Utah Reached $360M Settlement Over Gold King Mine Spill

Utah will reap million of dollars’ worth of environmental cleanup and monitoring benefits in a “landmark” agreement arising from the disastrous 2015 Gold King mine spill.

On Wednesday, officials announced a deal to settle Utah’s claims against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency associated with the massive spill from the breach that washed tons of toxic waste out of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and into the Beehive State via the San Juan River.

The Aug. 5, 2015, disaster sparked dozens of claims against the federal government, with Utah’s the largest at $1.9 billion. In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes alleged the spill deposited tons of toxic metals in the state’s waterways and Lake Powell, resulting in a costly cleanup and disrupting the lives of San Juan County residents.

Read the source article at Salt Lake Tribune

Zimbabwe Will Pay $3.5B To White Farmers for Land Settlement

Zimbabwe has agreed to a hefty billion-dollar settlement to White farmers who had their land expropriated by the government to resettle Black families.

Over two decades ago, Robert Mugabe’s administration evicted 4,500 White farmers to redistribute over 300,000 Black families as a way to address the effects of colonization from European settlers.

“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing White farmers, to Reuters. The issue surrounding the land rights was one of Mugabe’s signature policies that caused a great deal of backlash from Western governments, which imposed heavy sanctions as punishment.

Read the source article at Home – Black Enterprise

BP Settlement Checks are Going to More than 1M Oregonians

Attorney General and Oregon Consumer Justice let recipients know checks are legitimate

SALEM — You may have already received it. Over the next few weeks, more than 1 million Oregonians who used a debit card to buy gas at Oregon ARCO and am/pm gas stations between Jan. 1, 2011, and Aug. 30, 2013, will receive a check in the mail for $94.42. The nonprofit organization Oregon Consumer Justice, in partnership with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of the Oregon Department of Justice, wants the public to know that the checks are not a scam. They are a settlement from a class action lawsuit against BP.

 

Read the source article at The World

Wells Fargo Gets the Go Ahead for $79M Settlement

After three years of litigation, Wells Fargo’s $79 million class action settlement to resolve allegations that it illegally made thousands of former employees forfeit deferred compensation is final.

Judge Joseph F. Anderson’s order approving the settlement awarded $19.75 million, or 25% of the settlement fund, plus $390,053, for fees and costs to Motley Rice LLC, Ajamie LLP, and Izard, Kindall & Raabe LLP for their roles as class counsel. Representative Robert Barry will receive a case contribution award of $10,000.

The settlement, worth approximately $31,000 per class member, was fair in light of litigation risks and disputes over whether the agreements constituted so-called “top hat” plans, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina said Wednesday.

Read the source article at news.bloomberglaw.com

$40M Settlement Announced By SEC in Florida Teacher Pension Case

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a $40 million civil settlement with a financial adviser it says violated the rules in promoting retirement investments to Florida teachers.

The SEC order says the company, Valic Financial Advisors, “failed to disclose to certain Florida teachers who were potential and actual clients that VFA’s parent, The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, doing business under the AIG Retirement Services, Inc. brand (“VALIC”), was providing cash and other financial benefits to a for-profit company owned by Florida K-12 teachers’ unions.”

The order also says, “three full-time VALIC employees, called Member Benefit Coordinators (“MBCs”), were deceptively identified as the Teachers Union Entity’s employees, instead of as VALIC employees, at various retirement planning seminars and benefit events attended by K-12 teachers and referred K-12 teachers to VFA for investment advisory services. VFA’s conduct constituted a course of business which operated as a fraud or deceit upon clients and prospective clients.”

Read the source article at Education Next

Judge Approves SeaWorld’s $65M Settlement Over ‘Blackfish’

Six years after SeaWorld Entertainment was sued for allegedly deceiving stockholders about the damaging impact the “Blackfish” documentary was having on theme park attendance, a federal judge on Friday approved a $65-million payout to aggrieved investors.

Although a settlement of the 2014 class-action lawsuit was reached in February, it could not go into effect until it was formally approved by U.S. District Judge Michael Anello, who issued his written opinion Friday.

Concluding that the settlement is “fair, reasonable and adequate,” Anello pointed out that the “plaintiffs correctly identify the $65,000,000 settlement amount as ‘significant by any measure’ and note that it ‘represents a meaningful percentage of the Class’s maximum potentially recoverable aggregate damages.’”

As part of the settlement, SeaWorld does not admit any wrongdoing.

Read the source article at latimes.com

Washington Post Settles $250M Lawsuit with Kentucky Teen

A Kentucky teen and The Washington Post have settled a lawsuit over the newspaper’s coverage of his encounter with a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington last year.

The teen’s lawyers said on social media Friday that they reached an undisclosed settlement with the paper. The order of dismissal from U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman said the two parties agreed to the dismissal, with each side paying its own costs.

Nicholas Sandmann, an 18-year-old student at Covington Catholic High School, sued the newspaper for $250 million, alleging that it had engaged in “targeting and bullying” and modern “McCarthyism.”

Read the source article at Jewish News

Facebook Agrees to $650M Facial Recognition Settlement

Facebook has agreed to pay a total of $650 million in a landmark class action lawsuit over the company’s unauthorized use of facial recognition, a new court filing shows.

The filing represents a revised settlement that increases the total payout by $100 million and comes after a federal judge balked at the original proposal on the grounds it did not adequately punish Facebook.

The settlement covers any Facebook user in Illinois whose picture appeared on the site after 2011. According to the new document, those users can each expect to receive between $200 and $400 depending on how many people file a claim.

The case represents one of the biggest payouts for privacy violations to date, and contrasts sharply with other settlements such as that for the notorious data breach at Equifax—for which victims are expected to received almost nothing.

 

Read the source article at Fortune

Novartis Whistleblower to Receive $109.4M of $678M Settlement

Oswald Bilotta blew the whistle on Novartis’ alleged doctor kickback scheme while working as a sales rep at the Swiss drugmaker, leading to U.S. government intervention in a lawsuit in 2013.

Now, as Novartis has agreed to resolve the case by paying a $678 million settlement, Bilotta stands to get $109.4 million, plus additional interest, for his role as the whistleblower, according to a court filing on Wednesday.

The award represents a handsome 18.5% of the amount the government is getting from the Novartis settlement, net of $38.4 million in forfeiture and $48.2 million for state Medicaid claims.

According to the complaint, Novartis set up sham speaker programs as venues for paying physicians kickbacks to boost scripts of its drugs Lotrel, Valturna, Starlix, Tekturna, Tekamlo, Diovan and Exforge. These events often involved lavish meals, fishing trips and other entertainment, according to the suit.

Read the source article at Pharma News

Nassau County Jury Returns $1.45 Million Verdict for Client of Pegalis Law Group

New Hyde Park, July 2020… On March 16, 2020, in one of the last civil jury verdicts due to the Corona virus, a Nassau County jury returned a $1.45 million verdict against Dr. Louis Tiger—a Massapequa physician—in favor of the Estate of Alexandra Hernandez—a 52 year old wife and mother. According to trial attorney Robert V. Fallarino of Pegalis Law Group, “The jury found the doctor negligent for failing to perform a simple blood test to evaluate Alexandra’s kidney function, before giving her an injection of Reclast to strengthen her bones. This is a very common treatment for post-menopause osteoporosis, but it is known to cause kidney damage if given to at-risk women.” A kidney function blood test is the only way to know if a patient is at-risk and is required to be obtained before infusing the medication. Dr. Tiger’s failure to take this simple safety check caused Mrs. Hernandez to go into kidney failure, thereby requiring a respirator, dialysis and additional treatments for all of the injuries caused by the doctor’s malpractice. Although she came off the respirator for a short time, Alexandra continued to deteriorate because of the Reclast induced kidney injury. This led to a cascade of events that culminated in her death, after being in the hospital for almost two months. 

The trial took over three weeks in front of Nassau County Supreme Court Justice: Hon. Jeffrey Brown. The jury heard the testimony of experts in Rheumatology from a Harvard-affiliated hospital, a Nephrologist from the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a kidney Pathologist from NYU Langone Hospital. These experts explained what must occur before a doctor can give someone Reclast. They described how Alexandra’s kidney biopsy showed the exact injuries you would expect from Reclast, and how she languished and died, just as someone who got Reclast would, when they should not have. 

After coming back to Nassau County Supreme Court—as all non-essential court business was suspended and despite concerns about the Corona virus—the Jury spent more than one day deliberating before rendering the verdict in favor of this Nassau County woman, her husband and family. In addition to the $1.45 million verdict, the parties stipulated to some medical expenses and economic damages that will add at least another $350,000 to the verdict. Robert V. Fallarino presented to the jury that this was a very simple case involving the failure of Dr. Tiger to simply use the known and accepted safety check. Mr. Fallarino explained that what happened to his client after the drug was given might seem very complicated at first, but the failure by the doctor was very simple, and very tragic. 

About Us: Pegalis Law Group, LLC is a New York law firm for those suffering as a result of preventable medical errors and personal injury. For nearly 50 years, we have won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in state history. We strive for medical accountability by advocating for clients and through public education, to ensure safer medical practices for better patient care. Visit us at Pegalislawgroup.com and on YouTubeTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.