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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri has approved legislation seeking to reinstate a cap on some damages in medical malpractice lawsuits after the state Supreme Court struck down the existing limit.

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A 2005 law capped noneconomic damages in such cases at $350,000. It was part of a broader effort to curb liability lawsuits. The state high court ruled last summer that the cap is unconstitutional.

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House members voted 93-62 on Thursday to pass legislation that attempts to impose the damages limit while avoiding the constitutional problem referenced by the court. It now goes to the Senate.

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Supporters of limiting noneconomic damages contend it would reduce health care costs and help keep doctors in Missouri. Opponents say there is a fundamental constitutional right to a jury trial.

 

Published in Local News

     Metro will be giving some passengers free rides under a federal class action settlement agreement.  The transit agency was sued over MetroLink credit and debit card receipts that violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.  

     Under the law, merchants can print up to the last five digits of a customer's credit or debit card number or the card's expiration date on their receipt, but not both.  Between January 2010 and August 2011, Metro had been printing both.  

     The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that people who used credit or debit cards to buy tickets during the 20 month period can make claims by July 3 for free ride passes or tickets.  Those who still have their receipts could get $30 cash instead.

Published in Around Town

     Metro will be giving some passengers free rides under a federal class action settlement agreement.  The transit agency was sued over MetroLink credit and debit card receipts that violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.  

     Under the law, merchants can print up to the last five digits of a customer's credit or debit card number or the card's expiration date on their receipt, but not both.  Between January 2010 and August 2011, Metro had been printing both.  

     The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that people who used credit or debit cards to buy tickets during the 20 month period can make claims by July 3 for free ride passes or tickets.  Those who still have their receipts could get $30 cash instead.

Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing the operators of a St. Louis County landfill, alleging violations of state environmental laws.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday stems from an underground fire at the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill near Lambert Airport. The fire is causing a foul-smelling odor that is drawing complaints from nearby homes, businesses, hospitals and senior care centers.

The suit against the landfill owner, Republic Services Inc., asks that Republic bear the cost of cleanup, remediation and monitoring.

Messages seeking comment from the landfill and Republic were not returned. In a statement on its website, Bridgeton Landfill says it is working to fix the problem. Forty wells will be added by April 15 to remove odor-causing gas, then a cap will be installed over the odor-causing area of the landfill.
Published in Local News
A group of residents worried about health issues from a foul odor a suing the owners of a Bridgeton landfill.

The action follows testing by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that showed elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. The noxious compound can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, and even breathing trouble.

But a representative for the company that owns the landfill, Republic Services, denies any danger. Republic officials say EPA and DNR testing show the odor presents no risk to the public.

A report on the DNR website says the levels of hydrogen sulfide are high enough to warrant monitoring and would pose a health risk if they intensify further.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:45

EPA: St. Louis painting business to pay $23K

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis business has agreed to pay a $23,000 civil penalty to settle claims of failing to take precautions with lead-based paint.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Groeller Painting Inc. also failed to notify residents about lead-based paint risks before the renovation of a multifamily property built before 1978.

Lead paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978, but can be found in some older homes.

When young children breathe in or swallow lead, it can lead to physical and mental delays, lower intelligence, shorter attention spans and behavioral problems. In adults, it can cause high blood pressure and damage to the nervous system and stomach.

An EPA rule that took effect in 2010 increased the requirements for contractors on projects that disturb lead-based paint.
Published in Local News
St. Louis, MO - AP - Missouri will get about $324,000 from a multistate settlement with Google over its collection of emails, passwords and other sensitive information transmitted on unprotected wireless networks.

Attorney General Chris Koster said Tuesday that he had signed on to the $7 million settlement between Google and several dozen states.

The settlement ends an inquiry dating to 2010. Google revealed at the time that company cars taking street-level photos for its online mapping service also collected personal data transmitted over wireless networks that didn't require passwords.

Koster says Google agreed in the settlement to destroy all data collected from unsecured wireless networks and not to collect such information in the future.

Google didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement.
Published in Local News
As part of his ongoing efforts to protect Missourians from home repair scams, Missouri Attorney General Koster today filed a lawsuit against a home-repair business for violating both Missouri’s Merchandising Practices and no-call laws.

Koster filed suit against All Seasons Contracting; its owner, Carol Richard; and its manager, Brandi Sampson.

Koster alleges that after a series of strong storms hit the St. Louis area in the spring of 2012, the defendants sent salesmen door-to-door offering homeowners free inspections and quotes for repairs, and offering to help homeowners file claims with their insurance companies.

The suit alleges the defendants took at least $37,000 as down payments from six homeowners, promising that work would begin within weeks.

The total amount, once all consumers are known, could be much more. A year later, the defendants have refused to begin any of the work or provide refunds to their victims. “Too often we see cases where home-repair businesses require up-front payments, and then fail to do the work,” Koster said. “We will continue to pursue these sham home-repair businesses to seek restitution for the customers they cheated and to protect future consumers from being victimized.”

The lawsuit also takes aim at All Seasons Contracting for allegedly making dozens of unlawful and unsolicited telemarketing calls to Missourians on the no-call list. Koster is seeking full restitution for all victims and an order from the court preventing the defendants from advertising or engaging in any home-repair services in the state of Missouri. Additionally, Koster is asking the court to impose a fine of up to $5,000 per unlawful telemarketing call made by the defendants.

Koster said consumers who contracted with All Seasons Contracting and have not received services as promised should contact his Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or file a complaint online at ago.mo.gov. Consumers should also file complaints against any other home repair business that has not provided promised services.

As part of National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, Attorney General Chris Koster warns consumers to beware of home repair and contractor-related scams, noting: Disreputable contractors often solicit work door-to-door or through telemarketing; These sham contractors often are not established in the area, but rather swoop in after a storm or other natural disaster;

T hese contractors offer to do work such as blacktopping driveways, installing lightning rods, painting, roofing and siding. Their work and materials are inferior. The cost of the job may rise considerably after the work is performed and the consumer may be intimidated into paying the increase;

As alleged in the All Seasons lawsuit, the contractor may not do the work at all. Attorney General Koster provides consumers with the following red flags and tips with regard to contractor fraud: Red flags · Contractors who appear uninvited at your doorstep or who call or email you out of the blue. · The contractor says he is doing work in your neighborhood and claims he has “extra material” left over. · The contractor pressures you to make a decision and sign a contract for the work immediately. · The contractor offers a “special deal” available “today only.” · The contractor points out a problem with your home that you never noticed yourself before. Some unscrupulous scam artist have been known to offer “free” inspections and then break something on purpose so they can be paid to “fix” the problem. · The contractor lacks identification, such as a permit from the city or county. Tips to prevent becoming a victim of contractor scams: · Get multiple estimates on any home-repair job before signing a contract. · Check out the contractor’s references and visit the site in the reference to check out the quality of the work. · Check for complaints with the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau. · Never pay in full up-front, especially if cash is the only payment accepted. · Make sure the contractor is insured and bonded. · Document in writing the scope of the work to be done, the complete cost of the work, the time necessary to complete the job, and how payment will be handled.
Published in Local News
A Missouri man has filed a lawsuit claiming the state requires to much of his information to obtain a concealed carry permit.

Eric Griffin lives in the southeastern Stoddard County. He refused to let the DMV scan his records into their system. Griffin claims that is an invasion of privacy and should have no bearing on his ability to get a conceal carry license.

KMOV reports that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has thrown his support behind the lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the DMV and claims their actions are illegal.
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis County eating disorder treatment center will pay $140,000 to settle claims that it denied treatment of a woman because she is HIV positive.

The Justice Department announced settlement of the case on Wednesday. Former Nurse Susan Gibson filed a complaint with the Justice Department against Castlewood Treatment Center. She applied to the center in 2010 seeking treatment for anorexia but was rejected.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the clinic falsely claimed its license prohibited the facility from treating people with a blood-borne infection.

Castlewood denied discriminating, saying officials at the center though she would receive more appropriate treatment at an in-patient facility because of her HIV status.

The center will pay Gibson $115,000, and pay $25,000 to the Justice Department in civil penalties.
Published in Local News
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