UPMC Settles Data Breach Allegations for $2.65 Million

UPMC has reached a financial settlement with thousands of employees whose personal information was hacked in 2014 and used to file phony income tax returns.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Philip A. Ignelzi on Thursday signed an agreement that will give $2.65 million to cover losses, including up to $200,000 in administrative costs, for about 66,000 employees whose personal information was stolen. The employees filed a class action lawsuit against UPMC, saying the health system giant had failed in its duty to protect their data from misuse.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that UPMC had a responsibility to protect personal employee data from hackers. UPMC denied any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Read the source article at Pittsburgh Post

A Tennessee Opioid Lawsuit Reaches a $35 Million Settlement

A drug manufacturer announced Thursday that it has reached a $35 million agreement that would settle a Tennessee lawsuit by local governments and a child born dependent to opioids over the company’s role in the opioid epidemic, though steps remain to finalize the deal.

The announcement by Endo would resolve the northeast Tennessee lawsuit by nine counties, 18 cities and towns and the plaintiff known as “Baby Doe” on the eve of a trial that was set to start Monday over how much to award the plaintiffs.

A judge already ruled the opioid firm was liable in April without holding a civil trial over its role in the epidemic, a rare default judgment he said he entered because of a “coordinated strategy” by the company and its attorneys to delay proceedings, deprive plaintiffs of information and interfere with the administration of justice.

Read the source article at Associated Press News

A Judge Approves Distribution of a $192 Million Nuclear Reactor Settlement

Investors who lost fortunes in the failure of a multi billion-dollar nuclear reactor construction deal in South Carolina will soon begin to see their portions of a $192 million settlement, under a recently approved distribution.

Last week, a federal judge signed off on a plan to disperse the funds among former shareholders in SCANA Corp., the former parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas. The settlement itself was the largest securities class action recovery obtained in South Carolina when a judge approved it last year, according to attorneys for the investors.

The utility company became embroiled in controversy after announcing in summer 2017 that it was shuttering a nuclear reactor construction project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, about 30 miles north of Columbia, following the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.

Read the source article at nsjonline.com

A Class Action Lawsuit Filed by Nurses Settles for $5.5 Million

A class-action lawsuit brought by thousands of nurses who said they weren’t properly paid for lunch and other breaks has settled with Kitsap County’s main health care system, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

Under the $5.5 million settlement, nurses will receive an average payment of $510, their attorneys said. The actual amounts depend on wages and other factors, the Kitsap Sun reported.

The case filed by a nurse at the former Harrison Medical Center included more than 7,000 employees of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. The lawsuit, filed in 2019, accused the health care system of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state law.

The suit claimed nurses who worked shifts of 12 hours or more, “experience significant amounts of pre- and post-shift off-the-clock work, including unpaid, on-duty time preparing for their days before clocking in as well as completing charting and patient paperwork after clocking out.”

Read the source article at Associated Press News

Indiana Dedicates $5.5 Million of Its Multi-Billion Dollar Volkswagen Settlement to Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

If you build it, they will come. At least that’s what the state of Indiana and its utilities are hoping for when it comes to charging stations and electric vehicles. 

Indiana is behind on infrastructure for plug-powered cars, while some of its Midwestern neighbors and other states across the country speed ahead with installing charging networks. 

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg issue: Without more people driving electric vehicles, companies don’t want to invest in installing stations and building out the infrastructure. But without the infrastructure, drivers don’t know if they can get from A to B and are hesitant to buy electric vehicles.

“I would say the state of Indiana has been lacking in EV infrastructure, and I don’t think anyone would argue with that,” said Kerri Garvin, executive director of Greater Indiana Clean Cities, a nonprofit focused on advancing alternative fuel vehicles. “That’s a big deal.” 

Read the source article at IndyStar

AMC Agrees to a $200 Million ‘The Walking Dead’ Profit Settlement

AMC Networks has reached a $200 million settlement deal with Frank Darabont and CAA in the long-running profit participation lawsuit over “The Walking Dead.”

The deal calls for AMC Networks to pay Darabont and CAA a total of $200 million. They will continue to receive a share of future profits from streaming deals tied to “The Walking Dead” and spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead.” But for all other “Walking Dead”-related content, the settlement buys out the plaintiffs’ rights.

AMC Networks disclosed the settlement in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday. Representatives for Darabont and CAA declined to comment. AMC Networks did not elaborate beyond the SEC filing. AMC had to disclose the payment because it will essentially wipe out the company’s free cash flow for 2021, a big change from the $200 million that AMC executives forecast for full-year 2021 to Wall Street analysts during an earnings call in May.

Read the source article at Variety

Pfizer Proposes a $345 Million Settlement Over EpiPen Price Hikes

Pfizer Inc. and two other companies have agreed to pay $345 million to resolve long-running litigation over EpiPen price hikes.

In documents filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, the companies asked the court to grant preliminary approval to the settlement, which would end the litigation against the three companies.

The proposed settlement comes just three weeks after U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree granted summary judgment to another defendant, Mylan, on the plaintiffs’ racketeering claims and some antitrust claims. But he allowed other antitrust claims against Mylan to proceed to trial.

Read the source article at kcur.org

The New York State Public Service Commission Settles With Multiple Utilities for $86.3 Million

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Public Service Commission has accepted the terms of settlements valued at $86.2 million regarding alleged violations committed by four New York utilities—Consolidated Edison of New York, Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc., Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, and Frontier Communications of New York, Inc.—for failing to adequately prepare for and respond to emergencies, including Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020. 

“The size of these settlements should make it abundantly clear that New York utilities are obligated to prepare for severe weather and to develop robust emergency response programs,” Governor Cuomo said. “If they fail to adequately do the job that’s required of them, we will hold them accountable and we will force them to improve the way they do business — and their shareholders will pay the price.”

For failing to adequately prepare for and respond to the TS Isaias, as well as failures related to the 2019 Brooklyn/Manhattan outages, and a steam outage in 2018, Con Edison and O&R will pay $82.05 million. For failing to adequately prepare and respond to TS Isaias, Frontier and Central Hudson will pay $2.7 million and $1.5 million, respectively.

Read the source article at Home | Department of Financial Services

What to Expect in a Trucking Accident and How Can The Cochran Firm Help?

The trucking industry in the United States is frequently on the rise even though faster and newer means of transportation are being invented every day. Whether locally or cross-country, truck transport is one of the most suitable ways to distribute goods, with about 70 percent of all products reaching their destinations via some sort of truck.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), almost 500,000 crashes involving big trucks were reported to the police in 2018, with over 4,000 fatal and over 100,000 causing injury to persons involved. As most people recognize, driving on the highway is dangerous, especially when 10,000-pound trucks and vehicles add to the mix, inevitably spelling disaster. However, oftentimes crashes with big trucks occur in rural areas and precisely account for more than 50 percent of the totality! One must keep in mind the potential for a crash on both ends of the spectrum—the truck operators and the vehicle operators. Almost any experienced operator can recall an instance on the road when they became nervous while close to a big truck. The critical thing to remember is the basics we all learn in driver’s education class and the undivided attention needed when driving any type of motor vehicle for the safety of ourselves, our passengers, and others on the road.

Big trucks present dangers to themselves and others on the road, but what lies in the cargo of a big truck may increase the threat of injury as well. For example, big trucks carry hazardous materials like harsh chemicals that are highly flammable when exposed to heat. Also, big trucks often haul physically dangerous materials like large wood logs, steel beams, and even large machinery. In the event of an accident, these materials may lead to catastrophic results that truck operators risk each day while on the road. To elaborate, over 50 percent of reported truck afflictions released hazardous and explosive material, with another large chunk of crashes resulting in injuries or towaways. Another factor to consider is the utter weight of a truck in relation to the fundamental laws of physics. For example, standard vehicles on the road traveling at high speeds (over 50 mph) need a certain amount of distance and time to stop completely, even when slamming on the brakes. 

On the other hand, big trucks carry such heavy loads, ranging from 10 to 40 tons, which requires them an even greater distance and time to stop completely. It is physically impossible for a car traveling on the highway to stop on a dime and foolish to assume a big truck can achieve the same. Part of the reason crashes with big trucks cause so much damage lies within the utter amount of force upon impact due to such heavy loads. Big trucks list their most harmful crashes as those which occur with other vehicles on the road. The reason for this may point to negligence on one party to explain how the crash happened in the first place. However, it must be emphasized that the negligence of regular vehicle operators is just as likely to occur as the negligence of a big truck operator. For a big truck operator to do their job, rigorous requirements include testing, both on paper and the road, before one receives their license to drive a big truck.

In any scenario involving a crash, it is crucial to evaluate the people behind the scenes. According to the FMCSA, roughly 5,000 big trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2018, and of those crashes, there were 328 people 25 years or younger and 294 people 66 years or older. This fact proves that most big truck operators involved in fatal crashes were middle-aged; therefore, a lack of life experience or too much life experience, for that matter, is unreliable to use as an explanation for the crashes. One may even conclude that it is more than likely that a middle-aged man possesses more big truck driving experience than most, and certainly more experience on that road than most others on the road. However, experience cannot correct bad habits that some vehicle operators (in cars or big trucks) possess. 

Fatal crashes entail tragic results, and many fatalities on the road result in the operators or passengers not wearing seatbelts. Most of the time, there is no explanation of why one fails to wear a seatbelt other than the fact that they negligently decided or forgot to before traveling onto roads and highways. Other factors explain crashes on the road, such as operator impairment either through drugs or alcohol. As most are already informed, driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous acts one can participate in, period. Many studies confirm that impairment of any kind slows the operator’s reflexes and prevents them from correcting or adjusting for quick scenarios on the road that occur almost regularly. Even operators that lack sleep but continue driving pose a risk for others on the road around them. Unfortunately, this usually applies to truck operators due to their high volumes of workloads and shift lengths. The big truck driving industry revolves around the truck company’s ability to deliver its goods in a timely manner. This puts big truck drivers in danger by training them to function on small amounts of sleep and large amounts of driving. However, in recent times, regulations have emerged for truck companies to limit their operators’ hours and hopefully reduce the number of people on the road with little to no sleep. For example, hour limits per day exist, and the federal government prevents big truck operators from driving more than 14 hours in a single day after a 10-hour break. Weekly driving time regulations are in place, as well as required 30-minute driving breaks. 

Conditions on the roads themselves add to the difficulties of driving any form of vehicle. As big trucks cross states regularly and sometimes the country, the number of driving conditions they experience increases drastically. Throughout the year, driving conditions decline for those on the road depending on their geographical location. For example, one may assume driving in the summer is easier; however, in places like the South, the summer is storm season, triggering large gusts of wind and heavy rainfall for hours on end. In areas further North, snow and ice play a considerable role in causing vehicle crashes of all sorts during the fall and winter months, especially for big trucks that fall victim to lack of brake control due to their already heavy loads. Even in the Spring, there are forms of big truck driving that occur on frozen roads, and the melting of these roads kills many big truck operators yearly. Vehicle operators must keep in mind quick tips to keep them informed about the roads that they travel. For example, a road becomes more slippery when rainfall first falls than during the rainfall itself. Also, a tire loses grip on roads that just recently received rainfall that has subsided. 

Regulations for big truck operators stand as the greatest chance to protect both their operators and others on the road. The weight of a big truck stands as one of the most important factors to monitor regularly. One of the techniques that regulators use is weigh-stations, used as exits on the side of interstate travel. While on the interstate, big trucks may receive a notification over the radio to pull into the next nearest weigh station to be checked out by state regulators based on the size of their load. Frequently, big truck companies overload their big trucks to decrease the number of trips overall or save money. However, these heavier loads place more significant pressure on the big truck’s tires and create a more substantial risk than reward. In a staggering study, it was observed that big trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds were involved in a 330 percent increase of crashes that occurred on the road. One can only imagine the damage of a 10,000-pound vehicle falling over or colliding with another moving or immobile object. If a big truck pulls into a weigh station and fails to fall within compliance weight, they may be ticketed or lose a part of their load before being allowed to travel back onto the interstate safely. Weigh stations are essential measures taken by each state to protect their operators and those behind the wheel of big trucks. 

Of course, it is vital to remember that regular vehicles on the road pose the same risks to truck operators when driving under the influence or without proper sleep. In addition, reckless forms of driving contribute to large portions of crashes as well. Speeding by regular vehicle operators or truck operators remains the number one explanation behind why these collisions occur, in front of the second most common reason, distracted driving. Unfortunately, distracted driving has evolved over the last 20 years due to the advancement of technology in our everyday lives. Things like smartphones and tablets loaded with games and social media are consuming the lives of many Americans due to the high volumes of intriguing information in one place. It is just as likely, to see a driver distracted by viewing social media while operating a vehicle than just texting or talking on the phone alone. The excellent news about technological advancement is that it occurs in all categories as we continue to progress. For example, new developments in cars and trucks exist to discourage vehicle operators from operating while distracted by their phones. Apps and newly created phone settings disable phone notifications from occurring while operators are on the road. Overall, the driving world contains an unlimited amount of distractions; still, it remains the responsibility of both the car and truck operators to refrain from participating in these dangerous activities simultaneously.  

Unfortunately, trucking accidents occur daily, and it remains our job to keep you informed on the factors that play a part in these tragic events. The more informed you are, the better you can plan to act or react to a potentially life-changing event near you. Although they are common, trucking afflictions should not be seen as usual. It is up to us to practice driving as safely as possible for the sake of our own health and the health of those around us. If you find yourself or someone you care about amid a trucking accident, we may be able to help. Trucking accidents may stand tall due to their consequences, but we vow to stand taller to get you the knowledge and support you need. Here at the Cochran Firm, we stand to represent both the standard vehicle operators AND the big truck operators because ALL lives are valued the same.

Why Choose The Cochran Firm 

The attorneys at The Cochran Firm are among the nation’s most successful and tenacious attorneys. When navigating through the legal process, you deserve to have an experienced attorney by your side. The Cochran Firm attorneys know how to fight for you. 

Here at The Cochran Firm, our experienced attorneys are ready to help you or someone you love pursuing a truck accident claim. Our attorneys work closely with each of our clients using pooled resources and their access to legal expertise to ensure the most effective legal representation available is provided. 

You need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer who has proven successful results in other similar cases to guide you through the process and help you to receive the monetary damages you are entitled to under the law. At The Cochran Firm, we have the offices, the experience, the results, and the resources to aid clients throughout the United States. Please contact the wrongful death attorneys at The Cochran Firm today for your free, no-obligation initial consultation today.

Kentucky Will Receive $1.2 Million of a $75 Million Bristol-Myers Squibb Settlement

Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and a multi-state coalition of attorneys general in a settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (Bristol-Myers) for overcharging state Medicaid programs for drugs.

Under the settlement, the pharmaceutical manufacturer has agreed to pay $75 Million to resolve these allegations.

The Kentucky Medicaid Program will receive $1,274,861.61 in restitution and other recovery.

“Medicaid fraud harms Kentucky Medicaid beneficiaries and taxpayers,” said Cameron. “In this case, we partnered with the DOJ and other state Medicaid Programs to investigate allegations of fraud and to stop Bristol-Myers from defrauding Kentucky’s Medicaid Program. We are pleased that our efforts returned over $1.2 million to Kentucky’s Medicaid Program.”

Read the source article at Home – ABC 36 News