Attorneys at the Personal Injury Law Firm of RisCassi & Davis Receive Top Honors

For over 60 years, attorneys at the Connecticut personal injury law firm of RisCassi & Davis have worked hard to improve the lives of those who’ve suffered injuries due the carelessness or negligence of others.

Founding partners, Leon RisCassi and William Davis, began the firm in 1955, an era when the rights of the injured were severely and almost shockingly limited. Leon and Bill fought hard to change that and give consumers the right to protect themselves from harm caused by others. Since that time, the firm has been a consistent leader in bringing about needed changes in the law – including laws such as the Connecticut Product Liability Act – and winning cases on behalf of our clients.

What’s more, the law firm has received both national and regional recognition from certification organizations and from our peers for our work in the field of personal injury law.

Our latest honor comes to us from New England Super Lawyers. Less than 5% of all attorneys in the New England states receive this honor. We are pleased to announce that all but our two most recently admitted attorneys (12 out of 14) have been selected for inclusion in New England Super Lawyers for 2016.

If you or a loved one is ever injured in an accident that is the result of a car accident, a defective product or medical malpractice, call a qualified Connecticut personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable and well trained personal injury 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 personal injury attorneys at RisCassi & 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.Twelve RisCassi & Davis attorneys listed as New England Super Lawyers.

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.

Big Trucks and the Rules of the Road

Photo credit: TruckPR via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: TruckPR via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

If you are like most drivers, sharing the road with massive, fast moving tractor trailer behemoths can be a bit intimidating at times – particularly in inclement weather.

While most truck companies and their drivers are safe, there are a number that aren’t – relying on unsafe driver scheduling, unqualified drivers and poorly maintained vehicles.

Happily – there are rules governing the use of these massive vehicles and the drivers operating them. For these we cite the published regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

  • A driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. During the 14 hour period, a driver may only drive a total of 11 hours.
  • Except when allowed for, due to short-haul exceptions, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of a driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.
  • Supervisors of commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to take 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of alcohol abuse and another 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of controlled substances use (120 minutes in total).  The purpose of this training is to teach supervisors to identify circumstances and indicators that may create reasonable suspicion that a driver is using or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, supporting referral of an employee for testing.
  • It is the responsibility of truck companies to ensure that all parts and accessories on tractor trailer trucks intended for use in interstate commerce are maintained at, or promptly repaired to, the minimum standards set by
  • There are very specific rules carriers must follow with respect to cargo. Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.

Truck drivers driving at excessive speeds are also a major safety problem in Connecticut and across the country.

To address this hazard, federal regulators have just proposed equipping all new large trucks made in the U.S. with an electronic device to cap the speeds of vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. Regulators are considering a cap of 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour, though that could change. Whatever the speed limit, the device would make it physically impossible for drivers to exceed it.

Is there a role car drivers can play in truck safety?

Continue reading “Big Trucks and the Rules of the Road” »

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…

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Connecticut. A Dangerous Place to Walk.

Pedestrian safety in CTThe Auto Insurance Center (a news and information website for insurance purchasers) publishes regular reports on pedestrian safety, looking at pedestrian deaths by state.

Where does Connecticut fall?

Twenty-eighth among the 50 states – and second worst in New England behind Rhode Island.

What’s the cause?

There are factors that seem to impact pedestrian safety in general more than others.

First – male pedestrians are far more likely than women to be injured or killed while walking along Connecticut roads. That statistic holds in every state except Delaware and Montana.

Population density seems to play a prominent role as well – although Ohio, a state with fairly dense population centers – is considered to be one of the top five safest for pedestrians.

Believe it or not – texting and walking is increasingly becoming a significant safety hazard.

 

Continue reading “Connecticut. A Dangerous Place to Walk.” »

Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Found to Cause Ovarian Cancer

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) skin and hair care brands have long enjoyed a wholesome reputation with consumers. Many of us associate the name J&J with happy memories of skin care products for infants and children.

They seemed unlikely to be a company that would manufacture and sell products known by them to cause cancer.

But sadly – that’s what they’ve done.

A Missouri jury has just decided in favor of a group of women who sued J&J, alleging the company deliberately turned a blind eye to evidence that using talcum powder in the female genital area was linked to ovarian cancer. The products in question were made and sold by Johnson & Johnson and are called Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder.

In the suit, lawyers for the women presented evidence that J&J was aware of studies on talcum powder that showed a 92% increase in the risk of ovarian cancers in women who used talcum products around their genital areas. Researchers in 1982 even went so far as to warn the company to place warning stickers on their products – as did some of J&J’s talc suppliers. Those warnings and pleas were never heeded.

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Is Rising Corporate Power Denying You Fundamental Rights?

We have written in the past about the worrisome trend – initiated by a group of conservative corporate lawyers – to limit the rights of consumers to sue companies for fraud and injury.

In the last few years, these lawyers have begun encouraging their corporate clients to insert clauses into consumer contracts that protected 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.

And these clauses are finding their way into more and more consumer contracts – even into the contracts of nursing home residents.

Hard to believe??

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More Cars Being Recalled in Takata Airbag Scandal

Takata, the Japanese airbag manufacturer with factories in Japan and the U.S., has been in the news a lot the past six months.

Why?

Because they manufacture an airbag used in Hondas, Toyotas, Fords, Nissans, BMWs and other cars that is dangerously defective. When the airbags deploy during an accident, they send debris into a car’s cabin. In many instances, this debris has seriously injured or killed drivers and passengers. More than 20 million cars with these dangerous airbags have been recalled to date.

Is it possible that Takata knew nothing of the dangers of these airbags?

No.

Internal emails recently released by the company reveal a pattern of test data misrepresentation and manipulation.

Engineers at the company openly joked of manipulating test results and using tricks to hide or divert attention from damaging data.

“Happy Manipulating” wrote one engineer at Takata to another in reference to data the two were sharing. In other emails – engineers actually boasted about their manipulations.

Takata’s pattern of manipulating safety data appears to date back to the year 2000 – just as the company began introducing the new and dangerous inflator.

Takata’s biggest customer for some time has been the Honda Motor Company. They now admit they are aware of evidence that Takata did manipulate data to protect sales of the device. Honda recently announced they will no longer do business with them.

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Why Personal Injury Lawyers Matter… A Lot.

Throughout the ages, powerful corporate interests have made choices in the name of profit that do immense harm to consumers.

Deadly harm.

In fact, the last 75 years have witnessed countless instances of greed trumping the common good.

Did you know that in virtually every case where corporate recklessness was challenged – it was an attorney who fought the powerful interests to uncover the truth and protect the innocent? At times risking their careers…

One of the latest examples of exceptional conduct involves a lawyer, Rob Bilott, from the prestigious corporate law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Ohio. Taft, Stettinius & Hollister focuses almost entirely on defending corporations – not suing them.

The story begins one day when Bilott received a call from a man named Wilbur Tennant – a West Virginia dairy farmer. Normally Bilott would have taken a call like this one, listened politely and declined interest in the case.

 

This call was different. The farmer said his cows where dying agonizing deaths in great numbers – and that the DuPont Chemical Company was to blame. And then he blurted out Bilott’s grandmother’s name. It turns out that Attorney Bilott had visited his grandmother in West Virginia as a child and had visited a farm adjacent to Tennant’s – a visit that still conjured up fond memories.

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The Dangers of Growing Corporate Power

“The monopolist gets to use its monopoly power to insist on a contract effectively depriving its victims of all legal recourse. And here is the nutshell version of today’s opinion: Too darn bad.”  – United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan – in Dissent.

These powerful words, the words of Supreme Court Justice Kagan, perhaps accurately underscore the Supreme Court’s contentious split on the matter of the enforceability of forced or mandatory arbitration clauses.

Just what is the judicial climate on this complicated topic? Let’s start with some history regarding the origins of mandatory arbitration clauses.

In the middle of the last decade, a number of corporate lawyers got together and urged their corporate clients to begin inserting clauses into consumer contracts that protected those companies from class action lawsuits.

This blatant attempt to shield corporate assets in the event a corporation causes harm to consumers is controversial to be sure. Consumer advocates are calling it “a corporate raid on fundamental consumer rights”.

How is the consumer fairing?

Continue reading “The Dangers of Growing Corporate Power” »