Monday, July 14, 2014

Judge's orders: lawyers need vacations

Sitting in front of a federal judge at a recent hearing, I picked up a valuable grain of wisdom. Teams of lawyers on both sides were negotiating a schedule in a class action lawsuit. Someone mentioned that they might need another week to submit the final version of a document because someone in the office took a vacation. It was almost like an apology. Like the attorney dared to take a break from the hectic pace of the legal profession. But the judge didn't blink.

"I'm all in favor of lawyers taking vacations," he announced, and then quickly extended everyone's deadlines.

The judge was right. Lawyers do need breaks. Our work is stressful. If we do not achieve the desired result, a client may lose thousands or even millions of dollars. Or maybe they'll go to prison, or lose the right to see their kids on weekends. As I take on more responsibility as an associate attorney, tackling larger and more complex cases, I understand these high stakes. And I see the value of balancing long hours with a few breaks in between. It doesn't have to be a month-long junket to the other side of the planet.

Over the weekend, I had a fantastic getaway with a couple of guy friends on the Ohio River. We paddled kayaks for 30-plus miles, from Madison, Indiana, to the outskirts of Louisville, camped on a beautiful sand beach, and sipped bourbon as the waves lapped the shoreline. It was a page out of Huck Finn, with a dose of Walt Whitman and a few coal barges mixed in. The trip reminded me that the beauty of the outdoors is often just a few steps from my home here in Louisville. And now I'm back in the saddle early on a Monday morning, the first one in the office, ready to slay the dragon and fight for justice for my clients. But first, a few photos.





Friday, April 18, 2014

Louisville beats nation in latest lawyer jobs report

Graduates of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law are snagging jobs in greater numbers than their peers at other schools, a new report shows.

The latest numbers from the ABA show that, out of 127 graduates in U of L's Class of 2013, a total of 104 students — 82 percent of them — had secured jobs where bar passage is required or it is an advantage to have a J.D. Only eight of those students were unemployed and still seeking a job. Both figures are pretty much unchanged from the previous year's data on Class of 2012 grads.

The local numbers are better than the nation as a whole. For example, a friend and fellow U of L grad who is now a reporter published this online story showing the following:

"Nationally, 11.2 percent of graduates from the class of 2013 were unemployed and seeking work as of Feb. 15, up from 10.6 percent in 2012. Only 57 percent of graduates were working in long-term, full-time positions where bar admission is required, which is an increase of almost a full percentage point over 2012.

The class of 2013 was the largest ever, according to the ABA, with 46,776 students earning degrees. About 4 percent of employed graduates were working in positions funded by law schools, most in short-term, part-time jobs."

I've written about law school employment issues many times before on this blog. You can slice the statistics any way you want, but the bottom line in my view is that students are better off at schools such as U of L where tuition is relatively low, and there is not a bevy of competing nearby law schools in the area (UK and IU are an hour's drive away, and NKU is closer to 90 minutes). It also goes without saying that you probably shouldn't go to any law school unless you have a solid game plan for what you are going to do with that expensive degree. Congrats to UofL grads who are entering the job market, and good luck!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ten Reasons I Love Louisville More Than Ever

It's tough to live somewhere ten years and call it short term. This dawned on me a few months back when I passed the decade mark as a Kentuckian. It's easily the longest amount of time I've lived anywhere — including Vermont, Indiana, Ohio and Oregon — since childhood. And while I've been restless from time to time, the truth is I love Louisville and Kentucky more with each passing year. Cue the drum-roll for my Top Ten List of reasons to dig the River City that have nothing to do with Derby. 

10. The Highlands. Just when I think I’ve checked out every restaurant, pub, and art gallery, something new pops up. I’ve lived in this funky neighborhood for all ten of my Louisville years, and it keeps getting better. My wife and I met friends over the weekend for drinks, and our theme was “places we’ve never been” that are close to our houses. We started at El Camino (see photo below), a hip new taqueria with a surfing vibe. We hit three other new places nearby, and probably could do the same thing again next weekend. Other great neighborhoods: Crescent Hill, Clifton, Germantown, NuLu.

9. Outdoor Rec. I’m an outdoor junkie, whether it’s biking, kayaking, running, or skiing. You might think, after ten years, that I’d have a good handle on all the local hidden gems for outdoor recreation. Not true. In just the last year, I’ve discovered half a dozen new whitewater kayaking surf holes (lower pool, McAlpine Lock and Dam), and a bunch of new cycling and running routes (tip of the hat to the new Big Four Bridge and the new sections of the Ohio River Greenway in Indiana).

8. A Terrific Job. The market for new lawyers is generally terrible, but that’s not the case in Louisville. Most of my colleagues from the Class of 2012 at U of L's Brandeis School of Law are gainfully employed in jobs that we love. I count myself in this group. I love my job as a trial lawyer at Jones Ward PLC, fighting for people who are injured by big corporations. It brings new challenges every day, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. 

7. Urban Living. One of my pet peeves is waiting in lines. Same goes for sitting in traffic. In Louisville, I get the benefits of living in a big city without the hassle of a terrible commute. My drive to work down East Broadway lasts about five minutes. The coffee in my to-go cup barely gets touched. 

6. Great Public Schools. JCPS gets a bad rap for long bus rides, and its Rube Goldberg student enrollment system. I  have no complaints. My kids attend a magnet school a mile from our house, where the test scores are among the best in the nation and kids call teachers by their first names. There are no hall passes, no dress code, and very few discipline problems. 

5. U of L. A few years ago the University of Louisville unveiled a giant billboard along Interstate 65, proclaiming the school as the best college sports town in America. Some people laughed. But not anymore. The school’s sports teams won so many titles in 2013 that national media dubbed it the “Year of the Cardinal.” I grew up in a pro sports town, but I’m now a full convert to the hysteria of March Madness, plus college soccer, football, and baseball. Bring on the ACC in 2015. 


4.  Progress, Progress. Kentucky might not be known for left-leaning ideals but Louisville a pretty progressive place. We’re pushing for more bike paths, creating arts districts, reinventing downtown, expanding parks, and preserving our heritage of great architecture, from the Victorians of Old Louisville to the cast-iron facades of Main Street.  Don’t get me wrong, the city could be more progressive. But it’s pretty good right now, and getting better all the time. 

3. Booming Business. The River City has always seemed like an easy place to launch a new venture. In my time here I’ve managed rental property, flipped houses, run a tree removal business, and started a law practice. My wife runs a bed and breakfast, and she recently launched herown self-run business as a clinical social worker. In all these endeavors, we’ve met people who provided us with advice, encouragement, and ideas. The city’s business vibe is friendly and supportive, about as far from cutthroat as you can get. 


2.  Family Friendly. For all the cool grown-up stuff to do here, the bigger draw for me is how easy it is to raise a family. The low cost of living allows us to have a house with plenty of room that’s close to almost everything we want to do. The kids’ basketball and soccer leagues are just a mile or two from home. Same with Cub Scouts, church, indoor soccer, Lakeside Swim Club and other family-friendly venues. 

1. A hometown for the wandering spirit. Louisville, and maybe to a larger extent Kentucky, has a Southern sense of hospitality and charm that is easy to take for granted until you spend time elsewhere. If you are a military brat, a gypsy, or just don’t like where you’re from, chances are Louisville will change your mind about the concept of home. This place, with its amazing people and independent funky spirit will make you want to settle in and stay awhile. And it’s home to bourbon, lots of bourbon. Come on.



Monday, January 13, 2014

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Litigation: My Corner of the Legal Universe

A friend recently asked me how I spend my time as a lawyer. She is an attorney in Florida, handling  real estate issues, wills and trusts. I know a little bit about those areas, but not much. Like a lot of attorneys, I know a little about a lot of areas, and a lot about a few tiny niche subjects.

In the last few weeks, for example, I helped a Spanish speaking lady find help with child support. I talked to a prospective client about a medical malpractice case, and discussed a debt collection issue with a friend whose property was damaged by a renter. I also spent time preparing for a trial in a car wreck case. But the vast majority of my energy was devoted to the finer points of litigating on behalf of patients with failed metal-on-metal prosthetic hip implants. If you're keeping track at home, that falls into the field of torts, in the area of product liability, in medical devices. It's a pretty small corner of the legal world, but many lawyers spend their time hanging out in these niche areas. Here's a blog post that I wrote about hip implant injuries, for our law firm, Jones Ward PLC.


"Metal-on-metal hip implants made by DePuy, Zimmer, Stryker and other companies can fail after just a few years, forcing the patient to undergo a painful and costly revision surgery. But that’s just the starting point in terms of injuries that some of these defective devices can cause unhappy customers. Here are some of the other problems that can result from a failed metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasty:
Dislocation after revision: after the metal hip is surgically removed, it’s not uncommon for the patient to experience a painful dislocation in the following months. This usually requires a return trip to the hospital, where the surgeon performs a closed reduction or open reduction operation to re-join the femoral components.
Foot drop: even the most skilled surgeons face a tough job repairing a joint with damage from metallosis. This condition is caused by elevated levels of cobalt and chromium, which can lead to osteolysis, purulent fluid, infection, tissue necrosis, ALVAL, pseudotumors, and other damage to the hip area. Revision surgery also carries a risk of damage to the sciatic nerve. If the nerve is stretched or cut during surgery, it can lead to a condition called drop foot, where the patient has trouble lifting the front part of the foot.
Re-revision: having a revision surgery to remove the failed prosthetic device carries a higher risk of future revision due to the compromised hip area.
Pulmonary embolism: dangerous blood clots can form during or after revision surgery. A clot in the legs, often called a deep vein thrombosis, can breaks free and travel to the lungs, causing blockage of the arteries. In some cases, this can be fatal.
Stroke and heart attack: unfortunately, revision surgery can lead to increased risk of stroke or heart attack, especially in a patient with a history of cardiac trouble.
The lawyers at Jones Ward PLC represent people with metal-on-metal hip implants across the nation. Here is a list of some of the defective hip devices that Jones Ward is litigating, along with typical dates of implantation.

Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG hip stem: Feb. 2009 to June 2012.
DePuy ASR: 2005 to 2010.
DePuy Pinnacle: 2003 to 2012.
Biomet M2A Magnum: 2004 to 2011
Biomet M2A Taper: 2003 forward

Smith & Nephew BHR and R3 liner: 2006 to 2012
Zimmer Durom: 2007 and 2010
Wright Conserve and ProFemur: 2003 to 2012.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective metal-on-metal hip implant, call Attorney Alex Davis for a free case evaluation, or send an email to alex@jonesward.com."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Advice from the top: what's your legal narrative?

One of our law firm's partners recently asked me an intriguing question: what is my narrative? As an English major and a former journalist, I can appreciate a good narrative. Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bukowski — those guys can sling a story. But my narrative? What the heck did that mean? Turns out, he wanted me to think about my future career trajectory as a lawyer. What is my focus? How do I find cases? Where do I want to be in five years? In ten years?

Thinking about one's career as a narrative isn't easy. I pondered it for a week or two. I'm still not finished pondering, but I did realize a few things about what I need to do in order to make it happen. Some of the building blocks in my narrative need to be stronger: more trial experience, deeper connections to the legal community, and a better understanding of the science behind the mass tort cases that are at the heart of my practice.

I also realized that my narrative is better than I thought. I just wasn't telling anyone about it. So, I grudgingly joined LinkedIn. I also revved up Google Plus. And I updated my online profile at our firm's Web site, which hadn't changed in a year. The new version is posted below. I'm sure it lacks a few things. But it gave me a better picture of where that narrative is heading. Got your own thoughts about your narrative? Plug them into the comments field at the bottom of this post.


Alex C. Davis


AssociateAlex Davis Photo
alex@jonesward.com
Tel: 502-882-6000
Fax: 502-587-2007
Marion E. Taylor Building
312 South Fourth Street, Sixth Floor
Louisville, Kentucky 40202

Alex has lived in Kentucky since 2003. A native of Akron, Ohio, he graduated Cum Laude from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, where he was Notes Editor of the school's flagship law review.
As an associate at Jones Ward PLC, Alex helps clients to recover from devastating injuries caused by metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy, Biomet, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, Zimmer and other companies. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, and represents clients across Kentucky and Indiana, and from Florida to New York to Washington, as well as Maine, Tennessee, Michigan, California, Illinois, and many other states.
Alex also assists clients with medical malpractice and personal injury cases, including auto and truck accidents, as well as wrongful death, nursing home negligence and insurance bad faith. As an avid motorcycle owner and bicyclist, Alex has a particular interest in representing injured cyclists.
In his class action practice, Alex represents plaintiffs in cases involving train derailments, student loan servicers, and banks that offer payday loan products. He also has been involved in the following Multi-District Litigation (MDL) cases:
  • DePuy Orthopaedics ASR Hip Implant Litigation MDL 2197
  • In re: Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2100
  • In re: Chantix (Varenicline) Products Liability Litigation MDL 2092
  • In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation MDL 1507.
  • In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon," MDL 2179.
  • In re: Higher One OneAccount Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL 2407
Alex previously worked for more than a decade as a daily newspaper journalist in Ohio, Oregon, Indiana, and Kentucky. His work as a professional writer took him across the United States and Mexico, investigating stories about political corruption, natural disasters, immigration, and many other topics. He spent the last six years of his journalism career at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
While in law school, Alex received the top grade in Advanced Trial Practice, and founded a student chapter of the American Association for Justice. Alex also holds a bachelor's degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, where he was a four-year member of the men's varsity soccer team and received the school's scholar-athlete award.
Alex is active in the American Association for Justice, the Kentucky Justice Association, and the Louisville Bar Association. He is a professionally trained photographer and videographer, and speaks conversational Spanish. He volunteers his time with the following community organizations:
Alex lives in the Original Highlands neighborhood of Louisville with his wife and two sons. You can follow his personal blog at this link.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

For bar exam takers, the journey is just beginning

Hundreds of law students finished taking the Kentucky bar exam yesterday, ending a grueling ordeal that will be etched into their minds for the rest of their legal careers — if they end up passing. Results come out in October.

It seems like not too long ago that I checked the pass list myself, fingers trembling as I scanned through the numbers, then exhaling hard when I saw the good news. But as I thought about the bar exam yesterday, and the people I know who took it, a different thought crossed my mind. The bar was difficult, no doubt, but not nearly as difficult as the months that followed after I was sworn in as a new lawyer.

It's been a whirlwind year, filled with humility, frustration, lots of long hours, and some small victories too. I took and defended my first depositions, argued my first motions in Jefferson Circuit Court, and reached settlement agreements in a bunch of civil cases at the firm where I work. I also had the privilege of participating in a jury trial, launching several class action lawsuits, and giving advice to dozens of clients about their cases. For this week's bar exam takers, the end of studying has arrived, but the real work has not even started. If your experience is anything like mine, the road ahead will be tough but rewarding. Everything will be new. You will make mistakes. But you'll pick things up and move forward, and maybe somewhere around the six-month mark you'll start to feel like you have more answers than questions.

Specializing is a dirty word in our profession — ethics rules prohibit us from saying we "specialize" in a particular area — but it does help to have a niche. Mine is mass torts. I represent people who are injured by defective products, from metal hip implants to dangerous prescription medications. Most of these products are made by large corporations with boundless financial resources. Most of the clients are everyday people who have never filed a lawsuit, but who have suffered horrible and in some cases permanent injuries. It's a cause that is easy for me to be passionate about, and I'm grateful that I am in a tiny corner of the legal profession where I find meaning and purpose in most of the things I do. By the way, terrific book recommendation: All the Justice Money Can Buy, the story of legendary trial lawyer Mark Lanier and the fight about Vioxx and its maker, Merck. Incredibly, I am now actively working on  mass tort cases with both Lanier and many of the other plaintiffs' lawyers who appear in the book, although admittedly my spot on the totem pole is quite a bit lower
— reviewing discovery, drafting pleadings, corresponding with clients. Still, it's thrilling to be a part of something that has seemingly endless potential and room for future growth. Becoming a great lawyer doesn't happen overnight, but you have to start somewhere. Congrats to those who finished the bar exam this week. Your journey is just beginning.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Louisville tops list of most efficient law schools

The University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law scored the number one spot on a new list of the nation's most efficient law schools. Rutgers was second. George Mason was third.

The list was created by U.S. News, the publisher of a closely watched — and highly criticized — annual list that purports to rank the top law schools. Louisville was 68th in the most recent list of best schools, up sharply from previous years. For better or worse, many prospective law students place great weight on this list in deciding where to spend the next three years of their lives before picking up a J.D. Employers also depend on the rankings.

According to the magazine, the new "efficiency" rankings show "which law schools are able to produce the highest educational quality, as determined by their place in our Best Law Schools rankings, but spend relatively less money to achieve that quality."


To be sure, there are areas where this new list could be picked apart and scrutinized. For example, it would seem that schools such as Louisville, which are located in relatively low-cost cities, don't have to pay their professors as much money in salaries, which in turn would boost their efficiency. The nearby University of Kentucky was tenth on the efficiency list. Likewise, schools that receive less financial support from their parent institutions are forced to make do with less. But at the end of the day, it's hard to argue that the No. 1 showing is a bad thing for Brandeis.

During my time at U of L Law from 2009 to 2012, I can recall a lot of terrific professors and classes, and not a whole lot of ornate wood trim or fancy furniture. The place was pretty low key for a professional graduate school, but that never bothered me because I always felt I was getting a good return on my investment — and I continue to feel that way as a lawyer today.  Go Cardinals!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ten Reasons to Love the Louisville Cardinals

The Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team will get a chance this evening to win its first national championship since 1986. Remarkably, our women's team has a shot at the title as well. In honor of this double success story, and because it's going to be incredibly hard to focus on anything but basketball over the next 12 hours, here's yet another top ten list of reasons why every lawyer should support their hometown team. Some of these are specific to Louisville, but most can be applied anywhere.

10. The law requires a slavish devotion. If you want to be good, you have to put in the time. Rooting for your local sports team gives you something to do outside of work. Everyone needs a hobby.

9. Advocacy. Cheering for the local team gives you a new way to express your allegiance with a particular cause or client. Being an aggressive advocate is an important skill.

8. Kevin Ware.

7. Louisville is on a serious success streak. Football team wins Sugar Bowl. Soccer and baseball teams are tearing it up. And both basketball teams are playing for a national championship -- in a city that is already the nation's top television market for college basketball. Wow.

6. Louisville's law school recently made a giant jump in the US News rankings, landing at 68 in the most recent poll. The University of Kentucky, at 58, also posted a nice gain.

5. Speaking of Kentucky, U of L's rival and sometimes partner, being a passionate fan gives you something else to argue about beyond pre-trial motions and Medicare subrogation. Practice pointer: if you are a hater, i.e. you hate the other team so passionately that you can't celebrate their independent success, keep it to yourself. Bitterness won't win you any business.

4. Road trip! I had an amazing time watching Louisville beat Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen a week ago in Indianapolis. A bunch of friends are in Atlanta right now getting ready for tonight's game. Good excuse for a road trip.

3. Be a winner. Right now, to support Louisville is to associate yourself with a winner. While loyalty is important in any business, being a winner is especially important for attorneys.

2. Business. It makes business sense to show your support for the home team, whether it's Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, Wichita State, etc. Aligning yourself with the local team is a networking tool, a conversation starter, even a branding tool for your law firm

1. Community. This is what it all boils down to. Being a supporter of the local college team shows you care about the community where you live, and the education of future generations of community leaders, including your children and the children of your clients and colleagues. When three fourths of your hometown's residents are going bonkers about the team, flying flags from their car windows and wearing red T-shirts to work instead of suits, why not join em? Go Cards! 

University of Louisville





Thursday, February 21, 2013

Six-month checkup: Rookie year couldn't be better

Earlier this week, a law student showed up at our office in downtown Louisville. She was interviewing for a job as a summer law clerk. I was asked to sit down and speak with her. Like most tasks in my first six months as a lawyer, I had about 15 seconds to prepare. But unlike some of the more nerve-wracking ordeals of my rookie year — motion hour, the first few depositions, mediation, trial prep — this one was a piece of cake. Shoot the breeze with a law student for half an hour? No problem. In fact, the experience gave me an excuse to take a short and wistful stroll down memory lane. Just a year ago, I was in a similar position, scratching my head over employment prospects in a dismal job market and wondering if I had made the right choice.

With all the negative press about law school — click here for my previous posts, or here for Exhibit B in the Huffington Post —I felt compelled to offer this student my unsolicited thoughts about why being a lawyer is so great. Even after just six months, I can't imagine not being a lawyer. Sure, it's stressful at times, and the hours are long, but the experiences I've had since last August have been among the most rewarding of my adult working life. I've sued a bunch of giant companies like this one and this one and this one on behalf of injured people who otherwise would not have recourse. I've had the privilege to learn from some fantastic lawyers and judges with decades of war stories and experience under their belts. I've learned about wide-ranging areas of the law — train derailments, banking, medical devices, worker's compensation, prescription drugs to name a few — and gotten a taste of how much more there is to learn.

Although some of it has been terrifying, I can't think of a more invigorating experience than going head to head with another smart attorney, with my client's interests on the line. I realize that not all law students are looking for that pressure. There is plenty of other legal work out there that can be rewarding. At the same time, I'm sure there are many law students and freshly minted lawyers out there who are kicking themselves about the huge level of law school debt, the terrible job market, and the stressful/disappointing/unrewarding nature of their newfound careers. Just don't count me among them.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Highlights of a First-year Lawyer

As I wind up a week with the family in Hilton Head, I can't help but give thanks for some of the fantastic experiences I've had in the last two months since our swearing in ceremony as lawyers. First of all, I'm grateful to be working at a law firm with flexible partners who haven't blinked an eye at my week-long vacation in the midst of a busy time of year in our business. Other biggies:

Hilton Head 2012 with the boys
  • In many ways, I'm grateful that the law school gamble worked out at all. While many members of the Class of 2012 at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law have found great jobs, others are still searching. And by most accounts, the market is tough out there. A recent story in the Washington Post stated that, nine months after graduating, half of all law students last year did not find jobs as lawyers. That's a bad fraction.
  • I'm grateful to be playing a small part in some legal cases that bring me deep personal satisfaction. In the last three months, I've helped launch class action lawsuits involving unfair banking fees for college students, a conspiracy linked to Anthem health insurance premiums, and a train derailment that spilled dangerous chemicals into the environment
  • I'm grateful for technology, which allowed me to edit videos, communicate with clients and other lawyers, and draft pleadings from my laptop during vacation.
  • I'm proud to know more than a handful of fellow law graduates who have struck out on their own, starting independent law firms like this one and this one that are running on grit and ambition. They're going to do great things. 
  • I'm thankful for all the veteran attorneys and judges, like this guy and this guy and this guy, who have graciously welcomed me into a profession that demands vast knowledge and experience. 
  • I'm humbled by the opportunity to help people recover from serious injuries, including cases like this one, that are caused by the negligence of others. It's a responsibility I don't take lightly.  
  • More than anything, I'm thankful for family. Cheesy yes, but also true. I'm thankful for a week of building sand castles with my kids, taking oceanfront strolls with my awesome wife,  gorging myself on rich food, and waking up early to run off the calories. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Class action suit targets Kentucky's largest health insurer for conspiracy and unfair price tactics

I'm proud to be the plaintiff's attorney in a federal class action lawsuit filed recently by our firm, Jones Ward PLC. The suit is against Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, for illegally conspiring to drive up prices for consumers. Anthem is the largest health insurer in Kentucky by far, collecting $326 million in premiums every year. The next largest insurer, Humana, collects just $27 million in premiums. Anthem's status as the 800-pound gorilla of health insurance in the Commonwealth is no accident. Anthem operates under the Blue Cross Blue Shield trademark, and is part of insurance mega-company Wellpoint, Inc. Anthem's strategy for limiting competition is simple. It teams up with other Blue Cross partners and illegally divides up the nation's insurance market in violation of the Sherman Act. The insurance companies then agree to stay on their own turf and not compete with each other. In the process, they drive up prices and keep competitors out.

To read more about this case, and to download a PDF copy of the lawsuit, click here

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bad products flood U.S. economy

From exercise bikes and vitamins to coffeemakers and walking shoes, defective products are flooding the U.S. economy and harming consumers in all walks of life. That's the general message of a newspaper story published today by Darla Carter of The Courier-Journal in Louisville. In describing a long list of recalled or defective items, Carter writes that "products that we buy to improve our health or make our lives easier can leave us feeling cheated because they don't live up to marketing hype or have dangerous flaws."
This news story should not come as a surprise to consumers who have been injured by these products. It happens more often than you might think. The attorneys at Jones Ward PLC receive calls every day about problems like this. Here's a list of some of the defective products:
  • MR. COFFEE SINGLE CUP BREWING SYSTEM
Sunbeam Products, recalled 520,000 of its coffee machines after more than 60 reports of burn injuries to the face and other body parts.
  • REEBOK'S EASYTONE WALKING SHOES
Reebok over-hyped its EasyTone walking shoes and ended up paying $25 million for refunds.
  • WINDOW BLINDS BY BLIND XPRESS
These blinds were recalled after a 2-year-old girl was strangled in the loop of a cord that wasn't attached to the wall or floor. This isn't the first miniblind recall. Anyone with children should be especially careful to check the brand's safety record and make sure blinds are properly installed.
  • CHILDREN'S VITAMINS
Vitamin marketers including NBTY paid $2.1 million to settle charges about children's multivitamins featuring the Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh, and Spider-Man. The vitamins were falsely promoted as being good for healthy brain and eye development.
  • AB CIRCLE PRO
The company that makes the Ab Circle Pro will pay up to $25 million to settle charges of deceptive advertising. They claimed that working out three minutes a day on the Ab Circle would lead to a 10-pound weight loss in 14 days. It's ridiculous and sad that a company would even try to make a claim like this. Think about it: a total workout of roughly 45 minutes leading to a 10-pound weight loss. ab-circle-pro-review-1.jpg



  • EARLY MODEL TRX SUSPENSION TRAINER DEVICES
There have been hundreds of reports of this product breaking, causing injuries to the head, face, shoulder and hip.
  • GENERIC ANTIDEPRESSANT BUDEPRION XL 300 MG
This drug, Budeprion XL 300 mg., is marketed as equivalent to Wellbutrin XL 300 mg. Turns out it's not equivalent at all, which means some patients might not get the desired effect with the generic drug, which is used to treat depression and to prevent seasonal affective disorder. It's made by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Impax Laboratories.
This list of recalled products could certainly be longer. Indeed, nearly every day a consumer product in the United States is recalled due to safety concerns or fraudulent marketing. If you or a loved one have been injured by one of the above products, or another recalled consumer item, call Attorney Alex Davis at 502-882-6000 for a free case evaluation, or email him at alex@jonesward.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Metal hip implant cases moving forward

I've spent most of the last three years learning about how metal hip implants injure people. These medical devices were promoted over the last decade as the best thing since sliced bread. They were pitched as a product that would last forever. Turned out that many of them had a higher than normal failure rate.

Now, hip device companies are facing a mountain of lawsuits from people with a nasty condition called metallosis, which can injure the kidneys, destroy tissue and bone, and cause memory problems. Here's a blog post that I wrote for our law firm, Jones Ward PLC, earlier today about the latest twist in the mass tort world of hip implants.

"Dozens of lawsuits over failed Biomet hip implants are being merged together in a federal court in Indiana, over the objection of Biomet.
images.jpg
The cases, including some from Jones Ward PLC, involve failed metal-on-metal implants made by Biomet. The most common type is the Biomet M2A Magnum. Lawyers for the Indiana company argued that the cases should not be merged together, in part because they claimed the devices were not as defective as other metal-on-metal implants such as the DePuy ASR.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, or JPML, disagreed. The panel, in a ruling filed Oct. 2, 2012, wrote that Biomet's efforts to settle some cases involving failed Magnums were "dwarfed by the almost 70 cases currently pending in federal court."

That number will almost certainly grow in the coming months as lawyers with Jones Ward PLC and other leading mass tort law firms seek compensation on behalf of those who have been injured by failed metal-on-metal Biomet implants. Sadly, the problems with these implants are similar to the problems with other metal-on-metal implants made by DePuy, Zimmer, and other manufacturers. In certain patients, the metal parts rub against each other, shedding tiny particles of cobalt and chromium into the patient's bloodstream, which can lead to a dangerous condition called metallosis.

The only permanent cure for metallosis is surgery to have the metal implant device removed. Although the cases against Biomet will likely require extensive litigation over the coming years, the recent ruling by the JPML is a step in the right direction toward getting injured implant recipients the compensation they deserve. Unlike a class action lawsuit, these cases will be merged together in Indiana just for the purposes of handling pre-trial testimony and the exchange of evidence, which is called discovery. In theory, each case would return to a local court once the merged case in Indiana is complete. If you or a loved one have been injured by a failed metal-on-metal hip implant made by Biomet, DePuy, or another company, call Attorney Alex Davis at 502-882-6000 for a free case evaluation, or email him at alex@jonesward.com."



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lawsuit of the week: penis amputation case

Our law firm, Jones Ward, was swarmed by reporters this week after we filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Louisville man whose penis had to be amputated due to poor hospital care. That's right. Amputated. Ouch.

To read a copy of the complaint, click here. Numerous television stations and newspapers, some as far away as England, ran stories about the lawsuit, and it was the focus of a special report on CNN.

What wasn't mentioned in those segments is the fact that the attorneys at Jones Ward PLC deal with these kinds of cases on a daily basis. For example, the law firm currently represents a coal miner who had his foot and lower leg amputated in a job-related accident in eastern Kentucky. It also represents individuals who have had body parts amputated due to failed medical implants. Perhaps the saddest amputation case of all was a jury trial in which the attorneys at Jones Ward successfully argued in favor of a woman who witnessed the amputation of her newborn baby's head in the hospital as the baby was being born. The jury awarded the woman $1.4 million.

In other news, here's a photo of me, obviously pretty pleased with myself, at the swearing in ceremony for new lawyers on Thursday. There's another ceremony in Frankfort on Oct. 19, but I wanted to be official as soon as possible. Time to get to work. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sweet, sweet news: Bar Exam results arrive

All my poker chips riding on one number
Life is returning to normal, whatever that means, after a few days of total pandemonium following the release of the July 2012 bar exam results in Kentucky. The good news: I passed. Better news: I don't know of anyone who did not pass. Of course, there are folks who didn't pass the exam. The overall rate of passage in Kentucky was roughly 80 percent for the February exam. First-time exam takers from U of L Law had a 90 percent pass rate last summer, and those with top-notch grades in law school did even better. For a full breakdown of bar passage rates, click here.
I'm just relieved that the process is over. It was  a humbling experience. I'll be sworn in as a lawyer Thursday by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson in Louisville. My name will appear on lawsuits as soon as my license is complete, possibly as soon as next week. Then it's on to depositions, discovery, and possibly a trial later this year or early in 2013. Most people don't wake up in the morning and smile when they remember they have to go to work. I honestly can't wait to get to work as a lawyer. Congratulations to all those who passed the Kentucky bar exam.