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A Settlement Story

I recently finished up a pharmaceutical settlement with a group of women. Our claim related to cancer from hormone therapy.  Most of the time, I don’t discuss settlements or their amounts because I consider it a private matter for my clients. Sometimes, a letter or story comes along that makes me want to share.

I recently received a letter that specifically mentioned that it would be ok if I shared a bit of her story. I have intentionally left out the specific names and places.  I think that if insurance adjusters and defense lawyers were able to see the result of the settlements years after the cases end, it might change how they view cases during the process.  The following is a portion of that letter which discusses the impact of a settlement  far better than I ever could:

I am a former elementary teacher who eventually had a word processing business in my home and also worked as a temporary in a city attorney’s office. In 2003, three years after my diagnosis of cancer, I had the opportunity to move to the mountains (in another state) and work as a permanent employee and pay into their retirement system.

     I remember thinking that if I lived five years without the cancer coming back, I would break even financially as a result of the move. I also thought that if the cancer did come back, at least I would have a beautiful view of the mountains while I was sick. Thankfully today, I remain cancer free.

     As someone who was the first in my family to finish college and paid for my education, I was alwsys extremely cost conscious. Now, because of my settlement, I am able breathe alot easier now and enjoy life more. I am also thankful that the settlement served to hold the drug company accountable for what they did.

     One of the most fulfilling activities that I am now involved in is a Women’s Cancer Survivor Group. It is a privilege to give back by assisting women diagnosed with cancer. In addition, I have also had the opportunity to take an art class and have pursued a passion by producing note cards with my art, and framed prints. I never imagined that while healing from cancer, my life would lead me down this interesting and exciting path. I look forward to each day of the journey.”

DID YOU KNOW that the man and woman who were the original voices for Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse got married in real life.mickey

For pic o’ day, a good reminder:

a smile

Mini-Wheats in Court

Happy Mini

When you see a happy Mini-Wheat, how can you get angry.

 

 

 

student mini

 

You can be on the truth-meter. That takes us to Kellogg’s advertising for Frosted Mini-Wheats where they claimed that it had been “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%.”, In those TV ads, they showed kids at school who were doing so much better in the classroom because they had the morning assistance of all those loveable Wheats. Unfortunately, the ads caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission who didn’t buy into those claims.

It turns out that there was no truth to the advertising. So, Kellogg agreed to stop the “brain food advertising”. (Consumerist) Now, they have also settled a class action suit for about 4 million, that was brought against them on behalf of consumers. Here is what they put about it on their website:

“A proposed settlement has been reached in a lawsuit involving Kellogg, the company that makes Frosted Mini-Wheats. The Lawsuit claimed that Kellogg falsely advertised that its Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved kids’ attentiveness, memory and other cognitive functions to a degree not supported by competent clinical evidence. Kellogg stands by its advertising and denies it did anything wrong.”

 

The specifics of the settlement (Business Insider) include a reimbursement of $5 per box purchased, up to three boxes or $15 per customer. If you believe that you are entitled to a credit, you can get more details and apply at cerealsettlement.com.

Now Kellogg says that Frosted Mini-Wheats are full of fiber and will “fill you up first thing and help keep you focused all morning”. Maybe they could have just borrowed Tony the Tiger to help with their advertising campaign. “They’re Grreat” for the Frosted Flakes seems a whole lot easier to live up to.

So, I guess Frosted Mini-Wheats won’t help anyone become a jazz musician either?

Jazz mini

 

 

 

 

 

Fault versus Responsibility

Major league baseball pitcher, Bartolo Colon, was just suspended (ESPN article) for 50 games, after testing positive  for a performance-enhancing substance.  Baseball decided a couple of years ago that it was no longer going to turn a blind eye to steroids, human-growth hormone and other drugs.

When it was announced that Colon had tested positive for a banned substance, he or his agent released the following statement on his behalf, ” I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A’s” (his team)

When I saw this story and the statement, I wondered why he was apologizing. For the last couple of years, there were rumors about him unfairly competing. Now, baseball has confirmed those rumors. Is he sorry that he took banned drugs/substances or is he sorry that he got caught? Was he sorry the day before he got caught.

For every lawsuit that I file, I receive an answer to the suit.  Almost always, the answer is filed by the defense attorney that has been hired by the insurance company. In that answer, they deny everything except that there was an accident. Then, on the day of trial or a couple of days before, I usually am told by the defense that  “they are admitting liability”.

Although they admit liability, they then attack my client about injuries and treatment. Recently, I asked a defendant if he was at fault for the crash. Like clockwork, he said that he accepted responsibility for his actions. I then followed up with, “So you accept responsibility for the injuries that you caused my client?”  He hesitated, looked over at his attorney at counsel table and then blurted out, “oh no, that’s not what I meant”.

Whether it’s the real world, baseball or from a car accident, getting caught doesn’t usaully mean “I’m sorry and I’m responsible”.  I suppose that will never change.

For pic o’ day, this pup just realized that Vet doesn’t mean what he thought they were saying:

“Uzzy” and the Negotiation Dance

     My family tells me that I write too many blogs about the ills of the Chamber of Commerce. Lately, I’ve probably been writing too many blogs about negotiating with insurance adjusters. It’s my way to vent.

     Somehow, the video below got sent to me as a crazy sport’s video. When I saw it, it reminded me of my negotiations with adjusters. I know, when you watch the video, you will just shake your head.

     It reminded me of adjusters when they act like their offer of $500 above medical bills is a good offer, and that I should feel some relief, when they say they have a “little room to move”. Then, they never show up at the trial and never call me back after the verdict.  I just don’t think that their dance lives up to their defense.

     Let me set up the video. We have “Uzzy” performing a crazy dance as he comes into the ring. (adjuster performing the negotiation dance). I say “Uzzy” because he has his amazing gold chain around his neck. After about 2 minutes of dancing, he gets in the ring and acts tough with the other fighter. Then, it doesn’t end so good for “Uzzy”. No more dancing out of the ring.

     If the video bores you, just stop it. Maybe turn the music off! I think the ending might be a grabber. I promise, I’ll work on a better blog for tomorrow. It won’t have dancing “Uzzy” in it.

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