Laws

Understanding A Northport Health Services Lawsuit

Law

A Northport, Maine lawsuit has been filed against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for denying benefits to a woman with breast cancer. This particular lawsuit is part of the “suitability” case. This is where the plaintiff must prove that he or she has a valid claim for benefits. If it can be proven that the defendant made an error in any way, that the defendant acted in bad faith, or that there was a genuine safety concern that could have been addressed, then the plaintiff may be entitled to damages. This is also part of the “breach of duty” case.

The plaintiff in this particular lawsuit has been unable to work and has lost her job due to the inability to return to work due to her having breast cancer.

She is receiving disability benefits and wants to be reimbursed for the time lost at work as well as the missed income due to not being able to work. The Maine DHHS denied this claim and said that the benefits were available to all people in similar situations. The lawsuit was eventually lost when the US Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

There was an appeal however, from a man named Paul Kerrigan.

He claimed that he had a legal right to the benefits. His claim was rejected by the lower court judge. But on appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision and stated that Kerrigan was entitled to them. The Appeals Court disagreed and stated that under the circumstances, Kerrigan’s claim was not likely to succeed. So, again the matter was lost.

The Maine DHHS has received many complaints over the years about what they call frivolous lawsuits.

In one case, a woman claimed that her doctor switched her treatment from radiation therapy to Cryotherapy, which is not approved by the FDA. When the lawsuit was handled by an attorney that did not have medical experience, the lawsuit was lost and she was forced to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees. Another case involved a man that claimed he was caused terrible suffering by Heterocyclic Amino Acid, or HCAA, in his brain.

These are only two examples. The state court judge in each of these cases found that there was nothing wrong with the treatments in question. The decision in the Kerrigan case also mentioned that the patient had been subjected to a “shocking” and “abusillary” use of treatment that led to a severe deterioration of his health. The court found that there was no scientific evidence that HCAA caused the deterioration in the patient. The state department of health Services declined to recognize the connection and the lawsuit was subsequently thrown out.

So what has this all led up to?

Well, the defendants in both of these cases were ordered to pay a considerable sum in settlement payouts. And that was just the result of one case. If a plaintiff could show that he or she was a victim of such an event and that it resulted in severe injury or a loss of quality of life, then the defendant could be ordered to pay back the cost of the treatment out of pocket. Today, more claims are being made under these circumstances.

So why is a Northport health services lawsuit different?

Well, the plaintiff in this instance did not actually have to suffer any physical injury. Instead, he or she merely wanted to be able to get some kind of monetary compensation. In other words, they are asking the court to let them off the hook so that they can get their treatment.

As you can see, it is important to understand the distinction between the terms “tort law” and “health services lawsuit.” There are many people that may have seen the similarity and assumed that they both relate to the same thing. However, that is not the case. It is generally better to leave the task up to an attorney to explain the difference.

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