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Feeling So Thankful

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

History tells us that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated on February 21, 1621, when several starving pilgrims at Plymouth Rock were fed because of the arrival of a well-stocked ship from Ireland.

Now on Thanksgiving Day, the President of the United States pardons one turkey to spare its life. The pardoned turkey is set free, to spend the rest of its life roaming on farmland.

The Internet is filled with special recipes for Thanksgiving; ideas for table settings and centerpieces, and even ways to to arrange furniture to accommodate a lot of family. All of that is certainly part of Thanksgiving.


Each year I sit down to write my Thanksgiving blog and what this holiday means to me. I start with the possibility of trying to write something creative. Then, I always come back to the same thought. Those 6 letters  of thanks are really all that matters. I have so many reasons to be thankful. Thankfulness for my past, which makes my present so meaningful… and gives me the hope of what tomorrow will bring.

Here’s a turkey message that was sent to me!



I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I will be back on Monday… after many spoonfuls of mashed potatoes.


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Plato on Law

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

“Laws are partly formed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil.”

- Plato

Legend has it that when Philosopher Plato was an infant, bees landed on his lips while he was sleeping. As a result, it caused him to have a sweetness of style during his discourse on philosophy. I would think that instead, he would have complained of chapped lips.

And of course, we have more Thanksgiving Pic o’s:



And who can argue with my yearly car load of turkeys driving crazy.

car load o'turkeys

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Once Upon a Case

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Now, let me tell you a story about a case that we just signed up.

Once upon a time, I represented a client in 2008. A few days ago, he was in another car crash, and he called me again for representation. This is the story of that crash.

My client is traveling down the road while doing the speed limit. Without any warning, he is rear-ended and knocked to the side of the road. He is a little “out-of-it” because he also hit his head against the driver-side window.

As he comes to a stop, a man comes up to his window and asks, “Are you ok?”. He replied that, “I think so, I’m just trying to get it together”. “Ok” the man said. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t paying attention.” He then added, “I’ll just pull my car in front of your car and call the police”.

My client notices that the car slowly passes his car. It has a lot of damage to the front. So much damage that he is surprised that the car can even move on the road. Just as the car passes him, it takes off down the road. The driver is leaving the scene of the accident.

My client is unable to do anything but call the police. They soon arrive and he reports what had happened. He then describes the car that left the scene. Then, he is taken to the hospital for treatment.

The next day his wife suggests that they go back to the scene to see if there might be a license plate or something that has fallen off that unknown car. Unfortunately, nothing is found. So, they decide to drive through some neighborhoods nearby.

All of a sudden… they see the car parked next to a house. They phone the Henrico Police Department , who sends a car out. The policeman tells my client to stay in his car. The policeman walks to the front door.  A young woman comes to the door. She admits to the officer that it is her car, but she says that she doesn’t know how it got all damaged.

The police officer comes back to my client and tells him to go home, that he will investigate what happened and get back with him. When my client gets home, he gets a call from his own insurance company. They tell him what body shop to take his car for repairs. To this point, my client still has not called me.

When my client goes to the body shop, he talks to the body shop owner and tells him about the crash. How the driver left the scene, and that he had  fortunately located the car. Because of the description of the car and the owners house, the body shop owner realizes that the car is owned by his niece. He tells my client that she always lets her boyfriend drive her car.  Now… the police know the boyfriend as well.


And for pic o’ day…. one of my favorites each year


     And another that makes me smile:


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Bad Facebook Judge

Monday, November 23rd, 2015



First, I thought I would start our Monday blog with some good Thanksgiving advice above! Next is the story of a Judge who got carried away on his Facebook account…during trial!

A Minnesota Judicial Board has reprimanded (PDF) Judge Edward Bearse because of his in-trial Facebook posts. The reasoning? The board says that his posts and conduct cast doubt on his impartiality, and violated rules that require judges to be “dignified and courteous with litigants” and to also refrain from putting personal interests above the duties of a Judge. At least one mistrial resulted from the judge’s posts. (Associated Press story)

As a sitting judge in a sex trafficking case, Judge Bearse posted the following during the trial, “ ”I just love doing the stress of jury trials,” the judge posted. “In a Felony trial, now State is prosecuting pimp. Cases are always difficult because the women (as in this case also) will not cooperate. We will see what the 12 citizens in the jury box will do.” (You can almost imagine the Judge talking in a golf announcer voice)

On that case, the jury found the defendant guilty, two days after the Judge’s post. The county attorney’s office then learned about Bearse’s post and disclosed it to the defense attorney. The defense moved to set aside the guilty verdict and order a new trial.  Another judge was called in to hear the motion and he granted it. He vacated the original guilty verdict and ordered a new trial.

Based on the motion and ruling of the subsequent judge, the board reprimanded the judge. However, it found that Judge Bearse was remorseful and hadn’t been familiar with privacy settings on the social media site. The Judge said he thought that his Facebook posts were available only to his 80 friends, family and church members.

Not so much privacy! In fact, they were available to all the public,  The judge later admitted that he should not have shared his posts from the bench, even within his expected limited Facebook group. The danger of too much technology!


And for more Thanksgiving pic o’s:


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The Energy of Drinks?

Friday, November 20th, 2015



It’s not unusual to see a person with a cup of coffee in the morning. Some stop at a nearby 7-Eleven for their Big Gulp Diet Coke. And then, there are those who make sure that they have their morning “Energy Drink”.

Mayo Clinic researcher Anna Svatikova and her colleagues decided to recruit 25 volunteers for a study to determine what happens to your body after consuming one of these drinks. The story is told here in the Washington Post. The title of the article is a clue to their finds: Here’s what happens to your body after you down an energy drink. It’s kind of scary.

The study was initiated after reports of people  having heart attacks after drinking one of the above pictured drinks. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly considering whether there are health risks that are connected to these caffeine-spiked energy drinks.

There have been several reported deaths following the consumption of these drinks. For instance, in Maryland, 14-year-old Anais Fournier died after consuming two 24-ounce cans of an energy drink. She had no health issues to cause a heart attack.

The researchers began with a group that was comprised of young adults who were considered healthy, not taking medications and were in the age range of 18-years-old or older.

They were asked to drink a 16-ounce can of Rockstar energy drink. The drink contained 240 mg of caffeine, 2000 mg of taurine, extracts of guarana seed, ginseng root and milk thistle. To compare the results, at a different time this same group was also given a placebo to drink. It also tasted like the energy drink without those ingredients.

Their findings were reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association in an article titled A Randomized Trial of Cardiovascular Responses to Energy Drink Consumption in Healthy Adults. (Article Here)

As part of the research, participants were exposed to two minute physical, mental and cold stressors after consuming the energy drinks. The researchers then measured their blood pressure and other body measurements. They concluded, among other things, that drinking one single energy drink may predispose a person to a cardiovascular risk.

Right now, the FDA has no requirement regarding what must be on the outside of these drinks at point of sale. However, in the United States, many energy drink manufacturers voluntarily label their drinks with total caffeine content, and advisory statements that state that their products are not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women.

I am sure we will hear much more on these findings in the coming weeks.

I hope have a great weekend. For pic o’ day, how do you like this ”toothpaste test”?


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An Employment Lawsuit

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

I just read a news story at  about a lawsuit that has been filed against a cafe in Conway, South Carolina. It’s a story that makes you think and hope that it cannot be true.


According to the reported facts, a federal lawsuit was filed where the attorneys allege that a white manager treated a mentally handicapped black man like a slave, beating him in the head with a frying pan, and burning him with hot tongs. He was also forced to work unpaid hours, according to court records.

     Christopher Smith had worked at the Fourth Avenue Cafe for about 23 years. During his last four years of employment there, he lived in an apartment that was directly behind the restaurant.
     According to the lawsuit, Smith was forced to work 18-hour days Monday through Saturday, and then he worked an 11-hour Sunday shift. He received no breaks or days off and received no benefits, health insurance or vacation time.

The manager, Bobby Edwards, told Smith that a bank account was being kept for him. Smith did not have access to it.

The apartment behind the restaurant where he lived as part of his employment was roach-infested. It was owned by the manger Bobby Edwards, according to court records. Smith was also prevented from seeing his relatives.

The lawsuit specifically sets forth that Edwards is accused of hitting Smith with a frying pan, a spatula, belts and his fists. He would also dip tongs into hot grease and then press the burning utensil against Smith’s neck. Smith’s lawyers claim that he was too afraid to report the abuse.

Conway police responded to a call at the restaurant. That’s when they found scars on Smith’s back. At that time he was placed into adult protective services. The manager was then criminally charged with second-degree assault and battery.

     In the civil suit, Smith’s lawyers are asking for damages related to pain and suffering, loss of income, back pay, overtime pay, and future medical care. Smith remains in the care of protective services because he is unable to live by himself.
     Reading that makes me want to now attach a pic o’ day to distract me from that bad story of humanity.

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Would You Like a Bottled Water?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

In December 2014, six people were charged with allowing  seven-thousand gallons of a toxic chemical to leak into the Elk River in West Virginia. (CNN) Over a year after the leak, it was still determined that the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginia residents was still contaminated.

The chemical is commonly used in the coal mining industry for cleaning and was kept in tanks that were shown to be cracked and not maintained. The indictment for these individuals alleged that money was the reason that the tanks were not serviced. Elk River primarily provides drinking water for the city of Charleston.

That leads me to why I had no interest in having an ice cold glass of  water when I was just in Charleston. I was not swayed despite the assurances that the water is fine. I simply said, “How about a bottled water?”.

Because of my Charleston work, a news story grabbed my attention from the Detroit Free Press , that reports on a lawsuit recently filed by several Flint, Michigan families.

Four families claim that 14 government officials  deliberately deprived Flint residents of clean water in an effort to save money. The plaintiffs claim that the water has caused health issues including skin lesions, hair loss, “brain fog” , convulsions, hypertension, autoimmune disorders, and high levels of lead and copper in their bloodstreams.

In many states, it is difficult to file a civil suit against a city or town because laws protect them under governmental immunity. In Michigan, if gross negligence is shown there is a potential right to bring a lawsuit. That legal standard is partially defined as ”shocks the conscience and was deliberately indifferent … and so reckless as to demonstrate a substantial lack of concern for whether an injury results”.

When I was a kid, my grandparents kept a tin cup at the sink. Anyone who was thirsty, could grab that cup and fill it up right at the sink. Thirst quenched! I miss those days!

And more health in pic o’ day:


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Tuesday Traveling

Monday, November 16th, 2015

I am coming back from some work in West Virginia. I so enjoy downtown Charleston. Not a vacation spot but a good stop-by.

I will be back in the office this afternoon, so I thought I would post a pic o’ day that made me smile!



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Sparky’s Leap

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Hollywood has captured our imagination with movie ideas about people who are so smart, that they can bend spoons with their minds. As my Director of Operations likes to say during job interviews… “you can’t teach smarts”!

This is a news story from Arizona State sports department that combines injury with… someone who is clearly not bending spoons with their mind. (ESPN) First, is the visual description from Tempe City Councilman David Schapira’s posting to describe his injury:



Shapira was on the sideline of the ASU-New Mexico game when the Arizona State mascot inexplicably ran up behind him and jumped on his back. Mascot Sparky was only about 5′-6″ and didn’t know that Shapira was still recovering from back surgery.

Shapira reported immediately feeling a pop. He rested on the sidelines a bit before being transported to the hospital. It turned out to be a pretty serious injury including torn muscle in his back. So far, Shapira has incurred $96,146 in medical bills.

At this point, there is no indication of any lawsuit, but the councilman is asking that his bills be paid. When I saw this story, it caused me to remember a few client’s who were in a car crash right after having surgery.

In those instances, I usually hear a defense or a comment from the insurance adjuster that the at-fault party should not be fully responsible for all the medical bills, because of the preexisting condition. Fortunately, the law recognizes that you take a person as you find them. Sometimes called an “egg shell head” plaintiff because they are not punished for not being able to withstand what others might be able to walk away from without injury.

And for our Monday “pic o’ day”:


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Lawsuit for Bad Packaging

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The title of the article from grabs your attention: Birth control packaging error leads to lawsuit by surprised moms, report says.

Over 100 women have filed suit against Pharmaceutical company Qualitest Inc., seeking damages that include the costs of raising children who were born in unplanned pregnancies. The lawsuit claims that women became pregnant because of mislabeling on the birth control packaging.

It’s a brief news story attached, but the comments are truly worth reading. I suspect that you can guess what gets readers fired up. Of course there’s the old, “people will file suit over anything, instead of being happy” comment. While others are outraged at yet another pharmaceutical mistake.

Just gives you something to think about in the Friday blog in the “unusual lawsuit department”! I feel like I should be hearing, “I’ll take unique lawsuits for $200, Alex”.


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