October 15, 2008
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield — two of the state’s biggest health plans — agreed Thursday to pay a total of $13 million in fines and to offer new health coverage to more than 2,200 Californians the companies dropped after they became ill.
Neither company admitted to any wrongdoing in agreeing to pay the stiffest penalties yet in efforts by state authorities to curb what they view as an abusive practice of investigating and canceling policies after policyholders run up big medical bills.
Blue Cross, a unit of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., will pay a $10-million fine to the state Department of Managed Health Care, and it will offer new coverage to 1,770 former members it canceled since 2004 — no questions asked.
“The fine is a record in DMHC history and it sends the message that if you come into California and sell health insurance, you must play by the rules,” department Director Cindy Ehnes said.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
A group of African American, low-income tenants accused the city of Antioch in a lawsuit Wednesday of trying to drive them out of federally subsidized housing by creating a police squad to target blacks for arrests, harassment and pressure on their landlords to evict them.
As more black families have been drawn to affordable housing in the Contra Costa County community, “the city has reacted with alarm and hostility to the newcomers, choosing to scapegoat them as the cause of economic downturn,” lawyers for five renters declared in papers filed in federal court in San Francisco.
At a news conference, tenants said police had entered and searched their homes without warrants or any evidence of crimes, had warned their landlords that they could be held responsible for tenants’ misconduct, and had asked the county housing authority to eliminate the Section 8 subsidies that kept their rents affordable.
Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle
A Malibu, California, jury found Johnson & Johnson not liable on Thursday in a $1 billion lawsuit involving an 11 year-old girl who claimed she was blinded after using the drug Children’s Motrin.
The painkiller is made by Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil consumer healthcare unit.
The jury voted 9-3 against liability, after a six week trial. Jurors found for the plaintiffs in seven of eight issues but decided that the ninth — that Children’s Motrin caused the injury to the girl, Sabrina Johnson — was not proved.
“There will be no award,” Browne Green, an attorney for the plaintiffs told reporters.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court had alleged that the company failed to label the over-the-counter pain reliever with a warning that it could lead to a rare, but potentially fatal allergic reaction with severe rash of the skin and mucous membranes.
Read Article: Reuters
A federal judge in Oregon has granted class-action status for a lawsuit that claims Dell Inc. underpaid as many as 5,000 of its U.S. call center employees.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled last week that most employees who worked at Dell’s domestic call centers from Feb. 8, 2004, to the present could opt into the lawsuit. He denied class certification for another part of the complaint tied to Oregon state law but left open the option to re-file pending workers’ participation in the federal action.
The proposed class covers consumer service representatives at current and former Dell call centers in Oregon, Central Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Idaho.
A Dell spokesman declined to comment on the case, but the company denied the claims in its court filings.
Read Article: Statesman.com
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider four issues of first impression in a high profile class action case over allegedly faulty brakes that could have a major impact on Pennsylvania class action law.
The Samuel-Bassett v. Kia Motors America Inc. case involves a $5.6 million Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas class action verdict awarded to owners of Kia sedans with allegedly faulty braking systems and $4.13 million in attorney fees. Both the verdict and the attorney fees have been upheld by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Read Article: Law.com
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