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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Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Shares of Kansas City-area companies took a beating as U.S. markets took a dive Monday amid investor anxiety over the spread of the coronavirus and a surge of infections in South Korea and Italy.

Stock markets in the United States fell more than 3.5%, the sharpest drop in nearly 14 months, as fears mounted that the virus will continue its spread around the world and threaten the global economy.  

Leawood-based AMC Entertainment Holdings, the largest movie theater chain in the world, was particularly hard hit, its shares declining 5.5% and closing at $7.05.

Julie Denesha

A federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, who was publicly reprimanded last year for workplace misconduct is resigning after more than 20 years on the bench.

U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia tendered his resignation effective April 1, 2020, in a letter to President Trump that was released by the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon.  

Courtesy Dee Jackson

Former KSHB-TV Channel 41 sports anchor Demetrice “Dee” Jackson has settled his race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the station.

Jackson’s attorneys said the matter had been “resolved,” but declined further comment.

Jackson, who is no longer employed at the station, confirmed that the case was over and that he was “pleased with the end result.”

“I’m happy it’s been resolved,” Jackson said. “That’s pretty much all I can say off the top of my head without saying too much.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

On Feb. 6, 2018, Travis Claussen had his right hip replaced at Blue Valley Hospital in Overland Park.

The 40-year-old resident of Lawson, Missouri, had been experiencing severe back pain for years. Before then, he’d been a physical fitness buff who was into off-road motorcycle racing.

Courtesy Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Even in its early stages, the legal fight between the heirs of famed Kansas City artist Thomas Hart Benton and UMB Bank is shaping up as a battle royal.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel

A lawsuit stemming from the highly publicized expulsion of a Kansas City library patron from a public event nearly four years ago has drawn to an end after the judge ruled in favor of the lone remaining defendant.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips found for an off-duty police detective who arrested Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, a documentary filmmaker from Lawrence who sued the detective and 13 other defendants over the incident, which drew national headlines.

Associated Press

In their last Super Bowl appearance half a century ago, the Kansas City Chiefs achieved an upset in more ways than one.

Not only did they defeat the favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7, the game marked the first big break in law enforcement’s longstanding efforts to bring down the Kansas City mob.

Rich Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge has refused to sign off on a deal that would cap the number of cases Missouri’s public defenders are allowed to handle.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey on Monday found that the proposed consent judgment between the ACLU of Missouri and the state’s public defender system was essentially unworkable.

The agreement, reached in May, set maximum caseloads for the state’s public defenders, limiting their hours to no more than 173.3 per month.

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This week's closure of Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, caps a year of worse financial troubles than were previously known.

Over the last year, the hospital has been sued by vendors for nonpayment, by the Missouri Division of Employment Security for failing to pay into the state’s unemployment insurance program and, most recently, by employees for failing to pay their health insurance premiums.

“There’s considerably more to this story than what’s currently in the public domain,” said an attorney for the employees, North Kansas City lawyer Blake Green.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

The debate over immigration has been dominated by the Trump administration’s hardline policies. Meanwhile, there are immigrant communities in the Kansas City area whose stories often go unheard amid the surrounding noise.

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Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, says it has voluntarily closed the facility, including its rural health clinic, outpatient clinic and emergency department.

In a terse “To whom it may concern” letter, Pinnacle CEO Joseph Conigliaro said the hospital had decided the “economic hardship” of complying with recent demands by Missouri health regulators was “too great to make the appropriate repairs necessary.”

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A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Missouri’s religious exemption form for vaccinations.

Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs on Friday dismissed the case brought on behalf of a student at the Crossroads Academy.

The student, identified as W.B., and his parents, Zach and Audrey Baker, objected to language in the Missouri form encouraging parents to immunize their children and warning of the adverse public health risks of failing to vaccinate.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

For the second time in two years, Planned Parenthood is challenging Missouri’s denial of its claims for Medicaid payments.

The first time Missouri cut off the organization’s Medicaid funding was in fiscal 2019, after the legislature enacted an appropriations bill denying it reimbursement under the program.

Now Planned Parenthood’s Overland Park affiliates are challenging the state’s cutoff of their fiscal 2020 funding. An administrative law judge ruled against them last month and Planned Parenthood wants a Jackson County judge to overturn the ruling.

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The Shawnee Mission School District and four district officials have  agreed to pay $165,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging school officials failed to take action against a middle school student accused of sexually assaulting another student.

The district and officials agreed to the settlement in September but the amount was not disclosed until Monday, when U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree approved the settlement.

Chris Neal

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Health care — who gets it, who doesn’t, and how we pay for it — will command as much attention in Missouri and Kansas politics this year as on the national scene.

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Missouri health regulators have told a Boonville, Missouri, hospital that specializes in bariatric surgery and is affiliated with a similar privately owned hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, to discontinue performing surgery.

The directive was issued last month, after the regulators conducted an inspection at Pinnacle Regional Hospital and cited it for sterile processing procedures.

Health Forward Foundation

The Health Forward Foundation, which distributes more than $20 million in grants annually, has named Qiana Thomason as its new president and CEO.

Thomason succeeds Bridget McCandless, who announced a year ago that she would be stepping down after six years as leader of the organization.

Formerly known as the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the foundation changed its name 14 months ago to better reflect its forward-looking focus on mental health, safety-net institutions and fostering healthier communities.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A board member under fire for allegedly swindling an Indian tribe in Oklahoma. The organization’s $3 million Kansas City headquarters, bought and renovated just a few years ago, up for sale. The founder stepping away from day-to-day control. A CEO abruptly leaving after only a few months at the helm.

That’s the state of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world’s largest organization dedicated to promoting barbeque, which appears to be in turmoil more than three decades after its founding in 1986.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

Cancer survivors and their loved ones who attend meetings of the Prostate Network in Kansas City have talked for years about a radiation treatment called proton beam therapy.

They know it’s expensive and controversial. Some doctors and healthcare experts say it’s no more effective than standard X-ray radiation, and costs twice as much. But some of the network’s own members have used proton therapy and swear by the results.

Courtesy Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The heirs of famed Kansas City artist Thomas Hart Benton are suing UMB Bank, claiming it mismanaged his estate, failed to track and maximize the value of his artwork, lost track of more than 100 irreplaceable pieces of art and impermissibly used his art to promote the bank.

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For the second time in four months, Truman Medical Centers has suffered a data breach, this one involving more than 114,000 patients.

The Kansas City safety net hospital informed the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights that the cause of the breach was a laptop theft on Dec. 5.

Leslie Carto, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said the work-issued laptop was stolen from an employee’s vehicle.

The computer was password-protected, Carto said, and “there’s no evidence that any unauthorized party accessed, viewed or misused the information.”

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A church whose request to operate a temporary homeless shelter was opposed by the city of Lenexa will be able to do so after all.

Under a settlement reached on Friday, Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church will be allowed to use its building, a former elementary school, to house up to 30 homeless adults overnight from Dec. 13 through April 1 and for the next three years.

Courtesy Wilson Vance

A roach- and mold-infested apartment complex in Kansas City, Kansas, is under new management after a judge appointed a receiver to run it.

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After nearly 18 years, the families of five patients who died under mysterious circumstances at a Chillicothe, Missouri, hospital have reached the end of the road.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled their lawsuits accusing the hospital of fraudulently concealing the true cause of their loved ones’ deaths were filed too late.

File photo

Eighty-two veterans who were sexually abused by a former physician assistant at the VA hospital in Leavenworth have settled their lawsuits against the government for nearly $7 million.

The physician assistant, Mark Wisner, was convicted in 2017 of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated criminal sodomy and sentenced to 15 years and seven months in prison.

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A global company that opened an office in Lee’s Summit a year and a half ago to much fanfare is shutting down its roadside assistance operation, affecting 82 positions.

ExlService.com notified Missouri economic development officials last week that it will cease the operation effective Jan. 31 and would lay off 31 Exl employees. Another 51 employees of two recruiting firms, Allied Global Services and Aerotek Inc., that contracted with Exl will also lose their jobs, but those workers will be reassigned.  

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An Overland Park company that services Sprint credit cards is laying off 99 employees, according to a notification filed with the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Home Credit US, which is located on the Sprint campus in Overland Park, began in 2015 as a joint venture with Sprint. The company is part of Home Credit Group, a consumer finance and credit card servicing company that was founded in 1997 in the Czech Republic.

File photo by Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A 19th century maritime law does not apply to claims arising from a deadly duck boat disaster in Branson, Missouri, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision is in some sense academic, because the operator of the duck boat, Ripley Entertainment, has settled all but one of the 33 claims filed against it. But it means that Ripley won’t be able to limit the damages in the remaining case. It also means that cases against other possible defendants won’t be limited.

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A Lenexa church is suing the city for denying its request to use its building as a temporary homeless shelter.

Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church says the denial infringes on its exercise of religion, violating the Constitution, state law and federal law.  

The church, at 9400 Pflumm Road, occupies a former elementary school building adjoining commercial and office properties, although the building is zoned residential single family.

BigStock

A federal judge has rejected a Kansas City charter school student's claim that Missouri's official religious exemption form for vaccines is an unconstitutional infringement of religious freedom. 

The child, identified as W.B., and his parents, Zach and Audrey Baker, sued the Crossroads Academy and Missouri’s health agency, the Department of Health and Senior Services, over the language in the official form.

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