RP Partner Sean Connelly Quoted in Denver Post Article Titled “Amendment 23 School Funding Lawsuit Debated Before Colorado Supreme Court”

 

June 6, 2015

Denver, Colorado

Arguments over whether the state has violated the intent of a constitutional amendment passed by Colorado voters were presented in front of the state Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The hearing was for a lawsuit filed last summer by a group of parents and education advocates that claims the state is unconstitutionally cutting school districts’ funding by changing the formula that calculates how much each district gets.

“They say, as a matter of budgetary necessity, we are going to cap funding,” Sean Connelly, an attorney for the group filing the lawsuit, told the justices. “The formula is not driving spending anymore. What’s driving spending is a preset funding cap, and then they back into the numbers.”

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.

 


RP Associate John McHugh Quoted in The New York Times Article Titled “Rising Dissent and Lawsuits Pushed Scouts to Change”

 

May 22, 2015

New York, New York

As Robert M. Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, called Thursday for an end to the organization’s ban on openly gay leaders, the group was already facing state civil rights investigations in New York and Colorado and the looming threat of lawsuits that the Scouts seemed almost certain to lose.

In his powerful speech to the Scouts’ national meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Gates, the former secretary of defense, said that unexpectedly swift changes in society as well as swelling dissent among local Scout councils required bold action. But he also warned bluntly that the Boy Scouts’ exclusionary rule left them vulnerable to painful court-ordered change.

The large New York City affiliate of the Boy Scouts had forced the issue, flouting national policy with an announcement in April that it had hired Pascal Tessier, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout and gay activist, as a summer camp counselor.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


Reilly Pozner Associate John McHugh Interviewed in Colorado Independent Article Titled “Colorado Eyes High Court for News on Gay Marriage”

 

April 28, 2015

Denver, Colorado

The U.S. Supreme Court today is hearing arguments in a case that will push the most-recent chapter in the breakneck story of American gay marriage toward a major conclusion. Coloradans on all sides of the issue are watching for clues on what to expect here in the Centennial State, where over the last 11 years same-sex marriage was banned by voters, then side-stepped with civil unions, then caught up in state court, then de-facto legalized by a federal court, and then made real on the ground in the offices of inspired and determined county clerks.

The Supreme Court justices likely will hand down a ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case in June. (Audio of arguments is being loaded here in stages as they take place.) The justices are considering two questions: First, must all states issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and second, if they don’t have to, must they recognize those issued by other states?

The high-court case consolidates four cases heard in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a conservative jurisdiction that stretches from the Canadian border with Michigan through Midwestern Ohio and into Old South Kentucky and Tennessee.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


RP Partner Joseph Zonies Quoted in St. Louis Post-Dispatch Article “St. Louis Jury Hears Nations First Suit Claiming Zoloft Caused Birth Defects”

 

April 9, 2015

St. Louis Missouri

 

A St. Louis jury began hearing arguments Thursday in a lawsuit that claimed the popular antidepressant Zoloft caused birth defects in a California boy. The lawsuit is the first of its kind to make it to trial.

There are similar suits across the country in both state and federal courts alleging that when Zoloft is taken during pregnancy it causes birth defects. None of those lawsuits have yet been heard by a jury.

New York-based Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft, denies a link between the drug and birth defects.

Logyn Pesante was born with multiple heart defects, the most serious being transposition of the great arteries, also known as TGA, in which the two main arteries of the heart are in the wrong place. Since his birth Logyn has undergone 25 procedures and six operations and has a pacemaker.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


RP Partner Joseph Zonies Referenced in Bloomberg Business Article Titled “Pfizer Accused of Knowing Zoloft Posed Birth Risk”

 

April 9, 2015

New York, New York

Pfizer Inc. researchers concluded last year that pregnant women taking Zoloft risked having babies with heart defects, according to evidence made public by a lawyer at the first trial of more than 1,000 lawsuits over the drug.

The May 2014 internal report on the antidepressant found that newborns of women taking the mood-altering drug were at risk of suffering congenital anomalies, according to a portion of the report presented by a lawyer for the mother of a boy born with a heart defect.

Families suing Pfizer over Zoloft contend the drugmaker ignored internal red flags about potential birth defects to protect billions in sales of the drug. Pfizer didn’t warn doctors or patients about the risk, said Joe Zonies, a lawyer for Logyn Pesante and his mother told jurors in state court in St. Louis.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


RP Case Subject of St. Louis Business Journal Article Titled “$490 Million Judgment in Prearranged Funeral Civil Case”

 

March 10, 2015

St. Louis, Missouri

A jury has awarded $490 million to state life and health guarantee associates and a receiver in the civil trial surrounding the massive $600 million National Prearranged Services Inc. prepaid funeral scheme.

PNC Bank, a successor to Allegiant Bank, was the defendant. Shaun Hayes’ Allegiant was a trustee for National Prearranged from 1998 to 2004. Hayes sold Allegiant to National City, which was later sold to PNC Bank.

The jury’s verdict said PNC Bank must pay $355 million in compensatory damages and $35.5 million in punitive damages, according to Betty Ann Skrien, judicial assistant in U.S. District Judge Richard Webber’s court. It also ruled that Forever Enterprises, which is now defunct and was controlled by the Cassitys, must pay $100 million.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.

 


RP Case Discussed in Kansas City Business Journal Article Titled “Jury Awards $490M in St. Louis Funeral Scam Case”

 

March 10, 2015

Kansas City, Missouri

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri has awarded almost $500 million in damages, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

The case centered on a massive $600 million prepaid funeral scheme that defrauded funeral homes and consumers.

St. Louis-based National Prearranged Services Inc. promised customers money they paid for prearranged funerals would be held in a trust, and claims were to be funded by the trust. But the defendants in a previous criminal case spent the trust money, and money from new clients was used to pay claims. Six officers and employees related to National Prearranged were sentenced to prison time in November 2013 for their roles in the scheme.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


RP Case Covered in ABA Journal Article Titled “Federal Jury Awards $491M in Trial Over Prepaid Funeral Scheme”

 

March 10, 2015

Chicago, Illinois

A federal jury in St. Louis on Monday awarded $491 million in damages concerning a failed prepaid funeral operation that has been described by prosecutors as a Ponzi-like scheme.

During the more than 15 years that National Prearranged Services Inc. was in operation, the money paid in for funerals was supposed to be held in trust. But those in charge, including trustee Allegiant Bank, allowed officers of NPS to siphon money out for their own benefit, a civil suit alleged. It was brought by insurance guaranty associations and a receiver, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 97,000 victims included not only customers but funeral homes, financial institutions and insurers.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


RP Trial Covered in The Columbus Dispatch Article Titled “PNC Must Pay $391 Million in Lawsuit Over Prepaid Funerals”

 

March 11, 2015

Columbus, Ohio

ST. LOUIS — A federal jury ordered PNC Bank to pay $391 million in damages tied to an alleged insurance scam involving prepaid funeral contracts at now-defunct National Prearranged Services.

According to the lawsuit, funeral homes and consumers were led to believe the funds entrusted to NPS, a St. Louis-based company that sold prepaid funerals, would be safeguarded in a trust and backed by life-insurance policies. However, the defendants allegedly siphoned off money from the funds.

PNC Bank is the successor to Allegiant Bank, which served as a trustee for the company from 1998 to 2004.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.


RP Case Covered in Reuters Article Titled “U.S. Jury Orders PNC Bank to Pay $391 Mln in Funeral Scam Case”

 

March 10, 2015

New York, New York

(Reuters) – A federal jury ordered PNC Bank to pay $391 million in damages for its role in an alleged insurance scam involving prepaid funeral contracts at the now-defunct National Prearranged Services (NPS).

According to the lawsuit, funeral homes and consumers were led to believe the funds entrusted to NPS, a St.Louis-based company that sold prepaid funerals, would be safeguarded in a trust and backed by life insurance policies. However, the defendants allegedly siphoned off money from the funds.

PNC Bank is the successor to Allegiant Bank, which served as a trustee for the company from 1998 to 2004.

Allegiant and other trustees failed to supervise NPS’s assets and allowed the company to pillage the NPS trust assets, according to the complaint filed in 2009 by state life and health guarantee associations and a Texas special receiver set up to wind down NPS.

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Reilly Pozner LLP serves clients nationwide and is engaged in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, class actions, civil and criminal litigation, mass torts, personal injury and appellate law.