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January 20, 2019
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Employee 401(k) Lawsuit Claims GE Inflated Stock Value
Employee 401(k) Lawsuit Claims GE Inflated Stock Value
Albany, NY On December 14, 2018, Adele Vargas filed a class action ERISA lawsuit against General Electric Company (“GE”) and Jeffrey Immelt, its former CEO. She alleges that GE improperly manipulated its earnings and inflated its stock price.

LTD Claimants Win Big as Ninth Circuit Trims “Abuse of Discretion” Standard
LTD Claimants Win Big as Ninth Circuit Trims “Abuse of Discretion” Standard
San Francisco, CA In one of the earliest decisions of 2019, the Ninth Circuit gave plaintiffs in long term denied disability lawsuits a new way to challenge benefit denial decisions. It may turn out to be significant.

ER Charges: Underserved and Over-Charged thanks to Upcoding
ER Charges: Underserved and Over-Charged thanks to Upcoding
Los Angeles, CA: When a nine-year old accidentally had gasoline splashed in her eyes, her mother immediately drove her to the closest hospital emergency room. They were directed to the eyewash station but it was so dirty they couldn’t use it, so Brianna’s mom rinsed her daughter’s eyes at a regular sink. Turns out, they would have been better off using the gas station’s eyewash, which was free. The ER sink cost $1,400: the hospital charged $600 and the ER doctor fee was $800 (for walking into the room, saying Brianna needed an eyewash station and walking out). Upcoding has become common practice, resulting in emergency room overcharges and increased health costs for everyone.

Unum Disability Insurance Claimant Wins Reinstatement of LTD Benefits
Unum Disability Insurance Claimant Wins Reinstatement of LTD Benefits
Santa Ana, CA On November 20, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California handed Pamela Fleming a resounding victory in her Unum disability insurance lawsuit. Unum had been paying her LTD benefits since 2005, after a serious and well-documented neck injury sustained in a car accident. A change in her treating physician and a brief surveillance video led the insurer to re-evaluate her claim and declare that she had recovered. The insurer terminated her benefits. Judge Cormac J. Carney was not impressed and reinstated her benefits due under the policy.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprises Named in Gender Pay Discrimination Lawsuit
Hewlett-Packard Enterprises Named in Gender Pay Discrimination Lawsuit
Santa Clara, CA In late 2018, R. Ross and C. Rogus filed a class action California unpaid wages lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) that describes a pattern of gender-based pay discrimination. It’s hardly news, you think, that tech giants underpay women.

The New Year Rings in New Sexual Harassment Rules, Mainly Triggered by #MeTooMovement
The New Year Rings in New Sexual Harassment Rules, Mainly Triggered by #MeTooMovement
Sacramento, CA:The #MeTooMovement has resulted in a number of new laws with the goal to make it easier for employees to report sexual harassment and for employers to have a voice in investigations concerning this and other California labor law violations. Most of these laws took effect January 1, and employers would be wise to become familiar with them.

Trustmark National Bank Latest Defendant in Excessive Overdraft Fees Lawsuit
Trustmark National Bank Latest Defendant in Excessive Overdraft Fees Lawsuit
Jackson, MS In the waning days of December 2018, Cryesha McDonald and Chantal Lewis filed an excessive overdraft fees lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The lawsuit alleges that Trustmark National Bank assessed overdraft fees in violation of its contractual agreements with customers. Like similar lawsuits brought throughout the country, McDonald v. Trustmark National Bank claims that the bank charges fees on transactions that do not actually overdraft the account. Attorneys for the plaintiffs seek class action status for the lawsuit.

Bayer’s Biggest Mistake –Buying Monsanto?
Bayer’s Biggest Mistake –Buying Monsanto?
San Francisco, CA: August 10, 2018 was a bad day for Bayer and Monsanto executives. That was the day when San Francisco jurors determined that Monsanto’s (and now Bayer’s) RoundUp and Ranger Pro caused cancer in a former school groundskeeper who claimed his terminal cancer had been caused by the glyphosate-based weed-killers.

Jury Awards $25.6 Million in Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit
Jury Awards $25.6 Million in Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit
Oklahoma City, OK In November 2018, a jury awarded nearly $25.6 million to the family of a Oranna Cunningham, a woman who was diagnosed with advanced nasopharyngeal cancer. Her insurer, Aetna, refused to cover the cost of the proton beam therapy recommended by her physician, claiming that it was “experimental or investigational.” After her death, her husband brought a bad faith insurance lawsuit.

New Reuters Report Reveals J&J knew its Talcum Powder link to Asbestos and Cancer
New Reuters Report Reveals J&J knew its Talcum Powder link to Asbestos and Cancer
After reviewing documents and testimony from 1971 to the early 2000s, a new report by Reuters determined that Johnson & Johnson’s executives, mine managers, doctors and lawyers were aware the company's raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos. This report reflects many Johnson & Johnson lawsuits alleging these talcum powder products caused women to get ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and other cancers.

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