- Walter Olson at Overlawyered provides a Maryland law roundup. Yes, this is a roundup within a round-up but most of these are most germane to our issues here. The one that is least relevant, and the most interesting, is the latest on Tavon White. I demand someone write a biography on this guy. Accumulating the power that he was able to enjoy in that environment against all odds is just fascinating as is getting four different prison guards pregnant and apparently all of them being cool with it. If you don’t live near Baltimore, you may not have heard of him. But I can’t be the only one who thought it was an amazing story. The Baltimore Sun spent three weeks gunning for a Pulitzer Prize on this story. (They won’t get one because their budget these days is about $354. But there was some good reporting done anyway.)
- Eric Turkewitz writes about everyone’s new favorite discovery issue: Facebook. I do find it interesting to see courts attacking this new issue but it has really only been a significant issue in one case what we have had. So while the topic is fascinating, I think the actual impact on our practice has been fairly limited.
A Nate Silver wannabe breaks down the question of whether jury size matters in these jurisdictions, where a jury’s verdict does not have to be unanimous. Clearly, the greater concern is in criminal cases where it does seem a bit odd to convict someone to life in prison, as you can in Louisiana, on a 9-3 vote. Continue reading
I had jury duty yesterday which was unbelievably interesting. Turns out Anne Arundel County is a small town. The oral surgeon plaintiff might have done my root canal (it was definitely his office) and the defense lawyer represented the defendant in my first trial with Miller & Zois. (What happened in that case? Thanks for asking. We socked him with a $300,000 verdict in a low property damage case which I enjoyed sharing at the judge’s bench yesterday.)
Shockingly, I was not chosen for the jury. I’m not sure if I was struck for cause; I’m going to try to find out. Technically, I can talk about the case since I was not on the jury, but because I’m going to share my impressions of the case – based on nothing but still – I’m going to wait until the case resolves before writing about it. So look for my post next week. It was a very interesting experience where I learned absolutely nothing but really learned a lot, if that makes any sense.
These were the five most popular posts on this blog in 2012:
- The Internet Hates Progressive Insurance.. But Should It?: lots of visitors here from a Washington Times link.
- Insurance Claims Adjusters Say the Silliest Things: this got a lot of interest because, well you know, insurance adjusters do say the silliest things.
- Progressive Insurance = Just File Suit: my argument that it is largely a wasted effort trying to settle with Progressive Insurance until suit is filed.
- Sneaky Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer Tricks: I think this resonated with many plaintiffs’ lawyers because the games played in malpractice cases are so over-the-top. Lots of really good lawyers handle malpractice cases at some pretty low hourly rates. Arguably, some of them make up some of the difference by working the file 8,543 ways to Sunday to churn the file.
I was in D.C. this week with my oldest son taking in a Wizards game (they are awful) and seeing the city (which is awesome). While I was out, I got a phone call from someone wanting to speak to me about my client Joe Smith (or something like that).
The guy was a landlord who had “gotten my email” about how my client was going to be paying his rent out of his settlement. He read to my paralegal the contents of my email to him. The email came from a Miller & Zois gmail account that, naturally, misspelled the name of our firm.
I guess what happened is someone was late on their rent payment and decided to pretend I was their lawyer and went through the trouble of setting up an email account and impersonating me. I should get a therapist and take this up with them in greater detail but, bizarrely, I felt sort of flattered by this. (Of all the lawyers in all of the world, you picked me, Mr. Scam Artist.)
Now, of course, the gig is up but I think the scam served its intended purpose of buying time to avoid eviction.
Max Kennerly writes a blog post about referral or co-counsel fees in personal injury cases, talking about a case where the lawyers agreed to a fee split but after a nice verdict, they argued about what those words actually meant with respect of carving up the fee.
There has been talk, as Max points out, about reforming the system to not allow lawyers to fee split personal injury cases. The talk comes from advocates of tort reform who have the goal of making life more difficult for plaintiffs to bring claims.
Such a rule would do just that. My firm spends a lot of time and effort providing information about personal injury cases on the Internet. We absolutely want to attract victims directly. No doubt. Getting 100% of the fee in a case is a lot more enticing that getting two-thirds of that fee, which is what we get when we accept a referral from another attorney. When we get a good settlement or a verdict in a case where the client came to us, either from the Internet or non-attorney referral, the words “And it is all ours” tend to slip out when discussing the case.
Yet I put a lot of time and energy into this blog that is directed not to victims, but to other lawyers. Why? I’ll tell you. Every single year, we look at where our fees are coming from. Prior clients and victims who find us on-line are rising every year. Yet together, they do not generate nearly as much in attorneys’ fees as cases that were referred to us by another lawyer. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about volume of cases. I’m talking total fees. So, absolutely, we think the smartest approach is to direct our efforts primarily toward trying to attract other lawyers in and out of Maryland who have a personal injury case. The thinking is if they are regularly reading this blog for news and information, and using the resources on our website, they are going to think of us when they need help with a complex malpractice, accident or product liability claim. . Continue reading
A new idea that might or might not take: A Saturday fact and opinion post. Let me know in the comments what you think:
- Fact: According to Jury Verdict Research, rear end car crashes or other obvious liability cases accounted for only 45 percent of auto cases adjudicated, with the remainder comprised of intersection collisions, lane changes, chain reaction, and parking lot scenarios. In other words, a lot of claims where there was a high probability of shared liability.
- Opinion: A big mistake insurance companies make – bless them – is contesting liability in personal injury cases where it is simply ridiculous to do so. Plaintiff’s lawyer only have so many good themes. One theme that resonates with juries is the failure to take responsibility. Defense lawyers have a hard time giving up that theoretical possibility of a defense verdict. But, their failure to do so inflates juries and inflates damages.
According to Alexa, the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog is the most read personal injury lawyer blog in the country. Here is the Top 50 list. If you are a regular reader, I am really grateful. You have millions of options on the Internet, so I’m really happy you enjoy my effort to try to inform and entertain.
While I’m on stage accepting this fine award, thanking my mother and the Academy, I also want to thank Tina Taylor. I write these posts very quickly with approximately 3,000 typos and sentences that make zero sense. Tina is kind enough to proofread these for me before (or just after!) I post them.
Please keep reading and commenting!
I learned last week that I was selected by my peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America, 19th Edition.
My rule on these lists are very clear. All of these lists that rank the best lawyers – and probably particularly the best personal injury lawyers – are so fundamentally flawed as to be useless… unless they pick me. In that case, they are the ultimate honor.
2013 Update: I was included on this list again for 2014.
Here are some personal injury stories/blog posts to check out as you wind down your week:
- Overlawyered links to the old Drug and Device Law Blog post on a lawsuit that got kicked that sought to keep a drug on the market. I can’t find the case – the cite they gave is wrong and I can’t find it on-line- but maybe the drug company decided to withdraw the drug because it was doing more harm than good to most patients yet, for some, it was doing great things. This happens all of the time. The blog post starts: “We couldn’t make this stuff up, folks.” Really, you couldn’t make up the fact that people who might be suffering might turn, perhaps misguidedly, to a lawsuit to try to keep the one thing that is making them better (saving their lives?) on the market? This extremely well written blog is filled with good humor and compassion – especially for drug companies, who are people, too. But, it is exempt from compassion for people who have suffered or lost a loved one and file a lawsuit. If they would exhibit some sense of self-awareness about this, I, for one, would be grateful. Also, please stop invoking your fantasy of Rule 11 at every turn. Yeah, plaintiff brought a novel and arguably dumb lawsuit. You know what else was novel at the time? Brown v. Board of Education. And how about a Rule 11 for insane defenses asserted by drug companies?
- Sure sign of the Apocalypse – How many Facebook likes you get can be admissible at trial. .