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OMG, TMI: TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY ONLINE

These are tumultuous times out in cyberspace, from the massive data breach at Equifax last year that compromised the personal data of 148 million people to the recent revelations that private information about millions of Facebook users ended up in the hands of a political data firm seeking to influence voter behavior. In the wake of those incidents and others, more and more users of social media doubt their ability to protect their personal information online. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, only nine percent of respondents are “very confident” that the safeguards on social media sites...

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WELLS FARGO CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS SEEK DAMAGES FOR EXCESSIVE AUTO LOAN COSTS

insurance contract

Thousands of motorists who financed their cars through Wells Fargo over the past decade may be entitled to compensation for being forced to buy insurance they didn’t need or for other fees that weren’t properly refunded. Two separate class-action lawsuits filed by Franklin D. Azar & Associates are seeking refunds for bank customers of the improper charges, and class members may be entitled to additional compensation for other damages caused by Wells Fargo’s actions...

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RISKY BUSINESS: FAST-TRACK APPROVAL OF NEW DRUGS, MEDICAL DEVICES RAISES CONCERNS

As consumers, we all rely on government regulations and inspections to help insure the safety of the food we eat, the cars we drive, the toys we buy our children. But the safeguards we expect may be flimsier than we think, in one particularly critical area: the development of new pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices, many of which are now reaching the marketplace with minimal testing and weak regulatory oversight. Two recent investigative reports published by distinctly different media outlets, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the online watchdog ProPublica, provide disturbing evidence that efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to make...

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Payday Loans: A Matter of Life and Debt

Payday Loan Check

The unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been in decades, but our nation’s economy is still more fragile than many people realize. An estimated eight out of ten American workers — close to 95 million people — are reportedly living paycheck to paycheck, with little in the way of cash reserves to tide them over in the event of a financial emergency. And over the course of a year as many as 12 million cash-poor customers will turn to payday loan operations for short-term, ready cash to help them keep up with their bills. Payday lending is an undeniably controversial...

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TALCUM POWDER LAWSUIT, OVARIAN CANCER AND ASBESTOS: THE LEGAL BATTLE RAGES

baby powder

Thousands of women and their families have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other talcum powder makers, claiming that using the product led to the development of ovarian cancer. Although the industry has strongly contested such claims, some researchers believe there’s a strong scientific basis for such a link. Questions about the purity of the talc, the possibility of contamination with asbestos, and other concerns have also played a part in the litigation, which has resulted in some sizable plaintiff verdicts — and more questions about just how “healing” consumers’ experience with talc has been...

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SELF-DRIVING CARS: ARE WE THERE YET?

Some day, and perhaps sooner than we realize, the software in our cars may become so sophisticated, flawless, and easy to use that the morning commute to work will be truly stress-free, accident-free, and even hands-free. But recent reports of setbacks for cars that “drive themselves,” to one degree or another, indicate that motorists still have a long way to go before they can turn over the wheel to a truly autonomous driving system...

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PATIENT BEWARE: THE DANGERS OF OFF-LABEL DRUG USE

In the megahit movie Black Panther, much of the plot revolves around the struggle to control the world’s supply of vibranium, an incredibly rare and versatile substance that’s the secret to the Black Panther’s powers. Vibranium is strong enough to cut through any metal, yet also can absorb sound and serve as body armor; in herb form, it can heal the mortally wounded and endow the user with superhuman strength and agility...

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Can Drug Companies Be Held Accountable For The Opioid Crisis?

Across America, communities large and small are grappling with a drug problem like nothing the nation has ever seen before. The opioid epidemic has devastated families reeling from the impacts of addiction, overwhelmed first responders scrambling to save lives from overdoses, and prompted government officials to launch investigations into the role prescription painkillers have played in triggering a public health crisis...

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THE EQUIFAX BREACH: IS YOUR DATA SAFE?

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re the president of a bank. A very big bank. A bank entrusted with guarding the precious valuables of millions of customers. One day law enforcement warns you that your alarm system has a glitch that needs to be fixed. You pass the message on to members of your security team, who assure you that they’re on top of the problem. But a few months later, you get some distressing news. For at least the past ten weeks, a back door to the bank has been left unlocked every night, and the vault has been...

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