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$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
$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
$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
$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
$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
$5 Million Defamation Award Against Former Miss USA Contestant
Counsel Financial
Former Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, is paying a high price for going public with gossip she heard backstage at the 2012 Miss USA pageant. Following her quick departure from the preliminary round of the contest, Monnin claimed that she learned from fellow contestant, Miss Florida, Karina Brez, that the contest was scripted. Brez allegedly told Monnin that she had seen a notebook listing of the top five contestants before the preliminary round was conducted. Monnin resigned her position as M
$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
$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
$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,
$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
$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
$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
Counsel Financial Announces Section Sponsorships at AAJ’s Annual Convention
Kim Gomlak | Marketing Director
Exclusively Endorsed law firm financing company attends national association’s annual conference
Wisconsin Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Wisconsin E-92-3 A contingent fee contract as collateralfor a personal loan to a lawyerFactsAssume Attorney A, a sole practitioner, and an individual, Client B, execute a valid personal injury written contingency agreement under SCR 20:1.5(c).Assume further that the written agreement provides for an attorney’s lien consistent with SCR 20:1.8(j)(1) and (2). Disregarding the value of the contingency case or the contingent fee, may Attorney A ethically offer, tender or negotiate the attor
Washington D.C. Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
District of Columbia Ethics Opinion RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, RULE 1.8(A), (D) AND COMMENTS 1, 3, AND 5 1. A lawyer may obtain a loan from a lending company to fund litigation expenses, provided that the terms of the loan are fair, the client has an opportunity to consult with another attorney on the issue, and that the client consents in writing to the loan. 2. Whether or not the interest on the loan may ethically be passed on to the client was not addressed in these Rules. To date we hav
Washington Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Washington The inquirer asks if it is ethical for a lawyer, in a contingency fee case, to charge interest on costs and expenses of litigation advanced on behalf of the client. The committee opined that a lawyer may, in representing a client on a contingency fee matter, provide in the written fee agreement at the commencement of the representation that costs advanced by the lawyer will accrue interest after a stated period from the date of advancement. The interest rate charged must be
Utah Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Utah Utah Ethics Advisory Opinion CommitteeOpinion No. 02-01Issued February 11, 2002 Issue: Do the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct preclude a Utah lawyer from financing litigation costs through a loan from a third-party lending institution, if (a) the lawyer is obligated to repay the loan and (b) the client, by separate agreement with the lawyer, is obligated to reimburse the lawyer for such costs? Conclusion: The Utah Rules of Professional Conduct do not preclude such litigation-fi
Texas Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Texas THE TEXAS CENTER FOR LEGAL ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM, OPINION 465 1. It is ethical for an attorney to take a loan from a third party funding company cover litigation expenses, or to fund his law practice. 2. It is ethical for that attorney, if successful in the litigation, to pass on any interest and charges on any such loan to the client as an appropriate litigation expense, as to the portion of the loan which funded that client’s case. Special State of Texas Caveats: In coming
Tennessee Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Tennessee Advisory Ethics Opinion 98-A-659Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee (July 9, 1989), draws a similar conclusion from similar facts described in the Utah inquiry. The Board concludes “a lawyer may advance or guarantee certain expenses” by means of “a lending company or recommending such services to clients.” Link to full opinion not available online
South Dakota Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of South Dakota Ethics Opinion 2003-6Rules: 1.2, 1.16, 8.4Subject: Champerty and MaintenanceSummary: Law Firm is prohibited from entering into contractual relationship with client and third party for cash advance by third party prior to conclusion of dispute. FACTSLaw Firm represents client in a dispute concerning injuries sustained from an unknown event. Brand X is an out of state company that provides cash advances on pending personal injury claims. Before such advances are made, Brand
South Carolina Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of South Carolina Ethics Advisory Opinion 94-04Upon the request of a member of the South Carolina Bar, the Ethics Advisory Committee has rendered this opinion on the ethical propriety of the inquirer’s contemplated conduct. This Committee has no disciplinary authority. Lawyer discipline is administered solely by the South Carolina Supreme Court through its Commission on Lawyer Conduct. A number of attorneys in South Carolina have received communications from a company that is engaged in t
Rhode Island Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Rhode Island OPINION 94-42June 22, 1994The inquiring attorney states that the law firm at which he/she is employed has obtained a line of credit from a bank. The bank has requested that the law firm grant a security interest in the firm’s accounts receivable and that the firm provide the bank with a list of the accounts receivable including the names of clients, addresses and amounts owed by them. The attorney seeks Panel advice under these circumstances in light of Rule 1.6 “confident
Pennsylvania Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Ethics Opinions ETHICS OPINION 2003-15 1. It is ethical for an attorney to borrow funds from a third party funding company to cover litigation expenses, or to fund his law practice. However, in this case the Ethics Opinion requires that ” ..the costs [be] repaid, plus additional fees, only if the case were successfully concluded and funds were derived by the attorney.” Moreover, “[i]f there is a recovery, the only claim by the Funding Company is against the attorney
Oregon Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Oregon FORMAL OPINION NO. 2005-97Questions:1. May Lawyer charge 18% annual interest if a client expressly agrees to it as part of the fee agreement?2. What interest rate may Lawyer charge in the absence of an interest rate agreement?3. If no agreement concerning a charge of 18% is reached, may Lawyer amend the fee agreement to include an 18% per annum charge by stating on a bill sent to the client that, in the future, the client must begin to pay 18% per annum if payment is not receive
Ohio Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of Ohio ETHICS OPINION 2001-3 1. A lawyer may obtain a loan from a third party lending company provided that the loan is not secured by the client´s interest in any settlement or judgment. This provision does not prohibit the lending company from securing the loan through the borrowing attorney´s fee on the case. The client should also be informed of the loan and his or her consent should be obtained by the borrowing attorney/firm. 2. It is proper for the borrowing attorney to deduct the
North Carolina Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of North Carolina 2006 Formal Ethics Opinion 12October 20, 2006Obtaining a Loan to Fund Litigation Costs Opinion explores the circumstances under which a lawyer may obtain litigation funding from a financing company. Inquiry #1: ABC Litigation Funding (hereinafter “ABC”) is a company that offers non-recourse loans to personal injury lawyers who need to borrow funds for expenses advanced in contingency cases. Lawyer is interested in obtaining financing for a large personal injury case for
New York Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of New York ETHICS OPINION 754-2/25/02 1. It is ethical for an attorney to borrow funds from a third party lender to cover litigation expenses, or to fund his law practice. 2. The interest charged by the lender to a lawyer on the funds borrowed by the lawyer to fund litigation expenses may be passed on to the client as a legitimate litigation expense if certain conditions are met: A. the client must remain ultimately liable for expenses paid under DR 5-103(b)(1), B. the lawyer can not hav
New Jersey Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of New Jersey ETHICS OPINION 603 1. It is ethical for an attorney to borrow funds from a third party lending company to cover litigation expenses, or to fund his law practice. 2. It is ethical for that attorney to pass on to the client, as an appropriate litigation expense, any interest and charges on any such loan, to the extent of that portion of the loan which funded that client´s case. New Jersey Ethics Opinion 603 is copied in its entirety below: The inquirer asks our opinion concern
New Hampshire Ethics Opinion
Counsel Financial
State of New Hampshire PRACTICAL ETHICS ARTICLE: MAY 21, 1987 The New Hampshire Bar authorities do not officially address the ethics of an attorney borrowing funds from a third party funding company. However, Practical Ethics Article: May 21, 1987 (“Law Firm Use of Outside Services Providers”) acknowledges and supports opinions that have condoned attorney borrowing from financial companies to fund litigation. Excerpts from Massachusetts Ethics Opinion 83-7: The Article stresses the caveat that