Archive for Lawsuit

Judge Grants Injunction to Keep Animal Researchers’ Names Anonymous

A judge has granted representatives at the University of Washington the right to keep their names confidential while participating in animal research.

The injunction was granted after a filing by the committee members. They say that they have been targeted by animal rights activists, who are protesting the university’s use of animal subjects in research.

The activists have spent more than a year attempting to access the name of committee members, saying that the research is illegal. The protests have spread beyond the university campus, with picketers showing up at members’ homes.

The participants, who filed the lawsuit anonymously, are part of the University of Washington Animal Care and Use Committee. While they are permitted to use animal testing, they are legally bound to operate under the Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Care and Use Committee or IACUC exists to monitor the use of animals in the university’s research. This includes ensuring that the use is warranted and that all protocols are observed.

The IACUC includes 70 members, including veterinarians, research scientists, medical professionals, and others. By law, non-scientists such as ethicists or members of the clergy must be included.

Activists from PETA say that the IACUC has brought its actions under suspicion because it does not have an ethicist among its members. They also say that there is no member on staff that fits the requirements of being unaffiliated with the university or animal research entities.

These claims were first brought up by Lisa Jones-Engel. Jones-Engel served on the IACUC between 2017 and 2019 and now works as a senior science advisor at PETA.

Jones-Engel says that the lack of such persons on the IACUC staff causes a conflict of interest, leading to unjustified animal research that could violate the Animal Welfare Act.

She petitioned for the publication of the names, which the university originally agreed to. But the members of the IACUC anonymously filed a restraining order, citing harassment and intimidation both on campus and at their homes.

The intimidation incidents, they say, include leaving threatening voicemails and drawing comparisons to Nazi experimentation during the Second World War.

The judge’s decision has halted the publication of names, though this may be rescinded in a higher court as time goes on.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed Against the State of Washington’s Long Term Cares Act

A lawsuit was recently filed challenging the Long Term Cares Act in the state of Washington. That lawsuit was recently dismissed by a federal judge. The lawsuit sought to have the Long Term Cares Act governed by the same rules and regulations as ERISA, but the judge disagreed. In dismissing the lawsuit, the judge ruled that the Long Term Cares Act is not maintained by the employer and it is not an employee benefit plan. Therefore, the judge reasoned, the Long Term Cares Act is not subject to the same rules and regulations set up by ERISA. In addition, the court system indicated that the premiums collected by the Long Term Cares Act fall under the category of a state tax. As a result, they fall under the jurisdictions of the state courts, and not the federal courts.

The Long Term Cares Act in Washington, which was passed in 2019, was due to start collecting taxes in the form of payroll collections from employees in Washington to help cover the long-term care expenses of those who live in the state. In 2021, the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, announced that the state would pause the collection of such taxes until the program had been reviewed by lawmakers to make sure the act was clear about how it would collect the money and how it would use it.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against the Long Term Cares Act, and it was reviewed by Judge Zilly of the US District Court. Ultimately, the case was dismissed because the judge felt the court system did not have jurisdiction. The Long Term Cares Act is not governed by ERISA, and the premiums are a tax, which means that the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal court.

The plaintiffs held that the state acted as an employer when passing the Long Term Cares Act. If that were true, then the plan should be governed by ERISA. The plaintiffs also reasoned that, because the Long Term Cares Act assesses premiums on everyone and not just state employees, the state is acting as an employer in this situation. The judge dismissed this notion, but the case could be refiled with the state court system.

The Top Signs You Need To Hire a Workplace Injury Attorney

When you go to work in the morning, you probably do not expect to suffer a serious injury. On the other hand, an accident can happen at any time, and you need to see a doctor as quickly as possible following the injury. The sooner it is diagnosed, the faster it can be properly treated. Then, you need to reach out to a workplace injury attorney who can review your case. There are a few signs that indicate that you need to work with a personal injury lawyer.

First, if your injuries are severe, you should always have your case reviewed by a workplace injury attorney. While you might have medical insurance through your work that will cover some of your expenses, you will probably still be responsible for a lot of out-of-pocket bills. This could include coinsurance, copays, and deductibles. If the injury was not your fault, you should not be responsible for these bills. A workplace injury attorney can review your case and see if someone else should be held responsible.

Next, if you are having a hard time getting your worker’s compensation benefits, a workplace injury attorney can assist you. Even though you suffered the injury at work, and you were acting in the scope of your employment, workers’ comp might do everything in their power to deny you your benefits. Sometimes, it takes a workplace injury lawyer to help you navigate the waters and get the compensation you deserve.

Finally, if your employer is not cooperating with you, this is a sign that you should be working with a workplace injury attorney. Your employer might not be cooperating with you because they know they are at fault or because they do not want to give you the compensation you deserve. You need to have your rights protected, and a workplace injury lawyer will always be in your corner. He or she can advocate for your best interests.

These are just a few of the many signs that you need to work with a workplace injury attorney. It can be devastating to suffer a serious injury at work, but remember that a personal injury lawyer can help you defend your rights.

Lawsuit Filed Against Billionaire Elon Musk for Twitter Stock Purchases

A lawsuit has been filed against billionaire Elon Musk in a New York federal court accusing Musk of violating a regulatory deadline in which he would reveal he had accumulated a stake of at least five percent in the social media company Twitter.

The complaint, filed by an investor in Twitter named Marc Bain Rasella, alleges that Musk did not expose his position in Twitter until he increased his stake to nine percent in the company. By doing this, it is alleged that Musk negatively affected investors who do not have as much money as he does and sold shares that they had in Twitter about two weeks before Musk acknowledged that he was holding a major stake in the San Francisco-based company. Musk’s regulatory filings reveal that he purchased a little over 620,000 shares at a price of $36.83 each on January 31st and bought more shares every single day after that through April 1. At the time of the filing of the complaint, Musk was holding 73.1 million shares in Twitter, which represents a 9.1 percent stake in the company.

The complaint also states that as of March 14, Musk’s number of shares in Twitter had reached the five percent threshold that then required him to disclose his number of holdings publicly. This requirement falls under the United States security law and Musk should have made his purchase of the shares public by March 24 but did not make the required disclosure on time by waiting until April 4. When it was revealed that Musk had bought a large amount of stock in Twitter, the value of Twitter’s stock rose by 27 percent, valuing the stock at $50 per share, but by concealing the number of stocks he was purchasing, Musk was able to purchase his shares at $37.69 to $40.96.

Rasella seeks to have his lawsuit certified as a class-action lawsuit which will include Twitter shareholders who sold their shares in Twitter between March 24 and April 4.

It is estimated that Musk has a total wealth of about $265 billion. He spent $2.6 billion on Twitter stocks.

Juul to pay $22.5 million to settle Washington vaping suit

Juul Labs, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer in Washington, will pay $22.5 million to Washington State. The settlement was announced Wednesday by Bob Ferguson, state attorney general.

Ferguson stated that the company bombarded social media with colorful advertisements shortly after the product was launched in 2015. This led to teens becoming addicted and a rise in vaping. Ferguson’s office reports that the percentage of high school seniors vaping in Washington increased from 13% in 2016 to close to 21% in 2018.

Juul Labs, who filed the consent decree in King County Superior Court said that they had committed no wrongdoing and that it was “another step” in their ongoing efforts to reset the company and address issues from the past.

Juul reached a $14.5 million settlement with Arizona state prosecutors, only months after it had agreed to pay $40 million in North Carolina. The company also promised not to market its products to minors in these states, just as it did in Washington. This was to increase enforcement for retailers who sell Juul’s products.

The company stated that it will continue to work with state and federal stakeholders to create a science-based, fully regulated marketplace for vapor products.

Juul must cease all advertising targeting youth under the Washington state settlement. It is also prohibited from marketing its products via social media such as Instagram and Facebook. Juul must monitor and report any social media content regarding JUUL products that are posted by underage users.

Juul’s website states that Juul had stopped advertising prior to Ferguson being sued in 2020. It also ended all sales of flavored products, except tobacco and menthol.

Ferguson claims that the secret shopper program is stronger than those offered in previous settlements. Juul must send secret shoppers to Washington-based Juul retailers at least 25 compliance inspections per month. This agreement will be in effect for at least two years. These checks must be done in all 39 counties of the state.

Ferguson’s office stated that secret shoppers must verify that the retailers comply with the requirements to verify an individual’s age and to ensure that the Juul purchase limit of one Juul device or 16 Juul pods per transaction is met.

Collecting Damages After a Judgment in Your Favor: It’s All About Timing

Although most defendants will be honest and pay the damages you (the plaintiff), are owed, there are some cases where they may try to get around the judge and put obstacles in your way for collection. Often, the intent is to pay as little as possible for as long as possible. These delays may mean:

  • A refusal to pay the judgment outright.
  • Ignore your requests for damages, costs, or legal fees in the hopes less will be accepted.
  • Stalling, so defendants can hide their assets or move them.
  • Running the clock out so you – the judgment creditor – can’t seize what the court has decreed.

What Now?

Remember, if the defendant makes the collection more difficult or extends the collection process, the judgment amount will be subject to interest year-on. The judgment is enforceable for a long time and has many benefits.

Assets can be taken when the defendant least expects them to, even years after they have “let down their guard.” If your client (or you) can afford it, wait until the defendant has enough assets to pay the judgment.

Let’s say, for instance, you were awarded $250,000 in damages as a result of a motor vehicle accident suit. However, the defendant was not doing well financially at the time of the lawsuit. They are both unemployed and have very little savings. They don’t have enough assets to pay the judgment. You would be limited to $30,000.

Imagine that they have been waiting for four to five years and the defendant has a job with a high salary and has made good investments over the years. Their assets total $300,000. You can collect the entire amount due under your original judgment if you try to collect. You can even get more from the defendant due to the accrual of interest!

Take control of the assets

A defendant might move substantial assets “offshore” into foreign accounts after losing a case or having a judgment against them.

A Judgment Debtor’s Examination will force the defendant to appear before the court and provide accurate information about the locations of their assets. You will also be given a Writ to Execution by the court to seize the assets.

Collecting damages after a favorable judgment really is all about timing.

Lawsuit Calls Seattle Stem Cells Treatments ‘Snake Oil’

A stem cell therapy center and its owners in Seattle are accused of engaging in a patient-funded research scheme. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in March filed a lawsuit against US Stemology and its owner while calling the scheme a modern version of “snake oil” sales done via the Seattle Stem Cell Center.

Ferguson accuses the center and its owners of bilking 107 people of about $750,000, Ferguson says the center charged patients up to $10,000 each for stem cell treatments that they claimed would help to cure a variety of ailments. Those ailments include COVID-19, Parkinson’s, asthma, and many other diseases and medical conditions.

Ferguson accuses the center of engaging in “unproven treatments” as part of a patient-funded research scheme. He also says the stem cell center’s staff and its owner falsely claimed the costly treatments were part of clinical trials.

Ferguson says the alleged clinical trials did not follow accepted standards for peer-reviewed scientific research. There was no independent review of the alleged research. The only review done was by the center and its staff.

Ferguson says he became aware of the scheme when a Washington resident complained. The resident said the Seattle Stem Cell Center’s staff were claiming the treatments helped to prevent people from catching the virus. They also claimed the treatments help to cure COVID-19 and a critically ill patient had recovered because of the stem cell treatments.

Despite the claims of the center’s staff and owner, Ferguson says there is no reliable scientific evidence to support them. The center removed its online ads promoting its stem cell treatments after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Ferguson.

But the Washington State Attorney General says he discovered the center’s staff is making similar claims about a variety of other ailments with no scientific data to support them.

Ferguson initiated an investigation in June 2021, which he says caused the stem cell center to stop accepting new patients.

Ferguson accuses US Stemology and its sole owner of violating the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

The state seeks $12,500 in fines for each violation, plus full reimbursement for costs paid by the patients. Ferguson says the financial penalties could add up to millions of dollars.

Tribe Sues Seattle Over Salmon Depletion

An alleged abuse of local salmons’ right to exist and flourish has the city of Seattle defending its hydroelectric energy supply in state and tribal courts.

The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe in a Saugk-Suiattle Tribal Court filing named Seattle as the sole defendant. The tribe says that the city’s three hydroelectric dams are killing off local salmon and negatively affecting the tribe’s cultural practices and traditions.

The tribe also says it filed the tribal lawsuit on behalf of the salmon. That makes salmon co-plaintiffs in the filing, which, refers to the salmon as Tsuladx in the tribe’s native language.

The tribe in its recently filed tribal court lawsuit says the salmon have natural rights to live and thrive, which the city of Seattle is violating. So the tribe filed the lawsuit on behalf of itself and the salmon.

Seattle owns three hydroelectric dams on the river. The tribe says that the dams were not constructed in a manner that enables the salmon to bypass the dams and continue their annual spawning migrations.

The Sauk-Suiattle tribe says the three dams do not allow passage of the salmon during annual spawning runs. And that is killing off the local fishery in the Skagit River.

The dams cited are the Diablo, Gorge, and Ross dams that comprise the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project in the northwest region of Washington State. The dams are located about 100 miles from Seattle and account for about 20 percent of the city’s electrical power.

The public utility Seattle City Light operates the three dams that are located along an eight-mile section of the Skagit River. The dams are situated within the Cascade Mountains and affect more than a third of the Skagit River watershed.

Salmon, trout, and steelhead live and spawn in those waters. The tribe says their numbers are much lower due to the dams and are negatively affecting tribal culture and practices. It also is violating the salmon’s natural right to live and thrive.

The tribal court lawsuit is in addition to one recently filed in King County Superior Court. Seattle has filed a counter lawsuit that seeks dismissal of the state and tribal suits. A federal court last year dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by the tribe against the city.

Four Reasons to Call a Personal Injury Attorney

There are many incidents that can occur that will cause you to suffer a personal injury, but when is it necessary for you to enlist the help, guidance, and assistance of a personal injury attorney? Read on to discover the top four reasons you may need to call a personal injury attorney for legal assistance.

 

Auto Accidents

Auto accidents are the most common incidents in which you may suffer a personal injury. Many times, an auto accident will result in serious injury to you or your passengers. If you are a loved one has suffered an injury that has caused you to miss work, lose wages, or other issues, you will want to enlist the assistance of a personal injury attorney to hold the other party accountable for their actions as well as your medical bills and other expenses.

 

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence can occur if a physician, nurse, or other medical professional makes a mistake that causes you to suffer a personal injury. It is important to consult a personal injury lawyer right away if you have suffered any type of personal injury due to medical malpractice or negligence.

 

Public Liability Cases

From slip and fall incidents to an incident caused by a restaurant, store, or company’s negligence, public liability cases are more common than you think. For instance, if you are walking into a grocery store and slip and fall on the wet floor and there was no warning sign that the floor was wet, the grocery store may very well be responsible for paying for your medical bills and any lost wages from missing work. In this case, it is extremely important to contact a personal injury attorney who can gather evidence to determine who is at fault.

 

Victim of Crime

If you become the victim of a crime, from a domestic violence incident to a burglary or any other crime, not only will you want to file charges against the perpetrator through your local prosecutor’s office, but you may very well want to consult a personal injury attorney. Your personal injury attorney will help you receive compensation for medical bills that you incur as well as an array of other things.

Washington State Attorney General Files Lawsuits on Behalf of Duped Small Businesses

SEATTLE – Consumer protection lawsuits have been filed against two companies that sent deceptive letters to small business owners throughout the state of Washington.

According to Attorney General Bob Ferguson, 210,000 deceptive letters were sent out to small business owners, demanding payment for a “Certificate of Status” or a poster for the workplace that can be obtained from the Washington State government free of charge. More than 15,000 business owners paid the two defendants, CA Certificate Service, which also does business as WA Certificate Service, and Labor Poster Compliance, more than $1.2 million.

The lawsuits specifically name the owners of the two companies, including CA Certificate Service owners James L. Beard, Dean G. Marshlack, Chad M. Davis and Joshua T. Strawn. Beard and Davis are also named in the suits as the co-owners of Labor Poster Compliance. The companies operate throughout the United States but are based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ferguson said that the two companies have sent out at least 210,784 letters since March of 2019 to dupe business owners into making unnecessary payments to both of the companies. According to the Attorney General’s Office, about 14,783 small business owners shelled out $82.50 each to CA Certificate Service for a whopping total of $1.2 million and over $25,000 at a rate of $79.25 to Labor Poster Compliance with 318 Washington business owners paying the unnecessary fee.

Ferguson said the letters the two companies mailed to business owners were created to look official and to be legitimate. Some business owners attempted to have their money refunded when they realized the companies were misleading them but did not receive any responses or refunds.

Ferguson’s office continues to receive complaints as more business owners come forward who have been duped by the two companies. He is asking the court to require both companies to pay back the money they took from business owners throughout the state, along with civil penalties, attorney fees and court costs. He has cited several other cases that are similar in nature in which small business owners were successful in winning the lawsuits that were filed. He is hopeful to garner the same success for the duped small business owners from his own state.