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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

Lawsuit claims Roundup herbicide disrupts healthy gut bacteria

Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer AG last year, is facing thousands of lawsuits alleging an ingredient in its Roundup weed killer causes cancer. But a new class action lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Missouri, claims that the glyphosate in the herbicide attacks a gut enzyme found in the beneficial intestinal flora of humans and some animals. The suit says the companies deceived consumers about the product’s safety. In recent years, gut bacteria have played a more prominent role in medical research, with unhealthy intestinal microbiome being blamed on everything from depression to obesity. The lawsuit claims that Monsanto misled ... Read More

New information about asbestos at daycare raises more questions

The University of Montana posted new information on its website regarding asbestos found in the now-shuttered McGill Hall that housed a day care, but the 84-page document raises even more concerning questions. The document offers details of an asbestos inspection at McGill Hall in 2011, apparently the last time the facility was inspected to see if it contained any materials that contained asbestos and whether those materials were damaged. This may cause the microscopic fibers of asbestos to go airborne, creating a risk for asbestos-related diseases including a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. The assessment involved testing of surfaces ... Read More

Wyoming man blames Roundup for his lymphoma diagnosis

A Wyoming man is suing Monsanto alleging the agrochemical company’s Roundup weed killer contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) diagnosis. The federal lawsuit comes just six months after Monsanto was ordered by a California jury to pay a school groundskeeper $289 million after finding his exposure to glyphosate in Roundup was the cause of his terminal NHL. (Monsanto appealed and the award was reduced to $78 million.) The recent lawsuit involves the case of Jace Florquist, and is one of more than 8,000 filed against Monsanto alleging a link between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and NHL. According to ... Read More

San Diego firefighters exposed to asbestos for decades at training facility

Buildings regularly burned to train San Diego firefighters for more than a decade contained asbestos and lead in the floors, walls, and ceilings, and put thousands of firefighters at risk for serious injuries. Now the city is being blamed for not protecting its first responders who trained at the San Diego Fire Academy at the former Naval Training Center (NTC) near the San Diego International Airport. The facility was converted to a training facility for firefighters more than 20 years ago. The department was aware for at least two decades that the buildings firefighters crawled through and dragged heavy equipment ... 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

Google Ending Forced Arbitration for Sexual Harassment, Assault

Responding to internal pressures, Google will end forced arbitration for its current and future employees starting March 21. Spurred by employee protests and walkouts last year, the Menlo Park, California-based tech giant says it will no longer include a forced arbitration clause in its regular employee contracts. The arbitration agreements Google is ditching required workers to waive their right to sue the company for sexual harassment and sexual assault. Google will also strike mandatory arbitration requirements for employees of Google subsidiary companies, including X research and development lab, the DeepMind AI program, and the Access broadband unit. But the changes ... Read More

Pulse Nightclub Victims Appeal Claims Against Security Company

Several victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando and their family members are asking a Florida appeals court to revive their case against the Jupiter, Florida-based security firm that employed and trained the killer. The 30 appellants, including four estates of victims killed in the attack, allege that G4S Secure Solutions should have known there was a “deranged person … within their employment” and halted his annual firearms training and revoked his security license. Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S.-born man of Afghani descent, drove two hours north of his home to Orlando on June 12, 2016, and ... Read More

Whistleblower Instrumental in Recovering $2.5 Million in Taxpayer Funds From SC University

A whistleblower was instrumental in helping the U.S. government recover $2.5 million in taxpayer funds from a private South Carolina “Christian” university that allegedly engaged in unlawful incentive-based recruitment schemes. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, North Greenville University (NGU) entered a settlement agreement with the federal government resolving a False Claims Act lawsuit initiated by whistleblower Maurice Shoe. The complaint alleged NGU made payments in the form of commissions, bonuses, and other incentives to a company named Joined Inc., a marketing and recruiting company for Christian colleges and universities. The unlawful payments were based on the company’s success in ... Read More

Company recently headed by Trump nominee established fund for harassed women

The family-owned company where President Donald Trump’s nominee for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently served as CEO has agreed to pay dozens of women $290,000 over sexual harassment claims. Barry Myers, who was nominated to head up NOAA in October 2017, stepped down as CEO of AccuWeather in January, the same month his nomination was resubmitted. The settlement agreement was signed in June by AccuWeather President Joel Myers, older brother of Barry Myers, following an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs investigation. Officials found that women who worked at the State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather when Barry Myers ... Read More