Authored By: Krista Kemmerly
Paralegal Alesia Emison of Langdon & Emison has been named the 2018 winner of the American Association for Justice Paralegal of the Year Award Sponsored by Advocate Capital, Inc. Emison was nominated for this prestigious award by Attorney Bob Langdon, who has been recognized as one of the top personal injury litigators in the country. Langdon said she is more than qualified to receive this recognition, “It is Alesia’s substantial contributions to our cases and paralegal team as well as her tremendous dedication to our clients that sets her apart and makes her the ideal recipient of this award.”
As a paralegal for Langdon & Emison, Emison’s leadership and contributions have a profound impact on the paralegal team and law firm. The team also relies on Emison to oversee the interview, onboarding and training process for every new legal assistant hired to work in the firm’s personal injury division. Attorney Langdon says Emison continues to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of her clients and co-workers, “Alesia’s leadership enriches the lives of her clients and colleagues and enhances the culture of our law firm. Her work is guided by a dedication to service and giving back to others.”
In addition to serving on staff at Langdon & Emison, Emison has also presented at nationwide paralegal seminars on topics such as the HITECH Act—an Individual’s Right to Access Personal Health Information—teaching paralegals how to save client’s money and retrieve records quickly, which in turn resolves cases faster. Emison has also written articles for paralegal publications, including an instructional article on conducting focus groups for cases.
Only candidates who have made considerable contributions to the paralegal profession and community, shown their value as members of a legal services team, and committed themselves to AAJ’s mission are considered for Paralegal of the Year. Emison was selected from numerous entrants, and as this year’s award winner, she will receive an engraved trophy and free airfare, hotel and registration to AAJ’s Annual Convention July 7-10 in Denver, Colorado.
“We are so pleased to be able to collaborate with AAJ on this important award. Paralegals are a key component to any successful law firm. We hope that this award will help draw attention to the important work that they do in our nation’s civil justice system,” commented Advocate Capital, Inc.’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael J. Swanson.
Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms nationwide. It has served the plaintiff bar since 1999 from its headquarters in Nashville, TN and now enjoys a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit www.AdvocateCapital.com.
Our friend, Sean Claggett, of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, recently obtained another outstanding jury verdict on behalf of his client. The jury returned a $3,382,000 verdict after a top pretrial offer from the lead Defendant of $20,000.
On October 1, 2013, a tow truck driver pulled up to a gas station, parked his tow truck and entered the station. The tow truck rolled backward and out of the gas station parking lot. The truck rolled across three lanes of traffic, hopped the median, and collided with a 2013 Nissan Cube. The force of the impact caused multiple injuries to the driver of the Cube, including low back pain, left and right shoulder pain, vascular headache, and thoracic spine pain. The driver later had surgeries to fix her shoulder injuries and multiple sets of injections and rhizotomies to her spine. The tow truck driver adamantly claimed that he set the parking break in the truck.
During discovery, it was determined that the manufacturer of the truck never tested the parking brake lever before placing it into thousands of commercial vehicles. Experts determined that the parking brake failed, which allowed the tow truck to roll backwards out of the parking lot. Experts also determined the cause of the failure was high cycle fatigue. It was also confirmed that at some point between November 2011 and December 2012, the Defendant tow truck company replaced the parking brake handle on this tow truck and did so without consulting any instructions. The evidence of defect was so clear during trial that the court ruled as a matter of law that the parking brake was defective.
The Plaintiff team successfully showed the jury that the tow truck manufacturer and the tow truck company were both at fault in this case. The Plaintiff had zero fault in this incident as she could not get out of the way of the tow truck. The verdict apportioned the liability at 75% to the truck manufacturer and 25% to the tow company.
Senior Vice President
Authored By: Candace Whitman
Most new vehicles now have keyless ignitions. Cars with keyless ignitions require a fob that transmits a signal to start the car as opposed to a physical key. The driver is able start and stop the car with just the push of a button. This new feature is convenient, but it can also be dangerous if the driver forgets to push the button to stop the car before leaving it.
A car that is unknowingly left running inside of a garage can lead to unintentional Carbon Monoxide poisoning, which can result in death, coma, deafness, brain damage, memory loss, cardiac problems, concentration problems, and more. Leto Copeley of Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC writes, ”According to a recent New York Times study, 28 people have died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused when a keyless ignition vehicle was mistakenly left running. Another 45 have been injured.”
Some cars with keyless ignitions beep or sound an alarm if the driver closes the car door without stopping the car, but many do not have any safety features installed to safe-guard if the driver forgets to push stop. Copeley reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Association has expressed concern and issued warnings to consumers and automakers over the years, but no action has been taken.
In 2011, the Society of Automotive Engineers recommended that regulations be put in place that would require all future vehicles with keyless ignitions to have safety features that alert drivers that the car has been left on or shut-off automatically after the car has been unoccupied for a certain period of time, but the automotive industry was opposed so no regulation was ever put in place.
People who own vehicles with keyless ignition, even those with safety features installed, should take precautions to protect themselves and those around them from these serious risks. Copeley suggests installing a Carbon Monoxide detector in your garage, checking each time you walk away from your car that it has been shut off, always taking your fob with you when you exit your car, and storing your fob far away from your car when it is not in use.
Photo Credit: Mohd Hairul Fiza Musa
On September 10th, 2015 a teenage driver of a Mercedes Benz caused severe and permanent injuries to the plaintiff driver of a Mitsubishi Outlander while using the Snapchat Speed Filter. The speed filter documents the speed the user is traveling and overlays the speed onto a picture of the Snapchat user.
The plaintiffs filed suit against the defendant driver and Snapchat in Georgia State Court in of April 2016. The Plaintiffs claim the teenage driver wanted to reach 100 mph and then use the Speed Filter to show her friends how fast she was traveling, and win a “trophy” from Snapchat. The defendant’s car was traveling at 107 MPH when the accident occurred.
The Georgia State Court Judge dismissed the lawsuit ruling in Snapchat’s favor. The Judge cited the Communication Decency Act (CDA) protected online publishers of third-party content and immunized Snapchat from liability linked to the speed filter.
The plaintiff’s filed an appeal. The Georgia Court of Appeals recently ruled Snapchat is not immune from litigation under the federal Communications Decency Act. They ruled the plaintiff’s lawsuit:
”… does not seek to hold Snapchat liable as a speaker of the publisher of a third party user’s content. Rather, they argue that their complaint seeks to hold Snapchat liable for the negligent creation, design, and maintenance of the speed filter that encourages excessive speeding, not for the posts themselves. Accordingly, we hold that CDA immunity does not apply because there was no third-party user content published.”
The appellate court order can be read here.
The case is remanded back to the State Court. Advocate Capital, Inc. will continue to follow this case.
Advocate Capital, Inc. appreciates the hard work plaintiff attorneys do every day on behalf of their clients and we support them in their quest to hold individuals and companies responsible for harm caused to innocent bystanders.
Executive Client Manager, II
Authored By: Lisa Larkin
Once again, Advocate Capital’s employees enjoyed our monthly appreciation event. This month, the ‘Amazing’ Accounting & Operations Department hosted the event.
On June 12th, we headed outside to enjoy the sunshine, extra warm weather, food from Jersey Mike’s and a golf themed “cupcake” cake from Publix.
After lunch, we played 9 holes of mini golf. Yes, mini golf.
Holes To Go Nashville is a local business that brings the course to you. They provide the holes (complete with obstacles), putters, golf balls, pencils and score cards. You can’t play mini golf without keeping score, because at Advocate Capital, we are very competitive when it comes to our employee events. All in the name of fun, of course.
Two trophies were awarded. One for the lowest score (the winner) and another for the highest score. You never know when coming in last will get you a prize, or trophy in this case.
Brian Shorthouse, a new Credit Compliance Manager, received the lowest score trophy with a score of 15.
Cindy Sharp, from our Quality Assurance team, received the highest score trophy with a score of 29.
Congratulations to Brian and Cindy along with the whole Advocate Capital team for giving it your all during our employee appreciation events and with our clients every day. What a winning team we have!
To see more from our fun event, watch the video below!
Authored By: Iris Garrett
Every attorney is well versed in the law, but what about the laws of fashion? The legal field’s changing landscape is making these rules a bit harder to wrap our heads around, and as a result, making it difficult for both male and female lawyers to know how to dress for the job.
In an article in the ABA Journal, Liane Jackson says it wasn’t that long ago that the lawyer dress code was constrained and predictable: monochromatic color schemes, boxy-shouldered suits, and womenswear that was basically menswear. Now, she says legal fashion is loosening up, with a growing trend toward style and comfort. Jackson says depending on your location or practice area, you may find female attorneys opting for no sleeves and their male counterparts opting to wear dress shoes with no socks.
There has also been a shift to more tailored attire and wearing clothing as a form of self-expression. However, some warn that going “too tailored” with your fashion choices can lead to unintended consequences: “It’s a balance of being respectful and being an individual” says Attorney Shelley Duff in the article. “The law still has that aspect of tradition. It doesn’t let you go too far, but I try to push the boundaries of what I wear.”
Jackson says your appearance is key to making a good first impression, especially in the courtroom where jurors may be judging both the case and those making the arguments. She says rules can vary from court to court and in each jurisdiction, but overall, attire in these proceedings remains relatively conservative. “The courtroom is the last bastion of formality in America. We’ve stopped dressing up for the theater, for church, but when it comes to court, there are still rules,” says the Fashion Law Institute’s Susan Scafidi in the article.
So, what should a male or female attorney wear that will reflect their personality but also remain professional? Jackson says there is no one answer. Some days, a lawyer’s outfit can be their suit of armor, mentally and visually preparing them for a legal battle. Other days, their fashion choices may provide a break from the formality. But if you must know, she says a winning look is whatever you feel and perform best in.
To read Liane Jackson’s full article in the ABA Journal, click here.
Photo Credit: Maksim Evdokimov
Authored By: Candace Whitman
Are you attending the 60th Annual Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys Convention, “Founded on Justice”?
The convention is being held next week on June 21st through the 24th at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark.
Jeff Glueck and Brenda Bunkers will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at the convention. We welcome you to stop by our booth to chat and learn more about case expense funding.
While you are there, you can also register to win a pair of Beats Studio Wireless Headphones!
The MATA convention will give attorneys the opportunity to attend a variety of CLE’s with top state and national speakers, explore new products and services, and network.
We hope to see you there.
Authored By: Iris Garrett
Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Team Hope is taking service to a brand-new level! Last month, our Team Hope volunteers got down and dirty for a “Spring Clean-Up” in Nashville, TN. The city, which is also home to the Advocate Capital, Inc. headquarters, is a beautiful place to live, work, and visit, and our volunteers wanted to help keep it that way for years to come!
18 team members took part in the Spring Clean on May 31st, fully equipped with their green shirts, trash bags and gloves. Despite temperatures soaring well above 80˚, the Team Hope volunteers cleared the streets of any litter they could find and disposed all of it properly in a company dumpster.
Team Hope enjoys making an impact on the Nashville community, and we welcome opportunities to serve others in need. To see more from our Spring Clean project, check out our Facebook, Google+ and watch the video below!
Authored By: Candace Whitman
CNN reports that a Florida man was found dead last month after an e-cigarette explosion. Officials found the man with a wound to his top lip and burns on his body. A section of the e-cigarette, manufactured by Smok-E Mountain, was projectiled while the device was in use.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the cause of e-cigarette explosions is often unclear, but in many cases, evidence suggests that battery-related issues lead to the explosions.
Thomas Kiklas, chief financial officer of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, explains that e-cigarettes with a smaller wattage unit “may not have the power to fail as dramatically” as those with larger batteries. Kiklas says, “The two major causes of dramatic failures with the larger units are overcharging of the battery and then the shorting of the battery.”
E-cigarette explosions are rare, but this is not an isolated incident. Data from the US Fire Administration shows that there were 195 separate e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents in the United States reported by the media between 2009 and 2016.
E-cigarette users should take precautions to ensure they are always using their device safely. The FDA suggests replacing the battery if it gets damaged or wet. Kiklas says users should always use the charger that comes with the battery and check that the charger has an automatic shut-off device so the battery does not get overcharged. Users should also not carry the battery out of its case to avoid shorts.
Click here to read CNN’s article about this incident.
Photo Credit: Nathan King
After 11 years of debate, a class-action lawsuit that would allow regulation of trucking companies at a state level will move ahead in California, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court turned aside the appeal of J.B Hunt Transport Inc., one the largest trucking and logistics companies in the country.
J.B. Hunt had appealed to stop the lawsuit, which would allow California to set work and wage rules for truck drivers.
Attorney Stanley Saltzman of Marlin & Saltzman, the firm who launched the case, said “We finally get to go to trial on behalf of California drivers.” Mr. Saltzman said a trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 25 before a federal judge in Los Angeles.
The suit was first filed in 2007, when drivers claimed Lowell, Ark- based J.B Hunt didn’t have to comply with California’s minimum wage law and mandatory rest and meal break law. J.B Hunt, along with industry groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the state laws are preempted by a 1994 federal law that bars states from setting laws affecting the price, routes and services of trucking companies.
Read more about the trial set in September here.
Photo Credit: Natalia Bratslavsky