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Mississippi 248 articles

Fireman’s Fund pays $44 million to settle insurance fraud allegations

whistleblower-2

An insurance company that sells federally reinsured policies nationwide to farmers in need of crop insurance has agreed to pay the U.S. $44 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that it knowingly issued ineligible policies and falsified documents to boost its profits. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, an Allianz SE subsidiary headquartered in Novato, Calif., participated in the federal crop insurance program, selling and servicing crop insurance policies that were reinsured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a portion of the risks. U.S. prosecutors alleged that the insurance fraud scheme involved Fireman’s Fund ... Read More

Oil train derailment, explosion in Illinois

railroad tracks

GALENA, Ill. — A freight train hauling 103 tanker cars full of crude oil derailed and caught fire Thursday afternoon in an isolated wooded area south of Galena, Ill. Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the operator of the train, reported that the oil train derailment occurred about 1:20 p.m. in an area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi River in the northwestern corner of Illinois. The railroad company said eight of the tanker cars left the track. Two of those remained upright while six had toppled over. It was not known how much crude has spilled from the derailed cars. ... Read More

West Virginia pipeline explosion blasts fireball hundreds of feet into air; fourth major pipeline disaster this month

pipeline explosion W Va - image by WTRF

A gas pipeline owned by a Houston, Texas-based petroleum corporation exploded Monday morning in Brooke County, W. Va., just across the Ohio River from Steubenville, Ohio, and about an hour from Pittsburgh, Penn. The pipeline explosion and subsequent fuel leak was the fourth major pipeline disaster to occur in the U.S. this month. Enterprise Products Partners, which owns the pipeline involved in Monday’s explosion, said it is investigating the incident. There were no reports of injuries, but witnesses reported a massive fireball that shot hundreds of feet in the air, damaging a nearby house and power lines. Reports so far ... Read More

State Farm appeals verdict in whistleblower lawsuit involving Hurricane Katrina damages

whistleblower

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Feb. 5 as Illinois-based State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. appeals a verdict that it pay $3 million in damages and legal fees stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit. A Mississippi jury sided with sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, Miss., in 2013, who filed a lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which authorizes private citizens to sue on behalf of the federal government. The sisters accused State Farm of manipulating damage reports after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in ... Read More

Listeria illnesses, deaths linked to Happy Apples Company prepackaged caramel apples

Happy Apples caramel apples

Happy Apples Company of Washington, Mo., is recalling its prepackaged caramel apples after the products were found to be the source of a listeria monocytogenes outbreak that sickened 29 and killed five in 10 states. All 29 people who were sickened were hospitalized, and nine of the illnesses occurred in pregnant women. The recall comes about a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to consumers not to eat prepackaged caramel apples as it investigated which commercially made brands were responsible for the outbreak. Though the apples are most popular around Halloween, the CDC ... Read More

Defective Takata air bag inflators lead to second recall expansion by Chrysler amid safety worries

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

There is more drama stirring in the defective Takata air bag inflators situation as Chrysler announces its second recall expansion, this time of 208,783 vehicles, in one week. The expansion comes likely as a reaction from regulators like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which are following the issue closely. Since June, Chrysler has recalled more than 600,000 vehicles featuring the infamous Takata air bags due to reports that the defective Takata air bag inflators may explode, firing tiny metal fragments into drivers and passengers within the vehicle. Honda vehicles in areas of high humidity, such as Florida, have experienced ... Read More

Honda expands exploding airbag recall again after deadly Malaysia accident

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Honda Motor Corp. has widened its recall of vehicles fitted with faulty airbags made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. by another 170,000 units. The announcement came after the company said that a driver died in Malaysia after being blasted with shrapnel from one of the defective airbags. The fatality in Malaysia was the fifth known record of a driver or passenger being killed by an exploding airbag in a Honda vehicle and the first such death to occur outside of the United States. The Takata airbags at the center of the Honda recall and recalls by 11 different other car ... Read More

U.S. safety probe leads to Honda recall expansion over dangerous Takata air bags

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Following reports of a U.S. safety probe being placed on the automaker, Honda has announced an expansion to its previous recall of vehicles containing potentially dangerous Takata Corp air bags. The air bags in question, which have been responsible for multiple deaths and injuries, are prone to deploy with excessive force, blasting metal fragments into the car’s interior. The amount of cars Honda has added to its recall is undisclosed; however, all the vehicles are from model years 2001-2006 and were sold/registered in areas with high humidity. According to Takata, humid areas are where the affected vehicles are the most ... Read More

Feds order Takata to hand over exploding airbag communications, documents

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

The National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) ordered Japanese automotive supplier Takata Corp. to hand over internal documents by December 1 and answer questions under oath about the defective airbags it made for installation in millions of vehicles. Takata’s airbags, which 10 auto manufacturers have installed in more than 17 million vehicles worldwide, are prone to deploy with excessive force, blasting metal fragments into the car’s interior. The defective devices have been linked to at least four deaths and several injuries. NHTSA regulators have been investigating Takata’s defective airbags since June, focusing on the inflator mechanisms in airbags made from 2000 to ... Read More

Fresenius moves to dismiss GranuFlo wrongful death, personal injury lawsuits

dialysis

Fresenius Medical Care moved to dismiss 127 GranuFlo lawsuits filed by dialysis patients from Mississippi arguing the cases fall outside Mississippi’s three-year statute of limitations. The group of plaintiffs, who filed their lawsuits in Massachusetts, claim the company’s dialysis products GranuFlo Dry Acid Concentrate and NaturaLyte caused cardiopulmonary arrest and death. The Mississippi cases joined a pending multidistrict litigation in Massachusetts federal court. Some of the lawsuits were originally filed in Mississippi but transferred . Others were filed directly in Massachusetts. One complication is that some of the plaintiffs named Massachusetts as their home forum but others did not. Fresenius Medical ... Read More