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Court Revives Nursing Home Kickback Case

A federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company that allegedly got kickbacks from nursing homes to get more lucrative business.

In United States of America v. Omnicare, Inc., plaintiff Mar Silver blew the whistle on PharMerica Corporation in the alleged kickback scheme. He claimed the company defrauded the government by giving below-cost medications to Medicare patients in exchange for better-paying Medicaid patients.

It's called "swapping" in the business, if you haven't read about it. How the plaintiff knew about it was key to the appeals court decision.

TSA Agents Not Liable for Assaults, False Arrests

You know that feeling you get when airport screeners pat you down or invade your luggage?

Well, maybe not you in particular, but those other guys who get treated like suspected bombers when they're just having a bad day. It's not funny when people get singled out by security for no good reason.

Unfortunately, it's going to get worse because a federal appeals court said airport screeners are immune from liability for assaults, false arrests and other intentional abuses. Let's just hope they get the real bad guys.

Hybrid Medical Device Not Exempt From State Liability

Walter Shuker had a complicated hip replacement surgery.

It wasn't just the total replacement of his hip that was complicated. It was the device -- an apparatus comprised of a metal head, metal sleeve, a stem connecting the metal head to the thigh bone, a metal liner, etc. Together, the pieces created a "metal-on-metal articulation."

That's where his post-operative pain began and a subsequent lawsuit emerged in Shuker v. Smith and Nephew. The case -- with a question of first impression -- was as complicated as the corrective surgery.

Eye Drops Plaintiffs Get Relief on Appeal

Don't shed a tear for the plaintiffs in the wasted eye drops case.

Their putative class-action was dismissed for lack of standing, but the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in Cottrell v . Alcon Laboratories. The appeals court said the trial judge applied a too-narrow definition of injury.

The plaintiffs alleged eye drop bottles wasted their medicine. In other words, standing is in the eye of the bottle holder.

Maritime Law Protects Sailors From Asbestos

Maritime law applies to a different world, one where ships and sailors live.

But if the "special solicitude for the safety and protection of sailors" goes further ashore, machine makers may have a problem. In re. Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, a federal appeals court said manufacturers may be liable for injuries from parts added to their products later.

That means the "bare metal defense" won't work. Manufacturers can be held liable even for asbestos they don't put in their machines.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of an employee's slip and fall injury accident case against the Cabot Oil and Gas company, and the drilling outfit, Patterson UTI, where he worked. However, the lawsuit was not dismissed on summary judgment, nor via the all too familiar 12(b)(6), but rather via a 12(b)(2) jurisdictional challenge.

In short, both the district and appellate courts ruled that the court did not have sufficient jurisdiction over the defendants due to their lack of contact with the state of New Jersey, where the case was filed.

Drunken Brawl on Ship and Maritime Law

'Drunken sailor' is probably an unfair, stereotypical label, but it works for a case that arose from a drunken brawl on the Delaware River.

Michael Bocchino was aboard a cruise vessel, the "Ben Franklin Yacht," when a fight broke out among some passengers. He didn't know who hit him, but it was enough for him to file a lawsuit in state court against the boat's owner.

The owner filed an action in federal court for lack of maritime jurisdiction, but a federal appeals court reversed. So the blurry question was, what is maritime jurisdiction for brawls anyway?

Court Rejects Football Player's Concussion Case

For Sheldon Mann, it started when he got hit twice in one day playing high school football. The coach told him to get back into the game after the first collision without evaluating him for a concussion injury.

After the second hit, Mann started suffering the effects of a traumatic brain injury, including headaches, hallucinations, short-term memory loss, and seizures. Mann would never play competitive football again.

His parents sued on his behalf, alleging the coach did not protect their child. But now that's over because an appeals court said the law didn't protect him either.

Court Refuses to Revive Nuclear Power Cancer Cases

A federal appeals court dealt another blow to Pennsylvanians suing over a nuclear facility they claimed caused cancer.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said they could not prove the facility damaged them. In affirming a dismissal of consolidated cases against the successor to Nuclear Material and Equipment Corp., the court may have ended a battle for more than 70 plaintiffs.

"Plaintiffs are missing critical elements, and therefore their claims fail," Judge D. Brooks Smith wrote in the unanimous decision, McMunn v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc.

A former teen actress went before the Third Circuit on Friday in an attempt to revive her defamation suit against Bill Cosby. Renita Hill has accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting her when she was a 16-year-old actress on the TV show "Picture Pages."

When Cosby's lawyer denied Hill's accusations, as well as those of scores of other women, she sued, alleging that the denial rose to the level of defamation. A district court tossed that suit last January, but victory in the Third Circuit could revive Hill's claims. Given oral arguments, though, victory is far from assured.