July 17, 2023

“If there were aspects of the design or construction of this vessel that were kept from the passengers or it was knowingly operated despite information that it was not suitable for this dive, that would absolutely go against the validity of the waiver.”

— Texas-based personal injury attorney and maritime law expert Matthew D. Shaffer said regarding the possibility that families of victims lost on the Titan submersible, which apparently imploded during a dive to the Titanic wreck in the North Atlantic in June, may still be able to file lawsuits against the vessel’s owner despite liability waivers signed by the passengers, according to a Reuters report.

“Medical debt is different than other debt. It’s spontaneous. It doesn’t reflect someone’s credit worthiness.”

— Said New York Assemblymember Amy Paulin, a Brooklyn Democrat, said after state legislators passed a bill that would ban hospitals and other health care providers in New York from reporting medical debt to credit agencies under a bill passed by the state’s legislature. If signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, the law would make New York the second state, after Colorado, to prohibit medical debt from being collected by credit reporting agencies or included in a credit report.

“We observed many MPD officers who did their difficult work with professionalism, courage and respect. … But the patterns and practices we observed made what happened to George Floyd possible.”

— U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference after the Justice Department released a report alleging that Minneapolis, Minnesota, police have systematically discriminated against Black and Native American people for years and often violated constitutional rights following a sweeping investigation that began after George Floyd was killed. The two-year probe found that Minneapolis officers often used excessive force, including “unjustified deadly force.”

“The Texas Supreme Court’s decision is disappointing to say the least. People lost their lives and the only recourse to the citizens of Texas is to be able to go through the judicial process, and the judicial system, to try to remedy or right the wrong that occurred in this case. And if you can’t count on our judiciary to protect its citizens, I think we’re in a lot of trouble.”

— Commented attorney Majed Nachawati in a Texas Tribune report, regarding the Texas Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision finding that sovereign immunity protects the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — which manages the power supply for most of Texas — from lawsuits. Thousands sued ERCOT over deaths, injuries and damages stemming from the deadly 2021 winter storm during which it cut power to millions of homes and businesses.

“Investigators shall have the same authority as a law enforcement officer to tow or remove a vehicle that is obstructing a public street or highway.”

— From House Bill 140, signed into law by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, which allows cities to hire civilian traffic investigators to handle some traffic accidents, freeing up police officers for other duties. It had overwhelming support in the state legislature. Investigators must be trained, wear uniforms that are different from police, cannot carry weapons, have no power to arrest people, and can work only accidents involving property damage, not injuries.

“If your insurance company is going to increase your premium, you have a right to know why. … This is pretty basic information you should expect from your insurance company, but we hear from hundreds of consumers every year who cannot get a clear, understandable answer on why they’re being charged more.”

— Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said, after a rule requiring insurers to explain premium increases to their policyholders “in language they can understand,” was adopted by the state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The new rule is designed to create more transparency for consumers, and it is intended to give insurers sufficient time to implement the new consumer protections in two phases.