Joseph Greenwald & Laake Blog

Posted on Thu, 2016-05-26 13:37 by Jay P. Holland in False Claims Act

Jeffrey Mills was the Director of Food and Nutritional Services for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) from 2010 to 2013.  DCPS used Chartwells, a contractor, to provide its food and food services for students in DCPS.   Mills saw enormous problems with Chartwells, including overbilling and, even worse, providing spoiled food to students.  His complaints to DCPS officials were ignored.  And when DCPS terminated his employment, he alleged that he was terminated in retaliation for blowing the whistle on Chartwells. Mills sued not only for retaliation but also for fraud against the D.C. government, under the qui tam provisions of the District of Columbia False Claims Act.   D.C. Code Ann § 2-381.03. Chartwells settled with Mills for $450,000.00 for his retaliation claim, and settled with D.C. for $19,000,000.00, 30% of which could go to Mills, and the rest to D.C. to compensate it for the overbilling and spoiled food.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-schools-food-vendor-pays-19-million-to-settle-whistleblower-lawsuit/2015/06/05/bae8dd3c-0b96-11e5-9e39-0db921c47b93_story.html.  

Posted on Thu, 2016-05-19 15:12 by Matthew J. Focht in Personal Injury

 

Snapchat, the popular social networking application, is unique in that the messages sent over the app “self-destruct” seconds after being opened.  Snapchat also provides its users with a series of “filters,” one of which superimposes the speed at which a user was travelling over a photograph or video.  In other words, if you take a selfie as a passenger in a car travelling 35 miles per hour, and the “miles per hour” filter is engaged, the app will use the camera to recognize how fast your vehicle is travelling and “35 miles per hour” will be superimposed over your picture.   This filter was pushed to users in a 2013 product update[1].  Snapchat users can win virtual “trophies” by sending photographs using filters.  As one lawyer described it, “Snapchat has embedded [incentives] into its interface.  It’s become more of a game[2].”

Posted on Thu, 2016-05-19 15:00 by Burt M. Kahn in Medical Malpractice

On March 21, 2016, the American Bar Association formally announced its opposition to a proposed bill in Congress that would limit the amount of noneconomic damages that can be awarded by judges and juries in medical liability cases in state courts across the nation.  In a letter to the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, the ABA said that the bill, which would cap those damages at $250,000, violates principles of federalism and would deprive many deserving people of the chance to receive compensation for their injuries.

Posted on Tue, 2016-05-10 11:08 by Burt M. Kahn in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury

A study published in the British Journal of Medicine published on May 3, 2016 found that the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical error resulting in 251,000 deaths annually. Medical error is just behind Heart disease (611,000 deaths annually) and cancer (585,000 deaths annually). After medical error, the next largest cause of death in the United States is chronic respiratory disease (149,000 deaths annually).

Posted on Thu, 2016-04-28 14:57 by Jeffrey N. Greenblatt in Family Law

You’ve been married around 25 years. Your children have become more self-sufficient or they’re gone. You shifted your attention back to your spouse, which led to a realization: you are really not happy in your marriage.

Well, you are not alone. The rate of uncoupling over age 50 has increased in recent years and it’s prompted the catch phrase: “gray divorce.”

Posted on Tue, 2016-04-19 14:08 by Levi S. Zaslow in

Real Property – Retaliation Actions and Attorneys’ Fees 

Felicia Lockett v. Blue Ocean Bristol, LLC, No. 29, Sept. Term, 2015 (Md. Feb.  22, 2016).

Felicia Lockett is a tenant in an apartment building knowns as “Bristol House” in Baltimore City and had been since 2010.  Slip Op. at 1, 7.  Ms. Lockett, who actively and vigorously participated in the tenants association there, had a contentious relationship with the landlord, Blue Ocean Bristol, LLC (“Blue Ocean”).  Slip Op. at 1.  In 2014, Blue Ocean did not renew her lease. 

Posted on Thu, 2016-03-17 07:03 by Jay P. Holland in

Can Employers Conduct Mental Health Screenings

On February 26, 2016, a coworker shot seventeen employees at a Kansas factory, three of whom were killed. While this was a high profile active shooting, unfortunately, it is not the only such workplace shooting.  As investigators piece together the motives for the murders, there is no question that there has been an alarming uptick of active shooting incidents in the U.S. over the past few years.

Posted on Wed, 2016-02-24 20:55 by Rama Taib-Lopez in

Military Divorce

Divorce, in and of itself, can be a difficult and complicated process. If you or your spouse is a member of the U.S. military, there are additional factors, considerations and challenges that come into play. 

Posted on Thu, 2016-01-21 12:24 by Darin L. Rumer in

Best Interest Attorney for Children in Child Custody Battles

If you have filed for custody and/or divorce in Maryland, you’ve likely heard the term Best Interest Attorney. In fact, at your initial conference with the Court, the Magistrate conducting the conference may ask you if your case requires any “services.” That is court-speak for the appointment of a Custody Evaluator, Best Interest Attorney or Child Privilege Attorney. As such, you may want to familiarize yourself with the role of a Best Interest Attorney and his or her role in representing your child(ren).

Posted on Thu, 2016-01-07 13:33 by Joseph M. Creed in

This week, a judge in Los Angeles, California vacated a $7.1 million verdict in favor of former Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers, who claimed that the paper discriminated against him because of his age and disability. Simers alleged that the discrimination began after he suffered a stroke and other health problems in 2013, when he was 62 years old. Among other things, the newspaper cut his column from three times a week to two, and suspended him for alleged ethics violations. The newspaper ultimately took his column away altogether and reassigned him to sports reporting, which Simers considered a demotion. After the demotion, Simers resigned.

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