The Litigation Counsellor

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Sneaker News

An investigation is underway regarding New Balance’s brand of “Made in the USA” running shoes. If the investigation turns up fruitful results, it could lead to a large California class action against the shoe manufacturer. New Balance’s “Made in the USA” marketing campaign was launched in an effort to differentiate the brand from similar athletic wear companies like Nike and Adidas.

Consumer Fraud Class Action Filed Against Insurance Company

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


TheStreet.com

A class action has been filed in federal court in Connecticut against national health insurance company, Cigna, accusing the company of overcharging its customers for medications. Specifically, the plaintiffs are alleging that the company is collecting so called “claw-back fees” from insureds by grossly overcharging for prescription drugs. Essentially, the plaintiffs are accusing Cigna of upcharging customers up to 1,000% more than the fee paid by the company to the pharmacy.

Proposed Settlement Reached in Classic Rock Copyright Suit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


Billboard.com

On November 28, 2016, a proposed settlement was finally announced in the class suit between satellite radio giant, SiriusXM, and the American rock band, The Turtles, in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The class suit, which was originally filed in 2014 by band members Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, accused the company of not properly compensating artists for airplay of music recorded prior to 1972.


Gizmodo.com

Starting in late May 2016, the blood testing company, Theranos Inc., has faced a number of lawsuits. At that time, three class-action litigations were filed within a four-day window. Since, even more lawsuits have emerged against the company, including those involving its investors and U.S. drug store giant, Walgreens. 

$55 Million Verdict in Wal-Mart Drivers’ Class Lawsuit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


GoByTruckNews.com

On November 23, 2016, a jury in California federal court granted a $55 million verdict to a class of Wal-Mart truck drivers who alleged that the company did not comply with California state labor laws.

Customers File Class Claims Over Misleading Nutritional Information

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


nbc4i.com

Popular Tex-Mex food chain, Chipotle, can’t seem to catch a break since last year’s E. coli outbreak. Three Chipotle customers have filed a proposed class suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming the chain actively mislead customers into believing its chorizo burrito contained significantly fewer calories than it actually contains.


FoxNews.com

Residents in Pawnee County, Oklahoma, filed a class-action lawsuit against 27 oil and gas companies, accusing the companies of triggering destructive, man-made earthquakes by the process in which they disposed of fracking wastewater. The companies mainly disposed of the waste fluids generated from fracking by injecting them back into the earth under extreme pressure into waste disposal or injection wells. The plaintiffs contend that the introduction of such contaminants into the natural environment caused an adverse change that resulted in unnatural seismic activity.

Fiat Chrysler and Cummins Inc. Face Emissions Lawsuit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On November 14, 2016, owners of 2007-2012 Dodge Ram 2500 and 2007-2012 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup trucks filed class claims in the U.S. District Court in Detroit against car manufacturing giant, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, and diesel engine manufacturer, Cummins Inc. Plaintiffs allege the companies cheated on diesel emissions tests.

Founder of premier plaintiffs’ firm talks about how to select the right business model for your practice, overcome cash flow challenges and manage a diverse caseload.

Darren Penn, a trial lawyer with over 20 years of experience, founded the plaintiffs’ firm of Harris Penn Lowry LLP alongside Jeff Harris and Steve Lowry in 2006. The Georgia-based practice set itself apart by achieving the largest verdicts in the state over the past ten years in five separate categories: products liability, business torts, premises liability, nursing home and medical negligence. Further, the firm has secured over $750 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of its clients—establishing it as one of the leading plaintiffs’ civil litigation practices in the Southeast.

Family Sues Amazon for $30 Million Over House Fire

Max Kellogg | Legal Staff Writer


www.entrepreneur.com

In November 2015, Megan Fox bought a new hoverboard from seller, “W-Deals,” on Amazon for $274.79 as a Christmas gift for her 14-year-old son. After two weeks of use, the hoverboard burst into flames, engulfing the family’s house and destroying all of the family’s personal property.

At the time of the fire, two of Megan and Brian Fox’s four children were on the second floor of their house.

Walgreens Files $140 Million Breach of Contract Suit Against Theranos

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


cbslocal.com
On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, while the nation flocked to the polls, pharmaceutical super store, Walgreens, filed a $140 million breach of contract suit in Delaware federal court against healthcare technology company, Theranos Inc. Because the case was filed under seal, few details are known about the suit at this time; however, many people familiar with the controversy have pointed out that the $140 million in damages that Walgreens is seeking is equal to the initial sum it invested in Theranos.

photo credit: CBS/Dallas

yostlaw.com

On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, Wright Medical Group issued a news release disclosing that its subsidiary, Wright Medical Technology, Inc., reached an agreement to settle approximately 1,300 claims surrounding the company’s metal-on-metal hip products for $240 million.

Counsel Financial is back in the pit lane after its bi-annual NASCAR Challenge and another successful Mass Torts Made Perfect™ seminar in Las Vegas. The adrenaline flowed as participants took to the track behind the wheel of a 600HP NASCAR racecar for an unforgettable thrill. The competition was fierce and friendly, and we’d like to congratulate the winners of the Fall 2016 contest: 


hotelnewsnow.com

On October 21, 2016, the popular home-sharing website Airbnb filed suit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York against New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City of New York, alleging that new regulatory actions taken by the state would cause the company irreparable harm.

$8 Million Settlement Soon to be Reached in Fantasy Sports Suit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Update as of 4:05pm EST Time October 25, 2016: DraftKings and FanDuel settlement of $12 million with NY AG Schneiderman for false advertising is official; each company to pay $6 million.
Sportingnews.com

An $8 to $12 million settlement may soon be reached between New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and popular online fantasy sports sites, FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. The companies, which were valued at over $1 billion each in 2015, came under investigation from Schneiderman for false advertising, consumer fraud and insider trading in October 2015 after an employee of DraftKings won $350,000 on FanDuel based on National Football League information not released to the public.

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Flint Parents File Class-Action Suit Against Public School System

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


Fox17

On October 18, 2016, fifteen families living in Flint, Michigan filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Michigan and the Flint school district demanding that help be provided to students in the area’s public school system who are experiencing worsening behavior and academic performance issues as a result of the city’s now infamous contaminated water crisis.

Featured Attorney: Glenn Phillips

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

Prominent defective drug and device attorney talks about the skillset, fortitude and passion required for building a nationally respected mass tort practice.

After practicing law for over 20 years and having tried many civil jury trials, Glenn Phillips ventured into the world of mass torts with the Vioxx litigation in the mid-2000s. Since then, he has established himself and his law firms—Phillips Law Firm, PLLC and Sanders Phillips Grossman, LLC—as leaders in the industry. He has been appointed to numerous positions of leadership on plaintiffs’ steering committees, served on science and discovery committees and obtained settlements against drug and device manufacturers in excess of $300 million.

Proposed Class Action Filed Against Nissan Over Brake Defects

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


carandriver.com

On September 30, 2016, named plaintiff, Steven Brand, filed a proposed class-action suit against the car company Nissan alleging a design defect in Nissan’s 2014, 2015 and 2016 Infiniti Q50S vehicles with Sports Braking System.


buycott.com

Two Illinois residents have filed claims against health food supplement companies, NBTY Inc. and United States Nutrition, alleging that the companies falsely advertised the supposed benefits of their products. Named plaintiffs, Gherson Tovar and Larry Wiegard, claim that the labeling on the Body Fortress 100% Pure Glutamine Powder actively deceived consumers by boasting that the product assists in muscle growth, enhancement and recovery after a workout.


nj.com

Residents of New Jersey have filed suit against wholesale superstore, Costco, alleging that the company charged its New Jersey customers a 7% sales tax on Charmin toilet paper in direct violation of New Jersey tax law, which excludes toilet paper from sales tax. Named plaintiffs, Jacqueline Taufield and Robert Arnold, argue that the supposed “tax” was in fact a surcharge masquerading as a sales tax. The plaintiffs further allege that when they brought the issue of the tax up with Costco, they were not offered a refund of any kind.


playstationlifestyle.net

Sony Computer Entertainment America (“Sony”) has settled class claims made by about 10 million PlayStation3 (“PS3”) console owners who accused the company of engaging in deceptive business practices and breaching the sales contract between the company and its customers. 

Questions of Liability Arise with the Advent of Autonomous Ubers

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


bbc.com

Ride-sharing giant, Uber, announced that it will be launching a fleet of four driverless cars in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this fall. While some view the advent of the autonomous car as an exciting innovation, many in the legal community are holding their breath for the possible flood of liability issues driverless cars could pose.


smartcouponing.com

Pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”), has agreed to a $5 million settlement with parents who alleged the company’s Bedtime brand of baby products were falsely marketed as clinically proven to help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Plaintiffs argued that J&J knew, or should have known, before selling its products that there were no studies to support that assertion. Plaintiffs further claim that they would not have paid the higher prices for the Bedtime products if they knew there was no basis to J&J’s claims.



macrumors.com

On September 12, 2016, a class-action suit was filed against Apple, Inc. arising from allegations that the company wrongfully prohibited iPhone Upgrade Program subscribers from pre-ordering its much-anticipated iPhone 7.

Featured Attorney: Fred Olinde

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

Ex-prosecutor and leader of rapidly expanding plaintiffs’ mass tort firm talks on overcoming fear, taking risks and making the choice to achieve fast-paced growth for his practice. 

Fred Olinde, an ex-prosecutor for the New Orleans District Attorney's office, started and quickly built up a thriving plaintiffs' mass tort practice. Recently, I was able to have a conversation with Fred where he uncovered some of his law firm's secrets to success in the mass tort arena and how he was able to achieve rapid growth despite being new to the field. 

Read what he had to say...

Counsel Financial Announces New, Enhanced Website

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Director
Nation’s leading law firm lender introduces new website with expanded features

Counsel Financial, the largest law firm financing company, announced today the launch of its newly redesigned
website, CounselFinancial.com. The new site offers an enhanced experience for users with added features, including a resources library available to all plaintiffs’ attorneys. The site launch is a continuation of a fast-
paced summer season for the company, which is on track for a record-breaking year.

Consumers Fed Up With EpiPen Price Hikes File Class Suit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, a class-action lawsuit against Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. was filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Hamilton County, Ohio, asserting that the company’s price increases on EpiPen devices violates Ohio’s consumer protection laws. Mylan Pharmaceuticals acquired EpiPen in 2007 when the average price of the product was less than $100. By 2016, the price had risen to over $600. Named plaintiff, Linda Bates, is seeking class certification for all Ohio residents who purchased EpiPen devices from 2007 to present.

The National Milk Producers Federation has reached a tentative settlement agreement in an anti-trust class action filed against the group for allegedly conspiring to fix the price of milk across the country. Plaintiffs claim the defendant group, which is made up of Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Land O’Lakes Inc., Dairylea Cooperative Inc. and Agri-Mark Inc., slaughtered cows prematurely to limit the production of milk, which, in turn, caused an increase in the price of milk and other fresh milk products.

$26.25 Million Settlement Proposed in Wen Hair Loss Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

wen.com

Celebrity hair stylist, Chaz Dean, creator of the popular Wen hair care products, and the products manufacturer, Guthy-Renker LLC, have proposed a $26.25 million settlement to end class action claims filed by women across the country who allege that the product, which is promoted as containing no harsh chemicals, left them with severe hair loss and bald spots. More than 200 women have joined the class since lead plaintiff, Amy Friedman, originally filed the suit in 2014.

 

Screenrant.com

A second class-action suit has been filed in federal court in the Northern District of California against the makers of the hugely popular interactive app, Pokémon Go. In this most recent class suit, named plaintiffs Scott and Jayme Dodich of St. Clair Shores, Michigan allege that the constant barrage of gamers eager to “catch ‘em all” is ruining their quality of life. Similar to the original class suit filed in the same venue against Defendants Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and the game developer, Niantic, the Dodich’s are alleging unjust enrichment and nuisance claims against Defendants and asserting that Defendants profited from encouraging users to trespass on private property.

Settlement Reached Over Moldy Washing Machines

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 

Settlement notifications have recently been sent out to 5.5 million owners of front-loading washing machines manufactured by Maytag, Whirlpool or Kenmore who purchased the washers between 2000-2010. Plaintiffs originally filed the suit in 2006, claiming the washers were defectively designed which caused the self-washing feature to fail and mold and mildew to build up in the barrel after each cycle.

Featured Attorney: Martin Edelman

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...

 

ROMA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

 

A lawsuit against the makers of the hugely popular interactive app, Pokemon Go, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 29, 2016 by aggravated property owners who are sick of gamers trespassing on their land in search of Pokemon. The named Plaintiff in the suit, New Jersey resident Jeffrey Marder, alleges that his home in West Orange, NJ is identified on the app as a “Pokestop,” and as a result, he has had a barrage of game-users knock on his door asking to hunt Pokemon in his backyard.

Uber in Hot Water After Hiring PI to Investigate Plaintiff

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 

Uber received yet another set back in Meyer v. Kalanick, a class action in which the lead plaintiff, Spencer Meyer, alleged that Uber uses a pricing algorithm to restrict price competition between drivers, thus keeping fares from lowering. Southern District Judge Jed Rakoff enjoined the company and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, from using information gleaned from the intrusive and clandestine investigation of a private investigator.

Keeping Watch on Tort Reform

Max Kellogg | Legal Staff Writer

Photo: Shusterman.com

 

Tort reform has been, and will continue to be, an issue for the plaintiffs’ bar. Proponents—such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—often claim that changes and restrictions are necessary to prevent frivolous lawsuits, burdensome litigation and excessive jury awards. Opponents, however, assert that it deters plaintiffs from bringing claims of merit, does not properly serve justice and does not sufficiently deter or punish wrongdoers in society.

 

Class Action Filed After Violence Erupts at Trump Rally

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 Photo: JOSH EDELSON

 

On July 14, 2016, fourteen supporters of Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against the San Jose police department, claiming that the police failed to protect them from violent protestors at a June 2, 2016 Trump campaign rally. The fourteen named plaintiffs are seeking class action status on behalf of all Trump supporters who were attacked at the rally.

Ginsberg v. Trump: A War of Words

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 

A very public verbal battle emerged between esteemed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The controversy began after Justice Ginsberg made several clearly partisan comments to multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, regarding Trump’s suitability to be president. Ginsberg’s disdain for Trump was evident when she gave the media a point-by-point explanation as to why she believes “he is a faker.” She admitted that she feared for the long-lasting effects of a Trump presidency on the court, as it seems likely that President Obama will be blocked from filling the void left by the death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, subsequently allowing the next president to appoint a new justice.

Johnson & Johnson Maintains Revenue Growth Amid Increasing Litigation

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

MedReps.com

 

In the past decade, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has faced a seemingly endless stream of product liability lawsuits. From 2013 to 2016, the company has paid out more than $5 billion to resolve pending legal claims. In the first quarter of 2016, Johnson & Johnson reported on their 10-Q an increase in U.S. lawsuits from 76,400 to 82,200 for the past year, alone.  According to Johnson & Johnson, the company currently faces around 3,000 pending suits regarding its DePuy ASR XL Acetabular system and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System; 8,900 pending Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System suits; 49,300 pending pelvic mesh suits; 12,500 pending Risperdal suits; 7,100 pending Xarelto suits; and 1,400 pending talcum powder suits. 

 

AP Photo

 

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on July 13, 2016 found that the claims against General Motors (“GM”) regarding its faulty ignition switch could proceed.

 

Approximately 1,000 lawsuits were brought against the company in 2014 arising from claims that the ignition switches on the GM’s vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, were prone to slipping out of their run position, causing the vehicles to suddenly stall and preventing airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. Some of the cases were for personal injury and wrongful death, while others were based on claims that the defect decreased the value of the vehicles. However, all claims were put on hold pending the outcome of this appeal from a bankruptcy court determination.

 

Parents File Class-Action Suit Against Snapchat Over Explicit Content

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Snapchat.com

Featured Attorney: Tom Rogers

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

Long-time shareholder of preeminent Georgia firm provides insight on how to pursue and build a plaintiffs’ mass tort practice.

 

This is the second installment of our new monthly series. Read what he had to say...

 

Netflix User Sues Over Monthly Fee Increase

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Redmonpie.com

 

On June 29, 2016, disgruntled Netflix user, George Keritsis, filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the popular movie-streaming site in California federal court. Keritsis’ suit seeks class-action status for all Netflix users who entered into agreements with the site, promising to lock them into a fixed, low subscription rate only to be told their monthly subscription rates have increased over time. Currently, more than half of Netflix’s 81.5 million U.S. subscribers have grandfathered accounts and would technically be applicable to join the proposed class.

Terry Spencer/AP

 

Residents of the waterfront community of Cape Coral, Florida are making it known to lawmakers in Lee County that they want their taxes lowered in response to the sudden infestation of foul smelling blue algae that has surrounded the community. Residents allege that the taxes they pay are high due to their close proximity to the water. However, now that the putrid smelling algae has moved in, homeowners and business owners say their properties have lost significant value. If the local government does not respond by lowering taxes, residents say they will not hesitate to file a class-action suit similar to the one filed against BP several years ago.

Serialpodcast.org

 

On June 30, 2016, Adnad Syed was given something that he wanted for 16 years—a new trial. Judge Martin Welch, from the Baltimore Circuit Court in Maryland, vacated Syed’s 2000 murder conviction based on cell phone tower evidence that was not introduced in the original trial.

Class Action Suit Filed After Refrigerator Fires

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 

$70 Million Verdict Awarded in Fifth Philadelphia Risperdal Trial

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

Drugdangers.com

 

On July 1, 2016, the fifth case to go to trial in Philadelphia’s mass tort litigation involving the antipsychotic drug Risperdal resulted in a $70 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

 

Consumer finance companies have until August 22, 2016, to express their concerns regarding the latest rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), which bans class action arbitration waiver provisions in consumer financial products and services agreements. The proposed rule (81 FR 32830) was published in the May 24, 2016 issue of the Federal Register for public comment and, if made final, will be codified in 12 CFR part 1040.

 

On June 21, 2016, Amazon.com users who purchased certain e-books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 received credits from the website as a result of a final resolution to a four-year long price-fixing class action with Apple. According to the U.S. Justice Department, in 2010, Apple, Inc. and five major publishing houses conspired to inflate the price of e-books.

Left to Right: Debbie McCormick, Marisa DelValle, Kim Gomlak (Marketing Director), Paul Cody (President), Matt McCormick (Creative Director), Greg Gegenfurtner, Robert Carbone (Deputy General Counsel) and Ryan Kagels (Chief Financial Officer).

 

Counsel Financial took part in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge ® in Buffalo, New York on June 23, 2016. The 3.5-mile race drew over 12,400 participants from close to 400 companies in Western New York and is one of 13 in the bank’s running series that spans seven countries and five continents.

MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Carfax.com

 

On June 10, 2016, an Alabama-based car dealership, Turnbull Automotive, filed a lawsuit against the Centerville, Virginia-based company, Carfax, on behalf of itself and all other individuals and entities who have been subject to intermittent, arbitrary increases in subscription fees with the company over the past four years.

 

Defendants Score a Stay in Cereal Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On June 13, 2016, Judge Kevin McNulty granted Defendant General Mills’ request for a stay in proceedings In re General Mills, Inc. Kix Cereal Litigation. Plaintiffs in the suit allege that General Mills purposefully misled consumers by labeling boxes of its Kix cereal as “all natural” when in fact the cereal was made with bioengineered corn. Kix boxes were labeled “all natural” from 2009 to 2013.

Reuters

 

Three class-action lawsuits in Northern California have been filed against the Arizona-based blood-testing firm Theranos. The first and third class actions were filed May 26 and   May 30 respectively, alleging that Theranos falsely advertised its products to consumers. The second class action was filed May 27, alleging that the company breached its contract with customers by not providing what had been promised—a minimally invasive procedure and accurate test results.

 

A recent report released by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) highlighted the increasing global epidemic arising in advertising that could impact a plaintiff firm’s marketing strategy—due to ad fraud, a huge number of online ads never reach actual humans. The WFA estimates that by 2025, ad fraud will result in losses to companies aggregating over $50 billion annually, which could easily rise to $150 billion if nothing is done to protect consumers against the fraud. Further, the WFA predicts that fake internet traffic schemes will end up being the second-largest organized crime enterprise behind the drug trade.

Parmesan Cheese Filler Class Actions Consolidated in Chicago Court

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

National Law Journal

On Thursday, June 2, 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the transfer of more than 50 class-action lawsuits—alleging that several brands of Parmesan cheese, which had been labeled as 100% grated Parmesan cheese, contained wood-pulp and cellulose as fillers—to U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants in the suit includeKraft Heinz Co., Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. private-label Parmesan cheese and Supervalu Inc.

NY TImes

On May 24, 2016, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) requested Judge Ed Kinkeade of the Northern District of Texas to hold all future trials in the multidistrict litigation arising from its DePuy Pinnacle hip devices until certain post-trial motions were ruled upon in the “Aoki cases”—decided just one week prior.

Featured Attorney: Adam Augustine Carter

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

 

Owner of employment law and False Claims Act practice speaks on the importance

of business acumen in running a law firm.

 

Our Deputy General Counsel, Kelly Anthony, Esq., recently sat down with Adam for a one-on-one interview on what helped his firm grow, what inspired him to start his own legal practice, financing their firm with Counsel Financial and advice on starting your own practice.

This is the first installment of our new monthly series. Read what he had to say...

 

Getty images

 

On May 26, 2016, Scott Magee from Metairie, Louisiana, filed a class-action complaint against McDonald’s Corporation for alleged systemic violations committed by the fast-food chain against blind persons.

 

New Study Bolsters Plaintiffs’ Claims in Fitbit Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

 

Plaintiffs in the Fitbit class action received encouraging news when the results of a recent study conducted by California State Polytechnic University, Ponoma concluded that Fitbit’s PurePulse pulse tracker does not accurately monitor a user’s heart rate during more intensive workouts.

The Effect of 3-D Printing on Products Liability Law

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

With technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, the law must be continuously

reexamined in order to keep pace with society’s needs. Products liability law is currently
experiencing this phenomenon, as 3-D printing becomes a reality in many industries. 3-D
printing poses a significant disruption to the usual flow of the supply chain on which
traditional products liability law is based; now anyone can simply design and
manufacture a product from the comfort of their own home. The black and white

distinctions between designer, manufacturer, distributor and purchaser are no longer
present.

NASCAR Speed Challenge at Mass Torts Made Perfect

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator

 

Counsel Financial cruised into the pits after our high-speed NASCAR challenge hosted during the Mass Torts Made Perfect Spring Seminar in Las Vegas. We hit the track with our clients, associates, employees and friends in a race for the top spot in the winner’s circle at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where each participate drove like the pros through the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Being behind the wheel of a 600HP NASCAR at speed of up to 155 MHP is the thrill of a lifetime. We’d like to congratulate our winning teams on their victory:

$500,000 Settlement in Santa Clara Ethnic Profiling Case

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

The City of Santa Clara, New Mexico has agreed to pay Mohammad Moneeb, a Muslim border protection officer, nearly $500,000 to settle his lawsuit involving ethnic profiling by the city’s police force.

According to Moneeb, on February 8, 2014, his uncle, an Uber driver, was involved in a car accident. Consequently, the vehicle his uncle was driving, which he did not own, was towed to Moneeb’s home. The owner of the vehicle arrived at Moneeb’s home to retrieve the camera. After Moneeb told the owner that he did not have the dashboard camera in his possession, the owner reported him to the Santa Clara police.

 

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that both liability and damages could be established using statistical estimates in the class action litigation Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo. However, the question of whether and when statistical sampling may be used to determine liability and damages in qui tam actions remains unsettled. Nevertheless, one appellate court, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, is positioned to rule on the issue soon.

Amarin Win Likely Points to Increase in Mass Tort Litigation

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations


A recent ruling on the First Amendment rights of drug companies may be a stimulus for future mass tort claims. On August 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Amarin an injunction against the FDA from criminally prosecuting the drug manufacturer for communicating truthful, non-misleading information about off-label use of drugs, holding that the First Amendment rights of the company protected it from such prosecution. Amarin Pharma, Inc v. FDA, No. 15 Civ. 3588 (PAE), slip op. (S.D.N.Y. Aug.7, 2015). This ruling may be a first step toward a new, more relaxed regime in regulation of drug marketing that ultimately spurs more mass tort litigation.

Jury Awards $100 Million Verdict in Mesh Trial

James Verrico, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

 

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, a Delaware State Court jury held that Boston Scientific Corporation must pay $100 million to 52-year-old Delaware resident, Deborah Barba, who claimed permanent injury resulting from the company’s vaginal mesh inserts. The award included $25 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The jury’s award came at the conclusion of a two-week trial and seven hours of deliberation.

 

$2.4 Billion Settlement in Actos Product Liability Suits

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

Kelly Anthony, Esq., Assistant General Counsel

Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., have agreed to pay $2.4 billion to resolve thousands of product liability lawsuits pending in the U.S. involving allegations that the companies’ prescription diabetes drug, Actos, caused cancer.

 

Another Great Experience at Mass Torts Made Perfect

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator

Counsel Financial recently returned from the Mass Torts Made Perfect (MTMP) Spring Seminar in Las Vegas, where we look forward to connecting each year with colleagues and friends.

 

Wearable Device Data as Evidence

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

Wearable-devices.jpg

 

Although U.S. courts are typically slow to adopt technological innovations, there has been a recent push to allow the admission of wearable device data into evidence.1 Most prominently, it has been discussed in the context of personal injury litigation as a means to show notable changes in a plaintiff’s physical fitness or behavior after an injury. For instance, a plaintiff could support claims that their activity levels decreased after an injury by utilizing several months or even years’ worth of data compiled from an exercise tracker, such as a Fitbit or Jawbone or the much-anticipated Apple Watch.

 

StubHub Sues NBA Team for Stifling Competition in Ticket Resale Marketplace

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

StubHub, the burgeoning online ticket exchange for sports and entertainment, is suing the Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster for antitrust violations in the Northern District of California. StubHub alleges that the Warriors and Ticketmaster have unlawfully colluded to restrain competition by telling season ticket holders that they can only resell their tickets through Ticketmaster.

 

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.

 

Does Using LinkedIn Impair Your Job Prospects?

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

At least four people apparently believe it does. Within the past week, LinkedIn made headlines over a class action suit filed in the Northern District of California concerning a product offered to the social networking site’s premium account holders, which purportedly has cost the four named plaintiffs job opportunities. The product, called “Reference Search,” provides those members who purchase a subscription the ability to search for and, through internal messaging, contact individuals who may have worked with a potential job candidate—without that candidate’s knowledge.

 

Judge Sends Sega Arcade Game Settlement Back for Reprogramming

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

A federal Judge has rejected a proposed settlement between two subclasses of plaintiffs and Sega, the video game company, for deceptive practices in the design and marketing of its Key Master game. The settlement was rejected due to speculative basis for its monetary relief, uncertain methods for identifying and paying plaintiffs, and an unsupported attorney’s fees provision.

 

Standard & Poor Settles Suit Over Inflated Ratings for $1.375 Billion

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

Having been in business for over 150 years and with 26 offices worldwide, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services touts that it provides “high-quality market intelligence in the form of credit ratings, research, and thought leadership.” Nevertheless, the company, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., became the adversary in a legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice and 19 states and the District of Columbia, which resulted in a settlement of $1.375 billion.

 

Hacker Vulnerability in Cars Launches Class Action Against Auto Makers

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

It is possibly high on the list of many individuals’ worst nightmares: you are driving on the highway at a high rate of speed when your car begins accelerating rapidly and you lose the power to slow down. This nightmare played out in reality with Toyota between 2009 and 2013 when a defect with approximately 11 million of their cars’ acceleration system launched hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death claims and a $1.6 billion class action settlement.

 

NYC to Pay $5 Million to Relatives of “Mafia Cops” to Resolve Municipal Liability Claims

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

A $5 million settlement has been reached between victims seeking redress for wrongful death after their loved ones were murdered by rogue NYPD detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, acting as hitmen for the mafia in the 1980s. The settlement comes four months after a federal judge granted the city’s summary judgment motion on state law claims but denied with respect to federal municipal liability claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As reported by the New York Law Journal on the plaintiffs’ theories of New York City’s responsibility:

 

PwC Back in Crosshairs of Madoff Feeder Fund Class Action

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”), an international accounting firm, and The Citco Group Ltd. (“Citco”), a financial services group, are back at the center of a class action led by investors in several feeder funds that invested in the historic Ponzi scheme architected by Bernie Madoff. The action pleads federal securities law and state law violations arising out of PwC’s role as auditor of the funds and Citco’s part as the funds’ administrator and custodian.

 

California Bar on Blogging 101: Mind the “Call to Action”

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

The pervasiveness of blogging and social media was bound to raise ethical questions over when an attorney’s public statements—intertwined with the law—cross the line from free speech to attorney marketing and, as a result, regulated speech.

 

$5.7 Million Verdict Awarded in Ethicon Transvaginal Mesh Trial

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

A jury in Bakersfield, California, has returned a $5.7 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon Inc., after finding that Ethicon’s TVT Abbrevo transvaginal mesh device was defectively designed and that Ethicon failed to warn doctors of the risks associated with the product.

 

One of the most prominent players to emerge in the burgeoning “for profit” fantasy football industry has become the target of an action that seeks class certification for false advertising claims stemming from a promise to double users’ cash deposits. DraftKings, a platform that permits registrants to play fantasy sports and win cash prizes, is the defendant in Aguirre v. DraftKings, Inc., a case which seeks remedies for claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Florida Free Gift Advertising Law and fraud in the inducement under Florida common law.

 

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, LinkedIn unveiled its newly enhanced platform of business-to-business lead generation products. The launch follows the $175 million acquisition of Bizo, a company devoted to helping advertisers reach businesses and professionals, in August 2014. LinkedIn utilized Bizo’s team and technology, as well as partnered with AppNexus, to bring to life what the company promises is a suite of products that will provide “a faster way to reach, nurture, and convert high-quality leads on and off LinkedIn.”

 

Judge Rules American Express Violated Antitrust Laws

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

United States District Court Judge, Hon. Nicholas G. Garaufis, on February 19, 2015, issued a 150-page decision concluding that Plaintiffs, the United States and the attorneys general of 17 states, proved by a preponderance of evidence that Defendants, American Express Company and American Express Travel Related Services Company, violated Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In particular, the Court held that Non-Discrimination Provisions (“NDPs”)

Is Lumber Liquidators the New Chinese Drywall?

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

Last Sunday night, 60 Minutes aired a story on wood flooring products retailer Lumber Liquidators and its laminate flooring products that purportedly contain formaldehyde levels that exceed acceptable standards for consumer products in the US. The laminate flooring products,

Bondholders Playing Larger Role in Securities Class Actions According to Study

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

Class actions brought on behalf of bondholders of public companies are playing a larger role in the overall landscape of securities class actions, an article recently published in the Minnesota Law Review says. Bondholders, often considered an afterthought in the securities fraud context due to claims by equity holders predominating, have been generating more recoveries, warranting a reconsideration of the prospects of bondholder claims in public company securities fraud cases.

Value of Attorney Advertising On Display at Risperdal Trial

Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations

The pharmaceutical drug Risperdal, prescribed by physicians as an antipsychotic, has caused a particularly embarrassing and emotionally scarring side effect in thousands of its male users. The drug is alleged to have caused thousands of boys and grown men alike to develop breasts, a medical condition known as gynecomastia.

 

On February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard University roommates launched the social media website, Facebook. Although Facebook was initially limited to serving college students, the website now has an incredible variety of users, some of whom are professionals. Unlike most other occupations, the legal field is subject to certain ethical guidelines and professional standards, such as those enumerated in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Model Rules”), which can present specialized concerns for attorneys who interact through social media.

Plaintiffs’ Counsel in Zoloft MDL Obtain a “Daubert Do-Over”

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who is presiding over the multi-district litigation involving prescription antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), granted the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee’s motion for leave to identify and present a new general causation expert. Previously, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (“PSC”) offered four witnesses to testify as to whether Zoloft caused birth defects in babies born to mothers who took the drug while pregnant, but the Court excluded the testimony.

 

On Monday, November 3, 2014, Stryker Corporation announced it would pay at least $1 billion to settle cases brought by thousands of patients over injuries sustained by faulty hip implants manufactured by its subsidiary, Howmedica Osteonics Corp.

 

Counsel Financial at Women En Mass

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

 

Counsel Financial was pleased to host a gathering of many prominent female mass tort attorneys during the 2014 Women En Mass retreat in Aspen, Colorado. It was a great opportunity for all to meet other powerhouse women in the mass tort arena and share

Securities Class Actions Alive, but on Life Support

J. Cullen Byrne, Esq. | Staff Writer

On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that dealt a near-fatal blow for plaintiffs in securities class action suits by making it harder for investors to collectively sue corporations for fraud. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the court unanimously held that defendants at the preliminary class certification stage could refute the plaintiffs’ presumption of reliance on an efficient market if they can show that an alleged misrepresentation did not affect the company’s stock price.

Counsel Financial at Mass Torts Made Perfect

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator
Counsel Financial jump-started April at the Mass Torts Made Perfect (MTMP) Spring Seminar in Las Vegas. Our team, along with other attorneys and friends, got behind the wheel of a 600HP

Counsel Financial Announces TrialSmith Partnership

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator

Counsel Financial is proud to announce its new partnership as TrialSmith’s new National Sponsor. Created by plaintiff lawyers, TrialSmith provides unique investigative and collaborative tools that help the plaintiffs’ bar achieve successful outcomes for their clients. Together with TrialSmith, we share a passion for protecting the civil justice system and are determined to provide the most support possible of the endeavors of plaintiff attorneys throughout the nation in our collective pursuit of justice.

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”).1 While these amendments are not retroactive,2 they will most likely increase the amount of FCA-based claims in the future.

 

Counsel Financial at Mass Torts Made Perfect

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator

October was a fast-paced month for Counsel Financial, culminating in our attendance at the Mass Torts Made Perfect (MTMP) Fall Seminar in Las Vegas. The team and several other attorneys and friends took on the 1.5 mile track at the famous Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Richard Petty Driving Experience, home to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Manning the wheel of a 600HP NASCAR race car at speeds of up to

Transvaginal Mesh: Transient Notions of Consumer Safety

Joseph DiNardo, Esq. | Founder & CEO

Since 2008, thousands of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against manufacturers and sellers of defective pelvic mesh products, commonly referred to as transvaginal mesh (“TVM”). Plaintiffs include women who received TVM implants to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse (“POP”) or Stress Urinary Incontinence (“SUI”), common conditions involving the weakening of the vaginal walls after childbirth. TVM is a surgical mesh typically made from polypropylene, a plastic material surgically implanted into or attached to the vaginal wall. TVM related complications include mesh contraction and mesh erosion causing severe pain, vaginal scarring, infection, urinary problems, inability to have sex, and perforations of the bowel, all of which will likely require one or more revision surgeries. Plaintiffs also include men asserting injury claims sustained during sexual relations, as well as derivative claims for loss of consortium.

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 linked to bisphosphonate drugs Aredia and Zometa, ONJ was not indicated as a risk on the drugs’ labels.

 

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.

Hon. Frank A. Sedita, Jr., JSC (Ret.)

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator

We at Counsel Financial are deeply saddened to announce that Hon. Frank A. Sedita, Jr., JSC (Ret.) passed away on Sunday, June 16, 2013 after a brief illness. Judge Sedita was a dear friend, respected colleague and New York State Supreme Court Justice whose meritorious career was widely acclaimed. He will be greatly missed.

$5 Million Verdict in Scuba Diving Fatality

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Coordinator

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.

 

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.

 

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 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.

In late April, Henry Gribbohm, 30, squandered his life savings away attempting to win an Xbox at a Manchester Carvinal in New Hampshire. Gribbohm filed a report with the Manchester Police Department after claiming to have lost over $2,600 in $5 increments trying to outsmart the “Tubs of Fun” game in his misguided effort to win an Xbox Kinect (valued at about $100).

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.

The city of Warwick, Rhode Island has voluntarily discontinued a noise ordinance case against Lynne Taylor, who was cited by the city after numerous complaints from her neighbors concerning her foul-mouthed pet cockatoo. According to the neighbors, Taylor’s pet cockatoo repeatedly swore and hurled insults at them over a period of months in 2011. Taylor’s next-door neighbors were particularly sensitive to the constant taunting from the bird, which is understandable since they were Taylor’s ex-husband and his girlfriend.

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 prevent the cage from being tipped by the wind.

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.

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 Atlantic County jury recently heard proof regarding all four claims, finding in favor of two of the four plaintiffs.

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.

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.

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 actions against the other defendants.

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.

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.

Formerly straight-A student, Megan Thode, sued her professor, Amanda Eckhardt, and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA after she received only a C+ in Eckhardt’s therapy internship class in 2009. She claimed the low grade not only cost her a master’s degree in education and her dream of becoming a licensed therapist, but also allegedly $1.3 million in future lost earnings. However, her lawsuit really wasn’t about the money—she just wanted a B in Eckhard’s class.

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.

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 data.

Chances are that if you are a woman and have visited Paris in your lifetime, you—and millions of other women like you—most certainly broke the law without even realizing it.

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.

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.

In light of the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision in In re Hispanics United of Buffalo, Inc., No. 03-CA-027872, companies, both with and without unions, may want to take some time to reexamine their social media policies. Although the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA) was enacted to prevent workers from being retaliated against for forming unions, the recent decision expands that protection to just about any worker who engages in “concerted activity” within the meaning of the act.

In 2012, U.S. law firms experienced the greatest year-end revenue growth results since 2008, according to a preliminary survey released by Wells Fargo Private Bank Legal Specialty Group on January 28, 2013. The survey indicated that in 2012, law firms across the U.S. had surprising gross and net revenue growth of five and six percent, respectively, as well as an increase in profits per partner of five percent.

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 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.

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 transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana with a skull fracture and severe traumatic brain injuries. There, hospital physicians ordered a blood draw which revealed Plaintiff’s blood alcohol content to be .267 - more than three times the legal limit for driving while intoxicated.

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. The Supreme Court, however, de-certified the class because it determined that the female Wal-Mart employees, members of the largest class in U.S. history, did not share enough in common as plaintiffs to be granted class certification.

Can an employer lawfully terminate an employee simply for being irresistible? According to a December 21, 2012 decision from the Iowa Supreme Court, the answer appears to be “yes.”

On November 9, 2012, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court of Massachusetts' determination that Starbucks' shift supervisors had improperly shared in tips left at the counter for baristas at their numerous coffee shop locations.

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, Southern District of Illinois (MDL No. 2385, Pradaxa Product Liability Litigation). A closer look analysis reveals that this is not necessarily the case.

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.

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 for CAMAC Aviation.

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.


Top row, left to right: Michael Wright (Wright & Schulte), Harvey Hirschfeld (LawCash), Lawrence Jones (Jones Ward), Greg Gegenfurtner (Plaintiff Support), Harris Pogust (Pogust, Braslow & Millrood), Josh Kincannon & John Gregory (Keefe Bartels), Steve Mingle (Counsel Financial)
Bottom row, left to right: James Harris (Paglialunga & Harris), Genevieve Zimmerman (Zimmerman Reed), Earl Boyle & Joseph DiNardo (Counsel Financial), Daniel Crandall (Crandall & Katt)

A Case for a Line of Credit

Britney Buscaglia

The Importance of the Mikey's Way Foundation

Kim Gomlak | Marketing Director

By Michael Callahan

By Paul Cody

By Hon. Joseph S. Mattina, J.S.C. (Ret.)

By Michael Callahan

Judge Mattina's Corner

Britney Buscaglia

As a former New York State Judge for nearly 40 years, I have personally witnessed the struggle of the plaintiffs' bar to financially compete against large insurance companies and other well-funded defendants.

A man suffered knee injuries after being rear-ended while stopped and waiting to make a turn. Plaintiff was struck from behind and by a vehicle driven by Defendant and sustained a torn meniscus as well as scarring around the popliteal tendon. After the accident, Plaintiff underwent two arthroscopic surgeries to his right knee. Plaintiff sued for medical damages, physical impairment and pain and suffering; Defendant admitted fault and the trial went to damages. Plaintiff was a high school cross country runner prior to the injuries. The defense argued that Plaintiff's activities as a runner caused or contributed to his condition, as well as attempting to run after the collision.

A Plaintiff-receptionist sued her former employer for compensation that she earned during her time as a receptionist but that she was not paid for. Plaintiff was terminated due to illness, and sued for unpaid compensation, liquidated damages, fees and interest. In court, Plaintiff presented evidence that she worked an average of 18 hours of overtime each week. She also claimed that she only took 20 minutes for lunch, stayed even longer on Friday nights and took calls over the weekend related to the business. The court awarded damages as well as attorney fees and costs.

A 20-year-old man murdered a 19-year-old female college student who had stopped at a convenience store on her way home from work to buy snacks. The college student, while at the convenience store, was approached by the 20-year-old assailant, who asked to use the college student's phone and for a ride. The clerk on duty at Defendant-convenience store interacted with the assailant for a period of time before the female student arrived, learning that the assailant had previously engaged in violent altercations earlier that evening. The college student ended up leaving the store with the assailant in her car, and thereafter the assailant raped, strangled, and set the female student's body on fire. Suit was brought against Defendant-convenience store for premises liability, arguing that the clerk knew of the assailant's recent violence and had the ability to remove him from the premises in a number of ways or follow store policies regarding customer safety. The defense maintained that the assailant was considered a customer, and that the female student had not complained that she felt bothered by the assailant. Further, the assailant did not act inappropriately toward other female customers. The suit comes as one of the first verdicts rendered in a case following the Texas Supreme Court's decision in Del Lago, a case concerning liability of premises owners for criminal acts of third parties.

A 21-year-old man sued a church where he attended a band concert after the man was injured in a mosh pit--an area where concert attendees crash into each other. Plaintiff entered the mosh pit and was knocked down. Another individual fell on top of Plaintiff, causing a fracture to Plaintiff's wrist. Plaintiff underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture. A second surgery was also required after the initial fixation failed. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant-church failed to supervise the event, allowing the formation of the dangerous mosh pit. Defendant argued that Plaintiff assumed a risk of injury and that it halted the activity as soon as it was detected. The jury found Defendant-church 65% negligent and Plaintiff 35% comparatively negligent.

This action involved the dissolution of a business enterprise, whereby Plaintiff and Defendant jointly purchased real estate and formed a company for the rehabilitation and sale of properties. At issue were joint funds and assets including real estate proceeds, life insurance policies and bank accounts. In a counterclaim, Defendant alleged that Plaintiff had taken a large salary from a real estate purchase discount, had not turned over Defendant's interest in the sale of a restaurant, unilaterally cashed in a life insurance policy on Defendant's life, and deposited insurance proceeds from a jointly-held property damage claim into an account held by Plaintiff and her mother. Plaintiff maintained that the business proceeds were used for rehabilitation projects and other legitimate business reasons. The case was tried as a bench trial. Defendant was awarded on her counterclaim.

Woman Falls Getting Out of Rental Truck

A 43-year-old construction worker was injured on the job when he was struck by lumber that had fallen from six floors above. Plaintiff?construction worker suffered injuries to his back and shoulder, and sued the general and subcontractors involved with the construction project. Plaintiff claimed that the incident occurred because he was not provided with the proper, safe equipment as required by the statute under Labor Law § 240(1). Plaintiff won summary judgment on liability and the parties settled before the matter could proceed to a trial on damages.

Settlement: $2,500,000

A 35-year-old wife and mother of two died from adult respiratory distress syndrome after doctors failed to provide proper medical treatment. The deceased's husband, individually and as administrator of the deceased's estate, sued Defendant--medical hospital and relevant medical personnel involved in his late wife's care and treatment leading up to her death. Prior to trial, the hospital settled and Plaintiff discontinued the claims against many of the doctors employed by the hospital. Plaintiff presented evidence that the deceased suffered from temporal arteritis, a condition that rapidly depleted her immune system. Although the deceased was placed on steroidal treatment, Plaintiff asserted that the deceased's doctors failed to ensure that the deceased receive consistent doses of the steroid treatment, and that proper steroidal treatment would have boosted the deceased's immunity sufficiently to save her life. The jury found that the doctors responsible for the care failed to dose the deceased consistently, and that in addition to other deviations from accepted standards of medical care, the deviations in this case caused the death.

An 86-year-old Plaintiff injured her hip and head after slipping and falling on a plastic drop cloth hung from the ceiling in her apartment building. Plaintiff fractured her right hip's femoral head and suffered a laceration of her head. Plaintiff claimed that she could not take part in many of the activities that she enjoyed before the injuries--namely taking long walks, playing with her grandchildren, and sleeping without pain. Plaintiff sued the contractor replacing windows in the apartment, as well as the owner of the building itself. The jury found liability at 60% for Defendant?building owner and 40% for Defendant?window replacement contractor.

A class action lawsuit was filed in 2005 on behalf of call center telemarketers claiming that they were not paid for overtime worked. The suit was brought by a pair of employees at the company, and eventually grew to include hundreds of unnamed workers. The workers claimed they regularly worked more than 40 hours a week but were not paid overtime. Defendant?business process outsourcing company denied the allegations and did not admit to any violation of law.

A 56-year-old female Plaintiff was injured when she fell at a party held on Defendant--restaurant's premises. Plaintiff claimed that she lost her balance, fell and struck her head after opening a door to a landing. Plaintiff suffered a fractured skull, brain contusion and intracranial bleeding. A portion of Plaintiff's skull had to be surgically removed to relieve pressure. The injuries left Plaintiff with limited ability to care for herself and requiring nursing assistance. Plaintiff sued for premises liability and claimed that the configuration of the door and landing constituted a dangerous condition.

Two Plaintiff--brothers brought a lawsuit against Defendant--supervisor and other members of their Defendant--employers' upper management for repeatedly making anti-Hispanic remarks. The brothers jointly sued under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. At trial, counsel for Plaintiffs pointed to the lack of evidence to support Defendants' supposed reasons for terminating Plaintiffs based on performance issues. The jury found Defendant--supervisor and Defendant--employers liable.

A 21-year-old Plaintiff, who was a passenger in Defendant's vehicle, sustained injuries due to an accident caused by Defendant's drunk driving. The accident resulted in Defendant--drunk driver being incarcerated. Plaintiff--passenger was in a coma for four years and sustained loss of sight in one eye, weakness on one side of his body and confinement to a wheelchair. Plaintiff sued Defendant--driver for negligence, and sued Defendant--American Legion for negligent service of alcohol as Defendant--driver was under the legal drinking age at the time of the accident.

A 51-year-old Plaintiff tripped into an open cellar door at the rear entrance of a retail store. Plaintiff fell ten feet into a cellar, struck his head, fractured his skull and was left with a concussion and subdural hematoma. Plaintiff also lost his senses of smell and taste, and experienced loss of memory and cognitive ability. Plaintiff brought an action against Defendant--retail store and Defendant--building owner alleging premises liability. The defense challenged the extent of Plaintiff's injuries. The case settled after mediation.

Plaintiffs sued on behalf of their minor daughter who suffered burns to her scalp after visiting Defendant hair salon. The minor went to Defendant hair salon to have her hair colored. A stylist at the salon placed chemicals on the minor's hair, put foil over the hair and placed the minor under a hot hair dryer. The stylist then took a break, leaving the salon to eat. The minor complained to other salon employees of a burning sensation in her scalp but the employees allegedly told her that she would have to wait for her stylist to return. The minor sustained third-degree burns to her scalp. It was stipulated before trial that the product used by the stylist included instructions to not to use the product with heat. The parties also stipulated that the minor had her hair colored at another salon four days after the incident.

A 51-year-old retiree and his wife were killed in an accident when their motorcycle was hit head-on by a sports utility vehicle driven by Defendant. At the time of the accident, the deceased couple was traveling to visit their son for Thanksgiving. Defendant fled the scene of the accident, and as a result, was featured on "America's Most Wanted." Police also suspected the Defendant of drinking prior to the accident. The son of the deceased couple sued the Defendant, acting as the personal representative of his parents' estates. Counsel for Plaintiff contended that Defendant traveled directly into the path of the deceased's motorcycle and that there was nothing the deceased driver could have done to avoid the accident. Counsel for the Defendant contended that the deceased driver could have avoided the accident and that he was distracted by using his cellular phone.

Counsel Financial and its experienced staff of attorneys understand that a litigator's contingent fee portfolio has value today as collateral for a working capital loan up to $5 million. Loan proceeds may be used for all law firm related expenses--from trial preparation and expert witness fees to practice expansion and payroll.

A former groom is suing his wedding photographer for not photographing two key parts of his 2003 wedding ceremony: the last dance and the bouquet toss. Since the wedding, the bride and groom have divorced and the bride allegedly has moved back to her native Latvia. Even though the marriage is over, the man is still seeking a refund for the cost of the photography services as well as an additional $48,000 to fly specific guests from the wedding to New York to recreate the event for another photographer. In his lawsuit, the man complained that the photographs were "unacceptable as to color, lighting, poses, positioning" and that the two-hour video taken of the six-hour wedding was insufficient. The judge assigned to the case dismissed most of the grounds for the lawsuit, but has allowed the case to proceed on breach of contract grounds, stating "[t]his is a case in which it appears that the 'misty watercolor memories' and the 'scattered pictures of the smiles...left behind' at the wedding were more important than the real thing". The judge further noted, that "Although the marriage did not last, Plaintiff's fury over the quality of the photographs and video continued on."

Is the 9th Circuit at odds with the Supreme Court's decision in Wal?Mart v. Dukes? On October 3, 2011, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the 9th Circuit and remanded Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc. for further consideration in light of Wal?Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes. Wang involved a Chinese newspaper where employees alleged that they were made to work over eight hours a day and forty hours a week. Further, the workers alleged that they were denied overtime compensation, meal and rest breaks, accurate and itemized wage statements, and penalties for wages due but not promptly paid at termination. The district court certified the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim as a collective action, and it certified the state-law claims as a class action under Rule 23(b)(2).

Student-Athlete Dies During Grueling Practice

Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel

A University of Central Florida football student?athlete with sickle cell trait died after collapsing to the ground during practice. On the day of the student-athlete's death, the team allegedly endured a particularly grueling practice, described as punishment in which neither water nor trainers were readily available. The student-athlete was observed having difficulty breathing, falling to the ground, and eventually becoming incoherent before emergency personnel were called. The athlete died soon thereafter. The university's athletic association had a policy in place for mandatory screening for sickle cell trait in African-American athletes, to which the student-athlete tested positive. Six months after the initial screening, the head athletic director for the university noticed the student-athlete did not have the required sickle cell screening test result in his sports medicine file. The athletic director instructed the student-athlete to obtain another laboratory screening, and the results were again positive. Although the results should have been sent to the university's sports medicine department, they were not provided to the athlete or the sports medicine department until after his death. The university's policies and procedures for athletes with positive sickle cell trait results proscribed a number of notifications, accommodations and procedures that must be disseminated and taken. Plaintiff asserted that the university was negligent for failing to inform the student-athlete of his positive test results; failing to inform team personnel of the positive test results; failing to provide appropriate counseling to the student-athlete regarding the risks, precautions and symptoms relating to sickle cell trait; failing to inform, counsel or educate team personnel regarding the risks, precautions and symptoms to avoid a sickling collapse; failing to educate the personnel about exercise modification, intervention and emergency management for an athlete with sickle cell trait; and failing to follow appropriate procedures and timely respond when the student-athlete showed signs and symptoms of physical distress during the conditioning session.

Verdict: $10,000,000

A class action lawsuit was filed in 2005 on behalf of call center telemarketers claiming that they were not paid for overtime worked. The suit was brought by a pair of employees at the company, and eventually grew to include hundreds of unnamed workers. The workers claimed they regularly worked more than 40 hours a week but were not paid overtime. Defendant?business process outsourcing company denied the allegations and did not admit to any violation of law.

A 13-year-old female sued for medical malpractice after being hospitalized and treated under Defendant-hospital's care. Defendant's radiologists failed to recognize an abnormality in Plaintiff's x-rays, which developed into a debilitating illness and eventually paraplegia below the waist. The jury found that Plaintiff's injuries were caused by medical negligence.

In 2005, an explosion at a Texas City BP oil refinery killed 15 and injured more than 170 workers. Now, BP has agreed to pay $50,000,000 to Texas for the unlawful release of air pollution during and after the deadly explosion at its Texas City refinery under the Texas Clean Air Act. The settlement does not acknowledge liability but will help BP avoid future litigation; although, the settlement agreement does not resolve lawsuits or investigations by other agencies, or any future problems at the refinery.

Plaintiff--husband and restaurant manager convinced his family to seek shelter from Hurricane Ike in his restaurant. As Hurricane Ike approached the Houston area, Plaintiff--wife went to the second floor of the restaurant to check on their sleeping four-year-old daughter. The wife noticed smoke coming out from under the door of an adjoining room. Plaintiff--husband, upon hearing his wife yell for help, went to rescue his already severely burned child. Plaintiff--husband and child were rushed to the hospital for treatment of second and third degree burns to over 50% of their bodies. All three family members suffered severe emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident. Plaintiffs sued the restaurant for negligence in failing to ensure that the restaurant was safe from fire hazards, and for the restaurant's non-compliance with local fire codes. Plaintiffs also alleged that the restaurant failed to warn Plaintiffs of the unsafe conditions within. Defendant restaurant joined a construction company as a defendant to the proceedings, alleging that the company failed to install a sprinkler system as required under local fire codes.

The deceased, a 42-year-old airplane mechanic, was working on a recently landed aircraft owned by Defendant--aircraft owner and operated by co-Defendant--aircraft operator. During the course of his employment, the mechanic opened the airplane's cockpit door, which was still pressurized, thereby triggering the door to fly open explosively. The door struck the mechanic's head, causing fatal injuries. The mechanic's wife, on behalf of the mechanic's estate and their children, sued the aircraft manufacturer and owner for products liability and the operator and pilot for negligence. Plaintiff--estate alleged that the door opened explosively because the aircraft cabin depressurization system was defectively designed, as it included no warning or alert systems regarding the pressurization of the cabin. Furthermore, Plaintiffs argued that Defendants were negligent for failing to depressurize the cabin or failing to warn the mechanic that the cabin was still pressurized. The jury found the aircraft manufacturer 20 percent liable and the pilot 80 percent liable.

When Plaintiff was fired by her former employer, a radio station, in 2008, Plaintiff formed an advertising agency and filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charging her former employer with gender discrimination. Approximately 18 months later, Plaintiff approached Defendant--former employer to buy advertising for one of Plaintiff's clients. Defendant's Vice President rejected Plaintiff's business, stating that he had been instructed by in-house counsel to refuse Plaintiff's offer due to the pending EEOC claim. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act for retaliation and discrimination. Only the retaliation claim went to the jury.

A 5-year-old boy was recommended for a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and bilateral tube placement to alleviate chronic snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, and ear & tonsil infections. Though the surgery was successful and the boy was discharged the same day, the child's mother found him gasping for breath the next morning. Despite the mother's efforts to give the child CPR and call 911, the boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. The Plaintiff-estate and mother in this case alleged that the child died due to the synergistic effect of the drugs prescribed in connection with the surgical procedure; namely, fentanyl, codeine and albuterol. The Defendant medical care providers denied any negligence during pre- or post-operative care but settled before trial.

This case involved a 16-year-old boy from Pennsylvania who participated in a service trip to Mexico to assist and mentor underprivileged children. During the trip, a group of American teenagers were taken to an abandoned silver mining camp. There, the 16-year-old fell into a mineshaft during a game of tag with some of the local children. The mineshaft was neither labeled nor guarded, and stretched 500 feet deep into the earth. This meant that the child fell for ten to fifteen seconds before subsequently dying from blunt force trauma upon impact. The Defendant in this case was the organization which recruited teens for humanitarian work trips. The company that made the actual travel arrangements was also named as a defendant, however they were dismissed from the case on jurisdictional grounds before trial. The main defense offered by Defendant was that the company that arranged the travel, and not Defendant, was responsible for the care, custody, and control of the teen during the humanitarian trip. However, the court agreed with the Plaintiff, holding that because Defendant approved the trip they had a duty to inspect the safety of the location. After a bench trial, the Plaintiff was awarded $2 million for the wrongful death action and $13 million for the survival claim based on horror endured by the decedent as he plunged to his death.

Plaintiff was pregnant with twins and had labor induced. The staff did not continuously monitor both of the babies' heart rates, and the second baby shifted to a breech position. His birth was delayed by 20 minutes, which caused him to be deprived of oxygen and later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Pre?trial, the parties agreed to try the case with high/low parameters of $5.75 million and $33 million. The jury found the hospital 100% negligent for failure of the nursing staff to monitor the infant's vitals.

In 2001, a 3-year-old girl was given eight doses of Children's Motrin to treat a fever and cough while she was in the hospital. Days later, the girl experienced reddening of the skin, rashes, and blisters and was later diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Plaintiff's mother argued that the manufacturer of the drug, Johnson & Johnson, failed to warn of the associated risk, stating that at that time, the drug company had the authority to make changes to the label, not the FDA; she sued for product liability. These warnings were not placed on the packaging until 2005. Defense argued the labels were always adequate for the safe and effective use of the product, that even with the associated risks, the product's availability was in the interest of public health, that the girl's contraction of the syndrome could be attributed to other factors, and that even with a warning, the outcome likely would have been the same. The girl suffered loss of sight in one eye, permanent skin disfigurement, and damage to her reproductive system. The jury found Johnson & Johnson negligent for not providing an accurate warning on the label and that it was the factual cause of the girl's injuries.

On October 2, 2004, Plaintiff, a 16-year-old high school student, was helping her stepfather install a new fence in their backyard when her jacket became entangled in the rotating shaft of a borrowed post hole digger, which was attached to the back of a tractor. She was pulled into the rotating shaft of the power take off unit. In addition to sustaining an above-the-elbow amputation of her right arm, she also sustained fractures of her left scapula and her left collarbone. The jury found that the post hole digger was defectively designed and that the defect was a substantial factor in causing injury to Plaintiff. The jury found that Plaintiff was not negligent. The jury verdict assigned varying percentages of liability to Defendants as well as 3% to the estate of the stepfather, named as a Third-Party Defendant. The award of damages was as follows: Past Medical Expenses: $138,653.29; Future Medical Expenses, including prosthetic devices: $2,677,934; Past Lost Wages: $45,000; Future Lost Wages: $950,000; Past Pain and Suffering: $1,000,000; Future Pain and Suffering: $4,000,000. Post-trial motions by the Defendants to set aside the jury verdict were denied.

In June 2005, a 50-year-old woman was injured when she fell down a stairway in her office building in Lockport, NY. Plaintiff sued the two business entities believed to own the building, claiming that the stairway's top step was missing a chunk of the rubber molding that covered the edges of each step of the flight, and that Defendants' negligent failure to correct the defect had led to her tripping on it and tumbling to the bottom of the roughly 11-step stairway. The stairway in question was in the rear of the building, and it led to the office's parking lot. Plaintiff, who was heading out of the building to buy lunch when her fall occurred, argued that building management had constructive notice of the missing chunk of treading because the defect had existed for months prior to her accident. Several of Plaintiff's co-workers corroborated her claim that the stairway's top step had long been missing a chunk of treading.

VERDICT: $3,900,000

Plaintiff?estate sued Defendant?Postal Service on behalf of a deceased 78?year?old man who fell on his way into the post office. Plaintiffs also included the man's 40?year?old son, who witnessed the accident while sitting in his father's car and made an emotional distress claim pursuant to Portee v. Jafee, 417 A. 2d 521 (N.J. 1980). Plaintiffs asserted that Defendant?Postal Service failed to adequately attend to the icy conditions stemming from the alternatively freezing and melting temperatures in the three days prior to the accident. Plaintiff contended that when the decedent fell, he struck his head; although there were no fractures, Plaintiff maintained that a subdural hematoma developed. The decedent was taken to the hospital after the accident by helicopter where it was determined that he suffered a midline shift in the brain, reflecting that the pressure from the subdural hematoma had already caused extensive brain damage. The physicians performed a craniotomy which was largely unsuccessful. Plaintiff maintained that over the course of the ensuing two?year period, the decedent was intermittently conscious and was aware of the nature of his plight. Further, Co?Defendant?automobile dealership, located next to and uphill from the post office, was named in the suit for failing to clear snow and ice from the vehicles it kept parked on the sidewalk, which contributed to the icy conditions on which the decedent slipped and fell.

Plaintiff was a 71-year-old man who rode a bus which served as the regular mode of transportation for him and several other seniors, including a 93-year-old woman who was confined to a wheelchair. Although the bus had a working wheelchair lift, it was common practice for the bus driver to allow passengers to assist in the loading and unloading of the woman's wheelchair because she was not properly trained by the township in how to operate the lift. On the day in question Plaintiff was walking backwards down the bus's main entrance, helping to pull the woman's wheelchair, when he fell from the top step onto the curb. His head struck concrete, resulting in a spinal injury that left him a quadriplegic in need of constant third party care. A year after the injury Plaintiff filed suit against the township for negligent training.

SETTLEMENT: $3,575,000

A 52-year-old dump truck driver was involved in an accident while on the job. Plaintiff-dump truck driver was heading northbound on a highway when Defendant-driver was heading westbound on an intersecting road. Defendant-driver stopped at the train tracks along the highway for a passing train, waiting to make a left turn. After the railroad gates went up, Defendant-driver turned left and was crossing the highway when the front of his pickup truck struck the passenger side of Plaintiff-driver's dump truck. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant-driver as well as against Plaintiff's employer. Defendants stipulated to negligence and the case proceeded to jury for a trial on damages. Plaintiff claimed injuries to his neck and lower back as a result of the collision. He underwent a percutaneous plasma disc decompression at the T12-L1 level and a fusion at L5-S1, which his physicians causally related to the impact. The plaintiff also underwent psychiatric treatment for chronic back pain. Defendant-driver argued that Plaintiff's neck and back conditions were either preexisting or were caused by a subsequent motor vehicle accident. The jury found that Plaintiff did not sustain a permanent injury as a result of the accident and awarded $31,000 in past medical expenses.

Plaintiff, a 58-year-old female, underwent out-patient wrist surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome. Plaintiff was intubated during the procedure, which caused her esophagus to be perforated. Despite repeated complaints by Plaintiff of chest pain, the perforation went undiagnosed post-operatively. The perforation caused Plaintiff to develop severe sepsis and near death within 33 hours of the surgery. Plaintiff underwent reparative surgery of the esophagus, and then fell into a coma for five weeks. While comatose, Plaintiff ate through a feeding tube for five months, which caused her to develop a hernia, also requiring surgery. Plaintiff brought suit against all parties involved in her medical procedures. Each of the defendants denied causing the injury to Plaintiff or breaching any standard of care.

An 80-year-old man fell 30 feet to the pavement below when a low-lying drawbridge that he was walking across opened underneath him. The man was injured from the fall and died of his injuries at the hospital. The man was hanging from the grid steel on the bridge when he was seen by the captain of a passing boat, who then radioed the bridge operator before the fall. The bridge operator attempted to close the bridge, but the man could no longer hang on. The Plaintiff--estate brought suit against the Florida Department of Transportation and alleged that the Defendant?bridge operators were negligent in failing to ensure the bridge was clear of all traffic before it was opened. Defendants were expected to argue comparative negligence, and that the decedent failed to notice the warning bell and gates lowering, which would signal that the bridge was opening, before the decedent walked onto the bridge.

Credit Lines Exclusively for the Plaintiffs' Bar

1995, a Virginia inmate sued himself for $5 million. He claimed that he had violated his own civil rights and religious beliefs by allowing himself to get drunk and commit crimes which landed him in the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Virginia, serving a 23-year sentence for grand larceny and breaking and entering. What could he possibly have to gain by suing himself? Since being in prison prevented him from having an income, he expected the state to pay. This case was thrown out.

In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), decided this past April, the U.S. Supreme Court opined that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 preempts state laws that prohibit contracts from disallowing class action lawsuits. Following the decision in Concepcion, it has become generally understood that filing class action lawsuits would become much more difficult for consumers who have contracted to resolve potential disputes through arbitration.

A 71-year-old man brought a claim against the hospital and the doctors and nurses involved in his medical treatment after suffering a stroke that left him with residual paralysis on his left side. The injured Plaintiff visited a hospital emergency room complaining of difficulty urinating after undergoing prostate surgery two weeks earlier. The hospital's ER doctor ran tests on the Plaintiff, which came back abnormal, but it appeared unclear whether anyone saw or reviewed the reports during the time of the Plaintiff's initial visit. A few days later the Plaintiff saw his own treating physician, and the Plaintiff claimed that neither he nor his physician was ever notified of the results of the hospital tests. Two weeks later, Plaintiff visited the emergency room, was treated by the same doctor, and was again discharged after the doctor failed to mention the abnormal urine test results. Two days later, the bacteria from plaintiff's urine spread to his heart, causing a stroke which resulted in paralysis on the left side of his body. Plaintiff brought claims against the hospital, the emergency room doctor, his own treating physician, and emergency room nurses on duty at relevant times. The Plaintiff alleged medical malpractice for a failure to properly communicate the findings of infection from the test results, and failure to treat him properly.

This was a case brought against a manufacturer for the defective design of a WaveRunner water craft. Two teen girls, a 15-year-old driver and a 14-year-old passenger, were operating a WaveRunner when they collided with a 30-foot speedboat. The Plaintiff-driver claimed that when she was approaching the boat, she instinctively took her hand off the throttle in an attempt to turn, but could not steer the WaveRunner, causing her to crash into the boat. Plaintiff sustained multiple debilitating injuries, including traumatic brain damage; the passenger was killed in the accident. Plaintiff will require supervision for the remainder of her life and will never be able to live independently. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant manufacturer was aware of the defect and, as a result of the defect, there was a loss of steering when the machine's throttle was released. Plaintiff asserted that Defendant failed to correct the problem or issue adequate warnings. Defendant argued that Plaintiff?driver did not know how to safely operate the WaveRunner, should have not been allowed to operate it, and would still be capable of obtaining some gainful employment after the accident.

This case involves the death of a construction laborer, killed on the job site. While drilling holes for foundation piers, the laborer worked near a large, industrial crane. The crane came into contact with a high voltage power line, and as a consequence, electrocuted the laborer to death. The laborer's estate sued the general contractor, the crane company, the crane operator, and the drilling company for negligence. In particular, the Plaintiff?estate alleged that the on?site general contractor negligently failed to properly supervise, educate and train the laborer. The drilling company, according to the estate, was negligent in failing to make certain the electrical lines were de?energized. Further, the Plaintiff asserted that a minimum distance between the crane and voltage lines should have been maintained.

A 39-year-old bicyclist brought a claim against a cab driver for negligently failing to make observations before opening the driver's side door of his parked cab. Defendant?cab driver opened his door into Plaintiff--cyclist, knocking the man off his bicycle and into the roadway. Plaintiff contended that Defendant?bus driver, operating a low riding hybrid bus, also failed to make observations when he drove over Plaintiff and his bike, causing his leg to be jammed up against the tire of the bus. Plaintiff sought damages for the resulting skin graft surgeries and delicate, friable skin condition thereafter. At trial, Plaintiff contended that Defendant--bus driver negligently failed to keep Plaintiff in his view and traveled too close to the parking line and Plaintiff.

In this wrongful death and medical malpractice action, plaintiff's decedent, a 66-year-old longtime smoker, underwent regular chest X-rays as ordered by her primary care physician. It was later detected that there was a mass on decedent's upper right lung. Two years later the mass had grown and a biopsy was ordered. The doctor concluded that the mass was actually a scar. Decedent saw another doctor two years later, and learned that the mass was lung cancer. Decedent's estate sued the treating doctors and hospital. During trial, plaintiff's expert cardiothoracic surgeon testified that decedent's doctor did not order the proper diagnostic tests. The defense argued that decedent was repeatedly advised to stop smoking and did not. Sidebar: While the jury was deliberating, the decedent's estate settled with some defendants. A punitive damages charge was withdrawn. No negligence was imputed to decedent.

VERDICT: $ 1,821,529.

Plaintiff, a 47-year-old real estate agent, was stopped at a red light when her vehicle was rear-ended by defendant, who was driving in the course and scope of his employment. Plaintiff sued the striking driver and the driver's employer for negligence. Plaintiff suffered disc herniations, and was later diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Plaintiff's medical neurologist expert opined that her condition was a result of the accident, and that treatment for the rest of her life would be required. Additionally, plaintiff's expert concluded that she was totally and permanently disabled, and that her RSD was incurable. The defense expert claimed that it was inconclusive if plaintiff had RSD. Sidebar: The defendants stipulated liability and a trial on damages was held.

This negligence cause of action arose when plaintiff, a 43-year-old neurosurgeon, was struck in the knee by a hospital bed that was being moved in the hallway of defendant's hospital. The plaintiff sued the hospital and an orthopedic equipment salesman who assisted in moving the bed. The plaintiff alleged that the bed was being pushed at a fast speed, and that the defendant had knowledge that the bed had a steering defect. Plaintiff's experts testified that plaintiff developed a hematoma and necrotizing fasciitis as a result of the impact to the knee. Subsequently, plaintiff had to undergo an above-the-knee leg amputation. The defendants argued that the impact was minor and could not have caused the necrotizing fasciitis. Furthermore, the defense disputed the plaintiff's claim that he could no longer work.

Plaintiff, a 73-year-old patient, was brought to defendant hospital because he was experiencing vertigo, lethargy and incontinence. After a brief stay at the hospital, plaintiff was transferred to defendant nursing home, where admission papers indicated plaintiff had severe bedsores. Plaintiff was back and forth between the hospital and nursing home once more. Plaintiff's estate brought suit alleging the defendants failed to provide proper skin and nutritional care, which caused bedsores and eventually led to the development of septicemia. Plaintiff counsel maintained that the defendants disregarded known risks to the decedent, and thus sought punitive damages.

VERDICT: $6 million.
(Each defendant was found 50% liable; $500,000 compensatory damages, $500,000 for loss of consortium, $3.5 million punitive damages against the nursing home and $1.5 million punitive damages against the hospital.)

Decedent, a volunteer firefighter, went to a restaurant that caught fire a few days earlier. While retrieving a tarp that was left behind, decedent was electrocuted by an electric box sign. Decedent's estate sued the restaurant, among other defendants, alleging the box sign had not been properly grounded and that the sign's wiring had been altered. A medical examiner for the plaintiffs opined that decedent was conscious for 15-20 seconds prior to death. Defense counsel contended that plaintiff could not produce evidence demonstrating that decedent experienced conscious pain and suffering.

In this personal injury action, plaintiff was stopped in traffic when the left side of her vehicle was swiped by a passing van. Plaintiff sued the driver and the vehicle's owner, who was the driver's employer. Plaintiff alleged that she sustained a knee injury and subsequently underwent five knee surgeries. Furthermore, plaintiff's expert internist opined that because of the injury she had an increased risk of developing a pulmonary embolism. Defense counsel noted that the driver of the van was traveling 5 mph, and suggested that the plaintiff's injury predated the vehicle accident. Sidebar: Liability was determined on summary judgment, and the trial was on damages only. There were four weeks of trial before the parties settled.

Plaintiff, a 50-year-old female, obtained surgery for hip problems. Plaintiff alleged that the surgery resulted in a significant leg-length discrepancy. The defendant hospital contended that the problem was a result of a preexisting degenerative condition and not as a result of the hip surgery. The jury found liability and assessed damages at $3.4 million, and the defendant made a motion to set aside the verdict, which was granted. A new trial on damages was ordered.

Plaintiffs, both police officers, were transporting two prisoners when the police car was rear-ended. The police car had moderate damage, while the striking car burst into flames and was a total loss. The plaintiffs sued the driver and the driver's employer, who owned the car and had an abundance of liability insurance. It was alleged by the plaintiffs because of the defendant's negligent driving they suffered back injuries. The defense contended that the injuries were not related to the accident, but were a result of preexisting lumbar injuries. Sidebar: Liability was stipulated to and the parties agreed to mediation.

A 40-year-old was admitted to defendant hospital after being found unconscious next to his lawnmower with a swarm of bees around. Plaintiff was treated for multiple bee stings, heat stroke, and possibly a seizure. One month later, plaintiff was stung again by bees and rushed to defendant hospital, where he died due to an allergic reaction to the bee stings. Decedent's estate sued the hospital and the treating emergency room doctor under a wrongful death theory. Plaintiff's counsel argued that decedent was improperly diagnosed when he first was treated at the hospital, and had the diagnosis been proper, the fatal effects of the bee stings could have been prevented. Defense counsel maintained that the doctor and hospital did adhere to appropriate standards of care, and that they were never informed of decedent's bee sting allergy. Sidebar: During jury deliberation the parties agreed to a high/low agreement, resulting in a lower recovery.

A municipal prosecutor was subjected to retaliation for cooperating in an FBI investigation regarding the township's judge, and complaining about the judge being inebriated during a trial. One year later plaintiff was not reappointed as a municipal prosecutor, and two weeks after termination the township posted the job. Plaintiff sued, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the wrongful termination. Defense denied that the firing was retaliatory, and that plaintiff was not damaged because she had no right to claim damages for future services, since the position was appointed.

Plaintiff, a 41-year-old police officer, was exercising at defendant's gym when he was hit in the face by an adjacent piece of equipment, being used by another gym member. The two pieces of equipment were 16 inches apart, which is in violation of industry standards. Furthermore, plaintiff claimed that the gym had received other complaints regarding the proximity of the two machines. The defense counsel contended that plaintiff was comparatively negligent by failing to make observations. Plaintiff suffered a right eye orbital fracture, that has left him with a permanent eye injury.