Florida Woman Sues Equifax, Claiming Scoring Error Led to Denied Loan

A Florida woman is suing Equifax over a 130-point error in her credit score that she says led to her being denied for a car loan. Equifax recently admitted that it had made similar errors in the credit scores for a large number of consumers, blaming the problem on faulty coding. Nydia Jenkins, the plaintiff, says her incorrectly lowered score was part of that group.

Jenkins’ lawsuit is a federal class-action suit and may eventually apply to others who attempted to get loans or other credit at the same time. In the suit, she claims she ended up having to take a loan with a substantially higher monthly repayment. Jenkins’ lawyers, John Morgan and John Yanchunis, think her story isn’t an isolated one and that the credit-scoring error may have affected applications for many people.

Equifax reported recently that for three weeks, starting in mid-March of 2022 and going through early April, the credit scores of an unknown number of people were miscalculated due to a coding problem. Mortgage lender Freddie Mac Single-Family says they were told that up to 12 percent of credit reports pulled during that three-week period may have had the scoring error.

Equifax issued a statement claiming their own analysis showed only a small number of people would have been affected when applying for credit and that a change in a credit score doesn’t necessarily translate to negative results on credit applications. However, another statement from Equifax noted that as many as 300,000 people might have had incorrect credit scores that were off by over 25 points.

Jenkins’ lawsuit is seeking undisclosed damages and asks that Equifax undergo an audit to find the actual number of scores that were mistakenly changed. The lawsuit also asks for financial help and reimbursement for people affected by the scoring error, including credit repair.

Credit scores are meant to give lenders an idea of how reliable a person might be with regard to paying back a loan or credit card balance. A drop in a credit score can result in someone being denied a loan or being forced to take a loan with a higher interest rate and higher monthly payments.

Tennessee State Attorney General Sues Walgreens Over Opioids

The attorney general’s office in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against Walgreens, claiming the drugstore chain did nothing to stop the abuse of opioids it dispensed, which in turn added to the prescription painkiller addiction crisis in the state. According to the lawsuit, Walgreen’s lack of controls and detection violated the state’s consumer protection act.

The suit alleges that for 14 years, Walgreens pharmacies dispensed oxycodone and hydrocodone pills without doing anything to stop the potential abuse of these medications. The pharmacies were said to have dispensed over 1.1 billion of these pills, with some locations dispensing so many pills that every single person in the town would have had to be taking the medications for the numbers to make sense.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III claimed in a statement that this was not accidental and that Walgreens ignored clear signs that the drugs were potentially being abused. Walgreens is accused of not giving its pharmacists training in spotting signs of medication abuse and that the locations in Tennessee were actually dispensing opioids to people from several states. In turn, Walgreens released a statement noting that they had not made the pills or given them to prescribing doctors, who were, at the heart of the opioid crisis.

In one example, according to the lawsuit, one doctor in one Tennessee city prescribed over 100,000 pills in less than a year, with about 20 percent of the prescriptions written for patients from outside Tennessee, and Walgreens filled all of these without any alarm bells going off. Walgreens is also accused of filling opioid prescriptions written for children, including toddlers over 2 years old, and prescriptions for dosages well above the normal maximum dose.

The lawsuit is just one of thousands filed by governments and other agencies as a result of an addiction and overdose crisis that has killed over half a million Americans over the past 20 years. Pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma and drug distributors like AmerisourceBergen have formed the bulk of the defendants in these cases, usually settling for billions of dollars.

Navy Growler Jet Fleet Violation of the National Environmental Policy Act

A federal judge ruled that there was a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act during the environmental review process for the expansion of the Growler jet fleet at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

This ruling stated that the Navy did not disclose its basis for greenhouse gas emissions calculations. The ruling also included that the Navy didn’t look thoroughly at the species-specific impact on birds or quantify the impact it would have on classroom learning, and also failed to consider carefully the El Centro Navy base in California as an alternative place for expansion of the fleet. This adopted the recommendation of a U.S. federal magistrate who issued a recommendation and report in December that stated they were in favor of state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit.

The Attorney General gave a press release and said that the state and various other parties have 30 days from that time to agree on a remedy or briefing schedule in order to figure out a remedy.

The Navy authorized an expansion of the NAS Whidbey Island Growler program in 2019. According to the Attorney General’s Office, this increased flight operations to over 110,000 each year. This aircraft jams communications and launch systems and it serves as a front-line force in electromagnetic warfare for the U.S. military. Training at Whidbey Island occurs at the Oak Harbor landing strip as well as a field that’s close to Coupeville in Island County. Crews conduct simulations that they’re landing on ships as they circle and perform brief touchdowns.

The Attorney General filed a lawsuit with the argument that the Navy violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. This states that the Navy didn’t properly analyze the impact on environmental and human health of the Growler expansion.  The lawsuit was filed at the same time as a similar lawsuit from Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve.

Attorney General Ferguson said in his release that “the Navy has an important job… that does not relieve the federal government of its obligation to follow the law and take a hard look at the public health and environmental impacts of its programs..the judge ruled that the Navy fell short of its obligation.”.

Colorado Lawsuit Filed by Gun Rights Group Against State Over Ammunition Limits

The National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) is a plaintiff in a suit filed July 7 in Denver’s federal District Court against the state of Colorado. The gun rights group seeks to overturn the 2013 ban on sales of gun magazines with over 15 rounds. The ban was enacted in the aftermath of the carnage from the Aurora theater mass shooting that claimed a dozen lives and injured at least 70 others.

Emboldened by this summer’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down parts of New York’s gun control laws, this group and others also plan to challenge gun restrictions in other states and jurisdictions.

The highest court in the land ruled governments had the authority to regulate firearm carrying for self-defense purposes by law-abiding citizens. But they can’t prohibit the right to carry firearms or require those seeking concealed-carry permits to show a need for the same.

On July 22, pro-Second Amendment plaintiffs celebrated the temporary restraining order issued in federal court by a U.S. District Court judgment against the town of Superior, Colorado. The order bans enforcement of sections of a gun control ordinance outlawing possession and sales of assault weapons. An August 4th hearing will decide whether the town’s ban will be struck down or upheld.

In that lawsuit filed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Superior gun owner, and several other gun advocacy groups, plaintiffs alleged the SCOTUS decision reinforced that “the standard for applying the Second Amendment is the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms; thereby, invalidating the lower court rulings’ justification for gun control.”

According to the deputy chief counsel of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a public interest law center, these lawsuits are no surprise given the recent SCOTUS decision. David Pucino is confident “that the laws we have in the books are strongly grounded.”

But the NFGR’s Director of Research and Policy demurs. Hannah Hill recently stated the SCOTUS decision was a “four-ton wrecking ball” they will use to assail gun control laws all over the nation. Hill announced the “mag ban” fight was the first of additional legal battles her group and others will launch soon.

Facebook’s Rebranded Meta Faces Medical Privacy Class Action Lawsuits

Earlier this summer, dual lawsuits were filed in California’s Northern District Court alleging that many of the nation’s leading hospitals and health care systems used a tracking tool, Facebook’s Meta Pixel, to scrape private medical data and personally identifying information about the website’s users.

A judge must certify both lawsuits with class-action status in order to proceed. If either gets certified, patients whose medical privacy was breached in these data scrapes can seek damages.

The premise of the plaintiffs’ lawsuits arises from information found during an investigation by The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on the way the use of technology by powerful institutions changes society. The organization’s investigation revealed that hospitals installed the tracking tool and accessed sensitive patient medical information regarding upcoming doctor appointments, prescribed medications, and diagnosed conditions. That data was then sent to Facebook to tailor ads to the users of the social media platform.

In just one example of how this might affect Facebook users, it’s no coincidence if patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by physicians from one of the named hospitals are inexplicably bombarded on their Facebook pages with ads related to that condition.

The investigators chose the country’s top 100 hospitals, as per Newsweek, to check for the use of the Meta Pixel. The tracker was installed in a full third of the listed health care institutions.

Each time a Facebook user accessed the hospitals’ online portals to schedule physician appointments, packets of data were sent to Facebook. The identifying information included the IP address of the user. Since an IP address is traced to a physical location, the veil of privacy for the patient user was particularly thin and likely a breach of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulations.

These civil lawsuits could also lead to criminal charges by the state’s attorney general for alleged HIPAA violations if private and sensitive patient data is proven to have been used without the proper consent of the patients.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) could also investigate the way health care providers secure their patients’ privacy and enforce their best practices to assure the highest standards of care get upheld.

Litigation Funding for Innovators Can Be Used to Fight Patent Infringement

If an individual or corporation infringes on someone’s patented invention, there is no patent police force to pursue justice. Instead, the inventor must dip into their own pockets – which might not be very deep – to fight this infringement action. This type of patent usurpation even has a name – efficient infringement.

But there is a way to access help. Litigation funding markets can be tapped and have proven to be effective in derailing efficient infringement patent actions.

From the infringing companies’ or individuals’ standpoints, it is cheaper to move in on a patent than it would be to simply play fair and pay licensing fees. They know patent owners cannot afford protracted legal battles to protect their products or logos.

The way the current system is set up, should the patent owner sue, the efficient infringer only has to deliver a “reasonable royalty,” i.e., the same sum they would have paid to legally license the patented product. With most lawsuits, that’s the extent of the matter. Even when the patent owner prevails, they may be out tens of thousands in legal fees and court costs.

Punitive damages that triple what defendants must pay to winning plaintiffs only apply if the courts find the defendants willfully infringed on the patents they used without paying licensing fees. Unfortunately, the standards of proof are high, and these damages are rarely awarded in patent cases.

Worst of all, the usurpers can seek to invalidate the original patents through inter-partes reviews.

All Is Not Lost

Litigation funders have a trove of financial and legal resources to offer patent owners who are victims of efficient infringement. Intellectual property cases are a popular choice for these legal professionals to back with their funding and knowledge of the intricacies of patent laws.

Two academic institutions, the California Institute of Technology and Columbia University, used litigation funding in recent patent infringement cases. Both won huge settlements – and Columbia still has a treble damage claim pending that could swell its $150 million award considerably.

Efficient infringement remains a problem even with litigation funding available. Closely examine all your legal options when faced with usurpation of your patented idea or product.

Federal Court Hears Cannabis Patients’ Class Action Suit Over Insurance

A lawsuit that was filed earlier this year by medical cannabis patients and a cannabis production company has now been moved to federal court. This class action lawsuit seeks to challenge health insurance companies after they have refused to cover costs of medical cannabis.

The group of six medical cannabis patients in New Mexico and Ultra Health, a cannabis producer, asked in June that a state district court judge order health insurance companies in New Mexico for coverage of medical cannabis for its members. They brought this lawsuit after the enactment of a state law that requires insurance providers to cover behavioral health services, stating that this should include medical cannabis.

These seven providers refiled in federal court after being advised by their lawyers and arguing it would be the appropriate venue when the plaintiffs’ claims are tied to federal law. This is due to the fact that the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act sets the standards for many of these plans, so it preempts plaintiffs’ claims. They also say that this move is justified since this lawsuit raises disputed and substantial federal law issues. The main issue it raises is whether a state is allowed to mandate coverage of a substance that’s illegal under federal law.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham praised the bill that led to the state law which prohibits cost-sharing when it comes to behavioral health services. She said, “We can make a real, meaningful difference by reducing the costs for those with insurance who seek help by eliminating the co-pays for behavioral health services”. Even with this support from the official, the state agency for regulating insurance maintains that it doesn’t have the authority to make providers cover cannabis.

New Mexican State senator and attorney Jacob Candelaria is one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. He’s been open about cannabis use and that he’s been a medical cannabis patient for years. Senator Candelaria has litigated worker’s compensation cases in the past. He believes that this move is being used as a stalling tactic and that the matter eventually will be heard in a state court to determine New Mexico’s policy in regard to Senate Bill 317.

 

What You Must Know About Car Accident Lawsuit

What You Must Know About Car Accident Lawsuit

Have you or your loved one been injured in a car accident? Filing a lawsuit may be in your best interest. However, it would be wise to understand your rights before moving forward. Take note of timelines and legal requirements to ensure you get the best compensation for your personal and property damages.

The Deadline for Filing Your Car Accident Lawsuit

Each state has unique laws and deadlines. They determine how long legal proceedings should be initiated after a car accident. This timeline is a statute of limitations. It is the maximum timeline for a party to go to court and initiate legal proceedings. This typically takes one to six years.

The deadline for filing your claim isn’t the same as filing an accident claim under your insurance. Most policies require that you make claims as soon as possible. Reach out to your insurer for more details of your policy requirements.

Should You File an Auto Accident Lawsuit?

Many car accident lawsuits can be settled before filing the lawsuit. Most of them are settled before a court hearing. You typically have the opportunity to settle your claim before filing a lawsuit. This way, you can avoid expensive legal costs, litigation stress, and time.

However, you may need to go to court if there is a dispute over critical evidence. It could include proving the plaintiff’s guilt or the extent of their injury. Many states have negligence laws. In other words, the insurance company that caused the accident must compensate for the damage.

Twelve states have no-fault laws. This is to say that your insurance should cover your injuries regardless of who is at fault. However, sometimes it is necessary to sue the perpetrator of a traffic accident. You may receive lower settlement offers that do not cover all property damage and personal injury costs. The offer may not take into account actual and projected long-term medical costs. You should file a lawsuit if your loved one died wrongly in an accident.

Potential Damages In a Car Accident

If you file a lawsuit, you could receive compensation for:

  • Permanent disability and disfigurement
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering/mental anguish
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages/earning potential
  • Loss of affection or companionship from a spouse

The amount you receive in damages for a car accident depends on the extent of property damage or severity of your injury. The more severe the injury, the higher the compensation should be.

Mild soft tissue injuries, for example, will fetch less compensation than concussions. In addition, soft tissue injuries may be more difficult to establish than broken bones.

 

Investors in Bankrupt Crypto Lender Celsius Face Uncertainty

The crypto market has always been volatile, but the last several months have been disastrous for crypto investors and companies. Several well-known crypto companies have gone bankrupt. One of the most prominent crypto investment firms, Celsius, recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. They were severely affected by the downturn in the crypto market. Many investors did not receive refunds for the money they invested with the company. Read on to learn more about Celsius filing for bankruptcy and what this means for their investors.

Celsius Files for Bankruptcy

Celsius filed for bankruptcy in July 2022, which was a surprise to many in the crypto industry. However, insiders and Celsius investors may not have been entirely surprised. The company froze withdrawals several weeks before it filed for bankruptcy. When a crypto company does this, this often means that the company is in serious trouble. Celsius is not the first company to freeze withdrawals and file for bankruptcy shortly after. Some investors were able to get their money out before all withdrawals were frozen. However, the majority of investors were not able to withdraw their money.

Massive Downturn in Crypto Market

The crypto market is notoriously volatile and has been through several major downturns in recent years. However, the massive downturn in the crypto market that started in Spring 2022 and continued into Summer 2022 was unexpected and unprecedented. Major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have lost 40 to 50% of their value since the beginning of the year. The severity of this downturn has led many to question whether crypto has a future. Unsurprisingly, Celsius is hardly the only crypto company to go bust during this period.

Investors Will Have to Wait for Refunds

Celsius has ensured investors that they will go to great lengths to refund their money. Most investment firms that have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy do end up refunding most, if not all, of their investors’ money. However, this process could take months or even years. Also, there is a good chance that investors will not get all of their money back.

Professor Sues University of Washington After Freedom of Speech Debate

The University of Washington is under fire because of an alleged freedom of speech violation reported by one of their professors. The professor decided to sue the institution after reprimanding him for his take on a Native American land ownership debate.

The focus of the lawsuit is the disagreement between a respected member of the University of Washington’s educational staff and the university itself. This lawsuit is especially perplexing because the incident which sparked it stems directly from a request by the governing faculty to include a statement about the professor’s beliefs in regard to the ownership of the land on which the university resides.

Stuart Reges is an engineering and computer science professor at the University of Washington. He offered his opinion on the topic at the urging of the school. However, his take on the subject was met with harsh criticism from the university. His statement offended the University of Washington because he cited the “labor theory” introduced by John Locke. John Locke was a philosopher who created the Second Treatise on Government based on the labor theory of appropriation or a natural law theory.

The theory loosely translates some subject quoted from the Bible that basically states that when a person works the land, it becomes the individual’s property. The basis of the theory was that ownership of the land on which the university sits should be historically the property of Coast Salish people. This group of Native Indigenous people resides throughout British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and throughout the United States and Canada. Their native language is Coast Salish.

In order to give further insight into the professor’s opinion piece inserted into his syllabus, we can refer back to the Washington Law Review’s published article recognizing the ownership of the land where the University of Washington campus sits as their property by way of this labor theory. This stance was created and adopted by the Washington Law Review in conjunction with Professor Emeritus Bob Anderson.No more details are currently available regarding the lawsuit’s progress or any other parties involved in the dispute.