April 2016

Concussions: Not Just a Football Problem


When asked which athletes are most likely to suffer from a concussion, many would answer “football players.”  Football is a brutal sport in which every play results in bone jarring physical contact.  However, that answer is not necessarily correct.  The fact is, concussions happen at an alarming rate in lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, ice hockey, baseball, skiing and field hockey.  Athletes in any sport can be at risk for suffering a concussion whether it is the physicality of the sport, the errant throw that hits a head or the fall to the ground.  And while Locks Law Firm (LLF) is actively representing nearly 1,500 retired NFL players in the concussion litigation against the NFL, other suits are pending against the NHL and WWE.  This is a serious issue for pro athletes and for youth, as well.

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What Makes a Great Legal Professional?

Today, my paralegal of eleven years is leaving the firm and moving to Maine. Aside from the obvious difficulty of losing a team member who is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to our cases, it is very sad to say goodbye to a friend, someone with whom we have spent long hours working to complete deadlines, someone with whom we have shared the emotional ups and downs that come with the practice of personal injury litigation, and someone who cares as much as we do about our clients and the importance of the work we do for them.

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Product Liability Law in Pennsylvania - Some Questions Answered, New Questions Posed

The long awaited decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Tincher v. OmegaFlex, Inc., 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014) finally clarified the law of Pennsylvania with respect to product liability.  Pennsylvania had previously been a jurisdiction which adhered to the Restatement of Torts Second but in the interim, the American Law Institute had come forward with the Third Restatement of Torts.  Controversy had ensued in Pennsylvania, particularly because many of the federal courts in Pennsylvania had predicted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would adopt the Third Restatement.  Tincher served to clarify that indeed the Second Restatement would still be the law in Pennsylvania.  However, in so doing, it reversed the 1978 opinion of Azzarello v. Black Bros. Co., 390 A.2d 1020 (Pa. 1978).

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Key Asbestos Decision Expected

On April 6, 2016 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard argument for the second time in Rost vs. Ford Motor Company, a case which could be extremely important to the future of asbestos litigation in Pennsylvania.  There have been a series of unfortunate opinions from Pennsylvania Appellate Courts over the last several years which have made it increasingly difficult for plaintiffs to prove their cases and have therefore deprived innocent victims of asbestos exposure from obtaining just compensation.  As is usually the case, these decisions resulted in part from bad fact patterns; often, companies whose products caused heavy exposure to asbestos, and therefore serious injuries to plaintiffs, were bankrupt or no longer in business.  Lawyers, often unable to target the “main source” of exposure then sought claims against defendants who manufactured or supplied products which likely had extremely minimal effects of exposure to asbestos.

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What Evil Lurks In Your Reconstruction?

Many people like to move into older houses that have been modernized inside. Especially in cities, old bank or factory buildings are being turned into condos. These rehabs give people the pleasure of living in an older attractive building with the convenience of modern amenities. But beneath the surface of the new interiors evil may lurk. The evil could be asbestos or lead that was part of the original building and was just covered up by a contractor eager to cut corners. Or the evil could be massive leaks or other structural problems that also were just covered up. Locks Law Firm has represented home owners in cases where these evils were discovered.

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U.S. Agencies Responsible for PCB Monitoring in the Hudson River Battle Each Other

Despite coverage of GE’s near-criminal pollution of the Hudson River with PCBs manufactured at its two New York plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, and the decades long litigation which resulted in the Hudson River being declared a Superfund site and engendered the cleanup that is being overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, new evidence of the extensive nature of this pollution continue to be discovered.  And despite the responsibility of the various federal agencies to protect us, and to return the River to some state that will allow for recreational use, these agencies instead are now fighting among themselves about how well they are doing their jobs.

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Leon Carelli, Locks Law's CTO, Quoted in Forbes

Leon Carelli, Chief Technology Officer at The Locks Law Firm, has been quoted in Forbes. Alongside a group of other tech experts, Carelli was asked how businesses are making the Internet of Things (IoT) easier to adopt.

Responding to this question, Carelli said, "If we have learned anything from the development of networks and protocols over the past three decades it should be that standards are not just important, they are essential. Smart, forward-thinking companies are already beginning to coalesce around standards like Z-Wave or ZigBee. By adopting standard protocols, product development teams can focus on strong feature sets rather than compatibility."

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Third Circuit of Appeals Upholds Decision in NFL Concussion Litigation

Today the Third Circuit court of Appeals upheld Judge Brody's opinion approving the Players settlement with the NFL in the concussion litigation.  The three judge panel agreed with Judge Brody that the settlement agreement was fair, adequate, and reasonable under the law and made no changes to the previous agreement.

We expect that the objectors (who appealed in the first place) will appeal this Opinion to the Supreme Court of the United States.  If they appeal, two things could happen.

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Playing Fair

When we are little, we are taught to play nice, play fair.  So why did that adage disappear when I became a lawyer?  It is said that the practice of law is about getting “justice” for our client.  But at what costs?  For the lawyer it's too often about winning.  We want to do right for the client in obtaining monetary damages, for that is all we can obtain when his/her loved one is taken from this earth because of needless malpractice by a physician, a greedy pharmaceutical company puts profits before the health of the public or a bar that improperly serves a minor or visibly intoxicated individual who then leaves and hurts or kills another individual.  But at what “cost” are these cases being defended, and are the defendants playing “nice” or “fair” simply just to win?

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Lawyering on Your Feet

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating an information session for other lawyers that sought to connect improvisation and the law. The goal was to show the attendees that they could implement the lessons of improvisational techniques to improve their legal careers.

Now we all know that the law is not about making things up on the fly. It takes careful preparation and research before I feel ready to make a legal argument. I will spend hours understanding the facts and the law completely before I step into a courtroom or begin a written submission to the court.

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Locks Law Firm only provides legal advice after having entered into an attorney client relationship, which our website specifically does not create. Conversations that originate from website messaging, chat or other two way web based engagement  do not create an attorney client relationship. It is imperative that any action taken be done on the advice of counsel. Because every case is different, the description of awards and cases previously handled do not guarantee a similar outcome in current or future cases. The firm practices law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey & New York as Locks Law Firm. Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America and other organizations that rate attorneys are not designations that have been approved by the State Supreme Courts or the American Bar Association.