Category Archives: Legal

Unfair Feres Doctrine


My trade group, the American Association for Justice (personal injury attorneys representing injured people), has been trying to get Congress to repeal the unfair Feres Doctrine, which prevents military service personnel from being compensated for any injuries received while they serve.

The issue was on CBS This Morning Show:

Former residents in MLW


Kramer-300x160Robert Mueller made me proud to be a lawyer

Steve’s full article is here



Stephen M. Nolan Leadership Award at the Lawyers Clearinghouse

This from the article on the first awarding of the the Lawyers Clearinghouse’s Leadership Award now renamed the Stephen M. Nolan Leadership Award, lets us know that Steve Nolan volunteers a lot in the legal world, just as he did in Medfield. –

“Liz Lintz then introduced event co-chairs Rick Henken and Tim Sullivan to present the Stephen M. Nolan Leadership Award—previously known only as the Leadership Award—to Chrystal. The Clearinghouse had recently renamed the award to recognize the incredible contributions of longtime board member Steve Nolan, a partner at Nolan Sheehan Patten.

“Steve’s dedication to the Clearinghouse over the past 27 years has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Liz said. “We wanted to honor Steve for all that he’s done in a special and lasting way.”

Full article here



The Lawyers Clearinghouse harnesses the power of Massachusetts legal professionals to strengthen communities. We do this by connecting Massachusetts nonprofits and the homeless with pro bono lawyers. With limited resources, we maximize community impact by streamlining the way lawyers volunteer their skills.

Through our connections to a network of lawyers at top Massachusetts law firms and corporations, we:

The Clearinghouse Model

The Clearinghouse bridges the gap between lawyers who want to volunteer and nonprofits and homeless people who need their help. Lawyers want to take pro bono cases, but scarcely have the time to research opportunities. Nonprofits need legal help, but can rarely afford an attorney. The homeless and at-risk population needs someone to speak for them. Through our connections to a network of lawyers at top Massachusetts law firms, we serve several communities.

Ask Congress to repeal the Feres Doctrine

The Feres Doctrine prevents active duty military service people from getting compensated for being injured or killed while serving.  It is not fair to our service members and should be repealed.  My trade group, the American Association for Justice ( – personal injury attorneys serving injured people), is pushing bipartisan legislation that repeals the Feres Doctrine.  Please support doing so.


TAKE ACTION: Ask your member of Congress to support new legislation to protect the rights of U.S. servicemembers to seek civil justice when injured or harmed. #SaveStayskal #UnfairFeres

1 in 10 patients harmed in the course of their medical care

medical errors-3

“More than 1 in 10 patients are harmed in the course of their medical care, and half of those injuries are preventable. Among the preventable errors, 12 percent led to a patient’s permanent disability or death, according to the report published Wednesday in The BMJ, a medical journal.”

Feres Doctrine – bars servicemembers from justice against the U.S. government when injured

From my American Association for Justice –


This week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions involving the Feres Doctrine, a long-standing precedent initially established by the high court, which bars active duty servicemembers from taking legal action and seeking justice against the U.S. government when they are injured or harmed incidental to military service.


Granting the petitions would have allowed the Court a chance to overturn the Feres Doctrine, which has systemically shut out claims, such as negligence and medical malpractice, brought by servicemembers for decades.


Notably, both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the Court’s decision to deny the petitions:


Such unfortunate repercussions—denial of relief to military personnel and distortions of other areas of law to compensate—will continue to ripple through our jurisprudence as long as the Court refuses to reconsider Feres,” Justice Thomas wrote.


Now more than ever, we need Congress to step up and take action to right this wrong. New, bipartisan legislation seeks to amend existing legislation, so that servicemembers can take rightful action and seek accountability when they are wronged. The Feres Doctrine undermines the rights of the men and women who serve and is affront to all Americans.


You can help by contacting your member of Congress and telling them to support the Sfc. Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019. It’s time we start protecting the rights of those fighting for ours.


3M documents show company hid PFAS dangers

From my daily e-newsletter from the American Association for Justice (attorneys representing injured people) –


Civil Justice System

Internal 3M documents show company hid PFAS dangers for decades.

The Detroit Free Press (5/9, Matheny, 1.52M) reports that in a “scathing resignation letter,” a former 3M environmental specialist “accused company officials of being ‘unethical’ and more ‘concerned with markets, legal defensibility and image over environmental safety’ when it came to PFAS.” In a 1999 resignation letter, Richard Burdy called PFOS, one of 3M’s chief PFAS products, “the most insidious pollutant since PCB.” Purdy said, “It is probably more damaging than PCB because it does not degrade, whereas PCB does; it is more toxic to wildlife,” adding, “I have worked within the system to learn more about this chemical and to make the company aware of the dangers associated with its continued use…but I have continually met roadblocks, delays, and indecision. For weeks on end, I have received assurances that my samples would be analyzed soon – never to see results. There are always excuses and little is accomplished.” The Detroit Free Press says that the letter “is just one of a large cache of internal 3M memos and documents obtained by the Free Press through public records law from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.”



You Should Know

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Osler “Pete” Peterson

617-969-1500 – Newton

February 2019

Attorney Photo

Gentle Enough for Babies’ Bottoms?

Last month we told you about a new report on the worst corporate conduct in 2018. Based on breaking news from Reuters, the New York Times and others, we may have our first “worst conduct” nominee for 2019. Internal documents uncovered in lawsuits against healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson indicate that the company knew for years that its iconic Baby Powder might be tainted with traces of cancer-causing asbestos. The company adamantly denies any link between its talc-based products and cancer, but nearly 12,000 lawsuits allege otherwise. Here’s what you should know about this troubling story.

New Report Says Baby Powder Giant Knew of Cancer Risk

Talc Danger
The fragrance of baby powder is distinct and comforting. It conjures images of newborn babies or toweling off after a warm shower. But the reality isn’t quite so idyllic for thousands of Americans who claim that trace amounts of asbestos in talc caused their cancer. Now a new investigation by Reuters argues that Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest manufacturer of talc-based baby powder, may have known – and covered up – the cancer-causing risk of its iconic product for decades.



Nearly 12,000 women suffering from mesothelioma and cervical cancer allege in lawsuits that Johnson & Johnson talc products caused their illnesses.


Baby Powder Tainted by Asbestos, Says Report

Reuters reporter Lisa Girion tells MSNBC how Johnson & Johnson kept concerns about its baby powder secret for decades.



Looking for safe alternatives to talc baby powder and shower products? Here are five options from Mother Nature Network.

You Should Know is a copyrighted publication of Voice2News, LLC, and is made possible by the attorney shown above. This newsletter is intended for the interest of past and present clients and other friends of this lawyer. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, click here to unsubscribe from this newsletter, and your request will be honored immediately. You may also submit your request in writing to: Steven L. Miller, Editor, 4907 Woodland Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312. Be sure to include your email address.

Mass. farm animal law survives

This is from my Route Fifty daily email. 

Supreme Court Rejects Challenges Over State Farm Animal Laws

Eggs laid by cage-free chickens sit in a holder after being sorted by Francis Blake on his organic farm, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, near Waukon, Iowa.

Eggs laid by cage-free chickens sit in a holder after being sorted by Francis Blake on his organic farm, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, near Waukon, Iowa. AP PHOTO/CHARLIE NEIBERGALL

California and Massachusetts standards for the confinement of livestock have drawn opposition from other states.

Two groups of state attorneys general were blocked Monday from bringing a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court against California and Massachusetts laws that set standards for the treatment of farm animals raised to produce eggs and some meats sold in those states.

The attorneys general were asking the Supreme Court to allow their lawsuits to proceed directly to high court, without going through lower federal courts first.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill led a dozen other state officials at odds with the Massachusetts law. Most of the plaintiffs in that case were also involved in one that Missouri Attorney General Joshua Hawley spearheaded centering on similar California laws.

On Monday, the Supreme Court justices rejected their motions to file bills of complaint with the court, stopping the cases from moving forward. Justice Clarence Thomas indicated he would have granted the motions, according to court orders.

The Supreme Court can exercise “original jurisdiction” in legal disputes between states but has in the past opted to do so sparingly.

Massachusetts voters passed the law in question there more than two years ago.

Its intended purpose is to “prevent animal cruelty” by phasing out “extreme methods” of farm animal confinement, which could also pose consumer health threats or weigh on the state’s finances.

As written, the law will apply to the sale of shell eggs, veal and pork. It will prohibit the sale of these goods in the state if they come from animals that were confined in ways that kept them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely.

There are some exclusions for foods like pizzas, soups and sandwiches that include veal or pork products.

The law is set to go fully into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

California’s laws set similar standards for hens that produce eggs sold in the state. They took effect in 2015 and have withstood challenges in lower federal courts, including one brought in 2014 by Missouri that other states involved in Supreme Court action later joined.

The attorneys general behind the current cases suggest the California and Massachusetts laws run afoul of federal law and are in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which prohibits state laws that discriminate against, or significantly impede interstate commerce.

A brief filed by Hawley’s office says “California is disregarding federal law by imposing novel standards on agricultural production in other States, inflating prices for consumers nationwide,” and it argues the state’s egg laws are violating the federal Egg Products Inspection Act.

One of Hill’s filings contends that, in Massachusetts, “The Animal Law nominally targets in-state retail sales, but in effect regulates animal housing in other States.”

“If the Court does not intervene,” another brief from Hill’s office adds, the law “will require compliance by livestock farmers across the country on pain of losing access to the Massachusetts market.”

The other attorneys general seeking to challenge the California statute were from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Those involved in the effort against the Massachusetts law were from mostly the same states. But South Carolina and West Virginia’s attorneys general also took part and Nevada and Iowa’s attorneys general did not. Except for Iowa’s Tom Miller, who is a Democrat, the rest of the attorneys general pursuing the cases were Republicans.

Massachusetts and California in their briefs cast doubt on the standing the states had to bring the cases against their laws, posited that the dispute did not warrant the Supreme Court exercising original jurisdiction, and argued the Commerce Clause claims lacked merit.

Similarly, the Trump Administration urged the Supreme Court to deny the motions by the states to proceed with the cases.

“This case does not present the rare circumstance in which the Court would exercise its original jurisdiction to resolve a Commerce Clause question,” said a brief U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s office filed for the U.S. government in the Massachusetts case.

A filing from the solicitor general in the California dispute mirrored that position. It also took the stance that the California laws are not preempted by the Egg Products Inspection Act, despite the claims to the contrary made by the states seeking to fight the laws.

And “in order to resolve plaintiffs’ Commerce Clause challenge, both on standing and the merits,” the brief from the solicitor general’s office in the California case adds, “it would be necessary to resolve complex factual disputes that are better suited to a district court.”

When Healthcare Advertising Hurts Patients

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Osler “Pete” Peterson

617-969-1500 – Newton

November 2018

Attorney Photo

Drug Makers Spend Millions on Advertising Because It Works

Most Americans take anything they see advertised on television or the internet with a grain of salt. Good, but the fact is that advertising works even if we think we are not swayed by the latest jingle or funny slogan. Otherwise, why would companies spend millions on ads to try and convince you to buy their product or service? The same holds true for drug and healthcare marketing, which often uses emotional hooks to gain your trust. But the stakes are much higher when it comes to your health. And that’s why you should read this newsletter for tips on healthcare marketing that goes too far.

Elder Care

When Do Drug and Healthcare Ads Push Ethical Boundaries?

You’d be right if you suspect that drug makers are spending A LOT more on TV advertising. Pharmaceutical companies have more than doubled ad spending in just the past four years, making it the second-fastest growing ad category in the nation. Other healthcare providers – from local hospitals to nationally-known cancer treatment centers – are also upping the advertising ante. But when do healthcare promotions cross ethical boundaries and the ancient pledge to all patients of  “do no harm?” You should know!


1 in 20

One in 20 Google searches are health related and the first place consumers turn for answers, 57 percent versus 32 percent who start with a doctor.


10 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor

Parsing fact from hype starts with good doctor-patient communication. Doctor Mike shares the questions he would ask in this video.



Some patients say healthcare ads that feature happy, healed people and miraculous recoveries spread false hope.

You Should Know is a copyrighted publication of Voice2News, LLC, and is made possible by the attorney shown above. This newsletter is intended for the interest of past and present clients and other friends of this lawyer. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, click here to unsubscribe from this newsletter, and your request will be honored immediately. You may also submit your request in writing to: Steven L. Miller, Editor, 4907 Woodland Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312. Be sure to include your email address.

e-cigarettes in the news


From my daily American Association for Justice newsletter –


US officials say e-cigarettes cannot be allowed to become a conduit for teenage addiction.

In a Washington Post (10/11, 12.5M) op-ed, HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb write that they are “deeply concerned about the risks that e-cigarettes pose for children, given how quickly teenage use of these products has accelerated.” Azar and Gottlieb say it is “crucial that e-cigarettes do not become an on-ramp for children to become addicted to nicotine. But at the same time, we believe e-cigarettes can be an important off-ramp for adults who are addicted to combustible cigarettes.” The duo add that they “know that the steps we have taken thus far are not enough. We are considering limits on the marketing and features of e-cigarettes to reverse their appeal and availability to minors. We are also actively reconsidering our policy under which certain e-cigarettes – particularly the products with flavors that might appeal to children – can remain on the market without submitting a premarket application to the FDA until 2022.”

FDA warns e-cigarette manufacturer over selling liquids containing erectile dysfunction meds.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (10/11, Schaefer, 928K) reports the FDA issued a warning letter on Thursday to e-cigarette maker HelloCig Electronic Technology after the agency found that it was selling the prescription erectile dysfunction drugs tadalafil and/or sildenafil in e-liquid form. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced, “There are no e-liquids that contain prescription drugs that have been proven safe or effective through this route of administration.”

The Washington Examiner (10/11, King, 299K) reports the FDA statement accompanying the warning letter said, “These FDA-approved prescription drugs are not approved for inclusion in e-liquid products sold over the counter and are therefore being sold illegally.”

MedPage Today (10/11, Boyles, 52K) reports Gottlieb added, “There are no e-liquid products approved to contain prescription drugs or any other medications that require a doctor’s supervision.”