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.

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 22:40

Compartment Syndrome

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

Acute Compartment Syndrome is an acute medical problem following injury, surgery or in most cases repetitive and extensive muscle use in which increased pressure (usually caused by inflammation) within a confined space and without proper treatment, may lead to nerve damage and muscle death. This condition is most commonly seen in the leg. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery known as a fasciotomy to allow the pressure to return to normal.

The connective tissue that defines the compartment does not stretch. A small amount of bleeding into the compartment, or swelling of the muscles within the compartment can cause the pressure to rise greatly.

Common Causes of Compartment Syndrome include:

  • Tibial or forearm fractures
  • Hemorrhage (bleeding)
  • IV Drug injection
  • Prolonged limb compression, crush injuries and burns
  • Casts

Signs and Symptoms: (Known as the 6 “P”s)

  • Pain out of proportion to what is expected
  • Paraesthesias (altered sensation)
  • Passive Stretch pain
  • Pulseless
  • Paralysis
  • Pressure on passive extension of the compartment

Pain is often reported early and almost universally. The patient usually reports deep, constant, and poorly localized pain that is usually out of proportion with the injury. Pain is aggravated by stretching the muscle group and is not relieved by medication up to and including Morphine.

Parestheisa is altered sensation e.g. “Sticks & Needles”.

Paralysis & Passive Stretch of the limb is usually a late finding. The affected compartment may feel very tense and firm as well as pressure.

Failure to relieve the pressure can result in necrosis (death) of tissue in that compartment and hypoxia (lack of oxygen) of those tissues. If left untreated, Acute Compartment Syndrome can lead to more severe conditions and loss of the affected limb.

If you you or a loved one is suffering from Compartment Syndrome, call Law Offices of Gary Green toll free and without obligation at 1-888-442-7947 to discuss your legal options or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com.