August 31, 2010
Samuel Golden admits he wants to keep his 53-year-old daughter, who functions at the level of a 2-year-old, in what some critics would label a large “institution.” Her life, he said, would deteriorate if she were forced to move into a smaller group home that couldn’t provide adequate therapy and daily activities.
But Stanley Ligas, 41, who has Down syndrome and can hold a job and balance a checkbook, wants to do just that — leave a 96-bed facility in favor of a residential home with two or three other people and live closer to his sister.
The two men vividly represent both sides of a federal lawsuit filed by Ligas and six other plaintiffs that aims to move thousands of Illinois adults with mental disabilities into community-based group homes. After four years in court, the case on Wednesday inched closer to a settlement despite concerns raised by hundreds of opponents who fear the proposed agreement will jeopardize the future of larger facilities.
Article: Chicago Tribune
The Brooklyn hospital manager who accused police of targeting him for subway bag searches because he looks Middle Eastern has settled his federal case for $25,000.
Jangir Sultan, of Brooklyn, who is of South Asian descent, said that he had been stopped by the New York Police Department 21 times between April 2005 and April 2009, when he filed the suit in Brooklyn, and that the odds of that happening are 1 in 165 million. He said at the time he wanted no money — just a change in how NYPD carries out its controversial bag inspection program.
Article: Boston Herald
The ruling, which takes effect Sept. 1, will require Michigan judges for the first time to instruct jurors not to use any hand-held device, such as iPhones or BlackBerrys, while in the jury box or during deliberations.
The state’s high court issued the new rule on Tuesday in response to prosecutors’ complaints that jurors were getting distracted by their cell phones, smartphones and PDAs, in some cases texting during trial or digging up their own information about a case and potentially tainting the judicial process. Wouldn’t common sense suggest that’s wrong?
“I don’t think jurors go out and Google stuff thinking it’s wrong. Sometimes it just doesn’t click,” said Charles Koop, immediate past president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, which pushed for the new rule.
“I think it brings home to the conscientious jurors — which most jurors are — that I’m not supposed to do this.’”
The new rule also helps older judges, who might not be tech-savvy, stop jurors from doing things in their courtroom that they are unaware of, said Koop, prosecuting attorney in Antrim County, Mich.
“Judges of an older age may not be in tune as much as younger judges as to what’s going on out there,” Koop said, adding the constantly evolving PDAs are especially problematic for the courts.
“It’s a new technology. We’re playing catch-up.”
Michigan’s new rule follows a wave of recent cases in which jurors have blogged, posted Tweets or sent text messages during trials, infuriating judges and triggering mistrials.
In Florida, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Scott Silverman in May declared a mistrial in a civil fraud case after discovering a witness — a company executive — was texting his boss on the stand during a side bar conference.
A Cobb County jury has awarded a Home Depot customer and his wife $1.5 million in a personal injury case stemming from a forklift accident inside a store.
According to the complaint, in November 2005 shopper Larry Reece fell and suffered neck and spine injuries after a pallet of plywood fell 24 feet from a forklift.
The wood hit a barricade that knocked over Reece, who wound up trapped under the plywood.
The accident occurred at a store on Roswell Road in Marietta.
As part of the verdict, Reece’s wife was awarded $30,000 for loss of marital relations, said the couple’s attorney, Jeff Shiver. Shiver said medical expenses for Reece’s neck injuries were about $120,000, including surgery to repair herniated discs.
Shiver said his client accepted Home Depot’s offer for punitive damages, but the case went to a jury over personal injury damages. The award was handed down after a two-day trial.
State regulators are violating mental health and other laws by allowing health insurers to deny effective treatment for children with autism, consumer advocates contend.
In a lawsuit, Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica group that monitors insurance practices, is asking a judge to order the Department of Managed Health Care to require insurers to provide autistic members with the services their physicians have ordered.
Article: LA Times
Federal drug regulators warned Wednesday that patients taking two popular drugs to stop smoking should be watched closely for signs of serious mental illness, as reports mount of suicides among the drugs’ users.
But officials emphasized that fear should not stop patients from taking the smoking-cessation medicines, Chantix, made by Pfizer, and Zyban, made by GlaxoSmithKline, which also sells it under the brand name Wellbutrin, for depression.
“Stopping smoking is a goal we should all be working towards,” said Dr. Curtis J. Rosebraugh, director of a drug evaluation office at the Food and Drug Administration. “We don’t want to scare people off from trying a medication that could help them achieve this goal. You should just be careful.”
Article: NY Times
Delta Enterprises recalled almost 1.6 million cribs, made in China, Indonesia and Taiwan, on Monday after it said two babies died.
The company did not provide any details on the deaths of the two infants and declined to answer any questions.
The family-owned company that sells cribs, strollers and other products for babies, said the recalled cribs were no longer available in stores.
The New York-based company said it contacted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and was arranging to provide replacement and repair parts to customers that bought the cribs between 1995 and 2005.
One kind of crib, which uses a mechanism known as a ‘spring peg’ to lower the crib side, was made in China. Delta Enterprises said it would contact the customers who bought 600,000 of these cribs to send them additional parts to make the mechanism safer.
As Hurricane Ike survivors rebuild their homes and their lives, their harrowing stories may soon become all-too-similar to those of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita survivors: people wrongfully denied insurance claims, or offered inadequate payments, for damages they were told their insurance policies would cover. Some details may differ, but what remains the same is that no federal law has yet to hold the insurance industry accountable for how it mistreats Americans in the aftermath of major disasters.
In fact, federal law, far from offering a remedy, is actually the problem. It has long given the insurance industry perhaps the most preferential treatment of any American industry.
In 1945, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act, a law that gave the insurance industry a special exemption (shared only with Major League Baseball!) from federal antitrust laws and each state the role of regulating the industry as it sees fit.
For decades, the federal government’s failure to regulate the insurance industry has resulted in monopolistic collusion and price-fixing of premiums. A few years ago Katrina and Rita brought to light just how frequently insurance companies block fair dispute and resolution of claims. Denying legitimate claims by any means necessary helps ensure sizeable increases in profits.
A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed by the parents of a Chicago woman killed on Interstate Highway 57 when a driver of a reality show on the VH1 cable network apparently fell asleep, crossed the median and slammed into the vehicle in which she was riding.
Kevetta Davis, 19, died Sept. 26 after being struck by a truck driven by Dennis Hernandez, who was hauling sound equipment for “Rock of Love With Bret Michaels.
Article: Chicago Tribune
Three years after her 14-year-old daughter died from a ruptured spleen suffered while performing a cheerleading stunt, Ruth Burns says she continues to live her own “worst nightmare.”
She claims she still can’t work, needs medication to get through the day and sleep, and sees a psychologist weekly.
Article: Boston HeraldNewer Posts »