Texas Jury Awards $18M To Widow of Killed Worker

A jury in Texas awarded $18 million in damages, including $10 million in punitive damages to the widow of Juan Perez who died on March 7, 2015, after falling through a skylight while repairing a roof for Rodriguez Trucking Company out of Mathis, Texas. The three-day trial was held in the 156th District Court of San Patricio County, Judge Patrick Flanagan presiding. 

Attorney for Mr. Perez’s widow, John Duff stated, “With no regard for the life of Juan Perez, the Defendant sent him to work on a roof with no fall protection equipment and no warning of the dangerous rusted condition which caused Perez to suddenly fall through roof, over 12 feet onto the concrete where he was pronounced dead at the scene.”

“This verdict shows that a simple man, a laborer, who worked faithfully for 17 years, coming to work every day at 5:30 am, making 7 dollars an hour, has value. His life and what he means to the woman he loved and who loved him, has worth. “

Attorney Alex Hilliard added, “The Defendant thought of him as expendable, like a piece of machinery…The jury agreed with us that this was an entirely preventable tragedy.”

Read the source article at benzinga.com

Med-mal plaintiff awarded $17M

In Kathleen J. Bashore v. Sparrow Health System, the jury on Nov. 6 awarded $17 million after finding that missteps by medical providers at Lansing, Michigan’s Sparrow Hospital during and after a routine procedure caused the plaintiff complications that left her paraplegic and necessitated amputation of her left leg.

Plaintiff’s counsel Chad D. Engelhardt of Goethel Engelhardt PLLC in Ann Arbor claimed surgical sheaths placed in her legs as part of the procedure were left in too long, causing a blood clot.

Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Ara Pridjian was called to the scene but instead of operating right away to remove the clot, he delayed treatment and then over-inflated angioplasty balloons and stents, according to plaintiff’s counsel.

This caused internal bleeding and poor blood flow to the plaintiff’s legs and spine, leading to gangrene and paralysis, Engelhardt said.

Read the source article at milawyersweekly.com

Former NFL Players Charged With $3.4M Fraud

Federal prosecutors are charging 10 former NFL players accused of defrauding the league’s health care program, resulting in payouts totaling $3.4 million for medical equipment they allegedly never purchased.

Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis is among those accused, along with his former teammates Robert McCune and John Eubanks. The other former players charged are Tamarick Vanover from the Kansas City Chiefs, Ceandris Brown from the Houston Texans, Carlos Rogers from the Washington Redskins, James Butler of the New York Giants, Frederick Bennett of the Houston Texans, Correll Buckhalter of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Etric Pruitt of the Seattle Seahawks.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multimillion-dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. “Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice.”

Read the source article at npr.org

$69.5M settlement with Wolverine Worldwide over PFAS contamination

A tentative $69.5 million settlement has been reached in ongoing litigation brought by the state of Michigan against Wolverine Worldwide for its contamination of groundwater with per- and polyflouroalkyl, also known as PFAS. 

The townships of Plainfield and Algoma announced the tentative agreement Tuesday, which will ensure the Rockford-based shoemaker will pay the settlement to extend the Plainfield Township municipal water system to affected homes.

The lawsuit was filed nearly two years ago, in January of 2018. 

The PFAS contaminants were discovered in the water supply in 2017, with hot spots in Plainfield and Algoma townships. Areas with high levels of chemical contaminants were near a former dumpsite that Wolverine Worldwide used in the 1960s, which is now referred to as the House Street disposal site. 

The settlement will extend the municipal water system to 1,000 homes in both townships, and it will provide funding for granular activated carbon for the filtering system at the plant. 

Read the source article at Grand Rapids’s Leading Local News

Weinstein and His Accusers Reach Tentative $25M Deal

After two years of legal wrangling, Harvey Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio have reached a tentative $25 million settlement agreement with dozens of his alleged sexual misconduct victims, a deal that would not require the Hollywood producer to admit wrongdoing or pay anything to his accusers himself, according to lawyers involved in the negotiations.

The proposed global legal settlement has gotten preliminary approval from all the major parties involved, according to several of the lawyers. More than 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees, who in lawsuits have accused Mr. Weinstein of offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape, would share in the payout — along with potential claimants who could join in coming months. The deal would bring to an end nearly every such lawsuit against him and his former company.

The settlement would require court approval and a final signoff by all parties. It would be paid by insurance companies representing the producer’s former studio, the Weinstein Company. Because the business is in bankruptcy proceedings, the women have had to make their claims along with its creditors. The payout to the accusers would be part of an overall $47 million settlement intended to close out the company’s obligations, according to a half-dozen lawyers, some of whom spoke about the proposed terms on the condition of anonymity.

Read the source article at The New York Times

PA jury awards $6.3M to widow of misdiagnose jogger who died of a heart attack

A Lehigh County, Pennsylvania,  jury awarded $6.3 million to a woman whose 48-year-old husband died of a heart attack while jogging, six weeks after a cardiologist at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem cleared him of any heart problems.

James L. Cowher II of Ringtown, Schuylkill County, collapsed while jogging on Aug. 23, 2016, and was found in a ditch by passersby. An autopsy showed that he died from acute myocardial infarction and that his arteries were severely constricted, according to a lawsuit filed in 2018.

Dr. Sobhan Kodali, of St. Luke’s Cardiology Associates, was negligent in failing to diagnose severe coronary artery disease despite symptoms that included repeated episodes of radiating chest pain associated with shortness of breath, nausea and sweating, said attorney Andy Youman, who represents Cowher’s widow, Karen Cowher.

Read the source article at The Morning Call

University of Phoenix in $191M settlement for ‘deceptive’ advertising to students

The University of Phoenix has agreed to a $191 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over claims that students were harmed by deceptive advertising.

The University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, faced FTC charges that claimed the school had “used deceptive advertisements that falsely touted their relationships and job opportunities with companies such as AT&T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and The American Red Cross,” the FTC said in a press release.

The settlement money includes $50 million in cash and $141 million to cancel debt for students who were harmed by the deceptive ads, the FTC said. The commission called the settlement the largest ever obtained against a for-profit school.

Read the source article at azcentral.com

The Supreme Court rejects Arizona’s objective to sue Sackler family

The Supreme Court turned down a rare request from Arizona to bypass lower courts and argue their lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, L.P. before the justices themselves.

Though five states filed a brief supporting Arizona, the Court refused the motion in a Monday order.

The Arizona state lawsuit blames Purdue for using deceptive marketing schemes to sell painkillers, and contributing to the severity of the opioid crisis.

Lawyers for Arizona bypassed the lower courts and filed their lawsuit with the Supreme Court, claiming the scope of the opioid epidemic and the wrongful actions of the Sackler family required prompt resolution.


Read the source article at The National Interest

Banner Health in $6M settlement over data breach

Banner Health has agreed to pay up to $6 million to victims of a massive data breach the Arizona health system experienced in 2016, according to court documents filed last week.

The plaintiffs in the case filed the motion for preliminary approval of a settlement to end a proposed class action over the cyberattack in federal court in Arizona.

Under the deal, nearly 3 million people who Banner notified after a 2016 data breach would be able to request reimbursement claims for expenses from the incident. Each class member’s reimbursement is capped at $500 for ordinary expenses and $10,000 for extraordinary expenses. The overall cap that Banner agreed to is $6 million.

Read the source article at modernhealthcare.com

How E-Cigarettes Figured in a $42.5MTobacco Verdict

A Florida jury awarded $42.5 million for a Florida man who blamed tobacco behemoths R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. for the death of his wife. Irene Gloger was 47 when she died of lung cancer. But she was just 14 when she picked up her first cigarette in 1963, which Ratzan argued was exactly what Big Tobacco wanted.

“She was right inside their target age range at the time they were advertising their products on ‘The Flintstones’ and ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ and showing pictures of young, glamorous women and men and young movie stars and young athletes,” attorney Stuart Ratzan said.

Though e-cigarettes didn’t exist in Gloger’s era, they featured heavily in the damages portion of the trial, when the defendants had the chance to argue their companies had changed since the days of manipulating the addictive properties of their products, concealing health risks and targeting children.

Ratzan and his team claimed that instead of marketing the electronic version as a way for cigarette smokers to quit nicotine altogether, the defendants had been promoting such flavors as mixed berry, and cream and mint, and using images aimed at youngsters.

Read the source article at Law.com