When Archbishop Levada assumes Pope Benedict XVI’s old position at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sometime this summer, he’ll be faced with more than 700 clergy abuse files. The backlog is partly blamed on the US Bishops’ 2002 zero tolerance policy in which allegations of clergy abuse are sent to Rome for trial. We have a similar case in our office. We represent a victim of Father Richard Emerson who abused a young boy while stationed as a Catholic priest in Orlando Florida. A lawsuit has been filed in Orlando and we are aggressively investigating on behalf of our client.
It’s next to impossible to pick up a copy of the newspaper without reading about another corporate scandal involving greed, deception, and fraud. The insurance industry is not immune from these corporate scandals. Recently, the nation’s largest re-insurance company AIG faced these very same allegations. Yet, the insurance industry as a whole has spent countless millions of dollars convincing us that it’s in fact lawyers who are the cause of higher premiums. They have been successful at passing legislation restricting consumer access to the courthouse especially in cases against big corporations.
Yet, like a spoiled child, they want more. The insurance industry claims these sweeping “tort reform” measures are necessary to protect Florida’s businesses from high insurance premiums caused by litigation. However, contrary to these claims, insurance companies are posting record profits:
U.S. property and casualty insurance companies increased profits by 1000 percent in 2003 over 2002 to $29.9 billion.(1) For the first half of 2004, the property and casualty insurance industry’s after-tax net income was the highest ever: a record-breaking $23.5 billion.(2) And in 2004, the property and casualty industry’s surplus reached over $370 billion, its highest level ever.(3)
In November 2004, Florida’s largest medical malpractice insurer, First Professionals Insurance Company (FPIC), reported that their yearly profits through September 2004, increased 81 percent ($21 million vs. $11.6 million) over last year’s profits in the same period. Also in November, FPIC’s stock climbed to the highest it had been since the summer of 1999.
The nation’s HMOs nearly doubled their net profits in 2003, earning $10.2 billion in 2003, up from $5.5 billion in 2002 (an 86 percent increase), according to Weiss Ratings (4) Some examples of managed care companies’ profits are:
Blue Cross Blue Shield plans – 63% increase in profit
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan – $995.5 million profit
Physicians Service – $314.2 million profit
Group Health Cooperative – $187.8 million profit
Aetna Health – $129.8 million profit
Many Catholic watchers groaned in disbelief when new Pope Benedict XVI chose San Francisco Archbishop William Levada to replace him as chief doctrinal watchdog. One of Levada’s new responsibilities will be to oversee the clergy sex abuse scandal that has rocked the United States and Europe. Levada drew mixed reviews at best in handling cases of abuse in San Francisco and Portland Oregon.
Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II often looked the other way when confronted with the mounting priest abuse scandal.
However, according to Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Benedict XVI promised George that he would take the abuse crisis seriously. For the victims’ sake, let’s hope so.
Officials at the FDA are have announed that they are investigating a link between the impotence drugs viagra, cialis, and levitra and blindness. The FDA has 38 reports of blindness associated with Viagra and 4 among users of Cialis.It is possible that this danger in these drugs is the tip of an iceberg which could lead to an avalanche of lawsuits by consumers of these drugs who have lost their vision.
It will be interesting to find out if the drug companies have known about this risk and concealed the danger from the public. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.