California official sues maker of Humira, alleging kickbacks

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The state of California is suing AbbVie Inc. over its flagship drug, Humira, alleging the pharmaceutical company gave kickbacks to healthcare providers.

Reuters reported in mid-September on the complaint, brought by  Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

“The regulator alleged that AbbVie engaged in a far-reaching scheme including cash, meals, drinks, gifts, trips, and patient referrals, as well as free and valuable professional goods and services to physicians to induce and reward Humira prescriptions,” Reuters reported.

“The case, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, alleged that private insurers have paid out $1.2 billion in Humira-related pharmacy claims.”

AbbVie defended its actions, saying it complies with state and federal law and that “it provides a number of support services for patients, once they are prescribed Humira, that both educate and assist patients with their therapy, including nursing support.”


Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts for trademark infringement

Photo credit: From North Charleston, SC, United States [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Scouts are on the outs.

National Public Radio reports that the Girl Scouts of the USA filed a federal lawsuit “accusing the Boy Scouts of trademark infringement.”

The dispute started last October, “when the Boy Scouts said it would start allowing girls to join its programs,” NPR reports.

The Boy Scouts of America explained its policy in a summary sheet.

“Cub Scouting is organized in packs and dens. In 2018, an existing pack may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls. Cub Scout packs, meanwhile, can include any combination of all-boy or all-girl dens,” the Boy Scouts explained.

NPR noted that Girl Scouts National President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan accused the Boy Scouts’ national president at the time, Randall Stephenson, “of carrying out a ‘covert campaign’ to recruit girls.”

“We are confused as to why, rather than working to appeal to the 90 percent of boys who are not involved in BSA programs, you would choose to target girls,” Hannan wrote.

Due to customer agreements, scooter companies could steer around lawsuits

Photo Credit: Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune as reported in The San Diego Union-Tribune on 11/5/18.

Scooter makers face legal action filed on behalf of injured riders, but contracts with customers could shield the companies, according to reporting out of California.

Attorney Catherine Lerer with McGee, Lerer & Associates filed a class action lawsuit against scooter companies Lime and Bird last month “alleging, among other things, ‘products liability and gross negligence, as well as aiding and abetting assault,’” The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Nov. 5.

“The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks damages on behalf of nine plaintiffs, including pedestrians hit by scooter riders,” the article noted.

Legal action could face difficult odds, the Union-Tribune reported. “So far scooter companies such as Lime and Bird — now valued in the billions — have avoided having to take legal responsibility for such accidents,” the article noted. “That’s largely because scooter companies require riders to agree to a lengthy legal contract through their smart-phone apps before renting a device.”

DACA program, upheld by 9th Circuit, faces its day in Supreme Court

Photo Credit: Darin Moriki/Bay Area News Group as reported by The Mercury News, 11/8/18.

The subject of continued court battles, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program could see its fate decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“An Obama-era program granting hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers protection from deportation will live on, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, dealing the Trump administration a significant blow and setting the stage for a showdown in the Supreme Court next year,” The Mercury News reported on Nov. 8.

“The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide injunction blocking the White House from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected about 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, including 200,000 in California,” The Mercury News reported.

The Atlantic speculated about how the legal battle could play out at the nation’s highest court.

“The Court could do a number of things. It could grant a stay, which would temporarily stop further legal proceedings or the enforcement of orders. If a stay isn’t granted, confusion could reign, with DACA continued in some states and not in others. In any case, at least five justices would have to agree on next steps, and with a split Court a consensus would be difficult to achieve,” The Atlantic noted.


Georgia-Pacific affiliate files for bankruptcy amid asbestos claims

Georgia-Pacific Tower in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Connor Carey from Wikimedia Commons

An affiliate of Georgia-Pacific LLC, Bestwall LLC, has announced that it filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in the Western District of North Carolina.

In a summary, Reuters reported, “Bestwall LLC’s parent company is firing back at allegations that the joint compound maker’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a bad-faith sham aimed at avoiding asbestos claims, instead arguing the case is ‘entirely consistent with both the spirit and the letter of the bankruptcy process.’”

Last year the company announced, “Bestwall intends to seek court authority to establish a trust under Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to ensure that all individuals with current and future asbestos claims are treated fairly.”

Georgia-Pacific states it will continue to operate as usual.

“Today’s filing by Bestwall has no impact on Georgia-Pacific’s business operations, nor does it affect our 35,000 employees and 25,000 vendors who serve more than 15,000 customers globally,” said Tyler Woolson, senior vice president, and chief financial officer of Georgia-Pacific.

Georgia-Pacific produces tissue, pulp, paper, packaging, and building products.