Blog

July 2016

What Took You So Long, America?

 

 

I was twenty years old when I first voted in a general election. It was 1990 and I was a college student studying law at University College Dublin, Ireland. Unlike in the United States, the office of the Irish President is largely ceremonial. The President is the official head of state, but executive authority is vested with the cabinet, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, or Taoiseach. Accordingly, the Irish presidential election does not typically hold the same significance as it does in the U.S. In fact, prior to the 1990 election, there had only been six presidents, three of whom had served two terms, with five elections uncontested.

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The NHL Still Denies Links to CTE

 

Recently, United States Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), sent a series of questions to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman regarding the effects of concussions in hockey and the league’s position on C.T.E.  Mr. Bettman’s response, 24-pages long, was filed in the US District Court in Minneapolis as part of the ongoing concussion class action case against the league.  Unbelievably, Mr. Bettman wrote, “The science regarding C.T.E., including on the asserted ‘link’ to concussions that you reference, remains nascent, particularly with respect to what causes C.T.E. and whether it can be diagnosed by specific clinical symptoms.”  Senator Blumenthal’s inquiry came following a round-table discussion with the NFL’s Sr. VP for Health and Safety Policy, Jeff Miller, was asked if there was a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like C.T.E.  Mr. Miller’s response: “The answer to that is certainly, yes.”  While the current settlement with the NFL still remains on appeal and does not require the NFL to admit fault or knowledge of the claims filed against them, the case has brought attention and a greater understanding of the harm and long term effects caused by repeated blows to the head, whether through hits in football or fights in hockey.  More and more administrators, coaches, owners, players and any others involved in sport have begun to look for ways to keep the athletes safer and healthier.  The fact that the Commissioner of the premier hockey league in this country fails to understand these dangers is not only surprising, but disappointing.  We know too much about these dangers and although Locks Law Firm is not involved in the NHL concussion case, we are deeply involved in the case against the NFL.  We have worked hard to bring to light the science and have seen all too many times, the long term consequences of these hits.  Mr. Commissioner, I suggest that rather than worry about the pending lawsuits against your league, you look to the future of it and how to protect those that make the game great – and ultimately ensure you have a job.

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"Don't Boo. Vote!"

 

Though not specifically outlined in the United States Constitution, the right to vote was originally defined by the states and was typically a privilege only afforded to white, property-owning, Protestant men.  Over time, several constitutional amendments, including the 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th Amendments, expanded the pool of eligible voters in America.  Amazingly, it has been less than 100 years since women were first allowed to vote in this country, and it’s been just over 50 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibiting racial discrimination in federal, state and local voting practices.

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Discovery From Private Individuals in The United States

 

 

I had the privilege of addressing the AAJ 2016 Annual Convention in Los Angeles.  I discussed the rules of discovery in the United States, with a focus on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the five discrete discovery categories.  See the attached for my paper and lecture.

Discovery From Private Individuals In The United States

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“A Republic, Madam, If You Can Keep It!”

 

That was the response of Benjamin Franklin to a woman who asked him whether the newly formed United States of America was to be a republic or a monarchy.  As he was leaving the last day of deliberation at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 Franklin was concerned about the future of the new nation. Like many of us today, others present at the Convention were also doubtful.  In a letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

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Locks Partner Marc Weingarten Publishes Article on Legionnaires' Disease On the 40th Anniversary of its First Outbreak

 

Marc Weingarten, a Partner at Locks Law and expert on Legionnaire's Disease, has written an article about the disease's first outbreak, which took place forty years ago today. Published by Philly.com, the article recounts the initial investigation into the then-mysterious disease while summarizing what we know about it today.

 

The full piece can be read here.

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Locks Law Firm Congratulates Marc P. Weingarten

Partner Marc P. Weingarten has been re-appointed to a Hearing Committee as part of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The Hearing Committees are composed of three-member panels. The Committees hear cases involving lawyers who have been charged with violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which set the ethical standards for all lawyers in the state of Pennsylvania.  Hearing Committees are responsible for making recommendations to the Disciplinary Board.  The Disciplinary Board uses the information and recommendations received to make a final recommendation to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is then responsible for a decision in each case.

 

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Videos Are Powerful, and Police Dash Cam Videos Are Discoverable

The two killings of people stopped by police in St. Paul and Baton Rouge and then yesterday’s killing of five police officers and wounding six more in Dallas are examples of horrifying events that took place just this week around the country. One lesson from all three incidents is that videos of what happened can be powerful, persuasive evidence of what really happened. Against this background, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court issued an opinion just eight days ago holding that police dash cam videos are discoverable.

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New York Court of Appeals Rules on Manufacturer’s Duty to Warn for a Third Party Product in an Asbestos Case

 

New York’s highest court issued a seminal decision on June 28, 2016, upholding verdicts against Crane Co. in two mesothelioma cases where Crane Co. was found liable for the use of asbestos-containing products manufactured by third parties on its valves. See link to decision here.

 

Mr. Ronald Dummitt was exposed to asbestos as a Navy boiler technician, including when he worked on Crane Co. valves, changing asbestos-containing gaskets and packing designed and manufactured by companies other than Crane Co. Similarly, Mr. Gerald Suttner was exposed to asbestos while working as a pipe fitter at General Motor’s Tonawanda Engine Plant, where he changed asbestos-containing gaskets and packing on Crane Co. valves that included gaskets and packing made by third parties.

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