We recently took the time to analyze and document the hidden costs of a contingent-fee law firm self-funding their case expenses. We were amazed to find that we could find 9 different hidden costs! In this new video series, I’ll explain each hidden cost and why it matters to your law firm. Here is part one.
Archives for October 2013
On Thursday, October 24, the Advocate Capital, Inc. team enjoyed a fantastic employee appreciation day with dual themes of football tailgating and Halloween. Everyone participated by dressing in either their favorite team apparel or Halloween costumes. A few employees even managed both in one outfit!
The BBQ feast was catered by Jim ‘N Nick’s. Our team also provided a spooktacular variety of sweet treats.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, it only made sense to get the UT/Alabama football weekend started right with some riveting corn hole games. All were winners!
Senior Vice President
Imagine seeing an online advertisement using your Google+ profile photo. Many people would be shocked to see their images or profile activity shared without their permission. With Google’s new Terms of Service changes, user’s images, name and activity will be available for Google to use in advertisements starting in November.
In a recent article by Emil Protalinski, the biggest change to the terms of service is the “Shared Endorsements” setting which “lets you control how your Page’s name, photo and the actions that you take (such as +1s, reviews that you write or comments that you post) may appear in advertising.” The article gives the example, “if your Page publicly follows another Page, Google may surface this action with your Page’s name and photo when relevant and helpful to users, including in ads.”
These changes take effect on November 11, 2013 and Google+ users are encouraged to opt out of the setting if they would like their page information kept out of advertisements. Google does state that opting out of “this setting does not affect other places where your Page’s name and photo may appear.” This is not a universal solution so it is important to stay aware of changes to your Google+ pages and their terms of service.
Photo Credit: bokehlicia
A recent article in the New York Times sheds light on the impacts of tort reform on one Texas politician, Greg Abbott. In 1984, Mr. Abbott, then a recent law school graduate, was running in a Houston, TX suburb when a large oak tree fell on him, crushing his spine and crippling him for life. Mr. Abbott had “…no health insurance and no paycheck. But he had a good lawyer and access to a civil justice system that – back then – was generally hospitable toward plaintiffs. So Mr. Abbott sued.”
Fast forward 25 years, and Mr. Abbott is now the Texas attorney general and a leading candidate for governor. During his career as a judge and attorney general, Mr. Abbott has been a leader in the fight for tort reform, and is now “… facing new questions about the multi-million dollar settlement he was awarded and about his advocacy of laws that critics say have tilted the judicial scales toward civil defendants.”
Critics claim that these policies have made it virtually impossible for a plaintiff to win the kind of award that Mr. Abbott received. Tommy Fibich, a personal injury lawyer says, “You would think that a young man, at the start of his career, crippled by an injury, would want to make sure that others that may have the misfortune to follow in his footsteps would ensure that those people had the opportunity to be compensated for their injuries in the same way he was. He instead closed the door because that would help him get re-elected.”
Mr. Abbott argues that this is not true, and that if the same thing happened today, the injured party would have access to the same remedies he did. He claims that the legal system has been abused via invalid claims, which clog up the courts.
Under Mr. Abbott’s settlement, he receives payments, which began at $5,000 per month in 1986 and increased to nearly $15,000 per month in 2013. By the end of this year, he will have received about $5.8MM and is entitled to receive monthly income from the settlement until he dies. Mr. Abbott incurred only $82,811 in medical expenses a year after the incident, and he claimed two months of lost wages from a job that was supposed to start paying him not long after he was injured. He had future medical expenses to pay, but most of the settlement came from non-economic damages for pain and suffering and mental anguish, according to his attorney at the time, Don Riddle.
These non-economic damages are precisely what are now being limited by tort reform statutes in Texas, a good many for which Mr. Abbott actively campaigned. In 2003, the Texas Legislature capped non-economic damages in med mal cases at $250,000, a move that Mr. Abbott supported as attorney general.
Despite Mr. Abbott’s claims that injured parties can still obtain rewards in line with the one he received, his political efforts (and successes) over the past 20 years have made this much more difficult, if not impossible. Charles M. Silver, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law said changes in personal injury law and a pro-defendant posture in the judicial branch make such a large financial award much less likely.
The full article can be read here.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Just like we experienced in 2013, the 2014 tax year will have a delayed start due to the recent government shutdown. The IRS traditionally performs its systems and forms testing in the fourth quarter of the calendar year. The most recent 16 day shutdown will push back the opening of the tax season such that they will not begin accepting 2013 tax returns until the end of January 2014 or the beginning of February 2014 due to the need for additional time for this testing. The April 15th filing deadline will remain in effect.
Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA
Vice President, Finance and Administration
Photo Credit: BaityAssocTX via Flickr
Congratulations to Ira M. Perlman, of the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman and Robert D. Rosen, on this outstanding victory for their client, Laura Mata.
On August 29, 2010, Laura Mata sustained a severe injury to her right knee when she tripped over a broken piece of sidewalk in front of a Manhattan apartment building. Ms. Mata sustained a displaced fracture of her right kneecap, a rupture of her anterior cruciate ligament, a tear of the lateral meniscus, and extrusion of the medial meniscus. As a result of her injuries, she developed residual chondromalacia and residual synovitis in her right knee.
Doctors suggested Ms. Mata undergo open reduction surgery and internal fixation. Pregnant at the time of her injury, she opted for less invasive closed reduction surgery for fear that the more intrusive surgery could harm her unborn child.
The plaintiff, Ms. Mata, brought suit against the owner of the premises, 167 8th Avenue, LLC, claiming that the company did not properly maintain the sidewalk. Under applicable law in the City of New York, Mr. Perlman successfully proved that nobody other than the defendant building owner had the responsibility to repair the public sidewalk regardless of who caused the defective conditions. The defendant countered that the damage in the sidewalk was open and obvious and that the plaintiff should have taken steps to avoid it. Further, the defendant testified that it advised its tenant, a tavern, to address the problem, as it had been caused by the repeated delivery of heavy kegs.
At trial, the plaintiff invoked the “eggshell plaintiff” doctrine, noting that her pregnancy had hindered her healing process, diminished the effect of physical therapy and prevented the use of pain killers, which could have brought substantial relief. Furthermore, after her pregnancy, she required arthroscopic surgery involving debridement and resection of the damaged tissue. The plaintiff’s treating surgeon opined that the delay in surgery resulted in a severe reduction of the rotational ability and stability of the knee, which would result in the need for additional surgery.
A jury found 167 8th Avenue, LLC, to be 100% responsible for all of plaintiff’s harms and losses relating to her injuries and awarded her damages of $1,392,335.
For over 25 years, the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman and Robert D. Rosen have practiced personal injury law in the State of New York. They associate their reputation and ongoing wide success to their personal involvement and dedication to anybody who becomes a client of theirs. The tenacity and passion of Mr. Perlman and Mr. Rosen stem from their deep commitment to pursuing the rights of those who have been wronged in order to provide full and fair justice for all harms and losses suffered.
Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support trial lawyers like Ira Perlman and Rob Rosen who continue to seek justice for injured citizens everywhere.
Senior Vice President
App #1 “Accident Tool Kit” contains utilities such as a camera, voice recorder and drawing pad to collect information and preserve valuable evidence at the scene.
App #2 “Bike Crash Kit” provides additional helpful functions that are especially helpful for bicycle and motorcycle accidents.
App #3 “Medical Malpractice Kit” includes important links to valuable information on a number of medical negligence cases handled by the firm as well as detailed guidelines on the five areas of qualification to determine if a medical malpractice incident has in fact occurred.
Mr. Kaire’s firm is located in Miami and handles in all types of personal injury cases. To learn more about the outstanding case results the firm has achieved, click here.
Hats off to Mark Kaire and his team for leading the way in technology for the citizens of Florida!
Senior Vice President
Congratulations to attorneys Adam Reisner and Tessa King, of Reisner & King, LLP, and their client on receiving a verdict of $610,000 against the plaintiff’s former employer in Yolo County, California.
The plaintiff, Kosol Main, prevailed on his employment claims for unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on his race (Asian), disability (diabetes) and for taking legally protected baby bonding leave (to care for his sick newborn son), as well as claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial lasted 13 days with the jury deliberations lasting two days. The jury awarded the plaintiff $410,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.
The law offices of Reisner & King, LLP, provide individually-tailored advice and representation in the areas of employment law, personal injury, and business litigation in Los Angeles and the surrounding counties. Whether pursuing mediation or litigation in California or federal court, they provide the highest level of care and consideration, always maintaining open lines of communication and accessibility for their clients. To learn more about the Law Office of Reisner & King, LLP, click here.
Advocate Capital, Inc. thanks Reisner & King, LLP, for continuing to fight injustice and discrimination in hostile work environments.
Special Pricing Available for Advocate Capital, Inc. Clients
In addition to the unique strategic business solutions we provide trial lawyers across the U.S., Advocate Capital, Inc. clients are also eligible for complimentary QuickBooks support as well as a 30% savings on the purchase of QuickBooks software and upgrades and a 20% savings on QuickBooks supplies.
Intuit recently announced the release of its latest version, QuickBooks 2014 and the discontinued support for 2010 and prior versions so if you’ve been thinking about upgrading your current version of QuickBooks, now is a great time.
If you’re wondering what’s new in QuickBooks 2014, I’ve provided links below as an overview/comparison of the new 2014 features (Advocate Capital, Inc. Clients receive a 30% cost savings off the prices listed in the link):
QuickBooks Pro Users:
QuickBooks Premier Users:
If you would like to take advantage of the special cost savings for new purchases or upgrades or the complimentary QuickBooks support, click here to contact me or contact your Advocate Capital, Inc. Account Representative for more information.
Our objective is to help our clients obtain the best possible results for their clients and their businesses.
Senior Vice President, Client Services
QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor
Photo Credit: qb Services
In a recent settlement with Skyjack, Inc. and Ahern Rentals, Inc., Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and colleague, Sean Claggett and his team received a significant recovery for a client who suffered numerous debilitating injuries, including brain shear and frontal lobe injuries as a result of a horrific fall from a scissor lift.
In October of 2007, as the plaintiff was installing air conditioning duct work in a hotel ceiling from the platform of a Skyjack scissor lift, his tool belt caught the underside of the top guardrail causing it to completely separate from the lift. Plaintiff fell 22 feet to the ground below, landing face first on the concrete floor.
The discovery and proof in the case was a constant battle of finger pointing between the manufacturer (Skyjack) and the equipment rental service (Ahern). Among other facts, Mr. Claggett and his team were ultimately discovered:
- Skyjack never physically tested the amount of force the guardrail could withstand in this design in accordance with ANSI standards, prior to the incident.
- One or more of the decals Skyjack placed on the scissor lift were false. The false decals represented to the user that the guardrails had been tested and complied with industry safety standards, when in fact the guardrails had not been properly tested in accordance with those standards, and even if they were tested they did not meet minimum industry safety standards.
- There was an economically feasible alternative design available in 2004 when the lift was placed on the market. Skyjack FINALLY changed the design in December, 2012, however, Skyjack has not recalled the tens of thousands of defective machines.
- Several subsequent similar fall incidents have occurred since this plaintiff’s incident in 2007, which appear to be related to the defective railing design.
- Ahern representatives testified that they see bent guardrails “all the time” and their policy was to straighten them or replace them.
- Ahern also admitted that during a year they replace some 35,000 of the pins designed to hold the guardrail in place.
The plaintiff’s medical expenses exceeded $387,000 with future medical expenses of approx. $2.4MM. Plaintiff’s broken bones and other injuries are too numerous to list in this short summary with his medical records in excess of 4,300 pages. His brain injury is so severe that his mother has been ordered and appointed as his legal guardian.
Mr. Claggett, founding member of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, concentrates his practice representing plaintiffs in substantial personal injury and products liability cases. In 2010, Sean was named Alumni of the Year for the Boyd School of Law at UNLV where he teaches Law Practice Management.
Thanks to Sean Claggett from citizens everywhere for your diligent efforts in keeping us safe and corporate America accountable!
Senior Vice President