Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Carlyle Group Attorneys: Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe

Given the thousands of corporations now under the Carlyle Group's corporate umbrella, one might expect to find a few unusual legal cases. But who'd expect to find their Dunkin' Brands affiliate suing hundreds of franchisees for nitpicky noncompliance or LifeCare Hospitals claiming expired patients in their dead facility post Hurricane Katrina were actually "wards of the federal government"?

After acquiring Dunkin' Brands in March 2006, Carlyle Group attorneys went on a suing spree, bringing cases against 154 of its two thousand franchises. Other large franchises kept their lawyers sheathed as McDonald's sued only five times during the same period and Subway twelve. Dunkin' Franchisee Cindy Gluck wrote of her trials under Carlyle's thumb in a New York Daily News op ed.

Ironically, about the same time the nefarious private equity underwriter (PEU) acquired Dunkin', I noted the complete absence of LifeCare's 24 patient deaths in Fran Townsend's White House Lessons Learned Report. I pondered the odds of such a gaping omission. Who could write a credible investigation and leave out the hospital with the highest number of patient deaths post landfall? Well, the White House shares a Pennsylvania Avenue address with LifeCare's owners, The Carlyle Group. But corporate stooges, Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe, were yet to rear their ugly legal face.

NOLA reported on Carlyle's unique legal defense for those 24 patient deaths in the summer of 2007. They claim LifeCare patients became "wards of the federal government" as soon as FEMA evacuation teams set up in the area. That means care from clinicians and staff, just feet away from agonized patients, had been eclipsed by nonclinical bureaucrats stumbling to find buses or bumbling to pass out water miles away. But FEMA had plenty of hair gel and could give a killer interview. In effect, Carlyle's attorneys claim Michael Brown's coiffure offed their patients.

A fiction writer couldn't make this stuff up. Yet, this is the win at any cost management and greed inspired leadership that has ready insider access to our hallowed halls of government. Carlyle also aims to be the "one stop government shop" for privatization. Does that mean health insurer MultiPlan will soon be involved in a lawsuit with their physicians? Will Vought Aircraft Industries blame someone else for significantly delaying Boeing DreamLiner 787 production? Ooops, they already did that.

With their new infrastructure division, get ready for some of that highly profitable Carlyle water and sewage treatment. Get ready to pay the toll, maybe on a Northern Virginia rail line. But can you really pay the freight? If you don't, Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe could be in your future...