Bisceglie Obtains $44 Million Jury Verdict
Olshan Client Guidance Endo prevails against industry giant DENTSPLY
NEW YORK, Oct. 15 — Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP today announced that Kyle C. Bisceglie, as trial counsel, Renee M. Zaytsev and other Olshan attorneys including Herbert C. Ross and Joshua S. Androphy won a $44 million jury award in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico in Albuquerque for client Guidance Endodontics, LLC. The verdict against Dentsply International, Inc. and Dentsply’s endodontics subsidiary, Tulsa Dental Products, LLC, is reputed to be the largest current standing verdict in New Mexico state or federal court history. Olshan’s co-counsel in New Mexico was Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris and Sisk, PA led by its distinguished shareholder John J. Kelly, Esq.
The three-week trial from September 18, 2009 to October 9, 2009 before U.S. District Court Judge James O. Browning to a nine member jury was the culmination of multi-year, multi-jurisdiction litigations between Guidance, Dentsply and Tulsa Dental. In this case, Guidance sued Dentsply and Tulsa Dental on November 21, 2008 seeking damages and injunctive relief arising from multiple breaches of an exclusive manufacturing and supply agreement, anti-competitive and unfair business practices under the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act and violation of the Lanham Act. The Court granted Guidance both a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in eight days of hearings in December 2008 and January 2009. Dentsply and Tulsa Dental filed multiple claims of their own against Guidance and its founder, Dr. Charles J. Goodis.
At trial, Guidance alleged that the defendants intentionally thwarted Guidance’s business by refusing to supply endodontic instruments as stipulated in the agreement between the companies. Additionally, Guidance claimed that Dentsply and Tulsa Dental disparaged Guidance, used their position as Guidance’s supplier to their own competitive advantage and targeted Guidance and its customers. Guidance argued that defendants’ motive was to retain defendants’ dominant market share and high prices in the face of Guidance’s low cost provider model of business.
The case was tried approximately ten months after Guidance sued. Guidance sought $6.7 million in compensatory and $52 million in punitive damages, and ultimately won $4 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages. As part of its verdict, the jury found for Guidance on two claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and willful breach of the New Mexico Unfair Trade Practices Act.
“We are pleased with the jury’s decision,” said Mr. Bisceglie. “Clearly the jury sent a message to Dentsply about its business practices, and our hope is that Dentsply will heed and respect the jury’s decision.” The jury verdict could have far-reaching consequences for the endodontic and dental industry.
Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP is a dynamic, mid-size law firm with offices in Park Avenue Tower in Manhattan. The firm has been consistently recognized by its peers and clients as a leading U.S. law firm for complex litigation, corporate and securities law, real estate, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, intellectual property and licensing, employment and taxation.
This publication is issued by Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that unless specifically indicated otherwise, any tax advice contained in this publication was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any tax-related matter addressed herein. In some jurisdictions, this publication may be considered attorney advertising.
Copyright © 2009 Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP. All Rights Reserved.
SOURCE Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP
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Originally posted 2009-10-21 21:40:29.
WILK v. LEWIS & LEWIS, P.C.
2010 NY Slip Op 05897
JAMES WILK AND LORIANN WILK, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
LEWIS & LEWIS, P.C. AND MICHAEL J. SKONEY, ESQ., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Department.
Decided July 2, 2010.
ANSPACH MEEKS ELLENBERGER LLP, BUFFALO (MICHELLE M. PARKER OF COUNSEL), FOR DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.
THE MCGORRY LAW FIRM, LLP, BUFFALO, LIPPES MATHIAS WEXLER FRIEDMAN LLP (KENNETH R. KIRBY OF COUNSEL), FOR PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS.
PRESENT: SMITH, J.P., FAHEY, CARNI, SCONIERS, AND PINE, JJ.
It is hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously modified on the law by granting the motion in part and dismissing the legal malpractice cause of action insofar as that cause of action is asserted with respect to the defendant Ford Motor Company in the underlying action, and by denying that part of the cross motion for partial summary judgment on liability on the legal malpractice cause of action insofar as that cause of action is asserted with respect to that defendant in the underlying action and as modified the order is affirmed without costs.
Memorandum: James Wilk (plaintiff) was allegedly injured while repairing railroad cars, and he retained defendants to represent him, along with his wife, in seeking damages for those injuries. Defendants commenced a pre-action discovery proceeding against plaintiff’s employer to obtain information concerning the accident and, when defendants thereafter commenced a Labor Law and common-law negligence action on behalf of plaintiffs (hereafter, underlying action), they used the same index number that had been used in the pre-action discovery proceeding. Supreme Court granted the motions of the defendants in the underlying action (Labor Law defendants) to dismiss the complaint. Under the law at that time, the failure to purchase a new index number rendered the action a nullity because it was never properly commenced (see Chiacchia & Fleming v Guerra, 309 AD2d 1213, 1214, lv denied 2 NY3d 704). No appeal was taken by plaintiffs from that order, although plaintiffs retained other attorneys (plaintiffs’ successor counsel) shortly prior to the expiration of the time in which to take an appeal. Plaintiffs commenced a second Labor Law and common-law negligence action against the Labor Law defendants, who moved to dismiss the complaint as time-barred. We previously reversed an order denying those motions and instead granted the motions and dismissed the complaint (Wilk v Genesee & Wyoming R.R. Co., 45 AD3d 1274). We concluded that the second action did not relate back to the filing of the underlying action pursuant to CPLR 205 (a) because the failure to purchase a new index number rendered the underlying action a nullity (id. at 1275).
Plaintiffs commenced the instant legal malpractice action seeking damages arising from the dismissal of the underlying action. Defendants appeal from an order denying their motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and granting plaintiffs’ cross motion for partial summary judgment “to the extent that malpractice is established against . . . defendants.” That was error only insofar as the malpractice cause of action is asserted with respect to the defendant Ford Motor Company (Ford) in the underlying action. We therefore modify the order accordingly.
“To establish a cause of action to recover damages for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant attorney failed to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal community, and that the attorney’s breach of [that] duty proximately caused plaintiff to sustain actual and ascertainable damages'” (Velie v Ellis Law, P.C., 48 AD3d 674, 675, quoting Rudolf v Shayne, Dachs, Stanisci, Corker & Sauer, 8 NY3d 438, 442). The plaintiff must also establish that he or she “would have succeeded on the merits of the underlying action but for’ the attorney’s negligence” (AmBase Corp. v Davis Polk & Wardwell, 8 NY3d 428, 434). “To succeed on a motion for summary judgment, the defendant in a legal malpractice action must present evidence in admissible form establishing that the plaintiff is unable to prove at least one of [those] essential elements” (Velie, 48 AD3d at 675). Here, defendants submitted evidence in support of their motion establishing that Ford “is not an owner or contractor and that it lacked contractual or other actual authority to control the activity bringing about [plaintiff's] injury’ ” (Scally v Regional Indus. Partnership, 9 AD3d 865, 867-868). Thus, they met their initial burden of establishing that plaintiffs would not have succeeded in the underlying action against Ford “but for” their negligence (see AmBase Corp., 8 NY3d at 434), and plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact with respect thereto.
Contrary to the further contention of defendants, the court properly denied those parts of their motion seeking dismissal of the instant complaint with respect to their failure to commence the underlying action against the remaining Labor Law defendants in a timely manner. In their answer to the instant complaint, defendants admitted that they used the same index number to commence the underlying action that had been previously used to commence the pre-action discovery proceeding. The failure to commence the underlying action in a timely manner, absent factors not at issue here, is sufficient to establish that defendants “failed to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal community’ ” (Velie, 48 AD3d at 675, quoting Rudolf, 8 NY3d at 442).
Defendants also failed to establish that plaintiffs could not prove the remaining elements of a legal malpractice cause of action. Defendants contend that their negligence was not a proximate cause of plaintiffs’ injuries because plaintiffs’ successor counsel did not file a notice of appeal when the Court of Appeals issued its decision in Harris v Niagara Falls Bd. of Educ. (6 NY3d 155). We reject that contention. Defendants are correct that the Court of Appeals changed the law by holding in Harris that a defendant could waive a defect in connection with filing requirements such as the failure to purchase a new index number (see id. at 159). Even assuming, arguendo, however, that we agree with defendants that the time within which plaintiffs could file a notice of appeal expired 35 days after the final Labor Law defendant had served the order dismissing the first complaint against the Labor Law defendants (see Blank v Schafrann, 206 AD2d 771, 773; Williams v Forbes, 157 AD2d 837, 838-839; Dobess Realty Corp. v City of New York, 79 AD2d 348, 352, appeal dismissed 53 NY2d 1054, 54 NY2d 754), we note that the time in which to file a notice of appeal against that final Labor Law defendant expired approximately 30 hours after the Harris decision was issued. It cannot be said that the failure of plaintiffs’ successor counsel to learn of the Harris decision and file a notice of appeal within that narrow time period constituted an “intervening and superseding failure of plaintiff[s'] successor [counsel]” to file a timely notice of appeal (Pyne v Block & Assoc., 305 AD2d 213). Defendants thus failed to establish that “plaintiff[s'] successor counsel had sufficient time and opportunity to adequately protect plaintiff[s'] rights” (Somma v Dansker & Aspromonte Assoc., 44 AD3d 376, 377; cf. Ramcharan v Pariser, 20 AD3d 556, 557; Albin v Pearson, 289 AD2d 272).
Contrary to the further contention of defendants, the court did not abuse its discretion in considering the cross motion of plaintiffs for partial summary judgment on liability despite their failure to submit the cross motion in proper form. In any event, defendants moved for summary judgment, and it is well settled that, “[i]f it shall appear that any party other than the moving party is entitled to a summary judgment, the court may grant such judgment without the necessity of a [cross motion]” (CPLR 3212 [b]; see Dunham v Hilco Constr. Co., 89 NY2d 425, 429-430; JCS Controls, Inc. v Stacey, 57 AD3d 1372, 1373).
Finally, defendants’ remaining contention concerning the issues of contribution and indemnification is not properly before us. Neither the motion nor the cross motion sought relief with respect to those issues, and said issues may not be raised for the first time on appeal (see Ciesinski v Town of Aurora, 202 AD2d 984, 985).
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Originally posted 2010-07-05 11:14:53.
Governor Pat Quinn Teams up with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to Defend Victims, Law Enforcement Officers and the Public
Released August 14, 2009
Governor Pat Quinn today joined with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to sign bills that will provide greater safety and security to the victims of crime, law enforcement officers and the general public. At a bill signing ceremony, Governor Quinn and State’s Attorney Alvarez also opened the South Side Community Justice Center.
“The protection of Illinois residents is among my very top priorities,” said Governor Quinn. “These new laws will help to preserve their safety and security.”
Governor Quinn signed House Bill 584, sponsored by Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Rep. Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica), which increases the criminal penalties for disarming a peace officer or correctional institution employee. The law will raise the crime’s classification from a Class 2 felony to a non-probationable Class 1 felony.
Another bill signed into law by Governor Quinn is House Bill 445, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago). This legislation amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act to add N-Benzylpiperazine – commonly referred to as BZP – to the list of dangerous Schedule 1 controlled substances. The bill establishes penalties for the unlawful manufacture, delivery or possession of this substance.
Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 693, which gives stalking victims another means of fighting back. The bill enables victims to pursue civil remedies, such as court orders of protection, to keep an offender away even if the victim has had a personal relationship with that offender. House Bill 693 was sponsored by Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin) and Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates).
The three bills were written and developed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“In addition to the day-to-day prosecution of violent crime, we are constantly working to identify methods to increase protections for victims and to expand the ability of our office to charge specific types of crimes as we observe criminal patterns developing,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez.
Also at the signing ceremony, State’s Attorney Alvarez announced the opening of the State’s Attorney’s second Community Justice Center, a community-based crime prevention program that she restored to service upon being elected last November. Assistant State’s Attorneys and victim witness specialists are assigned to these centers to work closely on the prosecution and prevention of local crime with police districts, community groups, schools, businesses and area residents.
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Originally posted 2009-08-15 21:18:42.
Michael G. Sawaya, Esq. Inducted into Exclusive Professional Registry
Michael G. Sawaya, Managing Partner of Sawaya, Rose, Kaplan, Wilkinson & McClure, P.C., is committed to serving the “common man” —
Denver, CO, September 9, 2009 — Michael G. Sawaya, Esq., Managing Partner of Sawaya, Rose, Kaplan, Wilkinson & McClure, P.C., has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in legal services.
Having been in law practice for over 34 years, Michael G. Sawaya is recognized for his commitment to serving the public. “My career began in an era when a widely varied practice and daily courtroom appearances were common,” he said. “I saw how difficult it was for my own family to find attorneys to work with and dedicated my practice to the legal affairs of the ordinary man.” Through his study under notable lawyers and judges, Mr. Sawaya became versatile in his skills and learned how to perform the functions of both counselor and courtroom advocate. In 1997, he started The Sawaya Law Firm with one partner. In the proceeding 32 years, the firm has grown to include 14 lawyers and over 80 experienced professionals actively involved in public education of injury law related matters. Sawaya, Rose, Kaplan, Wilkinson & McClure, P.C. is actively involved in the legal matters of United States veterans and has conducted extensive public education for driver’s safely. Currently, the firm is working to establish a charity through which it will be able to provide services to the community. This reflects Mr. Sawaya’s mission to give to others what he has been generously given.
AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, Mr. Sawaya is practiced in the fields of business transaction, real estate, dissolution of marriage, security litigation and civil litigation. Specializing in personal injury litigation, Mr. Sawaya holds a JD from Texas Tech University School of Law, from where he graduated summa cum laude. He also holds a bachelor of arts in sociology from Colorado College, a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Colorado Denver, and has studied neurolinguistic programming advanced communication techniques to the master level. He continues to teach and study advanced trial techniques and is affiliated with the Colorado Bar Association, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Phi Kappa Phi and American Association for Social Justice. He is also the author of Turbulence In the River, Reclaiming Your Spiritual Birthright.
Of his firm, Mr. Sawaya says “We work to ensure that injured people receive the medical care and financial compensation they need and deserve. If you have suffered an injury, if you are disabled and cannot work, or if a family member died in an accident because of negligence, we want to hear your story.” The Sawaya Law Firm provides legal services pertaining to motor vehicle accidents, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, birth injuries, premises liability, slip and fall injuries, social security disability, veteran disability benefits, insurance, products liability, dangerous medicines, brain injuries, burns and explosions and wrongful death. For more information about Sawaya, Rose, Kaplan, Wilkinson & McClure, P.C., visit http://www.sawayalaw.com.
About Cambridge Who’s Who
Cambridge Who’s Who is an exclusive membership organization that recognizes and empowers executives, professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the world. From healthcare to law, engineering to finance, manufacturing to education, every major industry is represented by its 400,000 active members.
Cambridge Who’s Who membership provides individuals with a valuable third party endorsement of their accomplishments and gives them the tools needed to brand themselves and their businesses effectively. In addition to publishing biographies in print and electronic form, Cambridge Who’s Who offers an online networking platform where members can establish new business relationships and achieve career advancement within their company, industry or profession.
For more information, please visit our site: Cambridge Who’s Who.
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Originally posted 2009-09-09 19:51:02.
Bounce Back From Bankruptcy
MMI offers tips on restoring credit after financial ruin
Houston, TX — According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/index.htm), consumers are required to complete an approved credit counseling session prior to filing for bankruptcy. After filing, debtors must complete an approved financial education course before they can discharge their debts. These requirements were included to ensure consumers make an informed choice about bankruptcy, its alternatives and consequences. Perhaps more importantly, they were designed to provide bankruptcy filers with the financial skills necessary to build a strong financial foundation and avoid future financial problems.
Filing for bankruptcy protection can impact your credit report and score for up to 10 years. The good news is that no matter how bad things look, you can always bounce back and re-establish a good credit score. The financial experts at Money Management International (MMI) offer the following advice to help re-build credit after bankruptcy.
Learn from your mistakes. Take a hard look at your past financial situation and figure out what went wrong. If overspending was an issue, learn to live on a budget. MMI’s bankruptcy counseling and education sessions are designed to assist you in building a solid budget and spending plan to help you get back on the path to financial wellness.
Pay yourself first. Unfortunately, bad things sometimes happen to good people. Expect the unexpected and put money away for the rainy days. Having an emergency fund can keep a minor financial setback from turning into a major financial crisis.
Clean up your credit report. It’s important to take the necessary steps to dispute any incorrect information on your credit report. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for one free report from each bureau every year.
Use credit wisely. Credit cards are useful tools, but should only be used as a tool of convenience, not as an extension of your income. Always have a plan for payoff when making purchases with credit cards; ideally less than 90 days.
Pay bills on time. Create a calendar with due dates and payment amounts. Set up automatic payments with your bank to ensure timely delivery. Also, don’t neglect creditors such as the phone and utility companies. Many people don’t realize these are creditors too.
Get a secured line of credit. Obtaining new credit after a bankruptcy can be difficult. Consider a secured account or a small personal loan with a bank or credit union if traditional lines seem out of reach.
“Bouncing back after bankruptcy can be tough,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy for MMI. “When trying to reestablish credit, it pays to be persistent and patient; there are no quick fixes. The good news is that scores are continually updated and may move several points each month.”
About Money Management International
Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in brand offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800-762-2271 or visit www.moneymanagement.org.
Money Management International
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Originally posted 2009-10-29 21:49:39.
Burg Simpson Lawyers Named Barristers’ Best
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Sept. 9 — BURG SIMPSON ELDREDGE HERSH & JARDINE, P.C. is proud to announce that Michael S. Burg and Scott J. Eldredge have once again been recognized for their superior legal expertise.
Burg Simpson congratulates Michael S. Burg for being selected as the Barrister’s Best Personal Injury Attorney and Scott J. Eldredge for being selected as the People’s Court Best Medical Malpractice Attorney.
Colorado Law Week’s Barristers’ Best selections employed an online voting survey to collect votes for any Colorado attorney; more than 400 votes were cast. The opportunity to vote was provided to both law firms and non-law firms.
Many criteria were used to identify, evaluate and ultimately select the Barristers’ Best Attorneys and the People’s Court selections were based on the popular vote. Only one attorney was selected in each of these categories for various practice areas.
“Because there are so many great personal injury lawyers, to be recognized as the Barristers’ Best Personal Injury Attorney is humbling and a great honor,” said Mike Burg.
Eldredge commented, “my selection is truly a reflection of the fine work done by every member of the Medical Malpractice team along with the ongoing support and guidance of the lawyers and staff at Burg Simpson.”
SOURCE: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. Michael S. Burg, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Scott J. Eldredge, email@example.com, both of BURG SIMPSON ELDREDGE HERSH & JARDINE, P.C., +1-303-792-5595
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Originally posted 2009-09-09 19:45:59.
Baker Hostetler Continues to Strengthen New York Office
NEW YORK, Oct. 20 — Baker Hostetler announced today the continued expansion of its New York office with the addition of Partners Mark A. Kornfeld, Deborah H. Renner and Gonzalo S. Zeballos, and Counsel Timothy Pfeifer.
“We are thrilled to welcome these four outstanding lawyers to Baker Hostetler,” said Steven Kestner, Executive Partner of the Firm. “Even in these challenging economic times, we have continued to recruit the highest caliber attorneys to strategically expand, both in New York and across the country.”
In addition to deepening the Firm’s expertise in class action defense, international litigation and securities litigation, the new lawyers will work on litigation matters representing Irving Picard, the court-appointed Trustee under the Securities Investor Protection Act for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. “The addition of these attorneys greatly enhances our commercial litigation practice,” added George Stamboulidis, New York Office Managing Partner. Stamboulidis noted that “the new hires push the number of lawyers in the office over 90, continuing an annual attorney growth rate in excess of 30 percent.”
“Adding these lawyers to our Litigation Group deepens the ability of the group to handle the most difficult and complex litigations throughout the country,” said Ray Whitman, Group Chair of the Firm’s national Litigation Group.
Mr. Kornfeld has experience in the areas of complex commercial litigation, including accounting liability, construction, environmental credits, real estate, and securities and shareholder class actions. He has also successfully resolved commercial disputes via alternative dispute resolution forums such as private mediation and the American Arbitration Association. Mr. Kornfeld regularly appears in both state and federal courts, and has represented companies in a wide range of industries. He also regularly represents individual corporate officers and directors. Mr. Kornfeld earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School.
Ms. Renner focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, including consumer fraud and securities class actions. She has successfully represented companies in nationwide and state class actions and in other complex commercial matters in bankruptcy courts and other courts throughout the country. Ms. Renner also has experience defending insurance companies in litigation concerning increased long-term care rates, “vanishing premiums,” as well as in other suits concerning insurance pricing. Ms. Renner earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Mr. Zeballos, who is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks Portuguese, is a seasoned international litigator whose experience spans five continents and more than 25 jurisdictions worldwide. His practice includes general commercial litigation, international arbitration (ad hoc and major arbitration fora), international antitrust, multinational civil and criminal regulatory investigations, alien tort claims act, foreign securities litigation, and internal investigations including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. His experience also includes international discovery disputes with a focus on ediscovery. Mr. Zeballos earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, and holds two advanced degrees from the University of Chicago relating to the study of Latin American history and politics.
Mr. Pfeifer’s areas of practice include complex and multi-district commercial litigation, securities litigation, bankruptcy litigation, litigation involving foreign sovereigns and their state-owned entities, litigation involving issues of public international law, and white collar regulatory and transactional matters including numerous internal investigations on behalf of international companies regarding Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. He also has particular experience with the emerging economies of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation. Mr. Pfeifer earned his J.D. from Howard University School of Law.
Baker Hostetler has recently taken on more space at 45 Rockefeller Plaza to allow it to actively recruit additional high quality lateral attorneys across all its practice areas.
Prior to joining Baker Hostetler, Mr. Kornfeld was a partner with Hogan & Hartson, Ms. Renner was a partner with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, Mr. Zeballos was Assistant General Counsel for American International Group, Inc., and Mr. Pfeifer was with White & Case LLP.
About Baker Hostetler
Founded almost 100 years ago in 1916, Baker Hostetler is among the nation’s 100 largest law firms with 600 attorneys coast to coast. The firm has offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Costa Mesa, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington, D.C. Its five primary practice groups are Business, Employment, Intellectual Property, Litigation and Tax. For more information, visit the firm’s Web site at www.bakerlaw.com.
Contact: Christine Gill
SOURCE Baker Hostetler
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Originally posted 2009-10-21 21:29:58.
‘Making Loan Modification Affordable’ Program Aims to Make Loan Mitigation More Accessible
August 20, 2009-Amid the buzz about Obama’s “Making Home Affordable” plan intended to help millions of Americans “reduce their monthly mortgage payments to more affordable levels,” one San Diego-based law firm has launched its own synergistic “Making Loan Modification Affordable” plan to help financially-strapped homeowners at risk of foreclosure garner professional, attorney-based loan mitigation assistance at a price within their means, the company reports.
Rebuffing a short-sighted, one-size-fits-all approach, The Lawyer in Blue Jeans Group announced the advent of four loan modification service options starting at just $500 intended, in line with Obama’s goal, to help struggling homeowners establish affordable monthly mortgage payments and ultimately retain ownership of their property.
The four loan modification program options now offered by The Lawyer in Blue Jeans Group include (pricing levels vary):
Option 1: Do-it-Yourself Workshop
Attorney-led group workshop advising homeowners on how to package and present loan modification paperwork on their own, and also how to best communicate with lenders in working toward a prospective loan modification.
Option 2: Do-it-Yourself Workshop with Support
All services detailed in option 1, above, plus one-on-one, in-personal consultation with an attorney and as-needed telephone support.
Option 3: Attorney-Packaged Do-it-Yourself
All services detailed in option 2, above, with the addition of an attorney-prepared loan modification document package for submission by the client to the lender.
Option 4: Full Service Attorney-Based
Full attorney-based loan modification representation, including document preparation and submission and high-level lender negotiations, which is customized based on each clients’ needs. Services run the gamut, from pro-actively working out methods to delay or avoid foreclosures without filing bankruptcy to expertly restructuring loan terms to best fit a clients’ circumstance.
“Although attorney-based loan modifications are extremely effective, since lenders tend to be much more responsive and cooperative when a borrower has legal representation or has been advised and educated by a legal expert, the price for such services is often out of reach for homeowners who are already struggling financially,” notes Jeff Isaac, principal attorney at The Lawyer in Blue Jeans Group. “By offering various loan modification service programs with a low starting price point, we hope to help a great number of homeowners with their loan mitigation efforts one way or another – whether in an education, consultative or full service capacity.”
“Our various low cost, attorney-supported do-it-yourself programs can greatly help those who would otherwise ‘go it alone,’ often with marginal success,” continues Isaac. “Or, our full service program – also priced below industry standard – maximizes a homeowners’ chance of a positive outcome since attorneys not only understand the legal intricacies, technicalities and seemingly infinite regulations related to loan modifications, but also have the specialized skill and expertise required to negotiate the best possible terms for the client.”
Isaac concludes with this cautionary note:, “Many companies offering loan modifications claiming to be ‘attorney backed’ or ‘attorney based’ are not law firms, but rather may merely have an attorney available for consultation as – and if – it subjectively deems necessary. In this instance, the company need not adhere to the same ethical standards required of licensed attorneys, which can be cause for concern. Moreover, there is no attorney client privilege for any thing discussed with this kind of company, rendering any and all information imparted ‘discoverable’ should a state agency be considering a prosecution for alleged mortgage fraud, in which case the services of a licensed attorney is critical. ”
For more information, visit www.LawyerInBlueJeans.com.
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Originally posted 2009-08-19 22:46:17.
Citizen Petition Supporting Medical Liability Reform Delivered to the Senate
More than 14,000 signatures collected urging Congress to take action on reform
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 Today, two leading health care groups sent a petition signed by 14,266 patients, physicians, and concerned citizens to members of the Senate Committee on Finance, urging them to include meaningful changes to our nation’s broken medical liability system during today’s markup of health care reform legislation.
“It is clear from our petition drive that there is widespread public support for medical liability reform,” said Doctors for Medical Liability Reform’s Chairman Stuart L. Weinstein, MD. “President Obama, Democrat and Republican Members of Congress, leading health care policy experts, and opinion leaders all agree that the current system costs too much, and does not serve the needs of patients. It is our hope that members of the Senate Finance Committee will listen to these important voices and include medical liability reform in the Senate’s health care bill,” said Weinstein.
“If Congress is truly serious about reforming our health care system, they must put the personal injury lawyers’ interests aside and include reforms to the medical liability system,” said Health Coalition on Liability and Access Chair Mike Stinson. “Reforming our medical liability system is essential to reduce costs and protect access to care for all patients. States across the country, like California and Texas, have enacted reforms with a proven track record for success that should be a model for reform at the federal level.”
DMLR, a national grassroots organization that includes physicians and patients, and the HCLA, a broad national coalition of health care providers and medical liability insurers, joined forces to ensure that medical liability reform is addressed in the health care reform debate.
The proposal introduced thus far in the Senate Finance Committee Chairman’s Mark does not seriously address medical liability reform. Instead, the proposal expresses a “Sense of the Senate” that there should be consideration of state-based demonstration projects on liability reform.
While DMLR and HCLA believe that voluntary state demonstration projects may be a step in the right direction, the Senate’s mere expression of support is insufficient — these projects must be formalized and codified into law. Furthermore, state demonstration projects alone do not address the immediate need to lower health care costs and reduce the practice of defensive medicine.
For more information, visit www.hcla.org or www.protectpatientsnow.org.
SOURCE Health Coalition on Liability and Access
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Originally posted 2009-09-22 20:13:07.
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP Represents Whistleblower in Record-Breaking Pfizer Settlement Involving Illegal Drug Promotions
GREAT NECK, N.Y.–Parker Waichman Alonso LLP represented a whistleblower in one of the lawsuits involved in the recent $2.3 billion Pfizer settlement. The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Pfizer illegally promoted the off-label use of the antipsychotic medication Geodon.
The Parker Waichman Alonso lawsuit was one of nine settled by the U.S.
Department of Justice that charged Pfizer illegally marketed Geodon, as well as the pain killer Bextra; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug. The civil settlement also resolves allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs.
Under the terms of the settlement, Pfizer subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. has also agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation that it illegally promoted the off-label use of Bextra. Pharmacia & Upjohn will pay $1.3 billion toward the total settlement.
The $2.3 billion settlement is the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Geodon portion of the settlement was $301 million.
“We are proud of our client and the other relators who stepped forward to expose Pfizer’s wrongdoing, and helped to make this settlement possible,” said David Krangle, an attorney with Parker Waichman Alonso LLP. “We are also proud that our firm was able to play a part in obtaining justice for American taxpayers.”
About Parker Waichman Alonso LLP
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP is a leading products liability and personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs nationwide. The firm has offices in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Parker Waichman Alonso LLP has assisted thousands of clients in receiving fair compensation for injuries resulting from defective drugs, medical devices and other products.
For more information on Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, please visit:
www.yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP
111 Great Neck Road
Great Neck, NY 11021
Copyright Business Wire 2009
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Originally posted 2009-09-09 20:54:50.