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Feds Order Wells Fargo To Reinstate Fired Whistleblower

Wells Fargo fraud

Federal authorities ordered Wells Fargo on July 21 to reinstate and compensate a whistleblower fired in 2011 after she called the bank’s ethics hotlines to report suspected fraud. Claudia Ponce de Leon, the former bank manager of a Wells Fargo unit in Pomona, California, lost her job after she reported at least three bankers working under her of opening unauthorized accounts for customers under her supervision. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not name Ms. Ponce de Leon in its announcement, but an April 2017 story in American Banker indicated that federal regulators were likely to order her ... Read More

Missouri talc trial rescheduled for October 16

talc justice

The National Law Journal reveals details from a newly available transcript from St. Louis Civil Court. Last month another closely watched talc trial against Johnson and Johnson was underway, following four attention-grabbing plaintiff wins totaling more than $300 million and one defense win in the previous year and a half. The sixth Missouri talc trial started on June 5, but on June 19 was declared a mistrial when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court. The significant decision about jurisdiction overruled the California Supreme Court’s previous decision to allow hundreds of out-of-state plaintiffs to sue ... Read More

Medicare Advantage whistleblower suit recovers $32.5M

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

Medicare Advantage plan providers Freedom Health, Optimum Healthcare, and their affiliates agreed to pay the U.S. government and State of Florida a combined $32.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the companies exaggerated patient diagnosis codes and overstated the resources it had available to patients. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in federal court in Tampa in 2009 by Dr. Darren Sewell, who worked for Freedom and Optimum for five years, most recently as a vice president. Dr. Sewell alleged that the companies violated the False Claims Act by submitting false information to Medicare about their members’ medical conditions ... Read More

Experts in CA trial can testify that talc causes cancer

talc justice

Decisions are still being made prior to plaintiff Eva Echeverria’s trial beginning in California, the first talc case against Johnson and Johnson to be tried in the state. The suit was scheduled to go to trial on July 10, but this week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson has still been holding hearings that will impact the future of the trial. According to Law360, on Monday, Judge Nelson reversed a tentative ruling she had written the week before saying that she would partially deny co-defendant Imerys Talc America’s motion for summary judgment. Instead she dismissed Echeverria’s claims against the ... Read More

18 States Sue DeVos, DOE Over Student Loan Rule

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Eighteen states and the District of Columbia are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education over their plans to rescind a rule that would make it easier for students of predatory for-profit colleges to have their loans forgiven. The Borrower Defense Rule was adopted by the DOE in November and was set to take effect this month. Under the rule, students could have their loans erased if their for-profit college misrepresented the quality of its programs or broke a “contractual promise” with its students. The rule also would also allow the DOE to seek recovery of loan ... Read More

Did AbbVie fabricate ‘Low T’ to sell more product?

androgel-pump

AbbVie Inc. fabricated a condition called Low T to lure men without hypogonadism to use its testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel but didn’t tell them that using the hormone treatment could put them at risk of life threatening heart attacks, attorneys for an AndroGel user who nearly died told an Illinois federal jury. The case of Jesse Mitchell versus AbbVie is the second bellwether to go to trial among thousands lodged against AbbVie and other testosterone treatment manufacturers. The first ended in a mistrial when the plaintiff’s lead attorney fell ill. That trial was rescheduled for September. Those suing the drug ... Read More

J&J ‘unattractive investment’ with ongoing talc ovarian cancer suits

talc ovarian cancer

Investment website Seeking Alpha, which features stock market insights and financial analysis provided by investors and industry experts, this month advised its millions of users and viewers to be wary of Johnson and Johnson because of the ongoing talc litigation. “Johnson & Johnson has struggled so far to achieve widespread success defending against the talcum powder litigation. The risk created by the talcum powder litigation makes Johnson & Johnson an unattractive investment,” Seeking Alpha says. The article on Seeking Alpha assesses the litigation alleging that the company’s talcum powder products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower cause ... Read More

Opioid users file lawsuit against drug makers

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Opioid users are pushing back against the manufacturers of the powerful and highly addictive painkillers, suing Actavis, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue, Teva and others in Arkansas federal court, claiming the drug companies were more focused on making profits than on public health, Law360 reports. They say the opioid makers encouraged doctors to prescribe the drugs while downplaying the addiction and dependence risks associated with use, which in turn contributed to the national opioid epidemic. The same drug companies are currently under investigation by several attorneys general representing states across the country. They also face similar probes with counties and cities ... Read More

Older adults taking opioids at greater risk of death

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Older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who start treatment with opioid painkillers are more likely to die from coronary artery disease-related problems than those who do not take opioids, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The study backs up earlier research that has found there is an increased risk of respiratory death in people with COPD who recently started opioids compared to those who did not take the drugs. Opioids lower oxygen and raise carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which can have a negative impact on the heart. For example, ... Read More

California talc ovarian cancer trial scheduled for July 10

talc justice

According to Law360, the first California talc trial is scheduled for July 10. Plaintiff Eva Echeverria is one of hundreds of women who have filed complaints in Los Angeles Superior Court against Johnson and Johnson and Imerys Talc America. Similar suits filed all across the country allege that talc, when used for feminine hygiene, can travel through the female reproductive system and cause ovarian cancer. The suits also allege that J&J and Imerys have been aware of studies linking talc to ovarian cancer for decades but, rather than warn consumers, they tried to deny and suppress the risk. Echeverria alleges ... Read More