Thursday, December 30, 2010

Workers Compensation Causing Desperate Acts

"More Desperate Acts From Desperate People"

By David J. DePaolo

posted on 4/24/2010

David J. DePaolo is the president and CEO of, a web based subscription newsite that deals with eveything Workers Compensation in California. David is also an attorney, and has been a member of the California Bar since 1985. He is a graduate of the Pepperdine University School of Law.

Yesterday (May 20) was quite the trying day. First the news comes out that professional cyclist and dethroned Tour de France winner Floyd Landis not only admits to doping, but accuses everyone else in cycling, from American hero Lance Armstrong, to the world executives in charge of professional cycling, to either doping or knowingly turning a blind eye.

Just as I recovered from these dark revelations I get an urgent e-mail mid-afternoon from a close friend that an attorney had just been stabbed at the Los Angeles District Office of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Like the Landis news, I was disheartened by this news, but certainly not surprised.

As we later reported, allegedly 38 year-old Andre Torres stabbed 60 year-old attorney Joe Rippinger in the back with a 9-inch kitchen knife. Details at the time I write this are unknown, but reports are that Torres and Rippinger did not have any relationship at all – apparently Rippinger was at the wrong place at the wrong time as Torres was intent on taking out his rage on an attorney – any attorney.

We can only surmise, but my guess is that Torres if he is the culprit has deep emotional scars from getting lost in the jungle of Workers’ Compensation.

I see evidence of this all the time, as I’m sure many in the industry do – desperate people fed up with the “system” act out in different ways – many of these desperate people vent their anger and rage in our forums, sometimes they send me e-mails or letters documenting their frustration with the system and desperation to get better, and sometimes they just commit suicide because there no longer is any hope.

Workers’ Compensation has seen its share of violence from such folk – Santa Cruz attorney Jay Bloombecker murdered in 2006 by a client, SCIF attorney Louise Armstrong assaulted in a parking lot in Anaheim, defense attorney Erwin Nepomuceno beaten with a hammer by an upset applicant in front of a medical clinic.

It would be easy to blame the Division of Workers’ Compensation for not setting tighter security protocol such as metal detectors, but the issue is not just one of security.

And it would be easy to just blame the injured worker and assume that these are just crazy people who would act out in some manner regardless, and just happened to choose a workers’ compensation situation due to convenience.
But I don’t think that the blame is so easy to assign, and I think the blame goes to the heart of what is fundamentally wrong with workers’ compensation: the one person whom the system is to benefit, the one person who is in the system involuntarily, is the one person who has no control over his or her fate – people pushed to the brink of sanity and then acting out in a violent, desperate manner in an attempt to get some relief.
Think about that – once the injured worker ends up in litigation nearly all semblance of control over his or her destiny is taken away, from being told what doctor to see, what treatment can or can not be approved, the expiration of disability payments, whether he or she can go to work, etc. The injured worker has no say during the life of the litigated claim until it’s settlement time.

The litigation process in California Workers’ Compensation is designed to remove all responsibility from the injured worker, and ergo, remove all control from the injured worker. This may not be the intent of the process, but it is the result.
Medical control essentially rests with the employer. This modification to the system was necessary, as are most rules and regulations, because a few bad apples decided to abuse the right to medical to control so that they could unfairly profit from the system.

And not only has the right to medical control been usurped, the method of contesting medical decisions has been removed from the injured worker’s control – it’s in the hands of utilization reviewers with essentially no right of appeal.

If you’re lucky enough to get to a hearing about a disagreement or conflict with the case, it’s likely months before any decision is made (which again is out of the hands of the injured worker) and it is very likely that the claims administrator may still not abide by the ruling, further delaying the claim and the fate of the injured worker.

The injured worker cannot get back to work because the employer doesn’t want a broken employee. The physician will prescribe a permanent impairment assessment, but the injured worker has no understanding of what that fiction means, or what its ultimate relation to a settlement is.

While all of this professional activity is going on around the injured worker, months or years go by and the injured worker has been off work for so long that there isn’t any motivation as he or she spirals down into depression.

This is no excuse for acting out or the violence that has made recent headlines. It is an indictment of the “system” – a process that is so complex, so entrenched, so lacking of humanity, that it no longer does what it was supposed to do: provide protection for the injured worker so he or she can get back to work.

Somewhere, at some time, some one with political power and clout will figure out that the problem with Workers’ Compensation is Workers’ Compensation itself – the system no longer serves the only involuntary participant. When that happens the system will cease, an industry will shift to another profit source, and perhaps the injured worker will regain some control over his or her life. Until then, expect more desperate acts from desperate people.

Lack of Enforcement against Drug Industry Fraud

Pharmaecutical companies use fraud
because it makes money
 and there is little punishment

Excerpts from: 
Drug Industry Fraud


The corporate defrauding of taxpayers (eg. Medicaid and Medicare) and prescription drugs with skyrocketing prices was the subject of a report by Public Citizen's Dr. Sidney Wolfe and his associates (see

Dr. Wolfe's team compiled a total of 165 federal and state settlements since 1991 totaling $19.8 billion in penalties. A key finding is that the drug industry's penalties under the Federal False Claims Act exceed even those assessed against the overcharging defense industry for fraud.

Since the corporate bosses of these drug firms are almost never prosecuted, what these executives fear the most are company employees who go public with the evidence of corporate misdeeds.

These violations do more than financial damage to consumers and government health insurance programs. One of the worst violations involves companies promoting unproven, often dangerous uses for their medicines. Last year, Pfizer paid $1.2 billion for illegal off-label promotion -the largest criminal fine in U.S.history.

The violations by these and other drug companies point to the wide range of impacts, including taking many lives of patients, which stems from these recurrent activities. These criminal or civil illegalities cover (1) overcharging government health programs, (2) unlawful promotion, (3) monopoly practices, (4) kickbacks, (5) concealing study findings, (6) poor manufacturing practices, (7) environmental violations, (8) financial violations and (9) illegal distribution.

Drug company sales are huge, growing from $40 billion in 1990 to $234 billion in 2008, and far exceeding inflation with their annual price gouging. To make matters worse, in 2003, the Congressional Republicans, with decisive support from some Democrats, passed the drug benefit bill which explicitly prohibited Uncle Sam, the payer, from bargaining for volume discounts with drug companies.

With over 400 full-time drug company lobbyists putting pressure on Congress, and tens of millions of dollars flowing into the legislators' campaign coffers, budgets for federal investigators, prosecutors and inspectors are kept to a minimum.

Still, the Wolfe report concludes that the "current system of enforcement is not working." He gives the examples of the $7.44 billion in financial penalties assessed over the past twenty years on GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, as compared to their combined total of $16.5 billion in global net profits in one year alone.

What would deter these illegal practices and risks to public safety?

A flicker of hope that a little change is on the way came from the Food and Drug Administration's Deputy Chief Counsel for Litigation, Eric Blumberg. He stated: "unless the government shows more resolve to criminally charge individuals-at all levels in the corporate hierarchy--.we can not expect to make progress in deterring off-label promotion."

The problem is that the final operating decision is in the hands of the Justice Department-historically short-staffed and short-willed to entreaties for prosecution by the FDA and other regulatory agencies.

For entire article see:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Worker's Compensation and Depraved Indifference

Hear this interesting Podcast on Worker's Compensation Problems by Dr. Patrice Woeppel, author of  "Depraved Indifference".

Please see this video also:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monsanto Patent Rights Destroy Farmer's Rights

Percy and Louise Schmeiser were sued by Monsanto after Monsanto's genetically engineered canola seed contaminated the Schmeiser's farm crops.  Despite the fact that Monsanto did not contain their invention, the law declared that patent rights supersede farmers' rights.  The Schmeisers had to destroy their own seeds which they had developed over 50 years because of Monsanto's contamination into their fields. 

Farmers are the losers in this legal battle as the law bends toward corporate control, making it more and more difficult for individual farmers to own their own seeds or plants.

Safety Concerns On Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Be Released

GE Mosquitoes Soon to be Released in Malaysia, Many Unanswered Questions Remain

Malaysia is on the brink of field testing GE mosquitoes in a small town in the

state of Pahang, a short distance from Kuala Lumpur. Preparations are said to be

underway to release the GE mosquitoes, first, in an uninhabited area and

subsequently, in an inhabited area. Another proposed site for the field

experiment is in the state of Melaka.

This is despite an outpouring of concern by scientists, civil society

organizations, local inhabitants and individuals who have expressed their

reservations with regard to the health and environmental effects of this

untested GE organism. Furthermore, the lack of transparency with regards the

manner in which the process of field testing is conducted is also an issue of

concern. As of date it is unclear if the inhabitants of the proposed site have

given their consent, which is required under the terms and condition for the


Under the field trial, genetically engineered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

(OX513A) will be released and studied and if the experiment is successful, the

GE mosquitoes may later be used as part of a programme to curb dengue in

Malaysia, a disease which is currently rampant in the country. The GE mosquitoes

are genetically engineered to include two new traits: fluorescence and

conditional lethality. The fluorescence trait acts as a marker for the GE

mosquitoes. When the GE male mosquitoes mate with females in the wild, the

conditional lethality trait will be passed on to the offspring and the resulting

mosquito larvae will die, provided this happens in the absence of the antibiotic


The GE mosquitoes is a product of Oxitec, a biotech company based in the UK. The

company will be working with the Malaysian Institute of Medical Research whose

application to conduct the field trial was approved by the National Biosafety

Board. Oxitec had conducted its first experimental study using the same OX513A

strain of Aedes aegypti in the Cayman Islands. However, experts have doubts as

to the sustainability of the initiative and have called for a full, long-term

assessment of the Cayman trials, especially to identify any unintended effects,

before consideration of release anywhere else in the world.

As Malaysia prepares to embark on a similar venture, many other questions about

the GE mosquitoes remained unanswered. These include: Will the GE male

mosquitoes actually be able to mate with the female wild mosquitoes outside a

controlled environment? How certain it is that the GE mosquitoes will not cause

a new disease in the future or acquire the ability to transmit other diseases?

Who will take responsibility in the event untoward effects happen as a result of

the experiment?

Given the uncertainties and concerns relating to the technology, health,

environment and so forth, many have called for a rethink of the project and

suggested that other less risky methods of dengue control be considered and

stepped up.

Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister,
10400 Penang,
Website: and

TWN Biosafety Info

Title : GE Mosquitoes Soon to be Released in Malaysia
Date : 13 December 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Whistleblowers Get Bad Deal

Senate Passes S.372: A Bad Deal for Whistleblowers

Posted on December 12, 2010 by Lindsey Williams

On December 10, 2010, the Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) by unanimous consent. After a careful review of S. 372, the National Whistleblowers Center, the Federal Ethics Center, and the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition strongly recommend that the bill not be approved in its current form. We urge the House of Representatives to fix the bill and send it back to the Senate for final approval. Here is why the bill must be fixed:

1. New Summary Dismissal Authority. The bill gives the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) sweeping new powers to dismiss whistleblower claims without a hearing. The MSPB Administrative Judges will now be able to dismiss WPA claims without a hearing, based solely on affidavits filed by executive agencies. If whistleblowers did not conduct extensive and expensive pre-trial depositions, they will be unable to rebut these affidavits, and their cases will be dismissed. Even if the whistleblower is able to afford the significant additional fees and costs caused by the new summary dismissal proceedings, based on the track record of the AJs, the vast majority of cases will be summarily dismissed based on agency affidavits. The opportunity to create a record at a hearing, or use the pre-hearing process as an opportunity to reach a settlement, will be lost. This is a significant rollback of current rights that will make it more costly and more difficult for whistleblowers to prevail in any actions, despite any of the other reforms contained in the legislation.

Continue Reading...

Tags: HR 1507, Legislation, S. 372, Senate, Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, whistleblower laws

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Deadly Mystery Illness in Uganda

A new mysterious disease has killed 38 people so far in Uganda during a month's time.  The victims are all males.  They have suffered from fever, severe headaches, dizziness, diarrhoea and vomiting.  Authorities have yet been able to identify the causative agent.  Some speculate that it could be a possible resurgence of an epidemic of bubonic plague or a new emerging disease.