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4 Attorneys, Pilot Killed in Airplane Crash Over Lake Okeechobee

Partners and lawyers at a Florida law firm are expressing shock after four of their colleagues were killed in a plane crash over Lake Okeechobee last Friday. Eric Peterson, 73, of Lighthouse Point, Florida, a founding member of the Peterson Bernard law firm, perished in the crash, along with Matthew Fiorello, 36, of Palm Beach Gardens; Heather Bridwell, 43, of Jupiter; Edwin “Ted” Mortell III, 54, of Stuart; and their pilot, Eduardo Mulet, 45, of West Palm Beach. The five were traveling on a Piper PA-23-250 airplane on a return flight from Tampa and were in the last stretches of ... Read More

Police officer claims fellow officers sexually harassed her

A police lieutenant and three sergeants at a Branchburg, New Jersey police department were named in a six-count lawsuit filed by officer Kate Proscia-Berger in Superior Court in Warren County in Phillipsburg. According to the lawsuit, the men sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment. The lawsuit also claims the men retaliated against her and refused to promote her after she reported the incident to supervisors. According to the lawsuit, Proscia-Berger claims one of the sergeants repeatedly asked her for sex since 2002, kissed her and groped her, and even reached for her crotch in a patrol car. ... Read More

IRS gives tax break to victims of sexual harassment

A loophole that prevented victims of sexual harassment who receive settlements from companies or individuals that victimized them from deducting their legal fees on their taxes has been closed, according to Robert W. Wood, a tax expert and contributor to Forbes. The so-called Weinstein tax law passed December 2017 prohibits individuals and companies that paid hush money settlements in sexual harassment cases from deducting those payments from their taxes. But it also prohibited those who received sexual harassment settlement payments from deducting their legal fees as well. For example, if a person received a $500,000 settlement and her lawyer got ... Read More

Whistleblower Helps U.S. Nab California Urology Chain For Medicare Fraud

A whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit has led to a $1.85 million settlement between Skyline Urology and the U.S. government, resolving allegations that the Torrance, California-based health care company deliberately overbilled Medicare. Federal prosecutors investigated the whistleblower’s claims and alleged that from January 1, 2013, through 2016, Skyline Urology systematically billed Medicare for evaluation and management services in violation of federal rules. Although some exceptions exist, health care providers are not permitted to bill Medicare for evaluation and management services on the same day a related procedure is performed. This is because the cost of evaluating a patient is included ... Read More

Washington man files lawsuit against Monsanto

When Leonard Tierney was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May 2018, his friend suggested he talk to an attorney. It was his hunch that Tierney’s disease may have been caused by his exposure to the chemical glyphosate in the herbicide Roundup. Tierney started a landscape, construction and maintenance business in 1999, and had employees do most of the construction work. His love was landscaping. He had returned to school to study horticulture, and enjoyed working in his clients’ yards. He swore by Roundup, strapping a backpack-style sprayer on when he treated yards. He remembered how the container would leak from ... Read More

USC agrees to pay $215 million to settle gynecologist sex abuse claims

The University of Southern California (USC) has agreed to pay $215 million and implement numerous reforms to settle a class action lawsuit brought by dozens of women who allege they were sexually abused by a gynecologist at the USC Student Health Center over the course of nearly three decades. A court will need to approve the settlement, which also requires USC to obtain background checks for anyone who interacts with patients at the school’s student health center, and give female patients the option to see a female doctor. An independent women’s health advocate will also be appointed to ensure any ... Read More

Too much off-label prescribing of potent fentanyl, study finds

Nearly half of the patients prescribed high potent transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl (TIRF) reserved to treat breakthrough pain in cancer patients already on round-the-clock opioid therapy, were given the drugs off-label. Yet, when this evidence surfaced, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dragged its feet on addressing the problem. And when it did, the agency only made a “few substantive changes” to its Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS), according to a study published in JAMA. The REMS for TIRF drugs was approved by the FDA on Dec. 28, 2011, because the medications were very potent and there was a high risk ... Read More

NGOs file lawsuit to overturn EPA’s refusal to require reporting on asbestos

Six NGOs (non-governmental organizations) asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California this week to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of its petition for the agency to close a reporting loophole so that imports of and domestic uses of the carcinogen asbestos are reported, including reporting on consumer products containing asbestos-containing talc. “This will maximize EPA’s ability to use the information reported to conduct the ongoing asbestos risk evaluation and the subsequent risk management,” the organizations said in their Right to Know Petition, which was originally flied Sept. 25, 2018 under section 21 of the ... Read More

Prime Health Care Settles Another Whistleblower Lawsuit Alleging Medicare Fraud

Two employees of a Philadelphia hospital who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the hospital’s parent company and its founder have helped the U.S. government recover $1.25 million in Medicare funds. Prime Health Care Services and Dr. Prem Reddy, the company’s founder and CEO, agreed to settle the whistleblower lawsuit Feb. 14, resolving allegations that two of its hospitals, Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, and Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, engaged in schemes to increase their Medicare billings. According to federal prosecutors, the whistleblowers alleged that the hospitals admitted Medicare beneficiaries who visited the ER when they should have ... Read More

Nursing home employees indicted for letting patient ‘rot to death’

Seven former and current employees of an Ohio nursing home were indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges they mistreated two patients in their care, including one who “literally rotted to death,” Attorney General Dave Yost said during a news conference. The seven employees were nurses at Whetstone Gardens and Care Center in Columbus, Ohio in 2017. They face a combined 34 charges including involuntary manslaughter and patient neglect, and for causing a patient physical harm because they falsified her medical records and forged signatures. “This is gut wrenching for anyone who has entrusted a care facility ... Read More