November 25, 2008
When a Congressional investigation revealed in June that Dr. Joseph Biederman, a world-renowned child psychiatrist, had earned far more money from drug makers than he had reported to his university, he said that his interests were “solely in the advancement of medical treatment through rigorous and objective study.”
But e-mail messages and internal documents from Johnson & Johnson made public in a court filing reveal that Dr. Biederman pushed the company to finance a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, with a goal to “move forward the commercial goals of J.& J.” The documents also show that the company prepared a draft summary of a study that Dr. Biederman, of Harvard, was said to have written.
Dr. Biederman’s work helped to fuel a fortyfold increase from 1994 to 2003 in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder and a rapid rise in the use of powerful, risky and expensive antipsychotic medicines in children.
Read Article: New York Times
A widow who sued the U.S. government over her husband’s death at the Marion VA Medical Center has accepted a settlement of almost $1 million.
Robert Shank III of Murray, Ky., died in the hospital after gallbladder surgery last year. His widow, Katrina, sued this year, alleging medical negligence and accusing the government of failing to adequately check the background of her husband’s surgeon, Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez, before hiring him.
“It was a combination of negligence in the way he did the surgery and post-operative care, and institutional negligence for allowing him to practice there,” her Chicago attorney, Dr. Stanley Heller, said Monday.
The suit was settled Nov. 13.
A spokeswoman for the hospital, located 15 miles east of Carbondale, did not return a call Monday afternoon. The facility serves veterans from parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
Read Article: Chicago Tribune
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey made a preliminary agreement Monday to pay up to $3.6 million — mostly to plaintiffs lawyers — to end a class action suit alleging it wrongfully denied claims by eating-disorder patients.
The settlement will, subject to approval by a federal judge, provide about $1.18 million to certain insureds who couldn’t get coverage for extended bulimia and anorexia treatments under their Horizon plans.
Horizon would treat future claims more liberally and make internal reforms to resolve disputes over benefits for eating disorders. The reforms would apply to policies held by more than 1 million of its 3.2 million insureds in New Jersey.
And Horizon would pay up to $2.45 million in fees to the plaintiffs class action attorneys, led by Bruce Nagel of Nagel Rice in Roseland, N.J.
Read Article: Law.com
The company that operates the Orange County Register said Monday that it reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the newspaper’s carriers after a long dispute over their employment status.
Freedom Communications Inc. in Irvine said it would pay no more than $22 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 5,000 newspaper carriers, who are considered independent contractors by the company.
The lawsuit, filed in 2003, alleged that the classification was unfair because it denied them overtime pay and mileage and required them to pay fines out of pocket for late papers and other delivery problems. The settlement, which came in the middle of the trial, does not require the firm to reclassify its carriers as employees.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
The state and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have reached a settlement that will reward consumers who experience price-scanning errors at Wal-Mart stores. Under the settlement announced today in San Diego by state Attorney General Jerry Brown, “Wal-Mart will give customers $3 back when pricing mistakes are found at the cash register.”
In late 2005, the attorney general’s office began investigating allegations that Wal-Mart stores in California were scanning items at higher prices than those advertised on store shelves and signs. Investigators said random price-checking statewide found that 164 Wal-Mart Stores in 30 counties had made scanning errors. On average, customers who were overcharged paid an extra $8.40 at checkout.
The state’s list of checkout errors included $2.00 overcharge for woven shirts in Sacramento County in early 2007.
Read Article: Sacramento Bee
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