Legal

Arguments in Obamacare subsidies case focus on federalism

From Westlaw Journal Health Law: During oral argument March 4 in a case that could determine whether Obamacare’s crucial Healthcare.gov insurance exchange thrives or collapses, the U.S. Supreme Court’s key “swing” justice signaled repeatedly that he thinks the argument against the law might suffer from fatal constitutional flaws.

Throughout the 90-minute session, Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote could decide the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law, expressed concern that the Affordable Care Act challengers are relying on a reading of the law that would needlessly violate the high court’s federalism precedents.

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Barclays must face fraud suit, 10th Circuit rules

From Westlaw Journal Derivatives: The National Credit Union Administration’s mortgage-backed securities fraud lawsuit against Barclays Capital was timely filed because of a tolling agreement between the regulator and the investment bank, a federal appeals court has determined.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel said the NCUA timely filed its suit despite filing beyond the time permitted by the “extender statute” in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 thanks to the private tolling agreement.

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Patient loses challenge to jury instruction in suit over retained tube

From Westlaw Journal Medical Malpractice:  A surgical patient who alleged a nurse negligently left a piece of drainage tube in his abdomen was not entitled to a jury instruction that the presence of a foreign object in a patient’s body establishes a presumption of negligence against the defendant hospital, a Florida appeals court has ruled.

The 4th District Court of Appeal said the instruction was designed for cases where the plaintiff does not know how the alleged injury occurred or the identity of the culpable party.  The panel affirmed a judgment for Bethesda Memorial Hospital.

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The Obamacare exchange quilt – Graphic of the day

The legal question reviewed by the Supreme Court yesterday is whether a four-word phrase saying subsidies are available to those buying insurance on exchanges “established by the state” has been correctly interpreted by the administration to allow subsidies to be available nationwide. Exchanges are online marketplaces that allow consumers to shop among competing insurance plans. Most of the 50 states have not created exchanges. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have them, with another 34 run by the federal government and three operating as state-federal hybrids.

The Obamacare Exchange

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Woman can sue herself over husband’s car crash death, Utah appeals court says

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage: A Utah woman whose husband died in a car accident while she was driving may sue herself under the state’s wrongful-death and survival statutes, a state appeals court panel has ruled.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals said the suit may continue because the woman is bringing claims in her capacities as heir to and personal representative of her deceased husband’s estate.

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9th Circuit won’t revive Zicam user’s toxic injury suit

From Westlaw Journal Expert and Scientific Evidence: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to disturb a summary judgment order for the former producer of Zicam nasal spray in the case of a user who alleged toxic ingredients in the product caused his permanent loss of smell.

The appeals court panel said a California federal judge correctly found plaintiff Michael D. Nelson failed to produce sufficient expert testimony on the cause of his injuries.

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Anthem failed to protect personal information, class action says

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Bad Faith: An Alabama man has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing health insurer Anthem Inc. of acting in breach of contract and bad faith and violating consumer protection laws by failing to safeguard the personal information of former and current plan members.

Lead plaintiff Danny Juliano says Anthem’s failure to “implement and follow basic security procedures” has allowed the personal identification and health information of more than 80 million people to land “in the hands of thieves.”

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Wait, What? Episode 3: You gotta have heart, even if you can’t measure it

REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

In the latest episode of Wait, What?, the group jumps right into the topic of technology’s impact on sports and athletes. The conversation starts out by quantifying professional and amateur athletes and quickly transitions into “heart” versus analytics. The discussion moves into the topic of the stadium experience associated with professional sports teams and how the events compete with television, video game consoles, and mobile technology.

Also, you might want to stick around after the ending music!

We’d like to keep the show as interactive as possible, so please send in your feedback, thoughts, and show ideas. Also, you can reach the team on Twitter: Matt Angelicola (@MattAngelicola), Joe Harris (@Jwh37), Rob Russell (@batogato) and Jason Thomas (@jasonthomas). We’re also on iTunes – just enter “Legal Current” in the search box.

Tune into the next show (March 13th) which will cover how movies, books, and other works of fiction drive the creation of innovative technology in the real world. You can listen to the show here and on iTunes here.

Supreme Court hears argument over attorney fee dispute

From Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy: The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument Feb. 25 over whether Asarco LLC must pay the law firm Baker Botts $5 million for defending its initial claim for attorney fees after representing the mining company in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The law firm may be in for “some tough sledding” in trying to recover the fees for defending its fee application, said bankruptcy attorney Michael Fletcher of Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato, who is not involved in the case.

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Do free citizens have the right to be forgotten?

Do you have control over your digital footprint? Should you have control?

Our Legal business brought together some of the sharpest minds from the law, media and politics last week for its inaugural debate on “the right to be forgotten”. The debate, which took place on Feb. 17, 2015, was recorded in front of an audience of customers and partners, and was moderated by Reuters Axel Threlfall.

The right of an individual to control their own digital footprint and legacy is a contentious issue with far-reaching implications for search engines and social media operators. It can also come into conflict with other freedoms, such as the right to access legally-published information.

It is a timely debate after a European Court of Justice ruling in May 2014 backed the right to be forgotten. But, despite this ruling, our views on the subject do not seem so clear cut – as was apparent in the results of the interactive vote taken using our Convene app during the debate.

Polling prior to the debate showed 57 percent of the audience was in favor of the right to be forgotten, with 26 percent against it. By the end of the debates, this was completely reversed with 59 percent voting against the motion and 38 percent for it.

So what did they hear that changed their minds?

Right to be forgotten:

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