March 29, 2014 |
Enrollments in the nation's healthcare program have nearly concluded, but for states whose insurance exchanges have been crippled by technical problems, a difficult phase is just beginning: potential legal battles and a race to overhaul their systems before federal grant money dries up. Officials in Oregon, Massachusetts and Maryland are exploring legal options as they sever contracts with those who created their sites. All three states are considering a move to the federal exchange, which had its own grievous start-up problems but is now largely stable, or licensing the technology of a more successful state such as Connecticut.
March 27, 2014 |
Ten Southern California surgery centers once affiliated with the defunct 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign are suing UnitedHealth Group Inc. to get reimbursed for hundreds of Lap-Band weight-loss procedures. The lawsuit comes amid federal and state investigations into allegations that the surgery centers defrauded UnitedHealth Group and other insurance companies, according to a government affidavit and a demand letter filed in two federal court cases. The 1-800-GET-THIN ads once blanketed Southern California freeway billboards and broadcast airwaves, but the campaign was halted after the Food and Drug Administration said the ads failed to disclose adequately the risks of weight-loss surgery.
March 25, 2014 |
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have mounted the most far-reaching legal challenge to the law since the (unsuccessful) attempt to have its insurance mandate declared unconstitutional. At issue is whether the subsidies the law provides to help lower-income adults buy policies will be available in the 34 states with federally launched insurance exchanges, rather than just the state-operated ones. The Internal Revenue Service ruled that any American who meets the income limits can qualify for a subsidy; the plaintiffs say subsidies should be available only in the 16 states that set up their own exchanges.
March 25, 2014 |
Margie Beskau would seem to have a strong lawsuit against General Motors for millions in damages. Eight years ago, her 15-year-old daughter, Amy Rademaker, died in a Chevrolet Cobalt - one of the cars the automaker has now admitted had a deadly safety defect. A faulty ignition switch shut off the car, leaving its teenage driver without power steering, brakes or air bags. But Beskau probably will never collect in the civil courts, legal experts say, because GM has been absolved of all responsibility for crashes before the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy and federal bailout.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2014 |
A 25-year-old woman has filed a federal lawsuit against a California Highway Patrol officer who allegedly used excessive force during a suspected DUI arrest in 2012. Standing outside the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles last Friday, Aloni Bonilla claimed Officer Jose A. Ramirez also violated her civil rights. Department officials declined to comment because the litigation is ongoing, said CHP spokesman Officer Jose Barrios. Bonilla said she was driving from her Baldwin Park home to a friend's house in Alhambra around 1:30 a.m. on March 21, 2012, when she was pulled over on the west 10 Freeway.
March 19, 2014 |
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has dismissed an extortion lawsuit brought by popular Spanish-language radio personality Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo against six former staff members of his canceled Univision Radio show - and ruled that Sotelo may be liable for his adversaries' legal fees. In a civil lawsuit filed in August, Sotelo claimed that he was the victim of a shakedown by the former workers and their attorneys. Sotelo maintained that the group banded together to demand $4.9 million from him in exchange for their silence - or else they would go public with additional allegations about boorish behavior on his Univision Radio show, which had been canceled a month earlier. PHOTOS: Biggest box office flops of 2013 Judge Richard A. Stone dismissed Sotelo's lawsuit late last week, finding that Sotelo had failed to prove that he would prevail with his extortion claims during a trial.
March 14, 2014 |
Three community groups sued Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, demanding he restore more than $350 million in mortgage settlement funds that were used to plug state budget holes two years ago. The money - from California's slice of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement with banks in 2012 - was supposed to fund housing counseling and foreclosure relief programs. But with the state facing a $16-billion budget deficit that spring, Brown diverted it to the state's general fund and to pay down interest on housing bonds.
March 14, 2014 |
Tennessee has to recognize the same-sex marriages of three couples despite a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and woman, a federal judge ruled in a lawsuit Friday. While emphasizing that her preliminary injunction against the state was limited only to the three couples named in the suit, federal Judge Aleta A. Trauger noted that before long, the ban would probably be upended for all same-sex couples in Tennessee. At some point in the future, probably with the aid of further rulings, "in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs' marriages will be placed on equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and ... proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history," Trauger wrote.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2014 |
A patient whose personal information was stolen in a break-in at a medical billing contractor's office in Torrance has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company and Los Angeles County. Two Los Angeles law firms filed a complaint Friday in Superior Court. The suit was initially filed on behalf of a single patient whose name was not disclosed, but seeks class-action status. An office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, which handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Health Services and Department of Public Health, was burglarized Feb. 5 and computers were stolen.
March 13, 2014 |
Two cups of beer are causing one big headache in Idaho. Just not the hangover kind. For years, thousands of hockey fans and other arena-goers in Idaho have paid $4 for a "small" beer, served in a squatty plastic cup, and $7 for a "large" beer, served in a taller cup. According to a lawsuit filed this week against CenturyLink Arena in Boise, the cups hold the same amount of beer, despite their apparent differences. The arena, operated as Block 22 LLC, is accused of knowingly misleading and defrauding customers and intentionally adopting “unconscionable methods” that amounted to deceptive business practices.