Updating a couple of stories recently covered here on Overlawyered:
- First rule of damage control: when you’re in a hole, stop digging. A few weeks ago, we mentioned the West Virginia Attorney General Medicaid scandal (May 19) in which AG Darrell McGraw took it upon himself to spend state funds that he had recovered from Purdue Pharma after suing them for selling Oxycontin. This upset both the federal government, which argues that it has a legal right to some of these funds, and the state legislature, which felt that it should decide how to appropriate state funds. McGraw appears unapologetic and unworried about the federal investigation, but his office did promise the legislature that he would stop spending money. Now LegalNewsline reports that he’s going back on that promise:
Despite promises and a federal investigation, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw on Wednesday handed out even more of the settlement funds gained in a 2004 agreement with Purdue Pharma.
McGraw gave $75,000 to the Kanawha Valley Fellowship Home, which will use the money for its drug treatment and education program. He says the program will affect 20 counties.
The real problem here is not that the state legislature is annoyed — that’s local politics. The real problem is that if the federal government decides that it is entitled to a share of this money, the state is going to have to come up with millions of dollars to give to the federal government — money that McGraw already spent.
- Three weeks ago, we noted that a prominent anonymous medical blogger, “Flea,” was liveblogging his malpractice trial, and we discussed the ramifications for Flea’s case. A few hours after we posted about this, Flea stopped — presumably after his attorney had a fit. But apparently that was at least a few hours, or a few weeks, too late; Flea had left enough clues to enable the plaintiff’s lawyer to figure out that Flea is Robert Lindeman, and she questioned him about it on the stand:
With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.
The next morning, on May 15, he agreed to pay what members of Boston’s tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement — case closed.
The Globe also quotes a trial lawyer as claiming that the plaintiff’s attorney “had telegraphed that she was ready to share Lindeman’s blog — containing his unvarnished views of lawyers, jurors, and the legal process — with the jury,” although it’s not clear to me how his views of lawyers, jurors, and the legal process would be relevant to a medical-malpractice case.
Incidentally, Flea’s blog is apparently now totally kaput.