GENERAL LITIGATION

GROUP CHAIR

Generally, one would not consult a newly licensed general practitioner if you needed brain surgery. One should not approach litigation any differently. Several of our lawyers have tried more than 100 jury trials to verdict, and have even more experience trying cases to verdict in bench trials. This extensive experience in trying cases provides our firm with the knowledge necessary to handle our clients’ cases if they go to trial. Our lawyers understand that in every representation they have the job facilitating understanding of our client’s position.Balancing the facts of each case with the needs and demands of the client, we conduct extensive but efficient discovery in order to gain a complete understanding of the case. Our lawyers utilize discovery, rules of procedure and rules of evidence to aggressively seek pre-trial disposition of cases whenever appropriate. Throughout the investigation and discovery process, we actively work with our clients to formulate the best trial strategy based upon the individual facts of each case.

APPELLATE ADVOCACY

The outcome of an appeal is equally important to the outcome of a trial or lower court proceeding. Appeals often have precedent setting significance with impact far beyond a single matter. Success at the appellate level requires different skills than those applied at trial. It is important to understand the appellate bench, and the perfection of the record. Our lawyers have written briefs and argued appellate matters that serve as precedent in several jurisdictions.

CLASS ACTION DEFENSE

Achieving success in class action matters requires strategy for early dismissal, defeating class certification, Rule 23(f) appeals of class certification decisions, and precluding plaintiffs’ expert witnesses. This strategy must work backwards from the desired result to be successful. We understand the constantly evolving standards for class certification. We have been able to convince parties and courts that certification must be denied. In this regard, we understand that class actions can often be favorably resolved with a comprehensive and irrevocable settlement. Often, carefully negotiated settlements of class actions are true “wins” in that they avoid years of litigation cost, uncertain risk and potential reputational harm. We also recognize the need for coordinated strategy against the setting of regulatory inquiry, government action, or criminal prosecutions.

DRAM SHOP LITIGATION

When injuries have resulted from the careless or intentional actions of an intoxicated person, the establishments that served the intoxicated individual may be sued for damages, including medical expenses and pain and suffering. There are two types of liability claims that can arise against these establishments: (1) Dram Shop liability, or claims based on applicable statutes; and (2) tavern keeper/innkeeper liability claims, or negligence claims which are based on the common law.

We are the counsel of choice for some of the largest and most sophisticated property owners and managers throughout the country. The firm successfully defends bars, taverns, hotels and other social organizations against claims from third-parties for injury or death arising from the sale of alcohol to intoxicated patrons or to minors. We regularly represent liquor license holders who have dram shop coverage, as well as license holders without dram shop coverage.

E-DISCOVERY

Our lawyers advise clients in developing pre-litigation policies and procedures. We counsel clients on implementing effective technologies to manage and dispose of data defensibly and consistently with emerging best practices. Our team also advises on preserving documents and data effectively where there is a duty to preserve. We work with clients to explain defensible disposal before a duty to preserve arises. Once a duty to preserve arises, we work hand-in-glove with clients on legal holds and the their scope. Our managing partner, John Jablonski, is nationally recognized in this arena. He is the Editor of Arkfield’s Best Practices Guide for Legal Holds, and the former chair of the Defense Research Institute’s E-Discovery Committee.

ESCALATORS AND ELEVATORS

Lawsuits filed in response to injuries from elevator or escalator accidents include allegations of improper installation and maintenance. In these cases, counsel for the property owner must examine the actions of the installer and manufacturer. Because of the complexity of elevators and escalators, isolating the cause of an accident can be difficult. Our team investigates all aspects of an injury and involves nationally recognized experts to determine the cause of the accident. These experts can range from individuals who consult on questions of maintenance to engineers that deal with design or even metallurgists who provide an opinion regarding component failure.

INSURANCE COVERAGE

We solve complex insurance problems for businesses—be they litigation, transactional or regulatory. Our team has deep experience in coverage advice, litigation of “bet-the company” cases. In any multi-party/multi-claim/multi-insurer loss the roadmap to who pays first and next is often anything but clear. Clarity requires early assessment of all policies, additional insured endorsements, and contractual documents. Often a resolution is complicated by self-insured retentions, deductibles or solvency of the insured. Our lawyers have written seminal authorities on these issues. More importantly, they have been in the trenches advising clients on the nuance of when to litigate and when to negotiate these issues. We understand that no one wants surprises from coverage effecting or increasing the value of underlying claims.

PREMISES LIABILITY

Whether one operates a business or owns a home, there are many occurrences that create liability concerns related to the ownership of property. As a business owner or property owner, one can expect someone to claim that property is not reasonably safe. Potential claims include a dangerous condition causing injury, illegal activities and security issues. Our lawyers have years of experience defending property owners from claims arising from their premises.

MEDICAID SET-SIDE ARRANGEMENTS (MSA) AND OTHER LIENS

Whether the underlying loss is a mass tort event, class action, or single event, we have a deep bench in handling MSAs with efficiency and scale. We have the resources needed to resolve liens for the biggest settlements, as well as the skill necessary to resolve the matter.

The authority for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require consideration of a plaintiff’s future medical expenses is found in the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSPA). Under the MSPA Medicare is generally precluded from paying the beneficiary’s medical expenses when payment “has been made or can reasonably be expected to be made under a worker’s compensation plan, an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan (including a self-insured plan) or under no-fault insurance.” The requirements for Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements (MSA) have developed over the years in a series of memoranda issued by CMS. The MSPA applies to both past and future medical expenses.

Our lawyers grasp that the bottom line is that CMS reminds parties in liability and workers’ compensation cases to verify and resolve any conditional payments from Medicare. We have a deep understanding beyond MSA’a that includes alleged Worker’s Comp liens, or allegations for subrogation by private medical insurers. We consider this in all settlements and protect our client’s interests.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

We have extensive experience representing individuals and businesses in automobile-related personal injury accidents. We work with well-known experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanical reconstruction, vehicle kinematics, etc., and we are well-versed in cases involving road and highway design. Our firm also has significant experience in matters involving no-fault and personal injury protection (PIP), as well as uninsured, underinsured, and supplementary motorist (UM/UIM/SUM) coverage.

The use and/or operation of an automobile can result in injuries or create liability concerns and personal liability exposure. Our team addresses motor vehicle cases by evaluating the liability of the accident itself, and obtaining an early understanding of how or why the accident happened. We also defend issues related to the alleged injury and whether it relates to the occurrence or a result of another accident or cause. Our lawyers have represented individuals and insurance carriers regarding simple property damage claims to serious injuries with large economic loss claims.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY CLAIMS

Often a person claims they sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of some occurrence. The traumatic brain injury claim requires one to draw on many fields of experts. We work with many specialists to learn all that we can regarding such a claim and whether such an injury has been sustained. This requires a thorough analysis of the claim and experience to draw on specific specialties in order to determine if there are other causes that can account for the claims being made. We have successfully defended claims of cognitive loss of function with skilled research and specialists to ensure a proper analysis of the injury and the liability raised.

WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS

The loss of life in an accident gives rise to many unique issues. Many jurisdictions have unique wrongful death statutes. Our lawyers appreciate the nuances associated with special damages often associated with a wrongful death claim. These elements require an early evaluation, and expert evaluation of the claim’s merits.