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Settlements & Medicare Reporting – An Ongoing Series, Part One: Pinpointing Timeframe of Alleged Asbestos Exposure

Author

Jerome S. Warchol

In certain cases, it may make good business sense to resolve an asbestos claim out of court.  But an omnipresent source of frustration with settlements and the processing of Release documents in asbestos litigation is determining whether the settlement is reportable to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The stakes in “getting it right” are high.  The responsibility to report does not only fall to plaintiffs – defendants/insurers who fail to properly report risk penalties and reimbursement liability. The short and tortured answer is that if: (a) a plaintiff was a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary, and (b) one

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Rochester Hires Independent Investigator in Wake of Sexual Harassment Scandal, but is it too Late?

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

When it comes to sexual harassment allegations, some entities are on the forefront of industry “best practices” by promptly hiring independent investigation firms, while others are faced with the consequences of failing to do so.[1] The University of Rochester (UR) is under fire for allegedly mishandling several students’ claims of sexual harassment and retaliation concerning a renowned professor, T. Florian Jaeger.[2] Students at the university have gone to extreme measures to protest the school’s response – or lack thereof – to numerous students’ claims involving Jaeger. Some students staged sit-ins during classes, targeting classrooms near Jaeger, while others protested the

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Dept. of Education’s New Directive Stresses Importance of Independent, Conflict-Free Investigators

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced the withdrawal of Obama-era guidelines regarding college sexual assault and set forth new directives in the Department of Education’s 2017 Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct.[1] The interim guidelines, which remain in effect while the notice and comment period commences, chart a new course for sexual misconduct cases that DeVos purports will “help schools” and “treat all students fairly.”[2] In rescinding the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter[3] and the subsequent 2014 Questions & Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,[4] the new guidelines have removed a sixty-day completion deadline for colleges’ investigations of sexual assault, instead,

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Justice Lucy Billings Appointed NYCAL Coordinating Judge

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

It was announced Monday that Justice Lucy Billings has been appointed as the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) Coordinating Judge. The official announcement by Acting Administrative Judge, George Silver, provided some insight into the background and experience of Justice Billings: Justice Billings received her B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1970 and received her J.D. with honors from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law in 1973. Justice Billings was a staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid, a Senior Attorney at Utah Legal Services, Director of Legal Support

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Appellate Decision in New York Affects Supplier Liability in Asbestos Litigation

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department, recently handed down a decision that is likely to have a negative impact on defendant former suppliers of asbestos-containing products in New York asbestos litigation. In O’Connor v AERCO Intern., Inc., the Plaintiff was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma alleging that her illness stemmed from exposure to asbestos-containing products while working at the Westchester County Department of Labs and Research (hereinafter, “the lab”). O’Connor v AERCO Intern., Inc., 2017 NY Slip Op 05487 [3d Dept July 6, 2017]. Plaintiff brought suit in the Supreme Court in Saratoga County (4th JDAL) against,

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US Supreme Court: Daimler Personal Jurisdiction Constraints Constant Despite Type of Claim or Business Sued

Author

Candice C. Kusmer

In an 8-1 decision penned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the US Supreme Court yesterday held that the Daimler due process analysis for determining general jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant “does not vary with the type of claim asserted or business enterprise sued.”  BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, et al., — S. Ct. –, 2017 WL 2322834 (2017).  In so holding, the Court reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s exercise of general jurisdiction over defendant BNSF Railway in two Montana state court Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) cases. The Court first rejected the Montana Supreme Court’s reliance on FELA statute 45

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Illinois Supreme Court Tightens the Reins on School District Cases in Barr v. Cunningham

Author

Joshua N. Severit

The Illinois Supreme Court recently affirmed a Cook County trial court’s directed verdict for a school district and its employee in connection with an injury sustained by a student during physical education class. In Barr v. Cunningham, 2017 IL 120751, a high-school student filed suit against his physical education instructor and Township High School District 211 for injuries sustained when an errant ball struck his eye during a game of P.E. floor hockey. The student alleged that his instructor’s conduct was willful and wanton by failing to require all students to wear protective eyewear while playing floor hockey. The trial

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7th and 8th Circuits Split on Removal Requirements of Federal Question Cases Involving Multiple Defendants

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

Civil defendants in state court have the option to remove a case to federal court, and one basis for removal is when the case presents a “federal question.”  Federal question cases arise under the Constitution or laws of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (2011). But when there are multiple defendants in a case and removal is based solely on a federal question, “all defendants” must “join in or consent to the removal of the action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (b)(2)(A) (2011) (emphasis added). This is known as the “unanimity requirement.” The US Court of Appeals for the

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Illinois Court’s Groundbreaking Decision Extends Title VII Protections to LGBT Community

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

On Tuesday, a federal court in Illinois ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.[1] In an 8-3 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first appellate court in the nation to extend protections of workplace discrimination to the LGBT community. The court ruled in favor of plaintiff Kimberly Hively, who claimed she was fired from her position as a part-time instructor at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, Indiana, because she is a lesbian. Hively’s sexual orientation became an issue in 2009,

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Student Sues Columbia University For Failure to Promptly and Thoroughly Investigate Reports Of On-Campus Rape

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

A Columbia University student recently filed suit in federal court alleging the school failed to properly investigate two separate instances of sexual assault that occurred on the Ivy League campus in 2015.[1] Amelia Roskin-Frazee,[2] currently a sophomore, alleges in her complaint that Columbia violated Title IX and its own policies and procedures for cases involving sexual misconduct by failing to “promptly and equitably” investigate her claims of sexual assault. Under Title IX and its accompanying guidance documents, once a school knows, or reasonably should know, about sexual harassment or an allegation of harassment, it must promptly investigate the claim in

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  • Editor

  • CANDICE C. KUSMER

    Candice Kusmer enjoys working with several of Kurowski Shultz’s major clients, oversees the firm’s asbestos docket in Central Illinois and handles high-level matters in Madison County. An accomplished writer, she has a passion for writing and leads the firm’s Appellate Practice.

  • Contributors

  • LINDSAY A. DIBLER

    Mr. Dibler has been with Kurowski Shultz since 2002 and is responsible for the firm's substantial St. Louis City and Cook County (Chicago) asbestos dockets. He is one of few defense counsel who have taken verdicts in the challenging defense environment of St. Louis City.

  • JUSTIN A. REINHARDT

    Justin Reinhardt joined Kurowski Shultz in July 2015. He concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation and toxic tort defense. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri. He is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

  • KYLER H. STEVENS

    Kyler Stevens has been with Kurowski Shultz since October 2012 and has focused his practice on complex civil litigation, protecting the interests of large and small businesses alike. Mr. Stevens is also active in the defense of schools and municipal corporations in various civil matters.

  • Alexander J. Baker

    Alexander J. Baker joined Kurowski Shultz in 2012. His practice area concentrates on complex civil litigation including the defense of toxic tort and personal injury lawsuits. Mr. Baker also recently tried to verdict a Southern District of Illinois pro bono case regarding First Amendment rights and violations of the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the US Constitution. He is an active member of the St. Clair County and the Illinois State Bar Association.

  • John P. Fritz

    John P. Fritz, Senior Associate, joined Kurowski Shultz LLC in April 2012. Mr. Fritz's work involves litigation asbestos, silica and other toxic tort cases. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois.

  • Joshua N. Severit

    Joshua N. Severit, joined Kurowski Shultz in July 2016. Mr. Severit specializes in toxic tort and personal injury. He is a member of the Illinois State and Madison County Bar Associations and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.

  • Jerome S. Warchol

    Jerome S. Warchol is a principal of Kurowski Shultz LLC. Mr. Warchol practices in a variety of areas of law. The majority of his work involves litigating asbestos cases and domestic relations matters. Mr. Warchol is an active member of PROMO and serves as a board member of Lawyers for Equality, a St. Louis-based LGBT bar association.