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Articles Tagged with transparency

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Post-your-best-portrait-shots-for-a-chance-to-win-prizes-300x300It’s been almost two months since my last post. Although not writing here, I have been busy writing – including a number of briefs in an ongoing products’ liability case and a separate case involving a public contract in Alabama. Both cases share a common (and troubling) issue. Both involve serious public issues shrouded in secrecy by confidentiality orders. One case involves a medical device marketed and implanted in women despite huge dangers known by the manufacturer. The other involves a company with a public contract affecting health benefits for thousands of beneficiaries across Alabama.

In the medical device case, patients and their doctors should have access to important information concerning research, testing, and FDA approval. Yet, they do not. Many of these documents are shielded from disclosure by court order. How many women could have been saved from the chronic pain and disabling injuries of this product? Why should any company ever be allowed to implant its devices in people without disclosing the chemicals that comprise it? If only important information had been disclosed.

In the public contract case, Alabama’s citizens should have access to information concerning how a company spends their taxpayer money. Yet, they do not. Why should any company ever be allowed to spend public money in secret? Yet, much of this information is shielded from disclosure by court order.

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recent article discusses an important issue in public pension and health plans — a lack of transparency. I realize this topic is a change from my normal posts discussing personal injury issues such as car accidents and work comp claims. But, it’s an important issue. It’s one important to Alabama. And, it’s one I’ve explored in a recent case representing a local healthcare business in Alabama with significant damages.

While the article discusses public plans in Kentucky, the issues also apply in Alabama. Some of our public plans have similar problems. What are two of the transparency problems we’ve discovered in our case? They are:

  1. Conflicts Of Interest:  Let’s face it – health and pension plans involve complex issues. So, the State often employs “consultants” with expertise in the field. That’s OK. These plans provide long-term benefits to our valued public employees. Expertise is needed. Here’s the problem. In our case, the State’s consultant managed the entire bidding process. He even scored the bids of companies competing for the contract. Yet, while handling the bidding process, he also accepted thousands of dollars from one bidder. And, no surprise, that one bidder won the contract! Although he accepted thousands of dollars and provided the winning bidder with important pricing information, neither the consultant nor the bidder disclosed their relationship. Alabama officials had no idea. The consultant concealed the relationship. Nobody can explain how this provider’s bid was better than the others? The bidding process should be fully transparent and beyond ethical question.
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