March 2016

Enriching Law Firm Culture through Equal Employment

One of my many roles at Locks Law Firm is that of Human Resources Director.  Over the last 1-2 years, my responsibilities have grown in this department as I manage our benefits programs, launched a 401K and help manage day-to-day issues with our employees.  Prior taking on this role, I worked in a so-called “bubble,” dealing only with the limited issues in which I was involved and therefore only interacting, on a regular basis, with people also involved in those matters.  However, my day to day work now allows me to interact with and across all areas of our firm and I have had the chance to get to see how our firm “works,” while also getting to know our employees better.

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The Perils of Off-Label Promotion in the Zofran Litigation

With more than 230 Zofran lawsuits consolidated in MDL 2657, the Zofran litigation provides an opportunity to reflect upon the dangers of “off label” marketing by pharmaceutical companies. By definition, “off label” is defined as an unapproved use of a medication that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A common example of “off label” use occurs when the medication is prescribed to treat a disease or medical condition that has not been approved by the FDA. Although medical professionals have the ability to prescribe medications for off-label uses, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs for off-label uses. The allegations in the Zofran litigation provide a prime example of the dangers of off-label promotions by pharmaceutical companies.

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In Products Liability Cases, What Do Protective Orders Really Protect?

It is commonplace in products liability cases for defendants, generally large corporations, to seek confidentiality agreements and protective orders with regard to the production of documents they consider sensitive and do not want in the public domain.  Although there are valid reasons for corporations to protect the public disclosure of certain information, sometimes the purpose of obtaining a protective order is to prohibit the release of information that is damaging to the defendant in litigation, and that may help other litigants with similar complaints against the corporation prosecute their claims. Plaintiffs’ attorneys need to be very cautious when agreeing to a stipulated protective order, and should make every effort to limit the terms of such agreements and to contest, where appropriate, overly broad confidential designations.

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Monsanto's Congressional Get Out of Jail Free Card

As the New York Times reported on February 29, federal lawmakers are ready to deal one of our country’s largest corporate polluters a Golden Ticket, a Get of Jail Free card to rival all others. Congress is letting Monsanto, the former manufacturer of over 1 billion pounds of the now banned chemical family of PCBs go scot-free after poisoning American communities for decades.  It is estimated that this gift will potentially save Monsanto billions of dollars in legal judgments and litigation costs.

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Locks Law CTO Quoted in Forbes

Leon Carelli, Chief Technology Officer at Locks Law Firm, was quoted this week in Forbes. Carelli contributed his expert advice on the best resources for dealing with tech problems.

The feature, "Seven Top Resources For Technology Troubleshooting," can be read in full here.

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The Lady Did Not Have To Die

Locks Law Firm represents people in civil rights cases who have been injured by police or prison guards or other government officials. The civil rights case that affected me most deeply occurred in Jersey City, NJ. A woman who had mental health problems was threatening her husband with a knife. Her husband called the police to try to get mental health help for her. When the police arrived, the husband was safely outside. Police knocked on the door. The lady opened the door a small amount. She did not have a knife. Police asked her to let them in. She closed the door. The lady was now alone inside her apartment with many police in the hallway.

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Mediation: Prepare for Trial, Win at Settlement

A colleague of mine, here at the Firm, is fond of quoting a line from the 1961 Inauguration of one of our Country’s greatest Presidents, John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

While President Kennedy was referring to our foreign policy, his approach to our country’s adversaries can be applied just as effectively today to contested issues in our civil justice system.  Representing Plaintiffs in personal injury matters requires a dedication to a process.  That process entails knowing who you are representing, understanding the harms suffered by them, and establishing the facts to support why the injured are entitled to compensation from another person, company, or entity.  The key in civil litigation is how to present those key elements in a manner to effectively achieve the end result: the recovery of money damages to make up for the harms and losses.  Preparation is at the heart of such an undertaking.  Then, once armed with all of the necessary facts and proofs, a plaintiff is ready to present the case for consideration of money damages.  How does that presentation occur?  The traditional approach has been a jury trial in a courthouse.  But while trial by jury, established by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution, remains an effective means of redress, in recent years, the concept of mediation has provided an equally effective alternative.

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Invasions of Privacy

Newspapers around the country recently reported on the Erin Andrews trial in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Andrews, a famous sportscaster, had filed a lawsuit against a Nashville hotel and a stalker after she was secretly videotaped several times in 2008, and nude images of her had been distributed on the internet. Ms. Andrews’s stalker allegedly called the hotel specifically to book a room next to hers. He admitted in a deposition that he used a hacksaw to alter the peepholes of Ms. Andrews’s hotel rooms. On Monday, March 7, 2016, a Tennessee jury awarded Ms. Andrews $55 million for the invasion of her privacy and the emotional damages she suffered as a result.

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Falls and Pressure Ulcers: "Never Events" In Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities

They call them “Never Events” - events that can be prevented or avoided, such as a pressure ulcer (PU) or a fall. Simply, the hospital or Long Term Care (LTC) facility, by and through its staff, must have a game plan (known as a “Plan of care”) to prevent such occurrences. No two patients are the same. They differ in age, body shape, underlying medical conditions and many other ways. Each person’s unique characteristics make him susceptible to injuries, such as falls or pressure ulcers.

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A Failed Legal Career: Who Is To Blame?

The New York Times recently reported on the pending San Diego trial of a law school graduate suing her alma mater for allegedly inflating its employment data to lure students to enroll; the first case of its kind to go to trial.

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