Blog

The Impact of Punitive Damages at Trial

 

 

In the United States of America, there is no question that punitive damages serve to protect society from reckless and indifferent conduct by corporations. This is the case because punitive damages are not awarded to compensate any particular plaintiff for their injuries or harm, but instead, punitive damages are “purely penal in nature” and serve to “deter” wrongful conduct. Hoy v. Angelone, 554 Pa. 134, 142 (Pa. 1998). This critical distinction cannot be understated as punitive damages embody a larger concept in our legal system that holds that reckless and indifferent corporate actions warrant the imposition of a monetary penalty; one that goes beyond the harm suffered by a particular plaintiff.

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Locks Law Firm Congratulates its 2016 Super Lawyers!

 

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement annually, state-by-state.

 

This year, partners Marc. P. Weingarten (Pennsylvania, Super Lawyer – Personal Injury Products Liability, Plaintiff), Alfred M. Anthony (New Jersey, Super Lawyer - Class Action and Mass Torts) and Andrew P. Bell (NY Metro, Super Lawyer - Class Actions) have been elected a Super Lawyer.  Mr. Bell has been honored since 2012 and Mr. Anthony has received this honor since 2008.  Mr. Weingarten has been named to this prestigious list continuously since 2005.

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Locks Lawyers Give Back to The Community

 

The lawyers at the Locks Law Firm believe strongly that their obligation to the community does not end at the Courthouse walls.  For over five years, a team of Locks lawyers have been going into the Philadelphia public schools on a monthly basis to teach civics lessons to high school students.  The program is called A.C.E., which stands for Advancing Civics Education.  It is offered in the Philadelphia Public School System as a collaborative effort between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Bar Association.

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Locks Attorney David Langfitt Talks Youth Sports and the Law

As part of his ongoing series with youth sports website, Sporting Kid Live, Locks Law attorney David Langfitt has contributed another article clarifying some of the complicated legal issues surrounding youth sports. This time, David discussed the ubiquitous commercial sponsors of youth sports teams.

 

Click here to read the full piece. David Langfitt's past pieces on youth sports and the law can be read here.

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Cars and Bikes Sometimes Don’t Mix!  What to Do If You’re Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bike

Bicycling is on the rise!  More people than ever are bicycling, both as a means of transportation and for a healthy and fun workout.  Unless you’re one of the very lucky folks that have access to a protected, car-free bicycle path very nearby your home, some of the time you will be riding on streets and sharing them with cars and drivers. And if you are using your bike for transportation on a regular basis, you’ll definitely be riding on the roads and streets.

 

Motorists are required to use care and caution while sharing the roads with bicyclists.  Bicyclists, likewise are required to follow all traffic laws while using common roadways where cycling is permitted.  This includes stopping at all red lights, stop signs and following signage directions.  By the same token, bicyclists may also utilize turning lanes like autos when traveling on roadways, and are only required to ride as far to the right as safety and road conditions permit. If there are hazards at the right side of the road that would make riding there unsafe, a bicyclist is permitted to use the entire lane until it becomes safe to move right again.

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Exciting News for American Workers

The United States Department of Labor just released new rules for federal overtime pay regulations that should put more money in the pockets of millions of American workers.

 

The Department has raised the minimum salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's "executive" exemption to $47,476 per year. The rule will take effect on December 1, 2016. In total, the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are currently not eligible for overtime under federal law, and it is expected to boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next ten years, according to a fact sheet released by the Obama administration late Tuesday.

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Extra Efforts Saved Millions

Andrew DuPont of our office won a jury verdict of $2.3 million for a construction worker who was hit by a hose from a concrete pump truck, knocked off a wall, and seriously injured. It took extra efforts to preserve that verdict on appeal to the Superior Court.

 

One of many issues the defendant raised on appeal was that the pump truck was not its truck. At trial, the plaintiff had identified a photo of the defendant’s pump truck. This should have been enough to win this issue easily on appeal. However, all the trial exhibits were given to the trial court and lost! We knew it could be crucial to this issue on appeal to include that photo in the appellate record. Happily, Andrew carefully said on the trial transcript that the photo was the same as a photo identified as a specific exhibit in a deposition. That gave us justification to use the deposition photo in place of the missing trial photo.

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The Supreme Court’s Recent Decision in Spokeo and its Impact on Consumer Class Actions.

The Supreme Court released its highly anticipated decision in Spokeo v. Robins Monday.  Corporate interest groups pushed the Spokeo case as a vehicle to kill consumer class actions based on privacy invasions (i.e. data breach cases), with an eye towards attacking other consumer class actions in the future.  The Supreme Court on Monday dashed those hopes for Spokeo, instead issuing a narrow ruling, and remanding the case to the Ninth Circuit to consider whether the Plaintiff satisfied the requirement of “concreteness” in the two pronged test for Article III standing, while making clear that intangible injuries or the increased risk of future injury could satisfy the test.  The decision not only failed to destroy privacy class actions, it may ultimately serve to bolster consumer’s claims in these important cases.

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So Who Let the Dog Out: Judging Responsibility in Dog Attacks

So who’s asking:  “Who let the dogs out?”  This is not just a popular question asked by the Baha Men, but by any lawyer who is called by a client who is attacked by a dog.  Whether it’s on the street by a person walking their dog or by the mailman who is simply dropping off the mail, people are attacked everyday by a dog wanting to know “who let the dog out?”  We hear that a Pit bull or Rottweiler is sooooo cute.  Perhaps when locked or chained in a home or properly leashed.  But let those vice like jaws penetrate your hand, foot or face and perhaps you too might start shouting “who let the dogs out,” especially as you are being stitched up or being readied for surgery after being savagely mauled.

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We Will Always Need Lawyers as Victims Will Always Need Justice

I am frequently asked to speak with young men or women who are considering going to law school. The conversations invariably begin with the person seeking specific advice as to what law school to attend, what classes to take, etc.   Eventually the questions move from those seeking specific advice regarding how to choose courses, how to approach classes and how to decide the area of law in which to practice to the larger question:  Should I go to law school?   My answer is always the same.  Never once have I regretted my choice of career, and never would I discourage anyone from entering the profession.   Yes, the job market is not the best.   The hours can be long.  There is pressure.  There is stress.

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