A question of consent: “The case has produced no evidence thus far that the couple’s love faded, that Donna failed to recognize her husband or that she asked that he not touch her, said Rayhons’ son Dale Rayhons, a paramedic and the family’s unofficial spokesman.” Mrs. Rayhons, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, is dead now and can’t testify. “In interviews, Rayhons said his life and reputation are already ruined. … He says he’s most distraught about being kept from Donna during the last weeks of her life.” [Bryan Gruley, Bloomberg, via @amyalkon] (& Scott Greenfield, Eugene Volokh)
- Furious over EEOC attack on wellness programs, CEOs threaten to suspend their support for ObamaCare [Reuters] Had it been common knowledge that CEOs covertly support ObamaCare, then? And isn’t the EEOC formally an independent agency not answerable to White House directives?
- If more editors handled situations this way, readers would think better of the press: Annalee Newitz of io9 offers “apology and analysis” for running tendentious, ill-reported article attacking animal-based research;
- Success of personal injury litigation is reshaping nursing home business in some states [WSJ]
- “With the Advent of Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in California, Here are a Few Sick Leave Excuses” [Coyote, related Massachusetts]
- Really, it’s not a shock-scandal that rules for human-subjects research might be written by actual scientists [Zachary Schrag, IRB Blog]
- In combating diseases of poverty, you’d think economic growth would top the list of remedies [Bryan Caplan]
- Judge slices $9 billion punitive Actos award against Takeda and Lilly by 99% [Bloomberg, earlier]
- “Grubergate, the Mini-Series” [Michael Cannon; more from Cannon on Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in King v. Burwell ObamaCare case]
Had you heard that disabled-rights activists have staged demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to protest a new Obama administration initiative? Not only that, but the disabled-rights activists are right.
At issue is an awful scheme by the Obama Labor Department, newly headed by Secretary Thomas Perez, to abolish most of the “companionship exemption” to federal wage and hour laws, which has up to now reasonably recognized that serving as a live-in or semi-live-in paid attendant to a sick, elderly or disabled person is not really the same sort of thing as working twelve-hour days on a factory assembly line. I’ve got a new post at Cato at Liberty looking at some of the consequences we can expect from making it far more expensive to provide a kind of round-the-clock care that often keeps people out of nursing homes. More: Bloomberg.
Some background on the controversy, beyond the links in the Cato post: National Council on Disability (a federal disability-advocacy agency that was not entirely prepared to toe the line in favor of the new regs); Stephen Miller, Society for Human Resource Management; Kaiser Health News; Disability Law (“disability rights groups… fear that substantially raising the cost of personal assistance services without increasing Medicaid reimbursements will force people with disabilities into nursing homes”); PHI and Direct Care Alliance (promoting regs); National Association for Home Care and Hospice and more (commercial group opposed); ADAPT (disability rights group opposed).
After all, what if something should go wrong? Following a resident’s death, a California senior facility defends its “protocol” of ordering nurses to stand by for rescue personnel rather than perform CPR themselves [L.A. Times]
More: Plenty of pushback from readers, including warnings that CPR is not necessarily an appropriate or desired intervention in the resident’s situation, even in an independent-living arrangement in the absence of a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. The resident’s family has expressed satisfaction with the senior facility’s actions and says it has no plans to sue. More: ABA Journal, White Coat.
- McDonald’s worker complains she’s not paid $15/hour, but there’s a logical problem with that [David Henderson]
- EEOC Phoenix office signs pact with Mexican consulates to curb discrimination against illegals [EEOC press release]
- “Former Lawmaker (and Ex-Felon) Urges Connecticut To Ban Discrimination Against Felons in 2013” [Daniel Schwartz]
- Connecticut: “NLRB sues to reinstate union saboteurs at nursing homes” [Gehrke, DC Examiner, Schwartz, Jillian Kay Melchior/NRO, earlier on pols that enable the strikers] More: Ivan Osorio.
- OSHA after clerk robbery: “handling money, working alone and standing behind open counters” expose employer to violations [OSHA press release]
- “N.D. Ill.: Under ADAAA, Asthma Triggered by Strong Perfume Might Be Disability” [Bagenstos]
- “Worker centers” allow organizers to dodge the legal responsibilities owed to workers by actual labor unions [Stefan Marculewicz and Jennifer Thomas, Fed Soc]
The uproar continues, and quite properly so (earlier here and here), over the threats of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago alderman Proco (“Joe”) Moreno to exclude the Chick-Fil-A fast-food chain because they disagree (as do I) with some of the views of its owner. Among the latest commentary, the impeccably liberal Boston Globe has sided with the company in an editorial (“which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand?…A city in which business owners must pass a political litmus test is the antithesis of what the Freedom Trail represents”), as has my libertarian colleague Tom Palmer at Cato (“Mayor Menino is no friend of human rights.”)
The spectacle of a national business being threatened with denial of local licenses because of its views on a national controversy is bad enough. But “don’t offend well-organized groups” is only Rule #2 for a business that regularly needs licenses, approvals and permissions. Rule #1 is “don’t criticize the officials in charge of granting the permissions.” Can you imagine if Mr. Dan Cathy had been quoted in an interview as saying “Boston has a mediocre if not incompetent Mayor, and the Chicago Board of Aldermen is an ethics scandal in continuous session.” How long do you think it would take for his construction permits to get approved then?
Thus it is that relatively few businesses are willing to criticize the agencies that regulate them in any outspoken way (see, e.g.: FDA and pharmaceutical industry, the), or to side with pro-business groups that seriously antagonize many wielders of political power (see, e.g., the recent exodus of corporate members from the American Legislative Exchange Council).
A few weeks ago I noted the case of Maryland’s South Mountain Creamery, which contends through an attorney (though the U.S. Attorney for Maryland denies it) that it was offered less favorable terms in a plea deal because it had talked to the press in statements that wound up garnering bad publicity for the prosecutors. After that item, reader Robert V. wrote in as follows:
Your recent article about the [U.S. Attorney for Maryland] going after the dairy farmers reminded me a case in New York state where the Health Department closed down a nursing home in Rochester. They claim is was because of poor care, the owner claims it was because he spoke out against the DOH.
The state just lost a lawsuit where the jury found the DOH targeted the nursing home operator because he spoke out against them.
According to Democrat and Chronicle reporters Gary Craig and Steve Orr, the jury found state health officials had engaged in a “vendetta” against the nursing home owner:
Beechwood attorneys maintained that an email and document trail showed that Department of Health officials singled out Chambery for retribution because he had sparred with them in the past over regulatory issues. The lawsuit hinged on a Constitutional argument — namely that the state violated Chambery’s First Amendment rights by targeting him for his challenges to their operation.
The Second Circuit panel opinion in 2006 permitting Chambery/ Beechwood’s retaliation claim to go forward is here. It took an extremely long time for the nursing home operators to get their case to a jury; the state closed them down in 1999 and the facility was sold at public auction in 2002.
- Reforms billed as loser-pays advance in Texas, but they’re very scaled-down [WSJ, WLF and more, Legal Blog Watch, Wood/PoL, Cary Gray/Houston Chronicle, WSJ Law Blog, earlier]
- “Refutation of Toyota sudden acceleration hysteria doesn’t stop Toyota sudden acceleration litigation” [Ted at PoL]
- “Five Questions With Legal Scholar Richard Epstein” [Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller; his views on Title IX]
- Employers glad for small favors: “Refusing to Hire Applicant Who Fails Drug Test Not an ADA Violation” [Robin Weideman, California Labor and Employment Law Blog; Ninth Circuit]
- “Study Shows Litigation Doesn’t Improve Nursing Home Safety” [Studdert et al, NEJM via Daniel Fisher]
- Risperdal? No thanks: “Mother battles Michigan over daughter’s medication” [AP]
- Personal-injury litigation plummets in Australia following enactment of state-level reforms [seven years ago on Overlawyered]
- Verbal fireworks from Judge Kozinski in Ninth Circuit “stolen valor” case [Above the Law]
- Measure of artificially contrived scarcity: “NYC Taxi Medallions Approach $1 Million.” Would officials in Washington, D.C. really consider introducing such a destructive system? [Perry, more]
- Workers’ comp OK’d in case where simulated chicken head blamed for subsequent emotional disability [Lowering the Bar]
- “NBA referee sues sports writer over tweet” [Siouxsie Law] “Lessons from Dan Snyder’s Libel Suit” [Paul Alan Levy/CL&P, earlier]
- Litigation rates similar for poor and good nursing homes, researchers find [US News] Effects of medical liability reform in Texas [White Coat, scroll] New York’s Cuomo caves on medical liability plan [Heritage] Sued if you do, sued if you don’t in the emergency room [same]
- “Federal Government Wants to Bully School Bullies, and Demands School Help” [Doherty, Bader, Popehat, Bernstein] New York law firm launches school-bullying practice [Constitutional Daily]
- Mass tort settlements: “The market for specious claims” [S. Todd Brown, Buffalo, SSRN]
- Could Gene McCarthy’s candidacy have survived Arizona elections law? [Trevor Burrus, HuffPo]
- “Court Vacates $99,000 Fee to Counsel for Plaintiff Who Won $650” [NJLJ]
- Libel-suit target: “Author Simon Singh Puts Up a Fight in the War on Science” [Wired]
- No, they weren’t “worst”: RIP injury lawyer who hyped “10 Worst Toys” list each Christmas [WSJ Law Blog]
- New credit card regulations squeeze small business [John Berlau letter in Washington Post]
- District attorney’s case intake desk should screen out many unjust prosecutions, but often doesn’t [Greenfield]
- AGs’ campaign to drive sex pros off Craigslist has failure built in [William Saletan, Slate; LNL; Declan McCullagh]
- “Nursing Home Company Settles $677 Million Lawsuit for $50 Million” [AP]
- “Judge accused of sexual harassment once helped women sue” [Orlando Sentinel]