February 27, 2009
Dietary supplements seller Mannatech Inc. will return $4 million to customers and its founder will pay a $1 million fine for lying about the health benefits of its products, the Texas attorney general’s office announced Thursday.
At a news conference in Dallas, Attorney General Greg Abbott said the Coppell-based company tricked people into thinking its products would prevent, treat or even cure diseases.
“Bottom line, this is a warning to the general public: Be wary of phony claims of magic cure-all pills or false hope in a bottle,” Abbott said. “You could be duped into purchasing something that has no real effect and no real value.” Under the agreement, Mannatech will also have to pay $2 million to cover the state’s costs in the case.
Read Article: Star Telegram
When San Diego County Superior Court Judge John Einhorn polled jurors for their votes in a wrongful-death case in 2006, he forgot to get one man’s answer on two of 13 questions.
That might not seem like a big deal, but it was, leading to a California Supreme Court oral argument Tuesday to decide whether the judge’s error — which wasn’t noticed by counsel on either side at the time — requires a new trial.
Plaintiffs lawyers, who oppose a new trial, including appellate counsel Paul Fogel, argue in court papers that a defense victory in the high court could lead to unwarranted reversals in future cases.
“Less-than-scrupulous litigants or their counsel (a label we do not attach to defense counsel or defendants here) who find themselves on the short end of a verdict,” Fogel, a partner in Reed Smith’s San Francisco office, wrote, “may silently count votes during polling and, if polling is incomplete, may remain silent, guaranteeing a new trial or a reversal on appeal.”
Read Article: Law.com
Two Luzerne County judges used youths as “commodities that could be traded for cash,” attorneys for more than 70 juveniles and their parents alleged in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Scranton.
In failing to disclose $2.6 million in alleged kickbacks from two juvenile centers, Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan violated the right of every juvenile defendant to a fair and impartial trial, says the suit, which seeks class-action status. Thousands of county youths were sentenced to the facilities.
The judges pleaded guilty this month to charges that they had failed to disclose and pay taxes on payments from two juvenile centers, PA Child Care L.L.C. and Western PA Child Care L.L.C. Each has agreed to serve more than seven years in federal prison.
Read Article: Philadelphia Inquirer
AstraZeneca Plc “buried” unfavorable studies on its antipsychotic drug Seroquel, according to an internal e-mail unsealed as part of litigation over the medicine.
The drugmaker failed to publicize results of at least three clinical trials of Seroquel and engaged in “cherry picking” of data from one of those studies for use in a presentation, an AstraZeneca official said in a December 1999 e-mail unsealed yesterday under an agreement between the company and lawyers for patients. The London-based company faces about 9,000 lawsuits claiming it failed to properly warn users that Seroquel can cause diabetes and other health problems.
“The larger issue is how we face the outside world when they begin to criticize us for suppressing data,” John Tumas, an AstraZeneca publications manager, told colleagues in the e-mail.
Read Article: Bloomberg
Using state licensed insurance agencies and ads on Craigslist, a Houston company lured almost 300 older Texans into investing about $30 million in what the state is calling a fraud scheme.
On Thursday, Travis County state District Judge Scott H. Jenkins ordered a temporary injunction against National Life Settlements of Houston and placed the company under permanent receivership of Houston lawyer Janet Mortenson. The state has seized about $21 million in company bank accounts.
Mortenson said the investors, many retired, were from across Texas, particularly Houston, Austin and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. One investor was 80 years old.
Many of those who invested still may not know they were part of an alleged fraud scheme because the life insurance securities they thought they were buying did not have an immediate payout. The investments were made between November 2006 and Feb. 13, when the state first raided the National Life offices in Houston.
Read Article: Houston Chronicle
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