Pennsylvania County sues drug companies amid opioid crisis

Delaware County, PA, sued 11 pharmaceutical companies Thursday for marketing tactics that county officials say misrepresent the dangers of long-term opioid usage while a national overdose crisis continues to kill tens of thousands of people annually.

The county alleged in its complaint that the companies and three consulting physicians engaged in promotional campaigns that encouraged prolonged and widespread use of their powerful painkillers, despite knowing that in doing so consumers risked damaging health effects and addiction.

The effort has been extremely profitable for drugmakers, the suit alleged, noting that in 2015 opioid sales earned the industry almost $10 billion. In that same year, more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that nearly half of those deaths involved prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Vicodin.

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NTL Executive Committee member Tom Mesereau on documentary screening panel

Tom Mesereau

National Trial Lawyers Criminal Defense Executive Committee member Tom Mesereau

The National Trial Lawyers Criminal Defense Executive Committee member Tom Mesereau will be a featured panel speaker following the screening of a new documentary, “When Justice Isn’t Just,” on September 30th in Los Angeles. The film, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Massey and produced by Dawn Massey, will be shown as part of a program that begins at 4:00 pm at Norris Cinema Theatre, Frank Sinatra Hall at 3507 Trousdale Parkway in LA. Mesereau and other panel members will discuss the film and its impact immediately following the film at 5:00 pm. For more information about the event, contact Dawn Alexander at 818-830-4818 or go to

How to Take Advantage of Two Everyday Tax-Favored Assets

It is typical for attorneys to have anywhere from 20-50 percent of their net worth tied up in real estate.

By Jason M. O’Dell, MS, CWM and David B. Mandell, JD, MBA.

You likely want to reduce your taxes as much as legally permissible.  While most attorneys, in our experience, consider tax reduction as their #1 or #2 financial concern, few take full advantage of the two commonplace assets that have enjoyed most advantageous tax treatment under our tax code for decades – real estate and permanent life insurance.

In our books and lectures, we discuss the similarity of real estate and cash value life insurance from a tax perspective.  While our tax code may change under a new president, both have enjoyed superior tax treatment over recent decades.

With real estate, you can write off depreciation on business real estate, deduct interest payments on home mortgages within limits, write off local property taxes against your federal taxes, and enjoy up to a $500,000 capital gains exemption on the sale of the primary home (for a married couple filing jointly), among other benefits.  

With permanent life insurance (also called “cash value” insurance), you can enjoy tax-deferred growth of gains within the policy, and if managed correctly, access such value tax-free in retirement.  In addition, policy death benefits generally pay to beneficiaries income tax free and — for those focused on estate planning — you can even structure the death benefits to pay estate tax free within certain types of trusts.  

Further, both asset classes have enjoyed a very powerful tax benefit that few others are afforded: the ability to move from one piece of real estate/life policy to another using a tax-free like-kind exchange.  For real estate, these exchanges are controlled under tax code section 1031; for life insurance, 1035.  

Tax-wise similarities

Interestingly, from an investment and asset class perspective, these two assets are also relatively long term.  You may have heard that, in order not to get burned by having to sell real estate in a down market cycle, you should expect to hold a property at least ten years, as a rule of thumb.  The same time period would also apply well to cash value insurance, as that is around the time where the tax benefits begin to far outweigh the upfront costs.  

Many attorneys have utilized real estate as a significant part of their balance sheet. This is not surprising, as nearly all attorneys own a home and it is often one of the most valuable assets they own.  Further, many attorneys purchase real estate to house their law practices, rather than renting for years on end.  Moreover, some attorneys own second homes, rental properties, and even raw land.  It is typical for attorneys to have anywhere from 20-50 percent of their net worth tied up in real estate.  Over the years, they have taken full advantage of some real estate tax benefits – most notably the interest deductions and property tax write-offs.  Fewer utilized depreciation benefits and, still fewer, the like-kind exchange tax opportunities.

However, relatively few attorneys have taken significant advantage of the tax benefits of cash value insurance — despite their interest in building tax-favored wealth for retirement. This is too bad, as the tax-free growth and access of such an asset class fits well within a long-term “tax diversification” strategy for most high net worth attorneys.  Let’s look at an example of how this can work.

Case Study: Cash Value Insurance

Attorney Andrew is a 45-year-old in good health who wants to invest in either a taxable mutual fund or a cash value insurance policy for his retirement.  Keeping rates of return equal at 6.45 percent annually, Dan wants to see what relative advantages the life policy will produce due to its favorable tax treatment.  

Let’s assume Dan were to invest $25,000 per year for 10 years before retirement and then withdraw funds from ages 65 to 84.  Let’s also assume Dan’s tax rate on investments is 31 percent (50 percent coming from long-term gains and dividends, 50 percent from short-term gains, plus 6 percent state tax).

With these assumptions, if Dan invests in mutual funds on a taxable basis, he will be able to withdraw $28,477 per year after taxes. If he invests in cash value life insurance, he will withdraw $48,343 per year (no taxes on policy withdrawals of basis and loans), and will still have over $525,000 of life insurance death benefit protection. This is a substantial difference based primarily on the tax treatment of the cash value policy.  

Real estate and cash value life insurance are two everyday asset classes that every attorney can leverage in their long-term tax planning.  We encourage you to explore both and see how they may help you achieve your long-term financial goals.

SPECIAL OFFERS:  Please call 877-656-4362 to receive a free hardcopy of Wealth Management Made Simple. Visit and enter promotional code NTL02 for a free ebook download for your Kindle or iPad.

David B. Mandell, JD, MBA, is an attorney, consultant and author of more than a dozen books, including Wealth Management Made Simple. He is a principal of the wealth management firm OJM Group, along with Jason M. O’Dell, MS, CWM, who is also a principal and author. They can be reached at 877-656-4362 or


NTL member Jose Baez: Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE

New England Patriots helmetNTL member Jose Baez says tests on the brain of Aaron Hernandez reveal the former NFL player suffered from severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and that Hernandez’s daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport was safe. Baez says the tests reveal that Hernandez had one of the most severe cases of CTE ever seen in someone of his age. Baez defended Hernandez when he was acquitted of the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men in Boston. Hernandez committed suicide while still in prison for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Boston claims the NFL and the Patriots denied Avielle Hernandez of her father’s companionship.

6 Techniques to Maximize the Marketing Impact of Large and Small Verdicts

Recent Personal Injury Jury Awards and Settlements

Your law firm’s case results should tell stories that potential clients can relate to.

By Dan Jaffe, CEO
LawLytics – Legal Marketing System

Which case would you highlight on your website to drive more business to your law firm — a $47,000 car crash verdict or a $55 million medical malpractice verdict? For plaintiff law firm Gilman & Bedigian, the answer is both.

To generate new files from potential clients as well as referring attorneys, the firm’s website used 6 powerful writing techniques to create compelling case histories. Both verdicts telegraph that the firm will take a case to trial when the defendant is evading responsibility for their actions.

Most attorneys would intuitively say that the large verdict is a better result to display. In many respects, they would be correct. However, If a case result is not well-written, or lacks substance it loses much of its impact. This is especially true for more common, or less impressive results.

If the results are merely listed side by side with the monetary value, of course, the $55 million verdict looks more impressive. But simply listing results will diminish your law firm and your accomplishments.

By presenting a well-crafted story, the small verdict can be equally powerful. Your law firm’s case results should tell stories that potential clients can relate to. Good case results pages are not short. That is why LawLytics has a built-in case results module that lets attorneys display each case result on its own search engine-optimized page, while creating a client-friendly index that attorneys can easily reorder.

#1: The case result has a story arc so that it’s easy to read.

While there are numerous ways to create an effective case study structurally and stylistically, it’s important to note that the goal is to create something that your potential clients can relate to.

With offices in Maryland and Pennsylvania, LawLytics client Gilman & Bedigian begins the case report about the $55 million verdict against Johns Hopkins begins dramatically:

“This is the story of Enso Martinez and Rebecca Fielding, who were expectant parents in the Waverly area of Baltimore in March 2010. The couple had planned for a home birth with the help of a midwife. But after several hours in labor, it became clear that Rebecca needed medical assistance.”

“There were obvious signs of fetal distress. These signs required an emergency cesarean delivery. But the medical professionals ignored the signs.”

“The baby was in distress, and the clock was ticking.”

Although the firm has several seven and eight-figure verdicts listed, the potential client will most likely see and read the largest one first.

What happens when an auto-accident client views the $55 million case result? Although it’s an impressive number, the dollar figure is irrelevant. The potential client in an auto-accident case with damages in the five or six-figure range will look a this verdict like somebody looks at a story of somebody winning the lottery or getting a $50 million dollar NBA contract.

That’s nice, she may think, but it’s not me.

Then, when the lower-range auto accident client considers the verdict and the firm’s role in it more closely, she may decide that her case is too “small potatoes” for the firm. If she makes that conclusion, she may then erroneously decide that because their case is small, the firm is less likely to give it their full attention.

The way to mitigate this is to tell the plaintiff’s story and to make sure that other relevant case results are also accessible.

On the other hand, the large verdict is important to every potential medical malpractice client because it shows what the law firm is capable of achieving. The story arc of the malpractice case describes how the parents had to wait two hours for an emergency c-section, how the hospital wouldn’t explain why the baby was having seizures, how common birth injuries are, and how the hospital refused to take responsibility.

The detail in the story brings it to life and makes it relatable to anyone fighting an insurance company or well-known institution for compensation.

It is also convincing to referring attorneys because the verdict shows that the firm is well-funded and able to handle the most complex and highest-stakes cases. This should assure any referral source that the firm is experienced and capitalized sufficiently to handle their case.

#2. The case result shows what the firm did to earn the result.

The malpractice case summary describes how the hospital alternately stonewalled the parents and blamed them for their child’s injuries.

“Despite the prevalence and catastrophic nature of each of these cases, hospitals, their insurance companies and lawyers often play the odds that devastated parents, and their lawyers, will not have the stamina and the financial ability to pursue litigation and prevail. And they’re right because it’s a very expensive and time-consuming process.”

“We understand this, and take our responsibility to secure justice and the maximum compensation for our clients very seriously. This often times means investing years of our time and significant amounts of money into our cases.”

The firm had to overcome defense arguments that the baby’s oxygen deprivation occurred during the stage of labor while the couple was still at home. The attorneys knew that 24 cases of significant birth injury were reported by Maryland hospitals in 2011. They knew that the hospital’s motivation was to avoid compensating the family to save money and avoid attracting similar lawsuits.

“Winning for our clients sometimes involves taking a case all the way through trial and asking a jury to decide,” the firm says. “This was such a case.”

Referral sources want to know that they are sending the client they are referring to an attorney who will handle their case competently and who will treat the client well. The treatment of the potential client reflects back on the referral source. Therefore, they want to make referrals that will make them look good.

A well-written story of a large jury verdict accomplishes two important things for referral sources.

First, the amount itself establishes competence. Second, because the story of the result is something that people can relate to, it’s something that’s easy to share with the potential client as part of the referral process. This prevents the referring professional from having to explain much to justify the referral. It also gives them an insurance policy against the potential client thinking the referral is being made based on something other than merit.

#3. The case result has a protagonist that is not the law firm or attorney (typically it is the client).

Many law firms make the mistake of casting themselves as the hero. In fact, a review of lawyer press releases on PRNewswire and shows self-aggrandizing headlines like “The ABC Law Group Obtains $2.6 Million Jury Verdict for Bus Driver,” without even bothering to identify the client. Others have headlines that read “ABC Firm Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against DEF Corporation.”

These are examples of law firms talking about how great they are. This erroneous approach conveys that the firm is primarily interested in its own interests, and is simply using the client.

In the auto-accident verdict, Gilman & Bedigian appropriately put the client in the spotlight:

“This is the story about a mother and her two young children who were rear-ended by a negligent driver in Baltimore. It’s about their injuries and the injustice offered by State Farm Insurance. It’s about a big insurance company that wrongfully accused this mother of causing the accident. And this story is ultimately about taking the insurance giant to court in Baltimore, making them admit that their driver caused the accident, and making State Farm pay.”

#4. The case result shows the odds that the client and firm were up against and the struggle that was overcome.

“For years, State Farm stuck to its story that our clients weren’t entitled to a recovery, even though they suffered significant injuries when they were rear-ended by a negligent driver insured by State Farm. State Farm stuck to its position all the way up to trial by blaming our client, the victim.”

State Farm refused to offer a single dollar to settle the claims of the clients, even after the insured driver admitted that he was responsible for causing the collision.

The case study describes the intransigence of the big insurance company, which was “very good at this bluff and stall game.” A reader feels the frustration and exasperation of the injured mother and children, who were offered nothing even though they were struck from behind.

Potential clients will be impressed by the firm’s moxie when they read, “Insurance companies often play this game because they know that many personal injury attorneys are afraid to go to trial, or are simply not good in court.”

When a referral source sees the auto-accident case result, he will feel better making the referral to the firm. He will understand that the firm will take care of his referral, regardless of how big or small the case is (assuming the firm accepts the case). He will be reassured that the firm is not one that churns-and-burns low dollar cases to make quick and profitable settlements that don’t serve the clients’ best interests.

Although case results like this may attract referrals for cases that a law firm doesn’t want to accept because there are low damages or unclear liability, they do increase the number of impressions (interactions with referral sources) that a law firm will have. And the more referrals a law firm entertains, the more likely they are to get even more referrals that result in viable and profitable cases.

#5. The case result shows that justice was done.

The auto accident story concludes with:

“We pressed forward with a jury trial, which lasted two days. In the end, the jury awarded our client and her two children more than $47,000.00.  After hearing the evidence and our arguments on behalf of the mother, the jury saw right through the smoke and mirrors of the Defendant and his lawyer.”

The medical malpractice story concludes with:

“We took this case to trial. The trial lasted two weeks. In the end, a Baltimore City jury returned a record-setting verdict in Rebecca and Enzo’s favor, and awarded them $55 million. This was the highest jury verdict in a case like this.”

The case histories show that the firm got solid results because it was the right outcome. A reader sees that the attorneys had the power of truth on their side. The defendants were rightly held liable, they were not victims of a runaway legal system. They proved their case legitimately to an impartial jury and recovered a just reward.

#6. The case result personifies the client and shows that the law firm cares.

Despite the high-stakes involved in serious birth injury cases, effective marketing for such cases recognizes that potential medical malpractice clients are not making a calculated economic decision.

  • They feel that they haven’t been heard.
  • They have a story to tell.
  • The defendants’ are not going to acknowledge their story.

They are looking for a law firm that sympathizes with them, and that is willing to listen to them, understand them and fight for them. The case result needs to convey this.

The med-mal story states:

“We took the case to help Rebecca and Enzo receive compensation that would allow them to provide a lifetime of care for their severely and permanently physically and mentally disabled child. Their financial needs were significant, including covering medical expenses not covered by insurance, and building a home that could accommodate the child’s needs.”

When a potential client with a catastrophic birth injury sees the low dollar personal injury case result, she will not be deterred by it because it tells a story that she can relate to. She wants to understand that she is choosing a firm that cares about its clients and fights hard, regardless of the stakes. This result will also help relieve any anxiety she is feeling about whether her case is important enough for the firm.


Not all case results are created equal. Sometimes the results differ by orders of magnitude. However, every positive case result is a story worth telling, and telling well.

As you think about how to best present your law firm’s accomplishments, take some time and think through the multiple audiences that you may have for each case result, and take the time to craft each case result into a compelling story that moves your firm’s marketing forward.

For a more in-depth look at the topic, I recommend watching our on-demand webinar on the topic.

Attorney Dan Jaffe is the CEO of LawLytics - Legal Marketing System.

Attorney Dan Jaffe is the CEO of LawLytics – Legal Marketing System.

Attorney Dan Jaffe built thriving law practices in Seattle and Phoenix in the 1990s and 2000s. After getting burned by a law firm marketing company, Dan learned how the internet and search engines really work. He founded LawLytics in 2011 as a response to his frustrations and created the dream legal marketing service and system he wished had been available to him.

Today, LawLytics powers hundreds of the web’s most successful attorney websites and blogs, and our business is doubling each year. Attorneys interested in exploring LawLytics can schedule a call online, or call them at 800-713-0161.

Gilman & Bedigian is a LawLytics Member and Content Client, and the case results used as examples in this blog post were written by LawLytics on behalf of the firm with the firm’s guidance and input.

Thomas Girardi selected as Lawyer of the Decade

Thomas Girardi is the 2016 Past President of The National Trial Lawyers.

Thomas Girardi is the 2016 Past President of The National Trial Lawyers.

The International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) named Thomas Vincent Girardi, attorney and founding partner of Girardi & Keese, as the “Lawyer of the Decade” for 2018 for his outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment to the legal profession.

Girardi will receive the Crystal Tower at the 2017 IAOTP’s Annual Award Gala being held at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park, New York City.

Mr. Girardi is being recognized as “Lawyer of the Decade” for his 50 years of service as a practicing attorney, his endless list of professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, his dynamic and charismatic personality and his contribution to society.

Stephanie Cirami, President of IAOTP, says that “choosing Mr. Girardi for this award was an easy decision for our panel to make.  He is hands down one of the best trial lawyers of all time and he continues to wow us and the public every step of the way with his career achievements.  There is no one in the world like Tom.  His continued support and generosity have a significant impact on people’s lives and he leaves his mark on whomever or whatever he is involved with.  He is an extraordinary human being and a one of a kind successful, brilliant, gracious, charming man who couldn’t be more deserving of this award. We cannot thank him enough for what he has done for the organization and we are so honored to have him with us.  We cannot wait to spend time with him during his New York stay for the Award Gala.”

30 verdicts of $1 million or more

Thomas Vincent Girardi has certainly proved himself as an accomplished professional and expert litigator who has become a household name.  From being the trial lawyer on the famous Erin Brockovich case to his solid victories against Merck and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mr. Girardi is regarded by his peers as one of the nation’s top trial lawyers of all time.

He has obtained more than 30 verdicts of $1 million or more and has handled more than 100 settlements of $1 million or more. He has tried more than 100 jury cases, winning the first California medical malpractice verdict of $1 million or more, back in the 1970s and he has had a few billion dollar settlements under his belt.  His areas of practice include wrongful death, commercial litigation, products liability, bad faith insurance and toxic torts.

Mr. Girardi attended Loyola Law School and graduated in 1964.  He then enrolled in a master’s program at NYU receiving his LLM in 1965. In addition to running the firm, he has also been an Associate Professor at Loyola Law School from 1976 to the present and was recipient of the “Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1997 and in 2005 named “Champion of Justice” from the law school.

Throughout his illustrious career, Thomas Vincent Girardi has been active in his community, received numerous awards, accolades and recognized worldwide for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the legal profession.  He has been featured in many publications and magazines and will be featured on the front cover of the First International Edition of TIP (Top Industry Professionals) Magazine which will be out January of 2018 and distributed to the prestigious professionals all around the world. In 2003, he received the prestigious honor of being inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame by the California State Bar.

Mr. Girardi is also the first trial lawyer to be appointed to the California Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the state courts. From 2006 to the present Mr. Girardi is a radio show host called “Champions of Justice” on KRLA 870AM in Southern California, which is a radio show that discusses relevant legal issues facing Americans today.

He has been featured in Lawdragon Magazine, Los Angeles Daily Journal, The National Law Journal, ICE Magazine, Texas Bar Journal, California Law Business, and New Times Los Angeles, just to name a few. Mr. Girardi is a Member of the Board of Directors and former President of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only worldwide organization, limited to 500 trial lawyers.  He is President of the Litigation Counsel of America, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, American Board of Professional Liability Lawyers, Consumer Attorneys of California, and the International Society of Barristers.

He has an AV preeminent rating with Martindale Hubble and has been selected as “Top Attorney of the Year,” “Top Attorney of the Month,” “SuperLawyers”, “Best Lawyers in America,” “Top 100 Lawyers in California,” “Trial Lawyer of the Year” with many organizations for multiple years in a row.  For 2017 he was named Man of the Year and was also presented the “Citizen of the Year Award” by the International Association of Top Professionals where he was featured on the Thomas Reuters Building in Times Square numerous times throughout the year.

The International Association of Top Professionals are working on a film documentary on Mr. Girardi and have started filming and hope to have the documentary completed and released by this December.

For more information please visit:

Watch his video:

Consumers File Class Action Lawsuit Against Equifax in Security Breach

Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of Scott Meyers, Judy Meyers, Karl Gordon Eikost, and consumers nationwide whose sensitive personal data was collected and stored by Equifax on servers that were hacked in a massive security breach discovered on July 29, 2017.

The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 14, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by attorneys Thomas A. Demetrio and Kenneth T. Lumb. The firm has been involved in several recent high-profile cases, including representing airline passenger Dr. David Dao and more than 100 former NFL and NHL players in concussion litigation against both Leagues.

The lawsuit accuses Equifax of failing to have reasonable procedures to protect the plaintiffs’ and class members’ private information and failing to timely notify or warn them of the breach. Several Equifax executives sold stock valued at $1.8 million in the days before the breach was made public in media reports.

“The scope and breadth of the breach is really massive and the failure to prevent it simply inexcusable,” Lumb said.

In addition, the lawsuit accuses Equifax of attempting to induce consumers to sign a waiver and arbitration agreement by falsely representing it was offering a complimentary one-year enrollment of its TrustedID Premier product for affected persons.

“The offer was a deceptive, coercive and an unconscionable effort to trick customers to get them to give up important rights and remedies,” Lumb said.

Plaintiffs have filed more than 70 class actions over the massive data breach. This week, lawyers filed motions before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to have all the cases transferred to Georgia. Many of the class actions brought over the data breach have focused on the Fair Credit Reporting Act specifically, that Equifax failed to protect customer data and furnished sensitive information to third parties in violation of the statute.

The hacked information includes names, full Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and possibly one or more of their credit card numbers.

The Chicago case is Scott Meyers, Judy Meyers and Karl Gordon Eikost, Individually and on behalf of those similarly situated v. Equifax Info. Services, LLC, 1:17-cv-06652.

Corboy & Demetrio is one of the nation’s premier law firms. It represents individuals and their families in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases and is renowned for its achievements in the courtroom and for its contributions to the community.

4 Lifestyle Shifts to Make You a More Effective, Healthy Litigator

7-8 hours of quality sleep makes litigators effective on a daily basis.

By Larry Greene.

No matter how much you want to make healthy choices, it often feels like there simply isn’t enough time. When heading out for work, it’s much easier to grab a pre-packaged granola bar than whip up some oatmeal from scratch.

You may also find yourself sacrificing the gym to complete an extra hour of work. What many business professionals don’t realize is that there is a way to be both the busiest and the healthiest version of you. No, it doesn’t mean you’ll only get three hours sleep! You can start by adding these four easy and healthy habits into your schedule.

Sleep 7-8 hours per day

Not just sleep but quality sleep is extremely important to your ability to function on a daily basis. Good sleep improves memory, increases lifespan, and reduces inflammation that can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. When you’re working out regularly, sleep is where your body recovers and gets stronger. Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, a longer life, or overall health – you are drastically inhibiting your progress by not sleeping well.

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to sleep well? Maybe at the end of the night you decide to get one extra hour of work in instead of an extra hour of sleep. Consider this – the tasks you accomplish in that extra hour of work are far less efficient and you are far less productive the next day than if you’d gotten an extra hour of quality sleep. Whatever tasks you’re staying up late to complete can likely be done first thing in the morning after a good night’s rest with much better efficiency!  

If you constantly wake up tired, or if you grind your teeth or snore at night, the quality of your sleep is most likely impaired.  Quantity vs quality of sleep must be considered.

Make 3-ingredient meals

Effective litigators avoid “white foods” like like bread, white rice, flour, pasta, crackers, and sugar.

Peanut butter, jelly, and whole-wheat bread. Tofu, veggies, and rice. Hummus, veggies, and crackers. There’s an entire world of easy and delicious meals that you can make with just three ingredients.

These meals require minimum grocery shopping and even less prep-work! Eating these balanced meals frequently throughout the day will increase your energy levels and keep you from the vicious cycle of crashing and then overeating.

Walk it out

Many jobs these days require sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end. Add your 8+ hour work shift at the desk to the time you spend driving, traveling, even just sitting down for dinner. Many professionals admit to spending 10-12 hours per day sitting in a chair. To combat sitting down for the better half of your day, take a break to walk and stretch regularly. Better yet, park further away from work and walk!

Areas to focus on for stretching include quadricep muscles on the top front of your leg, hips, pectoral chest muscles, and latissimus upper-back muscles.  All of them are directly affected by all that sitting and lead to back pain, poor posture, and overall dysfunction in movement patterns.

Eliminate white food

Things like bread, white rice, flour, pasta, crackers, and sugar are just a few examples of “white foods.” But white goes beyond their color, the white signifies that they are largely processed and refined foods made up of chemicals and preservatives. The body doesn’t recognize these substances as food it can use as fuel.

In addition, sugar exists (and is often hidden) in most processed foods. Sugar is a scientifically addictive substance to the brain and activates the same brain centers as heroin. Think about how well you’d perform at work if you showed up each morning on heroin. Being addicted to sugar has long term health consequences, sabotages weight loss efforts, and will decrease energy levels on a daily basis.  Reduced energy translates into diminished cognitive function, reduced creativity, and general malaise.

Increase your effectiveness and productivity by adopting these four lifestyle shifts. You will feel better, look better, and be more powerful in everything you do.  Eating is to fuel your body.  Movement adds strength and mobility to your body.  Good quality sleep repairs and restores your body.  In turn, your body will work for you and allow you to become a more effective, healthier litigator.

Larry Greene is a certified personal trainer with over 14 years experience. He can be reached at Genesis Performance & Fitness in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Mass Torts: Study Doubts the Value of Abilify for Depression

In a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers at the Veterans Affairs found that the benefits of the antidepressant add-on drug Abilify were minor.

Meanwhile, the FDA has received 164 reports of pathological gambling caused by Abilify from November 2002 through January 2016.

Since October 2016, 234 mass tort lawsuits have been consolidated before Chief US District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida, in MDL 2734, IN RE: Abilify (Aripiprazole) Products Liability Litigation. They charge that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Bristol-Myers Squibb knew about the side effect but failed to warn consumers, downplaying risks to protect billions in sales.

Question the use of Abilify

The researchers questioned the use of Abilify for depression: “Given the small effect size and adverse effects associated with aripiprazole, further analysis including cost-effectiveness is needed to understand the net utility of this approach.”

In a 12-week follow-up of a randomized clinical trial of 1,522 patients with major depressive disorder (85% men) unresponsive to previous antidepressant treatment, only 29% achieved remission after adding Abilify with their antidepressant.

It was not until the FDA ordered stronger labels in May 2016 that American patients and doctors were finally warned about uncontrollable urges to gamble, eat, shop, or have sex.

Europe required BMS and Otsuka to add a warning label about “pathological gambling” from Abilify in November 2012, as well as recommending caution in patients with a history of gambling addiction.

Abilify is one of the top-selling medications in the U.S., with sales of more than $6 billion per year. It is an antipsychotic drug that the FDA approved in 2002 for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorders. Today, Abilify is widely used “off-label” to treat irritability, aggression, and mood swings.

Child Sues Chicago Board of Education over 5 Years of Sexual Abuse by Employee

Chicago plaintiff attorney Lyndsay A. Markley

Chicago plaintiff attorney Lyndsay A. Markley is an NTL Top 100 Trial Attorney.

A former elementary school student filed suit against the Chicago Board of Education, claiming he suffered years of sexual abuse by an employee who organized school sponsored programs for students.

According to the complaint filed by Chicago attorney Lyndsay Markley, the CBE knew that the accused perpetrator, Marvin Lovett, was not fit to work with children, but continued to employ him despite receiving warnings that Lovett was acting inappropriately towards male minors.

“We believe that the evidence in this case will show that the CBE allowed a predator to walk the halls of an elementary school for years preying upon innocent children.  My client deserves to be compensated for the horrific abuse he suffered at the hands of a CBE employee.  All children deserve to be safe. The CBE must be held accountable and take action to ensure that this tragedy is not repeated,” Markley says.

The case is John D. Doe v. Board of Education, No 2017L008977, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The boy was abused from 1988 through 1993 while attending James Weldon Elementary School in Chicago’s North Lawndale Community.

20th victim

This is the 20th victim to come forward with an allegation of sexual abuse with against Lovett and the first plaintiff in a lawsuit only against the BOE. The other 19 plaintiffs claim that they were abused during Lovett’s employment with the United Airlines Believers Program in a lawsuit filed against United Airlines, Inc., the BOE, and I Have A Dream Chicago, Inc.

Sylvester Jamison shot Lovett to death in his apartment in 2000. Jamison, then aged 17, told police that Lovett had sexually abused for years. During the police investigation, 140 video tapes were found in Lovett’s apartment depicting sexual acts involving African-American male minors.

Markley represents a number of other plaintiffs with allegations of sexual abuse against Lovett during his time as an agent of the BOE and intends to file these over the next several months.

“All parents deserve to feel safe entrusting their children to Chicago Public Schools for an education.  All children can, and should, be safe attending school. This case is a parent’s worst nightmare: sexual abuse of their child by a man the Chicago Board of Education empowered,” Markley says.

Lyndsay Markley is an NTL Top 100 Trial Attorney. She has dedicated her legal practice to fighting on behalf of persons who suffered injuries or death as the result of the wrongful or careless conduct of others.