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Feature Story /Judge
Dismisses Brockovich as plaintiff in Medicare
Code released to public by Sun Microsystems Inc Part
CLICK Ad Executives resign ///
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109 - Legal Report: Court Dismisses Brockovich as plaintiff in Medicare suits; Java Code released to public by Sun Microsystems Inc.; Yahoo CLICK Ad Executives resign
47th Week November 2006 / U.S. District Judge David O. Carter dismissed five of the lawsuits last month and this week issued tentative dismissals on 24 more. The 29 cases represent the bulk of the more than 30 lawsuits Brockovich and her lawyers filed in California.
Two more cases are pending in a federal court in San Diego, another in Carter's court and at least one case in a state court in Fresno. The federal jurist has dismissed many of the activist's Medicare suits against convalescent homes and hospitals.
Attorneys for the hospitals called her crusade a waste of resources.
"There were 25 lawyers sitting in the courtroom all morning" waiting for the ruling Tuesday, said Mark A. Johnson, an attorney at Hooper, Lundy & Bookman Inc., which represented several defendants. "What was that costing the healthcare providers? That's resources that could have gone into actual healthcare."
The main law firm representing Brockovich, Wilkes & McHugh, has filed similar lawsuits elsewhere in the country using other plaintiffs. The law firm, which has an office in Rancho Palos Verdes, did not return calls for comment Wednesday.
Erin Brockovich built a career as a celebrity crusader for weighty causes. But this time she was wrong for the role, according to a federal judge in Santa Ana. (Nov 6th 2006.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter has dismissed several lawsuits that Brockovich filed this summer on behalf of Medicare. Carter ruled that Brockovich has no standing to sue hospitals and convalescent homes to recoup allegedly illicit funds the healthcare providers received from the federally funded health plan for seniors and disabled people.
FOR THE RECORD:
Headline: An earlier version of this story's headline incorrectly read, "Judge requests Brockovich's role as plaintiff."
Brockovich and her lawyers claimed in state and federal courts that healthcare providers were pocketing millions of taxpayer dollars by charging Medicare for medical errors and then charging again to fix those errors. She brought the suits as a citizen acting on behalf of the government.
The lawsuits did not cite specific instances of wrongdoing, pointing instead to federal reports that estimated medical errors cost Medicare more than $9 billion a year. Brockovich and her lawyers hoped to find evidence in the course of trying the cases, and would have collected legal fees if they were successful.
They sued some of the nation's biggest hospital and nursing home chains, including Tenet Healthcare Corp., Adventist Health, Country Villa Service Corp., Catholic Healthcare West, Kindred Healthcare Inc. and Longwood Management Corp.
But Carter said Brockovich, a 46-year-old former legal assistant who became an instant celebrity after her environmental crusade against a utility company was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, could not serve as a plaintiff. That's because she is not an injured party and there is no specific law that grants her the power to sue on behalf of the government in this case, the judge ruled.
But Brockovich issued a statement through an assistant that said she would appeal Carter's decision.
"I am proud to be a consumer advocate on this issue and will continue to be," she said.
Keeping up with the EU requirement by MicroSoft to make software codes public, computer server and software maker Sun Microsystems Inc. said Monday that it had begun to make its Java technology an open-source software project available for free on the Internet.
The announcement represents one of the largest additions of computer code to the open-source community -- and it marks a major shift for a company that had once fiercely protected the source code used in 3.8 billion cellphones, supercomputers, medical devices and other gadgets.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun said it was making nearly all of Java's source code -- excluding small pockets of code that aren't owned by Sun -- available under the GNU General Public License.
Making Java an open-source project allows programmers to examine, modify, fix bugs and contribute new features in Java's underlying code. The project requires that any changes be made public.
Sun, a formerly highflying dot-com that has lost billions of dollars since the stock market collapse of 2000, has hitched its rebound strategy in part to the growing open source movement.
Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president of software, said the company hoped to turn more developers into Java programmers, who may then create additional software to support Sun products.
Pasadena. Two Yahoo Inc. executives responsible for selling advertising on other websites have stepped down, dealing the company a setback in its efforts to catch up with Google Inc.
Bill Demas, senior vice president of Yahoo's publisher network, resigned during the last quarter and will leave the company at the end of November, spokeswoman Kristen Wareham said Monday. Will Johnson, a vice president, left two weeks ago.
Wareham said the executives left of their own accord.
The departures come as Yahoo, which ranks second to Google in Internet search, tries to sign up more sites to display the ads it sells. Demas oversaw Yahoo's business to sell ads on large websites including cnn.com, while Johnson ran a trial program to offer ads on smaller sites, including blogs.
Yahoo remains committed to selling ads that appear on other websites, Wareham said.
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Feature Story /Judge
Dismisses Brockovich as plaintiff in Medicare
Code released to public by Sun Microsystems Inc
CLICK Ad Executives resign
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