Medicaid billing schemes are not new; in fact, many have been convicted of committing this crime over the years. However, a recent personal injury lawsuit has caught the attention of a lot of people since a toddler was involved — and even died in the process.
The wrongful death lawsuit claims that unnecessary dental procedures were performed on fourteen-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres as part of a corporate scheme that aims to make money from Medicaid. The toddler’s family is suing dentist Dr. Michael Melanson and mobile anesthesiologist Dr. David Williams, along with Austin Children’s Dentistry and Texan Anesthesiology Association.
Daisy Lynn died on March 29, 2016, while she was going through a dental procedure at Austin Children’s Dentistry. The procedure was performed by Dr. Melanson while anesthesia was provided by Dr. Williams, who works for Texan Anesthesiology Association and was present while the child received the dental treatment.
Daisy Lynn’s mother, Betty Squier, had brought the toddler to Austin Children’s Dentistry to have two of her cavities filled. Squier noted that she was present when her daughter was put under anesthesia but was asked to leave the room afterwards. According to her, Dr. Melanson came out of the room after several minutes and told her they were going to place six crowns on Daisy Lynn’s teeth — four more than what had been originally planned. A short while after that, Squier was informed that her daughter had gone into cardiac arrest.
Forensic dental examiner Dr. Robert Williams worked on the case and reported that “no indication of dental disease or pathology was seen” in Daisy Lynn’s dental X-rays on the day she died. He points out that the child may possibly have had “congenital enamel defects” in her partially erupted teeth, but stated that they did not necessarily require treatments especially considering her age. Dr. Williams noted that there was no evidence that Daisy Lynn was in “any type of pain” due to any dental diseases.
This report was included in the autopsy report filed by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, which was released in July 2016 and ruled that anesthesia was the cause of death of the child. A few months later, in September 2016, Austin Children’s Dentistry filed a libel, defamation, and business disparagement lawsuit against Dr. Robert Williams. The company sponsored national dental experts to independently review the case, and the reviews concluded that the treatments that Daisy Lynn Torres received before her death were “dentally necessary”.
Despite this, the toddler’s parents believe that their daughter wrongfully died and that her death was caused by a scheme that aims to bill Medicaid for unnecessary dental procedures. Betty Squier states that her child’s life “was cut short due to someone’s greed and negligence”, while Daisy Lynn’s father Elizandro Torres wants the case to be heard so it won’t happen to other people. He reminds parents that “they can ask questions” and “get second opinions, third opinions”.
The family’s attorney Sean Breen points out that Daisy Lynn’s case will hopefully highlight the fact that dentists and dental clinics all over the country are committing Medicaid fraud by doing unnecessary procedures and collecting money from them. Breen states that other parents have come out and revealed that their children also received unnecessary dental treatments from Austin Children’s Dentistry.
The American justice system is already overloaded to the point of exhaustion. One of the principles of the court system is that by the time a case goes to trial, there should be as few things left to surprise as possible. To hold a fair trial, both prosecution and defense are required to turn over the facts that they have concerning the case.
If both sides came to court without any idea of what the allegations were or what evidence each held, then the courtroom would be a place of utter chaos. That is why since 1940, there has been a requirement that any documents or relevant facts in a case be presented to the opposition before the trial.
To be able to defend or prosecute equitably and not take up more time than necessary, each side has to provide a “heads up” about what will come during the trial, so that both are better prepared to present the best case possible and to receive a swift resolution to any personal injury case.
The process of “discovery” is a way that each side sees the cards that the other side holds prior to entering the courtroom. There are three types of discovery that must be given before any case begins. They are document production, depositions and written discovery.
In discovery, if either the prosecution or defendant has any factual documents, they are required to share a copy of those documents with the opposing side. Things like contracts, medical documents and now even computer files are all parts of document production discovery. With the growing age of technology, this discovery type continues to grow, sometimes encompassing things like emails and deleted files that are rediscovered.
Deposition discovery means that any sworn statements given, be shared with the opposing side. When a person is questioned and gives answers to an attorney, those statements are recorded and transcripts are then made. Depositions can vary in length from an hour of questioning to months. The reasons that attorneys record depositions are varied, but most commonly attorneys take depositions so that people are obligated to their record of events early on and are held accountable for their statements during trial, and to know that a person has found a workers lawyer you can trust. They are also taken to compare what the parties recollect to see if the stories match up. And sometimes attorneys take depositions so that they can have a “mock trial” for practice, so that when the client is up on the stand, the client knows what to expect.
When giving a deposition, the client is best off never making assumptions and only to state facts without intention. Saying things like “I don’t know” is preferable to making a guess. Once you have said something, whether you are guessing or not, it is considered a fact in the case and it can affect your time on the stand. If you don’t understand the question being asked or are unsure of why you are being questioned, it is always best to inquire and have the attorney clarify exactly what they are asking before you answer in any recorded statement that you make.
Written discoveries are interrogatories where a client writes down their recount of an event or answers a question in writing. They are a version of facts that can be used in the trial setting. Questions can be in the form of open-ended inquiries to a simple yes or no. They are strictly factual statements and are not open to interpretation.
An auto accident attorney will find that often written discovery involves a request that a defendant admit to something directly like “did you do it.” Written discovery carries certain irrefutable statements and can be one of the most powerful tools introduced during trial. If you are going to put anything in writing, it is imperative that you consider the consequences of your statements.
Discovery is a way that the justice system is able to speed up the time that it takes to conduct a trial. If both parties were going into the courtroom blind, it would be a mess of trying to find facts, counter them and figure out what is right and how to combat what is being presented.
American UHD TV maker, Vizio, Inc., settles a lawsuit fight against them by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the amount of $2.2 million. The independent government agency acted upon the alleged gathering of television viewing habits of the customers without their knowledge.
According to the lawsuit, Vizio started collecting the information using the internet-based TVs they sold to the public in February 2014. However, some reports say that the so-called “spying” began around 2010.
With the use of software incorporated in the smart TVs they manufactured, they were able to track highly specific viewing information of more than 11 million viewers. They then teamed up with another firm to be responsible for the demographic information. This included age, sex, marital status and household income, among others.
The collected viewers’ profile was then sold to marketers to be used for market segmentation and to identify specific target markets. This practice prompted FTC to file a privacy lawsuit against the consumer electronics manufacturer.
As part of the settlement, Vizio ended up paying the money to the state of New Jersey and the FTC. Moreover, they were also ordered to erase whatever data they have collected before the first day of March 2016 as well as lay down their cards in terms of data gathering techniques. On top of this, they have to get the consent of the users before they collect any data.
Meanwhile, spokeswoman for FTC, Juliana Gruenwald Henderson revealed that this was the very first complaint they have filed against a smart TV company.
Maureen Ohlhausen, acting Republican FTC chairman, also came out with a statement about the settlement they have with Vizio. According to her, the unanimous 3-0 decision of the commission categorized the television viewing activity as “sensitive information” that warrants legal protection. That said, its disclosure will be considered as “substantial injury”.
The settlement money might not be a staggering amount but it was the government agency’s way to give a warning to companies that taking advantage of consumers and using smart TV software for unauthorized access to pertinent information will not be taken lightly.
The same sentiments were also shared by FTC attorney, Kevin Moriarty, on a blogpost. It read, “The data generated when you watch television can reveal a lot about you and your household. So, before a company pulls up a chair next to you and starts taking careful notes on everything you watch (and then shares it with its partners), it should ask if that’s okay with you.”
From their part, Vizio released a statement with regards to the resolution. The company expressed that it was happy with the outcome. It also stated that there was no pairing of the collected viewing data with information that included personal information like the name or contact details of the viewers.
As for the complaint, Vizio said that it was only about the practice of using the data of consumers to come up with a summary report, in relation to their viewing habits.
Almost a year after the demise of her son, a mother sues a helmet manufacturing company Ridell and the Chicago Board of Education. Currently the administrator of her son’s estate, Jeanine Smith filed a wrongful death lawsuit, early October this year, at the Cook County circuit court.
The suit included four counts against Ridell and two counts against the board of education with the family seeking to get awarded unspecified amount of money if they win the case while Brion Doherty of the Chicago firm Motherway & Napleton, LLP represents Smith family.
Andre Smith was a 17-year old football player at Bogan High School when he died from a blunt force trauma to the head. It was on Oct 22, 2015 while playing football at Stagg Stadium in Southside, Chicago when the teenager, whose team was playing against Chicago Vocational, when another player struck him during a kickoff return play.
A first, the fall did not really appear fatal as Smith was able to get up right after he fell to the ground. After the incident, he complained of a headache and became unconscious. The young school athlete was rushed to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and unfortunately, was not able to regain his consciousness. The incident happened on a Thursday night and he died Friday morning.
According to the six-count lawsuit, Ridell failed to include in its guidelines that the Revolution Speed helmet worn by Smith and his team mates is potentially dangerous if the air bladders inside lack proper inflation.
Allegations also included that the air bladders were supposed to protect the head of the wearer from injuries. As for the suit filed against the board of education, it alleges that the board should have been aware that the air bladders were not inflated enough when worn by the players and should not have allowed Smith and the other football players to wear the helmets in the first place.
According to reports, during the kickoff, Smith tried to tackle another player receiving the kickoff but was blocked from the left side of his helmet. Considered to be as “incidental contact” between the two players, Smith fell on the ground. While he was complaining from dizziness and headache, the young man started to have seizures and became unresponsive even after he was rushed to a local hospital. His CT scan revealed swelling and bleeding near the brain.
According to court records, the helmet worn by Andre Smith was found defective after the air bladder at the crown lost half of the air pressure just five minutes after being inflated and air bladder located at the rear lost almost 10 percent of air pressure just after 10 minutes.
Before Smith transferred to Bogan High School and joined the football team in 2015 when the season started, he studied at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields. He was staying with a family friend in Chicago while his mother and stepdad were living in County Club Hills.
Meanwhile, Ridell declined to comment about the ongoing litigation while the Chicago Board of Education has yet to reply after a message was sent to them a week earlier.
While sexual abuse scandals have already rocked religious groups, another story surfaced about the advocacy of a young woman from Minnesota trying to prevent a priest in India from abusing young children. Twenty-six year old, Megan Peterson, now living in Queens, filed a lawsuit against a diocese in India in her bid to stop the pedophile priest from harming children.
It was in April 2016 when the issue was reported online. At that time, she said that the suit will be filed on her behalf by her attorney, Jeff Anderson. What made this case unique and interesting is the fact that this is the first time a lawsuit is filed in a federal court against a diocese located in a foreign country such as India. The lawsuit claims that by reinstating the convicted priest to the ministry, the Diocese of Ootacamund is exposing the children to danger.
Peterson, herself, was a victim of Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul 11 years ago while the latter was then a priest in the Diocese of Crookston. It was in 2005, at the age of 14 when she was molested and sexually abused by Jeyapaul.
She was born and raised in Minnesota where she became an altar girl and an active member of the choir. According to Peterson, it was only within weeks when the priest raped her in the parish office. Her ordeal was followed with more sexual abuses which lasted for almost a year and Father Joseph Jeyapaul even had the boldness to blame her for these abuses, saying that it was her who made him do it.
The priest was with the diocese in Crookston City from 2004 to 2005 and aside from Peterson, there was another teenage girl who was also sexually abused by Jeyapaul. However, before a case was filed then, the priest already went back to India.
It was in 2012 when Jeyapaul was extradited to the United States to face the charges against him for sexually abusing the two girls but he was only tried for the rape of the other girl. The case about the abuse of Peterson was dropped as part of the plea agreement. Moreover, the priest was only sentenced to one year in prison, a sentence he quickly got over with since it included the period he was in jail during the trial. After serving his sentence, he was deported back to India and given a suspension of one year.
But what pushed Peterson to file a case against the diocese in India was when she learned in February that with the recommendation of the Bishop and the permission of Pope Francis, Jeyapaul was reinstated to the ministry in less than a year.
With the knowledge that this man will again do the same thing with other children and be active as a priest, Peterson made the move to file a lawsuit against the diocese and the bishop. She expressed her desire to save the children in India to suffer the same predicament she had.
In 2011, Peterson also sued the Diocese of Crookston and was awared $750,000. But the Minnesota woman said that it mattered more to her that Jeyapaul will not be able to harm children anymore.
According to a lawsuit in Charlotte, North Carolina, a girl who was attending the 7th grade was released by her own school to a man who had taken her to a certain house and sexually assaulted her, and this happened on two occasions. The lawsuit entails that the offender returned the young victim to school to finish the day when each of the incidents happened. The name of the girl was not stated in order to protect her identity as a victim of sexual abuse.
The formal charge against the offender was filed by the student, along with her mother, in court, initiating it to set forth for the court of a claim for relief from the wrongful conduct engaged in and from the damage caused by the perpetrator.
The lawsuit specifically states that the girl was a 7th grade student at the Kipp Academy Charlotte, which is a charter school, when the acts were committed by the offender when the 2013-2014 school year was about to end.
According to the attorneys for the complainants, a man with the name of Demetrius Fetherson has contacted the girl on the 26th of March in 2014 on Facebook. They said that Fetherson told the girl that she was cute and that he would be able to help her with launching a career in modeling. The lawsuit further states that the man then showed up at the girl’s school the following day and checked her out of the premises by claiming that he was her uncle, and that he had to take her to an appointment with a doctor. The exhibits that were filed as part of the suit did not show Fetherson to be listed as one of the people who were authorized to pick the girl up from school. In addition, the list did not even have a certain uncle as an authorized person.
The lawsuit claims that the man had taken the girl to a brick house and engaged in “unconsensual sexual contact” with her, and the same incident happened once more 3 weeks later. Currently, Fetherson is serving time in a state prison after he pled guilty to 2nd-degree rape.
Moreover, the lawsuit also names the Kipp Academy Charlotte, the educational institution’s board of directors and the Kipp Foundation. However, a representative for the school has declined to provide comments during the most recent litigation session, though he did respond to some questions about how the school responded to the incidents.
The director of Finance of Operations for the Kipp Academy Charlotte, Mark Chudzicki, stated that the school had conducted an internal review of procedures and policies after the incidents, and that some of the procedures they implement were changed. But when asked whether the school had notified the parents about the incidents in 2014 or not, he just answered, “I don’t recall.” Also, a voicemail that was left with the offices of the Kipp Foundation in San Francisco, California was not returned.
A few months after sidewalk LinkNYC kiosks were installed to provide wireless internet connection as well as other services, an organization advocating for the blind along with three people filed a case against the city of New York and CityBridge for alleged discrimination on blind people in relation to the kiosks.
The National Federation of the Blind based in Maryland and the blind New York residents were represented by their managing attorney, Michelle Caiola. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and claims were brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state and city civil rights laws.
Primarily aimed to improve the lives of people with disabilities, the LinkNYC kiosks are allegedly futile for visually impaired individuals. According to the lawsuit filed, the tablets and the services that are also included lack features that make them usable or accessible to blind people.
What is the LinkNYC?
LinkNYC is a public-private partnership between the city and an association of technology companies. These kiosks have already taken the place of pay phones in the city and are strategically located in NYC to provide a super fast public WiFi as well as mobile device chargers and a tablet loaded with an app that will allow the public to make phone calls to any part of the United States.
However, these kiosks do not have an available Braille keyboard nor do they have audio instructions and software that will let visually impaired people to use them conveniently and without the help of sighted individuals. These overlooked features prompted the plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against the city of New York, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, including Commissioner Anne Roest and the three technology companies that are part of CityBridge, LLC who were the providers of the kiosks.
One of the plaintiffs, a blind instructor of technology courses in Manhattan, Mindy Jacobsen, said that when she tried to use a kiosk located on Eight Avenue to get directions, the audio was not working and what was available was only a touch screen map that she do not use for since she cannot see. Also, making a 911 call is also impossible for a visually impaired person since it can only be placed using the touch screen pad.
Months ago, LinkNYC was already underfire due to concerns that the advertisements of companies that are posted on the sides of the kiosks and give revenue to the city and CityBridge can compromise the privacy of the people. According to critics, using the services of LinkNYC put pertinent information of users at risk and will make it possible for these companies to send spam emails and content to unsuspecting individuals.
The spokesman from CityBridge said that the kiosks have features that are intended for blind individuals such as Braille labels which are placed beside the 911 button. These stations also have headphone jacks and that the design of the touch screen table is accessible by people on wheelchairs. As for audio cues and other features, the consortium is already working on these improvements.
Approximately 1 new personal injury lawsuit is filed every 2 seconds throughout the United States, and the third most common claims are assault-related. Based on statistics, there is a very high number of assault claims each year, and there were over 2 million of them in 2010 alone.
Personal injury cases arise when a person suffers harm that is inflicted by someone else. It can be resolved through informal settlement, but will become a full-blown legal dispute when it is formalized through civil court proceedings.
But what if the injury came from the very people whom you were supposed to trust with your life? Do you have a chance of winning against individuals whose job is to uphold the law, including personal protection?
Tamra Welbig filed a lawsuit against the Brookings Police Department, claiming that they allegedly slammed her to the pavement and then falsely charged her with felony. The federal lawsuit centers on false arrest, excessive force, violation of free speech and violation of civil rights.
In a federal complaint, it was stated that officers’ Jordan McCaskill, Jordan Hansen and another cop was sent to the plaintiff’s apartment to provide medical assistance. At that time, Welbig was in the passenger seat of a Dodge Durango. When one of the officers stepped into her apartment to perform a search, she pulled herself forward to the seat, while telling the police officers that they are not permitted to enter her apartment.
It was at this point, when officers’ McCaskill and Hansen pulled her out of the vehicle, secured her arms to the side, and then pushed her to the ground. She was allegedly pushed with such force that it “caused her face to bounce off the concrete”. Even if she wasn’t resisting, Officer Hansen allegedly placed his full body weight and knee on Welbig’s back to handcuff her.
The two officers then proceeded to drag Welbig to the ambulance, with her feet scraping the pavement and bleeding as a result.
Due to severe physical pain and injury to her face, Welbig was taken to Brookings Hospital where she received treatment for her injuries.
The lawsuit claims that detaining Ms Welbig was “excessive and much more extensive than reasonably necessary”. It also alleges that the felony charges against the plaintiff were all fabricated to cover up the officers’ actions. There were no witnesses interviewed, and the sworn testimony given by another officer contradicts police reports.
Following the incident, Welbig was charged with simple assault against law enforcement, which should have been the other way around, based on her complaint. The arrest happened in 2012. She was acquitted of the assault charge six months later.
The lawsuit seeks compensation for damages, although there is no dollar figure specified.
The Brookings Police Department denied all allegations, only responding to say that defendants “are protected by the doctrine of qualified immunity”, making them immune from the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff.
What are the odds that an individual can win against police officers? With the right personal injury lawyer, those odds can be in favor of Tamra Welbig.
Amy Rolon, who served time in prison for charges of 6th-degree larceny, has filed a $7.5-million claim for medical neglect against the Department of Correction (DOC) due to a traumatic brain injury she sustained while under the custody of York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Connecticut in 2014.
According to incident reports, Rolon repeatedly fell and hit her head during her struggles against heroin withdrawal, which lasted for about 2 days. In a very compelling surveillance video reviewed by supervisor Christopher Brunelle, Rolon is seen falling out of her wheelchair while staff members are just walking by and ignoring to provide assistance. Brunelle writes in his report:
“Inmate crawls out of cell on hands and knees as staff are walking towards her … [Two correction officers] walk past the inmate. Both officers staring at the inmate as they walk past and exit the unit …
“Inmate attempts to get into wheelchair by herself. Staff do not assist.
“Inmate falls out of wheelchair and onto the floor … (E)veryone watches. No staff attempt to help her up.”
Also, those who shared the cell with Rolon from October 30 to 31, 2014 reported to had repeatedly called for medical attention, as they watched Rolon stagger in and out of the bathroom, and then fall and sprawl on the floor. Though she then received methadone and other medications several times from nurses, it was not until the morning of November 1 that she received sustained medical attention after experiencing a violent seizure, with her mouth filling with blood from biting her own tongue. Also, all of these things occurred despite a court order stating that Rolon required detoxification and immediate medical attention upon being admitted to the correctional facility on October 30, 2014.
It took several hours until a psychologist recommended for Rolon to be checked at a hospital, and by the time she was sent to the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital emergency room in New London, she was already found to be in critical condition. She was then transferred to the Yale-New Haven Hospital ICU, where she received surgery for swelling and bleeding of the brain.
As a result of this incident, four officers at the correctional facility have been suspended and two nurses who worked for the Correctional Managed Health Care unit at UConn Health resigned, according to the correctional facility’s officials. Such a medical unit is aid to be holding a controversial, no-bid contract (worth more than $80 million a year) with the DOC to deliver mental and medical services to inmates.
According to Scott Semple, the Correction Commissioner, there was truly a violation to the protocol in the Rolon case, viewing it as a situation that is isolated to the staff members who are being suspended. After learning about how serious Rolon’s injuries were, York supervisors ordered an investigation at the scene where the incident happened, calling on state police investigators to document the chain of events.
Rolon, who is now a 38-year-old mother of five children, is partially paralyzed and is severely cognitively impaired. Needing constant care, she is residing at the Grandview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
There are personal injury cases that are based from the negligence doctrine. By nature, negligence will require everybody in a society to be responsible and avoid risking others. Although it doesn’t say that negligence results when somebody gets hurt, it is recognized in the doctrine that there are unavoidable accidents. To make the defendant liable, the plaintiff must provide evidence that the former would have done otherwise under the circumstances.
Cases of Negligence
Some examples related to negligence include medical complications due to carelessness of the physician, car mishaps due to drunk driving, and canine attacks when vicious animals are left out of the care of the owner. In such cases, the risks have been ignored by the responsible party which resulted to the injury of the plaintiff.
For this reason, the defendant is required to pay the plaintiff for the injury as a result of the actions done by the former. However, not all cases are the same since some damages can be calculated easily which can be linked to medical bills or property damage. For certain cases though that involve emotional distress or the loss of capacity to earn, it will require the testimony of an expert.
The Suicide Case of the 6-Year-Old
The case of the six-year-old female allegedly involved the failure of the child protection system at Hennepin County. Based from the statements of the grandmother Mary Broadus, it is only fair to claim damages resulting from the death of the victim Kendrea Johnson.
The suit stated that the county together with the foster providers as well as the mental treatment provider have knowledge about the suicidal tendencies of the child. Sadly, they weren’t able to take that issue seriously. As a result, they failed to work together to safeguard the young girl.
Failure of LifeSpan to Disclose Essential Information
LifeSpan is the agency taking care of Kendrea’s treatment for mental health and her schooling. They were fully aware of the behavior of the child. They allegedly have knowledge of how this girl was inclined to commit suicide based on their observations.
However, the lawyer of the defendants claimed that his clients weren’t guilty because of the lack of evidence that they were actually guilty. Thus, none of them did nothing wrong despite what happened to the victim. Additionally, he stated that the girl came from circumstances that were extremely difficult. In fact, the workers made sure that the child received the type of care she deserved.
The Foster Home
The child was placed in a foster home of a certain Tannise Nawaqavou at Brooklyn Park in 2014. Nawaqavou told the police that she was threatened by the girl with a screwdriver and even told her foster parent that she would jump out of the window to kill herself. Some pictures were also drawn by Kendrea depicting a child hanging from a rope, which supported the child’s suicidal tendencies.
Revocation of Licenses and Payment of Fine
The conclusion of the investigation of Kendrea’s death led to the revocation of licenses of Nawaqavou and her foster home. It was then found that although Nawaqavou wasn’t responsible for the child’s death, she was charged for locking the child in her room. An appeal was later filed but the DHS agreed with their request to keep operations after it will pay a fine of $600.
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »