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September 2014 Archives

Senior Partner Robert Clifford Featured in Recent Law360 Article

"Titan of the Plaintiff's Bar: Bob Clifford," that's what an article penned by Law360 called senior partner Robert Clifford of Clifford Law Offices. He was touted for his dedication to achieving justice throughout his prestigious 35+year career. The article, published Sept. 26, 2014, describes to readers Clifford's early years in the law, including his time spent clerking for Philip Corboy, his first trial that came only days after being sworn in as a lawyer, and what first attracted him to the field of injury litigation. Particularly, the article cites Clifford's blue-collar upbringing in the south side of Chicago as being particularly influential in driving Clifford to plaintiff's work. The article further describes why Clifford has been particularly attracted to aviation law, which accounts for more than 30 percent of his total caseload. While Clifford Law Offices handles a wide range of injury suits today, Clifford first became involved in aviation litigation during his time working for Corboy in 1979. The case, which involved an aircraft crash near O'Hare stemming from an engine falling off of a wing, embodied everything that attracted Clifford to the law in the first place: unique challenges and complex issues governed by "fluid case decisions." Within the article, Clifford is praised by both former employees and defense attorneys alike. Clifford takes time to reflect on how fortunate he has been to work in a practice that peaks his interest, but makes sure to note that his best work is still to come. Read the full article: Titan of the Plaintiff's Bar: Bob Clifford.

Robert Clifford Appointed by Federal Court to Lead Pella Window Class Action Lawsuit

Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, has been named the lead counsel in the class action fight against Pella window company for allegedly defective, leaking windows. Law 360 reported on the decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel.  To read more about this story, see the following story below.

FDA Releases Data Pertaining to Adverse Drug Event and Medication Errors

Mass quantities of data relating to side effects caused by drugs and other medication errors were publicly released by the FDA with the hope that the information will lead to enhanced research in the area of medication, according to a recent article published by The Hill ("Open FDA Project Releases Millions of Reports," June 2, 2014). The agency has reportedly released over 3 million reports, which were previously only available through tedious Freedom of Information Act requests, on such errors between 2004 and 2013, The Hall reported. The program, titled "openFDA," makes the agency's data available in a structured computer-friendly format, and employs a search-based Application Program Interface (API) that will allow the FDA to collect large amount of data enabling them to rank results much like a common search engine would, according to Reuters ("FDA makes access to public health data easier," June 2, 2014). Patients need not worry because the FDA announced that before launching the program, the agency removed any and all patient identification information, The Hall reported. The FDA apparently also plans to expand this pilot database to include information for consumers relating to product recalls and product labeling, according to Reuters. Further, openFDA is part of a larger movement to make medical data more transparent that expands well beyond the FDA, as several drug manufacturers, working with the help of the National Institutes of Health, have started divulging clinical trial data in an effort to find new uses for older drugs that have been around longer but that are not used as frequently today, according to The Hill.

After Change of Mind, Federal Regulators Will Release Hospital Mistake Records

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) apparently have backtracked on its earlier decision to stop publicly reporting incidents of life-threatening mistakes made by hospitals in their course of treating patients, according to a story that appeared in USA Today ("Feds reverse course, will release hospital mistake data," Sept. 7, 2014).   Federal regulators will resume releasing such data, including mishaps such as leaving foreign objects in patients' bodies following surgical procedures and misreading of a patients' blood types, the USA Today reported.  Jane O'Donnell for USA Today also reported that a source informed them that the data is not expected to be available until later this year. Hospital officials have publicly condemned the release of such data because some incidents, particularly objects left in patient's bodies, reportedly happen so infrequently that the information is thought not to be dependable. However, these institutions have faced growing pressure to be more transparent about safety and pricing, particularly because the health care industry is so complex for most consumers, USA Today reported. The data will be of particular use for safety ratings' websites and researchers, according to the USA Today article.

Pam Menaker Pens Article on Unconstitutional Caps in Med Mal Cases in Florida

Pamela Sakowicz Menaker, Communications Partner at Clifford Law Offices and Associate Editor of the American Bar Association Litigation News, authored an article on a recent decision of the Florida Supreme Court that held caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional. In Estate of Michelle Evette McCall v. United States, the decision by the highest court in Florida makes it the eighth state in the country to strike down statutorily enacted medical malpractice damage caps involving wrongful death cases. Illinois is also among those states, according to the American Association of Justice (AAJ). Attorneys are at odds if the McCall decision will apply to med mal cases involving personal injury. In the article that appeared in the fall 2014 issue of Litigation News, Clifford Law Offices' lead medical malpractice partner and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability, Keith A. Hebeisen, was quoted as saying, "'Victims of medical malpractice have a right to have liability and damages determined by a jury of their peers - not by an arbitrary cap determined by a politicized legislature." To view the entire article, click here.

Smoking Bans on State-Supported Colleges

Question: Is there a law that prohibits smoking on campuses of state-supported colleges and universities?   Answer: Not yet. Beginning July 1, 2015, the Smoke Free Campus Act will go into effect, banning smoking in both indoor and outdoor spaces on campuses. Exceptions are made for smoking inside privately-owned vehicles traveling through campus and certain activities allowed under the Federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Each institution of higher learning must establish a community task force by December 31, 2014, to coordinate the implementation of the new law.   For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge Named Managing Partner at Clifford Law Offices

Clifford Law Offices welcomes the Hon. Henry R. Simmons (Ret.), former judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. He served for nearly two decades on the bench, including the Law Division. Prior to that time, he was an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney for 13 years. Just prior to his joining the firm, he worked as a Certified Mediator with ADR Systems of America, one of the most highly respected mediation firms in the country. To read more about Judge Simmons' (Ret.) tremendous career, including his recognition's and awards over his 35-year professional career, please visit our website: The office welcomed him Tuesday with a breakfast at the office at his first day "on the job." We are so happy to have him join the Clifford Law family.

FDA Concludes that Most American Children Are Exposed to Food Dyes

A recent assessment performed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that 96 percent of all children aged 2-5 years are exposed to food dyes, including Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1, according to Food Safety News. Although there has been no formal, causal link established between the intake of synthetic food dyes and adverse health effects, researchers have suspected for more than 40 years that the over-consumption of synthetic food dyes is linked to hyperactivity, Food Safety News reported. The full results of the exposure study have not yet been published, according to The Food Poisoning Bulletin.   While the FDA allows dyes such as Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40 and the like, the European Union has banned several of these same dyes, and require warning labels for several others, based on the fact that the dyes have never been proven safe, the Food Poisoning Bulletin Reported. According to, Lisa Lefferts of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, stated, "The FDA is failing kids and parents by allowing the use of these purely cosmetic chemicals in food, which trigger behavioral problems in some children, as even the FDA conceded in 2011."   To read the entire article provided by Food Safety News, click here.

Can Schools Use EpiPens on Students with Severe Allergies?

Question: Can schools use EpiPens to treat students with severe allergies without fear of liability? Answer: In 2011, a state law went into effect allowing schools to legally stock and dispense life-saving epinephrine shots. New legislation, now in effect, expands on the earlier law which allowed authorized medical personnel to give the injections. Now, trained school employees and volunteers can administer the injections if they believe a student or visitor is having an allergic reaction, even if the person has not been diagnosed with an allergy. Students can also carry and administer their own injections, if they have parental consent.   For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

Does The Law Protect Children From Cyberbullying?

Question: Are there laws that protect children from being cyberbullied at school? Answer: A law banning cyberbullying in schools has been in place for some time, but a new Illinois law, effective January 1, 2015, bans cyberbullying outside the classroom. The law applies to electronic devices not owned or used by a school, and it now covers bullying through email and social networking websites. Under the new law, a school must have a written anti-bullying policy to include an investigation into an act of bullying that may have caused a disruption of a school's operations and educational process. Schools must also notify the parents.   For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

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