Debunking the Myths About Lawsuits


The American Association for Justice has a great page on their website that addresses 10 common misconceptions or “myths” about lawsuits.  It’s a great resource to keep in mind as we try to educate people about the important work that trial lawyers do every day.


Here’s myth number one:  The number of lawsuits filed is skyrocketing.  Not true!  The number of personal injury tort cases has been declining for years.


To read the other nine, visit the Debunking the Myths page.


Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


ACI Schedule note for Monday, July 4


For scheduling and planning purposes, please be advised that the offices of Advocate Capital, Inc. will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the Independence holiday.   Any payments and/or funding requests received in our offices on Monday will be processed first thing on Tuesday, July 5.


Everyone at Advocate Capital, Inc. wishes a safe and happy holiday to our all of our wonderful law firm clients, their staffs, and families.


Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


Help Us Support AAJ’s Seventh Amendment Fund


Starting today and continuing through Wednesday, 7/15/11, Advocate Capital, Inc. will donate $1 to the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Seventh Amendment Fund for every new “Like” we get on our Facebook page:


It costs you nothing.  All you have to do is click the “Like” button at the top of the page!  We’re going to cap our donation for this particular promotion at $10,000.  Let’s see how fast we can get there!


In case you are not familiar with it, the Seventh Amendment Fund provides AAJ the resources necessary to protect the civil justice system and every American’s right to a trial by jury. When you support the 7th Amendment Fund, you help protect the future of your practice and give your clients a fighting chance.


I encourage you to learn more and make a donation at:


The clock is ticking, so don’t delay!

Go to right now and click “Like”!


PS – Please share this with as many lawyers, law firm staff, friends, etc. as possible.  We want make this a successful fundraiser for AAJ!


Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


Congratulations to New Tennessee Association for Justice President, Keith Williams!


The Tennessee Association for Justice named attorney B. Keith Williams its president at the association’s annual meeting in Chattanooga last week.


Advocate Capital, Inc. extends its deepest congratulations.   We are confident that Keith will continue the TAJ’s efforts both in the legislature and throughout the state to protect Tennessee citizens’ access to the courthouse, particularly considering the recent developments in tort reform.


Attorney Williams was a founding member of The Law Office of Lannom & Williams and serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Governors for the Tennessee Association for Justice.  Nationally, he is an active member of the American Association for Justice and the Public Justice Foundation.


TAJ members have clearly chosen a leader with the experience and expertise to guide the organization through the next year and the many challenges that lie ahead.


Congratulations Keith!


Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


IRS Increases Mileage Rates

Effective 7/1/11, the IRS will increase the standard mileage rates for the second half of 2011.  Increases are often implemented to reflect the higher fuel prices affecting the country.  As outlined by SS&G Financial Services, Inc., the new rates will be:

– Business miles increase from 51 cents to 55.5 cents
– Medical/Moving miles increase from 19 cents to 23.5 cents
– Charitable rate remains unchanged at 14 cents per mile


Click here to see the news bulletin.

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, MBA, Controller


More (And More Qualified) Voices Speaking Out


I’ve recently blogged about two important decisions by the U.S. Supreme CourtAT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and Wal-Mart v. Dukes – that stand to significantly restrict an individual’s right to access the civil justice system.


At least I’m in good company.  Erwin Chemerinsky, the Dean and of the UC Irvine School of Law, recently wrote an op-ed for The National Law Journal which discusses both the AT&T Mobility case as well as the Cullen v. Pinholster case, which “…significantly lessens the ability of federal courts to prevent injustices through the use of the writ of habeus corpus.”


Although the Cullen case is a criminal matter and the AT&T case is a civil matter, the point is the same – the Supreme Court is “…slamming the courthouse doors closed.”  I agree with Mr. Chemerinsky when he states that, “Because these cases involve the interpretation of statutes, Congress could revise these laws to reopen the courthouse doors.  Hopefully, it will do so.”


The full op-ed can be seen here.


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer


Florida Justice Association Annual Convention and Justice Ball (with Pictures)


Donna Jones and I attended the Florida Justice Association annual convention in Palm Beach, FL last week.


Advocate Capital, Inc. was a Guardian sponsor for the Justice Ball.  A portion of the proceeds raised by the Justice Ball will be donated to the Florida Guardian ad Litem on behalf of their long standing partnership of community advocates who provide a powerful voice on behalf of Florida’s children.


The Justice Ball was an event held in conjunction with FJA’s annual convention. We celebrated 50 years of Justice with affluent Florida attorneys, Senators and Mayors.


We took the liberty of taking photographs of this celebrated event. To see our photographs click here.


Tina R. Burns

Marketing Manager


Albert Stoll, Jr., Super Lawyer


Albert Stoll, Jr. was selected to the Super Lawyers Magazine for Northern California Lawyers for the 5th time.  The publication recognized Mr. Stoll from 2006-2010.  Super Lawyers Magazine names attorneys in each state who received the highest point totals, as chosen by their peers and through the independent research. Super Lawyers magazine is published in all 50 states and reaches more than 13 million readers.


Mr. Stoll stands up for the rights of individuals in catastrophic personal injury, product liability, dangerous road and intersection cases, insurance bad faith, nursing home neglect, elder abuse and dangerous pharmaceutical drug cases.


In April of 2009 Attorney Stoll was awarded the prestigious “Civil Justice Award” by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. This award is given to an attorney who shows integrity, grit, tenacity, ethics and great advocacy skills.


Also on the list of professional achievements are multiple published works including a book in its 4th publication by Mr. Stoll.   Al’s book, Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Guide to Minor Impact Cervical and Lumbar Injury (Thomson West 2008-2009), is a strategic guide used by lawyers throughout America to fight back against the automobile insurance company tactics of deny, delay, and defend


Thanks for your many contributions from your friends at Advocate Capital, Inc.!


Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


More from the U.S. Supreme Court


On June 13th, I blogged about a recent Supreme Court decision (AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion) that upheld an arbitration clause in AT&T’s customer agreement requiring the consumer to waive his or her right to take part in a class action lawsuit.  This decision reversed both a federal trial court and a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that had previously struck down the AT&T arbitration clause as “unconscionable” under California law.


Well, the Supremes are at it again.  The NY Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported this morning (6/20/11) that the Supreme Court has ruled for Wal-Mart in its fight to block a massive sex discrimination lawsuit.  The court ruled unanimously that the suit cannot proceed as a class action, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.  Though the decision was unanimous that the suit cannot proceed as a class action, the court’s four more liberal members joined and assented to only portions of Justice Scalia’s 27-page opinion.


It is becoming more and more obvious that it will become more and more difficult to obtain class action status, further weakening individuals’ access to the civil justice system.


The full articles can be found here for the WSJ and here for the NY Times.


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer


Jury Service – 72% Rate Experience as Good or Excellent


May was officially Jury Appreciation Month and a colleague of mine recently shared an interesting link about a survey of former jurors.


“We usually think of jurors as reluctant, even resentful, participants in the legal system.  Our perceptions may be wrong – and that is very good news for litigators”, says Marynell Hinton of Siegfried & Jensen, P.C. in Salt Lake City, Utah who shared a link to the April 2011 survey by Rasmussen Reports about juror experiences.  The survey of 1000 adults found that 72% of people who served on a jury said that it was a good or excellent experience, while only 7% rated the experience as poor.  (The survey did not differentiate between federal and state jury duty).  84% of former jurors were confident their jury had reached the right decision, including 68% who were “very confident”.   The survey also demonstrated that 64% of Americans trusted a jury more than a judge to determine whether an individual was guilty or innocent.  This was true whether they had served as a juror or not.


In recognition of Jury Appreciation month the U.S. Courts penned an article, Best Use of Jurors Improves Jury Experience, which included results of the survey and crafted an educational Court Shorts Video, Jury Service hosted by Chris Thomas.   In the video, Judge Rodney Sippel says, “Juries are the purest form of democracy that we have in this Country.  Juries bring the Constitution to life and give it meaning.”   Judge Richard Jones shares a quote from Thomas Jefferson in the video, “…the right to trial by jury is one of the three bedrocks of freedom in this Country…”   Judge Jones adds, “…jury service is part of the foundation of the American system”.


We should all remember the importance of jury service and should thank our friends and family members when they serve.


Thanks to Marynell Hinton for sharing these articles.   If you find an article that you think would be important to share among other trial lawyers, we would like to hear from you.


Lisa Wagner

Vice President, Client Services



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