Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

 

The legal system, by its nature, imposes certain standards, deadlines and costs that encourage personal-injury litigators to take on only the best cases—or cases with high values or those in which liability is uncontested.

Assembly line Mecklenburg Injury Lawyer Charlotte Car Accident Law FirmThat reality, coupled with other factors, has led to the establishment of some personal-injury legal practices that for the most part avoid litigation, endeavoring instead to settle clients’ claims as quickly as possible.

In an article published in the Hanford Sentinel, a Fresno, California-based attorney told personal-injury lawyer Dennis Beaver that claimants need to beware of “‘personal injury mills’ who advertise heavily on television and will take anything, looking for a quick settlement that is in their interest, not yours.”

Personal-injury or settlement mills have established, in essence, a niche market for low-value personal-injury claims. While the mills have the benefit of serving clients who may otherwise go without representation, many traditional tort lawyers criticize their practices, contending that they provide subpar representation and damage the reputation of lawyers.

In the October 2011 edition of the New York University Law Review, Nora Freeman Engstrom—an assistant professor at Stanford Law School—wrote that “personal injury mills” (Engstrom calls them “settlement mills”) operate “on the far end of a continuum of personal injury practice.” That is, the mills process claims on the low end of the compensation spectrum, claims other lawyers turn down because of low value. Lawyers turn down many low-value claims because the effort of a lawsuit, a trial and all that litigation entails are not worth the uncertain return.

Settlement mills, Engtrom writes, “advertise aggressively and settle what are usually low-stakes personal injury claims in high volumes, typically with little attorney-client interaction and without initiating lawsuits—much less taking claims to trial.”

In the article, titled “Sunlight and Settlement Mills,” Engstrom finds the rise of settlement mills astonishing, writing that while the business-model operates within the confines of traditional tort (“torts” are centuries-old legal doctrines that underlie most personal-injury claims), it has “quietly and improbably” delivered “to accident victims fairly certain and standardized sums at relatively low systemic cost.”

Engstrom details the “cookie cutter” approach taken by “settlement mill” law firms, noting that lawyers and staff rarely meet with clients; that cases are not investigated and lawsuits are rarely filed. Case values are based on formulas and are not correlated with actual injuries suffered by clients.

This “assembly-line model” is in stark contrast to the kind of detail-oriented representation provided by law firms in the traditional personal-injury litigation setting, where every lead is exhausted, no stone is left unturned, and no expense is spared in promoting a client’s interests. The trouble with settlement mills is, Engstrom writes, that many clients believe when they sign up that they are retaining the “old-fashioned conventional counsel.” This raises “profound issues of fairness and informed consent,” Engstrom warns.

It is not easy to find a good lawyer, and it is downright difficult to find a good lawyer to take a small case, Engstrom writes. Traditionally, the law has been a reputation business, a business of referrals by family, friends, associates, clients and former clients. That was until 1977, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona that bans on legal advertising were incompatible with the First Amendment. That cleared the way for attorneys and law firms to advertise aggressively. A partner from a Louisiana settlement mill told Engstrom, “I always thought it was crazy to have a referral system where you’re relying on Aunt Nessie’s neighbor’s postman’s baker to send you a case [when instead] I get on television, I tell people to call me, and they do.”

The lifting of the ban on attorney advertising opened the door to new legal business models and, in turn, opened the proverbial halls of justice to a new class of personal-injury claimants—those with small claims that may oftentimes be rejected by traditional firms. Settlement mills advertise more aggressively than traditional law firms and lawyers and derive most of their business from their advertising efforts. Studies show that while traditional-model personal-injury attorneys have on average sixty-to-seventy cases open at a time and serve in the range of one-hundred clients per year, lawyers at settlement mills serve anywhere from three-to-four times that amount.

Engstrom detailed two high-profile settlement mills—one from Texas and another from California—in her article, noting that the firms handled claims ranging in value from $1,000 to $20,000, tried to settle claims as quickly as possible—frequently within ninety to one-hundred-and-eighty days—and referred cases involving catastrophic injury or in which liability was contested to outside counsel. Clients rarely or never met with attorneys; most cases were handled, or “moved” by non-attorney staff members. One firm did not take a single case to trial over a period of six years. In general, the law firms were, ironically, places “where any connection to the formal law was highly tenuous.”

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

Part 4:

Settlement Mills IV: The pros and cons of settlement mills and suggested solutions

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “I was involved in a motor vehicle accident with injuries. Do I need a lawyer?”

 

By their nature, lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming and difficult. That means that when attorneys consider taking personal-injury cases on a contingency basis, they must choose their cases wisely, or choose only those cases on which they feel they are likely to receive an adequate return on their investment of time, energy and resources.

One man image Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Car accident attorneyMany attorneys, legal scholars and legislators have fought for decades for the establishment of some kind of modified, no-fault tort system for smaller personal-injury cases. They argue that the traditional tort system imposes high-transaction costs, delays compensation to injured claimants for months and years at a time, serves to clog up already-crowded court dockets, and delivers “unpredictable, lottery-like awards” to claimants—awards made by jurors who have little contact with the legal system and who have little means or knowledge sufficient to render decisions on liability or on the amount of compensation appropriate in a given case.

Furthermore, critics of the traditional tort model argue, the high-cost, fact-intensive “fault” tort system leaves out many injured claimants—notably those with small claims. In simple terms, it simply is not worth it for a personal-injury attorney operating in the traditional tort litigation model to take on small cases.

That was not always the case. Bakersfield, California attorney Dennis Beaver wrote recently in the Hanford Sentinel that settlement amounts in car-accident cases made millionaires out of thousands of attorneys, claimants, doctors and chiropractors in the 1980s and 1990s. In years past, a claims supervisor at a major California insurance company told Beaver, plaintiffs in accident cases “could expect the average claim to settle for at least three times the medical bills in addition to lost wages, regardless of how severe the impact was.” In California, however, settlement values returned to Earth years ago.

These days, adjusters closely examine claims to see whether the impact and damage to a claimant’s vehicle justified the injuries and treatment. If the claim is accepted, adjusters will seek to limit the nature and duration of treatment, leaving claimants to pay medical bills on their own in some instances. Even in cases in which property damage was significant, adjusters usually only have the authority to settle a claim for one-and-a-half to two times the amount of bills for related medical treatment.

The slim margins in small injury cases means, in practical terms, that it may be “difficult to find a good attorney to take your case,” the claims supervisor told Beaver. That leaves claimants either to handle claims on their own or to turn to a so-called “settlement mill.” A Fresno, California-based attorney told Beaver that claimants need to beware of “‘personal injury mills’ who advertise heavily on television and will take anything, looking for a quick settlement that is in their interest, not yours.”

Personal-injury or settlement mills have established, in essence, a niche market for low-value personal-injury claims. While the mills have the benefit of serving clients who may otherwise go without representation, many traditional tort lawyers criticize their practices, contending that they provide subpar representation and damage the reputation of lawyers.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

Part 3:

Settlement Mills III: Goal of settlement mills is to settle quickly, often for low value

 

About the Author

MattMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

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“The one man power in our jury system LCCN2011661381″ by Joseph Keppler – Library of CongressCatalog: http://lccn.loc.gov/2011661381Image download: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/28100/28169v.jpgOriginal url: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.28169. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_one_man_power_in_our_jury_system_LCCN2011661381.jpg#/media/File:The_one_man_power_in_our_jury_system_LCCN2011661381.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I am injured in a car accident or at work what should I do?”

 

Seasoned attorneys—or those who were practicing law before the United States Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona—grit their teeth at the door that case opened.

Business meeting Charlotte Wrongful Death Mecklenburg Injury Law FirmI say seasoned: Bates was decided nearly forty years ago, meaning the legal profession’s collective memory of a time before legal advertising is fading. In those forty years, the door that Bates opened has been blown off its hinges, as many attorneys and firms have shifted their focus from the practice of law to the business of law, treating the practice with an entrepreneurial spirit more akin to the hocking of a two-cent product than a several-hundred-dollar-per-hour-service.

Attorneys charge high by-the-hour fees because the work they perform on behalf of clients is often specialized, so detailed and requiring such training and experience that no one else—literally—can perform it. In personal injury cases, however, most attorneys make an exception to the standard, by-the-hour billing practice. Instead of asking their clients to pay them on a regular basis for work expended on a case as the case progresses, attorneys work on a “contingency” basis—that is, attorneys do not bill and collect fees from clients during the pendency of a case but instead collect a percentage of the award to a client if a case settles or if—after a trial—a judge or jury makes an award to a client. If no settlement or award is made, the attorney—like the client—gets nothing.

In order to win a personal-injury case, a lawyer must prove that the at-fault party (the defendant) was at fault, or caused the injury to the lawyer’s client through negligent or intentional conduct. Oftentimes a defendant will argue that he or she was not at fault and will hire a lawyer to defend him or her. Or, as is common in accident cases, the defendant had a policy of insurance in effect at the time of the accident, and the insurance company hires a lawyer to argue that the defendant was not at fault and to otherwise defend against the claim.

Proving fault often involves amassing evidence through a labor-intensive investigation that involves time-consuming, effort-heavy and costly discovery mechanisms like depositions. In complicated cases, the cost of transcripts for depositions alone can run into the tens-of-thousands of dollars.

The process of proving a case can be “slow, costly, cumbersome, and unpredictable,” writes Nora Freeman Engstrom in an article published in the October 2011 edition of the New York University Law Review, titled “Sunlight and Settlement Mills.” At the end of the process is a jury, charged with determining who was at fault and the amount of damages to be paid, if any, to an injured party.

Since most attorneys take personal-injury claims on a “contingency” basis—meaning the attorney gets a percentage of the jury award or settlement, if any—the attorney can only take a case that promises a large return. Up-front legal costs—the costs associated with filing lawsuits, taking depositions, and securing expert witnesses who may charge tens of thousands of dollars for service and testimony—further complicates the process, as attorneys and clients must determine who will foot the bill for those costs, which may never be recouped.

What that means, in practical terms, is that attorneys must be extremely selective when considering taking on new cases. In general, busy personal-injury attorneys who litigate contested cases choose only high-value cases or cases in which liability is uncontested. Where liability is contested, an attorney must be convinced that, at a minimum, he or she has a compelling argument to make to a jury regarding the fault of a defendant in a case.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

Part 2:

Settlement Mills II: Slick advertising draws in pool of underserved legal clients

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jochen_Vomhof_im_Mandantengespr%C3%A4ch.jpg

 

 

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The Problem With Secret Settlements :: Personal Injury Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “The insurance company wants to send me to their own doctor for a second opinion. Do I have to go?”

 

Before last week, I did not know that the Rev. Al Sharpton had a daughter. I follow the news, therefore I now know that Sharpton has a daughter named Dominique, that she has sued the City of New York for $5-million over debilitating pain “she still suffers” after “twisting her ankle in a street crack in Soho last year,” according to the New York Post, and that on May 16 she hiked up a mountain in Bali, Indonesia.

Broken sidewalk Uptown Charlotte Injury Law firm Mecklenburg accident attorneyThat last bit of information came from Ms. Sharpton herself. She posted photos and commentary related to her mountain hike on her Facebook page. That was bad timing, because news had just broken of her lawsuit over the ankle injury for which “she still suffers.”

Legal analysts were quick to pounce. On CNN, Paul Callan quipped that the post “graphically demonstrates bad judgment and good feet. It all adds up to no case.”

No personal injury case that is, for injuries Sharpton claims she suffered in a misstep in a crosswalk at Broome Street and Broadway in Manhattan on October 2, 2014. By December, according to the New York Post, Sharpton began appearing in social-media images in high heels. The mountain climb, the Post speculates, “may sink her dubious case for good.”

The use of social media to torpedo Sharpton’s case is part of a growing trend in personal injury litigation. Social-media images and statements can affect personal injury cases “positively or negatively,” DigitalTrends.com reports, but “trends show the latter is more likely to happen.”

In other words, if a person has filed a lawsuit over back and neck injuries sustained in a car wreck a year ago, it probably is not a good idea for the same person to take to Facebook and Twitter to show off one’s Olympics-qualifying training regimen.

As the National Post reports, a judge on the British Columbia Supreme Court recently rejected a woman’s claim for damages in a personal injury case “by pulling 194 pages of her Facebook account and using it as evidence against her.”

Jim Keller, a partner at Keller & Keller, a personal injury law firm, said that his firm advises clients to stay off of social media while a case is pending. He said he also advises clients to warn friends regarding what they post on their social media pages and to restrict privacy settings so that outsiders have limited access to accounts.

“Insurance companies know Facebook is the go-to site for people to chronicle their daily events, including details about their accident,” Keller told DigitalTrends.com.

So watch out!

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/courts-could-use-social-media-exploits-as-evidence/

http://nypost.com/2015/05/18/al-sharptons-daughter-hiked-up-a-mountain-on-sprained-ankle/

 

 

Image Credit

“Chuetsu earthquake-earthquake liquefaction1″. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chuetsu_earthquake-earthquake_liquefaction1.jpg#/media/File:Chuetsu_earthquake-earthquake_liquefaction1.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I have to sign a release allowing the insurance company to get my medical records?”

 

After Sgt. Matthew Kohr bought a venti-sized cup of his favorite coffee blend—called “Something Special”—from his favorite barista at his preferred Starbucks location in Raleigh, North Carolina, he received something unexpected and—he alleged in a lawsuit against the coffee chain—life changing.

Starbucks Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Trial AttorneyKohr, a Raleigh police officer, sought $750,000 from Starbucks after he was served coffee in a cup with no sleeve and an improperly secured lid. Kohr said the lid popped off the coffee and the cup collapsed. The hot coffee spilled on Kohr’s lap, burning his inner thigh and the tip of his penis, according to the Los Angeles Times. The burn caused such severe stress that it activated Kohr’s Crohn’s disease, “which required surgery to remove part of his intestine,” according to ABC 11.

Kohr was sitting in the Starbucks store when he sustained the burns. “I wanted to beat my chest and scream,” he testified last week during a jury trial in the Tar Heel State’s capital. The store was filled with customers, however, Kohr, said, so he ran to the bathroom, where his partner poured cold water on his leg. A burn and blisters had already formed.

The third-degree burns left Kohr “clinically depressed, anxious, sleep-deprived and unable to enjoy every day life,” his lawsuit alleged. The injury also affected his relationship with his wife to the point that she lost consortium—or her legal right to the “company, affection and assistance” of her spouse.

Starbucks’ lawyer blamed Sgt. Kohr for spilling the coffee. “How does someone who knows their coffee is hot, who has had fifty cups of free coffee in the last two months, how does that person spill their coffee?” the lawyer asked the jury. She also pointed out that Kohr drove from the Starbucks to a police lot, then drove his truck home, where his wife photographed his injury. Significantly, the lawyer said, Kohr waited over two hours before seeking medical attention.

Starbucks also pointed out that while it serves more than four billion cups of coffee per year, less than sixty damages claims have been filed against the company. The company argued that Kohr’s depression was caused by steroids he took to treat his Crohn’s disease, and that his Crohn’s disease was not related to the coffee spill.

Following a week of testimony, a jury deliberated for approximately four hours, returning with a ten-to-two verdict in favor of Starbucks. The verdict means that Kohr gets nothing.

Kohr’s lawsuit sparked comparison to the famous 1994 Liebeck v. McDonald’s, a case in which a New Mexico jury awarded a 79-year-old customer $2.86 million after spilling hot coffee in her lap. That case became “the poster child of excessive lawsuits,” according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://abc11.com/news/starbucks-not-liable-for-raleigh-police-officers-burns/713613/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-starbucks-lawsuit-20150512-story.html

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consortium

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article20665194.html

 

 

Image Credit

“Starbucks in WashingtonDC”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Starbucks_in_WashingtonDC.jpg#/media/File:Starbucks_in_WashingtonDC.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” If an incident report was filled out, do I have a right to receive a copy?”

 

Gamblers and boxing fans are crying foul after what has been billed as boxing’s richest bout, held last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. Undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. defeated Manny Pacquiao in a twelve-round decision.

Tom Brady Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Civil AttorneyAfter the fight, fans learned that Pacquiao revealed—just prior to the bout—that he had suffered a shoulder injury. According to Time, Pacquiao is expected to undergo surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, which is likely to keep him out of the boxing ring for as long as a year.

The revelations about Pacquiao’s injury caused Francisco Aguilar, the chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, to question why Pacquiao failed to publically disclose the injury before the match. Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, took the blame for checking “no” on a pre-bout form that asked whether the fighter was injured, calling it “an inadvertent mistake.”

That explanation did not suit plaintiffs Staphane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran. They sued Pacquiao, Top Rank, Inc., Koncz, promoter Robert Arum and a number of other defendants in federal court on Monday, claiming they should be reimbursed for sums they paid either for tickets or for pay-per-view packages used to view the bout. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all individuals who purchased tickets or pay-per-view packages or who placed wagers on the bout, claiming that Pacquiao’s injury was fraudulently concealed.

If Vanel’s and Rahbaran’s lawsuit holds up, fans of the National Football League’s New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady may be in for a rocky summer. After complaints registered by the Indianapolis Colts following their loss to the Patriots in last season’s American Football Conference Championship game, league officials launched an investigation into whether game footballs were intentionally deflated.

In the media whirlwind that followed the Colts’ allegation, audio surfaced from a 2011 interview in which Brady said he liked throwing deflated balls. Media outlets called the incident “deflategate” after the famous scandal involving Washington D.C.’s Watergate office complex that torpedoed Richard Nixon’s presidency in the mid-1970s.

After a nearly four-month investigation, league officials concluded that at least two Patriots equipment managers were involved in deflating footballs before the game against the Colts. Text messages exchanged between the equipment managers appeared to show that Brady was aware of efforts to deflate balls.

If Brady and at least two members of the Patriots staff were involved in a conspiracy to deflate footballs for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage, then it follows—based on the suit against Pacquiao, et al.—that football fans and gamblers were swindled not only by the delating action but also by the fraudulent concealment of the deflating of balls. They too might argue that they are entitled to reimbursement for sums expended on a game whose outcome was artificially affected by the actions of Brady and others in the Patriots organization.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://time.com/3848142/manny-pacquiao-floyd-mayweather-lawsuit-shoulder-injury/

http://www3.8newsnow.com/2015/uploads/server/php/files/manny.pdf

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/2015/05/06/read-the-texts-that-suggest-tom-brady-knew-about-deflategate/RvOL44sKCsjUnG6IlSrLGJ/story.html

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24980832/tom-brady-in-2011-i-like-deflated-footballs

 

 

Image Credit

“Tom Brady 2014″ by Jeffrey Beall – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tom_Brady_2014.jpg#/media/File:Tom_Brady_2014.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What exactly is a wrongful death claim?”

 

Police are looking for someone who decapitated a thirteen-year-old deaf-and-blind service dog.

Injured dog Charlotte Injury Attorney Mecklenburg Accident LawyerShirley and Dennis Morrow—the dog’s owners—said a family friend who was helping them search for the dog located the animal’s body—sans its head—last Thursday. The Morrows allege that someone entered their fenced-in yard in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and stole an ax, a sledgehammer, a shovel and a propane tank.

Sadly, they say, whoever stole the items likely stole the head off their beloved pooch—named Libby. Investigators say the dog’s head has not yet been found. Cleveland County Animal Control officers found the animal’s collar while searching the Morrows’ yard on Friday.

The Tri-County Animal Shelter is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for the killing. Meanwhile, officials with the Kings Mountain Police Department say they have few leads as to the identity of the killer. The Morrows say they are keeping a watchful eye on their other dogs.

“You don’t think something like [this] would happen in a small town,” Dennis Morrow told the Charlotte Observer. The Morrows live in a residential area of Kings Mountain not far from the city’s downtown area. Kings Mountain is a small suburb of nearby Charlotte, North Carolina.

The perpetrator—if found—faces charges of burglary, larceny and animal cruelty. Prosecutors would likely charge the perpetrator with Felonious Cruelty to an Animal—nicknamed “Susie’s Law”—a relatively new law that strengthened criminal penalties for individuals who inflict particularly heinous acts of cruelty upon animals.

Civil actions brought by aggrieved pet owners against those who kill their pets by negligent or intentional conduct are available in North Carolina. Some states—California and Illinois—allow aggrieved pet owners to recover damages for the “peculiar value” of a lost pet, comparing pets to “other unique and irreplaceable items.” Courts in California, Hawaii, Florida, New York and Oregon have upheld damages awarded for emotional distress inflicted upon a pet owner as a result of a pet’s killing.

Unfortunately, courts in North Carolina have not recognized the “unique and irreplaceable” value of pets as justifying an award of damages beyond their market value. The market value of a dog is, in most cases, quite modest—at most a few hundred dollars. North Carolina courts have also not, to date, recognized an emotional distress claim arising from the killing of a pet, although some legal scholars believe a 1913 case—Beasley v. Byrum—authorizes emotional-distress damages in intentional-pet-killing cases.

Since the perpetrator in the Morrow case, by all accounts, intended to kill “Libby,” the Morrows could seek punitive damages in a suit against the perpetrator. Punitive damages can be awarded in cases in which a perpetrator evinces “willful, wanton or malicious” conduct. A judge or jury could set a punitive damages amount sufficient, in the view of the judge or jury, to punish the perpetrator for his or her wrongdoing.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067342/Family-finds-blind-13-year-old-rescue-dog-decapitated-yard.html

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/community/news-alliance/wbtv-news/article20165181.html

https://www.google.com/maps/place/S+Gaston+St,+Kings+Mountain,+NC+28086/@35.2433862,-81.3303487,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x8856e7e1e76252f3:0x5530caec347ce9de

http://www.wcnc.com/story/news/crime/2015/01/26/police-nc-man-shot-killed-dog-that-wouldnt-stop-barking/22367003/

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/dog-book/chapter9-6.html

http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2368&context=faculty_scholarship

https://casetext.com/case/beasley-v-byrum

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microphthalmia_in_half_blind_dog.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

 

Legal bills have made the business of “Punkin Chunkin” uncertain, but Punkin Chunkin president Ricky Nietubicz said he is committed to holding the annual pumpkin-flinging event at Dover Motorsports, Inc. in the State of Delaware’s capital.

Pumpkin Flying Charlotte Injury Law Firm Mecklenburg Wrongful Death AttorneysState lawmakers in the Diamond State are worried a 2013 lawsuit brought against Punkin Chunkin and Wheatley Farms—the pumpkin-chucking fest’s old venue—will force chucking organizers across state lines.

The annual chucking—three-decades old—is just what the name portends. Participants chuck pumpkins as far as they can. Wolfman Joe Thomas’s Punkin Chunkin winning shot last year traveled more than 3,000 feet.

After pumpkins are chucked by participants, spotters ride all-terrain vehicles into the fields where the pumpkins land to measure the distance of the chucks. Daniel Fair worked as a spotter at the old Punkin Chunkin venue at Wheatley Farms in Delaware.

As Fair was riding out to measure a chuck, the all-terrain vehicle he was riding hit a hole in the ground, causing a crash that he alleged caused injuries to his spinal cord that make it difficult for him to walk and caused him to lose his job as a tug-boat worker, according to DelawareOnline.com.

Fair sued Punkin Chunkin and Wheatley Farms in October 2013, seeking at least $4.5 million in damages. Punkin Chunkin and Wheatley Farms denied that they were liable for Fair’s injuries.

Punkin Chunkin’s president and others complained publically about the mounting legal bills in Fair’s suit. State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, seized on Punkin Chunkin’s complaints about the legal bills and filed in the state legislature what he dubbed the “Punkin Chunkin bill.”

The bill would cap pain-and-suffering damages at $1 million in personal injury lawsuits that are brought against nonprofit entities that sponsor annual special events. The legislation would have no effect on Fair’s suit, but Sen. Pettyjohn said he wanted to protect nonprofits like Punkin Chunkin from future claims brought by injured parties.

The bill was jettisoned after Michael Malkiewicz, a Dover lawyer and a member of the legislative committee of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, testified before the state’s Senate Executive Committee. Malkiewicz defended uncapped damages claims in the appropriate cases, and said “fair” and “conservative” Delaware juries are capable of determining appropriate damage awards.

Sen. Pettyjohn said the Trial Lawyers Association was a powerful lobbying group and had lobbied hard to push back against the proposed legislation. The jettisoning of the bill came along party lines, with four Democrats in the Senate Executive Committee voting to table the measure and two Republicans voting in the measure’s favor.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/firststatepolitics/2015/04/01/punkin-chunkin-legislation-defeated/70793432/

http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/delaware/state-nickname/first-state

http://punkinchunkin.com/

http://delaware.newszap.com/southerndelaware/128226-104/sen-pettyjohn-seeks-co-sponsors-for-punkin-chunkin-bill

 

 

Image Credit

“Pumpkin chucked from trebuchet in ohio” by Room 237 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pumpkin_chucked_from_trebuchet_in_ohio.jpg#/media/File:Pumpkin_chucked_from_trebuchet_in_ohio.jpg

 

 

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If you cannot figure out what a “Gronking” is, you can read between the lines or you can order a copy of Lacey Noonan’s “risqué erotic e-book” A Gronking to Remember and find out for yourself. The e-book is selling for about the same price as a cup of black coffee from Starbucks.

Rob Gronkowski Mecklenburg Injury Lawyer North Carolina Civil AttorneyThe book bills itself as the first “in the Rob Gronkowski Erotica Series.”

Rob Gronkowski, if you do not know, is a 25-year-old wide receiver for the National Football League’s New England Patriots. The six-and-a-half-feet-tall, 265-pound star caught six passes in the Patriots’ Super Bowl win last season, including 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady.

Since the close of the football season, Gronkowski has appeared on numerous television shows and is pushing a line of products, including the erotica series featuring his likeness. He appears to be spending his time in a more wholesome manner than former teammate Aaron Hernandez. Gronkowski and Hernandez were both drafted as wide receivers by the Patriots in 2010.

In 2012, Hernandez told ESPN that he and Gronkowski had a lot in common. “We found out we both like to have fun and were a little bit immature,” Hernandez told the sports-news network. Six months later, prosecutors allege, Hernandez murdered two men in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub. The ex-player was convicted of a separate 2013 murder two weeks ago.

Gronkowski’s off-the-field actions appear to be far more lighthearted. The star has burnished his image as a free-wheeling party animal and goofball, appearing in stints on shows like Jimmie Kimmel Live and SportsNation… and appearing in erotica.

A Gronking to Remember tells the story of “the normally sheepish Leigh,” who wanders into the television room one afternoon and finds her husband “Dan” and friends watching football. Leigh sees Gronkowski score a touchdown and then perform his patented “Gronk Spike,” described as a “notorious monster smashing” of the football.

Witnessing the “Gronk Spike,” of course, “jettisoned jiggling ribbons of electric jelly through” Leigh’s body, and melted her “knees like two pads of margarine.” The book goes on to chronicle Leigh’s lustful dreams about Gronkowski and, well… Gronking.

Leigh is not a real person, but the cover of A Gronking to Remember features a real woman and her husband. The pair, a couple from Miami County, Ohio, allege that their engagement photo was used—without their permission—as the cover art for A Gronking to Remember.

That led to untold amounts of ridicule and shame from people who recognized them, they allege in a lawsuit pending in federal court against the book’s author and companies that have sold and distributed the book online.

While the couple acknowledge that they may have uploaded the photo online, they allege that it “was appropriated by the [A Gronking to Remember] Defendants for commercial gain without the permission of the Plaintiffs.”

At least one online retailer, Amazon.com, has argued that since the book was technically self-published, it had no control over the content and cannot be held liable for the actions of independent third parties. It has also argued that the couple assumed the risk of others using their photo by sharing it online.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3059868/Couple-sues-engagement-photo-used-cover-softcore-porn-book-Gronking-Remember-without-permission.html

http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=400749027

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/7476288/rob-gronkowski-aaron-hernandez-two-kind

http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/aaron-hernandez-murder-case-timeline-051414

http://www.amazon.com/Gronking-Remember-Gronkowski-Erotica-Series-ebook/dp/B00RN7TNHE

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/a-gronking-remember-becomes-memorable-791678

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rob_Gronkowski_2014.jpg

 

 

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A man exposed to a substance used in food flavorings to mimic the taste of butter has been awarded $2.6 million by an Orange County, California jury.

Food Processing Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Civil AttorneyThe man, Tanu Vatuvei, contracted bronchiolitis obliterans after exposure to diacetyl, a substance that is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process but which can also be chemically synthesized by manufacturers. Diacetyl has long been used by food-processors to mimic the taste and texture of butter, notably in microwaveable popcorn and in other snack foods.

Writing for the Legal Examiner, Jacob Plattenberger explains that food-processing chemicals like diacetyl can be volatile. When they are heated and evaporate, they can easily be inhaled. Powdered forms of the chemicals can also be inhaled through dust created during the food-production process.

Plattenberger cites a study from the Centers for Disease Control showing that workers in a plant in the Netherlands who helped manufacture diacetyl suffered from the same types of lung ailments as workers in plants that produce microwaveable popcorn. Plattenberger expects to see more workplace-diacetyl exposure cases.

Vatuvei worked for nearly ten years at Mission Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., a manufacturing plant outside Los Angeles, California. He alleged that exposure to diacetyl left him with just forty-percent lung capacity. Doctors have said he will eventually need a lung transplant.

While a California jury was swayed by Vatuvei’s diacetyl-exposure claim—awarding him $2.6 million in damages—diacetyl exposure claims outside of the workplace have not met with as much success.

In 2011, David and Barbara Stults brought suit against New York-based International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc. alleging that deeply inhaling the vapors from freshly popped microwaveable popcorn caused David Stults to develop bronchiolitis obliterans and rheumatoid arthritis.

In 2014, a federal jury cleared International Flavors of any wrongdoing. The Stults’s appeal of that decision is pending.

Wayne and Mary Watson won in 2012 the only known successful “popcorn lung” lawsuit brought by consumers against food makers. Their $7.2-million jury award was later reduced on appeal, and they ultimately settled with Illinois-based Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. while further appeals were pending.

Workers in the food-production industry have litigated successful “popcorn lung” claims against food manufacturers for over a decade. In 2004, a jury awarded a 32-year-old worker from a Missouri-based Gilster-Mary Lee plant $20 million after he developed lung ailments as a result of workplace diacetyl exposure.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional conduct, it is essential that you contact one of the experienced personal-injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina today. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author                                                                 

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was born and raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

As a board-certified Family Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold’s professional practice focuses on Family Law actions such as divorce and child custody, although his practice encompasses a wide range of civil practice areas.

Mr. Arnold is a member of the North Carolina State and Mecklenburg County Bars, and is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in Federal District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://chicago-land.legalexaminer.com/defective-dangerous-products/2-6-million-verdict-awarded-in-diacetyl-exposure-case/

http://www.law360.com/articles/638574/flavor-maker-denies-popcorn-lung-claims-in-8th-circ

http://www.law360.com/articles/569282/jury-clears-butter-flavor-co-in-popcorn-lung-trial

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-man-wayne-watson-wins-7-million-in-popcorn-lung-lawsuit/

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grandi_fish_processing_conveyor_belt3_2011.jpg

 

 

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