Friday, 21 May 2010 22:41

FAQ

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

What is a Statute of Limitations?

It is a deadline.  The deadline after which it is too late to file suit.

Statutes of Limitation vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, for the type of case and for the age of the person making the claim.  They can vary based upon whether the plaintiff is alive or deceased.  They can vary depending upon who the defendant is.  If a cause of action is to be pursued, it should be done quickly so as not to be precluded by the many Statutes of Limitation deadlines.

What is a Mock Jury/Focus Group?

Every lawyer who has ever tried a serious case has used a focus group.  That focus group might have been a jury of one and compromised of the lawyer’s spouse or a family member or friend, but we all know someone was cajoled into listening to us to test the perception of what we were trying to present at the real upcoming trial.

I once paid a lot of money to a trial psychologist to conduct a focus group.  The psychologist prepared a narrative explanation of the facts and law and then presented the narrative along with a “verdict form” to forty people chosen to match as closely as possible in age and socio-economic status the anticipated jury pool for the case on which we were working.  This particular case called for money damages.  To assist in evaluating the damages, of the forty verdict forms, the psychologist discarded the two highest and the two lowest.  I was surprised by the high amount of the average, which was presented to the defense attorney in written form and helped to settle the case.  But what surprised me more and has continued to surprise me with every mock jury since, were the questions, observations or suggestions made by the focus group participants.  The input is invaluable.  Focus groups, mock jurors and actual jurors usually do not take the same path to resolve a case as the attorneys think they will. 

A mock jury was consulted in a recent trial regarding a drunk trucker.  We were of the opinion before questioning the mock jurors that anyone who worked in the trucking industry would not be a good juror for us.  Just the opposite proved to be true.  People who worked for the trucking companies knew the rules regarding trucking compliance and supervision.  The were incensed the drunk trucker was on the road in the first place, knew he reflected badly on their occupation and would have awarded damages higher than other potential jurors that, before the mock jury experience, we wrongly assumed to be the ones we wanted.  Focus groups and mock juries make you prepare; they make you practice the presentation of the case.  Focus groups are indispensable.  Costs permitting, mock juries are invaluable.

What is a Mediation?

In a nutshell, mediation is an attempt to settle a case where all parties come together at a specified time and place for that purpose.  Mediation is a good chance to educate when either side has unreasonable expectations.  Mediation can help get resolved a claim that should not go to trial.  Mediation is a good tool for use in the small case that does not justify the expense of trial.  As a general rule, it never hurts to mediate (since mediation, as opposed to arbitration, is not binding); but do not let the other side conduct more discovery during the mediation than they allow to be conducted of them.  For this reason, have agreements on the front end regarding who will appear at the mediation and that they have plenary authority.  I do not take my clients to a mediation unless the economically responsible defendant or insurance company representatives are going to be present.  In cases where damages are great and liability is clear, mediation can be used to get reserves set higher for further negotiations down the road, or to communicate the seriousness of the case and the client’s willingness and readiness to go to trial.  When big dollars are at stake, insurance companies usually do not authorize as much for settlement at a mediation as they later will authorize immediately prior to or after the beginning of trial.

Friday, 21 May 2010 22:41

Gadolinium

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

Gadolinium is an FDA approved contrast agent for MRI and MRA. Gadolinium provides greater contrast between normal tissue and abnormal tissue in the brain and body. It looks clear like water and is non-radioactive. After it is injected into a vein, Gadolinium accumulates in the abnormal tissue that may be affecting the body or head. Gadolinium causes these abnormal areas to become very bright (enhanced) on the MRI. This makes it very easy to see. Gadolinium is then rapidly cleared from the body by the kidneys.

On May 23, 2007—The FDA announced that it is asking manufacturers of gadolinium-based contrast agents to include a black box warning alerting patients to the risk of a potentially fatal disease NSF (Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis) or NFD (Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy).

It is a condition which involves hardening of the skin, resulting in varying degrees of immobility, can damage internal organs, and is sometimes fatal. It appears to affect only those persons with impaired renal function caused by kidney disease. NSF / NFD is resistant to treatment and can be very painful and debilitating. Most importantly, NSF / NFD is entirely preventable.

The following gadolinium-based agents are implicated by the warning:

  • Magnevist (gadopentetate dimeglumine)
  • Omniscan (gadodiamide)
  • OptiMARK (gadoversetamide)
  • MultiHance (gadobenate dimeglumine)
  • ProHance (gadoteridol)

The FDA has been aware of problems with gadolinium since at least June 2006, when the agency warned healthcare professionals about the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. A subsequent warning was issued in December 2006.

If you experience any of the symptoms of NSF / NFD after MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram), you should seek immediate medical attention and get tested for the disease. Symptoms include:

  • Tightening and swelling of the skin, typically starting with the legs, moving to the arms, and sometimes the trunk
  • Thickening of the skin around the joints, restricting movement
  • Skin which feels “woody” and has a texture similar to that of an orange peel
  • Red or dark patches of skin
  • Burning, itching, and/or sharp pains in affected areas
  • Fluctuating hypertension preceding the appearance of skin lesions
  • Symmetrical skin lesions, commonly on the ankles and thighs and between the wrists and upper arms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Deep bone pain in the hips and ribs
  • Calcification of soft tissues
  • Yellow plaques near the eyes

If you have kidney disease or impaired renal function you should always question having a MRI / MRA with contrast to make sure the contrast being used is not one of the ones listed above.  When asked if you are allergic to any medications you should say “Yes, Gadolinium!”

Currently, there are federal lawsuits pending in the United States against the drug manufacturers: Bayer Healthcare, Bracco, GE Healthcare and Mallinckrodt due to the possibility that they have not properly informed patients and doctors regarding the dangerous side effects of these drugs.

Over 250 federal lawsuits have been consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio, and at least another 104 cases have been filed in various state courts. The purpose of the MDL is to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, avoid duplicity and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the Court. Under the MDL rules, if the cases do not settle or resolve during pretrial, they will be returned to the court in which they were filed.

Attorneys representing persons suffering from NSF have been pushing for aggressive scheduling deadlines to move the cases quickly to trial or settlement, as most of the people are very sick and many may not survive a lengthy trial.

If you have been diagnosed with NSF or NFD you should contact  Law Offices of Gary Green toll free at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com to discuss your legal options without obligation.

SERVING LITTLE ROCK, MEMPHIS, PINE BLUFF, EL DORADO, TEXARKANA, ARKADELHPIA, HOT SPRINGS, SPRINGFIELD, AND MORE!

Living Wills

A living will is designed for adults to be able to express their wishes concerning their own medical care when they are still in a position to communicate their desires. Living wills have been the subject of much controversy and debate in recent times.

There are many compelling reasons to have a written declaration concerning your medical care:

  • There might come a time when you are too ill to express your wishes
  • Your family members might not agree regarding health care decisions on your behalf
  • You can express your desires to your family members so they will know what decisions to make concerning your health care
  • You can remove the burden of making difficult decisions from your loved ones.

If you are in an incurable or irreversible condition, a living will can inform a doctor whether to use extreme life-saving measures such as life support or not, or whether to give or withhold artificial nutrition. Most states allow an individual who is of sound mind and 18 or older to execute a declaration controlling the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. This declaration must be signed by the declarant, or at the declarant’s direction, and witnessed by two individuals.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that gives another person the authority to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. This document would cover instances in which you are unconscious or unable to communicate and a decision is needed regarding surgery or other medical treatment. A healthcare power of attorney compliments a living will in that it covers those situations where you may be incapacitated, but your medical condition is not so grave that your living will becomes effective. A healthcare power of attorney is recommended in addition to a living will.

You should discuss with your family members and/or the person you designate as your health care proxy what types of end of life medical treatments you want. Your doctor should be able to assist you by answering any questions about certain medical treatments you may have. Once you have made your decisions, make your wishes known.

There are lawful requirements that must be followed in order to execute a legally binding Living Will or Healthcare Power of Attorney. If you would like to discuss your options, or need further consultation in this area, please call Law Offices of Gary Green toll free with no obligation at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com.

Friday, 21 May 2010 22:41

Stock and Securities Fraud

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

Stockbroker fraud or negligence can include misrepresenting stocks or risks, recommending unsuitable stocks, charging excessive transaction fees, or failing to diversify an investor’s portfolio. It is a stockbroker’s responsibility to consider their client’s best interest in all investment transactions.

Most investors have little time to properly research the myriad of entities whose securities trade each day. As such, the majority of investors leave that task to stockbrokers and financial planners. Unfortunately, some of those investors end up wishing they had done their homework themselves.

The overwhelming majority of investment professionals are honest, hard working individuals. Nevertheless, each day stockbrokers are accused of cheating their clients. The increase in security-related lawsuits over the last two decades is startling.

It seems that almost daily we hear national news stories about investors losing substantial amounts of money in their investment portfolios. Unfortunately, many of the losses are attributable to securities fraud.

Often, victims of investment fraud have lost a significant portion of their life savings and we understand it may be impossible to recover. As a result, victims of stockbroker and investment fraud deserve strong and effective representation.

If you have lost more than $200,000 out of pocket in your broker managed investment account, and suspect fraud or mismanagement, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please contact Law Offices of Gary Green toll free and without obligation to discuss your legal options regarding stock and securities fraud at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

Friday, 21 May 2010 22:41

Prescriptive Easements

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

If you are the owner of land locked property, need an access easement and negotiations have failed, contact us for litigation services.

Generally, one cannot be denied reasonable access. Reasonable access usually includes a roadway and utility access. We’ve got experience!

If you have questions about easements or need additional information, call Law Offices of Gary Green today toll free and without obligation at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com.

Friday, 21 May 2010 22:15

Truck Accidents

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

Representing victims of truck accidents and tractor-trailer wrecks presents a challenge and complexity not experienced in other types of wrecks. The attorneys of Law Offices of Gary Green have risen to that challenge many times. The resulting catastrophic injuries alone make trucking accidents and tractor-trailer wrecks distinct from all others, but the resulting compensatory offers make these wrecks dangerous to the unwary even after the wreck. Our experienced lawyers know what you can expect to face and can help you find justice—no matter how evasive it may seem.

A trucking accident and tractor-trailer wreck that involves a motor carrier regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has built-in protection for an injured consumer. The problem is that the carriers will not disclose that they have excess insurance policies beyond the primary policy without your filing a suit:

  • They will not tell you that the driver of the DOT-regulated vehicle is their statutory employee, regardless of the fact that the driver might be an owner-operator and might have a contract with the regulated company, which refers to the driver as an owner-operator.
  • They will not tell you they are responsible for the actions of that driver as long as the driver acted within the scope of that statutory employment.
  • They will not tell you they have valued your claim at 5 times or 10 times the set amount when they are really only offering you the base amount for a full release of your right to sue.

Before sorting out all the experts for proving the catastrophic injuries, experts should be consulted regarding liability. It is not an accident when the risks for tractor-trailer wrecks are well established and can be avoided. A reconstruction expert should be called while evidence is still fresh. Reliance on old evidence can disqualify an otherwise good expert and keep the video reconstruction that helps the jury follow your theory of liability out of evidence. Satellite GPS records and electronic control modules must be identified and read before they are destroyed – usually within 90 days as a standard operating procedure for most companies.

Almost every 18-wheeler case should plead negligent supervision, negligent hiring, and negligent retention, as these facts usually are usually borne out through discovery all the way up to trial. The driver’s logs, driver qualification file, and driving record should be reviewed. Then depositions should be taken of the trucking company’s safety director, corporate representative,

relevant dispatcher, and others having knowledge of the wreck.

The condition of the tractor-trailer and its brakes should be considered. Trucks are often poorly maintained and driven by truckers with serious safety deficiencies. An alarming number of these drivers are fatigued, under the influence of drugs, or medically disqualified to drive a truck.

We have handled claims against

  • Watkins & Shepard Trucking, Inc.
  • Cal-Ark International, Inc.
  • USA Motor Express
  • J&P Trucking
  • Autobahn Freightliners LTD
  • National Bus Carriers LTD
  • Weston Transport
  • Woody Bogler Trucking
  • USA Truck, Inc.
  • Landstar Ranger, Inc.
  • Graham Trucking, Inc.
  • Stuart Small Trucking
  • Star Transportation, Inc.
  • A&J Transportation
  • West Florida Transport
  • Clarksville Refrigerated
  • D&H Trucking
  • Werner Enterprises
  • All American Bottling Corporation, LLC
  • Callaway Transfer and Storage
  • PSM, Inc.
  • Gail Stuart Trucking, Inc.
  • Willis Shaw Express, Inc.
  • Paccar, Inc.
  • Central Hauling Company
  • J.L. Trucking
  • Jacobson Transport Company, Inc.
  • Strimbu Transport, Inc.
  • Lance Trucking, LLC
  • Roadway Express
  • Schneider National, Inc.
  • JNJ Express

There is a lot of work to be done, and it takes a lot of money and people to do it. Law Offices of Gary Green has been there before. If you have questions or need additional information, call Law Offices of Gary Green toll free and without obligation, 1-888-442-7947; or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com.