Ex-Green Bay Packer Tauscher Combats The Trash Talk About Wisconsin’s Pending Concussion Bill


Posted on 26th February 2012 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

, , , , , , ,

Ex-Green Bay Packer Mark Tauscher is doing his part to safeguard youths against the long-term dangers of concussions.

At a press conference last Wednesday 34-year-old Tauscher, who was raised in Wisconsin, spoke up in support of state legislation aimed at reducing brain injury in young athletes. Tauscher was part of a group of doctors, high school athletes and Wisconsin legislators lobbying on behalf of the pending law, according to the Associated Press.   


Wisconsin is one of 18 states that haven’t yet passed laws mandating that student athletes be immediately pulled out of games if they show any evidence that they’s sustained a concussion. The National Football League has contacted the governors of all those states urging them to pass concussion legislation, according to AP.

As part of that lobbying, ex-pro football players have been advocating passage of the anti-concussion laws in various states. In the case of Tauscher in Wisconsin, he brought up the macho pressure of the NFL, noting that players who didn’t get out and play again after a bad hit were denigrated as not being tough enough, AP reported.

At last week’s press conference in Madison, Richland Center High School player Brock Rosenkranz said that that he had to stop playing football and basketball after sustaining 10 concussions over a three-year span. He now suffers from depression, insomnia, headaches and memory loss, and is on medication.

The proposed concussion bill in Wisconsin is similar to the so-called Zachery Lystedt Law in Washington state. That law was named after a middle school football player who quickly went back on the gridiron after sustaining a concussion, and subsequently had brain damage.  

The Wisconsin concussion bill has been approved by the state Assembly, but is now stuck in the Senate, where Republicans have been wary about passing it, according to AP.

The pending bill would mandate that student athletes who appear to have suffered a concussion be taken out of a practice or game right away, and not be pemitted to go back on the field until they’ve been checked by a doctor and given permission in writing.

As part of this process, according to AP, the state Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association would have to craft guidelines and educational information for coaches, athletes and their parents.

Some of the Republican state senators are suggesting an alternative bill that is patently absurd. Under that proposal, Wisconsin schools could choose whether or not to develop concussion policies. 

“Student athletes also wouldn’t be forced to leave the playing field after suffering an injury,” AP said.

So some of Wisconsin’s youth athletes would be protected from brain injury, and others wouldn’t?

I, and every other Wisconsin resident, should contact their state lawmakers and demand that the original legislation be passed, to protect kids throughout our state.         

Disability Advocate Petitions Full Appellate Court To Review Special-Education Ruling


Posted on 18th February 2012 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized


Disability Rights Wisconsin is attempting to revive its special-education lawsuit against Milwaukee’s public schools, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The suit was filed nearly a dozen years ago on behalf of students who charged that they were not provided with special-education services that they should have received.   


Basically, Disability Rights on Friday asked a full appellate court to consider its case, to review the action of a three-judge panel. On Feb. 3 the panel decertified Disability Rights’ 11-year-old class action lawsuit, also vacating liability and orders that the Milwaukee school district had previously been directed to follow, according to the Journal Sentinel.

The appellate panel also threw out a 2008 settlement that Disability Rights had reached with the Department of Public Instruction.   

Disability Rights last Friday  requested that all the judges on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago review the three-judge panel’s decision.   

According to the Journal Sentinel, Disability Rights is asking the full Seventh Circuit to re-examine the class-action certification issue and whether or not the state of Wisconsin can require Milwaukee’s schools to “take corrective action to reform special-education services.”

Wisconsin Sex Abuse Victim Withdraws Federal Suit Against Vatican


Posted on 11th February 2012 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

, ,

A man, who alleges that he was sexually abused by a priest at school for the deaf, has withdrawn a federal lawsuit against the Vatican, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


The federal suit had been filed in Milwaukee by an alleged victim of the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy, who was believed to have molested as many as 200 deaf boys at the St. John School for the Deaf, which is now closed but had operated in St. Francis, Wis.

The attorney for the plaintiff in the Vatican suit, Jeffrey Anderson, also represents that same client in a bankrupty proceeding involving the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel reported. The paper quoted Anderson as saying that his client had decided to concentrate his efforts, along with other alleged sex abuse victims, “at the archdiocese level.”

The Milwaukee lawsuit against the Vatican was filed in April 2010, and was withdrawn Friday. Another lawsuit filed against the Vatican by a man who claimed he was abused by a priest was withdrawn in Kentucky in 2010, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Anderson also told the Milwaukee newspaper that his client’s decision to pull the suit against the Vatican was in part prompted by a decision by U.S. Bankrupty Judge Susan Kelley. On Thursday, she refused to dismiss two bankrupcy claims filed by victims abused in the 1970s and 1980s. 

According to the Journal Sentinel, Kelley said a trial will have to decide when a six-year statute of limitations began running on the victims’ allegations.      

Milwaukee Archdiocese Faces Bankruptcy Claims From 550 Alleged Sex Abuse Victims


Posted on 4th February 2012 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized


The magnitude of the claims is so large that it’s shocking, and sad.

Last Wednesday was the deadline to file claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As of the deadline, roughly 550 people have lodged sex-abuse claims againt the church, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week.  


Shocking as those numbers are, advocates for alleged priest abuse victims claim that the 550 understates the reality. They told the Journal Sentinel that there are many more victims in southeast Wisconsin, who feared filing or just didn’t think they could win against the archdiocese.

There will be a hearing next week, Feb. 9, on motions to dismiss claims by three men who charge they were molested as kids by a priest and choir from 1970 to the 1980s. 

The archidocese, according to the Journal Sentinel, does’t deny those particular allegations. But it still has plenty of excuses for having those claims tossed out — that they are outside the statute of limitations, include a victim who has already received a settlement, and because it claims the choir director didn’t work for the archdiocese.

The archdiocese also plans to argue that priests that were members of religious orders weren’t diocesan employees, the Journal Sentinel reported.

If the church wins on those motions, it would likely mean that many of the molestation victims’ claims in bankruptcy court would be  dismissed. That doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?





Wisconsin’s Triad Group Sued In Fourth Wrongful Death Case


Posted on 30th January 2012 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

, ,

Triad Group of Hartland, Wis., now faces a fourth wrongful death stemming from one of its products, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The latest case, filed by Judy Bennett of Tucson, Ariz., alleges that lubricating jelly from Triad and its sibling company, H&P Industries, gave her husband John a lethal infection. The lawsuit charges that Triad and Ohio-bases Edgepark Medical Supplies supplied the jelly, which was recalled for not being sterile. 


The suit was filed Jan. 9 in Arizona. Triad has denied any link between its products and patient deaths.

In a classic case of too little too late, Judy Bennett received notice of the jelly recall after her husband’s Feb. 14 death, even though the recall had started two months before that, according to the Journal Sentinel.

The newspaper in December published an investigative report that alleged that the Food and Drug Administration knew about safety issues with Triad products for about 10 years, but never took any action.      


Federal officials have gotten reports of nearly one dozen deaths allegedly related to Triad’s alcohol pads and other kinds of products, according to the Journal Sentinel. One lawsuit blames Triad’s pads with giving a Texas couple’s son a bacterial infection that went to his brain, ultimately killing him.


Family Gets $125,000 Settlement For Daughter’s Death After Stay At Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex


Posted on 28th November 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized


Is a life only worth $125,000? In some cases, apparently, the answer is yes.

The parents of a woman who died following a stay at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, a case that lead led to a review of the way the mentally ill are treated in that locality, have received a $125,000 settlement, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week.

That $125,000 doesn’t sound like very much for the death of a 33-year-old woman, does it? But the case has ben credited with being the impetus for reform and change in the way the patients are treated at the Mental Health Complex.  


The story said that Myron and Jean Anczak “remain deeply dissatisfied and conflicted” about the 2006 death of their daughter Cindy. Part of the settlment will go toward paying hospital bills, while the Anczaks’ attorney will be paid $44,000 for his work on the 5-year-0ld case.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the settlement says that Cindy Anczak’s demise and the investigation that followed has made the Mental Health Complex re-examine its policies and make improvements regarding “nuitritional care.”

The settlement specifically states that the Anczaks and the county “disagree over whether the county was at fault” in Cindy’s death on Aug. 16, 2006.

Her cause of death was due to complications of blood clots along with “self-induced” starvation, dehydration, and other conditions, the coroner’s report said. Cindy, who was bipolar, refused to eat during her five-week stay at the Mental Health Complex and lost 22 pounds while there, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Cindy was eventually put on anti-psychotic drugs, but still refused to eat. She was found unconscious, and was sent to Froedtert Hospital, where she died.

The settlement states that Cindy’s death wasn’t the result of any neglect on the part of the Mental Health Complex, according to the Journal Sentinel.

It’s no wonder that the Anczaks are “conflicted” about the outcome of their daughter’s case.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Recall Drive Starts Tuesday


Posted on 13th November 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

, ,

So far two Wisconsin state senators have been recalled. The question now is whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker will get his walking papers, so to speak.

On Tuesday the drive to have Walker recalled will begin, payback for his support of successful legislation that essentially put an end to collective bargaining for most public workers, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. That controversial law filled the state Capitol in Madison with protesters.   


They threatened to recall legislators who supported the anti-union law, and so far have succeeded in the recall of the two senators. But seven other legislators remain in officer after recall efforts against them failed.

Wisconsin Democrats have teamed up with union members to spearhead the petition drive to recall Walker, a drive that starts Tuesday. They had to wait until the governor was in office for a year before the recall effort could kick off.

The recall organizers will have to collect more than 540,000 signatures by Jan. 17 in order for there to be a recall election.

Good luck, folks.

Wisconsin Republicans Defang Consumer Law by Capping Attorney Fees That Can Be Recovered


Posted on 30th October 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

Leave it to Wisconsin Republicans to try to cut the teeth from the state’s consumer protection laws.  

Last week Republicans in the state Senate won approval of a bill that limits the attorney fees that plaintiffs can recover in consumer cases, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The bill passed in a 17-15 vote, with Democrats against the measure.


The bill will now go to the Wisconsin Assembly, which the Republicans control. No surprise what will happen there.

According to the Journal Sentinel, Republicans claim that the bill will help ensure that legal costs don’t get too high in suits involving just a small amount of money.

“Democrats said it would gut consumer protection laws,” the newspaper wrote.

And we agree.   

In the case cited by the Journal Sentinel, judges would have to act under the presumption that the most a plaintiff could recover in legal fes would be three time the amount being disputed in the lawsuit; i.e. if someone was suing for $10,000, the most they could recoup in legals fees would be $30,000.

If there was a special case where the judge thought the award should be higher, he or she could do that. But that provision is an amendment to the original bill.

This law will discourage lawyers from taking cases that deserve to be litigated, for people who have been wronged, if only for a small sum of money. Attorneys sometimes toil months and months on a case. They need to be sure that they will be reimbursed for all the hard work they have done. That ends with this new law.

As a result, lawyers may not take the case of consumer John Doe, who may be owed what seems like a small amount to some, but is a large amount to him.

The bill was prompted by a case that is perhaps an aberration, and lawyers and those wronged in consumer cases shouldn’t be punished because of it.

A Chevrolet-Pontiac dealer, GOP donor David Lynch, was sued for doing almost $5,000 worth of work on a truck without getting the owner’s approval, according to the Journal Sentinel.  Ultimately, the case was settled, with the dealer anteing up $170,000, which included $151,250 in attorney fees, the newspaper reported.

We don’t know anything more about the particulars of this case, but it did go up on appeal. That involves a lot of legal work. The plaintiff’s lawyer likely was very much due his or her $151,250.

Lynch has been pushing for a bill to limit attorney-fee awards ever since. 

So much for consumer protection in Wisconsin.      

Wisconsin Has Concussion Bill Pending, And Local Youth Recovers After Being ‘Rocked’


Posted on 22nd October 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

, , , ,

Wisconsin has a bill on youth athlete concussions pending, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week did a nice job of humanizing that issue.

The paper, in a story headlined “Bill on concussions hits home with injured teen,” did a profile of Josh Inhof, a West Bend, Wis., 15-year-old. The article outlined what happened when Josh sustained a concussion, one that wasn’t immediately recognized.    


On Oct. 10 Josh was at junior varsity football practice, where he took a bad hit at West Bend East High School. The teen walked over to talk to his father Steven, who was coaching a team on a nearby field.    

Josh told his dad he had “got rocked” at practice. But his father didn’t think of a concussion, he just told Josh to take an aspirin for the headache he now had, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Two days later, Josh was back playing. He was hit twice at that game, and wound up unconscious on the sidelines. In that emergency situation, Josh was ultimately transported by a Flight for Life helicopter to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  

Josh was hospitalized for two days. He was advised to recuperate and stay home from school.

The Journal Sentinel weaves John’s story in with an update of Wisconsin’s concussion pending legislation. Its bill mandates that if a student athlete is believed to have sustained a head injury, coaches have to remove he or she from the game or practice. That athlete couldn’t return to action until undergoing an evaluation by a doctor who is trained in managing concussions. And the player would need written permission to resume playing.

Wisconsin’s bill is pending a vote by the state Assembly. The state Senate is likely to consider a similar bill.

Wisconsin’s bill would be applicable to public schools, private schools, athletic clubs and other organizations, according to the Journal Sentinel, which reported that 36 states, and the District of Columbia, now have laws regarding youths and concussions.  

Wisconsin should be state No. 37.       

Seven Bicyclists Have Been Killed on Wisconsin Roads—Since July 1st


Posted on 15th August 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

, ,

On Friday, another bicyclist has been fatally injured in the city of Fond du Lac. This crash involved a 62 year old man who was attempting to cross Johnson Street near the Forest Mall when he collided with a motor vehicle. The crash report has not yet been released.


Bicyclists are again reminded to always drive with the traffic flow, follow all rules of the road, and please, to prevent traumatic brain injuries, wear a helmet every time you ride.