Blog

February 2016

Jury Finds U.S. Steel Liable in Benzene Exposure Case

Locks Law Attorneys Andrew DuPont and Jenna Kristal Egner Prove that U.S. Steel’s Benzene Caused Client’s Leukemia

On February 24, 2016 a Philadelphia jury found U.S. Steel liable for strict liability, recklessness and fraudulent concealment of the health hazards of benzene that caused a worker’s Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in a case (DeSorbo vs. U.S. Steel)  tried by Andrew DuPont and Jenna Kristal Egner.

According to DuPont, the case was made particularly challenging by Connecticut law which applies a 10-year statute of repose for products liability and requires proof of actual knowledge and intentional misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment to avoid application of the limitations period.

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Why I Love My Job and Do The Work That I Do

After law school, I clerked for a Judge in the Appellate Division in New Jersey, which was an amazing experience that allowed me to work on civil, criminal and administrative agency appeals. I then worked for a defense firm for about two years, but always questioned the work I was doing because I never felt like I was helping other people, something I have always wanted to do.

Now, for the past eight years, I have had the great privilege and honor of representing individual plaintiffs in personal injury and other lawsuits. Many of the cases I work on involve someone who ultimately dies, be it from mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace, neglect and abuse in a nursing home entrusted with one’s care, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the signature latent disease of football. After someone’s death, my clients are typically the surviving spouse and children of the person who died, and my role as their attorney involves listening and amateur grief counseling as much as it involves zealously advocating on their behalf and helping them navigate their way through the often complicated legal system.

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At the Movies: Trial Law

As the Oscar’s approach, Senior Partner Marc Weingarten discusses America’s long fascination with courtroom drama, trials and lawyers as viewed through the Hollywood lens.  Whether it’s Miracle on 34th Street, My Cousin Vinny or A Time to Kill, they have all shown facets of the legal profession that are both entertaining and instructional.  Read the full article here.

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Why We Need the "Ancient Documents" Rule

Last week I had the honor of testifying before the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules – a committee created by the US Supreme Court’s Judicial Conference.  I was one of 10 lawyers allowed to present oral testimony to the committee regarding a proposed amendment or abrogation of FRE 803(16), the ancient documents rule.  This rule, a longstanding exception to the hearsay rule, is based on necessity and reliability.  It allows the use of written documents as evidence which would otherwise be hearsay.  The present rule requires that the documents be over 20 years old, and therefore they precede litigation and are deemed to be reliable.  These “ancient documents” can substitute for the testimony of witnesses whose memories may fade, health may change and or even possibly pass away.  For this and other reasons, I strongly urged the Committee to leave the rule in its present format.

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Locks Law Firm Appointed to Experian Data Breach Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee

On February 11, 2016, the Honorable Judge Andrew J. Guilford of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California signed an order appointing Locks Law Firm to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Experian Data Breach Litigation.   The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee will be in charge of prosecuting the more than 30 class actions filed against Experian because of its conduct with regard to the exposure and subsequent theft of the personal information of approximately 15 million T-Mobile customers.

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Locks Law Firm Apponted to Yapstone Data Breach Plaintiff’s Executive Committee

On February 8, 2016, the Honorable Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California signed an order appointing Locks Law Firm to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the YapStone Data Breach Litigation. YapStone is a web and mobile platform-based payment processor which processes payments for companies such as Vacation Rental By Owner (www.vrbo.com) and Home Away (www.homeaway.com).

The Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee will be in charge of prosecuting claims on behalf of all individuals and entities whose personal identifying information and bank account information were accessible through an unsecured URL owned by YapStone.

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Affordable Care Act and Future Medical Expenses

I recently participated in a Continuing Legal Education program organized by the New York State Trial Lawyers Institute entitled “Affordable Care Act and Future Medicals”.  From its adoption, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), also known as Obamacare, has been and continues to be politically controversial, particularly so in the run up to the 2016 Presidential Election, with most Republican candidates vowing to dismantle it if elected, Hilary Clinton promising to expand on the programs put into place under Obamacare, and Bernie Sanders looking to create universal healthcare coverage by expanding the Medicare program.  The ACA is no stranger to the legal system, being the subject of a landmark 2012 Supreme Court decision in which the constitutionality of the individual mandate and its corresponding tax was upheld.

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Locks Law Attorneys Mentor GAMP Students

As Part of Philadelphia Bar Association’s Advancing Civics Education Program

Final GAMP

Attorneys from Locks Law Firm recently offered a presentation on the Magna Carta to students at the Girard Academic Music Program in South Philadelphia as part of the Advancing Civics Education (ACE) program sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association and the School District of Philadelphia. The program was developed to provide students with supplemental civics education in areas such as fundamental principles of citizenship, democracy and dispute resolution. Shown are (from left), Locks Law attorneys Mark Weinstein and Melanie Garner; Brendon Jobs, a history teacher at GAMP and whose class hosted the forum; and Locks Law Partner Marc Weingarten. Locks Law has been participating in the program for the past seven years.

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Buyer Beware: Switching Counsel is at an All-Time High in the NFL Concussion Litigation

 

The NFL Head Trauma litigation resulted in an uncapped settlement in record speed.  Unfortunately, as that settlement has been pending in the appeals court, an unusual and disheartening number of players are changing counsel.  Some players have left our firm for other lawyers, and some have come to us and requested that we replace their current lawyers.  But most players change counsel because lawyers, unconnected to this case at the beginning, have improperly solicited players to leave their original lawyers.  Sadly, the lawyers who are doing this are new to the litigation and were uninvolved in the extraordinary efforts that brought the cases in 2011 and 2012 and developed the viable, large, and uncapped settlement for the players.  To be clear, these new lawyers entered the litigation after Judge Brody approved the settlement.  None of them understand the science, diagnostics, and requirements of the settlement agreement as well as the men and women who filed the first cases, consolidated those cases before Judge Brody, and brought the NFL to the negotiating table.  In our opinion, they are opportunists, and we caution all players to beware of what they are selling.

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Legendary N.F.L. Player Ken Stabler Diagnosed with C.T.E.

Ken Stabler is the most recent of many professional football players to have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.) This morning The New York Times reported that Stabler has joined more than one-hundred former N.F.L. players to have been diagnosed with the life-altering disorder.

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