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  November 5, 2013

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Appeals Court Upholds $10.7M Award to Brain-Damaged Patient

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A federal appeals court has upheld a $10.7 million award to the wife of a man who suffered brain damage after being given the wrong medication during surgery at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Denver. It was the second time the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard a government appeal of the lawsuit against the medical center and several doctors by Sharon Bethel. Her husband, David Bethel, was given a paralytic called Rocuronium, rather than the sedative he should have received on Sept. 10, 2003.
Tom McGhee, Denver Post 11/05/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Supreme Court Takes Up Steelworkers’ Bid for Time to Put on Work Gear

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The Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday about: What does it mean to change clothes? The questions arose in a case filed by steelworkers who asked to be paid for the time it took them to put on and take off their work clothes, which included flame-retardant outerwear, gloves, boots, hard hats, safety glasses, earplugs and hoods.
ADAM LIPTAK, The New York Times 11/05/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Federal Workers Expected to Join Class-Action Suit Over Shutdown

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Hundreds of federal employees are expected to join a lawsuit over the government shutdown that ended just a few weeks ago. Government employees all over the country were delayed in receiving their regular paychecks due to the shutdown, even those who were "excepted" and still had to show up for work. According to a suit that has been filed by five employees of the Bureau Of Prisons, workers "were forced to delay credit card and other payments not knowing when their paychecks would finally come through." The lawsuit alleges that the shutdown was in violation of federal labor laws that require employers to pay at least the minimum wage and time-and-a-half for overtime on the employee's regularly scheduled payday. There are a million potential plaintiffs for the suit.
Dave Jamieson, The Huffington Post 11/05/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Suit: Police Recorded Plaintiff's Conversation with Attorney

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A lawsuit against the city of Topeka, Kansas and two of its police officers has been scheduled for trial in October 2014. The lawsuit, filed by a man charged with aggravated battery, claims that officers recorded the plaintiff's conversations with his mother and his attorney without his knowledge. The lawsuit alleges "the defendants invaded Tomson’s privacy, violated state and federal eavesdropping laws, and violated Tomson’s constitutional right to privileged communication with his attorney." The suit seeks damages in excess of $75,000, in addition to attorney’s fees and other costs.
Tim Hrenchir, Topeka Capital-Journal 11/04/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Concerns About Jerky Pet Treats

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The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating cases of suspected poisonings since 2007, with scant success. The agency updated the numbers last month: there have been more than 3,600 reports of illnesses associated with the treats and more than 580 deaths, almost all among dogs. The cause of the poisonings, if that is what they are, remains a mystery. About 60 percent of the cases nationwide involve gastrointestinal illness; 30 percent, kidney ailments; and the rest, convulsions, tremors and skin irritations.
NICHOLAS BAKALAR, The New York Times 11/05/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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What Sits Near Athens Middle School? Try Tons of Ammonium Nitrate


Blake Stiles wasn’t superintendent of Athens ISD when the district, in 2000, built Athens Middle School on its current site. He said district leaders back then knew a fertilizer facility – El Dorado Chemical Co. – would be directly across the street from the school. But that didn’t deter the district from building the school. According to its most recent filing with the Texas Department of State Health Services, this El Dorado site could have had between 50 and 500 tons of ammonium nitrate at any one time in 2012.
Matt Jacob (blog), The Dallas Morning News  11/05/2013  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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U.S. Takes Aim at 'Forced' Insurance

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A U.S. housing regulator will bar mortgage companies from accepting lucrative payments to arrange a controversial form of homeowners' insurance, according to government officials. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is pushing ahead with a ban on fees for "force-placed" insurance policies—expensive coverage that is thrust upon borrowers whose regular homeowners' policy has lapsed—despite industry objections that such a move encroaches on state regulators. New York and other states are cracking down on such policies.
Alan Zibel and Leslie Scism , Wall Street Journal - $$ Subscription Required 11/05/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Small Texas Quakes Linked to Injecting CO2 Underground

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A cluster of earthquakes in Texas may be tied to oil companies injecting carbon dioxide into deep rock formations in the area, according to a paper released Monday. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the first to look closely at the potentially earth-shaking repercussions of injecting carbon dioxide underground, both to store the greenhouse gas and help enhance oil recovery. And it is the first to document a correlation between earthquakes greater than magnitude 3 with the gas injection process that many believe is valuable for combating climate change.
Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Houston Chronicle 11/05/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Wrongful Death



Parents of Girl Who Died in '08 Crash Settle Lawsuit

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The parents of a Massachusetts girl who was killed in a drunken-driving accident in 2008 reached a settlement, just moments before the lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial. The girl was riding with two other underage friends after tailgating at a country music festival. The girl driving the car, who had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, crashed into a tree, killing herself and the plaintiff's daughter. The lawsuit alleged that the owners of the music venue were responsible because officials at the festival did not do enough to prevent underage drinking. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Peter Schworm, Boston Globe 11/04/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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