H.R. 1215 – Closing the Courthouse Doors to Victims

mederrorscausedeath12The American Association for Justice reports H.R. 1215, the massive medical malpractice bill that also applies to nursing home and drug and device cases, will be debated on the House floor next week. This is the bill that caps non-economic damages at $250,000, eliminates joint liability for economic and non-economic loss, caps attorney fees, has a restrictive statute of limitations and says that a doctor and a pharmaceutical company cannot be named in the same lawsuit.  The bill is very preemptive and applies limits regardless of the number of parties, the causes of action or the theory of liability.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in America. Capping damages prevent victims from getting compensation for injuries that deserve compensation for. It also increases your tax burden while protecting big insurance and allowing them to profit off of malpractice.

The first thing to note is that when suing in the medical malpractice arena, you are not typically suing a doctor, nurse or healthcare professional personally. More often than not, you are suing their insurance company. The insurance companies don’t want you to know this. But it’s true.

Caps only serve to help insurance companies profit, while passing the buck to the victim or ultimately the taxpayer. Take for instance a medical malpractice case where a child will need lifetime care due to a birth injury. It could cost millions to provide care for the child over the course of the child’s life because of the malpractice. Damages caps prevent a jury from awarding more than $250,000 to cover this cost. Once the $250,000 has been spent, victims are often forced onto public aid, increasing the tax burden. This prevents insurance companies from sharing the burden of the mistakes made by those who committed malpractice. It also allows insurance companies to profit off of the malpractice committed because they know they will only have to pay small amounts for the most devastating injuries.

H.R 1215 prevents victims from getting compensated while protecting big insurance and passing the buck to taxpayers. Tell your Representative in Congress that you won’t stand for a bill that robs taxpayers to allow insurance to profit and leaves victims by the wayside.

The DEA Created Chicago’s Drug Problem

The drug problem in Chicago, and the violence that accompanies it, is a pandemic. It infects the city and surrounding areas. Local officials have been searching for ways to bring down the crime rate and stem the flow of drugs into the city for years. Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Agency announced it would be working with local news outlet ABC7 to raise awareness of who the major players in the drug game are. They announced:

The ABC7 I-Team is kicking off “Operation Outlaws,” an exclusive arrangement with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to track down some of Chicago’s top fugitives.

The I-Team is on the trail of outlaws. Most of Chicago’s biggest fugitives are wanted for drug crimes and the violent mayhem that goes along with them– and some have been on the lam for years. On Monday night, the I-Team investigated one of the oldest cases, and one of the newest.

While this is not a novel idea, it is one that could be effective, if it weren’t already being undermined. Court documents released yesterday revealed the DEA has been working in conjunction with Chicago’s primary supplier of drugs, allowing him and his cartel to traffic drugs freely in exchange for information.

Business Insider has the full story:

An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.

Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.

There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.

But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.

The written statements were made to the U.S. District Court in Chicago in relation to the arrest of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, the son of Sinaloa leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and allegedly the Sinaloa cartel’s “logistics coordinator.”

Here’s what DEA agent Manuel Castanon told the Chicago court:

“On March 17, 2009, I met for approximately 30 minutes in a hotel room in Mexico City with Vincente Zambada-Niebla and two other individuals — DEA agent David Herrod and a cooperating source [Sinaloa lawyer Loya Castro] with whom I had worked since 2005. … I did all of the talking on behalf of [the] DEA.”

It appears that the DEA has been a primary contributor to the violence in Chicago. By allowing Sinola to freely traffic drugs, in exchange for information, a culture of violence was created. Ironically, the drug cartels that the DEA were hunting, consolidated after 2012. There are no documents to confirm whether the DEA is still receiving cooperation from the cartels. Thus continues the absurdities of the drug war.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-and-the-sinaloa-cartel-2014-1#ixzz2qNu2QtyH

Employers can still fire Colorado pot smokers for legal use

As recreational cannabis sales begin Jan. 1 in Colorado, one fact is sometimes overlooked: Employers still can fire workers for using it on- or off-duty.

State law gives employers full authority to impose any drug prohibitions they wish, despite it being legal in Colorado for adults to possess and consume marijuana.

“Employers hold all the cards,” said Curtis Graves, a staff attorney for the Mountain States Employers Council.

So you smoke only off-duty? Not good enough. Consuming just at home provides no protection if your workplace drug test comes back positive for marijuana.

Many employees may be enjoying a false sense of security stemming from passage last year of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana possession for adults in Colorado.

“Right now there is a great deal of confusion,” said attorney Danielle Urban of labor-law firm Fisher & Phillips in Denver. “People are surprised to learn that they can lose their jobs.”

Amid the euphoria of approving legal pot, some cannabis enthusiasts may have overlooked a key piece of fine print in Amendment 64.

via Employers can still fire Colorado pot smokers for legal use – The Denver Post.