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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U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

MGP Ingredients Inc., a leading producer of distilled spirits and specialty proteins and starches, has agreed to pay a fine of $1 million in connection with a toxic chemical release at its plant in Atchison, Kansas, three years ago.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The two operators of about a dozen well-known Kansas City restaurants sought bankruptcy protection within days of one another, with both saying the restaurants will remain open for business.

On Saturday, Bread & Butter Concepts LLC, which owns and operates Gram & Dun on the Country Club Plaza, Urban Table in Prairie Village and the Stock Hill steak restaurant just south of the Plaza, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Kansas. And on Thursday, HRI Holding Corp., which owns Leawood-based Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc., a casual dining chain, filed for Chapter 11 in Delaware.

Wikimedia Commons

The parent company of The Kansas City Star plans to eliminate the Saturday print editions of its 30 newspapers by the end of next year.

The McClatchy Company, the second largest newspaper chain in the country, previously announced plans to eliminate Saturday print editions in 12 of its markets, including Wichita. The Wichita Eagle notified subscribers last month that it would move to digital-only coverage on Saturdays after Nov. 16.

In a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, McClatchy President and CEO Craig Forman said the rest of the company’s newspapers will move to digital-only on Saturdays by 2020.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Raytown’s city clerk “purposefully” violated the law when she spurned a request for public records related to a fatal traffic accident, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

The decision has far-reaching implications for citizens' access to public documents covered by Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

The appeals court upheld a trial court's ruling that ordered the clerk, Teresa Henry, to pay $38,550 in attorney fees and a $4,000 civil penalty to the plaintiff in the case, Paula Wyrick.

University of Kansas Hospital

A patient who sued the University of Kansas Hospital for fraud and negligence, alleging she was misdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the hospital covered it up, quietly settled her case last year on confidential terms.

Although the settlement was sealed, KCUR has learned that the Kansas agency that provides excess insurance coverage for medical providers — insurance over and above the providers’ primary coverage — agreed to pay out $1.8 million on behalf of the hospital and the doctor who made the misdiagnosis.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach agreed to legal sanctions to resolve a disciplinary complaint about his conduct in a voting rights case he lost last year.

As part of the resulting diversion agreement made public Monday, Kobach admitted that he did not properly supervise lawyers and others on his staff while contesting a lawsuit that challenged how he carried out a new voter ID law.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Tony Berg is out as publisher of The Kansas City Star and Mike Fannin, its editor since 2008, has been named president of the newspaper.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A former top official of Leawood-based American Multi-Cinema Inc. says she was fired after she pointed out disparities between her pay and that of her male counterparts.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Tonya Mangels, who was vice president-product marketing before her termination on Sept. 30, says male vice presidents at AMC were paid between 56% and 72% more than she was and received bigger stock grants. The pay difference amounted to between $117,000 and $149,000, according to her complaint.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley school districts on Monday joined at least five other school districts nationwide that have authorized lawsuits against the country’s leading e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs. 

Both districts approved resolutions seeking damages they claim they’ve incurred as a result of students’ use of the devices.

Martinez Immigration Law

A Kansas City immigration lawyer who was injured while trying to assist her 3-year-old client is suing the two immigration agents who allegedly shoved her to the ground and caused her injuries.

Andrea Martinez says she suffered a fractured right foot, bleeding and a concussion after she was forcibly separated from her client, whom she was reuniting with his pregnant mother in June 2018 at a local ICE facility. Both mother and child were being deported to Honduras.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City-based company that specializes in turning around financially distressed hospitals is proposing to purchase Hillsboro Community Hospital in rural Kansas for $6.9 million.

The company, Rural Hospital Group, was formed in 2017 and has acquired three other rural hospitals: one in Wellington, Kansas; another  in Boonville, Missouri; and a third in Marion, Kentucky. It has since sold the hospital in Boonville.

Bigstock

The Olathe School District on Monday filed suit against the nation’s leading maker of e-cigarettes, charging it deliberately markets its products to school-age children and misleads them about their dangers.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, says that Juul Labs Inc. has “succeeded in addicting a generation of youth to nicotine” by adopting the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.

Michael Barrett

The head of the embattled Missouri Public Defender System is stepping down after more than four years on the job.  

Michael Barrett said he’s resigning effective early or mid-November and taking a job in New York state.

It’s “more family driven than anything else,” he said in an email to KCUR. “Son is in 8th grade. If we were going to move, it was before he got into high school.”

Barrett said he had a job in hand, although he didn’t specify what it is, but he stressed it was not the reason for his departure.  

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Sitting at the edge of the gently undulating landscape of the Flint Hills in east-central Kansas, the town of Hillsboro boasts a small hospital that has survived a remarkable roller coaster ride even as other rural hospitals stagger and fail.  

Nine months ago, everything seemed to be coming apart at the 15-bed facility, Hillsboro Community Hospital, which traces its roots back more than a century.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge on Friday blocked a part of Missouri’s newly enacted abortion law banning “Down syndrome abortions” of non-viable fetuses.

Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs had previously blocked the state’s ban of most pre-viability abortions. But he asked for further evidence of the number of women who would be affected by the Down syndrome prohibition.   

The Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, which sued to overturn the law, submitted evidence that the Down syndrome ban would affect a small number of women.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Olathe School District on Friday voted to authorize a lawsuit against the nation’s leading maker of electronic cigarettes, saying the widespread use by students of vaping devices is endangering their health and disrupting their education.

In a news release issued after it approved the suit, the district said that it “understands the threat to student health and is taking action against the epidemic.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The federal public defender's office in Kansas says it’s entitled to nearly $224,000 in legal fees because of prosecutor misconduct in an explosive case over the taping of attorney-client phone calls at the Leavenworth pretrial detention prison. 

In a court filing this week, the public defender says it incurred nearly $1.7 million in fees and expenses litigating the case but is seeking only the amount “required to litigate the Government’s contemptuous conduct.”

Google Maps

In a ripple effect of the General Motors strike, now in its second week, 66 maintenance workers have been laid off from their jobs at the Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., a commercial real estate firm that provides maintenance services at the plant, said in a letter to the United Auto Workers that the workers were “not deemed critical to operations during this period of labor unrest.”

Bigstock

One out of three Missouri participants in Medicare’s prescription drug program were prescribed opioids last year, more than the national rate of 29%, according to a newly released government report.

About 973,000 Missourians were enrolled in Medicare Part D and 321,000 of them received opioids, the report by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ inspector general finds.

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.

Bigstock

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.

Google Maps

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.

File photo

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.

BigStock Images

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.

Bigstock

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.”  

File photos

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.

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