Author

Kurt Niland

4171 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

Tough ‘E-DUI’ Law To Target Driver Distraction in Washington

texting

Washington State law enforcement is gearing up to tackle distracted drivers in a big way as a new state “E-DUI” law prohibiting just about every activity that steals the driver’s focus from the road will soon take effect. The Drive reports that as of Sunday, July 23, drivers statewide will not be allowed to use their smartphones or any other handheld electronic devices behind the wheel, even when sitting at a red light or stopped in traffic. Living in or visiting Washington? Make sure your GPS is set and operating before you hit the road. No more instagramming, facebooking, or ... Read More

Doctor Faces False Claims Act charges of Medicaid Fraud

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

Connecticut initiated a False Claims Act lawsuit against a Norwalk doctor and his practice, alleging they defrauded the state’s Medicaid program out of thousands of dollars by billing it for services that were never performed. “The audacity of the alleged fraudulent conduct in this case is astounding,” said Attorney General George Jepsen. “In one case, this provider billed Medicaid for at least 500 visits to a particular patient that never happened, receiving $80,000 in taxpayer dollars for services never rendered, and at the same time, sought to receive Medicaid benefits himself. “ The state’s False Claims Act lawsuit alleges that ... Read More

CSX To Appeal Jury Verdict For Camerawoman Killed

railroad tracks

CSX Railroad intends to appeal a jury verdict ordering it to pay $3.9 million to the family of a woman killed on the set of “Midnight Rider,” a movie about the life of singer Gregg Allman, after it had just started shooting in southeastern Georgia. Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was killed when she was hit by a CSX train Feb. 20, 2014, on a railroad trestle spanning the Altamaha River in Doctortown, Georgia. Six other members of the film crew were injured by flying debris and shrapnel. Richard and Elizabeth Jones, Sarah’s parents, sued CSX and 11 others ... Read More

Oklahoma Woman Says Roundup Caused her Cancer

Roundup - Sarah Mahan photo

An Oklahoma woman who spent much of her life working with and around the weed killer Roundup has filed a lawsuit against its maker Monsanto, alleging the herbicide’s ingredients caused her to develop chronic lymphoma leukemia. Francene Lisle, a recent transplant to Oklahoma from Kansas City, told Fox 4 Kansas City that she was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2015 after her doctor found her white blood cell count was abnormally high. Ms. Lisle began searching for clues to her illness. She had no family history of chronic lymphoma leukemia, so she probed other possible causes. That’s when she discovered ... Read More

Ohio health care companies settle whistleblower allegations

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

Three Ohio health care companies and their executives will pay nearly $20 million to settle whistleblower allegations that they billed Medicare for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy and hospice services. Foundations Health Solutions Inc., Olympia Therapy Inc., Tridia Hospice Care Inc., and their executives, Brian Colleran and Daniel Parker, have agreed to pay approximately $19.5 million to resolve allegations, the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday, July 17. The settlement resolves two lawsuits filed by three former employees of Olympia Therapy and Tridia Hospice under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. FHS is the corporate successor to Provider Services ... Read More

Family of film worker Killed By CSX Train Awarded $3.9M

railroad tracks

A Chatham County, Georgia, jury ordered CSX Transportation to pay nearly $4 million to the family of a film crew member killed on a railroad trestle in 2014 during the shooting of a biopic about Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was run over by a CSX freight train and killed during the first day of filming “Midnight Rider” on Feb. 20, 2014. The crew was on a railroad trestle in Southeastern Georgia filming a scene with actor William Hurt, who was cast to play Mr. Allman, when a CSX train barreled through ... Read More

Truck Driver Barred From Road After Fatal Crash

trucks on highway

Federal regulators declared a North Carolina-licensed commercial truck driver to be “an imminent hazard to public safety” and barred him from operating any commercial vehicles after he allegedly caused a fatal accident in New York City and left the scene. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that Simranjeet Singh Sandhu, 23, of Durham, North Carolina, was driving a tractor-trailer on the Cross Bronx Expressway in New York March 27 when he erratically switched lanes without signaling and struck a car, fatally injuring the driver. Caesar Contreras, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the ... Read More

Work injury, amputation results in $17M verdict

Forklift, shutterstock_564654088

A Riverside, California, man whose work-related injuries led to multiple surgeries and an eventual leg amputation was awarded $17 million by a Riverside Superior Court jury. Steven Meier, 62, a former security guard for Securitas Security Services, was patrolling a PennySaver USA facility in Mira Loma, California, when a forklift backed into him and ran him over in October 2013. The forklift crushed Mr. Meier’s leg and dragged him several feet, tearing the skin from his leg below the knee.  Another forklift was used to get the first forklift off of him. Mr. Meier had to undergo 11 surgeries over ... Read More

Whistleblower: Wells Fargo Defrauded Mortgage Borrowers

Wells Fargo fraud

A former Wells Fargo banker has filed a lawsuit against the banking giant, accusing it of firing him in retaliation for standing up against an alleged practice of defrauding borrowers by blaming them for delays in processing mortgage applications that were the bank’s fault, then hitting them with the resulting fees. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mauricio Alaniz, a former banker at a Wells Fargo Beverly Hills unit, alleges in his federal lawsuit that the bank’s mortgage-processing and underwriting division was understaffed, resulting in chronic delays that weren’t the borrowers’ fault. Borrowers applying for mortgages are typically locked into ... Read More

Powassan Virus Reported in NY County

Tick - Ixodes scapularis, CDC image

New York health authorities confirmed that a second person in Saratoga County is infected with the Powassan virus, a rare but potentially deadly disease linked to ticks. The New York State Department of Health announced last week it suspects a third person in the same county also has contracted the Powassan virus and is expected to confirm that case. Charles Smith, the first Saratoga County resident to be infected with the virus, died June 8 from the disease. A second person infected with the Powassan virus remains hospitalized. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ... Read More