This Maneuver Is One of the Most Dangerous When Driving…

Left hand turn signalDid you know that making a left-hand turn is considered one of the most dangerous maneuvers when driving a car or truck?

Yup.

These turns are dangerous for the driver, pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

In fact, according to the latest highway safety data, 31% of all serious accidents involve left hand turns.

The percentage of right-hand turns that cause a problem?

1.2%

Did you also know that all of the delivery routing programs for companies like UPS and Pepsi preclude left hand turns across traffic because early studies by MIT determined they were not only time-consuming but dangerous (and companies wanted to avoid the expense associated with their drivers being badly hurt and their trucks incurring substantial damage in the event of being struck by an oncoming vehicle).

Now fast forward to driverless cars. The engineers designing these modern marvels claim that “teaching” a driverless car to safely manage a left-hand turn is in fact one of their most difficult challenges facing product developers.

“How can that be,” you ask?

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In Defense of Our Judiciary

By Michael Jainchill, Esq. (Fellow  of the American College of Trial Lawyers, member of the ABA, CBA, CTLA and Partner at RisCassi & Davis in Hartford)

In the past week, U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart of Seattle issued a nationwide restraining order blocking the travel ban put in place by President Trump.

Trump’s ban, created through an executive order, sought to block people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The President reacted to Judge Robart’s decision by tweeting “…the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Judge Robart is not a “so-called judge,” but rather a respected, conservative jurist who was appointed to the Federal Court by President George W. Bush and confirmed by a vote of 99-0 by the United States Senate in 2004. On Wednesday, he lashed out at the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming the process “too political” seemingly because the judges won’t just immediately rubber stamp his constitutionally questionable executive order.

All Americans who believe in the Constitutional safeguards incorporated by our Founding Fathers into our three co-equal branches of government ought to be appalled by the President’s attempt to bully the judiciary. The political campaign is over, and as offensive as the comments about “little Marco Rubio” or “crooked Hillary Clinton” may have been, they pale in comparison to the blatant attack on the Federal bench.  An independent judiciary free from political influence is a hallmark of our democracy and the bedrock of our freedoms. Lawyers representing the rights and interests of their clients, along with impartial and fair-minded judges deciding disputes in the courtroom, are what stands between freedom and tyranny.

In the past 24 hours, non-partisan legal organizations, the American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Board of Trial Advocates, and the American Bar Association have each spoken out strongly against President Trump’s attack on Judge Robart, condemning and calling the President’s comments “wrong”, and unequivocally stating that “nothing is more important than the impartiality and integrity of our court system”. It is important that all courts remain free of political interference. Although he never apologizes, this one demands one from the President.

The Rule of Law, Due Process, and Access to Justice in Our Time

Judge James Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

In the past week, U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart of Seattle issued a nationwide restraining order blocking the travel ban put in place by President Trump.

Trump’s ban, created through an executive order, sought to block people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The President reacted to Judge Robart’s decision by tweeting “…the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

All of us at the law firm of RisCassi & Davis passionately believe in the rule of law, due process and access to justice. And we fervently believe in a judiciary that is independent and free from political influence.

In the past 24 hours, our colleagues in the American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Board of Trial Advocates, and the American Bar Association have spoken out strongly against President Trump’s attack on Judge Robart. We strongly agree with all three statements and offer excerpts of each below.

The American College of Trial Lawyers:

The American College of Trial Lawyers, a non-political organization composed of the leading trial lawyers in the United States—Republicans and Democrats, plaintiffs’ lawyers and defense lawyers, all selected without regard to political views—today issues a statement condemning the recent public statements by President Trump regarding Federal Judge James L. Robart. The College considers such attacks as a direct assault on judicial independence, the backbone of our constitutional democracy.

The statement was made by Bartholomew J. Dalton, President of The American College of Trial Lawyers, on behalf of the College and its 5,900 Fellows.

Dalton said, “The President used inappropriate and insulting language because he did not agree with Judge Robart’s ruling. The President stated, ‘The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned.’ Judge Robart is not a ‘so-called judge’ but a federal judge who was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. It is wrong for the Chief Executive of the Executive Branch to demean a member of the judiciary with such language. This (action) undermines judicial independence which is the backbone to our constitutional democracy.” The President has the right to disagree with a judicial opinion and to seek legal means to overturn it on appeal; but ad hominem and disparaging personal attacks on an individual judge are an affront to the fundamental principle of judicial independence that cannot be ignored.

The American Board of Trial Advocates:

Dulin Kelly, ABOTA national president, said President Trump’s comments about Judge Robart “lack dignity and civility, and the remarks were disrespectful to the judge, the bench and the judicial branch of our government.”

Mr. Kelly said, “It is a fundamental principle of our democracy that we are to be governed and served by three co-equal branches of government. The judicial branch is an indispensable part of this historic system of checks and balances our founding fathers thought to be so precious and which has served us so well for more than two centuries.”

“While it is the right of every American to freely express opinions, such expressions should still be respectfully tempered, especially when such expressions come from our president,” Mr. Kelly added. “Respect for our institutions and adherence to the rule of law are fundamental privileges we enjoy as Americans.”

Mr. Kelly pointed out that before taking the bench as judge of a United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Judge James Robart was a highly skilled, preeminent trial lawyer in Seattle, Washington. He received a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary during the nomination process for the federal bench. His nomination was made by President George W. Bush and submitted to the United States Senate for confirmation hearings. After the Senate’s investigation and hearings were concluded, the Senate voted 99-0 for confirmation. Judge Robart became a federal judge in 2004.

The American Bar Association:

This morning, American Bar Association President Linda A. Klein made this statement regarding the President’s actions:

“…What defines us (as an organization)? Our commitment to the rule of law, due process, and access to justice. With this foundation, our nation has weathered every crisis… Make no mistake. Personal attacks on judges are attacks on our Constitution. The independence of the judiciary is not up for negotiation. For a nation based on the rule of law, nothing is more important than the impartiality and integrity of our court system. A fair and impartial judiciary is a proud hallmark of our democracy. It is vital that our judiciary remain independent and free from political pressure, independent from political parties, independent from Congress and independent from the President of the United States himself. There are no “so-called judges” in America…”

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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Newly Discovered Child Car Seat Dangers Revealed…

If you are like most parents or grandparents – you probably bundle up your little ones when the weather turns cold, before you secure them in their car seat.

One would think that is a “best practice” – right?

Investigators at NBC just released the results of a test looking at just how safe children dressed in winter coats and belted into their car seats really are in a car accident. The results are disturbing.

It turns out that loosening the straps of a children’s car seat to accommodate a bulkier coat makes it much more likely your child will come tumbling out of both their car seat and their coat in a car crash.

So what are the options?

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One Connecticut Road is the State’s Deadliest for Pedestrians…

CT_deadly_roads_pedestrians

Connecticut’s deadliest roads for pedestrians

A new Tri-State Transportation committee report finds that 99 pedestrians were killed on Connecticut roads between 2011 and 2013.

The good news – that’s a drop from the 111 killed between 2010 and 2012.

So what road has proved to be the state’s most deadly for pedestrians?  Continuing a trend of the last seven years – U.S. Route 1 in Fairfield County.

Elderly pedestrians were the most frequent victims of these fatal incidents – with those 60 years of age or older making up a third of the total.

The report stated that the deadliest roads in Connecticut for pedestrians are what are called arterial roads.  The primary function of an arterial road is to deliver traffic from collector roads to freeways or expressways.  As such, many arteries are limited-access roads, or feature restrictions on private access.

Do we have a lot of arterial roads in Connecticut?

Actually, only about 15 percent of total lane miles in Connecticut are classified as arterial roads, but sadly half of pedestrian deaths in the State happen on these roads.

So what can be done to make these roads safer?

Continue reading “One Connecticut Road is the State’s Deadliest for Pedestrians…” »

Why Do Some Dogs Bite? 5 Warning Signs You Should Know…

Almost 5 million people a year suffer dog bites in the U.S. with 20 percent of those bites requiring medical attention.  Children tend to be victims of dog bites disproportionately – with young children being particularly vulnerable.  And dog bites with children in particular can be disfiguring.

Why do dogs bite in the first place?

  • Dogs can bite out of fear.  Fear of unfamiliar people or situations.  Make sure that your dog is introduced to strangers with great care.  Supervise those introductions.  If you sense the slightest risk of a problem – place your dog is a safe and secure location away from all guests.
  • Dogs bite as possessive behavior.  Make sure you start early in your training to minimize possessiveness.  If your dog needs to eat or drink – make sure that activity occurs away from guests or small children.
  • Dogs in pain can bite.  If you own a dog with a chronic illness or injury that makes handling them problematic – make sure you place your dog in a safe and secure location away from all guests – particularly children.

Continue reading “Why Do Some Dogs Bite? 5 Warning Signs You Should Know…” »