August 31, 2010
Despite the deaths of three patients and numerous examples of alleged prescription drug malpractice, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter is still allowed to see patients in Nevada.
Investigations of Buckwalter are continuing, but the Nevada State Medical Examiners Board has not suspended his license or taken any steps to force him to curtail his prescribing of large quantities of narcotic painkillers. The lack of action is coupled with regulations that prevent pharmacists from refusing to fill suspicious prescriptions.
The situation reveals major flaws in the state system of overseeing doctors, said Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, chairwoman of the Legislative Health Care Committee.
Nevada’s “medical regulatory system has to be entirely reformed,” Leslie said.
Article: Las Vegas Sun
August 25, 2010
A flight attendant is suing JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines, saying a male employee denied her a work-related flight because she wasn’t dressed provocatively enough.
The flight attendant, 37-year-old Karin Keegan of Pittsburgh, works for Delta. The airline has an agreement for JetBlue to ferry Delta flight attendants to job assignments on a standby basis.
Keegan’s lawsuit said a male JetBlue worker wouldn’t let her on a flight in October 2007 because she wasn’t dressed provocatively enough, then allowed other flight attendants with less seniority to board the plane.
“Keegan changed into more provocative clothes, but (the employee) told her she was too late to board the plane and should have dressed like that before,” said the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in Pittsburgh federal court.
“He wanted her to change to a lower-cut shirt and tighter pants, and wear more makeup before letting her on the plane,” Keegan’s attorney, Samuel Cordes, said Monday. Delta and JetBlue officials refused to intercede when she complained, the lawsuit said.
Article: USA Today
Unpaid parking tickets proved fatal for a terminally ill Queens man who died after callous cops locked him up for four days for a minor traffic offense, a lawsuit claims.
Glenn Seldon, 50, was battling advanced colon cancer in 2007 but still hoped his chemotherapy regimen would make him well enough to go on a family vacation being planned for Hawaii.
Then, on May 11, 2007, he was arrested for driving with a license that had been suspended for unpaid parking tickets.
According to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, cops disregarded his weakened condition and ignored his need for daily medication to control an infection and blood clots.
When he finally staggered out of Queens Criminal Court four nights behind bars, his clothing was soiled, he was gaunt from dehydration, incontinent and weeping uncontrollably, his family said. “They broke his spirit,” said his wife, Angela Seldon. “Why couldn’t they have just given him a summons and let him come home to us?”
Family attorney Fred Brewington called the officers’ actions appalling.
“This matter could have been handled in a more compassionate and humane way,” Brewington said.
A spokeswoman for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority refused to comment on the actions of its police officers.
Seldon was heading into Manhattan to pick up his wife at work when he apparently missed an exit for the Queensboro Bridge and stopped near the Midtown Tunnel to ask cops for directions.
Article: NY Daily News
A group of lawyers said Tuesday that they had filed a lawsuit against 22 dairy companies to seek compensation for the deaths or illnesses of hundreds of children who consumed milk products tainted with a toxic chemical. The filing is a rare instance in which Chinese lawyers are proceeding with a class-action product liability case.
The lawsuit was filed Friday with the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing on behalf of the families of 213 children, said Lin Zheng, an administrator for a group of lawyers who have volunteered to represent the victims’ families.
The lawsuit says the children were victims of one of the biggest food safety crises to hit China in recent years — they drank milk tainted with melamine, a toxic chemical illegally added to dairy products to give the false appearance of high protein counts. Melamine can lead to kidney problems.
The widespread use of melamine in dairy products became public in September after reports emerged of children falling ill and dying. According to the government, six children have died from consuming tainted products and nearly 300,000 have been sickened.
It was unclear whether the court intended to accept the lawsuit. Two class-action suits filed in lower courts last month on behalf of the melamine victims were rejected. The milk scandal is politically delicate because government officials were involved in covering up the deaths and illnesses.
Article: NY Times
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that salmonella was found in a package of peanut butter sandwich crackers made by Kellogg (K).
Kellogg (K) said Monday that a previously recalled peanut butter-sandwich cracker tested positive for salmonella as a rapidly growing national recall widened to include more companies’ peanut snacks because of potential contamination.
Kellogg’s Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter is the first product sold to consumers that’s known to have tested positive for the salmonella strain initially linked only to peanut butter sold to institutions, such as nursing homes.
Article: USA Today
A Brooklyn federal judge has slammed the use of statistics showing racial differences in life expectancy to determine damages for a catastrophically injured black man.
James McMillan was rendered a quadriplegic in the 2003 crash of the New York City-operated Staten Island Ferry. Last month, Eastern District of New York Judge Jack B. Weinstein awarded McMillan damages of $18.3 million.
The city had sought to limit McMillan’s damages on a number of grounds, arguing that his past criminal records as much as his race indicated a shorter life expectancy. But Weinstein indicated during trial he would issue a written decision further explaining his reasoning on the race issue.
Issuing that decision Tuesday, Weinstein said the consideration of statistical differences in life expectancy among races in determining damages would be discriminatory and unconstitutional.
He noted that a wrongheaded insistence on immutable racial differences had been behind the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), which upheld racial segregation under the doctrine of “separate but equal.”
“Statistical reliance on ‘race’ leads to such questions as whether Plessy would have been today categorized as ‘African American’ for life expectancy purposes,” Weinstein wrote. “In a more recent example, ‘racially’ characterizing for statistical purposes in a negligence lawsuit the current Democrat Party presidential candidate, born of a ‘White’ American mother and an ‘African’ citizen of Kenya, would be considered absurd by most Americans.”
The judge also said racial statistics should be rejected on scientific grounds, and he approvingly cited a number of well-known anthropologists who regard race as a social construct rather than a biological fact.
“Reliance on ‘race’-based statistics in estimating life expectancy of individuals for purposes of calculating damages is not scientifically acceptable in our current heterogeneous population,” Weinstein wrote in McMillan v. City of New York, 03 civ. 6049.
Though the judge acknowledged a documented mortality gap between blacks and whites, he said the gap likely owed much to socioeconomic factors masked as “race.” He noted some studies indicating that blacks and whites of equivalent socioeconomic status enjoyed similar longevity.
The mailboxes of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and Lehman Brothers are filling up with subpoenas demanding that the humbled institutions hand over vast stores of data, documents and electronic records.
It’s a fishing expedition likely to yield enough evidence of impropriety for prosecutors to charge a handful of bad guys for fueling the sudden implosion of financial markets–and set off an inevitable tidal wave of shareholder lawsuits brought against nearly every major financial institution.
Yahoo! BuzzWelcome to the next great mega-litigation, likely to rival the more than $12 billion spent cleaning up the Enron and WorldCom debacles. But while the emerging litigation will easily match the Enron and WorldCom lawsuits in scope, it may not prove as titillating as Enron did.
Johnson & Johnson has spent at least $68.7 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits filed by women who suffered blood clots, heart attacks or strokes after using the company’s Ortho Evra birth-control patch, court records show.
J&J, the world’s largest maker of health-care products, avoided trials through the confidential settlements and hasn’t released the financial details to investors.
Of 562 complaints reviewed by Bloomberg News, the vast majority of users alleged the patch caused deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the legs, and pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs. Some blamed it for heart attacks or strokes. The complaints blamed Ortho Evra for the deaths of 20 women.
One settled case involved Ashley Lewis, a 17-year-old high school junior from St. Louis who died in 2003. She developed a blood clot in her lung after wearing the patch for six months, according to Roger Denton, an attorney for Lewis’s family, including her son, who was a one-year-old when she died.
“It’s a very tragic case,” Denton said. Her parents “were completely unaware that there was any significant risk to her by using the birth-control patch,” Denton said.
Complaints filed on behalf of 4,000 women in state and federal courts claim the company hid or altered data about the risks of high levels of estrogen released by Ortho Evra. More than 5 million women have used the patch since sales began in 2002. The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company voluntarily strengthened the warning label in 2005, 2006 and 2008 with the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Evergreen Hospital Medical Center must pay the family of a Maple Valley girl about $4.25 million after the hospital’s negligence during her delivery caused severe brain damage, a King County Superior Court jury ruled Thursday.
The Kirkland hospital says it will appeal the award.
About $2.5 million of the money is to cover future medical expenses for the girl, 5-year-old Miriam Tavares, who cannot walk or talk, must be fed through a gastric tube and suffers from cerebral palsy, said Ron Bemis, an attorney for the Tavares family.
“She’s a real fighter and is deeply loved by her parents, but this was a preventable injury,” Bemis said.
About $350,000 is meant to cover previous medical expenses, and the remaining $1.4 million covers general damages for the girl.
The plaintiffs requested $8 million to cover the girl’s medical expenses until the age of 40, Bemis said. But after three days of deliberation, the jury made a lesser award based on a shorter life expectancy for the girl, he said. The jury also did not award $4 million requested for the girl’s parents.
Article: Seattle Times
August 23, 2010
State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday that he intends to sue a major New York landlord that he says harassed hundreds of tenants in rent-regulated apartments in Queens and Manhattan in a systematic effort to force their departure to create vacancies for higher-paying tenants.
The landlord, Vantage Properties, routinely filed eviction notices and other legal actions against working-class and immigrant families in tenements that the company had recently acquired to generate “substantial tenant turnover,” investigators and tenant advocates said. But most of the legal notices, the attorney general said in a letter to Vantage, contained “deceptive and misleading representations.” Investigators said the majority of those notices were eventually rejected by the city’s housing courts, although the company denied that.
The attorney general notified Neil Rubler, president of Vantage Properties, that his office would file a lawsuit in five days unless the company stopped the harassment, paid damages to tenants and agreed to a monitor to oversee its future rental activity.
Article: NY Times« Older Posts — Newer Posts »