Articles Posted in Legal News

While smoking is commonly known to be extremely harmful to one’s health, most people associate smoking with lung cancer, emphysema, or even heart disease. However, there are other long-term health effects associated with smoking that scientists are just starting to understand.

Researchers in South Korea concluded that cigarette smoking increases one’s likelihood of getting dementia, while quitting or even smoking less can decrease one’s likelihood. This was based on a study they conducted on the relationship between smoking cessation and dementia.

The Study

Big update in the pelvic mesh lawsuits and it is not a good one.  A Texas jury yesterday found for Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon division in a Gravel and Moneypelvic mesh claim.  Twelve Dallas jurors found that the Prosima pelvic mesh, given to women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, was not defective in its design, and that J&J did not fail to properly inform doctors of the risks and problems associated with this product.   It was no slam dunk.  Unlike a lot of states, Texas does not require an unanimous verdict in civil cases.  So a 10-2 vote was good enough for J&J to eke out a win.

It is just one case, but I’m not going to lie, this was one the Plaintiffs’ wanted to win.  I’ll be honest about something else.  I’m surprised J&J let this case go to trial.  They have been picking off cases to avoid a bellwether effect on settlement value that is going to wildly increase the expectations of Plaintiffs and make these cases that much harder to settle.  On this one, they gambled and won.

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A recent study of jury verdicts found that the average personal injury jury verdict in Pennsylvania is $903,705.00.Pennsylvania Sign

Now let’s turn the kaleidoscope and look at the median.  If you remember from the 9th grade, the median is found by ranking the data from biggest to smallest, and then identifying the middle of the data so that there is an equal number that are larger and smaller on each side.  If you had 1001 data points, the 500th biggest number would be in the middle.

For many groups of data, the gap between the average and the median is the same or very close to it.  With personal injury verdicts, they are usually light years apart.  This is reflected in this new study that just came out in Pennsylvania.  The median compensatory award in Pennsylvania in the study was was $45,000.00

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The United States uses a federalist system of government. This allows each of the fifty states to be fairly autonomous and limits the amount of power that the federal government possesses. One of courthousethe consequences of having this type of system is that there are state entities and federal entities. Courts are a prime example. There are both federal and  state courts, so it is important to have a grasp of their respective purposes and powers.

Purpose of State Courts

Courts have to have jurisdiction in order to make rulings and decisions. The reason we have so many different state courts is because each court has a fairly limited jurisdiction. A county court in Maryland cannot have jurisdiction over something that took place in California. That is why courts are closely tied to geographical territory and why most of their power extends to people or occurrences that take place within that territory.

This being the case, state courts have the power to enforce the laws of the state where they sit. Given how my firm is centrally located in Maryland, let us use that as an example. The trial courts of Maryland have the ability to adjudicate cases involving the laws of Maryland. For example, these courts have the ability to adjudicate cases involving violations of Maryland’s criminal law. Speeding tickets, assaults, robberies, and thefts are all examples of things that Maryland lawmakers have made illegal. Thus, it is up to the state courts to apply that law considering it is within their power.

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A category of medications known as SGLT2 Inhibitors has recently garnered some negative attention, including some heat from the FDA. These Type 2 diabetes drugs are successful and fairly well known; however the FDA and users are starting to become wary of potential side effects.bloodstream

SGLT2 Inhibitor Side Effects

Users of SGLT2 inhibitors such as Invokana/Farxiga have started reporting that the drug produces an adverse side-effect called ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when acid builds up in the blood, leading to a myriad of issues and complications. Ketoacidosis is typically experienced by those with Type 1 diabetes because their bodies do not produce insulin. Their bodies cannot rely on glucose (sugar) to operate, so they feed on fat cells. If you ever hear people raving about a low carb or Atkins diet, this is the same reason why. The decreased carb intake, forces the body into a similar but different state called ketosis, which transfers the body’s fuel over from carbs and glucose to fat. This is why people can shed weight so quickly on those diets.

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Every aspect of litigation is based on time. Litigants only have a certain number of days to respond to motions, answer discovery, or serve a summons. Perhaps the biggest time-related concern in hourglasslitigation is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the due date for a lawsuit. If a claim is brought outside the statute of limitations, it is generally almost always barred and must be dismissed.  Americans are now appreciating more how harsh limitations can be seeing Bill Cosby not being asked to account of the allegations against him.

How Statutes of Limitation Work

A statute of limitations should be thought of more of a time frame and less of a deadline. The right to bring legal action accrues whenever the subject matter of the claim occurred. For example, in a car accident case, the right to bring a claim begins right when the accident occurred. In a medical malpractice case, the period begins when the malpractice occurs or when the victim discovers it. Once that period has officially started, the clock on the potential claim has begun ticking. The relevant statute of limitations will then lay out a period during which that claim must be brought. For example, in Maryland, the statute of limitations on most personal injury actions is three years. This means that a lawsuit for a car accident must be brought within the three years that begins when the accident occurs. If the case is not brought within that time, it can never be brought.

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This blog deals with big personal injury lawsuits across the country. These lawsuits typically involve class actions, multidistrict litigation, and mass torts against corporations for their defective witnessstandproducts, medications, or their general negligence. But we also talk about motor vehicle accident and malpractice claims, too.  For all of these cases, you are almost invariably going to need an expert to testify if you want to get your case to a jury.  Experts are obviously different than the typical fact witness. This post should give you a basic understanding of the nuances of expert witnesses and testimony.

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Once a jury hands down their verdict, the case is over, right? Sometimes, but not always. At the close of trial, both sides generally have the ability to appeal certain issues or things that may notcourt of appeals have gone their way. Most important to remember here though: parties can only appeal legal issues, not factual ones. So an appeal should not be thought of as another opportunity to try a case. Instead, appeals are there to correct mistakes or misapplications of law. Should they determine that a new trial is warranted, appeals courts have the ability to order one. But they are strictly there to determine legal issues, not factual ones.

Framework For Appeals

Every state is different, meaning every court system is different. Since this blog covers issues pertaining to the national personal injury community, I will use the federal appeals process to lay out how things work. Granted, the federal appeals courts share some similarities with many states (especially Maryland), so this should give you an idea of how things work from state to state.

The federal court system is three-tiered. There are the trial courts, which are referred to as Federal District Courts. There are the intermediate appeals courts, which are called Federal Circuit Courts. And the “court of last resort” in the federal system is the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS). The state of Maryland has a similar system with trial courts, an intermediate appeals court, and a state court of last resort.

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If you are a plaintiff to a lawsuit, you are asking the court to do something for you. In most personal injury cases, you are asking the court to award damages in your favor, typically by way of the motionsjury. Throughout the course of the lawsuit, there are going to be other “lesser” things that you are going to ask the court to do. For example, perhaps you want the court to exclude certain evidence, protect certain information in discovery, or even dispose of the case without ever having to set foot in a courtroom. Considering that courts are formalized tribunals, you cannot just make a call or send them a letter. This is where a motion comes into play.

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Often time you will hear people discuss “forum shopping” when it comes to filing lawsuits. This is the apprehension that it is better to file a lawsuit in some places com


pared to others. There is definitely some truth to this, especially in places like Maryland where one or two places tend to be the preferred stop for personal injury lawsuits. However, to understand the concept of “forum shopping,” you have to understand the concept of a “forum” in the first place, which entails knowing the difference between personal jurisdiction and venue.


Personal Jurisdiction is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle when putting together a lawsuit. Really all it boils down to is a court’s ability to exercise its power over an entity, whether that is a person, business, trust, etc. For example, say you are a Maryland resident, it would feel unfair if an Oklahoma court was able to render a judgment over you if you have no connections to that state. That is where the doctrine of jurisdiction comes into play: it is all about the court’s ability to bring you under its power.

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