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Kansas 136 articles

IKEA announces second minimum wage hike in two years

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IKEA, known as the world’s largest furniture retailer, has announced its second minimum wage hike for employees in U.S. stores. This raise would increase IKEA’s hourly minimum wage from $10.76 to $11.87 – a 10 percent jump and exactly $4.62 over the current federal minimum wage. Considering retail sales workers in the U.S. normally receive an average wage of about $12.38, IKEA’s living wage announcement will push the company’s average U.S. store wage above $15. Beginning the first day of 2016, precisely 30 percent of U.S. IKEA employees will be earning at least $11.87, thanks to the retailer’s latest minimum wage hike. According to ... Read More

Attorneys request consolidation of power morcellator lawsuits

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Attorneys for six women suing Johnson & Johnson over injuries they claim to have suffered after undergoing gynecological procedures with the company’s power morcellator device have filed a request with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate with at least 22 similar lawsuits pending in 16 different federal district courts. The motion seeks to transfer the cases to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil in Kansas. The request comes just weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson & Johnson was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about how much the company knew about cancer ... Read More

Janssen agrees to pay $7.8 million to settle Risperdal lawsuit

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Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $7.8 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the drug company’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals committed Medicaid fraud and violated state law in its promotion and labeling of the antipsychotic Risperdal to Arkansas doctors. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2008. Three years ago, a Pulaski County jury found the drug company guilty of the charges and imposed a $1.2 million fine on Johnson & Johnson. The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned the decision. Janssen Pharmaceuticals said the settlement agreement is not an admission of guilt. Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, was originally approved by the ... Read More

First Blue Bell lawsuit filed after listeria-related illness

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Blue Bell has now been confronted by its first recall-related lawsuit, alleging the company’s products caused one ex-Houston, Texas, resident to contract listeria-related meningitis while working at a retirement complex. According to the Blue Bell lawsuit, David Philip Shockley was employed as the associate executive director of nursing at the retirement community, Eagle’s Trace. While on the job in October 2013, Shockley ate Blue Bell ice cream purchased by his superiors. Not long after consuming the Blue Bell products, Shockley called 911 for assistance, but was diagnosed with migraine and sent home. Shockley then collapsed alone at his home just hours ... Read More

Whistleblower complaint leads to $15.69 million recovery for Medicare

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Sixteen U.S. hospitals and their parent companies have agreed to pay the U.S. $15.69 million collectively to resolve allegations brought by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act that they fraudulently billed Medicare for services that were not medically reasonable or necessary. The case concerns claims for reimbursement the hospitals made to Medicare for Intensive Outpatient Psychotherapy services. Medicare pays for an appropriate course of the psychotherapy services when a number of specific requirements are met, the most notable being that the services provided are needed for the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s condition. The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that from ... Read More

Judge nixes Bayer’s plan to reinstate whistleblower

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An Arkansas federal judge who ordered the reinstatement of a whistleblower terminated after implicating Bayer Corp. in a Medicare fraud scheme rebuked the pharmaceutical giant for attempting to reinstate the former employee to a job 500 miles away. Bayer fired sales representative Mike Townsend in 2010 after he blew the whistle on a scheme by a major Bayer customer to defraud Medicaid by illicitly billing the program for intrauterine contraceptives. Mr. Townsend had worked as a Bayer sales rep for six years when he caught on to a Medicaid scam he alleges was orchestrated by Arkansas physician Kelly Dean Shrum, ... Read More

Blue Bell knew it had listeria problems, FDA documents show

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Listeria bacteria was a problem in Blue Bell’s Oklahoma plant as early as March 2013 but the ice cream producer failed to take adequate measures to sanitize its factory, a federal investigation conducted in March and April concluded. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the investigation results after filing a Freedom of Information request. Those documents show the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found violations in all three of Blue Bell’s facilities, but the most extensive violations were found in its Broken Arrow, Okla., plant. According to the AP, the FDA documents reveal inspectors listed 17 separate tests on ... Read More

Blue Bell won’t resume making ice cream for several months

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Blue Bell Creameries said on its website that its ice cream won’t be back in stores for several months as the company cleans it three manufacturing facilities in the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak and develops a plan for its ice cream products to return to production. “Unfortunately, we do not yet have a firm timeline for when Blue Bell Ice Cream will be back in stores, but we believe at this time that it will be several months at a minimum,” said Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse. “We are evaluating all of our operations in light ... Read More

ExxonMobil to pay $5 million for Arkansas oil spill fines, costs

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ExxonMobil will pay $5 million to settle claims brought against it by the U.S. and Arkansas governments stemming from its March 2013 Pegasus Pipeline oil spill that swamped an Arkansas community with thousands of gallons of heavy Canadian oil. Under the settlement agreement, ExxonMobil will pay $3.19 million to the U.S. in Clean Water Act penalties and $1 million in state civil penalties to Arkansas. The oil company will also devote $600,000 to a project geared toward improving water quality at Lake Conway, a reservoir affected by the spill, and pay the Arkansas Attorney General’s office $280,000 in legal fees. The ... Read More

Jump&Go power supply recall prompted by reports of overheating, fires

Recall - Jump and Go power supply

Whistler, an electronics company based out of Arkansas, has announced a Jump&Go power supply recall of about 10,400 units. Reports indicate that the power supplies have the potential to overheat, melt and even catch fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Jump&Go Portable Jumpstart & Power Supply 12V power supplies are pocket-sized, measuring about 5.1 inches tall by 4 inches wide by 0.9 inches deep. Sold in either red, black yellow or pink, the recalled power supplies featured detachable jumper cables, built-in high output LED flashlight with emergency flashing patterns, as well as a USB port to ... Read More