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Multiple Sclerosis Elevated Treatment Expenses Blamed on Firings

It is not unusual for people to blame something over losing their jobs. However, two Alabamians in a bizarre case are blaming the high costs of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) conditions.

The two joined Montgomery attorney Julian McPhillips to issue a press statement on August 14, 2018. McPhillips stated that these two cases are a part of a great concern about the challenges faced by people with MS who are not incapacitated in their jobs but need costly treatments.

The Alabama-Mississippi Chapter’s president of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Andrew Bell, confirmed that the expenses of drugs used in the treatment of MS have increased considerably to an average of approximately $90,000 annually.

Bell further added that at least a million Americans have MS and almost 6,000 of them reside in Alabama. It was noted that most people with this condition are between ages 20 and 50 and desire to continue working.

In December 2016, Jennifer Akridge of Montgomery got fired at the age of 48 after working at Alfa Insurance for 27 years. She contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and went ahead to file a disability discrimination claim. Also, she filed a lawsuit as provided for by the constitution under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This case is still pending in the Montgomery federal court.

In 1989, Akridge started working for Alfa organization but was later diagnosed with MS in 1993 as documented in her lawsuit. She got named as the company’s employee of the year in 1995.

According to the lawsuit, her condition was known at the company, and she was entitled to an intermittent paid leave. She could do all her jobs and assignments in underwriting by partially working from home.

Since Alfa is self-insured, they were paying for her treatment that included getting MS shots at a monthly cost of $11,000. The company’s director of public relations and communications, Jeff Helms, declined to comment on the ‘pending litigation.’

Helms confirmed in a statement that Alfa does not practice, condone, or tolerate any discrimination based on age, race, gender, mental disability, color, national origin, religion, physical disability or creed.

A former manager of a Weyerhaeuser plant, Robert Doll, 50, of Conecuh County, thinks that he lost his job due to his MS condition. Robert said that he has worked for at least 28 years with nine of those being at Weyerhaeuser for two separate periods, from 2005 to 2010 and from 2013 to 2017.

Doll, who got diagnosed with MS in 2011, was re-hired by Weyerhaeuser to revamp a mill in Castleberry. The mill increased in productivity culminating at having a banner year in 2016. Doll confirmed that he told the company about his MS condition in 2015 after a fall incident during a plant tour in McComb, Mississippi.

Initially, the company accommodated him with his condition, but with the increased costs of treatment, he eventually got fired in November 2017. Doll stated in a press statement that he thinks he lost his job due to his limited mobility, the high cost of treatment; and the reluctance of his superiors to accommodate him with his condition at the workplace.

It is challenging for the disabled who lose their jobs to fight back since legal actions are expensive and they pose uncertain outcomes. Doll confirmed that he wanted to be the voice for all other individuals in the same predicament.

Weyerhaeuser’s director of government affairs, Nancy Thompson, stated that the company avoids making public comments about potential legal matters or personnel decisions.

According to McPhillips, it is challenging to get any relief via the court system in a reasonable time even with the stringent federal laws meant to protect the disabled workers. The reason for this occurrence is partly due to the defendant companies having the capabilities to slow down the court process.

McPhillips believes that it is an uneven field and he plans to seek an audience with state legislators and members of Congress about probable alterations to the law.

 

Why the LLLT Program is Necessary

The LLLT is a paraprofessional legal program which operates within the United States. Currently, the program can only help you solve family law matters and all communications are supposed to go through the client since LLLTs are not allowed to negotiate in a court. Notably, more than 80 percent of U.S. citizens can’t afford an attorney to help solve civil matters, but with this program, this national crisis can ultimately be quelled. Below are reasons why LLLTs are important.

Access to Justice Should not be Limited to High-Income People

About 80 percent of Americans cannot afford an attorney fee since they receive low wages and have huge expense requirements. Due to the low income, most people carry huge debts which they use to commensurate with their meager earnings hence any unplanned expense will prove difficult to handle. Markedly, a typical family attorney will charge between $250 and $400 for every hour which is almost double of what LLLTs will charge. For example, if it is a four-hour representation, an LLLT will charge approximately $1,500, but an attorney can charge up to $4,000 which is significantly high.

They LLLTs are Perfectly Qualified to handle any Case

An attorney can start serving clients immediately after passing the bar exam which means he or she will have only a few hours of practice. On the other hand, LLLTs will be required to have up to 3,000 hours of practice alongside other rigorous requirements. This means that having an LLLT represent you in your case will be an added advantage since they will have formidable knowledge of your situation.

Helps Family Law Attorneys Broaden their Practice

When you look at the LLLT program from a business point of view, it is an opportunity for you as an attorney to broaden your practice since the target population will be high hence more clients. You can work with these independent technicians whenever there is a matter that needs professional courtroom negotiations which adds you hours of practice.

Evidently, LLLT is a welcome necessity in the current era since it helps the low-income people to access legal representation at a considerate price. Undoubtedly, LLLT will be of unquestionable help to you, whether you are an attorney or a low-income citizen. As such it is paramount to visit The Marshall Project for amazing services.

 

2 Pastors Arrested Over Neglecting Decomposing Corpse

Mary Alice Pitt Moore, aged 63, passed away in March 2015. Three years after her demise, arrangements were made for her body to be cremated at First Family Funeral Home. Instead, the decomposing corpse was locked up in an unrefrigerated room, covered in blankets and left to rot.

Fred Parker Jr., Moore’s legal spouse for 38 years, first heard of the funeral home via a relative. He paid the funeral home’s Greenwood branch to have the body of his late wife cremated, but they would, later on, not pick his calls. They were reluctant to turn over the supposed ashes. Mr. Parker would surprisingly realize that his late wife’s body was rotting all the while in a room within the funeral home. In March, Mr. Parker, along with his son Taras, sued First Family.

The co-owners of the Spartanburg funeral home, Pastors Roderick Cummings and Lawrence Meadows (both 40yrs old) were charged by The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with human remains desecration. The two were later released on bond. SLED arrest affidavits reveal that the pastors carried out this heinous act due to unsettled funeral bills by Moore’s family.

The family’s attorney, Christian Spradley, denies this by stating there was no evidence provided to back the claims. “Even though there may be an element of truth to their story, it does not, in any way, justify their inhumane actions.”

‘Grave Misdeeds,’ a special report that highlights how the state manages crematories and funeral homes in South Carolina, brought this story to light. This triggered swift action by SLED on the co-owners of the First Family funeral home. It has further stated that investigations on the said funeral home are open and ongoing. After the discovery of Moore’s rotting remains, the State Board of Funeral Service suspended the funeral home’s license.

Before this case, there have been several complaints filed against the First Family funeral home. Two previous customers stated that despite Mr. Meadows’ license to work as a funeral director being revoked in 2015, he took care of their funeral arrangements. He had since been very active at home, even going ahead to make an appearance on NBC’s ‘Today’ and brag about his funeral office.

Eventually, an alternative funeral home offered to carry out the cremation for free. The ashes were handed to her family.

 

Events Leading to the Death of John McNair

John McNair, who was Maryland’s offensive lineman was reported to have died as a result of heatstroke at the age of 19. The parents have been conducting extensive investigations about the events that led to his untimely death. According to the family lawyer Billy Murphy, the current findings could lead to a lawsuit in the near future.

Comments about the Death

The Maryland team members and coaches have not been available for interviews despite numerous approaches by reporters. However, former coaches and players claimed that Maryland has a toxic football culture which is based on humiliation and fear, with players being subjected to regular verbal abuse. Also, the management encourages unhealthy eating which results in poor health conditions. Despite these accusations, the university’s spokesman refused to give any comments.

Cause of Death

There are numerous claims that the former offensive lineman was forced to eat candy bars anytime he was watching his teammates train. The coach, Rick Court, was doing this intentionally with the aim of embarrassing John into losing weight. Regardless of whether a player was injured or overweight, the coach always required them to finish their workout even after they were exhausted. Investigations show that this must have been the primary cause of John’s death.

After McNair was subjected to outdoor training which involved ten 100 yards sprints, he had trouble recovering from this conditioning test and suffered a seizure. Markedly, seizures are known symptoms of exertional heatstroke and the medical staff should have known it from the start and gave the player the necessary medical intervention. According to medics, exertional heatstroke is 100 percent preventable hence the player was not supposed to die.

What Went Wrong

Once McNair had tested positive for exertional heatstroke, Maryland medical staff should have immersed him in cold water to cool his body up to 104 degrees. This should have been done within 30 minutes after the symptoms started to show. Evidently, Maryland did not treat him with cold water since when McNair reached the hospital, he had a temperature of 106 degrees.

The bottom line is that McNair’s medical situation was handled unprofessionally and his death should be blamed on the incompetence of Maryland’s staff members. The victim’s family has every right to file a lawsuit against this football team.

 

New Yorker Jeffrey Makuch, 66, Sues the Spirit of Norfolk

Two years ago, Jeffrey Makuch, 66, skid and fell while enjoying a round of cornhole at the Spirit of Norfolk. Jeffrey, who hails from NY, then filed a lawsuit claiming that the owners of the contemporary boat were to blame for the mishap. In his lawsuit, the prosecution claimed that Makuch suffered several unspecified injuries, some of them being severe.

$373,456 in Damages

Jeffrey’s lawyers were seeking compensation of around $373K to offset the damages and to pay the legal fees arising in the lawsuits. In their argument, the prosecution claimed that the boat’s management failed to inform their passengers, especially the senior citizens that it wasn’t safe for them to play on the decks.

No Comments

Both, Jeffrey’s attorney and a representative of the owner of the contemporary boat refused to give any comments on the issue. The Spirit of the Norfolk is a majestic boat that cruises up and down the Elizabeth River while entertaining guests. This boat underwent a massive renovation job in 2016 that cost $1.2 million.

The boat is such a Norfolk treasure that the entire elite community came out to celebrate the re-launch of the new Spirit of Norfolk. The governor and the mayor of Norfolk led the house full of guests in tossing for the great development touching their town.

What Happened?

In the lawsuit, the events leading to Jeffrey’s accident were brought to light. It all started when Jeffrey boarded the boat that was by then docked at the Town Point Park. Once inside the Spirit of the Norfolk, the 66-year-old male proceeded to the upper decks. Jeffrey observes that the boat’s upper deck was very hectic to walk by due to the crowded furniture occupying this space.

Slip and fall

It was during his walk to the top decks that an on-going game of cornhole caught Jeffrey’s attention. The plaintiff took a beanbag, and as he was tossing it, he slipped and fell on what we’re supposed to be antiskid decks. According to expert investigators, the plaintiff didn’t know that by effectively shifting his weight while tossing the beanbag, he would slip and hurt himself badly.

What’s more, slipping and falling was completely out of the question as the boat management claimed that the decks had a very high friction coefficient. Jeffrey Makuch was represented by the respected Norfolk-based attorney, Edwin Booth.

 

A Mother Sues Healthcare Providers over Son’s Death

HOPE Clinic pharmacies were sued by a mother who believes doctors at the clinic over-prescribed opioid medications to her son leading to his death. In a lawsuit, Inez Lewis said her son, Timothy Jason Lewis, who died on May 4, 2017, after overdosing, was introduced to drugs through negligent doctors’ prescriptions.

Inez claims that doctors at HOPE Clinic filled prescriptions despite suspicious prescription activity that violated the West Virginia Medical Professional Liability Act. The defendants in the lawsuit include; Cross Lanes Family Pharmacy Inc., four employees of HOPE Clinic, and Poca Valu-Rite Inc.

One of HOPE Clinic owners, James Blume, was among 12 people indicted in February for purportedly operating a pill mill at the clinic. Inez Lewis filed the lawsuit in Kanawha Circuit Court on June 29 on behalf of her son’s estate. This filing came four months after physicians, owners, employees, and managers at HOPE Clinic were accused of federal charges citing distribution of illegal substances.

The HOPE clinic team were accused of distributing Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, outside their legal and intended medical purposes from November 2010 to June 2015. Their trials were rescheduled to November 5 from the original April dates presided at the Beckley courthouse by U.S. District Judge, Irene Berger.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration rates all drugs on a five-tier system. Schedule I drugs have no medicinal use and are highly addictive while Schedule V drugs have low addiction capabilities, and commonly used in the treatment of common ailments. Inez Lewis said that the physicians started prescribing her son methadone and oxycodone in 2014.

Both drugs are strong painkillers but are highly addictive and quite lethal as stated in Inez’s lawsuit. None of these drugs were medically necessary for Timothy Lewis, and they contributed to his opioid addiction whose overdose ultimately caused his death. No defendant in the lawsuit reported the “suspicious prescription activity” to any federal regulatory agencies.

Timothy Houston of Brown Houston PLLC in Charleston represented Inez Lewis. The case was assigned to Judge Duke Bloom. The clinic had locations in Wytheville, Virginia and Beckley, Charleston, and Beaver in West Virginia. In February 2015, HOPE Clinic in Charleston closed down after West Virginia Office of Health Facility Licensure officers decided the clinic was risking patient lives.

Clinic’s branch in Beaver was also shut down with similar reports of narcotic auditors. The 12 defendants are faced with multiple charges including maintaining drug-involved premises, conspiracy to commit money laundering, distribution of controlled substances, and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
All defendants pleaded not guilty to these charges. Dr. John Pellegrini, a doctor at the Beckley HOPE Clinic is also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. He pleaded guilty in April and faces a jail term of up to 20 years in federal prison.

According to Federal prosecutors, HOPE Clinics operated in a cash-based business set up. They never accepted insurance for compensation for medications and services offered. According to the indictment, the clinic received at least $21 million from patients in cash payments from 2012 to 2015. It is alleged that clinic owners contracted physician’s services who knew nothing about pain management.

The physicians also conducted incomplete, cursory, or no thorough medical examinations of patients on many occasions. Inez Lewis, through the lawsuit, seeks unstipulated compensation for damages. She wants compensation for emotional distress, expenses arising from her son’s care and treatment, mental anguish, funeral expenses, and the loss of her son’s advice, guidance, comfort, and companionship.

Inez also seeks court costs and attorney’s fees together with all punitive damages against the defendants.

Family Sues a Florida Hospital Memorial Doctor for Medical Malpractice

Two years ago, Kylie Danielle Truax, a 14-year-old teenager fell ill in Daytona Beach. She complained of feeling weak and having pain in her arms and shoulders. Her father took her to Florida Hospital Memorial Hospital Centre where Dr. Lana A. Elder admitted her to an emergency room. Unfortunately, Kylie passed away four hours later. Stacy Truax, Kylie’s mother, sued Dr. Elder and Florida Hospital for malpractice.

What transpired before Kylie’s Demise?

Shortly after admission, Kylie developed severe anxiety which affected her breathing. Her heart rate rose dramatically. Dr. Elder didn’t recognize any symptoms of heart failure. Instead, she administered intravenous fluids to Kylie which exacerbated the teenager’s breathing complications.

Kim Bouck, Kylie family’s attorney accused Elder of treating the teenager for sepsis. She listed sepsis as a possible sickness in her diagnosis. However, she didn’t include myocarditis.

Case Proceedings

Kim said that hospital tests performed produced unusual results for Kylie’s heart. Nevertheless, Dr. Elder didn’t prescribe the right medication. Kim argued that Elder ought to have known that heart and lungs are highly susceptible to intravenous fluids in such a scenario.

In response, Lindsay Cashio, the medical center’s spokeswoman stated that she had no comment on the litigation. She cited patient privacy statutes and claimed that Dr. Elder was no longer an employee at the Florida Hospital.

However, in a court statement, Larry D. Hall, the hospital’s lawyer denied that Dr. Lana was at fault. He further stated that myocarditis caused Kylie’s death. She developed the health condition several days before she was admitted into the medical facility. He claimed that medical personnel took appropriate actions to save the minor’s life.

The News-Journal send several emails to Dr. Lana concerning the lawsuit in Volusia County Court but she didn’t respond. Her attorney, Howard Citron declined to comment on the ongoing litigation. In another court document, Citron stated that DR. Elder wasn’t at fault, that she adhered to the Florida law on standard healthcare.

Past Accusations

In the recent past, the Michigan Attorney General’s office had questioned Dr. Elder regarding her painkiller subscriptions. The Michigan Board of Medicine’s disciplinary committee placed her on one-year probation on March 14, 2018.

Elder moved to Florida from Michigan in 2009. Between July 2014 and October 2015, she worked as a part-time doctor. Elder attended to patients two twice per month. From September 2014 to November 2015, she administered vast quantities of controlled substances several days in a month. Elder issued 1,744 subscriptions within ten months most of which comprised oxycodone.

Defendants

EmCare was the defendant in the lawsuit. During Kylie’s demise, EmCare offered emergency room staff for the medical center. Cashio said that the firm no longer transacts with Florida hospital.

 

Austin Mom Sues Austin Independent School District for Injuring Her Son

Nidia Heston, a mother from Austin, Texas, recently sued Austin Independent School District (AISD) in a federal court. She claims a teaching assistant at Clint Small Jr. Middle School, Jennifer Hardison, injured her son by hitting him with a trashcan.

State Law Protection

In the U.S. state law prevents government institutions from spending public funds on personal injury cases. It’s commonly known as sovereign immunity. The law ensures that public schools to stick to their curriculum without worrying about accident-related liability.

The Boy’s Health Condition

Nidia stated that her son has autism and a psychological disorder; and requires special attention both at home and in school. She believes that Austin Independent School’s administration should understand her child’s condition.

The Physical Assault

On March 30, 2016, Jennifer assaulted the boy physically by throwing a trash can. Nidia requested KVUE to hide her son’s identity, as he is a minor. Court photos and records clearly showed that the child suffered injury and bled. Also, Jennifer chipped his tooth and broke his permanent trainer. Upon getting the news, Nidia rushed her son to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

All this time, the boy was crying thinking that he had violated school regulations. He blamed himself for being hit by the aide. Nidia further explained how the trashcan injured her son. She said that it would be difficult for an individual to see most injuries apart from a broken tooth.

After leaving ER, the boy discovered what had occurred. He became infuriated and fell ill. He laid down on a cold cement floor. After a while, Nidia and her son had to go back to ER and miss grandfather’s burial. He would have been the pallbearer.

Martin J. Cirkiel, Heston’s attorney, said that Nidia and her child went through a tough time. Nidia’s family sued AISD for violating Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.

Cirkiel stated that the key role of a lawyer is to educate the judiciary and the public to protect the rights of all citizens.

Last May, KVUE defenders published a report on school districts’ immunity to personal injury cases. Nidia confessed that she didn’t expect the court to hear her lawsuit.

Over a year before the incident, Nidia requested a paraprofessional work with her child. She sought a replacement for his aide ten months before the assault. She wasn’t sure of his safety. However, AISD ignored her request.

The Court’s Verdict

Jennifer Hardison pleaded guilty to the charges and was put on probation for two years. AISD asked the court to dismiss Nidia’s lawsuit claiming she didn’t use all legislative solutions.

 

Swinomish Files Lawsuit Against Big Pharmaceutical Company For Perpetuating Opioid Crisis

Big Pharmacy is no stranger to lawsuits and this time they’re in a bind against not only an individual but an entire tribe. The Swinomish Native American tribe in Washington has filed a lawsuit against huge pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson and Johnson. Purdue Pharma is on the prime manufacturers of the deadly and addictive drug, Oxycontin. The Swinomish tribal community claims that the companies used false and misleading advertising techniques that “fueled the opioid epidemic and results in death and devastation to Swinomish families.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of Native Americans and Alaska Natives dying from opioid overdoes skyrocketed four-fold between 1999 and 2013. By 2014, Native Americans had the highest death rate from opioid overdoes out of any other ethnic group in the country. The lawsuit attributes this increase and epidemic to the pharmaceutical companies. Further, the lawsuit states that the opioid epidemic affects the tribe culturally and economically and deceptive companies must be held accountable.

Swinomish Tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby, the former president of the National Congress of American Indians says of the lawsuit: “We have been holding funerals while these companies reap record profits. It is time they are held accountable for the destruction they’ve caused in the Swinomish community.”

Purdue Pharmaceutical attempted to dismiss the Swinomish lawsuit but a King County Superior Court judge shut them down. Purdue also tried to counter lawsuits in South Carolina and Oklahoma and was not allowed.

For short-time rehabilitation to currently struggling opioid addicts, The Swinomish tribe established its own opioid dependency treatment center called The Didg’alic Wellness Center. “Didg’alic” is a Lushootseed word that translates roughly to “place where camas was dug” Camas is both a flower and food staples amongst Native American culture. This wellness center has been the Swinomish tribe’s way of taking back control in the out-of-control opioid crisis brought on by Big Pharma, but they feel the lawsuit will bring further justice.

Cladoosby sums up: “It’s very important for the companies to understand we feel they created a plague in the United States, and we don’t feel they’re doing enough to address it.”

Pierce County Judge Sanctions Backpage.com after CEO’s Guilty Plea in a Lawsuit

A Judge in Pierce County has ordered the sanctioning of Backpage.com in an ongoing lawsuit involving two teen girls who were allegedly sold for sex on the mentioned website.

The girls maintained that the plea agreement in which the former Backpage.com entered, in a separate criminal case, conflicted the assertions of the defendants in the lawsuit.

Ferrer acknowledged that he and Backpage.com executives and owners had known that most of the website’s escort ads were for prostitution. Further, he confessed that they had edited out the explicit references to prostitution so the ads would become a little less apparent to give the company deniability.

In light of that, the attorneys, Michael Pfau, Vincent Nappo and Jason Amala, representing the girls asserted that the group was dishonest about that in the lawsuit.

The motion filed by the girls’ attorneys stated that Ferrer’s admissions indicate the defendants of Backpage.com have deliberately and continually made misrepresentations in discovery, depositions, and pleadings to the court with the intention of obstructing the civil justice system and to needlessly inflate the costs of litigation to the victims of minor trafficking.

Judge Helen G. Whitener, the superior court judge, concurred and on Thursday ordered Backpage.com, Ferrer and its owners to pay the girls $200,000 in compensation, reported the girls’ attorneys.

Besides, Whitener said the defendants had willfully and unjustifiably failed to produce the 1.2 million documents sought by the girls as part of the lawsuit. And that if they failed to produce the records within 60 days, they would have to pay up to $1.2 million.

In the lawsuit, the two teens were identified as R.O. and K.M, and they said they were victims of sex trafficking in 2014 and 2015 aged about 14 and 16.

Backpage.com participated in the abuse by editing the online ads to make them less conspicuous, they were for sex, alleged the teens in the lawsuit filed last year.

They argue that Ferrer’s plea is a clear indication their allegations are true. Ferrer pleaded guilty in Arizona, California, and Texas to committing federal states crimes, the conspiracy to facilitate prostitution and money laundering included.

In April 2018, the FBI and other U.S. law enforcement agencies seized and shut down the website.