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Imerys files for bankruptcy amid mounting talc litigation

Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to protect itself against more than 14,600 lawsuits in the U.S. that claim its talc causes cancer. Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada Inc., also filed for bankruptcy. All three are subsidiaries of Paris-based Imerys SA. The filing will enable the companies to establish a trust to fund current and future claims. All lawsuits against the company involving cancer claims will also be centralized under one judge. “After carefully evaluating all possible options, we determined pursuing Chapter 11 protection is the best ... Read More

U.S. Government Sues Lockheed Martin, Alleging Hanford Nuclear Cleanup Fraud

The notorious Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Southeastern Washington has been mired in fraud and corruption for decades, ever since the U.S. government started paying contractors billions of dollars to clean up and convert 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge. On Feb. 8, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it has lodged a False Claims Act lawsuit against Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, alleging the company and its executives used a $232 million support contract for nuclear waste disposal to enrich themselves. According to federal prosecutors, Lockheed Martin engaged in a fraudulent kickback scheme by paying more than $1 million to ... Read More

Tens of thousands of asbestos fibers found in majority of talc samples

A scientist who heads a company that specializes in detecting microscopic asbestos fibers in samples of talc said he found up to 55,000 fibers of the carcinogenic mineral per gram in six out of seven samples from a Korean talc mine, which means that a 10-ounce bottle of talcum powder could contain as much as 14 million asbestos fibers, Law360 reported. The scientist, William Longo, is an electron microscopist who serves as president of Material Analytical Services, a company that specializes in finding near-invisible bits of asbestos in various samples. His equipment is highly sensitive – far more so than ... Read More

Columbia sued for covering up obstetrician’s sexual abuse

Columbia University and its associated hospitals “actively and deliberately” – and inexplicably – covered up the sexual abuse of several patients by one of its obstetricians, according to a lawsuit filed by 17 women. Instead, the university and hospitals “continued to grant Robert Hadden unfettered access to vulnerable, unsuspecting, pregnant and non-pregnant female patients,” the lawsuit claims. The women claim that under the guise of performing medical exams Hadden licked them, digitally penetrated their vaginas without gloves, and fondled their breasts and anuses. Only one plaintiff, Marissa Hoechstetter, has revealed her name, a decision she said she made after years ... Read More

Georgia Hospital Settles False Claims Act Suit, Agrees to Pay $5 Million

A North Georgia hospital will pay $5 million to settle allegations it violated the False Claims Act by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians. Union General Hospital of Blairsville, Georgia, fell under scrutiny when federal authorities detected suspicious activity surrounding the abnormally high quantities of opioid drugs and Xanax being prescribed in connection with the hospital. Investigations by the FBI and other federal agencies led to the arrest of Union General Hospital CEO John Michael Gowder and two physicians — Dr. David Gowder and Dr. James Heaton. The three men now face federal charges of illegally prescribing thousands ... Read More

OSU faces two lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse by former wrestling coach

Former wrestling students at Ohio State University have filed two separate class-action lawsuits alleging the university ignored allegations of sexual abuse against them. The first lawsuit, filed by four “John Does” and wrestling team members, allege that the team doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, “sexually assaulted, battered, molested, and/or harassed,” them during medical exams performed from the late 1980s through the 1990s. Strauss committed suicide in 2005. The men claim in their lawsuit that their complaints “were not left unreported at the level of the coaches,” and that “rampant sexual abuse and culture of sexual abuse was reported to Ohio State ... Read More

Whistleblower Helps U.S. Recover $8.1 Million from California Hospital Group

A whistleblower lawsuit accusing a Los Angeles-based hospital group of engaging in unlawful financial arrangements has led to an $8.1 million settlement with the U.S. Government. Avanti Hospitals LLC and six of its owners agreed to pay the U.S. $8.1 million to settle whistleblower allegations that they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Physician Self-Referral Law (also known as the Stark Law), and the False Claims Act. The lawsuit, filed by Dr. Joshua Luke, the former CEO of Gardena Hospital, alleged that Avanti, Gardena Hospital, and at least two other Avanti affiliates bribed a high-referring physician with payments that exceeded the ... Read More

Parents Say Tesla Removed Speed Limiter Before Deadly Crash

The parents of a Florida teen who died in a fiery high-speed crash in a Tesla Model S last May are suing the automaker, alleging a Tesla service technician removed a speed limiter device without their consent. Edgar Monserratt and Esperanza Martinez, the parents of 18-year-old Edgar Monserratt Martinez, claim the speed limiter could have prevented the deadly crash. The driver, 18-year-old Barrett Riley, also died in the crash. According to the lawsuit, Barrett Riley’s parents had a speed limiter installed on the Tesla Model S that prevented the car from going over 85 mph. They had the speed limiter ... Read More

Insys founder paid kickbacks to docs to prescribe its addictive fentanyl

Insys Therapeutics Inc.’s founder and four of its executives stooped to new lows to entice doctors to prescribe their pricey opioid spray Subsys, treating them to lavish dinners, putting them on its payroll, and even giving one top prescriber of the drug a lap dance, Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Lazarus told a federal jury in Boston in the trial of former Insys chairman and founder John Kapoor. Kapoor, along with other company executives, is facing charges of using bribes and kickbacks to increase sales of Subsys, a highly addictive spray version of the opioid fentanyl. “This is a case ... Read More

‘Powerful’ youth volleyball coach faces sexual assault class action

An Aurora, Illinois man dubbed “the most powerful coach in youth volleyball,” by sports network ESPN is now the center of a potential multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit alleging the coach raped and sexually abused underaged players, the Cook County Record reported. The club volleyball program he was affiliated with is also named in the lawsuit for not protecting athletes from the coach. U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, green-lighted the request from plaintiff Laura Mullen to certify the class against coach Rick Butler, the Great Lakes Volleyball Center, and Butler’s Sports Performance Volleyball Club. The class could grow into the ... Read More