Congratulations to Andrew DuPont and Jennifer Emmons who, last week, secured a $4.785 Million recovery for the family of a United States Marine Corps serviceman who developed and died from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) due to his occupational exposure to products containing benzene. Earlier this year Andrew DuPont and Michael Leh were successful in obtaining a recovery of $3.5 Million on behalf of the family of another worker who was exposed to benzene working as a laborer and boilermaker in refineries who also contracted and died from AML.
Asbestos Deaths Continue
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come to some rather alarming conclusions. The report was based on a study of deaths in the United States from mesothelioma (a type of a fatal cancer uniquely caused by exposure to asbestos) for the years 1999 to 2015. They cut the study off at 2015 because there is no data presently available after that year.
The CDC conclusions include:
- During the 1999 to 2015 time period there were a total of 45,221mesothelioma deaths reported in the United States.
The Law: Business or Profession?*
A recent discussion with a lawyer friend of mine reignited the title question in my mind, yet again. I am an attorney who deals almost exclusively with individual clients---real people with real problems, as opposed to corporations or businesses. And because my cases, my clients, are unique individuals, the inherent tension between law as a business and law as a profession inevitably impacts my practice and is always on my mind.
Negligent Security Settlement
On April 12, 2017, after a full day of mediation with the Hon. Joel Rosen, the Locks Law Firm settled a negligent security case for $2.8 million. The case, led by myself and Michael Galpern, involved an inner city apartment complex where there had been several prior incidents. Our client was visiting the apartment complex when an unknown gunman began shooting in to the car in which she was sitting. The shooting left our client with lifelong injuries. The shooter was never identified despite substantial media coverage of the incident and police investigation. We are pleased to be able to secure a settlement that will enable our client to be cared for moving forward.
NFL Concussion Settlement – Eligible Seasons
An important aspect of the NFL Concussion Settlement is how long one played in the league. For those who are diagnosed with a compensable condition (dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or ALS) and played for 5 or more “Eligible Seasons,” they will receive full compensation for you age and diagnosis. If you have fewer Eligible Seasons, there will be a reduction in your award.
It’s also important to understand the Eligible Season requirement because you must have a minimum of a Half of an Eligible Season to qualify for baseline testing, or the BAP. If you don’t have at least a half of a season, you will not be eligible to go through the testing protocol but you may still qualify for settlement benefits (at a greatly reduced rate).
NFL Common Benefit Fees vs Individual Case Fees
As the NFL case progresses, we regularly receive questions from retired players and their families about how lawyers in the case are being paid. There has been a lot of confusion.
Sometimes the confusion stems directly from the Concussion Settlement website, which states that lawyers shall be paid by the NFL fund for COMMON BENEFIT FEES, none of which have been awarded. Strangely, the website never mentions Contracts (that is, the retention agreements). Other times, the confusion is created by lawyers new to the case or other people without experience in Multi-District Litigation (“MDL”), and they have come to a conclusion that is not well-informed.
New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Defendant Waived Right to Arbitration
Last week the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the case of Roach v. BM Motoring LLC, which Andrew Bell of the Locks Law Firm argued on behalf of amicus curiae The Consumers League of New Jersey (Andrew Bell, James Barry, and Michael Galpern on the brief).
Roach involved a consumer case arising out of fraud in the sale of two automobiles (one to each named plaintiff). The contract for sale for both vehicles contained an arbitration clause which provided for the arbitration of “any and all claims, disputes or issues” and specified that the arbitration would be in accordance with the rules of the AAA and before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge or attorney. Plaintiffs filed arbitration claims with the AAA against the dealer. The Dealer failed to pay the required arbitration fees in either case or otherwise respond, and the AAA declined to administer the claims due to the non-payment. Plaintiffs then filed a joint complaint in the Law Division, and Defendant filed a motion to dismiss in favor of arbitration. Defendants argued that the AAA was not an appropriate forum for the arbitration due to its excessive fees, and therefore the Plaintiffs’ demands for arbitration didn’t comport with the arbitration agreement.
Science and Medical Research Big Losers In Trump Proposed Budget
Yesterday the Trump led Republican administration released its "Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again" which, in the words of Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was crafted in part by looking at Trump’s speeches and media interviews. Mulvaney said “You’ll see reductions exactly where you would expect it from a president who just ran on an ‘America First’ campaign. If he said it on the campaign, it’s in the budget.”
NFL Updated Regarding the 5% Holdback Notice
This past Monday, all former NFL players received a notice from the court regarding the opportunity to object to the petition for Attorneys’ fees, costs and holdbacks on awards. We wanted to make sure that clients of Locks Law Firm knew that this 5% holdback (“…to provide future common benefit fees for attorneys who do work to facilitate the Settlement…”) is NOT in addition to the retainer fees. As you should know, our retainer agreement with you is 20%. The 5% would come out of the 20% already allocated in the retainer agreement. In essence, if the court approves this fee, it means Locks Law Firm will get less money, not you.
STÖCKERT 3T HEATER-COOLER DEVICES
Last October the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sent a letter to hospitals throughout the United States alerting them to a potential serious health hazard related to open-chest cardiac surgeries performed in the hospitals. Specifically, the CDC notified hospitals that a device known as a Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler which was manufactured by a company in Germany called LivaNova and shipped to the United States could have contamination which originated in the equipment when it was manufactured in the factory in Germany.