Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Occupational licensure roundup

Labor and employment roundup

Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • In Mississippi, a “mother has been forbidden from any contact with her newborn for 14 of the 18 months the child has been alive” because of unpaid misdemeanor fines [Radley Balko, WLBT/MSNewsNow; judge has now resigned, but similar practices reported to be common] Is Biloxi going to do better? [ABA Journal]
  • “They … didn’t give it back”: outrageous tales of asset forfeiture from Alabama [Connor Sheets, AL.com]
  • Efforts afoot in Lansing to write down nearly $595 million in unpaid Michigan drivers’ fees [Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business] Warren, Mich., residents invited to turn in neighbors on suspicion, win bounties from forfeiture funds [Scott Shackford]
  • Ethical red flags: maker of heroin-cessation compound “marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials.” [Jake Harper, NPR]
  • In Craighead County, Arkansas, private probation firms sue judges who cut them out of the process [Andrew Cohen, The Marshall Project]
  • From Ohio “mayor’s courts” to asset forfeiture, prosecution for profit imperils due process [Jacob Sullum]

Medical roundup

  • New Mercatus report on certificate-of-need laws, which operate to suppress competition in health care;
  • “Hospitals don’t dispense perfectly safe but expired drugs because that may expose them to regulatory penalties or lawsuits.” [Mike Riggs, Reason]
  • California unions push law setting minimum staffing requirements for dialysis centers [L.A. Times]
  • Glaxo neither made nor sold the pill he took, jury tells it to pay $3 million anyway [Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times]
  • Maryland and Michigan suits seek to characterize patient falls as non-medical negligence; Kentucky suit aims to avoid medical review panel requirement [Andis Robeznieks, AMA Wire]
  • “Ohio Drug Price Initiative Gives Taxpayer Money to Unnecessary Lawyers” [Hans Bader, CEI]

Environment roundup

  • Seattle will ban restaurants from giving plastic straws [Christian Britschgi]
  • Big money in climate inquisition? Lawyers with contingency-fee role in AGs’ carbon campaign join Hagens Berman [Scott Flaherty, American Lawyer; earlier on climate lawyers on contingency fee here and here]
  • Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 2008, includes entries on urban planning by Mark Pennington and on eminent domain and takings by Karol Boudreaux;
  • California legislature’s $1.5 billion green Christmas tree includes bill “aimed at helping a union looking to organize workers who assemble Tesla electric cars in Fremont” [AP]
  • Michigan AG Schuette indicts state human services chief Nick Lyon in Flint water case, and a prominent Democrat and Republican both take exception to that [Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press (former AG Frank Kelley); Maura Corrigan]
  • “You Should Be Able to Vindicate Federal Property Rights in Federal Court” [Ilya Shapiro and Meggan DeWitt, Cato on Wayside Church v. Van Buren County]

Michigan, D.C. consider bounties for turning in those who underpay taxes

While expanding year by year, the complex of federal and state False Claims Act/whistleblowing laws often has exempted tax filings from the broad incentive provided to denounce others for “false claims” made to the government, often in a contract or program administration context. But new bills sponsored in the District of Columbia by Councilwoman Mary Cheh and in Michigan by Senator Steven Bieda would apply the bounty system to the tax area, starting, at least, with larger taxpayers. [Stephen P. Kranz, Diann Smith, and Eric Carstens, McDermott, Will, & Emery] We’ve covered some of the problems with laws rewarding tax tipsters in states like New York and Illinois here and here. On the latter story, note an update: a court has denied fees to attorney Stephen Diamond in a case in which he was both the relator and relator’s attorney. “Diamond has served as relator in about 1,000 qui tam actions over the last 15 years. A recent investigation by Bloomberg BNA revealed Diamond has collected almost $12 million through this pattern of litigation.” [Michael Bologna, BNA Daily Tax Report]

Medical roundup

  • “Apple Watch can detect an early sign of heart disease…. Apple has been communicating privately with the FDA for years about medical devices and so far the FDA has taken a light touch to Apple but these issues are coming to a head.” [Tyler Cowen]
  • “[Investor] lawsuits targeting life sciences firms jumped 70 percent from 2014, according to a survey provided earlier this year by Dechert.” [Amanda Bronstad, New York Law Journal]
  • Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signs medical malpractice reforms into law [Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register]
  • Summing up what is known re: talc and ovarian cancer as background to jury’s $105 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson [BBC (in story’s second half), earlier here, here, and here]
  • $5,300 for an MRI that would cost Medicaid $500? Personal attendants for crash victims, even the ones well enough to participate in mixed martial arts? All part of Michigan no-fault crash system [Detroit Free Press investigative series, see yesterday’s post]
  • Dear D.C.: ditch the FDA deeming regs and let vaping save smokers’ lives [Jeff Stier/Henry Miller, NRO, Tony Abboud/The Hill (vaping trade association), Juliet Eilperin/Washington Post (FDA temporarily suspends enforcement)]

Detroit Free Press investigates crash-claim abuse

“Detroit drivers face the highest average auto insurance rates in the country, often more than $3,000 a year for a single vehicle,” while residents of Michigan as a whole pay the third highest rates of any state. A Detroit Free Press investigation by J.C. Reindl and others “finds that runaway medical bills, disability benefits payouts and lawsuits under Michigan’s one-of-a-kind, no-fault insurance system play a key role in driving up costs.” One key difference: of the twelve states that mandate no-fault insurance, only Michigan provides for unlimited lifetime benefits.

Some findings from the series:

* “Ambulance chasing” and solicitation thrive notwithstanding laws intended to curb those practices. Despite privacy rules governing police reports and hospital admissions, for example, those involved in crashes are often solicited within hours, then signed up with law firms that later disavow any knowledge of solicitation. And how did an accident treatment clinic in suburban Detroit come to be owned by a California and Florida plastic surgeon noted for appearing on “The Real Housewives of Orange County” who seldom visited?

* While crashes in Wayne County (Detroit) declined from 72,227 to 50,548 between 2003 and 2015, “first-party” lawsuits — against one’s own insurance company for no-fault benefits — increased from 1,699 to 6,327 and negligence suits against other drivers from 2,527 to 3,435. Many “first-party” claims, of course, are paid without anyone filing suit, which is how no-fault law contemplated would be normal practice;

* Auto insurers have launched racketeering lawsuits aimed at proving forms of collusive fraud. Unlike many states, Michigan has no official watchdog charged primarily with combating auto claims fraud.

* “Defenders of the current system include the powerful Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault, made up of trial lawyers, medical clinics, disability advocates and, until recently, the state’s hospital lobby.”

* Other states’ approaches to containing no-fault costs.

Shoveling snow off Detroit sidewalks for pay? Get a license

“Detroit licenses about 60 occupations, imposing extra fees and requirements on top of existing Michigan licenses for about half of these occupations. The other half of the occupations that Detroit licenses are not licensed by the state at all.” Window washers (who must pay $72 per year), sidewalk shovelers, dry cleaners, and furniture movers are all licensed. Because Detroit piles such hefty fees and additional regulations on plumbers beyond those of Michigan, “there are only 58 licensed plumbers in the whole city.” The system squeezes workers for cash, excludes newcomers, and harms consumers. But it’s not inevitable: “Last year, Wisconsin passed a bill that stopped local governments from creating new occupational licenses or levying additional fees.” [Jared Meyer on Jarrett Skorup Mackinac Center study]