California Lawmakers Pass Bill to Limit Civil Depositions

 

In a story that could be filed under the heading, “trial bar taking baby steps in fight for court access,” The Recorder recently reported that California “lawmakers on Wednesday sent the governor a trial lawyer-backedbill that would limit most civil depositions to one seven-hour day.” According to the story, “the bill’s passage follows months of negotiations among the plaintiff bar, defense attorneys and business groups, largely over the potential effects time caps would have on complex litigation. As approved Wednesday, Assembly Bill 1875 includes a number of exemptions to the one-day rule requested by parties who originally opposed the legislation.”

 

The Consumer Attorneys of California (CAALA) backed the legislation and said it was needed to curb repetitive questioning in multiparty litigation and to protect sick and elderly deponents.  According to Niall McCarthy, president of CAALA, “This is much needed legislation.  Allowing a deposition to needlessly drag on is a waste of time and money for both sides in a legal dispute.  Litigation should be a process to find the truth, not to grind people down.”

 

At this time, Governor Jerry Brown’s position on the bill is unknown.

 

You can read the full article here.

 

Paul B. Myers
Chief Credit Officer

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PILMMA Fall 2012 Summit, September 21st and 22nd

Will I see you at the PILMMA meeting in Las Vegas?  If you have not signed up yet, learn more by clicking hereor by calling Val or Ken at 800-497-1890.  Many of our clients benefit greatly from being PILMMA members and from attending the excellent meetings.  If you are not familiar with them, PILMMA stands for Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association.  If you are looking to grow and improve your practice, check out PILMMA!

 

Michael J. Swanson
President and Chief Executive Officer

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30th Anniversary CAALA Las Vegas Convention

Will you be attending CAALA’s 30th anniversary Las Vegas annual convention on September 6th to September 9th?

 

Donna Jones and Lisa Wagner will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc at booth#506. Discover how our case expense funding product can make a difference for your clients.

 

CAALA’s Annual Las Vegas Convention is the largest convention of plaintiff trial attorneys in the nation. It features three days of educational sessions presented by the nation’s most accomplished trial lawyers, jurists and legal consultants. The convention is an excellent opportunity to network with 2,000 attendees and over 100 legal service exhibitors all in one location. Plus attorneys can earn up to 20 hours of MCLE credit during one exciting weekend in Las Vegas!

 

We hope to see you there!

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Conversion Optimization: How to Turn Prospects in to Clients

If your law firm has a website you, more than likely, have an analytic system in place that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to your website. For example, Google Analytics, is aimed towards helping marketers get a bird’s eye view and help track information such as, unique visitors, repeat visitors, and much more.

 

Though this information is quite valuable it does not give you the whole story. Conversion rate optimization is a method of testing different aspects of your website to see what is attracting and engaging your visitor that later converts them to a client. Some test methods include monitoring headlines, images, and content.

 

In an article from TopRank: Online Marketing Blog, they discuss the three keys to conversion optimization. Those top three include:

 

  • Alignment & Strategy
  • Process & Organization
  • Tactical Execution

 

The article continues by giving you the top five conversion opportunities that are the most likely to have the maximum impact for your firm.

 

To view that list and read the article in its entirety visit here.

 

Tina Burns
Vice President

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Medical Device Recalls Reach an Almost Two-Year High

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_iqoncept'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>A recent report in DotMed News says that medical device recalls by manufacturers hit an almost 2 year high in the last quarter.  According to the report, “Nearly 123 million medical devices, such as ultrasound gels and hip implants, were hit with recalls in the last quarter, making for a nearly two-year high, according to a company that tracks food, drug, device, and children’s product recalls.” The story notes that “while the number of device recalls dropped since the previous quarter, the number of actual units affected passed the 100 million mark for the first time since the third quarter of 2010, according to a quarterly index on recalls published by ExpertRecall, a subsidiary of medical waste management giant Stericycle.” The index notes that the US Food and Drug Administration “enforcement reports from Q2 2012 found 242 device recalls, down 13 percent from the 277 in the first quarter, but up 4 percent from the same period last year.”

 

Just goes to show you why consumers continue to need access to the court system and strong advocates to pursue justice on their behalf.

 

The full story can be read here.

 

Paul B. Myers
Chief Credit Officer

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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Why You Should Join the American Association for Justice

 
Have you seen this excellent video?  It’s about the important work that trial lawyers do and how the American Association for Justice (AAJ) helps them get the best possible results for their clients.  I encourage you to watch it.  And if you’re a trial lawyer, consider joining the AAJ!
 


 

Michael J. Swanson
President and Chief Executive Officer

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Mississippi Trial Lawyer Don Barrett Leading the Way Again

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. client Don BarrettIf the name Don Barrett sounds familiar to you, there’s reason.  Pictured here, sitting at his desk with a portrait of his daughter hanging in the background, Don Barrett is the quintessential American family man.  Mr. Barrett is also one of America’s preeminent trial lawyers, willing and ready to take on even the biggest challenges with endless passion if it means protecting his family and yours – American consumers.  Among his more notable victories are the Ford Explorer Rollover MDL litigation and the tobacco litigation that brought about the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry.

 

Recently, Mr. Barrett and his team of experts were part of the topic of a New York Times front page article.  The article, Lawyers From Suits Against Big Tobacco Target Food Makers, discusses one of a number of important fights the Firm is pursuing on behalf of American consumers.  Mr. Barrett and his team are now holding the food industry accountable.  At the heart of the claims against food makers such as ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo., Heinz, General Mills and Chobani, are misleading food labels which according to Plaintiffs violate federal regulations by wrongly labeling products and ingredients.  For those who think these claims are frivolous, think again.  Food labeling is subject to federal oversight for a reason – to both warn and protect consumers from potential harm.  Ingredients that may seem innocuous at first blush can be poisonous to people with diabetes and food allergies.  “Food companies will argue that these are harmless crimes — the tobacco companies said the same thing,” Mr. Barrett said. “But to diabetics and some other people, sugar is just as deadly as poison.”

 

At Advocate Capital, Inc., we understand and applaud the important work being done on behalf of consumers by successful trial lawyers across the country. Without trial lawyers to hold corporations accountable, consumers are at the mercy of corporate officials who are paid to focus on one single objective, shareholder profit.

 

Thank you to Don Barrett and his team for having the passion and the courage to take on even the largest of industries on behalf of American consumers.  To learn more about other important work being done at Barrett Law Group on behalf of consumers, visit the Barrett Law Group website.

 

Lisa Wagner
Vice President, Client Services

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Jury Awards Over $5,000,000 in Wrongful Death Case Against Defendant and USAA

 

In a decision that required only four (4) hours of deliberation, a Paulding County, Georgia jury awarded over $5,000,000 to Attorney Lance Cooper’s clients, the parents of a 15 year old boy entering his sophomore year of high school who was killed in an auto accident caused by a driver under the influence of drugs.

 

The defendant admitted causing the death of the young man but denied that there was any pain and suffering.  Mr. Cooper astutely included a punitive damage claim which allowed him to present punitive evidence even though the defendant had admitted liability.  The trial began at 1:30pm on a Monday afternoon and evidence presentation was completed by 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.  Plaintiffs’ proof included testimony by the medical examiner and eight (8) damage witnesses including an economist and the parents.

 

After the four-hour deliberation, the jury in this very conservative venue returned a verdict that included just over $250,000 for pain and suffering and funeral expenses (the amount requested in closing argument).  However, the jury also awarded in excess of $5,400,000 on the wrongful death claim including punitive damages which was approximately TWICE the lost earning capacity projected by the economic expert.

 

Once again, Lance Cooper, founding member of The Cooper Firm, in Marietta, Georgia has taught a painful lesson to an insurance carrier about doing the right thing.   This verdict has received significant media coverage and was featured on www.CBSATLANTA.com.  Click here to view the interview in its entirety.

 

Mr. Cooper concentrates his practice representing plaintiffs in substantial personal injury and wrongful death cases.  He is a former president of theGeorgia Trial Lawyers Association as well as the Cobb County Trial Lawyers Association.   Lance has also been included in the Georgia Super Lawyers by Atlanta Magazine from 2006 to 2011.

 

Congratulations Lance from your friends at Advocate Capital, Inc.!

 

Donna A. Jones
Vice President, Operations

 

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Top Ways to Improve Your Networking Skills

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_everythingpossible'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Recently featured in the Nashville Business Journal,Diane Darling of Effective Networking Inc.shares 7 key points we should all remember for networking.

 

 

Here is the short list:

 

 

 

  1. Define networking
  2. Develop an action plan
  3. Focus on reciprocity
  4. Be a good listener
  5. Approach introverts
  6. Be genuinely nice
  7. Guanxi (Chinese word for network)

 

To learn more about guanxi and review the entire article and suggestions, click here.

 

Donna A. Jones
Vice President, Operations

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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The True Drivers of the High Cost of Healthcare

 

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I have blogged many times that tort reform has been proven to have little or no impact on rising costs in the health care arena.  A recent blog in theHuffington Post by Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D. (Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai) argues the that possible positive impacts on health care costs from tort reform (i.e. less defensive medicine and a lowering of med mal insurance premiums) would result in only a 0.2% – 0.5% decrease in the overall cost of health care in the U.S., even if you assume a 10% reduction in med mal insurance premiums, which has not occurred.

 

The real culprit, according to Dr. Braunstein, is the lack of health insurance for Americans.  “The economic toll of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance dwarfs the impact of malpractice by as much as 20-fold…The cost of uninsured people to the system comes in at around $124 billion a year in direct costs to doctors, hospitals and other providers.  That figure doubles when you add in the costs to society of shorter lives, poorer health and lost productivity.  And let’s not forget that the uninsured eventually receive health care.  But they wait longer and their care costs more because patients are sicker; they also tend to use the highest-cost services, such as emergency rooms.”

 

He goes on to note that 30% of health care spending goes for tests, procedures, hospital stays and other items that may, or may not be needed, but that tort reform has had little or no impact on these procedures.

 

The article by Dr. Braunstein is a thoughtful approach to a serious problem.  The full article can be read here.

 

Paul Myers
Chief Credit Officer

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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