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Jan 16, 2017 at 06:31 o\clock

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Jan 16, 2017 at 01:57 o\clock

Va. billed another $90G for governor's lawyers in executive chef theft case

Virginia taxpayers' share of legal bills for Gov. Bob McDonnell's representation in a case involving theft charges against the former chef at Virginia's Executive Mansion and other allegations grew by $90,036 in June.

The June bills represent a total of 396 hours worked by former state Attorney General Anthony Troy of the Eckert Seamans law firm and 12 other lawyers. They bring the total to $143,566, counting the firm's previous bill for $53,530.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appointed Troy, a Democrat, to represent the Republican governor in an official capacity as warranted by a criminal case against former chef Todd Schneider and "other related matters." Troy took on the case in April. Cuccinelli is the Republican nominee for governor.

A report that Troy issued in June concluded McDonnell broke no law by not disclosing thousands of dollars in gifts and loans to the governor and his family from Jonnie R. Williams, the chief executive of Virginia-based Star Scientific. Federal and state criminal investigators are looking into whether Williams or his company benefited as a result of more than $124,000 worth of gifts and loans to the first family.

The governor defended not reporting the gifts, noting that Virginia's public ethics laws require the disclosure only of gifts given directly to public officials, not their family members. In July, however, he publicly apologized for his actions and those of his family and announced that the gifts and loans are being returned or repaid to Williams.



McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell have not been charged. They have privately retained separate attorneys to represent them personally in that investigation, and friends have established a defense fund to help the McDonnells pay their mounting private attorneys' fees.

Schneider faces four felony counts of embezzlement alleging he took items from the mansion's kitchen during his two-year tenure there starting in 2010. Schneider, in documents that his defense team filed in Richmond Circuit Court, alleges that he was told to take the items as cashless compensation for private services for the McDonnell family. He alleges that family members also helped themselves to kitchen items for private and personal use.



Cuccinelli's office had been prosecuting the embezzlement case against Schneider. In May, Cuccinelli persuaded a Richmond judge to recuse his office from the case, arguing that it could force him to interrogate in court state officials whom his office is obliged to defend. Greg Underwood, Norfolk's commonwealth's attorney, was appointed to replace Cuccinelli's office in prosecuting Schneider.

Cuccinelli, however, also accepted more than $18,000 worth of gifts from Williams and Star Scientific, and once owned more than $10,000 in company stock. Some of the gratuities, including a $3,000 summer family vacation and a catered $1,500 Thanksgiving dinner at Williams' palatial waterside getaway at Smith Mountain Lake near the Blue Ridge Mountains, were not disclosed until April, when Cuccinelli amended four years' of economic disclosure forms to include items he said he had earlier forgotten.





Jan 15, 2017 at 18:05 o\clock

Personal Injury Attorney - Find Local Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury is the term used to describe physical and mental injuries that occur because of someone else's negligence, intentional actions, or strict liability.

Negligence means the other party failed to act with reasonable care. For example, imagine you are in your car stopped at a red light when another driver rear ends you because he or she isn't paying attention. If you suffer physical injuries in the crash, those could be personal injury due to negligence. (Any damage to your car is property damage, not personal injury, because the car is an object, not a person.)







Find a Local Personal Injury Attorney

Jan 15, 2017 at 13:30 o\clock

Costs of Personal Injury Lawyers

Trial lawyers are making a case for putting John Edwards in the White House. If a former plaintiff's lawyer is so close to the presidency, we should take a closer look at the unintended consequences of what these lawyers do.

Vice presidential candidate Edwards made millions of dollars by doing good, say his supporters.

He was a personal injury lawyer who punished bad doctors and was awarded money for those who were victims of malpractice. He won't give the total of how much money he made doing that, but in just the four years before he became a senator, he made over $26 million.

Lawyers were the biggest contributors to his presidential campaign, and now they've become the biggest givers to the Democratic Party -- bigger than labor unions, corporations -- bigger than anybody.

Trial lawyers comprise one of the most powerful professions in America, yet we rarely hear about the unintended consequences of what they do, and how the lawsuits they pursue impact our lives.

Profitable Litigation

Edwards' career as a lawyer was such a success, juries gave him record-breaking verdicts. He was such a powerful speaker that other lawyers went to court just to watch him.

He's described as an "articulate advocate for his client," by Richard "Dickie" Scruggs. Scruggs may be America's most successful trial lawyer. He made a billion dollars from tobacco lawsuits alone.



John Edwards has said he loved being a trial lawyer because he was able to help the little guy, but lawyers hurt the little guys, too. Every product you buy has a built-in cost to cover what lawyers make through lawsuits. The cost of paying Dickie Scruggs a billion dollars in the tobacco settlement gets passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices on cigarettes.

But paying higher prices is not the biggest effect of what the lawyers do. What may be worse is what the fear of lawsuits do to medical care and innovation.

Litigating Health Care

In hospitals, the lawyers have bred so much fear that patients now suffer more pain, and may be less safe because doctors are concerned about being sued.



"That fear is always there," said obstetrics professor Dr. Edgar Mandeville. "Everybody walks in mortal fear of being sued."





Cerebral palsy is a central nervous system defect that makes it hard for people to control their muscles. At the time of Edwards' cases, the defect was often said to be caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain during delivery. Edwards and other lawyers have argued that if the doctor involved had only done a Caesarean section, the child's cerebral palsy could have been prevented.

He won a record verdict in a cerebral palsy case after he told the jury he was speaking for the injured infant, in the womb. He was very convincing and the jury awarded his clients over $6 million. Scruggs told me, "Wouldn't you want your lawyer to be just as clever and just as effective?"

One thing doctors may have learned from these kinds of cases was to do more C-sections. The procedure is more common today for many reasons, including scheduling convenience, but doctors say fear of a cerebral palsy lawsuit has had a big impact.

Since 1970 C-sections have gone from 6 percent of all births to 26 percent. "And there has not been one small decrease in the cerebral palsy rate across the board," said Mandeville.

In a report released last year by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics, scientists now say the disease is seldom caused by anything a doctor does in the delivery room. However, today many C-sections are still done in hopes of avoiding a lawsuit, even though C-sections are a more painful way to give birth, as well as more expensive, requiring a longer hospital stay, and carrying greater health risks.

So are women today experiencing unnecessary surgery partly because lawyers like Edwards scared doctors?



Edwards wouldn't talk to us about this, but his campaign sent us the following statement: "As a lawyer, Senator Edwards took his responsibility to determine if cases were merited very seriously and would spend months investigating his cases. He employed a full-time medical staff to make sure the cases he took were those with the most merit, and he would not go forward with any case without the support of experts in the particular medical field. He also believes that we need a national system in place that will weed out the meritless lawsuits without taking away patients' rights."

Maybe all of Edward's cases were good ones, where C-sections were called for. It's possible that's true, but the fearful atmosphere that these kinds of lawsuits create has far-reaching consequences. Consider the minister who will no longer hug a grieving parishioner because of lawsuit concerns or the teachers who are told not to touch their students, or allow them to climb onto their lap for fear of lawsuit.

It makes it hard to trust job references. Employers can't tell the truth about their former employees, as the truth might have legal consequences. This threatens our safety, too. It's one reason a nurse who was killing patients kept getting jobs at new hospitals. The previous hospitals were too afraid of lawsuits to warn others that they suspected the nurse had harmed patients at their hospital.

This kind of fear doesn't make Americans safer. Give me a break.

Jan 15, 2017 at 07:51 o\clock

Celebrated Trial Attorneys Team to Form Powerhouse Firm Hodes Milman, LLP

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three of California's most prominent product

liability and medical malpractice trial attorneys have announced the

establishment of personal injury and medical malpractice litigation

firm, Hodes Milman, LLP. The new firm represents the coming together of

nationally-esteemed partners, Daniel Hodes and Jeffrey Milman -

formerly named partners of Newport Beach's

Lopez, Hodes, Restaino, Milman & Skikos -

as well as up-and-coming defense attorney turned plaintiff trial lawyer,

associate Kevin G. Liebeck. Together, the well-regarded attorneys have

banded together and pooled their extensive expertise to offer clients

throughout the United States the highest caliber of legal counsel.



Each lawyer at Hodes Milman, LLP has honed an area of specialization

within personal injury, wrongful death, product liability and medical

malpractice litigation. The team's powerful

track record of success and involvement in high-profile cases include

Fen-Phen(TM), Vioxx(TM),

Ephedraź and the FordSM/FirestoneSM

recall litigation, in addition to multiple Veteran's

Administration (VA) medical malpractice claims.

"Individually, each of our award-winning

practices flourished and earned multi-million dollar verdicts and

settlements for clients on local and national levels,"

said Daniel Hodes, co-founder and partner of Hodes Milman, LLP. "By

uniting to create this new firm, our team is able to draw on more than

50 years of combined experience to serve the legal needs of current and

prospective clients -- from individual cases

affecting the private sector to large mass torts involving Fortune 500

businesses and internationally-recognized names."





Recognized Attorneys, Established

Excellence

Esteemed plaintiff medical malpractice attorney Daniel M. Hodes'

specialization in the area of complex medical malpractice actions and

extensive trial experience has made him one of the most sought-after

lawyers in California representing victims and families of victims in

medical, hospital and HMO negligence. Hodes has resolved hundreds of

malpractice actions in the six- and seven-figure range, including the

two largest medical malpractice/wrongful death verdicts in Orange County

history: a $10.96 million verdict in 1997 and a $5.3 million verdict in

2006. A former president of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association,

and current member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Hodes was

named Top Gun, Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyer of the Year

for 2002 and 2006 by the Orange County Trial Lawyer's Association. He

was named one of 2008's Top 50 Lawyers in

Orange County by Los Angeles Magazine, and was a finalist for State

Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2004 and 2006. In addition, he has

consistently been named a Southern California Super Lawyer, and

is a frequent author and lecturer on issues relating to medical

malpractice.

Jeffrey Milman's expertise lies

in the areas of medical and professional negligence, product liability

and personal injury. Among Milman's hundreds

of high-profile cases are the largest verdicts of their type in Orange

County history. Milman is also an expert in medical negligence

litigation and also Federal Tort litigation against the Veterans

Administration (VA). A past editor of The Gavel, the monthly

publication of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, Milman has

written a number of articles on medical and medical-legal issues that

have been published in law journals statewide and nationally, and is a

frequent lecturer on various medical- and trial-related topics. Milman

is a past president of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and

was voted Top Gun personal injury attorney in 2006. He has also

been named a Super Lawyer for several years running, and is a

member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Kevin G. Liebeck's career began with

the defense of physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice actions.

Since leaving this arena in 2003, Liebeck has parlayed his experience to

great success as a plaintiff trial lawyer specializing in personal

injury, medical malpractice, and consumer and business fraud actions,

representing injured plaintiffs against insurance companies and large

corporations. Liebeck has successfully tried multiple high-profile cases

to verdict, and was named a Southern California Super Lawyer "Rising

Star" for 2007, recognizing the top 2.5

percent of Southern California attorneys under 40 years old or in

practice less than 10 years.

Known for taking on causes not merely cases, the seasoned

attorneys of Hodes Milman, LLP share a singular vision of never placing

profit over people, as well as a zeal for law and compassion for their

clients that has earned them industry-wide respect.

ABOUT HODES MILMAN, LLP

Hodes Milman, LLP is comprised of named partners Daniel Hodes and

Jeffrey Milman, and associate Kevin Liebeck. With specializations

spanning personal injury, product liability, VA and general medical

malpractice, wrongful death, pharmaceutical litigation and motor vehicle

injury claims, the firm has earned a reputation as a watchdog for

consumers, with high-profile multimillion dollar case wins that have set

precedents throughout the United States. Hodes Milman, LLP is

headquartered at 9210 Irvine Center Drive, in Irvine, Calif. For more

information, visit www.HodesMilman.com.

Editor's Note: For headshots or to

arrange media interviews, contact Leslie Licano at (714)573-0899 ext. 23.