Month: June 2021

New Mexico Opens Door to New Era of Civil Rights Lawsuits

Efforts among a handful of states to hold police accountable for brutality and misconduct are expanding Thursday as New Mexico opens the door to civil rights lawsuits against government agencies in state court.

The New Mexico Civil Rights Act removes immunity provisions that shield government agencies from financial liability related to misconduct, though individual officials won’t pay for damages.

As the law takes effect, local police agencies are bracing for an onslaught of lawsuits that can carry liability awards of up to $2 million per event. At least one county sheriff’s department has been declined private insurance coverage — highlighting concerns about potential payouts.

The legislation, drafted amid nationwide protests over police brutality and institutional racism, reaches beyond law enforcement practices and applies to

$12M Med Mal Verdict: Mistaken Dose of Insulin Caused Brain Injury

With 55% fault apportioned to a defendant doctor and 45% to a Perry hospital that settled out of the case before trial, a $6.6 million award is set to be entered in the plaintiffs’ favor against the surgeon.

A Houston County, Georgia jury awarded $12 million in total damages to a woman who suffered permanent brain injuries after she accidentally administered the wrong type of insulin at a hospital in Perry.

Because the jury apportioned 45% liability to the hospital and nurse there who had already settled out of the case, the actual judgment is set to be entered for $6.6 million against the surgeon, who was assigned the remainder of fault.

Roundup MDL Judge: Plaintiffs’ Attorney’ Free-Rider Obsession Is Out Of Control

The federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation over Bayer AG’s Roundup weedkiller has put narrow limits on a fund for common-benefit legal work, calling the lead plaintiffs’ lawyers request to hold back 8.25% of Roundup-related recoveries around the country regardless of their connection to the MDL “breathtaking.”

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco on Monday ordered a hold-back of 8% of recoveries by MDL plaintiffs only, adding that the federal court systems’ Civil Rules Advisory Committee “should consider crafting a rule that brings some semblance of order and predictability to an MDL attorney compensation system that seems to have gotten totally out of control.”

Judge OKs $15M settlement over rape of incapacitated woman

A judge has approved a $15 million settlement against a doctor in a lawsuit by the parents of an incapacitated woman who was sexually assaulted and later gave birth at a Phoenix long-term care center, marking the last of several deals to resolve legal claims over the rape.

The settlement made on behalf of Dr. Phillip Gear, who cared for the woman for 26 years while she lived at Hacienda Healthcare, was deemed reasonable last week by a judge. But the insurer for Gear, who died late last year, said in court papers it has no obligation to pay the amount, arguing the doctor’s policy didn’t cover claims arising from a sexual act.

Troops Can Finally Sue The Military For Medical Malpractice

The Defense Department on Thursday will officially publish the rules governing how uniformed service members or their representatives can file a claim against the military for malpractice.

The new regulation, which will take effect 30 days after Thursday’s publication in the Federal Register, marks a significant step in service members’ or families’ ability to seek recourse for malpractice. An advance look was posted online Wednesday morning.

For decades, the Feres Doctrine — named for a plaintiff in a landmark 1950 U.S. Supreme Court case — has kept active-duty military personnel from suing the government over personal injuries they incurred as a result of their service. This made it difficult for service members to seek recourse from the military when their medical treatment was mishandled.

But the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress in December 2019 contained provisions to change that. Service members — or their representatives if they are dead or incapacitated — became eligible to file claims for personal injury or death caused by a military health provider in certain medical treatment facilities.

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