At a Glance

AG: Art pieces can’t be sold to pay debt

LANSING (AP) — The state attorney general says the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts is not vulnerable to being sold to pay off any of the city’s debt during a municipal bankruptcy.
Bill Schuette says in a formal opinion that the artwork “is held by the City of Detroit in charitable trust for the people of Michigan.”
State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr has warned DIA officials that creditors could go after valuable pieces if he files for bankruptcy.
Orr is trying to wipe out a budget deficit while restructuring more than $14 billion in debt. He met with creditors last week.

Michigan closer to a fix for indigent defense

LANSING (AP) — State lawmakers have approved legislation aimed at improving the legal counsel for low-income criminal defendants.
Bills overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate last Thursday would create state standards so counties are forced to bring legal aid up to par. The legislation could win final approval this week.
The measure would create a permanent state commission to establish standards that ensure effective counsel is given to poor defendants.
Local governments would have to fund indigent defense at average levels spent before the creation of the commission. The state would cover new costs for counties to improve their public defense systems.
Michigan is among just seven states that provide no state funding for trial-level public defense services.


Patient gets $200K for misdiagnosis

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A Maine man who was told he had only months to live because of an aggressive Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is still alive more than four years later. And a jury has awarded him $200,000 for the doctor’s misdiagnosis.
It turns out Wendell Strout suffers non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a more treatable form of cancer.
He sued Central Maine Medical Center for damages, citing “tremendous emotional distress” as well as lost income and loss of enjoyment. The Sun Journal says a jury awarded him $200,000.
The lawsuit accused a former CMMC doctor of advising his patient that he “faced certain death” before procuring pathology results. Strout eventually got the good news that his affliction wasn’t as dire as initially believed.


Court: Vietnam vet overcharged by lawyers

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended two lawyers for charging excessive fees to a mentally ill Vietnam veteran whose affairs they helped manage for three decades.
The court said Keota law partners Donald Laing and Scott Railsback claimed too many hours for managing the conservatorship of John Klein and charged excessive rates for performing services that didn’t require legal training. Justices suspended the licenses of Laing and Railsback for 18 months.
Laing was appointed Klein’s conservator in 1974 after Klein inherited farmland and other property from his mother’s death. He didn’t have a legal guardian, and Laing and Railsback helped care for him.
The court says the attorneys “sincerely attempted to make Klein’s life better” but went wrong in applying for excessive fees, even if a judge approved them annually.