Possible Power Loss Causes Massive Recall for Dodge

Authored By: Krista Kemmerly


Chrysler RecallA recall on vehicles is a serious matter. Imagine you are driving down the road and all of a sudden you lose power. This scenario has now turned into a real life matter for Fiat Chrysler who has already recalled nearly 70,000 vehicles due to the loss of power to the front wheels.


Ashlee Kieler with Consumerist encourages drivers of the recalled vehicles to be on the lookout for abnormal vibration and or loud noise. She explains that those abnormalities may cause loose front propshaft bolts which can lead to power loss to the front wheels.


Due to this massive recall, car-makers are told to notify the vehicle owners in March and will replace the propshaft bolts to prevent future power loss.


To learn more on the Dodge, Chrysler recall read here.


Photo Credit: lightpoet 

Missouri Farmers Lead Class Action Lawsuit Against Monsanto


Missouri farmersBryce Gray
in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Missouri farmers Steven and Dee Landers are leading a class action lawsuit against Monsanto for damage to their soybean crops allegedly connected with dicamba. The farming couple argues that the dicamba drift was “a predictable consequence of the company’s rollout of dicamba-tolerant crop varieties before the appropriate herbicide was approved for use.” The lawsuit covers nearly 200 complaints of dicamba drift damage in Missouri.


According to the article, “The suit, filed Jan. 26 in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau, is open to farmers across 10 states where dicamba complaints have been documented, ranging from Texas to Minnesota and as far east as North Carolina.”  The suit alleges that there have been around 200 drift complaints in Missouri since Monsanto released the dicamba-resistant seeds in 2015.  Bev Randles, who represents plaintiffs in the case said that Arkansas and Tennessee are other areas where there was severe damage.


The full article can be read here.


Photo Credit: Kostic Dusan

The Truth about Drowsy Driving


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Drowsy DrivingWe hear a lot about the dangers of distracted and drunk driving. Statistics show that every day in the U.S., more than eight people die due to crashes involving distracted driving, and 28 people die due to alcohol-related crashes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Yet, though we hear a lot about these two types of risky driving behavior, there is another killer taking the lives of people on the road: drowsiness.


According to a new study in the journal, Sleep up to 6,000 Americans die in drowsy-driving related wrecks every year. In an article in The Legal Examiner, Randy Appleton says the study also found that millions of drivers fall asleep at the wheel every month. However, falling asleep isn’t the only factor in this rising rate of crashes. Appleton says researchers consider fatigued driving to be similar to driving under the influence, causing a person to have slower reaction times and reduced attention to essential driving functions, and affecting mental processes like judgement and decision-making.


Appleton says the study does offer ways to combat drowsy driving like pulling over for a 30 minute nap or drinking a caffeinated drink, but he says some drivers’ lifestyles can make drowsy, fatigued driving unavoidable. As mentioned in our previous blog, truck drivers are forced to work long hours for minimal pay and often do not have the opportunity to stop and get adequate rest. As a result, they are involved in 12.4% of all deadly crashes.


Personal injury attorneys are accustomed to the type of physical, mental, and financial toll a crash can have on a victim and their families, especially one due to a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to partner with these plaintiff lawyers who work to get injured victims the justice they deserve.


To read Randy Appleton’s full article, click here.


Photo Credit: jawwa

“9 Hidden Costs” March Webinar

Authored By: Rachel Markin


Every day we hear from our clients about the benefits of using our strategic case expense funding program. It’s wonderful to know how our product has helped trial attorneys and their clients across the country.


We are pleased to announce a free webinar on March 8th with our President and CEO, Michael J. Swanson. The webinar will cover the “9 Hidden Costs of Self-Funding Your Case Expenses.” Mike will define important financial terms and personally answer questions about your firm’s needs.


The free “9 Hidden Costs of Self-Funding Your Case Expenses” webinar is a great opportunity for your firm and you to learn more about law firm finance. When you register for the webinar, you will also receive an instant download of Sample Fee Agreement Language.


Space is limited. Click here to reserve your spot now. : http://www.advocatecapital.com/9-Hidden-Costs-Webinar/






Attorney Dean Gresham Gets Justice for Homeowners


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Dean GreshamAdvocate Capital, Inc. wants to congratulate our friend and client, Attorney Dean Gresham. The Texas-based lawyer, one of the many who fight for justice at Steckler Gresham Cochran, has just recently helped one Dallas couple win a nearly $250,000 award, a much larger sum than what they had been anticipating after their home was severely damaged during a highway construction project.


According to The Dallas Morning News, the LBJ Express project began in 2011 and lasted until 2015. The newspaper says many homeowners living in northwest Dallas and Farmers Branch, Texas were affected by its construction and complained for years that the work caused their homes to be torn apart.


Attorney Gresham’s clients, Aurora and Felipe Rodríguez were the first to take their complaints to court, but the newspaper says their case is just one of 223 filed against the project’s head company, Trinity Infrastructure. Despite the hundreds of complaints it received from residents about cracked walls, falling ceilings, and uprooted neighborhoods, the contractors denied responsibility and insisted all was well.


Earlier this month a Dallas jury decided otherwise, and after a week long trial, served a winning $248,723 verdict for Attorney Gresham and the Rodríguezes. He told the newspaper if victories like this continue, Trinity Infrastructure could pay more than $65 million in damages. Plus, he says the majority of the other plaintiffs live closer to the LBJ Express site than the Rodríguezes do and were exposed to a lot more damage, a factor that may encourage the company to settle.


However, so far that hasn’t been the case; the newspaper says a representative for Trinity Infrastructure announced it plans to appeal, claiming the project followed specifications set out by the Texas Department of Transportation.


Only time will tell if the company’s defense will hold up in court. The newspaper says the next case isn’t scheduled until June, and it will be another fight for Attorney Gresham and his second client, Valencia Powell whose mother lost her home of 50 years due to the LBJ Express project.


If you would like to read the full article, click here.


Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support plaintiff attorneys like Dean Gresham who consistently fight for justice and win. Attorney Gresham has a tremendous amount of experience in products liability, class action and whistleblower suits, as well as other business torts, and he has represented victims in these types of cases for more than 15 years.



Mastering Search Engine Optimization without Tricks


Authored By: Krista Kemmerly


Master Search EngineMany lawyers look to search engine optimization (SEO) when wanting to grow their firm. However, savvy lawyers look to SEO without using any tricks or hacks.

The goal is to be able to market who you are and what you do in order to gain loyal clientele. Aaron Street of the lawyerist.com, shares 8 no-risk tips for online marketing. Below are a few to help you start implementing today.


Speak and Teach

Use your area of expertise to be a guest speaker. Whether it be at a law school or client industry event, using said opportunities will be beneficial.


Stay Engaged with Friends, Colleagues, Former Clients, Mentors and Mentees

Social networking is always a great way to do online marketing. When you share information or offer help to your network they will, more than likely, be willing to pass along that information to potential clients.


Be a Leader in your Community

Do more than your job description. Go out in the community and volunteer, maybe run for local office. Get your name out there in a positive way! Doing so will lead to website listings from a wide variety of organizations.

Serve Clients Well and encourage them to Tell Others about it

A happy client equals a positive reputation. They are the ones who spread the word, they will help get your name out there online and offline. Have your clients write reviews to help your credibility.

These are only a few of the tricks listed to help master SEO. For all 8 visit Aaron’s article here.


Photo Credit: Cathy Yeulet 

Employee Fraud at Law Firms – Are You Protected?


Authored By: Barry Epstein


advocate capital inc man hiding money

Sometimes, threats to an organization can come from within.  At times, a trusted employee, hired and given financial responsibility, unknowingly has been given the “keys to the kingdom”.


In a recent conversation with a plaintiff attorney, I was told that their “trusted employee” had stolen from the firm and the firm’s clients over a fairly long period of time; causing a serious cash-flow problem of 100’s of thousands of dollars when discovered.


A quick Google search on Employee Dishonesty at Law Firms returned a sizable number of links to law firm stories – everything from bookkeepers, paralegals and partners helping themselves to funds in the operating cash account and firm trust fund.


The search also turned up a good article published in the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine, Preventing Theft and Fraud within Your Law Firm – written by Mary Vandenack, of the Omaha firm Vandenack Weaver. The focus of the article is Establishing Control and Prevention and provides some very good tips, including, background checks, monitoring, auditing, evaluating employee actions and obtaining Employee Dishonesty insurance to cover losses and liability.


Vandenack recommends for law firms to take a proactive approach by identifying financial vulnerabilities and stopping thefts before they occur.  She also believes creating a work culture that focuses on ethical behavior can help prevent employee fraud.


Advocate Capital, Inc.  understands the work that contingent-fee firms undertake is of great significance. We are proud to partner with plaintiff attorneys who fight for justice on behalf of their clients.


To read Mary Vandenack’s article about tips to protect your firm, click here.


Photo Credit: olegdudko

The American Bar Association Cuts Budget


Authored By: Rachel Markin


ABA BudgetBudget cuts are on the horizon for a national legal organization. The American Bar Association will decrease its general operations budget for fiscal 2018 by nearly $11 million. The ABA announced the plan in a memo, as reported by the ABA Journal, and will merge travel planning and publishing operations, renegotiate the lease of its Chicago headquarters and decrease budgets in several areas of staff operations. The reductions will result in a nearly 10 percent cut in the organization’s 99.7 million general operations budget.


The executive director of ABA, Jack L. Rives says the organization is comprised of more than 3,500 entities and “the unfortunate reality is that the association doesn’t have enough resources to continue everything it is doing”. Rives says the organization must make choices and prioritize their efforts. ABA Journal reports the Board of Governors is also evaluating three other cost-cutting ideas, one of which would propose holding just two association-wide meetings each year.


Nearly $6 million in “bottom up” cuts were made during a staff budgeting process, as reported by ABA Journal. Although the staff were asked to propose 10 percent budget reductions, it is not expected for all cuts to be enforced. Another $5 million in reductions have been suggested in a “top-down” process. Executive director, Rives says “these top-down initiatives will requires us to do things differently. We simply cannot achieve the required savings and create a sustainable model in a reasoned, strategic manger unless we change some paradigms.”


As ABA Journal reports, the top-down cuts include:

  • Renegotiating the lease for the Chicago headquarters.
  • Consolidating staffers who oversee logistical operations of travel for the ABA and its entities into one unit.
  • Reducing funding for general operations travel by 10 percent across the board, except for travel associated with continuing legal education events.
  • Creating a new Periodicals Division in ABA Publishing, and moving the ABA Journal into the division. Though the ABA Journal Board of Editors and staff will continue to have complete authority over Journal content, redundant back-office operations can be merged to save money. The plan is intended to preserve monthly publication of the Journal.


The American Bar Association is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations with nearly 400,000 members. The national association’s website says ABA is committed to, “serving our members, improving the legal profession, eliminating bias and enhancing diversity, and advancing the rule of law throughout the United States and around the world.”


Photo Credit: orhancam

Grieving Parents Sue Apple


Authored By: Rachel Markin


Sue ApppleThe Dallas parents who lost their 5-year-old, Moriah Modisette in a tragic Christmas Eve car accident have filed suit against Apple. According to ABC News, James and Bethany Modisette filed the lawsuit against Apple at the California Superior Court, claiming the tech company’s FaceTime app distracted the driver who crashed into their vehicle in 2014. The suit alleges Apple failed to warn users that the product was likely to be dangerous when used or misused.


According to the lawsuit, Apple had a patent for a safer version of FaceTime but decided to make a less safe version available with the iPhone 6. The Modisettes say Apple’s decision to release the less safe version ultimately resulted in the death of their daughter. The suit refers to December 2008, when the tech giant sought a patent to lock-out users while driving. The United States Patent Office issued the patent in April 2014. Allegedly, the safer version of FaceTime would have used GPA tracking to gauge the speed of a vehicle to warn users or to shut down the video chat application.


James and Bethany Modisette say the deadly Dallas crash occurred when the couple was driving with their daughters Moriah and Isabella, both whom were in the back seat of their car. The family slowed or stopped due to an accident ahead of them. That’s when another driver, Garrett Wilhelm, who was going around 65 miles per hour, collided into the rear of the family’s vehicle. Wilhelm told the police he was using FaceTime and law enforcement found his phone with the FaceTime application still active at the crash site.


The wreck resulted in significant damages, putting James Modisette in critical condition and sending Bethany and Isabella to regional medical centers. 5-year-old Moriah was airlifted to a children’s hospital, where she later died from her injuries sustained in the crash.


The Denton Record- Chronicle reports Wilhelm was indicted on manslaughter charges and has been out of jail on bail since August. The paper says the case is scheduled for February 27th. Wilhem’s lawyer, Ricky Perritt, issued a statement which said, “..We are confident that after all the facts are brought out in court, it will be shown that the use of a cellular device did not contribute and Mr. Wilhelm did not commit a crime … It was simply an accident.”


The Modisette family is seeking economic damages and punitive damages related to injuries from the crash. The lawsuit has gained national attention, as Georgia Attorney Charles Scholle says, whether Apple is responsible for death or injury to motorists because they offer technologies like FaceTime will be important to both tech companies and consumers. For now, Attorney Scholle says the question still remains unanswered: Since Apple sought and was given a patent for a lock out feature that would have stopped drivers from using FaceTime, should the tech company be held liable for injury and death to FaceTime users?


Apple has not made a public comment regarding the lawsuit.


Photo Credit: adrianhancu

Flint Residents Sue the EPA


Authored By: Iris Garrett



Flint WaterIt’s the residents of Flint, Michigan versus the federal government. According to Reuters, more than 1,700 of the city’s population have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the water crisis that forced thousands of children to undergo lead poisoning.


In the Reuters article, author Dan Whitcomb says the plaintiffs filed the 30-page suit in a U.S. District Court in Michigan earlier this month and are now hoping to reach class action status. He says their suit claims the EPA mismanaged the water crisis, failed to warn residents of the toxic danger, and didn’t help state and local authorities make it right. The residents are seeking $722 million in damages.


Whitcomb says Flint’s water crisis erupted back in 2015 when tests showed high amounts of lead in blood samples of some of the city’s children (the population of which is predominately black). A state-appointed emergency manager had switched Flint’s water source (the Flint River) to a more corrosive river, Lake Huron. Its water caused lead to seep off pipes and filter into the city’s drinking water.


Exposure to lead can stunt a child’s cognitive development, and no amount is considered safe.


Whitcomb says since October 2015, Flint has reverted back to its previous water system, and earlier this month, Michigan State officials reported lead levels in the city’s drinking water had dropped below federal limits.


So far, Whitcomb says 13 current and former officials have been charged in connection to the crisis.


If you would like to read Dan Whitcomb’s full article, click here.


Photo Credit: Mahmoud Victor Moussa 

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