More Consumer Protections Under Assault

New law could strip consumers of their rights for protectionThe U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would strip states like Connecticut of their ability to best protect their citizens through patient safety liability laws.

Called H.R. 1215, this pending Act would severely limit the ability of Connecticut families to hold health care and medical providers accountable in the event they injure or kill their patients.

Seem hard to believe? Continue reading “More Consumer Protections Under Assault” »

Workplace Accidents on the Rise

Workplace injuries on the rise

For decades now, workplace accidents and workplace deaths have been in decline – thanks in large part to the actions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Despite that good news, almost three million workers suffer injuries on the job in America each year – a rate of three cases per 100 full-time workers.

Now, with the recent uptick in employment numbers comes news that workplace accident rates are rising in some industries – the first such rise recorded in years.

Particularly noteworthy has been the sharp increase in construction worker injuries in the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting a jump of 27% in the number of fatal workplace injuries among those workers.

So just what are the most common workplace injuries? Continue reading “Workplace Accidents on the Rise” »

RisCassi & Davis Partner David Cooney Named Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers

Dave Cooney a 2017 Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the YearAttorney David Cooney, Partner at the Hartford law firm of RisCassi & Davis, has just been named the Best Lawyers’ 2017 Hartford Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year.”

His selection means that an attorney from RisCassi & Davis has been named “Lawyer of the Year” in six of the last eight years (Bill Davis, Jim Bartolini, Kathy Calibey, Michael Jainchill, Andy Groher, and Dave Cooney). Additionally, nine of our attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of personal injury litigation.

How does Best Lawyers choose the top attorneys in a region?

“Inclusion  is based entirely on peer-review. The methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. Our belief has always been that the quality of a peer-review survey is directly related to the quality of its voting pool.

“Lawyer of the Year” recognitions are awarded to individual attorneys with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific Practice Area and geographic location. Only one lawyer is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year” for each specialty and location.”

David Cooney is a 1975 honors graduate of Rutgers College where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended the University of Connecticut School of Law receiving his J.D. in May, 1978. In 1998, David obtained an M.A. degree from Wesleyan University, where he studied history, politics and literature. He joined RisCassi & Davis in June, 1985.

Since 1994, David has been certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He was also selected as an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocacy.

Since 1994, David has been certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He was selected as a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation in 2006 and is a member of the Roscoe Pound Foundation. He is also a member of the State of Connecticut’s Judicial Civil Commission, a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Hartford Legal Aid Foundation and a member of the Center for Children’s Advocacy.

David Cooney is Best Lawyers' Lawyer of the Year 2017

More Serious Problems with Hip Replacement Systems

Stryker hip recall law suits.

Once again, another hip replacement system is in the news. And the news is not good.

Stryker Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical equipment and orthopedic devices, is once again having problems with yet another of its hip replacement implants – the Stryker LFit V40 Femoral Head. It’s being reported that these Stryker devices may be vulnerable to corrosion and “fretting,” which allows minute shards of its metallic components to leach into a patient’s tissues, bones and/or bloodstream.

The Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems were recalled by Stryker in 2012.

Continue reading “More Serious Problems with Hip Replacement Systems” »

Our Partner John Houlihan, Jr. Named State Chair of American College of Trial Lawyers

riscassi-davis_jhoulihan Attorney John Houlihan Jr., Managing Partner at the Hartford law firm of RisCassi & Davis, has just been named the State Chair for Connecticut of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Membership in the elite American College of Trial Lawyers is extended only by invitation, after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.

Although there are currently more than 5,700 Fellows across the U.S. and Canada, membership can never be more than 1% of the total lawyer population of any state or province. Qualified lawyers are called to Fellowship in the College from all branches of trial practice. They are selected from among advocates who represent plaintiffs or defendants in civil proceedings of all types, as well as prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers.

Attorney Houlihan is also certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a member of the Connecticut Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers, a member of the Hartford County Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association,  the American Association for Justice, and the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2007, the Connecticut Bar Foundation also honored him by naming him a James W. Cooper Fellow.  Mr. Houlihan is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Law teaching trial advocacy.

Attorney Houlihan received his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law.

Nursing Home Patients and Their Families Recover Key Rights…

No longer forced into arbitration for nursing home neglect

“In the last few years, powerful corporate lawyers have begun encouraging their corporate clients to insert clauses into consumer contracts that protect those companies from all class action lawsuits.

The motivation for this strategy?

It’s as simple as it is wrong. These lawyers simply want to shield the corporate profits of their clients in the event a corporation’s products or services cause harm to consumers.”

We wrote those paragraphs almost a year ago – and in that article we talked about the harm caused by this new tactic to nursing home clients across Connecticut and the rest of the country.

On September 28th, 2016 – the U.S. government’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a ruling that bars any nursing home that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration, instead of court.

This new rule, which will affect over 1.5 million nursing home patients across America, will prevent nursing homes from forcing claims of elder abuse, sexual harassment and even wrongful death into the private system of justice known as arbitration.

Just what is arbitration?

Continue reading “Nursing Home Patients and Their Families Recover Key Rights…” »

A Leading Cause of Injury and Death…? Greed.

photo-credit-tony-webster-via-foter-com-cc-by

In the 1990’s, a little known manufacturer from Japan named Takata, approached GM with a less expensive airbag system that could be deployed in GM vehicles.

GM was impressed and asked their current manufacturer, Autoliv, to match the price or risk losing the business.

Anxious to retain the GM account – Autoliv immediately investigated the new, less expensive alternative.

What they discovered about the Takata airbag system alarmed them – and they alerted GM.   Engineers at Autoliv had discovered that the new system in question used an extremely dangerous and highly volatile compound in its inflator.

The compound, called ammonium nitrate, was discovered to expand so quickly that it blew the inflator to bits – literally turning the metal components of the device into potentially deadly shrapnel.

In the end, Autoliv told GM they were not willing to replicate the Takata device… and lost GM’s business.

Over 100 injuries, some fatal, and over 100 million vehicle recalls later, investigators are still working to understand the choices auto manufacturers made when they fatefully decided to buy from Takata.

Sadly – the motivation to improve profit margins at the expense of vehicle safety seems to have been at the center of the choices made by GM.

So just what was the difference in cost?

A few dollars per airbag.

Were the Autoliv revelations about the dangers of ammonium nitrate new?

No.  Research studies going back decades warned of the dangers surrounding the compound – particularly when it is exposed to dramatic temperature shifts and moisture.  In fact, given its dangerous volatility, Takata has often struggled to find suppliers of ammonium nitrate.

Given all that is known about Takata’s dangerously flawed technology – one would assume car makers have stopped using their products – right?

Nope.

Takata continues to manufacture airbags with this compound — and incredibly automakers continue to buy them.  These airbags have been built into the 2016 models of seven different automakers.   Even more incredibly – the Takata bags are being used as replacement airbags for those being recalled.

How is all of this possible…?

Sadly, tragedies like this one happen when automakers press suppliers to put cost before all else – including safety.

If you suspect that you or a loved one have been harmed by a Takata airbag, call a qualified Connecticut product liability lawyer.  A knowledgeable and well trained product liability lawyer can help you fight powerful corporate interests when you’ve been hurt, ensuring that you’re not harassed or abused and that your rights are protected. 

For over 60 years, the Connecticut product liability attorneys at RisCassi and Davis have been working hard to protect our clients.  Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.  And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf

 

Photo credit: Tony Webster via Foter.com / CC BY

 

 

 

 

 

RisCassi & Davis Adds Three New Attorneys

RisCassi & Davis is pleased to announce it has recently added three new attorneys to its team of personal injury lawyers: Sean Stokes, Elisabeth Swanson and Brendan Faulkner.

New personal injury attorney - Sean Stokes.Attorney Sean Stokes: Sean Stokes started his career at RisCassi & Davis as a law clerk in 2013. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Colorado State University in 2010 and his Juris Doctor from Western New England University School of Law in 2015, where he received multiple CALI Excellence for the Future ® awards, including top-of-the-class honors in Products Liability, Securities Litigation, and Consumer Protection. Sean is admitted to practice in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He is a member of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers’ Association and the Connecticut Bar Association. Read more

 


New personal injury attorney - Elisabeth SwansonAttorney Elisabeth Swanson
: Elisabeth Swanson has been practicing in the area of personal injury law since her admission to the Connecticut Bar in 2013.  She recently joined RisCassi & Davis as an Associate, having formerly served the firm as a law clerk. Her late father, Everett “Skip” Madin, Jr., also worked as an attorney at RisCassi & Davis for many years before leaving to serve the state of Connecticut as a Superior Court Judge. Attorney Swanson attended the University of Connecticut where she achieved numerous academic awards, including induction into the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies; and in 2007, she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English. She graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law with honors in 2013. During law school, Attorney Swanson achieved multiple awards for academic excellence, including the CALI Awards for Excellence® in Criminal Law and Business Organizations. Attorney Swanson was also a published member of the Connecticut Law Review and served as Notes and Comments Editor. Read more

New personal injury attorney - Brendan FaulknerAttorney Brendan Faulkner: Brendan Faulkner was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1998 and has been practicing exclusively in the area of personal injury law since 2006. He recently joined RisCassi & Davis as an experienced trial lawyer, having formerly served the firm as a law clerk during his time in law school. Attorney Faulkner’s articles on various aspects of the civil justice system are frequently published in the Connecticut Law Tribune. He graduated from Hobart College before attending the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a former law clerk to the Honorable Thomas P. Smith, a now-retired federal magistrate judge in Hartford, and his early career included representing various parties in the construction and insurance industries in personal injury and coverage matters as well. Read more

 

For more than 60 years, the personal injury attorneys at RisCassi & Davis have been committed to helping victims of accidents and medical malpractice. With the addition of Sean, Elisabeth and Brendan – that commitment grows ever stronger.

 

 

DEALING WITH THE DEFENSE “IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED NO MATTER WHAT WAS DONE”

Guest Blogger:  PAUL N. LUVERA

Photo credit: srqpix via Remodel Hackers / CC BY

Photo credit: srqpix via Remodel Hackers / CC BY

Recently a friend asked for ideas on the defense “it would have happened  anyway. ”  I was  motivated to give this some thought. I don’t  have a good or magic answer, but here are some thoughts about this  defense.

Defendants often employ the defense that they are not at fault even if they were negligent. Because the harm would have happened anyway. This defense has an aspect of the “act of God” or inevitable accident claim. It is essentially an issue of causation so we should take the time to review basic tort law in order to decide how to deal with it.

We know the elements required for a personal injury verdict generally involve: (1) the existence of a duty (2) a breach of that duty and (3) the breach causing the harm. Regarding the last element causation in a personal injury case is the essential link between behavior and injury because even if a defendant was negligent they are not liable for injuries unless the negligent behavior caused the injury.

While negligence doesn’t have to be the sole reason the injury occurred most jurisdictions require it to be a “substantial factor” in causing or worsening the injury.  In addition, it must be a proximate cause. Proximate cause means “close to” or “near.” Proximate cause asks whether the injury was foreseeable because even if a defendant’s action was the cause of injury the defendant may not be liable for damages if the action was so far removed from injury that the defendant could not have foreseen that the action would cause the kind of harm complained about.

Continue reading “DEALING WITH THE DEFENSE “IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED NO MATTER WHAT WAS DONE”” »

Profit before Consumer Safety and Why We Need Trial Lawyers More than Ever

think tank

The last 50 years has witnessed a proliferation in the number of so-called think tanks operating in America.

Most people hear or read the word “think tank” and conclude – “hey – that must be a group of really smart people!”

One would hope so – right?

Ideally, a think tank is, in fact, supposed to be a group of experts that study a particular subject and then seek to provide consumers, the news media and government officials with unbiased insights on that topic.

Is that how they work in reality?

In reality – no. A great many think tanks are the creation of special interests seeking to influence public opinion.   In many cases, they’re the creation of PR firms seeking to protect or promote a company or industry they serve.

In other words – they are front groups – created to sell products and protect corporate profits.

The past 70 years have witnessed egregious examples of corporations and industries creating “think tanks” with lofty names organized solely to protect the profitability of dangerous products.

What’s this got to do with trial lawyers? Just wait – you’ll see…

Continue reading “Profit before Consumer Safety and Why We Need Trial Lawyers More than Ever” »