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August 07, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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"Here Are The Keys To The Operating Room, Dr. Unqualified"

Category: Torts For Our Time

There is a fancy term for turning an incompetent or unqualified surgeon loose on the public. It's called negligent credentialing.

Unless a hospital or surgical center lets the bad actor into the operating room he can't do much harm. He needs an operating room like a pilot needs a plane.

For some unknown reason courts have a difficult time holding hospitals liable for putting dollars ahead of patient safety. That is why Illinois is only now reporting its first negligent credentialing case.

Negligent Credentialing Verdict Reached Against Illinois Hospital

In an opinion dated July 26, 2007, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a negligent credentialing verdict made against Silver Cross Hospital. The case is the first reported in Illinois dealing with a hospital's liability for negligently credentialing a physician, podiatrist or other health care provider.

During the case, evidence was presented to the jury that Silver Cross Hospital granted hospital privileges to Dr. Paul Kirchner in 1992 contrary to the hospital's own by-laws. The hospital's by-laws required that all podiatrists seeking surgical privileges at the hospital have completed either a 12-month podiatric surgical residency program, or be board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Dr. Kirchner met neither of these requirements in 1992, when he initially began performing procedures at Silver Cross Hospital. Kirchner re-applied several times for continuation of his surgical privileges at Silver Cross Hospital, and each time the hospital's Board of Trustees granted the privileges in violation of its own rules and by-laws.

Posted by Rita Schwab

July 23, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Tort Lawyers Ready To Battle Climate Change

Category: Torts For Our Time

One man's nightmare scenario is another man's El Dorado.

A Climate of Greed Never Changes

Among the nightmare scenarios of global warming, there's one only now coming into view - and it's definitely manmade: As predictable as the rising seas, we can expect a flood of class-action lawsuits trying to cash in on the issue.

Climate change promises to be "a lucrative new field" for the tort bar reports the Newark Star-Ledger. A Rutgers law professor predicts that global warming will make for "one of the biggest legal practices in the next 20 years." (The Star-Ledger, 7/8/07)

The opinion is shared by the president of the World Resources Institute: "Companies that generate significant carbon emissions," he warns, "face the threat of lawsuits similar to those common in the tobacco, pharmaceutical and asbestos industries." (The Toronto Star, 4/29/07)

From Overlawyered

I have read the entire Overlawyered rant three times. For the life of me I have yet to find the downside to the nightmare scenario.

June 26, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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LA Strip Club Picks On Wrong Cuban Model

Category: Torts For Our Time

If any male visitors to this site feel they can identify their beer bellies in those television or print ads for weight-loss products they may want to call the attorney for this Cuban model.

Model Settles Lawsuit With Strip Club Owners

A Cuban model settled a lawsuit Monday with the owners of a West Los Angeles strip club over their alleged use of her photo in a club ad, the establishment's attorney said.

Mayra Veronica Aruca filed her lawsuit Oct. 18 in Los Angeles Superior Court against Stars Planet Inc., owners of the Silver Reign club at 11908 Mississippi Ave, alleging misappropriation of image and likeness, invasion of privacy and unjust enrichment.

David Chew, a corporate officer of Star Planet Inc., said previously that a graphic art designer the company hired to make the ad took the woman's photo from an Internet site. The photo showed part of her body, but not her face, Chew said.

The club owners did not know the image was of Aruca until her lawyers asked them to stop using it about four months ago, Chew said. The ad was then pulled, Chew said.

From MSNBC

May 25, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Qwest's $39.5 Million Inspection Program

Category: Torts For Our Time

Utility poles do not inspect, maintain or repair themselves. Utility companies do that (or, are supposed to do that) on some periodic or regular basis. But, sometimes a pole is totally neglected for 46 years. Then, a lineman is sent up the pole.

Jury awards lineman $39M in Qwest lawsuit

A Denver District Court jury awarded a former lineman with Xcel Energy more than $39 million in damages in a lawsuit against Qwest Communications International Inc. on Thursday.

On June 29 2004, Xcel worker Andy Blood was doing service work on an 800-pound utility pole near a railroad right of way on 58th Ave. and Pecos St. in Denver when the pole collapsed.

Blood, who fell 25 feet, was left a paraplegic in the accident.

On later inspection, it was determined that the 46-year-old pole was rotted below the groundline and had never been inspected, maintained or repaired.

The phone and electrical utilities entered into an joint agreement where they agreed to use each others' poles for utility lines -- under the caveat that the poles would receive periodic maintenance.

Blood, who was 25 and recently married at the time of the accident, sued Qwest, which in turn sued Xcel.

After a nine-day civil trial presided by Denver District Court Judge Sheila Rappaport, the seven-person jury determined that Qwest was fully responsible for the accident -- effectively absolving Xcel of any damages.

The jury awarded Blood and his wife Carrie $21.5 million in compensatory damages and $18 million in punitive damages against Qwest.

Does anyone think that this particular utility pole was the only uninspected one owned by Qwest?

February 01, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Bounty Hunting Ain't What It Used To Be

Category: Torts For Our Time

What kind of world are we living in? Even bounty hunters are being hounded by frivolous lawsuits.

Woman Sues TV Bounty Hunter Over Injury

A woman has sued Duane "Dog" Chapman, alleging that a member of the TV bounty hunter's team threw her down a flight of stairs and broke her back while her boyfriend was being apprehended.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Audrey Emery and seeks unspecified damages. Two other plaintiffs, including the boyfriend, seek damages from the bounty-hunting team in the same lawsuit.

Emery accuses an associate of Duane Chapman of injuring her at her Pearl City apartment on Jan. 26, 2005 in the course of arresting Stuart Calistro and filming for the A&E reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter."

"They're filming this TV segment and she is upset because you have these thugs breaking into her apartment and she doesn't want them in there, so they decide the convenient thing is to throw her down the stairs," Emery's attorney Richard Turbin said Thursday.

Duane Chapman and his wife, Beth, released a statement saying their family has become a "target of frivolous lawsuits and publicity seeking attorneys."

President Bush is expected to speak to the National Bounty Hunters Annual Roundup about the junk lawsuits that are taking the joy out of tossing women down stairs.

January 29, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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When A Nurse Needs A Greedy Trial Lawyer

Category: Torts For Our Time

The question that should answer itself without any grenades going off.

Excellent Question

The consultant stood before the gathered healthcare leaders and said, "I am a nurse in this organization. I've been asked to set up a patient procedure, but I question the doctor about whether he has approved privileges to do the procedure. What happens to me?"

"Your answer to that one question" he told the quiet group, "tells you a lot about whether or not this is a safe organization."

The excellent answer should be The doctor provides an honest and polite answer; and, you are named Employee of the Month, get a sizable bonus and a covered parking space.

If, instead, a grenade goes off, the nurse needs to see an experienced trial lawyer.

January 27, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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"Interested-Participant" Lives Up To Its Name

Category: Torts For Our Time

It is not often that a website points the way to an entire new category of personal injury claim and provides some of the legal arguments which could be used to develop a supporting legal theory. But, there it was at Interested-Participant.

Honest, Judge, It Just Fell On Me

(Atlanta, Georgia) Twenty-four-year-old Ezekiel Dejesus-Rodriguez was casually enjoying his hobby of vandalizing a cemetery when a gravestone fell on top of him. He was pinned with a leg crushed and only ghosts heard his screams until hours later when the police were called.

Dejesus-Rodriguez attacked about ten gravestones at the Luxomni Church Cemetery in Lilburn before being trapped.

Logically, a clever consumer health and safety lawyer could defend Dejesus-Rodriguez, claiming he is the victim of improperly anchored thousand-pound stones which, incidentally, are not adequately marked as to which end is up.

An avaricious tort lawyer could then sue the cemetery and the decedent's family for compensatory and punitive damages. Following would be a liberal political group prompting legislation requiring all gravestones to be properly annotated with warnings to indicate the danger of pulling or pushing on them. This action, of course, would require the formation of a cemetery regulatory agency with enforcement powers.

Interested is advocating the establishment of the new tort, Defective Gravestones.

I suggest the 2007 Hyperventilation Award be awarded to Interested-Participant. Following which, the website should be renamed Interested-Participant with an Agenda. Nice hatchet job, Interested. You put a lot of venom into a simple story about a vandal.

December 24, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Greedy Trial Lawyers Don't Beg

Category: Torts For Our Time

Lee Tilson, posting at TortDeform, claims to be a trial lawyer. He may be a trial lawyer, but he is definitely not a greedy trial lawyer. Therefore, I am not sure if he is kind of trial lawyer I would want to handle my medical malpractice case.

After reading Lee's plea to put himself out of business you can decide whether he is spending too much time trying to reform the medical-drug-pharmacy complex instead of using his advocate's weapons to extract the maximum compensation for each victim of its stupidity. I say trial lawyers need to do their job the old fashioned way, one case at a time.

A Trial Lawyer Begs to Have Less Business

I repeat my offer to all readers of this blog. Work with me. Make patient care safer (send an e mail to me at keeppatientssafe AT gmail DOT com).

Join in the effort to improve patient safety. Whatever your position is on the tort system or tort reform, no one wants patients to be harmed. Let's learn what we can from whatever source we can. Let's improve patient care.

Let's make the tort system irrelevant by making it unnecessary to use it.

Let's eliminate the torts. It worked for anesthesia, reducing anesthesia accidents dramatically.

I am a trial lawyer. If you really want to hurt trial lawyers, eliminate the negligent injuries. Simple as that. I will work with you to put me out of business.

Personally, I am not working with anyone to put me out of business.

Some of the alarming facts from Lee's post:

An article in today's news based on recent statistics from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the nation's leading authority on medical safety, ought to shock the conscience of even the most ardent tort "reformer."

"The non-profit institute studied injury rates at hospitals and estimated that there are 40 to 50 "incidents of harm" for every 100 patients, about 15 million harm events each year at U.S. hospitals. The injuries include everything from pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores, to surgical complications and infections."

"Two years after the Institute for Healthcare Improvement launched a campaign to reduce the thousands of deaths caused by such hospital failures as medication errors and infections, the same leaders on Tuesday launched a second phase aimed at cutting hospital-induced injuries by 5 million over the next two years.

"The non-profit institute studied injury rates at hospitals and estimated that there are 40 to 50 "incidents of harm" for every 100 patients, about 15 million harm events each year at U.S. hospitals. The injuries include everything from pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores, to surgical complications and infections."

My estimate would be that over 14 million of the victims of these harm events are not receiving justice in the form of compensation for the injuries sustained. Obtaining that compensation for each victim would be the right mission for a trial lawyer.

October 18, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Is Stock Option Backdating Only The Tip Of The Iceberg?

Category: Torts For Our Time

You can't tell the players without a scorecard. In this case you can't keep track of the resigned or fired corporate bigwigs who have enjoyed the benefits of backdating stock options without this useful (and surprisingly long) list.

Backdating - who has been ousted

What has amazed me is the frequent backdating to precisely the exact date that would maximize the profit for the recipient of the option. The scoundrels wanted every last penny of profit even if it meant the scam was more readily apparent. I mean, just how many darts can be expected to land in the bullseye?

All of this has made me question a lot of insider stock transactions which are basically only computer entries at some brokerage house. Just when did the order come in from the corporate officer to sell his company stock and when was it actually executed? Am I just a Suspicious Trial Lawyer?

July 14, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Lawsuit Against Cheney, Libby And Rove Probably Means Lengthy Depositions

Category: Torts For Our Time

It was harmful testimony by President Bill Clinton in a civil lawsuit that eventually propelled him and the rest of us to an impeachment trial. A newly filed civil lawsuit has three times the potential of generating harmful testimony. Why? Because the deponents will be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Karl Rove. Let the parsing begin!

Ex-C.I.A. Officer Sues Cheney and Others Over Leak

Valerie Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, filed suit on Thursday against Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Cheney's former top aide and the senior presidential adviser Karl Rove, charging they had conspired to violate their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court, accused Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rove and the former Cheney aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., of conspiring to destroy Ms. Wilson's career by leaking her identity as an undercover C.I.A. operative to the press. It says the three men had conspired to punish Mr. Wilson for his public assertions that the Bush administration had twisted intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.

July 05, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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"Wipe That Smirk Off Your Face" Was Sound Legal Advice

Category: Torts For Our Time

A former cop expressed glee when a civil rights attorney was indicted on tax charges. He has been sued for causing extreme emotional distress. Talk about being thin-skinned!

I never thought of suing over gleeful expressions. It opens a whole new world of tort litigation. If this case is successful a smirk may become the whiplash of the 21st Century.

Thanks to Overlawyered for providing the exciting news.

"A prominent civil rights attorney who was indicted this month on tax charges has sued a retired police detective for writing a letter that expressed 'glee' at the news. Stephen Yagman claims in the suit filed Wednesday that the three-paragraph letter he received from Jerry Le Frois caused him 'extreme emotional distress.' Le Frois' June 23 letter says he felt 'glee and profound satisfaction' when he learned that Yagman had been charged earlier this month in a 19-count federal indictment. Le Frois identified himself as a former member of the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Investigations Section, which was a frequent target of Yagman's civil rights suits." ("Attorney sues former L.A. cop who expressed 'glee' he was indicted", AP/Sacramento Bee, Jun. 29).

June 25, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Editorial Malpractice Claimed - Outsourcing To India Blamed

Category: Torts For Our Time

Welcome to the world of print-on-demand publishing. And, to book editing in India. And, to the tort of Editorial Malpractice. The circle would be complete if the author has found a lawsuit-on-demand law firm with its paralegals in India.

Writer's lawsuit claim: editing on the cheap.

Seems an aspiring author took some offense at Charleston-based Booksurge LLC, an on-demand publisher.

Leon Koziol, a former city councilman and candidate for state senate in Utica, N.Y., has accused Booksurge of outsourcing the editing of his book to India and delivering thousands of volumes with upside-down text and "words not found in the dictionary." Koziol is seeking $11 million, including $1 million in punitive damages, from the print-on-demand company and its corporate parent, Amazon.com Inc.

Thanks to Douglas Fisher of Common Sense Journalism.

June 10, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Virtual Housecalls May Require Virtual Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Category: Torts For Our Time

After totally eliminating house calls (what's that?) from the practice of medicine doctors, hospitals and insurance companies are embracing virtual house calls and virtual rounding. The latter, for some reason, is really taking off in children's hospitals.

I believe this will lead to gigabytes of virtual malpractice and, with a little creativity, to virtual malpractice lawsuits and trials. I may be able to sit in my underwear in front of my monitor and virtually sue the bastards. The marvels of technology!.

Attorneys Gear Up for Suits Over 'Virtual Medicine' is the National Law Journal's virtual alert to the perils of being diagnosed and treated in less time than it can take to say breach of the standard of care.

Critics say the legal system has not kept pace with online diagnoses and other technological advances in medicine

The number of doctors and hospitals making virtual house calls has exploded in recent years, which has lawyers cautioning the medical community about the legal dangers of treating and monitoring patients via the Internet.

Attorneys warn that virtual medicine -- which has popped up in hospitals and clinics in more than a dozen states in the last two years -- could open the floodgates to malpractice claims, privacy disputes and licensure problems.

"My concern is that this would open up lawsuits," said attorney Brett C. Powell of Hicks & Kneale in Miami, who handles malpractice appeals for doctors and plaintiffs. "I can foresee a claim down the road where the patients are claiming negligence for failing to recognize a situation. With these virtual house calls ... you could say not only did he not have an adequate examination, but he didn't even see me."

Lawyers' concerns stem not only from the increase in doctors participating in virtual medicine, but by the growing number of insurance carriers that have been willing to pay for online visits.

Lawyers, meanwhile, are ambivalent about what they're seeing on the medical front. "I've seen a burst of activity in the last 18 months," said Sharon Klein, a partner at Philadelphia's Pepper Hamilton who specializes in health care law.

The nation's legal system, however, has not kept pace with the technological advances regarding virtual house calls, cautioned Klein, who notes that remote caregiving raises concerns about malpractice claims, privacy, confidentiality and security-of-communication claims, as well as about the practice of medicine across state lines. In the last 18 months, Klein has counseled many hospitals in the practice of "virtual rounding," where doctors and specialists check on their patients from remote locations with the help of digital images displayed on computers. She said that it has become a particularly popular practice in children's hospitals.

May 05, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Marriage Counseling Has Its Ups And Downs

Category: Torts For Our Time

There was a snake in the grass in Lake in the Hills. This article in the Chicago Sun-Times defines poor advice in the marriage counseling business.

Husband: Marriage counselor had affair with wife

A McHenry County man is suing his marriage counselor, contending the therapist he hired to help improve his marriage instead began an affair with his wife.

That relationship eventually prompted the couple to divorce, according to the breach-of-contract suit filed by 35-year-old Scott Buetow of Lake in the Hills.

The lawsuit filed by Buetow in McHenry County also accuses Blair -- a state-licensed clinical professional counselor -- of fraud and professional malpractice.

Buetow and his wife began seeing the counselor in April 2004 to "strengthen and stabilize" their 10-year marriage, the suit contends.

While providing both joint counseling and individual therapy sessions to Buetow and his wife, Blair allegedly started a romantic -- and secret -- relationship with Buetow's wife.

Despite the alleged relationship, Blair continued counseling Buetow and worked "to undermine the marriage to his benefit by tendering poor advice," the suit contends.

March 21, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Insurance Companies Sue Their Own Defense Attorneys

Category: Torts For Our Time

Who says lawyers will not sue lawyers for malpractice? Certainly not the insurance companies who defend personal injury lawsuits. Apparently, when the defense attorney screws up badly enough the insurance companies are hiring greedy trial lawyers to bring legal malpractice cases.

From Lawyers Weekly USA:

P.I. Defense Lawyers Face Rise In Malpractice Claims

In a dramatic change over the past decade, many states now allow insurance companies to sue the lawyers they hire to protect them from payouts in personal injury suits.

And increasingly, insurers unhappy with the legal work done by defense lawyers are suing their own outside counsels for malpractice.

According to an ABA study released last summer, malpractice claims against personal injury defense lawyers increased 6 percent from 1999 to 2003 - the largest increase in any practice area. Nearly 10 percent of all malpractice claims in 2003 were filed against personal injury defense lawyers

Personal injury-defense now ranks third in malpractice claims, behind top-ranked personal injury-plaintiff and real estate. Family law and trusts and estates rank fourth and fifth, respectively.

March 20, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Injustice In The Philippines - Greedy Trial Lawyers To The Rescue

Category: Torts For Our Time

There is a call to arms in the Philippines, but this time it is a call to file lawsuits when injustice occurs. I am pleased that the "greedy people and even greedier lawyers" of the United States are leading the way. (At least, I think I am pleased.)

(Manila Standard Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) At one time or another we have probably heard about the McDonald's incident where a drive-through customer spilled a cup of hot coffee on her lap, promptly sued McDonald's, and was awarded a whopping $2.9 million in damages.

From this case sprung many frivolous lawsuits in the United States, where people sue for outrageous reasons, and even more unbelievably, would actually win such cases.

The American culture seems to encourage greedy people and even greedier lawyers to use the justice system to get rich quickly. And the courts that generously award such unreasonable lawsuits aren't helping to lighten the situation, leading to an assortment of disclaimers by establishments printed in product cartons or in shops, bordering on the ridiculous.

Under the American law these cases are called torts (damage, injury, or a wrongful act done willfully or negligently). In the Philippines, cases like these are known as a quasi-delict. It is called delict (offense), because a wrong was committed but it is qualified as quasi because the wrong was not done with malice and unlawful intent but rather arose from negligence or fault. Acts or omissions that cause damage to another give rise to legal action to recover compensation for injury suffered.

In the Philippines, cases on torts and damages are fairly uncommon. A majority of suits for damages come from vehicular mishaps and other accidents which are known to most as reckless imprudence resulting in damage to persons or property.

But very much unlike our western neighbors in the world, where people tend to sue at the drop of a hat, Filipinos are much less aggressive, sometimes to a fault, in asserting their rights, especially as consumers. When we suffer the fate of having bought a defective product or encounter shabby service, we say it was tough luck. And when somebody does speak up, local companies, for their part, almost always offer no relief to the complaining customer.

While I shudder at the prospect of seeing absurd and frivolous lawsuits flourish in the Philippines, I think that it is time for us to learn to speak up whenever we are confronted with what may appear as minor injustices. Our laws do give us a plethora of protection but we do not seem too concerned with them.

While the courts should not be treated as a recourse at every instance when we suffer even a slight grievance, much less as a money-making machine, we nonetheless must be conscious of our rights. No, in fact, we have a duty to stand up for them whenever they are being transgressed or we, as a people, will never mature.

Source

February 22, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Is This A "Stupid" Lawsuit?

Category: Torts For Our Time

Call me crazy, but I think this tenant has a perfectly valid complaint. I will allow you to read this story from the Houston Chronicle and decide for yourself. My only comment would be that it is extremely rare for apartments to explode during a roach kill.

GALVESTON - A woman who was burned in a flash fire after 18 bug bombs were set off to kill roaches in her apartment has filed a lawsuit seeking $5 million in damages from former landlord Marion Tompkins.

But Tompkins said Tuesday Myra Miles-Brown's lawsuit is "stupid."

"It's a bunch of baloney," said Tompkins, owner of the Mesquite Woods Apartments on Delaney Road in La Marque.

Attorney Anthony Buzbee said Miles-Brown suffered second-degree burns, a back injury and hearing loss when a Feb. 3 explosion caused by bug bombs a maintenance man was setting blew out brick walls, windows and doors.

Miles-Brown has scars on her face and arms but is no longer being treated for burns, he said.

"The maintenance man was trying to put 30 bug bombs into her one apartment," Buzbee said. "He got to number 18 before the apartment blew up."

Buzbee filed the suit Friday seeking damages from Hitchcock Housing Ltd., Tompkins' firm.

Buzbee said investigators still are trying to determine what set off the explosion as the apartment maintenance man was activating the bug bombs.

Miles-Brown and the maintenance man, whose identity was not available Tuesday, were taken to the University of Texas Medical Branch for treatment. She was released after an overnight stay, Buzbee said.

February 03, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Is There A Future In Suing Greedy Trial Lawyers

Category: Torts For Our Time

The next thing you know there may be a class action suit against Greedy Trial Lawyers. The New York Times article about police who videotaped police during a protest has given me another idea.

Surveillance Prompts a Suit: Police v. Police

The demonstrators arrived angry, departed furious. The police had herded them into pens. Stopped them from handing out fliers. Threatened them with arrest for standing on public sidewalks. Made notes on which politicians they cheered and which ones they razzed.

Meanwhile, officers from a special unit videotaped their faces, evoking for one demonstrator the unblinking eye of George Orwell's "1984."

"That's Big Brother watching you," the demonstrator, Walter Liddy, said in a deposition.

Mr. Liddy's complaint about police tactics, while hardly novel from a big-city protester, stands out because of his job: He is a New York City police officer. The rallies he attended were organized in the summer of 2004 by his union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, to protest the pace of contract talks with the city.

Now the officers, through their union, are suing the city, charging that the police procedures at their demonstrations -- many of them routinely used at war protests, antipoverty marches and mass bike rides -- were so heavy-handed and intimidating that their First Amendment rights were violated.

February 01, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Punitive Damages For Driving Under Influence And Causing Injury

Category: Torts For Our Time

A fellow personal injury trial lawyer, Joel Bieber of Richmond, has reported on the common attitude of insurance companies and adjusters when their insured drivers are found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Joel tells of an adjuster who claims the DUI facts should not make any difference in the negotiation of the settlement. Joel makes the point that the laws of Virginia allow for the award of punitive damages in DUI cases. He vows to let juries decide whether the defendant driver should be punished by the award of greater damages as provided by statute. Go for it, Joel!

In Joel's own words:

Today, while negotiating a personal injury claim with an insurance adjuster, I reminded the adjuster that his insured had been cited for fleeing from the scene and driving while intoxicated. Despite all this, the adjuster just laughed and commented that he did not think that evidence would really matter to a jury. He stated that he was merely going to evaluate the claim based upon the bodily injury suffered by my client.

My law firm will continue to attempt to bring these cases to a jury, in the hope that justice will be done in the final verdict.

January 06, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Client Bullying

Category: Torts For Our Time

As part of the general outcry against bullying we now have the following report from the LA Times:

The UCI Medical Center liver patient whose case led to the closing of the hospital's troubled transplant program filed a malpractice lawsuit against her former lawyer Thursday, alleging that he had bullied her to accept a $50,000 settlement before the full extent of the problems were known.

January 05, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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The New Frontier - Legal Malpractice

Category: Torts For Our Time

The gun turret may have pivoted during 2005. An article by John Council, Texas Lawyer, says "clients and plaintiffs lawyers are more willing than ever to sue law firms -- litigation largely unheard of 15 years ago." His review of recently filed lawsuits shows clients have alleged that "their lawyers entered into self-serving contracts, gave bad bankruptcy advice, made ill-advised estate-planning decisions and mishandled settlement negotiations." The old west is becoming the new frontier.

January 04, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Why Not Compensate The Wrongly Convicted?

Category: Torts For Our Time

"More and more, we hear about wrongly convicted prisoners being released due to new-found DNA evidence. Do these individuals have any legal recourse for losing so much of their lives to a flawed justice system? Probably not, at least if this Seventh Circuit decision is any indication." Lead sentences from Decision of the Day. Must we protect the public treasury by denying compensation to those innocent people who have been wrongly deprived of their liberty, sometimes for years?

December 26, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Torts Against Humanity

Category: Torts For Our Time

Crimes against humanity can now be prosecuted even when committed by a head of state. I believe it is now time for torts against humanity to get the same status. Would the Pope be more inclined to tighten up the rules of his domain if he knew that Greedy Trial Lawyers were on his case? As long as Kings, Presidents and Popes are given so-called Head of State immunity, well discussed at PrawfsBlawg, where is the incentive to do right? Altar Boys of St. Mary's v. Pope Benedict would be good for humanity.

December 24, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Tortious Flirting - Who Knew?

Category: Torts For Our Time

Who knew that flirting could be so bad that the Foundation of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has sued its former director of development for doing it. The claim is that the vixen hurt fundraising by making sexual advances to potential donors and flirting at fundraising events. In the lawsuit, the foundation has accused Sarah Smith of damaging its relationship with potential donors who wanted to contribute to educational initiatives. Maybe she was looking for an Emmy or a shot at Desperate Housewives. More of the story is at Newsday.com.

December 23, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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A Little Green For Lunchtime Blues At Wal-Mart

Category: Torts For Our Time

Wal-Mart will be catering lunches for its employees from now on. It has just gotten the bill for illegally denying 116,000 workers lunch breaks - $172 Million.

Continue reading "A Little Green For Lunchtime Blues At Wal-Mart"

December 12, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Aiding And Abetting Insurance Bad Faith

Category: Torts For Our Time

Plaintiff used the little known theory of Aiding and Abetting to win a bad faith insurance case against an employer. In a case that highlighted a disturbing trend of companies using incentive programs to minimize on-the-job injury reports, a South Dakota man recently won $5 million in a bad faith claim against his employer construction company. The plaintiff claimed that a supervisor, spurred on by company policies and cash incentives, actively tried to get the insurance company to fight paying Ron Hubbard's workers' compensation claims for surgeries related to carpel tunnel syndrome. After a six-day trial, jurors ordered Hills Materials and its parent company, Oldcastle Materials, to pay Ron Hubbard $65,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. If employers want to play outside the lines on worker injuries, Aiding and Abetting may be the great equalizer for injured employees. Thank you, South Dakota.

Continue reading "Aiding And Abetting Insurance Bad Faith"

December 11, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Fraud On Surgical Patients - Hospitals Are Re-Using Medical Devices

Category: Torts For Our Time

If an auto mechanic repaired your 2004 Explorer with used parts without telling you, would the word fraud come to mind? How would you feel if a hospital used reconditioned, used medical devices during your surgery or, worse, implanted them in your body, without your consent? I would feel used. And, I would believe a jury of my peers would feel the fraudulent use of such devices would justify both compensatory and punitive damages, especially when the used part failed.

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November 18, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Automobile Bonfires

Category: Torts For Our Time

Ford Motor Co. recalled about 220,000 vehicles from the 2005 model year Wednesday amid concerns that a battery cable rubs against the vehicle frame, possibly causing fires, and that a fuel tank strap could separate after logging tens of thousands of miles. This is the calm and very typical language of a news report of a vehicle recall. In this particular recall and report the risk is of automobile bonfires. The combination of gasoline and an ignition source is all that is necessary for the family sedan to become a funeral pyre. When a motor vehcle erupts in flames, something well outside consumer expectations for the product, I propose the mere happening of this event would establish a prima facie cause of action for Unintended Bonfire. Why should anyone have to spend thousands of dollars seeking to prove the specific cause of the conflagration?

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November 16, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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LEGAL PARASITES PLEASE REPORT TO AISLE 5

Category: Torts For Our Time

I apologize for being so late in recognizing an entire new area of law practice. According to Dissecting Leftism and Forbes.com it is the cottage industry of suing Wal-Mart. Some 5,000 lawsuits are filed against the company each year. Many of the lawsuits are not based on torts, but these websites go with the legal parasites (a.k.a. opportunistic lawyers) concept anyway.

Fellow parasites, grab your briefs and read on. We have much work to do for the little guy. Our compatriots are "accusing the company of everything from discriminating against women, to mistreating illegal aliens, to denying overtime pay. Thousands of customers who slip and fall in a store aisle are also trying to reach into the company's deep pockets."

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November 15, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Suing The Employer Of Driver On Cellphone

Category: Torts For Our Time

Cellphone use in a motor vehicle can trigger liability of an employer for a resulting crash. The question that usually determines employer liability for a highway accident is whether the employee was performing a task related to the driver's job. A business-related cellular telephone call is likely to qualify as such a task, especially if it contributes to the happening of the accident. Advice to the victims of careless driving: check out the cellphone log of the driver who caused the crash. Advice to drivers: make your calls from stationary locations or public transportation.

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November 12, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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A Mission For The Greedy Trial Lawyer Brigade

Category: Torts For Our Time

While American soldiers have been fighting in Iraq some American insurance companies have launched their own offensive to scam them. Legislation against these practices may be forthcoming. My suggestion is simpler. Unleash greedy trial lawyers against the bad guys. The same firepower that took down Big Tobacco can put an end to the practice and obtain compensation for the soldiers who have been defrauded.

CNN covers this outrageous insurance mission.

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November 11, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Favoritism Gaining Favor

Category: Torts For Our Time

Lawsuits claiming discrimination require that the claimants be part of a limited class of people and suffer because of that status. For example, someone who is black might claim that his boss treated him poorly because he is black. Greedy trial lawyers have always felt there had to be a better way, a way to enlarge the number of potential discrimination cases. From PhillyBurbs.com comes the brilliant new path. A lawsuit claims that the boss favored Republican Catholics and, therefore, treated him poorly. This means that everyone who is not a Republican Catholic has a potential claim.

My only criticism of the theory of favoritism alleged in the lawsuit is that it missed an opportunity to expand on the number of employee-victims by alleging that the boss favored Elderly Disabled Republican Catholics. This approach would have permitted many of the Republican Catholics to also claim victim status.

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November 10, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Go, Johnny, Go - Johnny B. Goode Strums Into Court

Category: Torts For Our Time

The music industry is busy shutting down anything that even resembles the free sharing of the songs of our lives. Meanwhile, it is picking the pocket of Chuck Berry and other artists. Well, Johnny B. Goode is fighting back. Chuck has sued three karaoke distributors who apparently forgot about royalties.

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November 09, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Medical Ignorance: Six Doctors Needed To Diagnose Disease

Category: Torts For Our Time

Even an ostrich lifts its head out of the sand now and then. A new research study finds that an average of six physicians are needed to accurately diagnose FOP, a genetic disease which has distinguishing features and is obvious just by asking a few simple questions. A Science Daily article reveals how common a medical misdiagnosis can be and how severely it can exacerbate a disease. I propose a new tort for our time: medical ignorance. It would fit in between normal medical malpractice (based on negligence) and wilful, wanton and reckless misconduct.

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November 04, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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When A Levee Is A Disaster

Category: Torts For Our Time

Can I get a lawsuit out of this? That is the simple question asked at Cliff's Crib. He is talking about the levee system that was supposed to protect New Orleans. It is beginning to appear that the levees needed a warning that they should not have been exposed to a hurricane.

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November 03, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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The Warren Buffett Award Goes To....Donald Rumsfeld

Category: Gaming The System

OK, the title has leaked the name of this year's recipient of the Warren Buffett Award for timely stock purchases. (Scooter and I were chatting by phone and.....) It was the headline, Donald Rumsfeld to Profit Millions from Bush Spending on Avian Bird Flu Pandemic, that caught the committee's eye. Read more of the article from About. com and learn how you, too, can turn a potential disaster into a tidy fortune.

Sounds like we need a lawsuit in the public interest. Convicted murderers are divested of their profits on books and movies, and wayward CEO's are vacuumed clean of illegal gains, why not a tort action for the administration officials who forget who they work for?

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November 03, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Justice For Markie

Category: Torts For Our Time

My greedy heart goes out to Mark Everette who is a victim of a Christmas strike. Any union that would darken the holiday season for thousands of Markies should be sued for damages. Even though Mark is only 5 years old it has been his lifelong dream to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in the Big Apple. Now, he and the other disappointed tap dance fans will have to spend the evening at a midtown deli with a hot pastrami. Shame on you, musicians!

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November 02, 2005

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Boxing On Roids

Category: Torts For Our Time

If you drive on drugs and cause injury or death you will be liable for damages in a civil action. If you box on steroids and win should the law permit a civil lawsuit for money damages? I say yes. So does WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz.

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