The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 8: Mystery Meat

In today’s podcast, we’re delving into the subject of food-borne illness and the variety of fascinating subjects surrounding it.

It’s impossible to really know what we put in our mouths. We think we know, but when we buy processed food, we don’t really have a clue as to what’s really going in there.

Even “fresh” food gets doctored with all kinds of bad weirdness to make it keep looking fresh for longer on the shelf and in the fridge. There’s a lot of mystery to what goes in to the manufacturer of food and preservatives. The manufacturers themselves don’t have an inkling as to what much of it really does to us.

There are 30 different pathogens that cause the vast majority of food-borne illnesses. Is that number scary? We sure think so. These are what hospitals test for when somebody presents symptoms of these illnesses.

As A Modern Culture, We’re More Removed From The Food Sources

We rely on supermarkets and big boxes. Many of our products are manufactured by huge, mainland manufacturers. When they send things all over the planet only to make a cupcake look a little cuter, a little longer, and the process contributes to our obesity epidemic, we have to wonder it it’s worth it, or something we want to allow at all.

The manufacturers are trying to keep a finger on the scale, to keep control of how the foods are labeled, so they can keep their profits up. When they tell us “number seven yellow food dye,” is that different from numbers six, or eight? You’d have to dedicate your whole life and career just to staying on top of the cutting edge to understand what these things really mean. The manufacturers we’re talking about anticipate problems with their products and dedicate teams of attorneys to fighting to keep things the same, rather than fix the problems.

We have lots to worry about. Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. We’re also talking about the good guys who fight to keep us safer, scientists who research and push forward the science about diet and human health, lawyers who hold negligent and deceitful players in the food industry accountable, and regulators who withstand the industry pressure to do the wrong things for the public. Tune in and learn about all sides of the matter.

The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 7: The Traveler’s Episode

Lies & Fraud Abounding

In today’s show, we hear the story of a company’s willingness to lie in service of profit. Tune in, and learn about how Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman forced them to show the documents they didn’t want people to see. Their exposure helped thousands of people get justice.

The investigative process that has to happen in an asbestos case is unbelievable. It can take a longer time than people expect. Decades, even. Today’s show tells a story of patience. Traveler’s Insurance Company is the case study. It’s a company that insured many asbestos manufacturers 50 or 60 years ago, and then spent fifteen years fighting dirty (and unlawfully) in court to defend clients who needlessly hurt thousands of people.

The main company insured by Traveler’s, Johns-Mansville knew about the harmful effects of their products. They cover up those facts to the great harm of many people. Not only that, but they violated rules of the courts. They committed fraud by telling the courts they never sold any asbestos products to Hawai‘i. And they lied about their involvement as suppliers of asbestos products to the US Navy.

The Protracted Battle Finally Ending

We only found out about these fraudulent claims after already having battled for decades with Johns-Mansville. As a result, the courts increased the settlements, in some cases multiplying them hundreds of times. Finally, this year, after many protracted battles of Galiher’s lawsuit against Traveler’s Insurance Co., the final chapter is being closed.


Above: Travelers Tower, Hartford, CT by John Phelan, ©CC BY 3.0

The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 6: Asbestos & Your Health w/ Cynthia Davis

Pat Nakata was an icon of his community in Hawai‘i, as good as a citizen can get. Suddenly, he was afflicted by a terrible disease, and only because asbestos was put in the products he worked with by an auto company in 1966. The company fully understood the danger it posed to people like Pat, but it refused to change. Pat could have lived for another twenty or thirty years. Instead, tragically, he died an avoidable death much earlier.

Join us for this week’s episode, with special guest Cynthia Davis, who has been working as a medical adviser with our firm for more than 30 years. She helps to gather medical evidence in cases like Pat’s, and works closely with sufferers of asbestos-related illnesses and their families.

Most people are unaware of how ubiquitous asbestos was. Much more than fire-supressing insulation, it found a place in many thousands of products, from brake pads to dental casts.

People exposed to it develop cancer at an alarming rate. Huge asbestos companies like Johns-Manville found out about that long ago, but they did not share that information widely when they did. Instead, they communicated with other asbestos companies to supress that information. You can read the full story about it here on our Mesothelioma Knowledge Center: How the Asbestos Industry Suppressed and Altered Medical Research.

Thus, exposure to asbestos has happened in all kinds of environments. Our first cases came out of Pearl Harbor, and we traced 30 manufacturers who sent their products into Pearl Harbor for decades without warning the workers. Others have come just from second-hand exposure, where shaking out asbestos-contaminated clothing that someone has brought home from work produced a cloud of asbestos fibers into the air, where it was breathed into the lungs.

Cynthia brings a unique perspective to the conversation, which comes from her medical background and experience specializing in mesothelioma and asbestos cases. It’s because of her fine work that the right medical articles are highlighted and flagged, so that the best scientific understanding can be employed in support of the victims of asbestos companies liable for their illnesses. Above all, Cynthia brings comfort to those affected by helping them through their darkest times. Listen in to her talk with Gary and Mike, and you will understand an important human dimension of the asbestos story—a story that is still far from over.


The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 5: Elder Care & Preventing Abuse

This week’s podcast abounds with helpful information and advice about elder care and elder abuse. Attorney Anthony Carr joins Gary in the conversation, and they discuss with Mike Buck, our host, everything from the variety of options available for senior care, to the hidden epidemic of abuse and neglect, to how to check in and make sure someone you know in a care facility is getting treated well.

Without question, elderly parents are best taken care of at home, but we have economic needs that force their children to put their mothers, fathers, aunties in care homes because they cannot afford to stay home and take care of them. More often than not, there’s a very slick sales pitch that comes when people are looking for a place.

People are very trusting in Hawai‘i. People assume that placing a parent in a care facility that things are going to be fine—wonderful, even—but you cannot assume that. You need to establish rapport with the charge nurse, and be the advocate for whoever you have there, and satisfy yourself that you have the complete picture.

Partly, that starts with making regular visits to facilities where your loved ones lived. Escort your mom, your dad, your auntie, to their medical appointment. Be a little more niele (nosy) than you normally would. If someone misses taking a bath the day you visit, for example, you should try to find out if that’s an isolated incident or part of a pattern. Are there schedules in place that the facility has allowed to lapse? Vigilance on your part could help uncover such negligence.

People frequently report to us that they first noticed a problem when something didn’t smell right, that the bedding was soiled and hadn’t been changed. Bedsores are especially egregious signs of neglect, and they can worsen quickly. If you are aware of one, don’t leave the facility until there’s a medical intervention: get a doctor involved right away.

“A lot of the incidents that we’ve seen coming into our office were preventable, and that’s where our passion starts—helping to spread awareness and knowledge of these issues, whether it’s the difference in the standard of care these facilities offer, dangers of bedrails, spreading awareness through the community so that they’re armed with that knowledge and information so that these incidents stop happening, and while it might be possible to completely eliminate them, at least we could see a decline.”

One of the main points of our guide is to make sure that, should a loved one of yours require a care facilitiy, they find one that provides the right level of care for their needs. Be extra skeptical about the salesmanship of these facilities, too.

This summary has only scratched the surface. We care deeply about this issue, which is why we’ve devoted an entire website to it at, and written a free guidebook, which you can get by filling out the form that follows. Please do listen to the show, too, as it’s chock full of further useful information.

The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 4: Football and Athlete Safety w/ Ross Oshiro

Last week, we started talking about how important it is for people—especially young people—to avoid the pitfalls of sports concussions. We continue the conversation this week with a special guest: Ross Oshiro, Coordinator for the Sports Medicine Program at the Queen’s Center for Sports Medicine joins us.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a brain disease caused by repeated hits to the head. Even sub-concussive hits that do not cause concussive symptoms increase the risk.

The aftermath of CTE is devastating, and even in the young brains of student athletes, it causes significant cognitive impairment. These students suffer both inside and outside of the classroom from memory loss and executive dysfunction (which is characterized by “deficiencies in planning, abstract thinking, flexibility and behavioral control“), which are brought on both by concussive injuries and CTE.

Football’s huge popularity and high concussion rate, combined with our new understanding of mild traumatic brain injuries, has made the sport quite the hot topic and subject of controversy, recently. Part of the reason football is so dangerous is because of the false sense of security that the helmets give the players. With such a hard shell, players could be excused for feeling invincible. But in fact, while these helmets prevent injuries such as skull fractures, they do little to prevent the less obvious trauma to the brain that concussive and sub-concussive hits cause.

The Big Question is: How can we save the coconut and keep football exciting? Tune in and learn about the technological, cultural, and financial dimensions of this complex issue; and about Hawai‘i’s leadership in advancing athlete safety in the sport of football.

The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 3: Concussion Safety w/ Dr. Nathan Murata

In this episode, Team Galiher joins up with Nathan Murata, PhD., who is the current chair of the University of Hawai‘i Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science Department, to discuss the cognitive as well as the physical aspects of sports concussions. Dr. Murata’s department has spent the last five years working with HCAMP and the Queen’s Hospital, as well as the many trainers in Hawai‘i public schools, to prevent concussions in various sports.

It’s Time to Change the Game

The conversation covers sports issues such as the National Football League’s cover-up of concussion issues, the sport with the highest concussion rate (wahine judo), and changes in the rules of sports that research into sports-related brain injury shows we need.

What’s important now for the athletes to realize is that there are safer methods of participation, but it also stems from the coaches and the coaching techniques that are currently being delivered in the schools.

—Dr. Nathan Murata, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Hawai‘i is the only state in the US to require athletic trainers in all public high-schools, which is an important first step towards improving the safety of young athletes here. There remains room for improvement, however, in our treatment of the concussions that do occur, such as by ensuring athletes get adequate time for “cognitive rest,” during which the brain heals after a mild injury.

Concussion Prevention Is Still the Key

Moreover, preventing more concussions and sub-concussive injuries would make athletes safer still. Doing so will require changes to the way we play sports. People commonly overestimate the safety that helmets provide, and the NFL’s cover-up of and silence about the issues have curtailed efforts to change the game to make it safer.

We are seeing the tides turn, now, and state legislators are coming aboard. “We’re in a position where we’ve got a lot of people on the bandwagon, and we’re wanting to keep moving the bandwagon forward,” says Dr. Murata. “We plan to do so the best we can so we can continue to operate HCAMP on a state-wide basis, and in particular, not only the high-school student athletes but also the youth sports programs.”

HCAMP was embraced early on, and now all coaches and even some parents are required to go through concussion safety and informational training.

The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 2: Mesothelioma & Asbestos

What is asbestos? What impact has it had on human life? Who does it put at risk of mesothelioma? Episode two of The Gary Galiher Law Hour will give you a grasp of the inseparable subjects of asbestos and mesothelioma and their continuing influence in the world today.

Asbestos, “whether it’s in powerhouses, whether it’s in the ground, or whether it’s in boats and canoes,” it attacks the lining of the lungs with a “mechanical movement of the [asbestos] fiber like an invisible needle that starts a tumor.” Surprisingly, asbestos is still mined from the ground and used today. According to Gary, “the use has greatly been curtailed in the United States, but it’s mind-boggling, the political influences of the mining concerns in Canada. The still try to use it and they do so successfully.” Asbestos finds its way into parts and supplies manufactured outside of the US, and winds up coming back into the country in these products.

As for mesothelioma, it is an astonishingly powerful industrial disease nearly always caused by asbestos, and a modern understanding of it has dramatically changed the world and the lives of people it affects. “When someone comes in with one of these diseases, we have to move really fast because the prognosis is generally not good,” says Gary. Sleazy insurance companies go to great lengths to defend their clients, who lied to workers about the risks of asbestos exposure. Some insurers have even resorted to criminality, and destroyed evidence in order to protect their profits. Facing them down in the court system leads to David vs. Goliath kinds of battles, which pit individuals against giant corporations that have vast wealth to help them in the fight.

So, although the manufacturers’ liability for exposing workers to asbestos has been proven again and again in court, they continue to work asbestos into new products and put people who work with these products in harm’s way. As Gary says, “we have a dozen companies nationally who never want to see us in a courtroom again… We know the pitfalls, the problems we’re going to have ahead. We anticipate those, and really do our homework. We reach out to experts, consultants, and figure out, and we do our research way before we file anything.” Which is how the Galiher firm continues to fight the good fight and win.

The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 1: Nice to Get to Know You

Welcome to the very first episode of The Gary Galiher Law Hour! This podcast is for kama ‘aina who are looking for smart, helpful talk about the most important issues in Hawai‘i.

Gary and his firm have represented thousands of Hawai‘i workers and families during more than 35 years’ practice throughout the islands. Whether helping countless workers exposed to asbestos unknowingly in their jobs, filing suit against gas companies for unfair local pricing—the Galiher Law firm helps fight for consumer advocacy and play fair for the people of Hawai‘i, no kou pono: “on your behalf.”

Now Gary and his team are here to take the mystery out of what they do, and answer your legal questions. The podcast is an educational interview-style podcast that provides actionable tips explained through engaging stories. Unlike any other law podcast, this podcast will bring depth and an element of human interest and humor to popular legal topics found on the Galiher Law website.

This is our premiere episode, and as our host Mike Buck puts it, “a how you doin’ day and a nice to get to know you day.” In this episode, we introduce superstar attorney and our founding partner, Gary Galiher, and it’s no exaggeration to say he has a fascinating biography. After touching on Gary’s history in Hawai‘i, Gary and Mike discuss the tobacco settlement won on behalf of the taxpayers of Hawai‘i in the state’s lawsuit against big tobacco.