Tag: Lawsuit

S.D. bill aims to prevent lawsuits against comp insurers, employers
Welfare

S.D. bill aims to prevent lawsuits against comp insurers, employers

Reprints Louise Esola Lawmakers in South Dakota are slated Tuesday to hear about proposed legislation that would prevent injured workers from suing their employers, workers compensation insurers and third-party administrators on bad faith claims.
S.B.
145, sponsored by a total of 21 state senators and representatives, will leave bad faith claims up to the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation, which oversees the state’s workers compensation program, and would ensure that an employee receives that which is due.
Currently, parties involved in workers comp claims can be sued in civil court if an employee finds that he or she has been treated unfairly.
The department, if it finds favor in the employee’s claim, can “allow the employee a reasonable sum for attorney’s fees to be recovered and collected as part of the costs following a separate hearing of record,” according to a draft of the legislation.
“No person may bring or maintain a cause of action in relation to workers’ compensation benefits sounding in tort or in contract against any employer, employer who is self insured, a risk sharing pool, a third-party administrator, or any insurance company, including any reciprocal or interinsurance exchange, based on a wrongful act, omission, wrongful denial or any claim for refusal to investigate a claim or pay a loss that was considered vexatious, without reasonable cause, or in bad faith,” the draft states.

Trump lacks the authority to change Kentucky’s Medicaid law, lawsuit says
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Trump lacks the authority to change Kentucky’s Medicaid law, lawsuit says

It comes as at least nine other states including Indiana are seeking approval for changes similar to Kentucky’s including “community engagement” requirements for some people on Medicaid to either work or volunteer or lose health coverage.
Kentucky is the first state to win approval from the Trump administration for work requirements and other changes to its Medicaid program, changes aimed largely at those added through an expansion of Medicaid authorized by the Affordable Care Act. “The change will harm Kentuckians across the state – housekeepers and custodians, ministers and morticians, car repairmen, students, and musicians—who need a range or health services, including check-ups, diabetes treatment, mental health services, blood pressure monitoring and treatment and vision and dental care,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit comes 12 days after Bevin announced Kentucky had become the first state to win federal approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for its changes, known as a “waiver.”
While Medicaid covers about 1.4 million people in Kentucky, Bevin’s changes are aimed largely at the 480,000 people added under the 2010 federal health law that allowed states to expand it to add more low-income people.
But the rest would be required to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week or face losing health coverage through Medicaid.
Kentucky won approval of its waiver the day after the Trump administration announced it would permit controversial changes to Medicaid rules including requiring some “able-bodied” adults on the federal-state health plan to work or volunteer to keep benefits.
The lawsuit alleges the work requirements violate federal law that establishes Medicaid strictly as a health plan and does not allow for requirements imposed by some other federal programs, such as food stamps, that participants must work.
It said they fear they could lose health coverage through Medicaid if they aren’t able to maintain and verify the 20-hour a week work requirement under the Bevin plan. “Gov.

Donald Trump lacks authority to change Medicaid law, lawsuit says
Welfare

Donald Trump lacks authority to change Medicaid law, lawsuit says

► Jan. 17: Medicaid fraud is helping drive opioid crisis, congressional report says ► Jan. 12: Kentucky first to win federal OK to roll back Medicaid expansion ► Nov. 8: Quiet, rural Maine could be Obamacare’s next fierce battlefield “The president lacks the authority to rewrite congressional statutes or to direct federal officers or agencies to effectively amend the statutes he is constitutionally required to execute,” said the lawsuit from the National Health Law Program in Washington; the Kentucky Equal Justice Center in Lexington and Louisville, Ky.; and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Kentucky is the first state to win approval from the Trump administration for work requirements and other changes to its Medicaid program, changes aimed largely at those added through an expansion of Medicaid authorized in the Affordable Care Act. “The change will harm Kentuckians across the state — housekeepers and custodians, ministers and morticians, car repairmen, students, and musicians — who need a range of health services, including check-ups, diabetes treatment, mental-health services, blood-pressure monitoring and treatment, and vision and dental care,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit comes 12 days after Bevin announced Kentucky had become the first state to win federal approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for its changes, known as a waiver.
It is filed on behalf of 15 people across Kentucky who gained health coverage through Medicaid under Obamacare and who would suffer significant harm under Bevin’s plan, the lawsuit said.
While Medicaid covers about 1.4 million people in Kentucky, Bevin’s changes are aimed largely at the 480,000 people added under the 2010 federal health law that allowed states to expand it to add more low-income people.
It would exempt some adults, such as pregnant women and those who are disabled or chronically ill. ► Oct. 5: Opioid epidemic ‘getting worse instead of better,’ health officials warn ► Aug. 7: Blacks still looking within their communities to bridge health disparities But the rest would be required to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week or face losing health coverage through Medicaid.
Kentucky won approval of its waiver the day after the Trump administration announced it would permit controversial changes to Medicaid rules including requiring some “able-bodied” adults on the federal-state health plan to work or volunteer to keep benefits.
They fear they could lose health coverage through Medicaid if they aren’t able to maintain and verify the 20-hour a week work requirement under the Bevin plan.
The lawsuit further alleges Kentucky’s plan violates the law authorizing such waivers because they are meant to be pilot projects to expand or enhance health care under Medicaid.
► July 5: United against ‘Trumpcare,’ Democrats divided on next steps ► May 30: Medicaid chief Seema Verma blames Obamacare collapse on founders As a candidate, the Republican governor initially said he would scrap the expansion authorized by his predecessor, Gov.

Former Eagle Nation attorney faces 28 ethics violations
Social Security Disability

Former Eagle Nation attorney faces 28 ethics violations

NEENAH – An attorney who represented Eagle Nation Cycles in a failed $50 million lawsuit has been charged with 28 ethics violations, including lying and fabricating an email.
The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) in Madison is seeking a 15-month suspension of Cole White’s law license, plus more than $14,000 in restitution for two of his former clients.
Eight of the 28 charges relate to alleged misconduct by White as the attorney for Eagle Nation Cycles in a federal civil rights lawsuit against Neenah police and Winnebago County.
The case was dismissed in 2016 by U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach after the plaintiffs didn’t respond to scheduled depositions.
One of the plaintiffs in the dismissed lawsuit, Eagle Nation Cycles owner Steve Erato, said White never informed any of the plaintiffs of any scheduled depositions.
Erato learned from a reporter that the case had been dismissed.
Failed to prosecute his clients’ case.
Failed to inform his clients of the discovery requests and the dismissal of their case.
Fabricated an email in an attempt to show the OLR that he had responded to the defendants’ request to schedule depositions.
White has been practicing law in Wisconsin since July 8, 2013, according to the OLR complaint.

Lyft faces lawsuit over workers comp fees
Welfare

Lyft faces lawsuit over workers comp fees

A Lyft driver in New York City filed a class action lawsuit on Wednesday in his home state accusing the rideshare company of illegally deducting workers compensation fees from his and other drivers’ pay.
Gustavo Camilo, who began driving for Lyft in 2014, claims San Francisco-based Lyft Inc. has been charging passengers a 2.5% fee for the New York City taxi workers comp fund and subsequently docking that same amount from its drivers’ wages, calling the scheme “illegal wage deductions,” per the 24-page complaint filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Also named in the suit are the three New York-based subsidiary companies that Lyft created to do business in New York to obtain New York Taxi and Limousine Commission licenses and comply with state and local regulations. Regulations stipulate that rideshare organizations must place a 2.5% surcharge on fares for payment into the New York Black Car Fund, which pays workers comp benefits to taxi drivers.
The suit claims that in addition to collecting the fee and sales taxes from passengers, Lyft included another 2.5% workers comp fee included in an overall 11.4% “administrative purposes” charge, on top of the 20% commission paid to the company.
It is likely there are “thousands of members” in the class action lawsuit, according to the complaint, which is asking for reimbursement of fees plus interest, litigation fees and other demands.

Retailer must face FMLA claim filed by terminated employee
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Retailer must face FMLA claim filed by terminated employee

A retailer must face a Family Medical Leave Act lawsuit brought by an employee who claimed he was fired in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
Mr. Zuber filed a workers comp claim and received work leave.
He returned to work two days after the injury but requested an additional week of medical leave three days later.
Boscov’s moved to dismiss Mr. Zuber’s complaint, saying he waived his FMLA and common law rights when he signed the compromise and release agreement.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court Monday reversed the District Court’s order granting Boscov’s motion to dismiss and denying Mr. Zuber’s motion for reconsideration.
The panel determined that the agreement signed between Mr. Zuber and Boscov’s covered only his right to future workers comp claims related to his work injury and not the FMLA or common law claims.
“When Zuber signed the C&R, he merely released his right to bring a future workers compensation claim against Boscov’s.
Consequently, it does not prohibit Zuber from bringing FMLA or Pennsylvania common law claims against Boscov’s.” The court remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings.
“My client, Boscov’s, is disappointed with this ruling and is weighing its options as to what actions it will take,” said Alexander Ross, an attorney with Marlton, New Jersey-based law firm Rakoski & Ross P.C., which represented Boscov’s.
“We respectfully disagree with the decision of the 3rd Circuit and believe the District Court judge made the correct ruling in his original decision and on the reconsideration motion to dismiss this case.”

EEOC sues company over shunning applicants based on age, comp claims
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EEOC sues company over shunning applicants based on age, comp claims

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued an Oklahoma-based oil and gas drilling company for declining to hire potential employees based on age or previous history of filing workers comp claims.
Purcell, Oklahoma-based Horizontal Well Drillers violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it “engaged in a pattern or practice of failing to hire qualified job applicants for drilling rig positions because of their disabilities, perceived disabilities and/or record of disabilities as indicated by their workers compensation claim or disability pension history,” according to the lawsuit filed by the EEOC on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Horizontal Well Drillers’ online application requested information related to applicants’ age and health history, including whether they have ever filed for or received workers comp or a disability pension for an illness or injury, according to the lawsuit.
Company staff processing these applications allegedly highlighted the applicants’ responses on age, comp history, medical history and oil field experience.
The company routinely engaged a third-party vendor to perform a workers’ comp background search on all applicants before scheduled interviews and before conditional offers of employment were made, according to the lawsuit.
“Horizontal Well Drillers’ preference and policy was to not hire applicants with a history of workers’ compensation injuries or claims,” the lawsuit stated.
In 2013, Stephan Mayfield applied for a drilling rig position with Horizontal Well Drillers and spoke to an employee who was excited about his drilling experience, but his application indicated he had a previous work-related injury covered by workers’ comp insurance and he was never interviewed for a position.
“Mr.
Refusing to hire such people because of their age or previous work-related injuries does not.”
A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Construction company faces $6.3M lawsuit for wage theft violations
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Construction company faces $6.3M lawsuit for wage theft violations

Construction company faces $6.3M lawsuit for wage theft violations.
Regulators in California have filed a $6.3 million lawsuit against a construction firm over multiple wage theft violations including misclassification, which affected workers compensation protection for hundreds of workers, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office announced Monday.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, pertains to a group of 249 construction workers and the willful misclassification of 175 workers as independent contractors by Glendale, California-based Calcrete Construction Inc., according to a statement.
An investigation found that Calcrete forced its workers in 2016 under threat of termination to sign contracts stating they were independent contractors.
The company then used staffing agencies to pay the workers, which affected workers comp.
“It is illegal for employers to use subcontractors to distance themselves from the obligation to pay workers, and we will use every tool to dissuade employers from this scheme,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su in a statement.
“This lawsuit aims to recover the money these misclassified workers should have been paid after years of wage theft.” When a worker is misclassified as an independent contractor, they are not protected by minimum wage, overtime and retaliation laws and are not guaranteed workers comp coverage if injured on the job.
A man who answered the phone at Calcrete on Tuesday said was unaware of a lawsuit.

Judge grants Argus Leader Media attorney fees in FOIA lawsuit
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Judge grants Argus Leader Media attorney fees in FOIA lawsuit

Judge grants Argus Leader Media attorney fees in FOIA lawsuit.
A federal judge has awarded Argus Leader Media nearly $70,000 in attorney fees after finding the newspaper “substantially prevailed” in a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture.
The award comes after Argus Leader Media won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the department last year.
The newspaper sued the department in 2011 after the department refused to turn over five years of sales data for every business in the country that participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.
Following the victory, the Food Marketing Institute intervened in the case, appealing the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeal is pending.
Judge Karen Schreier’s award of attorney fees will depend on the outcome of Food Marketing Institute’s appeal.
Still, in awarding fees, Schreier noted that the information sought by the paper served a public benefit as opposed to a private benefit to Argus Leader Media.
“Argus is not using its FOIA request to further a private interest in a dispute with the government.
Instead, Argus submitted its FOIA request to obtain information to share with the public.”

Lawsuit Says Seattle’s ‘Tax-the-Rich’ Measure Violates State Constitution — Update
Unemployment

Lawsuit Says Seattle’s ‘Tax-the-Rich’ Measure Violates State Constitution — Update

Lawsuit Says Seattle’s ‘Tax-the-Rich’ Measure Violates State Constitution — Update.
A new tax-the-rich measure in Seattle was hit with its first legal challenge Wednesday.
The new Seattle measure, passed by the city council in July, would impose a 2.25% tax on any income over $250,000 or above $500,000 for couples filing jointly.
It is expected to impact about 9,000, or 2%, of the city’s taxpayers.
A lawsuit filed by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank, on behalf of 19 Seattle citizens, alleges the measure violates the state constitution as well as restrictions on cities to impose such taxes.
The last time voters passed a graduated statewide income tax in Washington it was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 1933 as unconstitutional.
The state constitution requires property be taxed at a uniform rate, which the court said applied to income in turning down the tax.
The tax would bring in about $140 million every year for the city.
Backers of the tax say they want the rich to pay their fair share.
The state’s poorest 20% of residents, or those making less than $21,000 a year, pay 16.8% of their income.