Dan Margolies | KCUR

Dan Margolies

Health and Legal Affairs Editor

Dan Margolies is editor in charge of health and legal affairs at KCUR.  Dan joined KCUR in April 2014. In a long and varied journalism career, he has worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star and Reuters. In a previous life, he was a lawyer. He has also worked as a media insurance underwriter and project development director for a video production firm.

Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long…

Ways to Connect

Joe Gratz / Flickr-CC

A federal judge ordered Missouri officials to provide voter registration information to residents seeking to update their addresses at motor vehicle offices by mail or online.

U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes found that their failure to do so violates the National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the federal motor voter law.

Wimes ordered the action to be taken ahead of this November’s election. His order came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Preferred Family Healthcare

Top executives of a Missouri nonprofit bribed and organized fundraisers for  Missouri and Arkansas politicians as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to loot the company for their personal benefit, according to court documents filed last week.  

The nonprofit, Springfield-based Preferred Family Healthcare, directed an employee to organize fundraisers for “several candidates running for seats in the Missouri State Senate, Missouri House of Representatives and the Greene County Commission,” according to the documents.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A federal appeals court ruling in Missouri earlier this week significantly escalated the legal battle over abortion rights, reduced the number of clinics performing surgical abortions in the state to one – in St. Louis – and may be the decision that puts abortion rights back in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, where Brett Kavanaugh may or may not be among the sitting justices.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Registered nurses at 15 hospitals owned by the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain — including Research Medical Center and Menorah Medical Center — have voted to authorize a strike if contract negotiations remain at an impasse.

The 15 hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Texas and Nevada are owned by HCA Healthcare Inc. and employ about 7,000 RNs affiliated with the National Nurses Organizing Committee, or NNOC.

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court is expected to decide within months whether state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But the American Civil Liberties Union alleges in a lawsuit that the Missouri Commission on Human Rights has determined that LGBTQ people are not protected.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Friday defended the state's decision to weigh in on a case that could limit transgender rights.

Asked by reporters about Kansas’ decision to join 15 other states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that it’s legal to fire people for being transgender, Schmidt noted that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Kansas, has taken that position.

Donald and Laurie Draughon

When a federal judge decided in July that the Veterans Health Administration was liable for the death of an Iraq veteran who was treated at the VA and later killed himself, it was thought to be one of the few instances nationwide where the VA has been held directly responsible for a veteran’s suicide.

Now the federal government is appealing that verdict.

A notice of appeal filed Wednesday said the United States is seeking review of the judgment by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, as well as her findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Kansas Attorney General's Office

Kansas has joined 15 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that it’s legal to fire people for being transgender.

Last week, the 16 states filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to overturn a federal appeals court's decision that it was illegal for a Michigan funeral home to terminate an employee who was transitioning from male to female. The appeals court ruled that Aimee Stephens’ firing violated Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Missouri health officials say they plan to renew the abortion license of Planned Parenthood’s midtown Kansas City clinic now that the clinic has secured an abortion provider.

The Department of Health and Senior Services had allowed the facility’s license to expire on Aug. 10 after its previous abortion physician left. The department said it was impossible to verify compliance with the state’s legal requirements without a physician on the premises.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd, who was reprimanded by the Missouri Supreme Court for his conduct in a child molestation case, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his punishment.

In a petition filed last week, Zahnd says the case involves “core First Amendment rights, including the right of the public to hear true information about matters of public concern – concluded criminal cases – from those in the best position to speak knowledgeably about such matters.”

File photo

Planned Parenthood’s midtown Kansas City clinic can no longer perform medication abortions after its license officially expired on Aug. 10.

Clinic officials say they sought timely renewal of its license, but state health officials delayed it after saying they were unable to conduct a complete inspection of the facility in June.

The clinic had no abortion provider on the premises at the time, having stopped performing medication abortions on March 29 when its previous provider left.

KGAN

Former KCTV Channel 5 anchor Karen Fuller’s age and gender discrimination lawsuit against the station can move forward, a federal judge ruled this week.

U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum determined that Fuller had produced sufficient evidence that she had been fired because of her age or gender, and denied KCTV’s bid to throw out the case.  

Fuller was a news anchor at KCTV from 2003 until 2015, when she was abruptly let go. She was 47 years old at the time and her lawsuit alleges Meredith Corp., the station’s owner, created an “age ceiling” for its female anchors but not for its male anchors.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

In the latest in an ever growing pile of legal challenges, the principals behind a questionable lab billing scheme at 10 small rural hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, and three other states have been sued by a Mission Hills couple for fraud and conspiracy.

The couple, James and Phyllis Shaffer, allege the defendants fraudulently took majority control of a company, HMC Hospitals, that owns the hospitals and used them as “instrumentalities in the operation of an illegal billing scheme.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

KCUR health reporter Alex Smith has been awarded a week-long media fellowship at Harvard Medical School to support his reporting on the opioid crisis and pain management.

Smith will join a handful of other journalists in September to study the science and treatment of pain with top scientists and clinicians.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A judge has put on hold a case challenging Missouri’s regulation of medication abortions because two pending cases on appeal address some of the same issues.

U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips reasoned that a decision in one of the appellate cases “forms part of the facts that bear on the Court’s analysis in this case.”

Nicolas Telep / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 10:28 a.m. to include a statement by the Johnson County Election Office and updated at 1:58 p.m. to include comments from the election machines' vendor.  

For the second time in two years, election night tabulation problems in Johnson County led to delays in voting results, leaving the outcomes of key races in limbo.

Johson County Sheriff's Office

Editor's note: Offensive language is used in this story.

A federal judge on Tuesday handed down three consecutive life sentences to an Olathe resident who pleaded guilty to hate crimes in May for killing an Indian national and wounding two other men.

File photo

The owner of four hospitals in the Kansas City area and its chief executive have agreed to pay the federal government $65 million to settle a whistleblower suit alleging the company defrauded Medicare.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Prime Healthcare Services falsely billed Medicare by unnecessarily admitting patients at 14 of its California hospitals when they should have been treated in an outpatient setting. Reimbursements are higher for admitted patients than for outpatients.

Prime will pay the bulk of the settlement; its CEO, Prem Reddy, will pay $3.25 million.

Christiaan Colen / Creative Commons-Flickr

Officials at a medical practice in Blue Springs say they are taking steps to strengthen privacy protections after a ransomware attack affected nearly 45,000 patients.

Blue Springs Family Care discovered in May that hackers had installed malware and ransomware encryption programs on its computer system, giving them full access to patient records.

Ransomware is a kind of malware that locks up a computer. The attackers typically demand a ransom, often in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, as a condition of unlocking the computer and allowing access to the system.

BigStock Images

The U.S. Justice Department has scuttled an agreement to address more than 100 cases in which inmates at a Leavenworth pretrial facility were videotaped while meeting with their attorneys.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 9:06 p.m. to include comments from some of the candidates.

A judge has canceled the Aug. 7 primary election for Jackson County sheriff, ruling it was not legally authorized in the wake of the April resignation of Sheriff Mike Sharp.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The primary election for Jackson County sheriff, slated to take place Aug. 7, may not happen.

A lawsuit filed three weeks ago by the Jackson County Democratic Committee seeks to cancel the primary election as unlawful.

The committee’s argument: The clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, Mary Jo Spino, had no legal authority to reopen the filing period for candidates after the primary filing deadline of March 27.

Spino did just that for five days beginning May 7. The move, says the committee, was outside the scope of her authority.

Jackson County has become the latest government body to sue drug companies and distributors for their alleged complicity in the opioid epidemic.

The suit, filed on Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, names dozens of businesses, including drug giants like Johnson & Johnson and pharmacies like CVS. It says at least 308 people in Jackson County died of opioid overdoses between 2013 and 2017.

BigStock

A lawsuit charging Missouri officials have failed to properly oversee the administration of psychotropic medications to children in foster care was certified Thursday as a class action.

A federal judge has frozen the assets  of 10 Kansas City-area companies that allegedly ran phony sweepstakes contests, preying mainly on the elderly.

U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Tuesday also ordered the appointment of a temporary receiver to take charge of the businesses and imposed conditions on their operation.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Schlitterbahn will tear down the Verrückt water slide in Kansas City, Kansas, nearly two years after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died on it.

James Cavallini / Science Source

Kansas has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging the state’s Medicaid program sets too many barriers for hepatitis C patients to receive potentially life-saving but expensive medications.

Terms of the settlement have yet to be finalized, but the parties filed a notice with the court Tuesday afternoon that they had resolved the case after mediation. 

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Nearly a year after Missouri state Auditor Nicole Galloway released a scathing audit of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Missouri, the tiny hospital is still struggling to recover from a lab billing scheme that's now the subject of criminal investigations. 

Bigstock

Platte County taxpayers are on the hook for at least $70,000 in legal fees incurred by Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd in connection with an ethics complaint filed against him in May 2016.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

In a rare reprieve for an undocumented immigrant, Kansas City resident Maria Garcia-Mata no longer faces deportation to Mexico after a federal appeals court reversed a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Garcia-Mata, a married mother of three who has lived in the area since she was eight years old, has been in a Kingston, Missouri, jail since she was detained by immigration authorities in 2015.

The ruling is unusual, said Garci-Mata’s attorney, Matthew Hoppock.

Pages