Dan Margolies | KCUR

Dan Margolies

Health and Legal Affairs Editor

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… Dan has been a two-time finalist in The Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and has won multiple regional awards for his legal and health care coverage. Dan doesn't have any hobbies as such, but devours one to three books a week, assiduously works The New York Times Crossword puzzle Thursdays through Sundays and, for physical exercise, tries to get in a couple of rounds of racquetball per week.

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Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge’s order blocking Missouri’s 20-week abortion ban from taking effect will remain in place while the state appeals.

Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs on Wednesday denied the state’s request for a partial stay of his order, which he handed down last month.

The Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, Missouri’s only remaining abortion provider, and its medical director, Colleen McNicholas, had challenged the constitutionality of the ban, which the legislature enacted earlier this year.

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A Johnson County, Kansas, resident has filed a class action lawsuit claiming the country’s leading electronic cigarette maker, Juul Labs, fraudulently concealed the addictive nature of its vaping products and misrepresented their safety.

Isaac Gant says he began vaping as a senior in high school four years ago and now is addicted to nicotine, suffers from respiratory problems, bouts of anxiety, coughing fits and the need to take frequent breaks at work to satisfy his nicotine cravings.

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The University of Missouri has settled two lawsuits brought by a UMKC professor who said he was the victim of retaliation after he reported alleged abuses by another professor, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

The legal publication said the university has agreed to pay $360,000 to Mridul Mukherji to resolve the lawsuits. The publication said it obtained the information through a public records request.  

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge in Kansas City has blocked Missouri’s eight-week abortion ban from taking effect after midnight Tuesday.

Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law's gestational bans, while declining to block a "non-discrimination" section prohibiting abortions on the basis of race, sex or Down syndrome. 

Although not a decision on the merits, the ruling is a major victory for the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, the only remaining abortion provider in Missouri, and its medical director, Colleen McNicholas.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Less than two weeks after a judge issued a blistering opinion on the taping of attorney-client conversations at the Leavenworth Detention Center, a settlement has been reached with inmates who alleged their calls were illegally recorded.

The settlement, which needs court approval before it becomes final, calls for the private operator of the prison and the provider of its phone system to pay $1.45 million into a settlement fund for the inmates.

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In a major ruling with implications for employers of undocumented immigrants, a federal judge in Kansas said a law making it a crime to "encourage" or "induce" such immigrants to live in the United States is unconstitutional.

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Kansas City is one of the few metropolitan areas of its size in the country without a full-time classical music broadcaster.

That may be about to change.

KCUR 89.3 has signed an agreement to purchase KWJC 91.9 FM from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, with the intention of bringing 24-hour classical music programming to Kansas City. On Thursday, KCUR — Kansas City’s public radio station — filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to approve the purchase.

University of Kansas Cancer Center

Officials with Medicare have decided to cover an innovative but extremely expensive cancer treatment, setting the stage for more patients to get it. That's good news for the University of Kansas Health System.

KU has been a pioneer in using the treatment, known as CAR T-cell therapy, which involves removing a patient’s T cells (a type of white blood cell) and genetically engineering them to recognize and attack the patient’s tumors. The cells are then put back into the patient’s body.

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Kansas City's Truman Medical Centers was hit with a ransomware attack on Tuesday morning that locked the hospital out of parts of its computer system.

The attackers demanded money to unlock the data, and the safety net hospital agreed to pay a small amount, Truman said in a statement Wednesday.

“TMC worked with a third-party negotiator, its cyber insurance carrier and outside cyber counsel to pay a small amount of money, for which the medical center was insured,” the statement said.

Kansas Legislature

Kansas Sen. Jim Denning may be on the hook for about $90,000 in legal fees after a judge threw out his defamation claims against The Kansas City Star and former Star guest columnist Steve Rose.

That’s because the Kansas Public Speech Protection Act, which is meant to discourage lawsuits that chill free speech, allows prevailing parties to recover their costs of litigation and “reasonable attorney fees.”  

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Six months after suing The Kansas City Star and columnist Steve Rose for defamation, Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning has seen all of his claims thrown out.

Earlier this month, Johnson County District Judge Paul Gurney tossed Denning’s defamation claims against The Star, finding he had failed to show malice.

And on Tuesday, he did the same thing with Denning’s claims against Rose, finding that Denning had failed to meet his burden of proof under the Kansas Public Speech Protection Act.

File photo / KCUR 89.3

Two healthcare giants are expanding a pilot program in the Kansas City area aimed at using their drug stores to provide primary care and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Humana and Walgreens announced on Tuesday that they plan to open two primary care centers in area Walgreens stores in addition to the two they opened last year.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Florencio Millan, the undocumented Mexican immigrant whom immigration agents dragged out of his car after breaking its window, was deported to Mexico on Wednesday just two days after he was arrested.

Cheyenne Hoyt, his girlfriend and the mother of his two children, told KCUR that Millan called her Wednesday evening and said he had been flown to Brownsville, Texas, and then transported just over the border to Matamoros, Mexico.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

A Facebook video showing an immigration agent in Kansas City smashing the window of a car and dragging out an undocumented immigrant marks a newly aggressive approach by Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

It also has provoked community outrage, along with questions about whether the agency complied with the law and the extent to which the Kansas City Police Department is lending assistance to ICE operations.

Immigration agents captured on a Facebook live video Monday morning in Kansas City are seen smashing the driver side window of a car, pulling the driver out and arresting him after he refused to get out of the car.

The man had refused to emerge after a woman in the car asked the agents to show a warrant and they didn’t do so, telling her they had a “paperless” warrant.

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Thousands of kids in Missouri's foster care system are likely to benefit from a first-of-its-kind legal settlement under which state officials have agreed to strict limits on how and when kids can be given psychotropic drugs.

The settlement resolves a class action lawsuit charging that Missouri foster care officials failed to safeguard the conditions under which the powerful medications are dispensed. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey gave preliminary approval to the agreement on Monday. 

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Two Johnson County chiropractors accused by the federal government of defrauding Medicare have settled the case for $350,000.

The payment ends a civil lawsuit alleging that Ryan Schell and Tyler Schell, who are brothers, billed Medicare for peripheral neuropathy treatments not covered by the program or for treatments they did not provide at all.

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A Johnson County judge on Tuesday tossed out a defamation lawsuit brought by Kansas Sen. Majority Leader Jim Denning against The Kansas City Star, finding Denning failed to prove malice.

Judge Paul Gurney also ordered Denning to pay the newspaper’s attorney fees, which could run as high as $40,000.

Gurney ruled that Denning had not met the requirements of the Kansas Speech Protection Act, which is designed to end meritless lawsuits that target the exercise of free speech.

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A judge has awarded former Kansas City television reporter Lisa Benson Cooper $110,000 in lost wages and her attorneys nearly $692,000 in legal fees in her retaliation case against KSHB-TV Channel 41.

The judge, however, denied their requests for larger amounts.

Cooper, who is African American, was a general assignment reporter at Channel 41 for 14 years before she was let go in mid-2018. She went by Lisa Benson on the air.

Missouri Department of Corrections

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday set an execution date of Oct. 1 for Russell Bucklew, whose challenge to the state’s lethal injection method was rejected three months ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.

If carried out, Bucklew will be the first Missouri prisoner executed since January 2017, when Mark Anthony Christeson was put to death for the 1998 murders in south-central Missouri of a mother and her two children.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Kansas has agreed to change its policy and allow transgender people born in the state to update the sex listed on their birth certificates.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Friday entered into a consent decree that ends a lawsuit brought by four native Kansans and the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, Inc. (K-STEP).

The policy change is significant because birth certificates can determine access to education, employment, health care, travel and the ability to obtain other identification documents.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The official opening of Meadowbrook Park on Saturday more than doubles Prairie Village’s park acreage, giving the landlocked city of 22,000 some 82 additional acres of open green space.  

The park at 91st Street and Nall Avenue, in an older and established part of the city, occupies much of the old Meadowbrook Country Club, which closed more than a decade ago.

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families

In Missouri, children’s enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program fell nearly 10% over the last 14 months – the second biggest decline of any state after Idaho, according to a new report.

The report, by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, says neither the strong economy nor an increased number of children with employer-sponsored health coverage is sufficient to explain the decline.

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Missouri prison authorities have offered an effective cure for chronic hepatitis C to only 15 of the 4,590 inmates who have been diagnosed with the viral infection. 

That’s according to the ACLU of Missouri, which sought an emergency court order Monday to force the Missouri Department of Corrections and its medical provider, Corizon LLC, to begin testing and treating inmates with the condition.

David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

A state court judge in St. Louis on Friday ordered Missouri to restore Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in that city.

Judge David L. Dowd ruled that the legislature’s fiscal 2019 appropriations bill for the Medicaid program violated the state constitution by barring payments to abortion providers and their affiliates.

He found the bill ran afoul of the constitution’s requirement that appropriations bills can’t refer to other laws when fixing their amount.

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A Kansas law that caps jury awards for noneconomic damages — things like pain and suffering — violates the right to a trial by jury, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

“This is huge,” said attorney Thomas M. Warner Jr., who represented Diana K. Hilburn, the plaintiff in the case. “We’ve had these caps on the books since 1986 in Kansas. Basically, the politicians decided that they would be in a better position to determine the amount of damages for noneconomic damages than juries. And so this decision allows juries to make that decision again.”

Max Pixel / Creative Commons - Google Images

Nine nursing homes in Kansas and 14 in Missouri are among nearly 400 nationwide with a “persistent record of poor care” whose names had been withheld from the public, according to a U.S. Senate report released Monday.

The facilities are not included on a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny because of health, safety or sanitary problems.

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CVS Caremark has agreed to pay $15.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it denied overtime pay to customer service agents at its call centers, including one in Lee's Summit, Missouri.

U.S. District Judge Steven Bough on Friday gave preliminary approval to the settlement, which will cover about 17,000 employees.

The lawsuit, filed in 2014 in federal court in Kansas City, alleged that CVS failed to pay the agents for pre-shift work that required them to be “call ready” for their phone calls and log in to system programs.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Exactly 10 years ago, on May 31, 2009, an anti-abortion zealot gunned down ob/gyn and reproductive rights advocate George Tiller as he was distributing literature in the foyer of his Wichita church.

His murder marked the culmination of 18 years of militant anti-abortion protests that began with massive demonstrations in Wichita in June 1991. Protestors blockaded abortion clinics for weeks during the “Summer of Mercy,” police made more than 2,600 arrests and a judge ordered U.S. marshals to keep the gates of Tiller’s clinic open.

Shawnee Mission South High School

An increase in year-round sports has led to overuse injuries in young athletes, which raises the question: Is the quest for athletic glory worth the toll it exacts on kids?

At least one Kansas City-area sports official believes the hypercompetitive nature of high school sports has robbed it of its reason for being – namely, simply to have fun.  

“My experience is, by the time they become sophomores, juniors, seniors in high school, they start to burn out,” said John Johnson, athletic director of Shawnee Mission South High School.

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