, you know that the Olympic gold medalist, Bruce Jenner, is now going by the name Caitlyn. You may have seen her picture on the cover of Vanity Fair. And you may have heard snippets on shows like Entertainment Tonight from his ex-wife, Kris, to whom he was married for 20 years.

Depending on which show you watch, and what you read, Kris was either totally gob-smacked or completely supportive when the man to whom she was married for all that time decided that he wanted to transition into a woman.

Gender Dysphoria

Caitlyn says that she felt almost from Day 1 that she was born in the wrong body. She cross-dressed, surreptitiously, for many years, and in the 1980s, before she met Kris, she even began hormone therapy. She stopped the therapy after she met and married Kris.

As a footnote here, Kris Kardashian is the ex-wife of Robert Kardashian, O.J. Simpson’s lawyer.

The Big Reveal

In April, Caitlyn was interviewed by Diane Sawyer, the host of 20/20. She told her that she had begun transitioning into a woman. It wasn’t really much of a surprise to anyone who stood in line at the supermarket long enough to glance at the tabloid headlines.

Mostly, the media yawned and moved on, although Jenner did get a bit of press when she won the Arthur Ashe Courage reward, because “she [sic] has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark upon a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces.”

The Other Side of the Story

Not everyone believes that Caitlyn is really a woman. Dr. Paul McHugh is Psychiatrist in Chief at Johns Hopkins, and he maintains that because changing your gender is biologically impossible in the natural course of things, Jenner is suffering from a mental disorder. He claims that anyone who offers sex reassignment surgery is promoting mental illness, and points out that people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than non-trans people. He insists that your maleness, or your femaleness, is determined at birth. And presumably not to be messed with.

In short, he says that no one did Caitlyn any favors.

What Do You Think?

Are you trans? Do you know someone who is? Are you considering sex reassignment surgery? We’d love to hear your thoughts.


Posted in: Personal Injury

Harmful Helicopter Parenting

By Richard Console on November 10, 2015

Helicopter Parenting

Land the Helicopter, You’re Hurting Your Kid!

Kate Carson is an executive recruiter for Stockamp and Associates, a healthcare consultancy firm. As a recruiter, she’s accustomed to talking with all sorts of job applicants. But what she isn’t used to, and what she doesn’t want to get used to, is interviewing their parents. Or worse, having to explain to their parents why little Ryan or little Alyssa didn’t get hired.

Can you believe that some parents just don’t get the idea that “helicopter parenting” doesn’t do their kids any favors? They just want to hover. Well, of course they do, that’s what helicopters do.

The Helicopter Parent Defined

Okay, we’ve used the term “helicopter” a few times, and we don’t mean to belabor the point. So here’s the definition – a helicopter parent is someone who is beyond concerned about his or her child, to the point of obsession. Helicopter parents don’t understand that there is a difference between concern and obsession, and they don’t understand that when concern tips over into obsession, they’re hampering their child’s growth and impeding his or her ability to make responsible life decisions in adulthood.

Does This Sound Like You?

If you see yourself in this description, please, pull back and regroup. Your child needs to learn how to act on his own, or her own. Okay, we’re just going to start using the male pronoun now, because it’s easier. Get this, helicopter parent.

Here’s What Will Happen

If you don’t stop hovering, your kid is never going to learn how to function on his own. This is going to harm him at work, and in relationships, and if you don’t stop, he’s going to come back home and live with you when he’s 40. Is that really what you want?

He will never pick up after himself, he will never form a relationship with someone who isn’t just a substitute parent, and he will call you at all hours of the day and night, wailing “Mommy, what should I do?”

Seriously. Wouldn’t it be better just to land the helicopter now, and raise a child who can actually function in the real world? We think that would be the best solution, but hey, we’re just sayin’….

A Footnote

We should also point out that if you go to your child’s job interview with him (and we are using the term “child” loosely) he will NEVER get that job. And it will be YOUR FAULT.



Posted in: Personal Injury

Why Asbestos Is a Hidden Killer

By Richard Console on November 5, 2015


If you’re a person of a certain age, you might remember old-fashioned stereo or TV speakers. And you might remember, when the stereo or TV died, your parents giving them to you to play with before they were picked up and hauled off to the landfill.

You had no idea that those speakers you loved poking holes in contained potentially lethal asbestos. No one at that time had any idea that asbestos could be so harmful.

Where Does Asbestos Occur?

As we’ve just suggested, you could have found asbestos in your home. It also was prevalent in industrial sites and workplaces all across the country. As early as the 1920s, medical professionals identified diseases that were asbestos-related, but its use wasn’t banned until 1970.

Oil Fields

In oil fields all across the country, workers wore clothes that contained asbestos. They not only became ill from it, developing various types of cancer, they brought it home to their wives and children.


Anywhere that port industries are prevalent displays high instances of asbestos-related illnesses, again, not just among workers. Women who washed asbestos-contaminated clothes often developed asbestos-related illnesses.

Paper Mills

It would be hard to imagine a world without paper, but the business of making paper often involves asbestos. In the past, standard practice was to insulate high-temperature equipment using asbestos.

Construction Sites

For many years, asbestos was used in so many types of construction that it was practically impossible to avoid exposure. Today, we’re reaping the results with a practical pandemic of asbestos-induced illnesses.

Chemical Plants

For years, people thought that asbestos resisted chemicals, and that if it wasn’t disturbed, it was safe. The problem is that old asbestos crumbles and deteriorates. Then it enters the air, and people breathe it in.


Asbestos is everywhere. We read about it being found in public buildings, schools, courthouses, shopping malls, and other locations where we have every reason to assume that we should be safe. You can’t see it – unless you know for a fact that it’s there, the area has to be tested.

All across the country, buildings have been closed and condemned because of the presence of asbestos. And the really scary thing is, back in the day, we didn’t know it could hurt us. Now, we often don’t know where it could hurt us. We’re not informed, so we can’t be forearmed.


Posted in: Personal Injury

DIY Hair Care

By Richard Console on October 28, 2015

DIY Hair Care

Hair Care from the Grocery Store? It’s Not as Crazy As It Sounds

You know how it goes – you head off for a cut, and maybe a color, and your stylist says,
“OMG, you’ve been SO neglecting your hair! I have just the right product for you, and it only costs an arm and a leg and a lien on your first-born!”

If you’ve been paying way too much for products to keep your hair looking great, why don’t you give your wallet a rest, and just go to the grocery store? You’ll find common ingredients that will actually do more for your hair than that pricey stuff your stylist is trying to sell you. Try these great ideas!

  1. Eggs

Think you need protein shampoo? You don’t. Eggs are pure protein. All you have to do is get a bowl, mix up an egg, and add a bit of shampoo – you can even use the shampoo from the dollar store if you like. Now, wash your hair and just see how soft and shiny it is. You can also use eggs to condition your hair. You just have to beat them, work them into your hair, and rinse. Make sure, though, that you use warm water, not hot – if you use hot, you’ll end up with a mess of cooked eggs in your hair, which kind of defeats the purpose.

  1. Baking Soda

You use this to clean your sink, because it’s abrasive, and you’re wondering why in the world anyone would suggest you use it on your hair. We’re not suggesting that you scrub your hair with baking soda – just add about three tablespoons to a jug of rinse water, and it will remove product buildup. It works on any type of hair.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a wonder treatment for split ends! Just heat about half a cup in your microwave – 10 or 15 seconds is all it takes. Work it through your hair and leave it on for an hour if you have time, or for at least 20 minutes if you’re in a hurry. Now, shampoo. This is simply the best conditioner you’ll ever use.

  1. Molasses

Yes, molasses! If you have dry hair, use the same procedure as you would for olive oil, and enjoy shiny, healthy hair!

Stop wasting money on expensive hair treatments – the grocery store has it all.



Posted in: Personal Injury

After a Painkiller Overdose…

By Richard Console on October 27, 2015

Painkiller Overdose Lawyers | Console & Hollawell“Adverse reaction to prescription drugs.”

“Combined toxic effects” of the same medications.

“Drug intoxication.”

For grieving family members, these descriptions of a loved one’s cause of death bring little closure. If anything, the survivors feel confused that something like this could have ever happened to their loved one, or even guilty for not finding a way to stop it.

This isn’t fair. Death certificates and medical examiner’s reports should provide answers, not raise more questions. And while someone is to blame for these tragedies, it’s not the families or the patients themselves.

It’s the doctors who recklessly prescribe dangerous narcotic painkillers that caused these deaths.

And they must face the consequences.

What Can Families Do When They’ve Lost a Loved One to an Overdose?

The most important thing you need to know when a painkiller overdose death has shattered your family is that you have the right to pursue justice – to hold the doctor who over prescribed the drugs responsible, to get compensation, to find answers. But you need to act fast.

Your rights won’t last forever. If you wait until you feel like you’re better able to cope with the grief, you could miss the opportunity to bring to justice the person who took your family member from you.

Painkiller Overdose Lawsuits

From a legal standpoint, one of the biggest problems with over-prescription cases is that often, the surviving family members of a patient killed by a prescription drug overdose don’t know that malpractice was involved. They see it as an accident, or they blame their loved one, or even themselves. Naturally, this sense of blame doesn’t make coping with a sudden loss any easier.

Even when family members realize that the doctor’s at fault here, they rarely know they have any recourse. They may be afraid that no one will believe them when they say that a doctor caused the addiction. What they don’t know is how common this type of tragedy is – and how many more deaths could happen if they stay silent.

Over-Prescription Cases at Console & Hollawell

Over the last few years, our firm has handled numerous over-prescription cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In fact, a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer highlighted Console & Hollawell partner Richard J. Hollawell’s handling of three cases involving the same physician.

Partner Richard Hollawell has handled numerous cases for families of patients who lost their lives to prescription drug overdoses from improper prescribing. Recent cases have resulted in settlements of $1,650,000, $925,000, and $825,000. For every one of the families we have worked with, though, the money we got for them was secondary to their real goal: getting justice. They wanted answers. They wanted to see the physician own up to what he had done. And they wanted to make sure the doctor couldn’t cause any more harm. We urged state boards to take action against doctors who over-prescribe painkillers with deadly results and filed multiple complaints against these physicians.

The Prescription Overdose Epidemic

Prescription drug addiction and overdoses have become an epidemic in this country. For years now, prescription medications have killed more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

If you lost a loved one to a painkiller overdose, please give us a call at (856) 778-5500 as soon as you can. One thing we can promise is that you’ll get the compassionate help and support your family needs. We know how hard it is to cope with a loss like this. After all, we have lost good friends to prescription drug overdoses ourselves.

Fighting for the families of those friends is what first drew our firm’s attention to this complex form of medical malpractice years ago. Knowing that there are more grieving families out there – families like yours – is the reason we remain committed to standing up to over-prescribing doctors today.

Before You Think About Following a Paleo Diet, Remember That Cavemen Died Young!

By Richard Console on October 20, 2015

The Paleo Diet

Have you heard about the Paleo diet craze? Essentially, what it means is that you eat only the foods that your caveman ancestors ate. Proponents of the Paleo diet suggest that our bodies haven’t evolved to the point where we’re ready to eat processed foods. What that means is that you should only eat whatever you can kill or pick. The theory is that cavemen were never overweight, so eating like a caveman will help you to be slim and trim.

Here’s the thing. Cavemen, if you believe the available research, usually died at about age 40. And if they weren’t overweight, it likely wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that it’s because they were so busy just surviving, that they didn’t have time to sit around and pork up. If you’re out there hunting mammoths or dealing with invading tribes, you’re not stuffing your face.

Proponents of the Paleo diet also suggest that it lowers your blood pressure, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease. The problem is that there’s no research to back this up.

So, what can you eat on a Paleo diet? You can have a ton of protein in terms of meat and fish, and you can eat all the vegetables you want. But you can’t have ice cream, or cake, or cherries jubilee, or any of the other things that make life worth living. And while you’re eating all those foods that give you no pleasure at all, you’ll have to take a multivitamin to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

You’ll also have to spend a ton of time in the kitchen, preparing foods from ingredients that cavemen would have been able to source. No processed foods at all. Just good, wholesome ingredients that took forever to prepare. You could create a new era – forget Jurassic, Paleozoic and so on – you’re in the Kitcheniferic era. Now get your hand off that soy sauce, you’re not allowed to use it!


Posted in: Personal Injury

That’s Not the Flu: Are You at Risk for Deadly Legionnaires’ Disease?

By Richard Console on October 15, 2015

Simply breathing in the wrong place could put you in danger of suffering a life-threatening lung infection.

Feeling ill? Your cough might be more than seasonal allergies or a nasty cold. Every year, early autumn sees an upsurge in cases of a severe form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease, according to the New Jersey Herald. And if you’re like many Legionnaires’ disease patients, you never even realized you were being exposed to dangerous bacteria.

If you have flu-like symptoms, read on – it just might save your life!

Legionnaires' disease lawsuits | Console & Hollawell

The bacteria Legionella causes Legionnaire’s disease. Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

Legionnaires’ Disease Defined

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of life-threatening pneumonia. It occurs when a certain kind if airborne bacteria infects the lungs.

When Legionnaires’ disease strikes, patients experience serious flu-like symptoms and breathing difficulties. They need medical care right away. Often, patients have to be hospitalized. They receive antibiotics, breathing treatments, and IV fluids during their hospital stay.

Where Does Legionnaires’ Disease Come From?

If you’re exposed to this life-threatening form of pneumonia, you might never even know it.

The Legionella pneumophila bacteria, which cause the lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease, are part of nature. They’re found in creeks, ponds, even potting soil. But it’s in complex indoor water systems that these bacteria really thrive.

At warmer temperatures, Legionella bacteria can multiply rapidly. The bigger the plumbing system, the better for Legionella – which is why patients rarely contract Legionnaires’ disease from Legionella exposure in their own homes.

So where do patients encounter the potentially deadly bacteria? The most common places include:

  • Schools
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Cruise ships
  • Other structures with large, complex plumbing and water systems

Specifically, the bacteria emerge in airborne droplets in places near:

  • Decorative fountains
  • Swimming pools, hot tubs, and whirlpools
  • Showers
  • Faucets
  • Mist sprayers
  • Humidifiers
  • Air conditioner cooling towers
  • Hot water tanks

Where Did Legionnaire’s Disease Get Its Unusual Name?

The year was 1976. The place, Philadelphia. Around 2,000 people showed up at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel for a three-day American Legion conference that coincided with the Bicentennial celebration.

Something sinister lurked in the water – and in tiny droplets in the air – those three days.

Shortly after the conference ended, attendees began dying. Though the causes of deaths at first appeared to be heart attacks, some of the victims were suspiciously young. A doctor realized that the sudden deaths of so many conference attendees couldn’t be just a coincidence.

And he was right. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later found Legionella bacteria not just in the cooling tower of the hotel’s air conditioner, but spread throughout the building.

The exposure proved devastating. Within the first week, more than 130 American Legion conference attendees were hospitalized, and 25 were dead. By the time the rash of deaths stopped, 221 people had come down with the serious lung infection. And 34 lost their lives to it.

This tragedy went down in history as the first known outbreak of Legionella infection anywhere in the United States.

Legionnaire’s Disease Lawsuits

Legionnaire’s disease isn’t just a public health concern. It’s a legal matter with serious consequences. People die from this. People rack of thousands of dollars in medical bills just to survive. They miss work while hospitalized, costing their family’s livelihood.

Because of the serious nature of Legionnaires’ disease and the negligence involved in allowing the bacteria to flourish in public and commercial places, lawsuits have sprung up across the country against property owners who failed to maintain their water systems safely. If you were with Legionnaires’ disease, join them today. Give us a call, and get what you deserve.

Are e-Cigarettes Really Safe? The Truth Might Surprise You!

By Richard Console on October 12, 2015


Let’s get one fact straight – smoking is a nasty habit. You know that even if you’re a smoker.

If people care about you, they’ll probably harp on the health risks. The likelihood, though, is that they don’t care nearly as much about the possibility of you coming to an untimely death as they do about the discomfort your habit is causing them. So why don’t you just quit?

You could, of course, just continue to smoke, bother your friends and family, and be socially objectionable. But we’re betting you don’t really want to smoke. You’re just hooked.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about e-cigarettes. You’ve heard that they deliver nicotine doses in levels that you can select, and that they won’t bother anyone around you. There’s no cough-inducing smoke that’s going to trouble your friends and family. Any odor comes from nothing more than vapor, that smells like chocolate, mint, strawberry, or whatever other flavor you’ve chosen in your vaping liquid. You’ll still get your nic-fix, but no one around you will be adversely affected.

So, are e-cigs safe? The short answer is that they’re no safer than any other product that contains nicotine. You won’t get the same pesticides and other compounds that you’d get from a tobacco cigarette, but you’ll still get nicotine. And if you think that’s safe, let us point out one little factoid – nicotine is what game wardens use to kill problem bears.

So. What are you going to do? Keep on getting your nicotine fix, and create a whole new class of lawsuit? You know about the suits against “Big Tobacco” – Rothman’s got me addicted, now I’m dying of cancer, they should have known, yadda, yadda, yadda. You could just as easily see lawsuits based on the damage caused by e-cigs. No “secondhand smoke” cases, but still legal action on the part of individuals. It’s probably only a matter of time.

From our perspective, the final word is that if you’re really addicted, e-cigarettes may be less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, but they still contain harmful nicotine. No tobacco product is really safe. Your friends won’t be harmed, but you still might.


Posted in: Personal Injury

Woman Fails Class Twice and Sues School

By Richard Console on October 7, 2015

Sue the School

If you fail your classes, can you sue your school? A woman in Pennsylvania tried to do just that.

Jennifer Burbella filed a lawsuit against Misericordia University, claiming that they violated disability laws in the United States by failing to accommodate her. She suffers from depression and anxiety, and she wants $75,000 in damages.

The lawsuit is still pending and her lawyer, Harry McGrath, claims that under Section 504 of the ADA, she is entitled to accommodations and should not be prevented from becoming a nurse.

In 2013, Burbella signed a waiver that entitled her doctor to look at her records and determine if she was entitled to accommodations based on her ability. Then, in 2014, she took an exam for a class in which she was required to gain a grade of at least 78% in order to earn her degree. She failed. She took the class again in May, and failed again. She claimed that she couldn’t complete the test because she was “distracted.” Finally, she apparently broke down and cried. She claimed that the test environment was inherently stressful.

McGrath claims that she didn’t get a “fair shake.” The school claims that she did.

So, how far do schools need to go to accommodate students who have special needs, or conditions that might make it difficult for them to pass their courses? It’s a slippery slope that we navigate when we consider accommodating students who might have difficulty passing courses under “normal” conditions. If you have a bad day, should you be able to re-do your test? Should we accommodate students who are bi-polar, have ADHD, or are otherwise somehow compromised when it comes to completing standardized tests? Can a student fail a course twice, and still, because of some sort of perceived special need, be entitled to a rewrite?

Where do human rights end and the protection of users of the health care system begin? Where do we stop being politically correct and start saying “We have to do this for the greater good?” Are you comfortable with a health care provider who can’t pass his or her course? Do you feel safe in the hands of someone who loses it during an exam? What do you think? We’re just lawyers, and we don’t have all the answers. Your thoughts are welcome, and we’d love to hear from you.

Sources: /

Posted in: Personal Injury

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