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Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

 

Yesterday we celebrated the life of one of our Nation’s greatest visionaries.  Many of us went to church services and together with friends and family offered prayers, praise and song to his memory.  Others of us revisited his teachings by reading, again, his speeches and quotes.  Still others, longing for a return to his powerful oratory that sprung from his deep faith in the essential good of humanity---and his unshakeable faith that one day our Nation, and the world, would wake up to the racial and economic injustice plaguing it and by so seeing it, end it---may have watched some of his speeches preserved for our viewing.  Some may have watched for the first time, others for the hundredth.  And after a long and tortured course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was finally granted federal recognition as a holiday, permitting those businesses offering non-essential services to close in honor of this man.

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The American Law Institute

Many of my clients, after they have read the biographies of myself and the other lawyers in the Locks Law Firm on our website, have asked me to explain to them the meaning of my membership in the American Law Institute. The American Law Institute was founded in 1923 because of the perception at that time that American common law was uncertain and complex. A group of judges, lawyers, and professors recommended that an organization should be formed to improve the law and its administration. The American Law Institute (ALI) was created as a response to that recommendation. The mission statement of the ALI is “to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work.”

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Locks Law Attorneys Work to Protect Our Natural Resources

“Man does not weave this web of life.  He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself” ---Chief Seattle

 

With the anti-environment administration of President Elect Donald J. Trump looming over our Nation, it will be ever more urgent for all of us to be vigilant in protecting our right to clean air, clean water and clean places to live.  We at the Locks Law Firm are “all in” and ready to fight to preserve those rights.

 

President Elect Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), E.Scott Pruitt, is a staunch critic of the EPA---the federal agency that is tasked with protecting our air, water and natural resources. Pruitt has rejected the scientific fact of climate change, calling it a hoax or a fraud. He repeatedly announced his intent to repeal all of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations. Agreeing with President Elect Trump, Pruitt lamented, wrongly, that you couldn’t use hairspray anymore because it damaged the ozone layer.  Mr. Pruitt has called the EPA an “activist” organization, and as Governor of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA dozens of times.  The target of Mr. Pruitt’s lawsuits: anti-pollution measures put in place by previous administrations popular with the public because they help to protect clean air and water.

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APPEALS DENIED - NFL CONCUSSION SETTLEMENT FINAL

On Friday, December 9th, the US Supreme Court Justices met for a Justices’ Conference in which they reviewed the appeals related to the NFL concussion settlement.  We are happy to report that they denied the appeals.  The NFL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS NOW FINAL, and the EFFECTIVE DATE of the Agreement is December 12, 2016.  The schedule now is:

 

  • Within 90 days of the Effective Date, the website for claims administration and the automated phone system will be active.
  • Within 90 days of the Effective Date, the Baseline Assessment Program doctors (BAP providers) will be identified, as well as Monetary Award Fund (MAF) physicians.
  • Within 120 days of the Effective Date, the BAP will commence.
  • Within 180 days of Effective Date, all class members must register for the settlement.

 

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Recent Positive Developments in Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Everyone knows that asbestos causes mesothelioma. A major defense of the defendants has been that victims must prove exactly how much asbestos exposure a victim had. This is impossible in many cases because work sites often did not measure asbestos exposure. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has just issued a very favorable opinion that lays to rest this and related defenses.

 

In Rost v. Ford Motor Co., 2016 Pa. Lexis 2638 (Pa., Nov. 22, 2016), Mr. Rost was exposed to asbestos in potentially high amounts on a daily basis at a garage for more than three months. His medical expert, Dr. Arthur Frank, testified that every asbestos exposure contributes to the total or cumulative dose, which in turn increases the likelihood of disease. Dr. Frank testified that the asbestos exposures at the garage were sufficient, in and of themselves, to cause Rost’s mesothelioma. The Court held that this was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict in favor of  Rost.

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Videos show what happened, but can police refuse to produce them?

For months, amateur and police videos of confrontations between police and citizens have made headlines and stoked anger. Just last week, a video showed a police officer hitting a woman. The value and power of all types of videos is that they can show what happened. Certain police agencies in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have attempted to refuse to produce them. Whether police videos must be produced affects not only criminal cases but also civil cases alleging deprivation of civil rights.

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The Locks Law Firm Presents Education Program to the Legal Community

On October 21, 2016, nine lawyers from the Locks Law Firm presented an extensive program of legal education to the legal community of Philadelphia and New Jersey. The program was called “The ABCs of Complex Litigation: Asbestos, Benzene, CRPS and More”. This educational program was certified for official continuing legal education (CLE) credits in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and there were attendees from all three of those states who came to learn from the Locks lawyers. In fact, there were close to 150 individuals who attended.

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Gratitude Practice

The Thanksgiving Holiday has traditionally been associated with giving thanks---thanks for our families, for the food that will be lovingly prepared and shared, and for other things we consider dear and important. But what happens after the dinner is finished, the football games watched, the family members departed to return to their distant homes?

Are we changed in any way? Have we caused change in any way? Or was our Thanksgiving, however sincere, a mere one-off nod to what we’ve received and enjoyed?

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Legionnaires Disease – 40 Years Later

Senior Partner Marc P. Weingarten discusses the first outbreak of Legionnaires Disease and what we have learned 40 years later in his article for the Newsletter for the International Practice Section of the American Association of Justice. The summer of 1976 saw more than 200 individuals sickened and 34 deaths due to this disease. Over the years, this event has led to better detection and prevention, greater cooperation across health departments and more rigorous inspection codes. The article originally appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer. To learn more about the American Legion convention of 1976 and where we are today, read the full text here:

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The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania - An Excellent Model For Ethical Practice

The lawyers at the Locks Law Firm are single-minded in their dedication and devotion to zealous representation of our clients. However, we also believe that in the course of our zealous advocacy of our clients, it is important that we scrupulously adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct, which is the code of ethics that governs all aspects of an attorney’s practice. I have always believed that it is possible to get great results for my clients and yet not cross the border into any practices which even remotely seem to be unprofessional or lack an ethical foundation.

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