Nashville lawyer wins big judgment for Marvin Gaye relatives

Nashville-based King & Ballow attorney Richard Busch won a $7.4 million judgment for the adult children of the late Marvin Gaye in a copyright-infringement case against singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for plagiarising Gaye's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up" for their 2013 chart-topper "Blurred Lines."

Busch called an expert who identified eight distinct elements in "Got To Give It Up" that were copied in "Blurred Lines" and, in his closing argument, implored the jury to recognize that Thicke and Williams "took ['Got To Give It Up'] for themselves."

For their part, Thicke and Williams denied ripping off Gaye. Indeed, Thicke said he hardly contributed to the writing process. Williams said he was inspired by the feel of Gaye and the late 70s, but did not copy the song (rapper TI was a third named defendant, but the jury held him harmless).

Interestingly, the jury never actually heard Gaye's recording, because copyright law at the time of its recording did not allow copyrighting of recorded music, so the judge ruled the jury could only hear it as it was registered with the Library of Congress: as sheet music.

Even with such a potential disadvantage, Busch won.

After trial, he said he would immediately file an injunction preventing sales of the Grammy-winning "Blurred Lines."

Mar 11, 2015 6:45 AM

Former department chair sues Meharry

White professor alleges pattern of discrimination, seeks more than $1.25M
Mar 6, 2015 7:08 AM

Settlement could be close in meningitis suit

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts has granted preliminary approval for a settlement of up to $155 million for victims in the meningitis outbreak of 2012.

The approval is the first step for individuals who filed proofs of claim in the bankruptcy case, which New England Compounding Center filed after facing lawsuits stemming from more than 700 cases and 64 deaths linked to its tainted steroids. Sixteen Tennesseans died in the outbreak.

According to court documents, NECC, its insurer and five other businesses agreed to national settlements totaling up to $155 million to be distributed among claimants in the case. Four providers have also settled in the case, and patients who received contaminated drugs at those facilities will be eligible for a portion of that fund as well.

Notably, Saint Thomas Health has not settled in the case. Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center has faced lawsuits against it for distributing the contaminated drugs, and also filed a $1.17 billion claim against NECC in January 2014. Claims filed against Saint Thomas, and other providers that have not settled, are not impacted by the national settlement.

A confirmation hearing for the settlement is set for May 19.

Mar 4, 2015 6:47 AM

Direct Taxation: Appeals court reverses satellite-provider tax decision

Judges find difference in cable and satellite taxes passes constitutional muster
Mar 4, 2015 6:00 AM

CHS subsidiary held liable for negligence in client hospital

A bankruptcy judge has ruled that Quorum Health Resources, a Community Health Systems subsidiary, can be held liable for negligence that occurred in one of its client hospitals.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center of Alamogordo, to which Quorum provided top executives, was sued after patients received experimental treatments for back pain.

The suit alleged an anesthesiologist, and not an orthopedic surgeon, administered the patients treatments, which were not supported by medical literature. The suit stalled when the New Mexico hospital filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

The opinion by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz paves the way for the former patients of Dr. Christian Schlicht to seek damages from Quorum Health Resources, which provided top executives for Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center of Alamogordo…'While there is little doubt negligence occurred, the Court must focus on the role and responsibility of a hospital management company in deciding whether and to what extend Quorum should be held accountable for what happened,' the ruling says.

For more information, click here. Shares of CHS (Ticker: CYH) were down to $49.21 Tuesday morning. In the last six months, they're down 7.5 percent.

Mar 3, 2015 1:15 PM

Acadia settlement reduced in Texas trade secrets case

Appeals court slashes $6.9M verdict to $275K
Mar 3, 2015 7:07 AM

Former Palm waiter sues for more than $430K

Veteran Palm waiter Gene Zane has filed suit against the downtown restaurant, accusing it of age discrimination and saying its managers tolerated his co-workers' verbal abuse of him. Zane is asking for more than $430,000 in compensation.

The suit claims Zane was berated by younger employees as “dinosaur and f_____ing old”; it says they also referred to him as “Santa Clause” [sic] “because of his gray hair and physical size.” Other comments alleged in the suit include, “When are you going to get a walker?” following Zane’s hip surgery, and “You’re almost 60 — go and enjoy your life.”

Dana Kopp Franklin has much more at Bites.

Feb 27, 2015 9:46 AM

Judge announces $100M settlement in Florida federal tobacco cases

Local office of Lieff Cabraser played key role in first major settlements by companies since '90s
Feb 25, 2015 9:05 AM

HCA suit over ER bills continues in Florida

Suit alleges patients with injury protection coverage were overcharged
Feb 24, 2015 7:07 AM

Legal headaches for LifePoint over cardiology procedures

LifePoint Hospitals is facing more than a dozen lawsuits — including two putative class actions — over claims that two doctors at facilities in Alabama and West Virginia performed medically unnecessary cardiology practices. The cases in Alabama involve LifePoint's Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma and stem from an internal investigation that the company reported to the Department of Justice. Neither doctor named in the investigation is still with LifePoint. In its recently filed annual report LifePoint executives say they cannot at this point estimate the scale of any fines and penalties it may have to pay.

Lisa Schencker at Modern Healthcare has the story. LifePoint's annual report is available here.

Feb 17, 2015 7:34 AM