Today, the House Oversight Committee is holding an important hearing entitled "The Role of Pharmacy…
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House Hearing Spotlights Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as Drivers of Higher Drug Prices

Today, the House Oversight Committee is holding an important hearing entitled "The Role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Prescription Drug Markets Part III:  Transparency and Accountability."

For those unfamiliar, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) amount to middlemen that control prescription drugs for millions of Americans.  A majority of Americans receive health insurance through employer plans or government programs such as Medicare, which in turn cover prescription drugs through PBMs.  Those PBMs negotiate with drug companies and pay pharmacies, but throughout the process determine the drugs that insured patients may obtain and at what cost.

The problem is that PBMs operate in such an opaque and complex manner that they're able to inflate drug costs while claiming to be working…[more]

July 23, 2024 • 04:57 PM

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Jester’s Courtroom
There’s No Cure for Frivolous
Wednesday, April 08 2020

Fox News is being sued by a nonprofit in Washington state, accusing the major news network of violating a consumer protection law by engaging in a “campaign of deception” regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to news sources, the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics alleges that Fox broadcasted news and commentary that constituted “malicious misrepresentation and false information,” depriving the public of information necessary to prevent or mitigate transmission of coronavirus.

“Defendants actions dissuaded the public, including elderly viewers, from taking necessary precautions to protect themselves from contracting the virus,” the complaint states.

“Wrong on the facts, frivolous on the law. We will defend vigorously and seek sanctions as appropriate,” Fox News Media general counsel Lily Fu Claffee countered.

Media law experts aren’t buying the viability of the lawsuit.

“This attempt to bring a products liability action against the news is a silly nuisance suit.  It has zero chance of prevailing under the First Amendment,” Bob Corn-Revere, a media lawyer with Davis Wright Tremaine said.

First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA Law, adds in a blog post that he is “quite confident the lawsuit is going nowhere.”

"Overall a plaintiff would have to satisfy a pretty high burden in order to go after a media defendant and courts will be very reluctant to impose liability,” Venkat Balasubramani, a Seattle-based attorney who practices First Amendment law, said.


Class Action Lawsuit Filed over $1.70 Gift Card Balance
Thursday, April 02 2020

A California resident is suing Starbucks after a local store failed to give him his $1.70 remaining balance on a gift card back in cash.

Robert Paskey has filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking class action status and compensatory and punitive damages. Paskey claims that a Starbucks’ employee at a Santa Monica Boulevard coffee shop denied his request for the cash redemption, telling him the sales software system did not provide for cash redemptions on card balances less than $10. According to news reports, the writing on the back of the company’s cards indicates that the gift cards are not redeemable for cash “unless otherwise required by law.” Starbucks' website states that cash redemptions for cards with less than a $10 balance can be obtained online, but a request must be made, and a wait of seven to 10 days is required.

Consumers should not have to undertake "independent online research projects" to determine their rights regarding Starbucks gift cards, according to the suit.


Hit and Run...To the Courthouse
Friday, March 27 2020

A New York bicyclist who was hit by a car is being sued by the driver of the car.

According to news reports, Bryan Agnello was riding his bike home when he was struck from behind by Jovonte Cook. Agnello escaped without serious injury to his body, but his bike was mangled and his helmet destroyed. Months later, Agnello received a notice from Rochester City Court that Cook had filed suit against him, seeking $700 in damages to his car.

"I felt like I just got punched in the gut again," Angello, 37, said. "It was painful. I was angry."

The police report notes that Agnello was pedaling on the left side of the north-bound lane in front of Cook and slowed down just north of an interchange to make a left-hand turn when he was hit by the left front corner of Cook’s 2012 Ford sedan as Agnello prepared to turn.

"(Cook) said he did not see (Agnello) until he was on the hood of his vehicle," the police report read. Agnello said he was wearing a reflective rain suit and that his bike had reflective panniers and a blinking red light.

Cook, who was not ticketed or charged for the incident, filed his case in Rochester City Court, describing a version of events that conflicted wildly with the police report and Agnello’s recollection of the collision. He described Agnello as riding his bike at about 60 mph. In a phone interview, Cook allegedly claimed Agnello was traveling at 80mph and "came out of nowhere and splashed on my front windshield."

"There was a lot of damage that was done to my car and I couldn’t even use it the whole weekend to make money off of my car," Cook, a pizza delivery person, said.

The top speed recorded at the 2019 Tour de France, a grueling road race that draws elite cyclists from around the world, was 63 mph. The rider hit that pace during a descent in the Alps.

"If I could go 60 mph I wouldn’t be here, I’d be in the Olympics," Agnello said.

James Reed, an attorney with the Elmira-based Ziff Law Firm and an expert on New York’s bicycle laws, is advising Agnello on the case.

"In New York, if one vehicle rear-ends another vehicle, the rear-ending driver is legally responsible because it is his or her legal duty to keep their car under proper control so as to not rear-end another vehicle," Reed wrote. "And this is true whether it is raining or snowing, day or not."

Agnello has filed a counterclaim for $2,500 that he said covers the value of his destroyed bicycle, the time he spent recuperating, and the sheer aggravation of the ordeal.

But, he said, he would settle for Cook dropping his claim.

"I'm not about this stuff," Agnello said. "This is not me at all. I just want to ride my bike."


So It Has Come To This
Wednesday, March 18 2020

We all probably could have guessed it was coming: a lawsuit related to coronavirus.

The state of Missouri is suing televangelist Jim Bakker and his production company in an effort to stop them from advertising or selling Silver Solution, a product touted on Bakker's show to treat COVID-19 disease.

According to news reports, Bakker's guest, "natural health expert" Sherrill Sellman, appeared on a February program falsely implying that the Silver Solution could effectively attack the coronavirus. Silver Solution was being offered for $80 for four 4-ounce bottles.

"This influenza that is now circling the globe," Bakker said. "You're saying that Silver Solution would be effective."

"Well, let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours," Sellman said. "Totally eliminate it. Kills it. Deactivates it."

The Missouri Attorney General's Office wrote in its application for a temporary restraining order that Bakker and Morningside Church Productions have violated Missouri law by "falsely promising to consumers that Silver Solution can cure, eliminate, kill or deactivate coronavirus and/or boost elderly consumers' immune system and help keep them healthy when there is, in fact, no vaccine, pill, potion or other product available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019." Bakker and his company are based in the state.

Earlier this month, the New York Attorney General's Office issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bakker.

"Your show's segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak," wrote Lisa Landau, chief of the New York Attorney General's Office's health care bureau. The World Health Organization "has noted that there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat this disease," the letter said. It gave Bakker 10 business days to comply or face legal action.

A few days after New York's letter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned Bakker that his website and Facebook page were selling "unapproved new drugs" in violation of the law.

Despite Bakker's website removing Silver Solution for sale, a spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General's Office said it would continue seeking the temporary restraining order. "That way they can't come back in months or years and start selling solution as a miracle cure again," said Chris Nuelle, the Attorney General's Press Secretary.


They Were Skating on Thin Ice
Wednesday, March 11 2020

A Massachusetts judge has ruled in favor of several student athletes on a girls' hockey team who were disciplined by their high school for attending a house party where alcohol was served.

Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Maynard Kirpalani granted preliminary injunctive relief to the five teammates on grounds that Braintree Public High School's policy was too vague to be enforced.

"Under these circumstances, persons of common intelligence would likely differ on whether the plaintiffs were in the presence of alcohol and, thus, in possession of alcohol within meaning of the policy," Judge Kirpalani wrote. "The policy is insufficiently clear as to what conduct is prohibited and invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement."

According to news reports, the players attended a house party where parents were present. Despite calling their parents to pick them up once they learned alcohol was being consumed by underage party-goers, the girls were placed on "social probation" by the school, barring them from participating in sports or other activities for three weeks. School policy allows administrators to discipline students "deemed to be 'in possession'" of alcohol, even if the student is only in the presence of it.

Calling the policy ridiculous as it would prevent students from attending weddings or other events where alcohol is present, Dave Flanagan, attorney for the students, applauded the court's decision.

"They were very excited, that’s for sure,” Flanagan told reporters. The girls were allowed back on the ice in time to play in a big game, which they ultimately won, advancing them to the semi-finals.


Notable Quote   
"The astonishing political events of the last four weeks make plain, once again, how much of America's history depends on what voters have come to accept as the choice of one person: each presidential nominee's choice of a vice presidential candidate. Even as the nomination process was expanded, half a century ago, to include millions of primary voters, the choice of the vice presidential nominee…[more]
— Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and Longtime Co-Author of The Almanac of American Politics
Liberty Poll   

Should Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle be fired for the agency's unconscionable failures regarding the assassination attempt on President Trump?