On February 1, 2021, Langacker Law filed the initial Complaint in Holmes v. Piatt County (2:21-cv-2020). The Complaint addressed the termination of Mr. Holmes' employment as EMA Director subsequent to his protected FMLA leave. On March 29, 2021, Langacker Law filed an Amended Complaint outlining the history of retaliation Mr. Holmes experienced during his tenure with the County after he reported discrepancies in the allocation of state and federal grants to the Piatt County Board. The Amended Complaint can be accessed via the link below:
Urbana, Illinois. – The Estate of a deceased Pastor from Central Illinois has reached a settlement for one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) with the U.S. Government in a medical malpractice/wrongful death claim against the VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville, Illinois. The cause of action was filed in the U.S. District Court in Crenshaw v. USA, No. 2:17-cv-2304. The Estate was represented by Langacker Law of Urbana and Steigmann Law of Champaign/Savoy.
The one-million dollar settlement is the largest against the Department of Veterans Affairs in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois since at least 2006.
Rev. Crenshaw was a veteran of the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1983. He had been Pastor at Christian Center of Hope in Danville, Illinois and was a member of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis.
The suit alleged that from 2000 through 2015, the VA repeatedly failed to recognize and/or adequately treat Rev. Crenshaw’s increasingly worsening symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the suit alleges that the VA neglected to order an electrocardiogram for Rev. Crenshaw, a routine test which would have enabled earlier detection of his severe cardiac issues.
By December of 2015, Rev. Crenshaw’s health had deteriorated to the point where he was continuously out of breath, coughed frequently, and had severe edema in both of his legs. Rev. Crenshaw’s diabetes was no longer being controlled by medication, and he subsequently required in-home care.
By the time the VA ordered an electrocardiogram in December of 2015, Rev. Crenshaw had developed life-threatening congestive heart failure. Rev. Crenshaw died from complications several weeks later. He was 55 years old at the time of his death, and left behind his widow, Ms. Raenell Crenshaw, and their 8 children, including several special-needs foster children who were residing in the home.
“Mrs. Crenshaw is relieved that the case is finally over, and that she has received justice,” Langacker stated of the suit, which had been filed in 2017, and not settled until 2020. “Rev. Crenshaw’s untimely passing left a wound that will never be truly healed. However, we believe that the settlement will allow the estate to care for Mr. Crenshaw’s family, who have been left to continue their lives.”
The individual physicians at the VA are often shielded from personal liability and malpractice claims and patients are unable to seek punitive damages against the federal government. Despite this fact, the VA paid approximately $338 million in legal settlements from 2011 to 2015, according to the New York Daily News.
The increasing amount of preventable medical errors occurring at VA facilities is a disturbing trend. The veteran population continues to age and will require more and more medical care.
Veterans from more recent wars, like Iraq and Afghanistan, number around 1.2 million and will put an increased strain on the already overworked and underfunded health care system for our nation’s veterans.
Langacker Law is an Illinois law firm with offices in Urbana and Chicago, Illinois. Langacker Law specializes in employment and labor law, as well as other matters involving Federal Civil litigation.
Steigmann Law, PC is a Central Illinois law firm which specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury, as well as other matters involving complex litigation.
On March 19, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"), (H.R. 6201) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Act provides paid sick leave, allows free testing for COVID-19, expands food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requires employers to provide additional protections for healthcare workers. The most significant benefits for employees are outlined below.
Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020
The Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020 (EPLA) requires government entities and employers with less than 500 workers to provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to all covered employees. A “covered employee” includes:
(1) Employees subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.
(2) Employees who are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID– 19.
(3) Employees experiencing symptoms of COVID– 19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
(4) Employees who are caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).
(5) Employees who are caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter employees who are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
All employees are eligible for paid sick leave. Part-time employees are also eligible and would receive the average pay of their hours worked over a two-week period. To cover the cost of the leave, employers will receive a refundable payroll tax credit.
Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion
The Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion (EFMLA) expands the current Family & Medical Leave Act to allow coverage for a new classification of leave: leave for a “qualifying need related to a public health emergency” such as COVID-19.
For emergency paid family and medical leave, employees caring for a minor child are entitled two-thirds of their average earnings for 10 weeks, with a maximum benefit of $200.00 per day or $10,000.00 total. Employees are eligible if they have worked for their employer for at least 30 days and their child’s school or daycare are closed as a result of COVID-19.
Unlike the current Family and Medical Leave Act, there is no requirement for the employer have more than 50 employees. However, employers with 50 or fewer employees can request a waiver. Employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to restore employees to their previous positions. The first 10 days of such leave would be unpaid; however, employers cannot compel employees to use current vacation or sick time before receiving the benefit. This leave would be available during the window of time beginning 15 days after the bill is enacted and ending on Dec. 31, 2020.
The FFCRA constitutes some of the most significant changes to FMLA since its inception in 1993. While the final bill was weaker than the first House version, we now have the first federal legislation allowing for either paid sick leave and/or paid FMLA leave. Though the bill will not cover all employees, it significantly expands the number of employees who would be covered under both acts.
The FFCRA will be in force throughout the remainder of 2020, so if the COVID-19 outbreak continues, employees should be able to use the limited leave over a large period of time. We also foresee states and local governments copying portions of the FFCRA and passing similar legislation.