Advocate Capital, Inc. Law Firm Financing Blog

Law Practice Management Stories

Free CLE Webinar: “Proposed Changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure”

 

Rules of Discovery webinar, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsThis month’s free webinar from Public Justice is Monday, August 25th, at 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT.

 

This webinar will focus on the proposed changes to the rules of discovery. Presenters Stuart Ollanik of Ollanik Law, LLC, Beth Terrell of Terrell Marshall Daubt & Willie, PLLC, and John Vail of John Vail Law, PLLC will help participants understand “what is changing, and what lawyers need to do to best represent their clients in the face of a changing discovery landscape.”

 

During this webinar, you will learn how to:

 

  • Use changes in the case management process to get more discovery at less expense.
  • Keep the historic changes to Rule 26 – the heart of the discovery rules – from barring the doors to justice for our clients.
  • Show judges that “proportionality” and “cost-shifting” language should not be used to make the injured party bear the defendant’s discovery costs.
  • Use a new tool to uncover stonewalling.
  • Navigate the new sanctions standard.

 

This is a special non-Speaker Series webinar. Registration is open to the public. Don’t miss out! (Register Online)

 

Click here for more details.

 

CLE Credit Provided

*CLE credit can be applied to AK, AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, ME, MN, NJ, NY, ND, OH, OR, TX, and WI. States with no CLE Credit: CT, DC, MD, MA, MA, MI, SD.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/billselak/3086892145/”>Bill Selak</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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Appreciate Your Employees!

 

Appreciate your employees, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsBloomberg.com recently reported the current economy shows the strongest demand for U.S. workers since 2001.  It is taking longer for employers to fill vacant positions with high quality candidates.  Due to the large number of open positions, some employers are experiencing a higher rate of turnover as existing employees pursue other opportunities.

 

What is your firm doing to retain your best talent?  In addition to paying a competitive wage, here are a few suggestions made by Human Resources Expert, Susan M. Heathfield:

 

  • Clearly communicate expectations.
  • Use your employees’ talents and skills.
  • Treat employees fairly and equally.
  • Invest in your employees through training.
  • Provide employees with the tools needed to complete their jobs.
  • Express appreciation through rewards and recognition.

 

Click here to read the full Bloomberg article or here to read Ms. Heathfield’s complete article.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration

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Simon Brothers Obtain $1.8M+ Verdict for Clients After Minimal Pretrial Offer

 

Advocate Capital Inc. clients Simon Law GroupCongratulations to Attorneys Robert and Brandon Simon, The Simon Law Group and their client on this recent jury verdict in the very conservative venue of Orange County, California.  In addition to Robert Simon and Brandon Simon, the plaintiff’s legal team also included the law firm of Russell & Lazarus.

 

Plaintiff, a 45-year-old resident of Orange County was on his way to work in the early morning hours of October 24, 2011 when he was rear-ended at 40-45 mph by a utility van while stopped at a red light.  At the time of the accident, the defendant driver was in the course and scope of his employment.  Both driver and employer(s) were named defendants.

 

Plaintiff would develop severe lower back pain that radiated into his left leg.  He would undergo over two years of treatment before ultimately undergoing lumbar decompression surgery.  Defendants admitted causing the accident and related symptoms, but claimed the symptoms were the result of a degenerative spinal condition.   Further, defense argued that the surgical procedure was not only unnecessary but also excessive.

 

The Simon team was able to prove their case in just two days with a total of 10 witnesses, including experts.  Plaintiff’s experts were able to conclude that the injuries suffered by Plaintiff were caused by the accident and that the surgery was reasonable and necessary.  Additionally, Plaintiff called a treating radiologist whose testimony was successful in completely discrediting the defense radiology expert. Robert was also able to counter the defense’s claim that the surgery costs were “grossly overpriced” by impeaching their own expert in orthopedic spinal surgery – showing that their doctor charged his own patients similar prices for the type of surgery performed on plaintiff.

 

The biggest hurdle, however, was the emergence of “surveillance films” that allegedly showed Plaintiff coming home from an apparent surfing attempt. Robert and Brandon, once again, were able to counter this damning evidence by showing the jury that the surveillance was conducted just days after Plaintiff was examined by the defense orthopedic surgeon who advised Plaintiff to try surfing again because it was “good for his back”.

 

Plaintiff offered to settle the matter before trial for $600K.  The highest pre-trial offer from the defense was $175K.  The jury ultimately awarded $1,803,169.71, including $178,169.71 in past medical bills and $200K for future medical care.

 

We should all be thankful for trial lawyers like the Simons who are willing to test the civil justice system by representing injured citizens and painting them in their true light as modest, truthful, sympathetic individuals who are forced to seek legal counsel in the continual up-hill battle against corporate America.

 

Hats off from everyone here at Advocate Capital, Inc. for a job well done and justice served.

 

Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President

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Meet Top Trial Lawyer Sid Gilreath

 

Click on the video to watch Mr. Swanson’s interview with Sid Gilreath of Gilreath & Associates of Knoxville, Tennessee, as they discuss his various leadership roles and how his work has impacted the lives of his clients.

 

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Your Credit Score is Going Up!

 

Good news for your credit scores, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsWelcome News for Consumers and their Credit Scores.

 

 

I’ve spoken here before about the importance of our credit scores when it comes to lenders making large financial decisions that impact our ability to borrow. Well, some good news has just been announced by Fair Isaac Corp whose credit scoring system is the bellwether standard that all the large credit bureaus use, including Equifax, Experian and Transunion, in determining your credit score. It is commonly referred to as your FICO score.

 

Fair Isaac is changing their scoring system in a couple of meaningful ways. First, they will stop including in its FICO credit score calculations any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency. Additionally, they will give less weight to unpaid medical bills that are with a collection agency.

 

A lot of the credit for these efforts go to the much-maligned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, headed by former Ohio Attorney General, Richard Cordray. The primary objective was aimed at boosting lending without creating more credit risk. The hopeful results will be allowing millions of more Americans access to credit.

 

Here’s a couple of statistics to consider. As of July, 2014, about 64.3 million consumers in the U.S. had a medical collection on their credit report, according to data from credit bureau Experian. And of the 106.5 million consumers with a collection on their report, 9.4 million had no balance—and won’t be penalized under the new credit-score system.

 

Industry experts estimate the lower weight given to unpaid medical debt could increase some affected borrowers’ FICO scores by 25 to 100 points.

 

We now must wait to see how quickly Equifax, Experian and Transunion begin to adopt this new Fair Isaac credit model, but it would appear the odds are highly likely it will become the new standard in the lending industry.

 

A nice victory for all consumers!

 

Here is a link to the full story:  http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/fico-recalibrates-its-credit-scores-1407443549-lMyQjAxMTA0MDAwODEwNDgyWj

 

Dan A. Taussig

Chairman

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Industry News: $9 Million Verdict, Conviction Overturned

 

$9 Million verdict and conviction overturned by Zellner, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsImagine spending 19 years in prison for a crime you did not commit.  Now imagine being a former police officer in prison wrongfully accused of sexually molesting your 5 year old daughter, 9 year old son, and 5 year old step son.  This is exactly what happened to the plaintiff in this case.  Kathleen Zellner and Douglas H. Johnson of Kathleen T. Zellner and Associates in Downers Grove, Illinois were successful recently in freeing this innocent man after 19 years behind bars for heinous crimes he did not commit and was awarded $9 Million in damages.

 

The facts of the case are understandably complicated, but the original conviction was fueled by fabricated evidence, fabricated witness and victim testimony, and the investigating detective’s romantic interest in the then defendant’s wife.

 

Kathleen’s client maintained that the emotional trauma was heightened by the fact that he was a former police officer and knew that if the prison population knew of his history, he would have been in great danger.  The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded $9,000,000 on February 3, 2014.  Justice was at last served.

 

Hard to imagine what that poor man went through for 19 years of his life, suffice it to say no amount of money will bring those years back.  For us all, we can rest in the knowledge that justice prevailed and he can begin the process of putting his life back together.  Thank you Ms. Zellner and Mr. Johnson for your passionate pursuit of justice.

 

Kathleen Zellner has the rare distinction of having won record verdicts in civil rights and medical malpractice cases.  She is the only trial attorney in the United States who has won 5 multi-million dollar record verdicts over the last 11 months.  Her remarkable success comes from not just “practicing law”, but her unwavering commitment to winning for victims of injustice.

 

Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development

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Need Blog Content?

 

Need blog content, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsYou may be aware of the power of blogging to drive traffic to your site (and cases to your firm), but who has the time (or skills) to blog consistently?

 

Well I saw my friend Alex Valencia in Baltimore at the AAJ Convention last month and was reminded that he and his wife, Yvette, have a great company called We Do Web Content.  If you know you should be blogging but don’t have the time to do it, his team can do it for you at a very reasonable cost.  In fact they’re having a special right now that makes it even more economical.  Check it out by clicking here.  (They’ll even do a quarterly newsletter for your firm and promote it all on social media.)

 

We have several clients who use We Do Web Content team very successfully.  I hope this will be helpful to you.

 

Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Is Email Controlling Your Life?

 

Taming the email beast, advocate capital, inc. reportsWith the over-abundance of mobile tech devices, it is easy to let your life revolve around these small rectangular computers we carry in our pockets, bags and briefcases. So much of the information we receive on a daily basis in immediate…and constant. Do you ever feel that having access to your email on a mobile device controls your life? I recently read an article in CGMA Magazine that gave a few pointers on how to “tame the email beast”.

 

  • What motivates you to constantly check your email? Is it the blinking notification light? If so, disable it!

 

  • Understand expectations.  Are you expected to respond to all emails within a certain time frame? If not, develop a system that works for you and let your colleagues know when you will be checking email. In case someone needs a more immediate response from you, provide another method of communication.

 

  • Consider having separate devices for work and personal reasons. Although this solution may not be cost effective, it does give us the option to leave the work phone behind while we are on vacation, at the soccer field or waiting at the dentist’s office. The personal time saved may be well worth the few extra dollars spent!

 

Consider these few suggestions if you feel your life has been overtaken by email. If you would like to read the entire article, please click here.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration

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Industry News: Meinhart Smith & Manning PLLC Scholarship

 

Meinhart Smith Manning PLLC Scholarship, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsThe affects of medical malpractice are far reaching to those impacted family member.  The painful recovery process may further resound among friends, classmates, and neighbors who have borne witness to such hardship.  This is often a catalyst and rallying cry for justice-minded students to enter law school to pursue a vocation dedicated to advocating for innocent victims of such tragedy by holding the responsible parties accountable.

 

To support the pursuit of excellence in malpractice and personal injury law, the Meinhart Smith & Manning PLLC Scholarship has been created for students accepted into an accredited law school anywhere in the United States for enrollment in the fall of 2014.  The scholarship amount is $1,000 and will be used for first year tuition and related expenses.  The August 10, 2014 deadline is rapidly approaching, so act now to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!  Here’s how to apply:

 

  1. Visit http://www.bluegrassjustice.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/MSM-Application-Form.pdf and complete the Meinhart Smith & Manning Scholarship Application Form.
  2. Submit a 1-3 page typed essay describing the medical malpractice case, accident or personal injury that inspired them to enter law school and study malpractice and personal injury law.
  3. Provide undergraduate transcripts reflecting a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, and an acceptance letter from an accredited law school in the United States for fall 2014.
  4. Submit proof of legal residency in the United States.

 

Completed applications may be mailed or emailed to:

 

Ethan Manning

Meinhart Smith & Manning, PLLC

222 East Witherspoon Street, Suite 401

Louisville, KY  40202

ethan@bluegrassjustice.com

 

For more information, please visit http://www.bluegrassjustice.com/scholarship/ .

 

Remember, the deadline is August 10, 2014 so do not delay!

 

Thank you Meinhart Smith & Manning PLLC for your generosity and support of aspiring law students!

 

Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development

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2014 Paralegal of the Year – Regina Valenti

 

Regina Valenti wins Advocate Capital Inc. AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award 2014Michael J. Swanson and I had the great pleasure of presenting the 2014 Advocate Capital, Inc. / American Association for Justice Paralegal of the Year Award to this year’s winner, Regina Valenti. The ceremony took place in Baltimore, Maryland during the American Association for Justice Annual Convention.

 

Ms. Valenti is a senior trial paralegal at Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was nominated by Attorney Leonard Davis who was in attendance along with several of her co-workers and family members to watch her receive the award.

 

As a senior paralegal, Ms. Valenti handles all aspects of file management, client contact and trials in multi-district litigation, mass torts, personal injury and products liability cases. She is in charge of keeping the entire process running smoothly with her high level of organization and accuracy.

 

During the award ceremony, Ms. Valenti graciously accepted the trophy and expressed a heartfelt appreciation for the nomination and support from her “family” at Herman, Herman & Katz. She stated, “Knowing that the attorneys I work with are the best in the country, it is quite an honor to have them nominate me for this award.  I am proud to represent them and the American Association for Justice.”

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. and the American Association for Justice recognize the great importance of paralegals, like Ms. Valenti, to the legal profession and are delighted to help recognize the paralegals who work so hard to help trial lawyers achieve justice for their clients.

 

Visit our Facebook and Google+ albums to view photos of the award ceremony.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Team Hope Gives the Gift of Life

 

Advocate Capital Inc. Team Hope Blood DriveOn Thursday, August 1, Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Team Hope met at the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross for a blood drive. Team Captain Jaime Bruder spearheaded this donation effort and presented employees with the opportunity to meet an urgent need for donations in our community.

 

We would like to thank all our employees and their families who participated:

 

Tina Burns
Advocate Capital Inc. Team Hope Blood DriveJaime Bruder, Team Captain
Lynne Cushing and June Dye
Jeff Glueck
Shirley Johnson
Lisa Larkin
Paul Myers
Tiffany Orth
Michelle Rigsby
Matt Sturdivant

 

View more photos in our Facebook and Google+ albums.

 

If you would like to help give the ‘gift of life’ in your community, please visit the American Red Cross online, www.redcross.org , and find your local donation center.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Exciting New AdvoTrac® Feature!

 

Advocate Capital Inc. announces new AdvoTrac enhancementsWe are excited to share that Advocate Capital, Inc. recently enhanced the reporting capabilities within AdvoTrac®!  Clients use AdvoTrac® on a daily basis to submit funding requests, process online payments, run Payoff Reports, reprint past invoices and research case balance information. We have increased the reports available by creating a new Reports Tab.  The Reports Tab includes the following new reports:

 

  • Reprint the detail of a past funding.
  • Reprint a recently requested Payoff Report.
  • Print a receipt from an online payment.
  • View transaction summary reports.
  • View transaction detail reports.

 

Feedback is very important to us and these improvements were made based on recommendations received from our growing client base.

 

We hope that these new reports serve as useful tools in helping you efficiently manage your account with us.  Whether you’re a regular user of AdvoTrac® or are just getting started with our program, be sure to check out the new reports that are now available at your fingertips!  If you are not yet using AdvoTrac® and would like to start accessing your account information online, please contact our Accounting Team at Accounting@AdvocateCapital.com or 615.577.5448.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration

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Thanks American Association for Justice

 

Advocate Capital Inc. exhibit at 2014 AAJ Annual ConventionAs our staff returns to Nashville and gets back in the swing of things, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on our time in Baltimore for the American Association for Justice Annual Convention.  The 2014 Annual Convention did not disappoint with a fantastic opening reception at the iconic Camden Yards where every type of ballpark food was offered. Foam fingers, baseball shaped towels and the chance to step foot in the Orioles dugout to view the stadium from a player’s perspective were just a few of the planned activities during the opening reception.

 

The convention presented Advocate Capital, Inc. an excellent opportunity to network with attorneys, exhibitors and other trial lawyer associations. We always enjoy seeing our clients and are grateful for the chance to educate attorneys regarding our case expense financing.

 

AAJ wrapped up the show with a closing ceremony featuring Huey Lewis and the News at the Hilton. We appreciate AAJ’s time and efforts to host the convention and we are looking forward to the Winter Convention in Palm Springs.

 

Click to view our AAJ Baltimore Facebook and Google+ albums.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Posting 101: Increasing Interactions on Google+

 

Increasing Interactions on Google+, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsBusinesses everywhere are taking the initiative to boost their SEO by creating a Google+ page. In a previous blog, I discussed how using more Google products helps improve your rankings, but creating a business page is only the first step. Now, what do you post?

 

I recently read an article written by digital marketing specialist John Bonney addressing how improving your business’s posting strategies on Google+ will help increase interactions. Here are some of his tips:

 

  1. Post Industry Related Articles and Links: “The more informative or compelling the articles are, the more likely it is that your post will be shared and engaged with.” Your followers are bombarded with posts daily on their news feeds so make your posts current and compelling.
  2. Post Quotes: “An excellent quote can inspire, motivate or incite strong emotions.” Always remember to hashtag your quotes to improve searchability. Hashtags like #MotivationalMonday, #quoteoftheday or #quotes are just a few commonly used across all social media platforms.
  3. Share Your Own Tips: Stay engaged with your circles and followers. By commenting and sharing their content, you will see your circles and influence grow.

 

Try a few of these tips and see what works best for your business. Remember that consistent posting and daily interactions on all social media tend to bring the best results.

 

(Read the full article here, “Six tips on how to make an impact on Google+”)

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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The Beat Goes On!

 

Advocate Capital Inc. welcomes new employees Sarah Hazlewood and Ashley HarrisonAdvocate Capital, Inc. continues building its awesome team in Nashville, TN.  We are pleased to welcome Sarah Hazlewood and Ashley Harrison to the Quality Assurance Team.

 

To help welcome these ladies to our group, we all enjoyed an afternoon popcorn social.  In addition to steaming hot popcorn, all attendees were able to “customize their corn” with toppings like jalapeno cheddar and garlic ranch salt.

 

Check out our group photos on Facebook and Google+ and you can almost SMELL the fresh popcorn!

 

Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President

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Industry News: Fareesh Sarangi Selected As a Top 100 National Trial Lawyer

 

Top 100 Trial Lawyer Fareesh Sarangi, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsCongratulations Fareesh Sarangi of Sarangi Law LLC, located in Atlanta, Georgia, for his selection as a member of the invitation only Top 100 National Trial Lawyer organization. Admittance into the organization involves a thorough vetting process and qualifications are based on performance inside and outside the courtroom. Mr. Sarangi’s success on behalf of his clients is exemplified by his $1.4M settlement that was reached in a wrongful death case of a middle-aged man back in May of 2014. The decedent’s widow came forward due to her belief her husband’s death was no accident. Mr. Sarangi began aggressively advocating on her behalf, hiring the best possible expert witnesses and thorough evaluation of the medical evidence.

 

Fareesh summarizes this honor as follows:

 

The highest honors are those that come from your peers because they know how hard we work for our clients inside and outside of the courtroom. The fact that some of the best trial lawyers in the country selected me for inclusion into this group is particularly special.

 

Here at Advocate Capital we are so thankful and honored to partner with superb trial lawyers like Mr. Sarangi who work so hard on behalf of their clients to help them put the pieces of their lives back together in the wake of tragedy. Congratulations Fareesh on your well-earned appointment and all that you do to protect our 7th Amendment rights!

 

Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

 

Advocate Capital Inc. Sounds GameTo celebrate Advocate Capital, Inc.’s 15th anniversary, Nashville based employees and their families headed to historic Herschel Greer Stadium on Wednesday, July 23 for dinner and a Nashville Sounds baseball game. The festivities took place on the Pandora Party Patio just above home plate featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs and pulled pork.

 

Once the game started, it was nonstop fun and socializing for the whole group. This event also offered everyone a chance to experience one of the top 10 best minor league ballparks before the team moves to their new stadium in Downtown Nashville next season. The Sounds went on to defeat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 5-2, making this anniversary celebration an all-around home run!

 

Check out our albums on Facebook and Google+ for photos.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Nix Law Group, PLLC receives $1,175,000 Jury Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case in Oklahoma

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. client Nix Law Group PLLCOn June 13, 2013, a federal court jury in Muskogee, Oklahoma returned a verdict for $1,175,000.00 in a wrongful death lawsuit. Glendell Nix and Andy Campbell of Nix Law Group, PLLC in Edmond, Oklahoma represented Kelly Shatwell, the surviving spouse of Sherman Shatwell, in the lawsuit.  Ms. Shatwell alleged several health care providers failed to diagnose and treat her husband, Sherman, for tonsillar cancer.

 

Mr. Shatwell went to the Tahlequah City Hospital emergency room in Tahleqauh, OK complaining of pain on the left side of his neck.  The ER physician’s assistant ordered a CT scan without contrast.  The radiologist interpreted the films as suspicious and requested a CT scan with contrast be performed.  Dr. Phillips, the ER physician, ordered a CT scan with contrast.  The film was read off-site by a tele-radiologist. The radiologist sent a report back to the ER electronically.  The report said Mr. Shatwell had left tonsillar cancer and recommended an ENT doctor consultation.   However, the ER physician, Dr. Phillips, never read the results and never informed Mr. Shatwell of the results.  Instead, Dr. Phillips discharged Mr. Shatwell with a prescription for antibiotics.

 

Approximately a year later, after moving from Oklahoma to Texas, Mr. Shatwell noticed a growth on his neck, and he had become hoarse.  He went to the Scott and White ER in Temple, Texas.  Doctors diagnosed him with Stage 4 terminal tonsillar cancer.  He died less than a year later.  Experts testified that had Mr. Shatwell been diagnosed and treated at the time he went to the ER in Tahlequah he would have had an over 80% chance of cure.

 

After 8 days of testimony, a unanimous jury returned a verdict for $1,750,000.00 against Dr. Phillips, the ER physician, and his employer, Tahlequah Emergency Consultants.

 

Congratulations to the Nix Law Group on achieving justice for your client! Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support trial attorneys and our seventh amendment right to a jury trial.

 

Donna Jones

Senior Vice President

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Charitable Contributions

 

Travel for charity deductions, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsIf you’re like most people, you enjoy making donations to charities.  It is one way we can serve our communities and give something back.  Donating not only helps a worthy cause, but it may also offer certain tax benefits.  In general, taxpayers are familiar with the tax deductibility of monetary and physical asset contributions, but did you know you may also be able to deduct your travel expenses associated with charitable giving?  The IRS recently provided a tax tip outlining the laws related to travel while giving to charity.  A list of some possible deductions include:

 

  • Air, rail and bus transportation
  • Car expenses
  • Lodging costs
  • Cost of meals
  • Taxi service

 

There are certain limitations and restrictions associated with these deductions.  Check out the IRS’ recent publication for more details.

 

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration

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Marketing Opportunity – Exclusive Access to 1-800-Attorney

 

Exclusive Marketing Opportunity with 1-800-Attorney, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsHere at Advocate Capital, Inc., we work hard to serve our clients in a wide range of areas, which often includes providing resources and sharing valuable information to meet the various business needs in the trial lawyer community.

 

Marketing is one of the key business functions in a law practice and so we are happy to share with you a marketing opportunity that we recently became aware of.

 

1-800-Attorney, an easy to remember number for consumers, is now available for licensing in many areas across the U.S.   Exclusive access/licensing of this number also provides the user with access to the consumer facing website, 1800Attorney.com.

 

To learn more, contact Advocate Capital, Inc. long-time friend and client, Jeff Rasansky via email jeffr@1800attorney.net or via phone 1-800-529-1789.   If you sign up before the end of August 2014 and mention that you learned about the opportunity via the Advocate Capital, Inc. Blog, you may qualify for a special 60 day free trial period.

 

Thanks to Attorney Jeff Rasansky for sharing this opportunity.

 

Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services

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Texas Women Seeking Support in Pelvic Mesh Implant Fight

 

Women's group requests help in pelvic mesh case from Texas Attorney General, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsI’ve blogged a couple of times in the space about Greg Abbott, the Texas Attorney General and Republican Party nominee for Governor.  Mr. Abbott, who himself has been the beneficiary of consumer access to the courts, has since become quite the crusader AGAINST allowing others the same access.

 

According to a recent article in The Texas Tribune, a group of women and their attorneys in Texas are now asking Mr. Abbott to assist them in their battle against Johnson & Johnson, the primary manufacturer of pelvic mesh implants that the women say have caused severe complications, including bleeding, extreme pain and infections.

 

The women, “a coalition of ‘pelvic mesh survivors’”, is asking Mr. Abbott, in his role as Attorney General, to pursue legal action against Johnson & Johnson.  The women claim that the company “violated a state law that prohibits deceptive business practices, citing the company’s ‘knowledge of inherent danger’ of the mesh implants and the cost to Texans of subsidizing care for women treated at taxpayer-funded facilities.”

 

Mr. Abbott’s office, through a spokesman, declined comment on the matter, citing a “continuing investigation.”  Johnson & Johnson, likewise, refused to provide comment to the reporter, though the company and its lawyers have argued in court that “the implants were effective and that the company properly warned consumers about their related risks.”

 

Of course, patient activists disagree, and say that the company has not done enough to warn consumers about the “severe complications they may experience.”  The women’s group has sent a letter to the Attorney General informing him that they are seeking his assistance because his office has the “sole authority to conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation” into the issues.

 

Based on history, I am doubting that Mr. Abbott crosses swords with big-money corporations like J&J, but the issue should be interesting to follow.

 

The full article can be read here.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

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American Association of Justice Annual Convention in Baltimore

 

Advocate Capital Inc. exhibiting at 2014 AAJ Annual Convention

Will you be attending the AAJ Annual Convention in Baltimore on July 26-29?

 

Michael J. Swanson, Donna Jones, Lisa Wagner, Tina Burns and Jeff Glueck will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at booth #932 throughout the convention. Stop by and discover how our case expense funding product can help you get even better results for your clients.

 

The 2014 AAJ Annual Convention will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center in the heart of downtown. Accomplished trial lawyers and experts will discuss the latest developments in trial advocacy and specialized topics at nearly 50 cutting-edge Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs designed to help you better represent your clients. Attendees can earn up to a year’s worth of CLE credits, including ethics credits, in just four days.

 

Don’t forget to visit our booth and enter our raffle for a chance to win a Pebble Steel Smartwatch!

 

We hope to see you there.

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Taxpayer Bill of Rights

 

Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsThe IRS recently adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights.  This has been a long time project of National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina E. Olson.  Ten rights are included in this document.  Here are a few of them:

 

•  The Right to Be Informed

 

•  The Right to Quality Service

 

  • The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
  • The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
  • The Right to Privacy

 

View the full list provided on the Taxpayer Advocate Service website here.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration

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Perseverance Pays Off for The Cooper Firm & Client

 

Advocate Capital Inc. client Lance CooperNo case is too large or too protracted for The Cooper Firm in Marietta, Georgia.  Attorney Lance Cooper recently settled a case against an insurance carrier that began with a catastrophic injury in 2004.  The plaintiff fell from a rooftop sustaining horrific injuries while he was assisting another contractor on the job (NOT his employer and NOT at his employer’s request).  He was an employee as defined by the general commercial liability policy purchased by the employer and suffered a bodily injury as defined in the policy.

 

The carrier, citing the “Employer’s Liability Exclusion” of the policy, denied coverage for the plaintiff’s claim, refused to provide the employer with a defense and/or indemnify the employer for any claims made by plaintiff even though this catastrophic injury claim could bankrupt the employer’s business because the potential liability far exceeded the available limits.

 

In September 2006, The Cooper Firm filed the plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit against the employer and others.  Again, the carrier refused to provide a defense for the employer.  Mr. Cooper served an offer of settlement in the amount of $1M in November 2006, that was within the policy limits.  By February of 2007, the carrier not only chose NOT to respond to the settlement offer but also attempted a declaratory judgment action against the employer.  The employer then filed a third-party complaint against the carrier and once again, the carrier refused to defend or indemnify employer.  To make things just a bit more interesting, the carrier sent employer a notice in April of 2007 that failure to pay the $500 deductible under the policy could jeopardize the coverage for plaintiff’s claim against the employer.  The employer forwarded the deductible check, which the carrier promptly returned because it had already denied coverage.

 

The parties in the underlying tort action engaged in extensive discovery for many months with no participation by the carrier.  Finally, in January of 2009, the carrier offered to settle the plaintiff’s claim for $5,000.  Counter offer rejected.   Employer’s defense counsel then withdrew from the case because the employer could no longer afford his services.  Plaintiff proceeded with the tort action against the employer.  An August 2009 bench trial resulted in a judgment for the plaintiff against the employer in the amount of $16MM+.  The employer assigned its rights to pursue a bad faith/negligence case against the carrier to the plaintiff.   Motions for Summary Judgment were filed and heard.  The case went to the Court of Appeals and finally the Georgia Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Court found that the carrier had waived its notice defense; that the carrier breached its duty to defend the employer; and that the plaintiff’s injuries were NOT sustained while he was acting in furtherance of the employer’s business thereby barring the Employer Liability Exclusion.

 

This incredible tale of insurance “stall and denial” tactics FINALLY ended via a confidential settlement in early 2014 after TEN YEARS of negotiation and litigation.

 

Should it take 10 years for a catastrophically injured man to receive justice and compensation?   We think not!  All of us at here at Advocate Capital, Inc. are thankful for attorneys like Lance Cooper who are both willing and able to go the distance with powerful insurance companies to insure that the wheels of our civil justice system continue to turn, albeit very slowly sometimes.

 

Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President

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Industry News: Attorney Christopher Brill Wins $2.4 Million for Cyclist Who was “Doored and Run Over”

 

Attorney Brill Wins bicyclist doored case, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsCongratulations Christopher J. Brill of Newton, Pennsylvania for your victory in the Ashley McKean case.  Back in 2011, Ms. McKean a then Temple University student was riding her bicycle when she was involved in a horrific crash.  The incident happened at the corner of Broad and Brandywine streets in Philadelphia when she was doored by a Honda Accord and then subsequently struck and run over by a van.  According to the filing she suffered multiple hip, pelvis, and leg fractures…many causing permanent damage and injury.

 

Thanks to the work of Attorney Christopher Brill, a jury awarded her $2.4 Million in damages.   The jury found both the driver of the Honda and the Van at fault for the accident.   The driver of the van is the owner of MCT Transportation who testified at trial that McKean “should have been riding on the sidewalk”, which as it turns out is against the law.  Ashley received $880,000 for future medical expenses, $1.334 million for pain and suffering and $200,000 for disfigurement. The trial lasted only 6 days.

 

According to the jury verdict, there was one attorney for the plaintiff (Mr. Brill) and 5 attorneys for the defense.  The jury’s decision was rendered on June 4th, 2014.  Thank you Christopher Brill for helping Ashley get her life back together and for advocating for us all.

 

Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development

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