Asphalt Playgrounds Will Not Save The Next Generation

  As Sarah Miller recently lampooned over at The New Yorker, parents today are bombarded with “long-form think pieces about parenting” that purport to show how some new studies have finally, after all these years, proven the correct way to raise a child — and how the rest of us have it all wrong. So much for Dr. Spock’s “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”   The latest addition to that genre is Hanna Rosin’s “The Overprotected Kid” in The Atlantic, which argues that the next generation is on the path to ruin thanks to, of ... Continue Reading

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Bringing Back The Deadly Workplace By Stopping Product Liability Actions

  From July 1906 through June 1907, five-hundred twenty-six workers died on the job in just Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Here’s the “death calendar,” noting the deaths per day for the holiday months of November 1906 and December 1906: (This chart and the next come from the CDC’s Improvements in Workplace Safety — United States, 1900–1999.)   A substantial risk of death was simply a fact of any sort of industrial work with heavy machinery in the Gilded Age. In 1913, there were approximately 23,000 industrial deaths, for a rate of 61 deaths per 100,000 workers. To put that in perspective, ... Continue Reading

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Finding Happiness As A Lawyer

A year ago, CareerBliss reviewed 65,000 employee-generated reviews and concluded that the “least happy job” in the country was “associate attorney.” A couple naysayers jumped in this as proof that the younger generations of lawyers are entitled complainers, but, truth is, if you ask enough lawyers of any age how they feel about their jobs, the description of life in the law begins to sound like Nabokov’s translation of the Russian word toska:   “At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a ... Continue Reading

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Defeating The Medical Records Paper Copy Scam

Hardly a day goes by without a letter from my office either requesting medical records or paying for them. Some days, I sign more than a dozen. It’s perhaps the most common thread among all my cases: the vast majority of my clients have been physically injured in one way or another, and at a bare minimum, I need the records from their doctors and hospitals to show the diagnoses they have and the treatment they have received.   Every patient has a right to receive their medical records, and by law should be able to obtain those records promptly ... Continue Reading

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Philly Runners: Runny Nose 5k in Abington, PA on March 23

  Let’s go off topic from the law and get local for a second: if you live near the Philadelphia area, and you’re into fitness or running, come out to the 4th Annual Runny Nose 5k Run and 1 Mile Walk on the morning of March 23, 2014, at Lorimer Park in Abington. All proceeds go to fund fitness, sign language, and music programs at a local preschool. [Update: pre-registration is now closed, but walk-ups are welcome. Here's a copy of the registration, or just show up after 7:30am, race starts 8:30am.] The Beasley Firm and this blog are both ... Continue Reading

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The Fraternity Mindset: Why Be Responsible When You Can Dodge Responsibility?

Caitlin Flanagan’s “The Dark Power of Fraternities” at The Atlantic, an exposé of the “endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems” that plague fraternities and how they avoid liability, is a fascinating and essential read. It’s one of the most thorough reports in recent memory of how powerful, wealthy interests insulate themselves from accountability for the harm they cause to individuals.   Before we get to the substance, the manner of Flanagan’s reporting deserves special mention. Rarely do press reports about the civil justice system give it this type of realistic, balanced treatment. Most reports treat the civil justice system as ... Continue Reading

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Why The Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Won’t Become A “Black Hole” Like Asbestos

The transvaginal mesh litigation has for some time been the largest medical mass tort ever, at least as measured by filings in the federal multi-district litigation (MDL), which is currently being handled in the Southern District of West Virginia. There are over 42,000 cases in the MDL — more than the combined total of cases ever filed in the Prempro MDL (9,761), the Yasmin and Yaz MDL (11,423), the Vioxx MDL (10,319), and the DePuy ASR Hip Implant MDL (8,900). (See this chart under “Total Actions.”) Add to that the over 6,000 mesh cases pending in New Jersey state court, ... Continue Reading

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Is A Lawyer Ever Required To Present An Argument They Don’t Believe?

The 1908 ABA Canons of Professional Ethics required lawyers to pursue their client’s objectives with "warm zeal," whatever that meant. These days, practicing attorneys and scholars routinely throw around the term "zealous advocacy" to describe a lawyer's duties to their client, but “zealous advocacy” is not actually required. As Sylvia E. Stevens of the Oregon Bar noted almost a decade ago:   No [ABA Model] rule requires zealous representation. Rather, the emphasis is on competent and diligent representation. The term "zeal" appears in the preamble, both times in reference to litigation, and in the comment to Model Rule 1.3. The ... Continue Reading

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A Doctor’s “Mistake” or “Error in Judgment” Can Still Be Malpractice

In most medical malpractice cases, the default defense is: “medicine is so complex and mysterious that there is no standard by which the doctor can be judged, and thus they cannot be liable.” The lawyers for the doctor or hospital (and their experts) rarely say it outright — because they are worried that jurors and judges will see right through it as a claim that doctors can never be held accountable for anything — but this defense is embedded deeply in most of the arguments they make for the jury. It doesn’t matter if the doctor made an obvious mistake, ... Continue Reading

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Jamie Casino and The Super Bowl Ad: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Soon after the Super Bowl concluded, I received an email from a college classmate, addressed to me and another attorney from our class: “Did you guys see this Super Bowl ad that ran only in Georgia last night? As attorneys, perhaps it speaks to your own professional pride.” The link was to personal injury attorney Jamie Casino’s two-minute tale of sin and redemption (with a prominent flaming sledgehammer), described variously as “the Most Insanely Epic Super Bowl Ad Last Night” (Slate) and “Ridiculously Badass” (Adweek) and “Batshit Amazing” (Deadspin).   Four points come to mind.   First, the ad was ... Continue Reading

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