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To “Friend” or “Unfriend?” 3 Simple Ways for Attorneys to Ethically use Facebook
Andrew Jones
When Facebook launched in 2004 it was aimed at college students. The social networking site is now used by 71% of adults in the U.S., according to recent data compiled by the Pew Research Center. Because Facebook is still in its infancy, yet has become so prevalent in society, attorneys are faced with uncharted ethical territory. Below are three quick tips on how attorneys can utilize Facebook without violating their duties of professional responsibility. Only Friend Your Friends Privacy set
Less Volatile Markets Lead to Decline in Class Action Settlement Values
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations A Cornerstone Research report on securities class actions in 2014 pointed out a stark decline in the value of settlements. Settlements fell 78 percent to $1.07 billion in 2014 from $4.85 billion in 2013. This represents an 84 percent drop below the prior nine-year average. The three biggest contributing factors cited by the legal consulting firm are a dearth of large cases, usually involving pension funds as lead plaintiffs, and a decline in volatility of markets: “The level of ‘es
ObamaCare Drastically Improves the Health of Qui Tam Suits under the False Claims Act
J. Cullen Byrne, Esq. | Staff Writer
One of the lesser-known sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Affordable Care Act”), colloquially known as ObamaCare, provides expansive amendments to the False Claims Act (“FCA”).[i] While these amendments are not retroactive,[ii] they will most likely increase the amount of FCA-based claims in the future. The FCA provides that a person or company who knowingly submits a false claim to the government may be held civilly liable for treble damages. Private whistle
Conquering the Economies of a Plaintiffs' Practice
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Firmly established owner of time-honored New York City contingent-fee practice provides guidance on how to thwart inevitable, unpredictable cash flows. Our Deputy General Counsel, Kelly Anthony, Esq., recently sat down with Martin for a one-on-one interview on how he became the owner of Edelman & Edelman, P.C., how to deal with cash flow challenges, the biggest success his firm has had, if it is hard to practice law in New York City and more. Read what he had to say...
Plaintiffs Awarded Nearly $20 Million in Separate Medical Product Trials
Counsel Financial
Individuals seeking compensation for injuries caused by pelvic/transvaginal mesh (TVM) and DePuy hip implants have a reason to be optimistic after plaintiffs in two separate actions received verdicts collectively grossing approximately $20 million. Conversely, it has been a difficult few weeks for Defendant Johnson & Johnson, Inc., the parent company of the manufacturers involved in the two medical device cases. In February, a jury awarded Linda and Jeff Gross, a South Dakota couple, $3.35
What is the Impact of Recent FDA Report on Pradaxa Bleeding Risk?
Counsel Financial
On November 2, 2012 the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication report update addressing the risk of serious bleeding among new users of Pradaxa. On its face, the FDA appeared to conclude that the rates for uncontrolled bleeding events among Pradaxa users were the same as other blood thinner medications, most notably warfarin (Coumadin). Thus headlines suggested the report was a critical blow to plaintiffs’ claims in the MDL pending before Judge David R. Herndon in the U.S. District Court, Southe
Tylenol Liver Failure Lawsuits Consolidated into MDL
Counsel Financial
On April 1, 2013, at least 27 lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson concerning the over-the-counter medication Tylenol were consolidated into a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before Judge Lawrence F. Stengel. Plaintiffs’ claims against Johnson & Johnson include the manufacturer’s failure to adequately warn consumers about the side effects of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, specifically live
First DePuy ASR Trial Begins as FDA Proposes Stricter Reviews of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
Counsel Financial
As the first DePuy ASR hip trial began in a California State Court in Los Angeles, Defendant, Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) was reeling from the Food & Drug Administration’s proposal that manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants submit affirmative scientific evidence that the devices are safe and effective. Previously, manufacturers like J&J were allowed to market the implants under much less stringent guidelines that did not require submission of such safety and effectiveness da
Wal-Mart v. Dukes Update: California District Court Denies Wal-Mart’s Motion to Dismiss Narrowed Class of Plaintiffs
Counsel Financial
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011), ruled in a 5-4 decision that the certification of the nationwide class of female Wal-Mart employees was not consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), which requires the party seeking class certification to prove that the class has common questions of law or fact. In Dukes, Plaintiffs alleged Wal-Mart management discriminated against women over pay and promotions in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Fair Labor Standards Act in Focus as Companies Attempt to Increase Their Bottom Line
Counsel Financial
As companies continue to try to improve their revenues following the economic malaise of the past several years, there appears to be a concomitant increase in litigation involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et. seq., which became effective in July 2009. One example of this is Darden Restaurants, Inc., of Orlando, Florida, owner of popular restaurant chains Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille. In October 2012, Darden announced plans to
$13 Million Verdict for Construction Worker Killed In Cage Collapse
Counsel Financial
On June 12, 2009, Ulvaldo Soto Martinez, a 33-year-old rod buster, was working on a construction project to widen the Huey P. Long Bridge in Bridge City, Louisiana. He and two co-workers, Sammy Vasquez and Martin Reyes, were working on top of a 50-foot concrete column to secure a rebar cage to the column. After a crane lowered the cage into position, the three workers tied the rebar of the cage to the rebar of the column, while workers on the ground secured guy wires to concrete blocks to preven
$8.5 Million may be Wrong Price for Game Show Model Fired over Pregnancy
Counsel Financial
Brandi Cochran, a model for “The Price is Right,” attempted to return to the show after her pregnancy leave, but instead, learned she had been terminated. In response, Cochran sued CBS Corp., CBS Television Network, RTL Group, FremantleMedia Ltd., FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions Inc. for pregnancy and disability discrimination. Her case proceeded to trial against FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions Inc., after the court dismissed her ac
$10M in Compensatory Damages Awarded Against Makers of Children’s Motrin
Counsel Financial
On January 7, 2013, Philadelphia Judge Nitza I. Quinones affirmed a $10 million jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff Brianna Maya for injuries she sustained after taking over-the-counter Children’s Motrin. At the age of three, Plaintiff took Children’s Motrin to treat a two-and-a-half day fever. By day three, a rash formed over Plaintiff’s entire body, including her mouth, chest and vaginal area, resulting in Plaintiff’s hospitalization. In an attempt to treat the rash and accompanying blisters,
KFC Settles with 13,000 Plaintiffs in Wage and Hour Dispute
Counsel Financial
Plaintiffs, current and former KFC employees, allege that since October 2, 2005, KFC failed to adequately compensate them for missed meal and rest periods, as well as off-the-clock work. As a result, Plaintiffs contend they were not paid appropriate overtime and minimum wages. KFC has a uniform corporate policy that provides no employee may take a break without permission from their manager. However, Plaintiffs allege the managers often deny break periods because KFC puts pressure on the manag
Intoxicated Plaintiff Wins $38 Million Verdict for a Fall He Cannot Remember
Counsel Financial
On November 16, 2008, Plaintiff James Von Normann, a 25-year-old salesman, was found laying in the parking lot of the Newport Channel Inn in Newport Beach, California. Paramedics found Plaintiff unresponsive with a score of nine on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which rates patients on a scale from 1-15 based on scores in three categories: eye opening response, verbal response and motor response. Patients with scores between two and eight are usually considered to be in a coma.1 Plaintiff was transport
$2.1 Million Award for Cancer Patient’s Bisphosphonate Drug Complications
Counsel Financial
Between 1999 and 2005, 62-year-old Adriann Georges took Aredia and Zometa, bisphosphonate drugs used to prevent the loss of bone mass in cancer patients. Georges subsequently developed bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a severe bone disease that occurs when the jawbone is exposed for eight weeks or more, causing the jawbone to weaken and die. ONJ can be permanently disfiguring, extremely painful and result in the complete loss of an individual’s jawbone. Despite ONJ being
$45 Million Verdict for Fatal Road Rage Collision
Counsel Financial
A Polk County jury deliberated just three hours before handing down a $45 million verdict in a wrongful death and survivorship case stemming from a road rage fueled collision in May 2010. On May 11, 2010, 30-year-old Amy Suzanne Krupp and her son, 10-year-old Aaron Orr, were driving south on U.S. Route 98 in Lakeland, Florida, when they were struck head-on by a pickup-truck that crossed the median from the oncoming lane. Krupp sustained fatal injuries and died ten days later. Orr sustained a tr
French Teacher Fired for Giving Students Wine While on Field Trip
Counsel Financial
School administrators at the The Calhoun School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side fired Daniele Benatouil, a 12-year veteran French teacher, for allowing six 18-year-old seniors to drink a glass of wine during their school-sponsored trip to France. Although Benatouil received written permission from the students’ parents allowing the students to have alcohol while in France, she did not obtain authorization from school supervisors. Both the parents and students had previously completed a form req
$5 Million Verdict in Scuba Diving Fatality
Counsel Financial
On March 6, 2009, Decedent Robert Myers, age 50, passed away while scuba diving off Casino Point in Catalina with his sister. For the dive, Myers wore a dry-suit hose manufactured by Defendant Förvaltningsobolaget Insulan AB, doing business as Si Tech, which contained a small plastic insert called a “flow restriction device.” During his dive, an orifice became dislodged from the air hose, causing a blockage in Myers’ breathing apparatus. As a result, Myers suffered sudden cardiac arrest and died
$178.4 Million Verdict for Severe Complications from Gastric Bypass
Counsel Financial
On March 9, 2007, 39-year-old George Clay Chandler underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville. Dr. John DePeri performed the surgery. Chandler elected to undergo the surgery that was recommended to him after he failed a physical for his employment with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. Following surgery, Chandler suffered severe complications, including cardiac arrest, septic shock and respiratory failure. He suffered a low-flow stroke, where his blood pres
$14.5 Million Settlement for Injuries Suffered from Pitch Struck by Aluminum Bat
Counsel Financial
On July 15, 2006, 12-year-old little league pitcher Steven Domalewski was struck in the chest by a line drive from a Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum aluminum bat. Domalewski then went into cardiac arrest and was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes. Although was resuscitated, Domalewski suffered permanent cognitive impairment and became confined to a wheelchair. Now, at age 19, he has impaired speech and is almost completely blind. The boy’s parents filed suit against Defendants Hillerich & B
$1 Million Award for Racial Harassment Upheld
Counsel Financial
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has upheld an award of $1 million to Anthony Zeno, a high school student who suffered shocking racial harassment over the course of several years at Stissing Mountain High School in Dutchess County. The appellate panel concluded that the jury’s award, one of the largest ever rendered for racial harassment, was fair and reasonable given the nature and duration of the egregious conduct involved. Zeno brought suit against the Pine Plains Central School
$7.7 Million Verdict Triggered by Attorney General’s Office Vendetta Against Dentist
Counsel Financial
In April 2002, the New York attorney general’s office commenced a Medicaid fraud investigation into Leonard Morse, a 55-year-old dentist. Morse’s dental practice had over 30,000 patients, of which 95% were Medicaid eligible. In 2006, Morse was publicly indicted by a grand jury for Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Offering a False Instrument in the First Degree. Investigators claimed they found evidence that Morse had falsified bills to be submitted to Medicare. Although Morse was acquitted
$24 Million for Child Paralyzed by Police Officer During Game of Cops and Robbers
Counsel Financial
The night of December 16, 2010 took a tragic turn for 13-year-old Rohayent Gomez Eriza when Police Officer Victor Abarca and his partner came across Eriza and his friends playing a game of cops and robbers with toy guns. Abarca was on routine patrol when he saw Eriza standing behind a parked van holding a toy gun, which he assumed to be real. Eriza claimed that Abarca approached the van and ordered him not to move. When a frightened Eriza took a step away from the van, Abarca shot him. That si
$32 Million Verdict in Gold Smuggling Case
Counsel Financial
Lies, scandal, greed, and conspiracy – all elements of a box office hit. Add gold, oil, African warlords, government corruption and throw in a U.S. basketball star, and you have the stranger than fiction civil tale which recently riveted a Dallas County jury. The jury awarded Southlake Aviation and its owner, David Disiere, $32.4 in damages against Houston based oil company, CAMAC International, subsidiary CAMAC Aviation and Mukaila Aderemi “Mickey” Lawal, Vice President of African Operations fo
Fallen Power Line Electrocutes Woman—$109 Million Verdict
Counsel Financial
On December 6, 2012, a jury awarded $109 million in damages, the largest award in Allegheny County history, in a case involving a woman who died three days after being electrocuted by a fallen power line. On a sunny day in June 2009, Carrie Goretzka was at home when the power in her house went out. She looked outside and saw the trees in her backyard caught fire. Seeing sparks from a pole that supported a power line, Goretzka went outside to get her cell phone to call 911. While she was outside
$18 Million Payout to Two of Four Accutane Plaintiffs Based Upon Failure to Warn
Counsel Financial
Four Plaintiffs, Rebecca Reynolds, Riley Wilkinson, Jason Young and Kathleen Rossitto, brought separate suits against Hoffman La-Roche and Roche Laboratories, claiming that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn of the elevated risk that taking Accutane would lead to the development of permanent inflammatory bowel disease. All four plaintiffs ultimately developed ulcerative colitis after taking Accutane to treat their acne. Two of the four subsequently had to have their colons removed. An At
$144 Million Verdict for Heart Damage Caused by Emergency Room Oversight
Counsel Financial
On January 26, 2009, Plaintiff Deborah Sohl, 47, presented to the emergency room of A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, NY, complaining of severe chest pain which radiated to her left side, including her left arm, neck and jaw. She also reported feeling nauseous. An EKG was performed and the results were abnormal. Despite traditional indications of a heart attack or other serious problem with her heart, the hospital held Plaintiff for 24 hours for observation without ordering a cardiologist
$20 Million Verdict to Contractor Struck by 10-Year-Old Operating Construction Loader
Counsel Financial
In December 2009, contractor Ruick Rolland was severely injured during construction of a replica of the Augusta National Golf Course “Hogan Bridge” at the estate of Bruce Irrgang. Rolland suffered a devastating crush injury to his lower leg, which required amputation above the knee. The injury occurred while a 10-year-old boy was at the controls of the five-ton track loader in use on the job site. Rolland and his wife filed suit in Philadelphia County against Irrgang and his company, United Co
$26 Million Verdict Awarded against R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris USA
Counsel Financial
On April 1, 2013, a jury in the Middle District of Florida held tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA accountable for the wrongful death of Carol LaSard. LaSard, who began smoking cigarettes as a young teenager in the late 1940s, died of lung cancer in 1996. LaSard’s daughter, Cheryl Searcy, filed an action on behalf of the estate against R.J Reynolds and Phillip Morris. Searcy also sought to recover for the loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance,