First Circuit Revives Lawsuit Against CVS Over Vitamin E Labels

cvs

Reuters reports the First Circuit Court of Appeals revived a lawsuit against CVS Health Corp. that claims the drugstore chain deceived consumers by marketing its store-brand vitamin E as promoting “heart health” through a product label. The appellate court held that a lower court erred in dismissing the proposed class-action lawsuit brought by a CVS customer, and then returned the case to the US District Court in Rhode Island.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Posted in Medical & Health Resources or Issues | Leave a comment

Doctors, Owners, and Executives of Dallas Hospital Chain Indicted in Kickback Scheme

1480633530-forest

More than 20 doctors and other professionals connected with Forest Park Medical  Centers have been indicted for taking or giving illegal kickbacks, according to the Dallas Morning News. Here are the opening paragraphs of the article:

A federal grand jury in Dallas has indicted 21 people related to the now-bankrupt Forest Park Medical Centers, including surgeons and health care executives, for allegedly taking part in a massive illegal kickback scheme to drum up patients, officials announced Thursday.

Forest Park Medical Centers was a chain of five high-end doctor-owned hospitals in North Texas that ran into major financial troubles and allegations of corruption. The company went bankrupt and its facilities were sold off earlier this year.

The chain catered to upscale patients who had private insurance, and it did not accept Medicare, Medicaid or plans sold on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

The medical center paid about $40 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, federal prosecutors said.

From 2009 to 2013, the medical center billed patient insurance plans more than $500 million and collected over $200 million in paid claims, the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas said.

“Medical providers who enrich themselves through bribes and kickbacks are not only perverting our critical health care system, but they are committing a serious crime,” said U.S. Attorney John Parker, of the Northern District of Texas. “Massive, multi-faceted schemes such as this one, built on illegal financial relationships, drive up the cost of health care for everyone and must be stopped.”

The indictment was issued last month and unsealed on Thursday.

More information is available from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Posted in General Interest | Leave a comment

4 Historical Court Cases That Shaped Free Speech Today

4-historical-court-cases-that-shaped-free-speech-today

Freedom of speech has been an important issue throughout history, particularly in modern times when we’re surrounded by print, television, and digital media. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants its citizens the right to free speech, but new challenges are always appearing. Here are four landmark cases that shaped our rights to free speech.

1: 1925 – Gitlow vs New York

Benjamin Gitlow was a politician who was believed to be a socialist. He published a tract calling for changes in the American political system. Authorities saw this as a plot against the government, and Gitlow was arrested. Gitlow saw it as political persecution. At the time, freedom of speech was usually argued at the federal level. The Supreme Court agreed with Gitlow, and thereafter states had to provide freedom of speech for everyone.

2: 1931 – Near vs Minnesota

Jay Near operated a Minneapolis newspaper, in which he was harshly critical of some local officials. One of these filed a gag order against Near and his paper to prevent any more critical articles. Near’s lawyers took the case to the Supreme Court. The justices sided with Near: the gag order was declared unconstitutional. As a result, no gag orders, censorship, or restraint laws can be used to suppress the media. However, later on, the regulations of this case were brought up again in New York Times Company vs United States, where the U.S. tried to prevent certain sensitive and classified documents dealing with the Vietnam War from being published, but the surrounding claims weren’t substantial enough.

3. 1974 – Gertz vs Robert Welch, Inc.

A lawyer named Elmer Gertz took up the lawsuit of a family whose son had been killed by Chicago police. A year later the conservative John Birch Society, run by businessman Robert Welch, released an article questioning Gertz’ professional conduct. Gertz sued for defamation of character. The difficult case was passed to the Supreme Court, who decided that private citizens like Gertz were owed a certain level of protection from public organizations.

4. 1989 – Johnson vs Texas

Gregory Johnson was arrested in Dallas for burning a flag during a protest against the Reagan Administration and its dealings with certain Dallas corporations. As a result, he was fined and sentenced to a year in prison under an old law forbidding desecration of sacred objects. When the case was argued up to the Supreme Court, they decided that Johnson’s actions were within the definition of freedom of expression. This is now federally protected by the First Amendment.

It will be interesting to see what new cases come up as concerns grow regarding internet dialogue and cyber-bullying. If you’re interested in history, and historic cases that have shaped America as we know if today, you may consider a criminology degree. But the U.S. First Amendment historically guarantees individuals more rights of expression than any other nation.

Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +

biopiccropped

Posted in General Interest | Leave a comment

How Environmental Law Has Changed Over the Past Decade

how-environmental-law-has-changed-over-the-past-decade

The impact of technology has had far reaching effects in many areas of law. Specific environmental laws may not have changed in terms of scope; however, many are impacted over the past decade by growing awareness of environmental issues such as climate change and reducing carbon footprints as well as new technologies. Thus, the environmental laws may have changed more intellectually in presentiment status. For example, the Clean Air Act of 1974 has changed the determinations on the volume of pollutants that may be emitted by sources of contaminants. U.S. auto manufacturers found in the last decade, the amount of allowable carbon monoxide (CO) emissions were reduced as the U.S. EPA regulated SIPs (State Implementation Plan) requirements to meet EPA compliance. Here are some other laws in the environment and how they are changing with new ideas and standards.

The EPA Regulates Greenhouse Gases

Under 2011 EPA regulations, “mobile and stationary sources of air pollution” were included in the Clean Air Act for the first time. This is one of the environmental laws that changed in the past decade.

Environmental Laws to Ensure Safe Drinking Water

In 1996, the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended to “set standards for drinking water quality and oversee all states, localities, and water suppliers who implement these standards.” This law was enacted by the 93rd U.S. Congress.

Environmental Laws to Protect the Ozone Layer

In the last decade, environmental laws changed in regard to CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) that are used in a variety of products like refrigerants, solvents and sprays. CFCs were found to reduce the ozone layer that protects humans from dangerous overexposure to the sun’s rays.

“An amendment was approved in London in 1990 that was more forceful and called for elimination of production CFCS by the year 2000. Chlorinated solvents, methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3), and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) were added to the London Amendment.”

Because of these environmental laws, HCFC and CFC production were to be reduced by 50% by the year 2000. The original environmental law regarding CFCs was enacted by 27 nations that signed a global environmental treaty in 1986 at the “Montreal Protocol to Reduce Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.”

The Future of Environmental Laws

In his 1989 technical paper, “The Future of Environmental Law,” William K. Reilly explained that the future of environmental laws would emanate from existing laws and environmental changes through clean, renewable energy initiatives. As he stated in his paper, “As we face global warming trends, destruction of stratospheric ozone, and depletion of tropical rain forests, the political hurdles are daunting.” One essential factor that will contribute greatly to environmental laws and future challenges is getting people with the right education involved. Professionals who get a master of law online or a master’s degree in alternative energy will be instrumental in changing the scope of the future and how environmental laws are handled. It will be interesting to see where the future takes the environment and how the focus on green will continue in government.

Author Information: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check her out on Twitter at @eileenoshanassy.

eileen-oshanassy

Posted in General Interest | Leave a comment

5 Types of Medical Malpractice Suits and How to Deal with Each Scenario

5-types-of-medical-malpractice-suits-and-how-to-deal-with-each-scenario

More than 19,000 medical malpractice suits go through the system each year. They are major personal injuries that affect the lives of victims and families and breach the trust that they have for medical professionals. A victim can sue a medical facility or a member of a medical facility for a number of reasons. The following are five types of medical malpractice suits and some information about them.

  1. Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are things that occur during surgical procedures when a specialist is careless. One basic example is a surgeon who leaves an instrument in a wound. Using the wrong type of sutures or failing to sanitize surgical equipment can be reasons for a person to sue.

  1. Emergency Room Incidents

Emergency room incidents are incidents that occur while a person is inside of the emergency room. An example of such an incident is a person who hemorrhages and almost dies because of an insensitive forced lobby wait.

  1. Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnoses occur and are often the culprit in patient deaths. The reason that misdiagnoses are so dangerous is that a patient can die of one issue because of being labeled with another. Meningitis for example has similar symptoms as a flu, but is dangerous enough to cause a rapid death.

  1. Facility Abuse

Nursing home abuse occurs in one out of three nursing homes. It includes verbal abuse, refusal to feed or assist elderly people, physical abuse and more. Such abuse can occur in regular hospitals and mental institutions, as well. A victim should always try to inform the staff superiors first. If that doesn’t work, then an attorney will be necessary.

  1. Medication Mishaps

Medication mishaps occur when a person receives the wrong dosage of a medication. They can happen when a person receives the wrong medicine altogether or no treatment when it is necessary for him or her to have medication. A nurse could give a person a substance like penicillin that he or she is allergic to, as well. A law firm like Snyder & Wenner, P.C. can help with a malpractice suit.

What to Do About Malpractice

A person who experiences something that may be malpractice must collect all necessary evidence and then contact a reliable attorney. Evidence that the person should bring to the consultation is information such as medical records, witness statements, pictures, videos and anything else that can validate the case. The attorney will let the person know if he or she can help.

About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.

lizzie-weakley

Posted in Medical & Health Resources or Issues | Leave a comment

What Most Small Businesses Miss When It Comes to Legalities

what-most-small-businesses-miss-when-it-comes-to-legalities

Starting a small business is often the goal of a lifetime for many entrepreneurs. Opening their doors to customers in life or online is a tremendous source of satisfaction. However, as customer transactions begin, so does legal liability. Here are several types of legal responsibility small businesses often miss, but need to address.

Product Quality

Whether selling tangible products like clothing or abstract services like accounting, business owners need to ensure their products represent quality and hold up to reasonable customer expectations. If a product or service is misrepresented, a lawsuit may ensue. Come up with standards for quality that will keep your customers happy and coming back.

Truth in Advertising

Marketing and advertising should follow industry standards to ensure truthful advertising claims. Customers get very frustrated when they buy something, only to find it is very different in use than how it was advertised. A dissatisfied customer often spreads the bad news to twenty or more friends and relatives, so it pays in more ways than one to accurately market the business.

Physical Safety

A customer’s or employee’s safety and well-being should be top considerations for any business. If there’s a chance a product will break and harm someone, it should be repaired or re-designed to prevent injuries. If the business is housed in a physical shop or office, the premises should be routinely inspected to keep the area clean, well-lit, and free of physical hazards like water leaks or frayed wires. Someone who gets hurt at the company location may file a personal injury lawsuit.

Equal Opportunities for Employees

Employees should be treated fairly and without discrimination according to current federal and state laws. Showing bias toward an employee can lead to litigation if they decide to file suit. Respect all workers and consideration regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or gender should be given to everyone associated with the business. In this area especially, as well as the related areas of legal concern, a business owner could benefit by earning a business administration degree, which covers important topics like these.

Security Safeguards 

Adequate security should be provided to protect your company assets as well as employees and customers. This may include a monitored parking area, well-lit entrances, security alarms on windows and doors, and computer anti-hacking apps. Failing to safeguard anyone or anything related to the business may result in serious claims and losses, and in some cases, fines.

A small business owner doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand legal issues of entrepreneurship. But earning certification from MBA online accredited programs can help to provide valuable information. Show that your small business is ready for the business world and that you can face whatever is thrown your way by being educated and up to date on the latest in business legality.

Author Information: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check her out on Twitter at @eileenoshanassy.

eileen-oshanassy

Posted in General Interest | Leave a comment

Mesothelioma Resource Page

big-diagram-pleural

The TreatMesothelioma.com site has very good resources for those who are seeking more information about mesothelioma or asbestosis. There is a lot of medical information there. Check it out. Here is a statement from the site:

Mesothelioma Treatment Community is dedicated to the assistance and guidance of asbestos and mesothelioma victims around the community; by community, we mean the world.  Our site exists to inspire hope to mesothelioma victims and their families during these unbearable times. We strive to provide concrete and valuable information that will guide patients and the people who love them toward the answers and support they need to improve their quality of life and their life expectancy.

Mesothelioma is a life-threatening disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Those who suffer from this disease need the dedication, commitment, and resources our site provides.

Our mission is to serve the mesothelioma community by providing the most up to date information on mesothelioma research and recovery, as well inspire a community of support by raising awareness and contacting websites, organizations, and institutions one by one.

Posted in Featured Link, Medical & Health Resources or Issues | Tagged | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving

dinner_4-2

If you’re reading the elder law blog you’ve probably lived a long life. I hope it’s been filled with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in General Interest | Leave a comment

Physicians More Likely to Prescribe Unnecessary Antibiotics Later in Day

How Seniors Should Handle a Medical Device RecallUS News & World Report reports that a patient’s order in a physician’s schedule can have a “bearing on the likelihood that individual would be inappropriately prescribed an antibiotic,” according to an analysis by athenahealth. The analysis revealed that patients scheduled near the end of the day had a greater likelihood of being unnecessarily prescribed an antibiotic. Researchers believe that the physicians may suffer from “decision fatigue” as the day progresses, leaving less time and energy for decision-making for later patients.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Posted in Medical & Health Resources or Issues | Leave a comment

Insys Therapeutics Sued for Deceptive Marketing of Fentanyl-Based Medication

Insys-Therapeutics

Reuters reports that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics, alleging that it deceptively marketed and sold “an addictive fentanyl-based medication, intended to treat cancer pain,” to physicians “for off-label uses.” The lawsuit “seeks to bar Insys from selling its products in Illinois and impose financial penalties on the company.” Additional coverage is provided by the Chicago Tribune.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Posted in Medical & Health Resources or Issues | Leave a comment