Today, the United States has approximately 1.3 million active-duty military troops and another 865,000 in reserves. (1) When these men and women retire with a service-related disability and an “other than dishonorable” discharge, they can qualify for a monthly tax-free VA Disability Compensation benefit. This benefit can range from $150 to over $3,400 every month, and the VA determines each veterans monetary amount based on a particular formula.  With such a large military force, men and women are continually retiring creating a large group of military disabilities that the VA pays compensation for. (2) Unfortunately, many veterans have to seek out a lawyer for military hearing loss, because they struggle with claim denials or incorrect disability ratings that prevent them from getting the full benefits they deserve.

Veteran Hearing Loss And Compensation

According to the Veterans Benefits Administration Reports,(3) the top VA claims are:

  • Tinnitus: 157,152
  • Limitation of flexion, knee: 99,467
  • Hearing loss: 76,102
  • Lumbosacral or cervical strain: 71,197
  • Limitation of motion of the arm: 67,375
  • Scars, general: 55,215
  • Limitation of motion of the ankle: 51,158
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: 46,931
  • Migraine: 41,251
  • Paralysis of the sciatic nerve: 38,730

Of all the 704,578 claims that were processed in 2018, 233,254 claims were strictly hearing related issues. Both tinnitus and hearing loss accounts for over 30% of all military disability claims paid out. However, if these two hearing-related issues are the most frequently compensated disabilities, why would someone suffering from either of these issues need a capable lawyer for military hearing loss? Unfortunately, veteran hearing loss might have been caused by defective 3M earplugs and not just by natural causes. It is possible that the VA might not be compensating veterans as much as they should for this claim and those who are suffering from a veteran hearing loss might be eligible for additional compensation based on these defective 3M earplugs.

What Are Defective 3M Earplugs?

In July of 2018, a lawsuit was settled with 3M stating that the company defrauded the government by selling faulty earplugs with “dangerous design defects” to the military. The suit alleged that 3M was aware of the problem before selling the earplugs to the military and that testing procedures and fitting instructions were unlawfully manipulated and the company did not disclose the design defect for the plugs they sold between the years of 2003 – 2015. (4) Since the lawsuit occurred, thousands of veterans have reached out to a lawyer for military hearing loss. These veterans are looking to seek punitive damages from 3M after they have developed hearing issues from 3M’s “gross negligence.” If you were serving in the armed forces during 2003 – 2015 and are experiencing veteran hearing loss, reach out to a Taylor Martino lawyer for military hearing loss to help with your potential claim.

Can Veteran Hearing Loss Occur Naturally?

Veteran hearing loss is the third most common cause of disability in the VA and can naturally be found in older veterans. Hearing loss is typically related to the aging process, and it is entirely reasonable for older veterans or those who have not experienced military service to suffer from the loss of hearing. However, there has been an increase in the number of both young and older veterans with hearing loss, and it could be due to a variety of factors. The use of using the defective 3M earplugs could contribute, or just hazards of the job with the frequent usage of weapons training, large vehicular engines, and tanks. Unfortunately, veteran hearing loss is a growing problem so it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem and how many may be suffering from a hearing condition.

The Cost of Veteran Hearing Loss

Not only is veteran hearing loss a severe condition to those who are experiencing it, but it is also a considerable financial burden to the VA who pays for the disability compensation. While a lawyer for military hearing loss will help you with your hearing loss claims, the government will ultimately pay the final price for these medical conditions. According to data from the Hearing Center of Excellence, a part of the Department of Defense, hearing maladies cost more than $1.4 billion in veterans disability payments annually. The last year the data was available, the VA spent $216 million for hearing aids and related devices, and they pay an average of $348.15 per hearing aid each. (5) Since this data was collected, the numbers have only increased indicating that the VA is under a financial burden by a condition that could be alleviated.

Is the Military Working to Stop Military Hearing Loss Conditions?

In 2008 The Department of Defense established the Hearing Center of Excellence, or HCE, to focus on the “prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing loss and auditory injury.” (7) The HCE was legislated by Congress and partners directly with the VA, institutions of higher education, and other mission-minded public and private organization to work to improve hearing-related issues that affect veterans. The HCE’s responsibilities include:

  • Develop a data registry to track hearing loss and auditory injuries across the military, and share data and resources with the VA
  • Encourage and facilitate hearing health research
  • Develop best practices and education
  • Ensure the coordination and delivery of VA benefits and services to veterans

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs office and research department has done fantastic research since its inception and has made strides with tinnitus management, blast injury hearing loss, hearing aid usage and more.

Reach Out to An Experienced Lawyer for Military Hearing Loss

When it comes to veteran hearing loss, experts say too few returning veterans don’t seek medical attention for their hearing loss when symptoms first appear. Many of these veterans don’t believe they have hearing loss before it is too late. If you are experiencing veteran hearing loss years out of the service, you could be entitled to additional compensation. An experienced lawyer for military hearing loss at Taylor Martino P.C., will assess your case and aid in protecting your rights. Having a lawyer for military hearing loss is especially crucial to help assist in all of the proper paperwork and the first steps for filing a lawsuit. If you’ve experienced veteran military hearing loss after serving in the military from 2003 – 2016, call Taylor Martino P.C., Personal Injury Lawyers  to take legal action today!

References:

  1. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52814-Hearing-loss-statistics-at-a-glance
  2. https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veteran-disability-compensation.html
  3. https://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/abr/docs/2018-compensation.pdf
  4. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/military-veterans-claim-defective-3m-earplugs-caused-hearing-loss/
  5. https://backhome.news21.com/article/hearing/
  6. https://www.research.va.gov/topics/hearing.cfm
  7. https://hearing.health.mil/About-HCE/History

Taylor Martino, PC has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Portersville Bay Oyster Company against 4H Construction and Gunter N. Guy, Commissioner of Alabama Department of Conservation. Portersville Bay Oyster Company holds private and state-owned aquaculture easements for cage-raised and bottom oysters. Portersville claims the heavy machinery used by 4H Construction to complete the Marsh Island Restoration Project is creating more than normal sediment and silt and the project is causing the larvae and mature oysters to become contaminated and smothered by the extra silt and sediment.

Click here to read Lagniappe’s story Lawsuit claims state project is killing oysters in Portersville Bay dated September 29, 2016. The story features our client, Troy Cornelius, owner of Portersville Bay Oyster Company in Coden, Alabama.

In January 2016, Department of Conservation awarded 4H Construction out of Mississippi a contract to complete the Marsh Island Restoration Project. The project was intended to rehabilitate and restore the salt marshes destroyed by past hurricanes and affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The state decided to do this by constructing a semi-permeable segment breakwater barrier to project the shoreline. The Marsh Island Restoration Project requires the construction company use heavy machinery to remove sediment from the salt marshes, which, in turn, creates more than normal sediment and silt, which is then carried by the tides and the currents. The larvae and oysters become contaminated and smothered by the extra silt and sediment, which has decimated the young oyster population by  Portersville Bay Oyster Company and other oyster farmers in the bay. 

The extra sediment and silt began to affect the oyster beds as early as May 2016. Prior to the Marsh Island Restoration Project, the Portersville oyster beds had a mortality of 3-5% and now the affected oyster beds have 40-50% mortality rate, which is continuing to grow as the work continues on the berm.  The oysters being raised on the bottom have all been lost.

Portersville Bay Oyster Company alleges the Alabama Department of Conservation and 4H Construction has not implemented the proper safeguards to prevent the movement of dredged sediments and has failed to limit or has created turbidity that exceed acceptable levels.  “I’ve been making a living on this river for 30 years and for someone to sit behind a desk and tell me how things work down here is unbelievable, pumping all of this silt and sediment is killing my oysters,” said Troy Cornelius, owner of Portersville Bay Oyster Company. 

During the bidding phase, the Alabama Department of Conservation and contractors were aware creation of the breakwater marsh could create the excess silt and pollution to the oyster beds.  “The State of Alabama is using a portion of the settlement money from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to rebuild the salt marshes but, at the same time,  have embarked on a project that will destroy the oysters and the livelihood of local oyster farmers like our client,” said attorney Steve Martino of Taylor Martino, PC, which represents Portersville Bay Oyster Company.

“We are hopeful that this will get the state’s attention and prevent further damage to the state’s burgeoning oyster industry,” said attorney Brad Kittrell of Taylor Martino, PC, which represents Portersville Bay Oyster Company.

Taylor Martino is a law firm that serves victims in Alabama and Mississippi. If you believe you or a loved one have a personal injury claim, please contact us today for a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation by calling 251-433-3131 or by email.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
455 St. Louis Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
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A large area of land in Eight Mile, Alabama, has been contaminated with the chemical Mercaptan, which escaped from the Mobile Gas Service Corporation’s natural gas facilities located in Eight Mile. Mercaptan is added to natural gas by natural gas processors to give the gas a detectable smell, because natural gas is odorless. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Mercaptan has “a strong, obnoxious odor like garlic or skunk.” Exposure to Mercaptan can also cause adverse physical reactions.

The escaped Mercaptan entered the groundwater and resurfaced throughout the Eight Mile community, where it entered the atmosphere. Residents of the affected area have lost the use and enjoyment of their homes due to the sickening Mercaptan smell, and their properties have been substantially reduced in value.

Taylor Martino represented many residents of the affected area in a lawsuit against Mobile Gas, which sought monetary damages for the Mercaptan pollution and a cleanup of the pollution. Our firm is no longer accepting Mercaptan pollution cases.

Mercaptan odor investigation report reveals new details – by Letisha Bush, Fox10 News

Articles on the Eight Mile Mercaptan Spill

 

Taylor Martino is investigating warranty claims that may have been improperly denied. American Home Shield Corporation (“AHS”) sells warranty contracts covering the repair and replacement of home appliances and systems due to “normal wear and tear.”  Taylor Martino is investigating whether AHS has improperly denied certain claims its customers made under their warranties.  The cases under investigation involve persons who, between October 21, 2009, and the present, were denied coverage under AHS warranty contracts for air conditioners, or other large home appliances or systems, on the grounds of improper maintenance, failure to maintain, misuse, abuse, failure to clean, and/or pre-existing conditions.

NOTE: This does not include persons who are members of the settlement class in Faught v. American Home Shield, Case No. 2:07-cv-1928-RDP (in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama), and who were denied coverage after April 26, 2012.

If you were denied coverage by AHS as specified above, you may have a claim for money damages.  Please contact Taylor Martino for a free evaluation.

 

By Kathy Jumper, Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama — Regions Bank must pay some $6.8 million to the developers of SaltAire subdivision on Mobile Bay’s western shoreline after two rulings by an arbitration panel this week.

Mobile Bay Investments, whose managing partner is Logan Gewin, sued Regions in March 2010, claiming the bank reneged on an $18.2 million loan, effectively derailing the 500-acre project in October 2008.

Arbiters awarded the bank $8.23 million in connection with a loan taken by Mobile Bay Investments to start the project.

The three-judge panel also awarded $15 million to Mobile Bay Investments in connection with its 2010 lawsuit, records show.

Arbitration attorney fees of more than $69,871 and the arbitration firm’s $28,800 fee were assessed against the bank.

Ultimately, the developers received $6.83 million, including some repayment of fees, according to local attorney Richard Taylor of Taylor-Martino, who represented Gewin.

“The verdict clearly established that Regions Bank broke its written promise to loan SaltAire the money it needed to complete the final phase of the SaltAire project,” Taylor said. “We believe very strongly that if Regions Bank had honored its written commitment in 2008, SaltAire would be a viable and successful real estate development today.

“Perhaps the verdict will let Regions Bank, and other banks, know that there is accountability.”

Regions declined to comment, according to Evelyn Mitchell of the bank’s corporate office in Birmingham.

The week-long arbitration was heard by an American Arbitration Association panel consisting of attorneys from New Jersey, Louisiana and Texas.

The bank has 30 days to appeal the award, but the grounds for such appeals are very limited under federal law, according to Taylor.

Mobile Bay Investments’ attorneys cited a May 30, 2008, letter from Regions to Gewin that they contend confirms an $18.2 million loan. The bank wrote that it would provide $14 million and arrange for another participant to hold the remaining $4.2 million, court records show. Gewin and his business partners relied on Regions’ promises and written agreements to finance the project, according to Taylor.

The verdict “will allow everybody to be made whole in some acceptable form or fashion,” Gewin said. “I’m now going to be able to work my way out of this. My mission is not over. I’ve still got work to do.”

Millions in liens were filed against the project by contractors, road builders, landscapers and other vendors after the project lost its funding four years ago.

Between $12 million and $15 million has been invested in SaltAire, which was to be a community like Seaside in the Florida Panhandle, with up to 1,250 homes surrounded by a fitness center, two stocked lakes, parks, shops, restaurants and other amenities.

Today, about a dozen upscale homes have been sold and are occupied in the subdivision that has 2,000 front feet on Mobile Bay.

Bay Mortgage Investors, which had an estimated $9 million first mortgage on the property, foreclosed on 250 acres on the north side of SaltAire in January 2010. Gewin retained the 250 acres to the south with plans to turn it into a nonprofit nature preserve.

Bay Mortgage Investors and Burton Investment Group, which have about $10 million in the project, have filed a lawsuit against Regions. That case is expected to go to trial in October.

 

Vessels of Opportunity Lawsuit filed against BP Oil

(Mobile, Ala.) – The local law firm of Taylor Martino, P.C. has filed the first of many Vessel of Opportunity or “VOO” lawsuits against BP Oil in relation to the oil spill that resulted from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion on April 20, 2010. The firm filed its first round of complaints last Friday, November 5, 2010, on behalf of citizens of south Mobile County, who participated in the VOO program. A total of six complaints were filed, with more to follow.

“We are trying to help citizens of our community who provided work for BP in their oil clean up operations and were denied payment by BP. These people were given a job, required to sign a contract, and were not paid in full for their services.” said Edward P. Rowan, an attorney with Taylor Martino. “ All we want is for BP to stand by their contract. Instead, what we see here is a recurring theme in BP’s oil spill payments – an initial payment to ‘calm the waters,’ and then a quiet withdrawal of their obligations.”

The suit arises from fact that BP breached their contract with the vessel owners in the VOO program. The BP contract, entitled “Master Vessel Charter Agreement,” required that the vessels be used exclusively in the VOO program, and could not be used for any other purpose. The contract also required a formal termination called an “Off Hire Dispatch Notification.” Many vessel owners were put on a standby position on or about July 22,2010 due to the supposed threat of Tropical Storm Bonnie.Termination letters were sent to vessel owners several weeks later, in most cases, on or about August 27, 2010. During this time, the vessel owners were still obligated to hold their vessels open pursuant to the terms of the BP contract; likewise, BP was obligated to continue to pay under the same contract. VOO participants are entitled to be compensated for the charter of their vessels from the time that they were put on standby, until they were provided the requisite “Off Hire Dispatch Notification.”

Related News Articles: http://blog.al.com/live/2010/11/boat_owners_who_participated_i.html http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_12032.shtml

The law firm of Taylor Martino will continue to pursue these claims for all participants of the VOO program that were not properly compensated. Please contact a personal injury attorney at Taylor Martino regarding the Vessels Of Opportunity Lawsuit.

 

Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuit

The April 20 oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico involving a Transocean drilling Rig Deepwater Horizon has worsened. An estimated 5,000 barrels a day are leaking into the Gulf and headed for Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. If you feel that your business or livelihood has been affected by this disaster. The lawyers of Taylor Martino plan to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all those affected by the spill. Taylor Martino provides aggressive, effective legal representation in courtrooms throughout the Gulf Coast region. Please contact us for more information.

Officials report that 210,000 gallons of oil are spilling per day. It is estimated that it will take 90 days to contain this spill. At this rate, the spillage will total 18.9 million gallons of oil – nearly twice as much as the Exxon Valdez spill.

Despite the extensive cleanup attempts following the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, a study conducted by NOAA determined that as of early 2007 more than 26 thousand gallons of oil remain in the sandy soil of the contaminated shoreline, declining at a rate of less than 4% per year.

Almost 20 years after Exxon Valdez spill, a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina found that the effects are lasting far longer than expected. The team estimates some shoreline Arctic habitats may take up to 30 years to recover.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for 40 percent of the seafood that is caught in the lower 48 states and consumed domestically.

With a total annual economic impact of $116 billion on the economy, fishing supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $30 billion in wages and $7.3 billion in tax revenues each year.

US landings of shrimp were valued at $442 million in 2008 up 2 percent from the previous year, according to the National Marine Fisheries Services.

Tourists spent $2.3 billion on Alabama’s beaches in 2008, supporting 41,000 workers, according to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.