Category — Guest post

Wishing You a Blessed and Happy Easter

Easter is that sacred season when the heart of each devout Christian turns in humble gratitude to our beloved Savior. It is a season that should bring peace and joy to all who love Him and show it by obeying His commandments. Easter brings thoughts of Jesus, His life, His Atonement, His Resurrection, His love. He has risen from the dead “with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). Oh, how we all need that healing the Redeemer can provide…

mary-the-resurrected-christ-39605-tablet

Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. He is a glorious, resurrected being. He has the capacity to communicate love that is so powerful, so overwhelming as to surpass the capacity of the human tongue to express adequately. He gave His life to break the bonds of death. His Atonement made fully active the plan of happiness of His Father in Heaven…

My reverence and gratitude for the Atonement of the Holy One of Israel, the Prince of Peace and our Redeemer, continually expand as I strive to understand more about it. I realize that no mortal mind can adequately conceive, nor can human tongue appropriately express, the full significance of all that Jesus Christ has done for our Heavenly Father’s children through His Atonement. Yet it is vital that we each learn what we can about it. The Atonement is that essential ingredient of our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness without which that plan could not have been activated.

I try to imagine what an intensely poignant moment it must have been for our Father in Heaven when the Savior cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). I don’t believe Father in Heaven forsook His Son on the cross. I do believe the cry was motivated when that Son felt removed the sustaining support He had always enjoyed from His Father. His Father recognized that the Savior needed to accomplish the Atonement totally and completely on His own, without external support. The Father did not abandon His Son. He made it possible for His perfect Son to win the eternal fruits of the Atonement.

There is an imperative need for each of us to strengthen our understanding of the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that it will become an unshakable foundation upon which to build our lives. As the world becomes more devoid of foundational standards and as honor, virtue, and purity are increasingly cast aside in the pursuit of appetite, our understanding of and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ will provide strength and capacity needed for a successful life. It will also bring confidence in times of trial and peace in moments of turmoil.

Richard G. Scott
Sections of original article quoted above with permission. Read the full text here.

All of us at ICE PACK Emergency Preparedness Systems wishes you and yours a blessed Easter.

March 31, 2013   No Comments

Recent Damages Award Shines New Light on Legal Liability for Emergency Preparedness

On July 20th, a  Louisiana judge gave preliminary approval on a 25 million dollar class-action lawsuit settlement agreed to by Tenet Healthcare Corporation and associated plaintiffs.  What were the allegations of this lawsuit?  Basically it boiled down to the failure of a corporation to provide adequate emergency preparedness for those for whom it was responsible.

During Hurricane Katrina, some 1000 individuals were trapped in Memorial Medical Center, owned by Tenet, in uptown New Orleans.  Power failed.  Backup power failed. Utilities failed. Temperatures inside the hospital reached 100 degrees.  Rescue eventually came and many survived.  Unfortunately 45 patients did not.

It seems to us that this court action is a resonating wake up call for all corporations, GO’s, NGO’s, and OGA’s around the country.  The Journal of American Medical Association seems to agree.  In an article published on July 20th, two law professors state that the Tenet settlement “raises the stakes” for other healthcare organizations which run the risk of similar litigation over lack of, or insufficient, emergency preparation.  To extend this statement to all organizations which have a responsibility to employees, visitors, or customers residing in a fixed location is certainly by no means a stretch.

“Tagging hospitals with liability for all patient harms that, in hindsight, could have been prevented by better preparedness creates a nearly impossible legal standard for entities to meet — principally that they be prepared for nearly every contingency in an emergency,” write James Hodge Jr., JD, and Erin Brown, JD, MPH, professors at Arizona State University (italics added).  We would counter, however, that creating a “nearly impossible legal standard” certainly does not mitigate the need for corporations and other organizations to seek a level of sufficient emergency preparedness to be considered prudent and reasonable.  Failure to do so may in fact guarantee a negative outcome to any potential litigation on the matter.

With new light shining on this important topic, we feel promoted to re-post the following blog written by our legal partners, Troutman Sanders.

The Legal Side of Disaster Preparedness for Businesses and Corporations

You have gotten a liability policy of insurance for your company. But, have you considered whether it covers a failure of your company to plan for natural disasters or other critical events? What sort of liability might your company face if it fails to properly plan for such situations? Your company could conceivably be faced with any number of critical events, including a pandemic, a major weather event or natural disaster, a chemical spill or a terrorist attack.

Negligent failure to plan is an emerging area in the liability context. In this regard, the primary questions a company must ask itself in order to properly confront its risks are:

  • Has our company taken reasonable precautions to prevent a reasonably foreseeable critical event, which could take a significant toll on our work force or our customers?
  • Are we prepared in such an event to respond with proper protective and palliative actions for individuals following a reasonably foreseeable critical event?

An employer might be considered negligent if it does not take reasonable steps to eliminate or diminish known or reasonably foreseeable risks that could cause harm. Repeated acts of terrorism on American soil are almost certain to occur in the future; this is no longer an unthinkable event. Reports of natural disasters seem to appear with increasing regularity. Corporations and governmental entities are reasonably expected to prepare for such foreseeable risks.

Consider the massive class action filed against the United States government which grew out of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The lawsuits are based, in part, upon the alleged failure to plan by the Army Corp of Engineers. As of May 2007, approximately 250,000 people seeking over $278 billion in Katrina-related damages have had lawsuits filed on their behalf against the U.S. government alone. On top of that, numerous other organizations, corporations, public officials, levee boards, insurance companies, and others are being sued for additional billions of dollars in damages.

Katrina Canal Breaches - Photo credit Wikipedia

The residents involved in the Katrina Canal Beaches Consolidated Litigation asserted that the operation and maintenance of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) caused a levee to be breached catastrophically. The Court found that the Corps’ negligent failure to properly plan the maintenance and operational capacities of the MRGO, in light of the possibility of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, was a substantial cause for the fatal breaching of the levee and the subsequent catastrophic flooding. While the Court considered several of the government’s defenses to the action, it ultimately concluded that none of these were available to the Corps. Damages were awarded to most of the residents involved in the litigation, based on the fact that they demonstrated that their claims properly arose under the law of negligence as set forth under the Louisiana Civil Code and the Federal Tort Claims Act.

One particularly interesting portion of the decision involves the Court’s analysis explaining that, while planning had been made based upon previous data, no updated plans had been made based upon new data that had come to light:

[A]n agency that has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) cannot simply rest on the original document. The agency must be alert to new information that may alter the results of its original environmental analysis, and continue to take a “hard look at the environmental effects of [its] planned action, even after a proposal has received initial approval.” If there remains major Federal action to occur, and the new information is sufficient to show that the remaining action will affect the quality of the human environment in a significant manner or to a significant extent not already considered, a supplemental EIS must be prepared.

The teaching of this decision is clear: companies must have critical event contingency plans in place, and these plans must be continuously updated and revised based upon any new data that may become available. If a company fails to do so, it risks substantial liability based upon such negligence. Because we live in an increasingly litigious society, companies must plan for possible legal attacks from individuals, including employees, customers, and vendors, who have been injured as a result of a company’s lack of planning for a foreseeable critical event.

Guest post by Paige Fitzgerald of Troutman Sanders LLP.
Paige Fitzgerald / Troutman Sanders logo

 

Facta Non Verba

August 15, 2011   No Comments

A Celebration of Independence

Independence did not come easy to America, and it has not been easy to keep.

By the time colonists declared themselves free of British rule on July 4, 1776, they had the highest standard of living in the world, higher than that of England itself.

In the 167 years since the first 500 settlers landed in Virginia to carve a society out of the wilderness, their number had grown to more than two million. A majority could read and write.

They had established colleges – including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia universities and the University of Pennsylvania – in five of their thirteen colonies.

They had developed a postal system that from Maine to Florida and from New York to Canada. A public hospital had been established in Pennsylvania and one was evolving in New York.

And, having largely governed their colonies to their liking for more than 100 years, they had come to think of themselves as Americans – though they paid taxes, as well as penalties, to the motherland.

First it was one thing, then another: The Iron Act limited the growth of the American iron industry. The Currency Act banned the issuance of paper money. The Sugar Act applied duties to imported sugar and other items such as textiles, coffee, wines and indigo, doubled the duties on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies and forbade the import of foreign rum and French wines.

The Stamp Act imposed taxes on all printed materials, including newspapers, pamphlets, bills, legal documents, licenses, almanacs, dice and playing cards. The Quartering Act required colonists to house British troops and supply them with food. The Townshend Revenue Acts imposed taxes on paper, tea, glass, lead and paints. Fishing had been banned in the North Atlantic, the colonial government in Massachusetts had been suspended, and the English infantry had come ashore at Boston Harbor, firing pointblank into a crowd.

The First Continental Congress formed the Continental Army under the leadership of George Washington, and appointed a committee to draft a declaration of independence.

Called upon to write the draft, Thomas Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people at that time. The political philosophy expressed in the document was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by Continental philosophers.

Jefferson summarized this philosophy in “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King of England in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. That summary would become this country’s most enduring document.

It reads, in part: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights … that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … when a long train of abuses and usurpations … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Two hundred seventeen thousand died for that conviction between the time the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired across Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 and British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia on October 17, 1781. More than 6,000 suffered non-mortal wounds.

The fight for those convictions has been ongoing.

Statistics show that all told, as of March 2010 more than 42 million Americans have served in the nation’s military during times of war. More than 650,000 have died on battlefields, another 540,000 have died in service, and nearly a million and a half have suffered non-mortal wounds.

And, there are more than 17 million American military veterans still living.

ICE PACK Emergency Preparedness Systems and Ashbury International Group salutes them all and God bless the United States of America!

 

July 4, 2011   1 Comment