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Circus News and Claims

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Over the weekend (CNN), Ringling Brothers. and Barnum Bailey circus had its last show with the elephants. No longer an elephant in the room for the 145-year-old circus. Yes… they still have the lions! But, when I saw the elephant story, it reminded me of the recent entry from The Luminary, the weekly Muncy, Pennsylvania newspaper.

This might be something that only my dad and I found interesting, but it comes from the section called Peeks of the Past. Here’s the history from April 29, 1881:

135 years ago: Miss Carrie Ort. Robert Barr, of Port Penn, while repairing the canal bridge near the P. & R. depot last Friday, cut himself on the arm with an axe. During the performance at the circus last Saturday night a portion of the seats gave way, injuring a number of persons, the most seriously being George Colley, of East Muncy, whose leg was broken in six places. The management of the circus settled with Mr. Colley’s father by the payment of $82. Some thieves effected an entrance into the clothing store of John H. Roker recently and stole goods to the amount of $100. Thirty Muncy people saw “The Union Spy” in Williamsport Thursday evening.

That little “blurb” has news of a job injury; an injury at the circus; and how much was paid for the negligence of the circus. Plus, you can compare the payment against the worth of the stolen goods at the grocery store. Yep… just some “negligence history” in Muncy!

“If a lion could talk… we couldn’t understand him”- Ludwig Wittgenstein

(Guess you have to be a lion to understand)

And for pic o’ day, I know this feeling!

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The Question of Attorney Fees

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

I start out with a picture my mom sent me over the weekend, because she knew that I had some good meals at The Greenbrier in West Virginia… and she knows I like “labs”.

 

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Today’s blog is about something that lawyers usually don’t like to talk about. It’s the subject of attorney fees. So, let’s take a look at a recent case in Florida and why it’s worth mentioning.

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney fee schedule that resulted from a Florida 2009 state law, is unconstitutional. The law limited attorney’s fees that could be paid to claimant’s lawyers in worker’s compensation cases.

In the case where the Court overturned the 2009 law, based on the attorney fee scale, the claimant’s lawyer was to be paid $164.54 for over 100 hours of legal work. That amounted to $1.53 per hour.The court also found fault in the fee-capping law because it provided no procedure for lawyers to challenge the amount of the attorney’s fees that was set by this law. The Court said,

It is undeniable that without the right to an attorney with a reasonable fee, the workers’ compensation law can no longer ‘assure the quick and efficient delivery of disability and medical benefits to an injured worker“.

Now, why should anyone feel sorry for lawyers and their attorney fees? Who cares if a lawyer feels without? Here’s a thought:

It’s the cause and effect. You might notice that all of these laws impact the claimant side. I never see a law that restricts the amount that a defense lawyer can charge.

Typically, legislators claim that such attorney fee laws protect the injured worker. In fact, in states with similar laws, it makes it harder for injured workers to find lawyers to represent them. So, the effect that the fee restriction has is that employers  are represented, and employees have a system that makes it harder to find lawyers to represent them.

Here’s a better solution. Why not make the employer’s insurance company responsible for reasonable attorney fees, when they have denied an injury that turns out to be job-related. Because… I’m guessing that insurance companies are against it. So where are all those legislators who want to protect the injured worker?

I guess this is one of those blogs that goes against the grain. It talks about money and fees… and protecting injured workers! And the Lion goes Roar!

And for pic o’ day … maybe we are headed into beach weather soon?

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The Key Doesn’t Fit

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

It kinda sounds like a story of “If the key doesn’t fit… ” Instead of trying to top this by blogging about it, I am just pasting. It made me laugh:

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And since it’s the weekend of the NFL draft, I thought I would mention this one old law from Massachusetts. No one may take a bath in that state without a prescription. No wonder I root against the New England Patriots. No bath this weekend… but there will be!

Have a great weekend! and for pic o’ weekend…

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Categories : Current Affairs, Sports
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Watching the Lions

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

There are just some things that you can’t take your eyes off. Going to the zoo, you can laugh at the monkeys. You might marvel at the giraffes. You might even wonder if they ever have sore throats, with their long necks… and do they make cough drops for a giraffe?

You don’t wonder about the lions. You just can’t stop watching them! Right?

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That’s my lead to our Wednesday pic o’ day. (Went blog light today, since we sent out our April newsletter email) Some animal analysis. This is more ”animal” department. Part wreck… part dinosaur humor.

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Ok… you don’t like T-Rex humor? How about some medical humor?

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A Document Worth

Monday, April 25th, 2016

What is it worth? Documents detailing some of the original “Laws of Base Ball” sold for $3.26 million on early Sunday morning, It set a new record for the highest-priced baseball document. (ESPN)  .

The same auction house in charge of this sale also noted that a 1920 New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth jersey sold in an auction for $4.4 million in 2012. That same year,  the Naismith Rules of Basketball sold for $4.3 million.

According to the ESPN article, The original rules of baseball, as written by Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams, stipulated that the ball could not weigh less than 5¾ ounces, and the bat could be of any length; but no more than 2½ inches at its widest part. The rules also stated that there would be four bases, 30 yards apart, with each base being one square foot.

I always believe that auction items make for a good jury argument, when discussing an injury case. If we put such value on a document and paper, what is the worth of a permanent injury to a leg that causes a lifetime of pain, or a lifetime of worry.

What is it worth to be able to put on an outfit and feel so good… that you don’t even have to look in the mirror?  No scars or pain. Just to feel happy. Emotional value! What is the worth of not having to worry about making that next house payment? Real life values.  Just a thought!

And for pic o’ day…

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Youth and Sports Injuries

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

I try to always give a Monday take-away thought. How about this one?

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OK, not what you were expecting from a Monday morning legal blog? Well, as Sam Elliot popularized the saying in The Big Lebowsky,  ”Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you”.

I probably was a little like that last week, as I fell behind on the blogging a bit. But, I am more of a lion person anyway… so I come roaring back with this morning’s blog!

Because so many kids are playing youth sports, not to mention the expense of equipment. By the way, have you seen the price of a baseball bat? Makes you want three, Right? But I digress.

Sports are more competitive than ever. With competitiveness comes the risk of concussion. I thought about this as I saw a kid riding his bike without a helmet on Sunday. No good!  

So, I thought I would do a short blog on concussions. A good website to read on this, was put together by the nonprofit group Cleared to Play, arising out of an orthopedics practice (Here

Sports concussions can have a lasting impact on a life. Some athletes end up experiencing a life of cognitive and neurobehavioral difficulties.(PubMed) Doctors sometimes call this post-concussion syndrome. No different than what can happen in a car crash or on the battlefield.

Symptoms include chronic headaches, fatigue, trouble sleeping, dizziness, short-term memory loss, and even difficulty with problem solving. Sometimes trying to do simple math and addition of pocket change becomes difficult.

Those who experience untreated concussions and multiple concussions are also at high risk for developing permanent brain injuries and brain damage. Symptoms like depression and anxiety take hold.

Athletes who return to practice or the game too quickly before they have recovered from a concussion are at great risk for second-impact syndrome. According to statistics shown on the website, fifty percent of second-impact syndrome incidents result in death.

Again, for “quick-clicking” purposes and to learn more about sports concussions,go to clearedtoplay.org. Serious stuff!

 And for pic o’ day….

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Cakes and Cookies

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Here’s some food news:

From the NY Daily News comes a story about a lawsuit that was filed against Whole Foods by a Texas pastor who alleges that a cake he ordered contained a homophobic slur. According to the suit the pastor of the Church of Open Doors ordered a cake from the grocery store which was to read “Love Wins.” However, when the plaintiff picked up the cake, he allegedly found that a slur had also been written on the cake. Whole Foods has denied that its bakery had anything to do with the addition of the slur on the cake. However, the plaintiff released a video that supposedly shows the cake in the box, with an unbroken Whole Foods seal. Whole Foods denied its bakery employee had any role in writing the cake lettering.

 

Back to Nature Foods has issued a recall (PRNewswire)on some of their cookies, due to ingredients in the cookies that are not listed on the label. The cookies may contain milk ingredients. The recall applies to Back to Nature’s Classic Creme cookies in 12 oz. packages, which contain undeclared milk. People with “an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.” Sad to ruin a good cookie!

And finally, in the past I used to include a section in all the blogs called Did You Know?, my blogs were getting too long, so I cut it out. I wish I could also include a saying of the day but that would face the same fate. Still, I like the following quote… if I did have that daily blog “feature”:

The thing about chaos is that while it disturbs us, it too forces our hearts to roar in a way that we secretly find magnificent.

-Christopher Poindexter

And for pic o’ day…

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The Effectiveness of Order

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

It’s not unusual to talk to a new client and get asked one or both of the following questions: “How long will this take?” and “What is my case worth?”. The end at the beginning.

When investigators are called in to determine the cause of an airplane crash, they have to know the ending before they can start at the beginning. What caused the crash assumes the order of end-to-beginning.

The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) sends its GoTeam to the scene and states on its website that:

At the core of NTSB investigations is the “Go Team.” The purpose of the Safety Board Go Team is simple and effective: Begin the investigation of a major accident at the accident scene, as quickly as possible, assembling the broad spectrum of technical expertise that is needed to solve complex transportation safety problems.

When we analyze cases that come in, we start with the same order or working the case. Much like a sandwich… you start with the bread.

So, to be able to answer those first two questions from new clients, I have to start at the beginning. How long the case takes can be based on such factors like length of treatment and whether suit has to be filed. If we get in the case late, it may be hard to start at the beginning, if things are missing from the beginning. Maybe that’s why the insurance company adjuster tells a person that they will treat them fairly in the beginning… they don’t need a lawyer.

States where we practice are pretty tight on advertising results in cases. At the very least, they ask us to remind that each case is different and no value is the same. So, we start at the beginning to determine value of the case. By the end, we can look back over the losses, damages and medical treatment to determine a fair market value.

Unfortunately, to be able to answer both of those client questions at the beginning would be difficult, unless I could travel on the magic carpet of my time and space continuum.

The process of starting at the beginning is not very interesting. In fact, I congratulate you, if you made it this far in the blog. A plan of order is not exciting. Instead, it’s a good application of what George Bernard Shaw said, “Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great.”

And for pic o’ day, I saw this picture with this caption and laughed. And, maybe the chicken had more of a plan than just getting to the other side?

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More Legal Drama

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

If you missed the FX show The People v. O. J. Simpson, you can still catch the 8 episodes on demand. Because of its viewing success, it shouldn’t surprise you that Hollywood is now racing to copy this success.

NBC is currently planning a series that is based on the Menendez brothers. Erik and Lyle Menendez were tried and convicted in 1989 for murdering their parents. They are both currently serving life sentences.

CBS is working on a series about the unsolved killing of JonBenet Ramsay. She was the 6-year-old who was killed in her Colorado home in 1996. You may remember that her mom was considered a suspect and that both parents were greatly criticized for all that beauty pageant contestant footage.

The series is expected to feature investigators from the original investigation to discuss the possible suspects, as well as experts to comment on the original findings and discuss the evidence in the case. A Whodunit.

The common theme to this new genre of TV series is murder. I guess  a series on cupcake sales just doesn’t get the viewers.

And since the weekend is not just another day… here’s some music humor for our pic o’ weekend:

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Competition and Advertising

Monday, April 11th, 2016

I like the TV show Better Call Saul  which is based on a lawyer named Saul Goodman. It has some local flavoring to it, because the female main character is from Virginia Beach and the creator of the series is from Chesterfield.

The last couple of episodes have been about Saul sneaking into his brother’s house to change document dates, as a way of defeating the competition. I won’t bore you with the details, except to include that Kinkos copying and the changing of documents, is the basis of the story.

A 1946 law went into effect called the Lanham Act, which prohibits false advertising and provides civil penalties for such “competition” activities.  We hold false statements in business to a different standard than just defamation.

In 1991 Procter & Gamble won a $75,000 lawsuit against James & Linda Newton after they were found responsible for spreading rumors that the company supported the Church of Satan. The two were distributors of Amway Products, a competitor of Proctor & Gamble.

They had published information to indicate that the President of Proctor and Gamble had appeared on the Phil Donohue Show to announce that “due to the openness of our society, he was coming out of the closet about his association with the church of Satan”. The Newtons went on to say that people should understand that a purchase of Proctor and Gamble products was a conscious effort to support the church of Satan.

Unfortunately, such “false advertising” doesn’t seem to apply to politics. I guess we just assume it’s all false in political advertising. When you see that kind of advertising, can’t you almost see that as a political ad? Yes you can!

And for pic o’ day, this is one to make you think:

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