Posting videos of yourself to YouTube, for example, is definitely not a good idea, at least unless they are consistent with the disability you are claiming. “Don’t go climbing trees or fixing your roof in public. And certainly do not upload to YouTube a video that shows you half-naked and covered in tinfoil, doing ‘the robot’ to the tune of Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride.’” [Slate, Utah A.G.'s office] More on “dubious disability”: Lee Habeeb, NRO. Earlier on growth of federal Social Security Disability payments here and here.
A Florida cardiologist has been sentenced to six years in federal prison and ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution after serving to review the echocardiograms of more than 1,100 prospective claimants on a fen-phen settlement trust fund; many of the claimants he diagnosed were not in fact ill. “The physician was also to be compensated $1,500 for each claimant who qualified for benefits when that person’s claim was paid, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which prosecuted the case.” At trial, he testified “that his medical reports had been forged by the mass tort lawyer who had hired him on a contingency fee basis, the record states.” As I observed in The Litigation Explosion, medicine, like law, is a profession in which the prohibition of contingency or success fees developed early, in large part because it was expected that such fees would work to the benefit of dishonest practice. [Penn Record]
It’s behind a paywall, but TortsProf has a few highlights. Some lawyers are battling to stave off transparency that could catch out counsel and clients who tell inconsistent stories from one case to the next in the course of squeezing maximum payouts from bankruptcy trusts set up to handle claims against asbestos defendants; the trusts themselves have extensive managerial ties to leading plaintiff’s-side firms.
Because Washington knows best: “U.S. ban sought on cell phone use while driving” [Reuters, earlier here, here, here, etc.] Morehere; and LaHood spokesman says Reuters overstated his boss’s position.
Janice Brown’s Hettinga opinion: Lithwick can’t abide “starkly ideological” judging of this sort, except of course when she favors it [Root, earlier] At Yale law conclave, legal establishment works itself into hysterical froth over individual mandate case [Michael Greve] And David Bernstein again corrects some Left commentators regarding the standing of child labor under the pre-New Deal Constitution;
Latest antiquities battle: Feds, Sotheby’s fight over 1,000-year-old Khmer statue probably removed from Cambodia circa 1960s [VOA, Kent Davis]
Sebelius surprised by firestorm over religious (non-) exemption, hadn’t sought written opinions as to whether it was constitutional [Becket, Maguire] Obamanauts misread the views of many Catholics on health care mandate [Potemra, NRO]
“20 Years for Standing Her Ground Against a Violent Husband” [Jacob Sullum] How Trayvon Martin story moved through the press [Poynter] And Reuters’ profile of George Zimmerman is full of details one wishes reporters had brought out weeks ago;
Coaching accident fraud is bad enough, making off with client funds lends that extra squalid touch [NYLJ]
“A New York lawyer busted a trio of Hungarian scammers trying to fake the death of a 5-year-old girl and her mom aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship. … ‘Even after they were busted, they said “we would have gotten away with it” if the neighbor [posing as a grandmother] hadn’t embellished the story and said the girl was missing too,’ [attorney Peter] Ronai said.” [NY Daily News] “‘They’re called “jump-ons.” It’s normal, this is just on a grander scale,’ Ronai said. ‘People will do horrible things for money.’” [UPI]
There was weirdly little resistance when a scamster named Kevin Waltzer and his associates posed as investors and defrauded three securities class action settlement funds of more than $40 million. How about better verification mechanisms? [Trask, Trentonian]
“Prosecutors say a group of top lawyers and doctors conspired to collect millions in inflated damages by pushing accident victims into dubious surgery.” Riveting, detail-filled account of the alleged involvement of numerous Nevada lawyers and as many as 20 doctors in what prosecutors say was boldly and systematically organized misconduct, with even some sectors of the judiciary in the state at best cowed by the scheme’s managers. An elegant touch: physicians who played ball are said to have been assured protection from malpractice suits from many feared attorneys, while those not in on the scheme appear in some cases to have been at extra peril. This looks to be one of the year’s most important ventures into investigative journalism on the underside of litigation — don’t even think of missing it [Katherine Eban, Fortune, Aug. 19] More: discussed by Darleen Click and commenters, Protein Wisdom.
William Cunningham of Stockbridge, Ga. “spiked his children’s soup with prescription drugs and lighter fluid in a plot to get money from Campbell’s Soup in 2006. They nearly died.” [WSB Atlanta; earlier here].
“Five of 12 Fayette residents charged in a joint FBI and IRS criminal investigation have pleaded guilty, and one more is expected to plead guilty this week, U.S. Assistant Attorney John Dowdy said. … Each resident received a $250,000 settlement from the drug maker. Court documents show some of the defendants purchased automobiles, including a new Jaguar, and one bought a mobile home.” One of the defendants — not the one who bought the Jag — is described by her lawyer as just your ordinary Sunday School teacher. (Jimmie E. Gates, “Fraud pleas may mean jail, forfeiture”, Jackson Clarion Ledger, Nov. 7). See Oct. 20 and links from there.
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