Court Round Up

Mississippi: Trial reset in Purple Heart recipient case

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The trial of a man accused of falsely claiming to be a Purple Heart recipient to collect benefits has been postponed until July 19.

Charles Welshans of Tate County had been scheduled for trial April 12 in federal court in Greenville on charges he defrauded $24,844 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Welshans has pleaded not guilty. He is free on $5,000 bond.

The government alleges that Welshans lied when he claimed he was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in a mortar attack in Lebanon.

The government claims Welshans received VA benefits between 2004 and 2008.

The Purple Heart is awarded to those killed or injured on the battlefield.

Maine: Family sues in federal court over school honor code

YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) — The parents of a Maine high school student who was suspended because of an online photo showing her with a beer are challenging the constitutionality of the school’s honor code.

They sued this week in federal court over the 16-year-old girl’s three-week suspension from the lacrosse team.

Lawyer Michael Waxman says the honor code allows a school to monitor and discipline 24-7. He says there’s a concern that government is reaching “into our homes.”

The family is seeking an injunction to let the girl play while the matter makes its way through the courts. School district lawyer David Ray tells the Portland Press Herald that students are never happy about being punished, but he says the federal lawsuit is unprecedented.

3 nursing homes sue the state over Medicaid cuts

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Three Mississippi nursing home groups have sued the state to stop a reduction in payments to Medicaid providers.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Hinds County Chancery Court. The plaintiffs are the Mississippi Health Care Association, the Independent Nursing Home Association and dozens of nursing homes from across the state.

The lawsuit, which gives one side of the legal argument, contends the state has reserve funds that can be used to shore up the Medicaid budget and the planned $14 million in payment reductions are unnecessary.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the suit seeks an injunction to stop the cuts, which have not been implemented pending a federal review.

The Mississippi Pharmacists Association and the Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association joined the lawsuit.

Dan Turner, spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour, said the governor’s office had not reviewed the lawsuit and did not have a comment.

Vanessa Henderson, executive director of the Mississippi Health Care Association, said in a statement that the organization was forced to take legal action to protect nursing home residents.

“We have exhausted all other avenues of trying to work with the Division of Medicaid for alternative solutions to their proposed cuts, but now we have no other choice but to pursue legal action as we represent the most vulnerable citizens of our state, and they deserve a voice,” Henderson said.

Medicaid recently announced the reduction in payments for services for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.


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