January 7, 2009
Blue Shield has agreed to reissue medical coverage to nearly 700 Californians whose policies were canceled after they got sick and to make changes in the way it handles insurance bought by individuals, officials said Tuesday.
Blue Shield of California’s Life & Health Insurance Co. also agreed to reimburse consumers whose coverage was canceled for medical expenses they paid out of pocket.
In turn, the state dropped its case against Blue Shield and declined to pursue $12.6 million in proposed fines.
It is the latest deal between regulators and insurers in a crackdown prompted by a series of articles in The Times examining rescission, the controversial practice of canceling policyholders’ coverage after they get sick.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States — most of them unregulated and unmonitored — that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal.
Like the one in Tennessee, most of these dumps, which reach up to 1,500 acres, contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a threat to water supplies and human health. Yet they are not subject to any federal regulation, which experts say could have prevented the spill, and there is little monitoring of their effects on the surrounding environment.
Read Article: New York Times
Lawyers for victims of the Chatsworth Metrolink crash alleged Tuesday that officials with the contractor that provides crewmen to the commuter rail service knew that the engineer involved in the deadly crash had a history of sending text messages while on duty.
The allegation came from an employee of Connex Railroad, which provides Metrolink with engineers and conductors. The employee, who was not identified, has told lawyers that he had complained to his superiors about the engineer using his cellphone to send text messages, according to Los Angeles attorney R. Edward Pfiester.
Pfiester said the employee complained to management a few days before the wreck and complained a second time to a co-worker within three hours of the crash. The lawyer acknowledged, however, that he had no documentation — such as phone records or other written complaints — to back the allegations.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
Several national and regional environmental organizations and more than 40 affected Tennessee families have warned the Tennessee Valley Authority that lawsuits are coming over a devastating coal ash spill two weeks ago.
The organizations and individuals gave the nation’s largest public utility notice on Tuesday that a federal lawsuit will be filed in 60 days over the Dec. 22 breach of a retention pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant near Harriman that released 1.1 billion gallons of toxin-laden sludge into a rural neighborhood.
Read Article: Lexington Herald-Leader
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the companies that operated an emergency medical helicopter that crashed in Aurora last fall, killing a 14-month-old patient and the three crew members.
Robert and Brooke Blockinger of Leland, Ill., surrounded by photos of their daughter, Kirstin Reann, sat silently as attorneys outlined their negligence case against Air Angels of Bolingbrook, Reach Medical Holdings and the chopper’s pilot in connection with the accident late Oct. 15.
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges widespread negligence and systemic failures to adhere to safety practices that would have prevented the accident, attorneys said.
Read Article: Chicago Tribune
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