Blog

This is a test of the new blog look

February 11th, 2015

This is a test, this is only a test. If this were a real blog, there would be better content…

Share

303 People Dead in Crashes Where GM Air Bags Failed.

March 17th, 2014

Airbag sign

The New York Times reports that a review of federal crash data revealed hundreds of front seat occupants died in crashes involving 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2003-2007 Saturn Ions. Those models and years were recently involved in a 1.6 million car recall by General Motors for faulty ignitions. It is thought that the faulty ignitions could have shut down electrical power systems required to properly deploy the air bags.

The watchdog group that commissioned the study, the Center for Auto Safety, suggested that the number is understated because the study did not include all of the models recalled. GM has issued a recall for all 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5; 2003-2007 Saturn Ions; 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs; 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn Sky models. In total over 1.3 million U.S. vehicles are involved in the recall.

GM is under fire because there is evidence that they have been aware of the ignition defects for almost a decade.

You can read a copy of the letter that the Center for Auto Safety sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration here.

Share

Have a Safe and Happy Valentine’s Day

February 13th, 2014

Belt up road signTomorrow is Valentine’s Day and many of you have plans to spend a special evening with a special someone. Some of you may be going out for dinner and a show and some of you may be taking advantage of the calendar to enjoy romantic weekend getaway. Whatever your plans this Valentine’s Day, we here at E.J. Leizerman & Associates urge you to please take a little extra precaution to drive safely.

 

It can be easy to get caught up in the rush and excitement of the evening and text your valentine to confirm your plans, or to look down to read the romantic text your husband sent you, while you are on your way home from work tomorrow night. It can also be easy to drink a touch more wine than you may have intended while enjoying a nice romantic dinner with your valentine.

 

Drunk driving and distracted driving can terribly devastate not only your Valentine’s Day, but also another couples. Please, drive safely tomorrow night. No text to or from your valentine is more important than safely enjoying the holiday with them and taking a cab home from dinner is far more romantic than any emergency room.

 

Finally, for our readers who’ve been hit by this most recent winter storm, if roads are still covered in snow and ice tomorrow night, please be careful and safe. Sometimes circumstances dictate a romantic evening in on Valentine’s Day.

 

Have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!

Share

EJ Leizerman & Associates opens Cleveland Office

September 6th, 2013

We are proud to announce our55 Public Square new Cleveland office at 55 Public Square, Suite 1299. For over 35 years, EJ Leizerman & Associates has helped people and families involved in significant car and truck collisions. As our reputation has spread, we have found ourselves asked to take on case across the country–from the State of Oregon to  New York; from Michigan to Florida. We have handled these cases from our home office in Toledo.

In the last couple years, we have been asked–by clients and other lawyers–to take on more and more cases across the state. To ensure that we can provide the best representation, we have signed a long-term lease in Cleveland’s preeminent legal office building at 55 Public Square.

We still limit the number of cases we handle to approximately 10 per lawyer.This is about 5 to 10 times less than the industry standard. We do this to ensure that we can devote time and personal service to each of our clients.

Share

Single-Load Laundry Packets Pose Danger To Kids

August 20th, 2013

Laundry PhotoThe U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued a safety alert about the dangers of single-load liquid laundry packets to children.   The CPSC warns that children often mistake the little packets for candy, toys and teething products.   Children have suffered loss of consciousness, excess vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling and difficulty breathing from ingestion of the packets.  And, there have been reports of severe irritation and temporary vision loss due to eye contact with ruptured packets.

To prevent poisoning and eye injury, the CPSC makes the following recommendations:

(1) Do NOT let children handle laundry packets.

(2) Keep the packets sealed in their original packaging and make sure they are locked up and out of a child’s sight and reach.

(3) If swallowed or exposed to the eye, immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.

Also, consumers are strongly urged to handle the packets carefully and with dry hands.  The packets dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic chemicals when contacted with water, wet hands or saliva.

Attorneys at E.J. Leizerman & Associates have significant experience navigating catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.  Please contact Rena Leizerman at 1-800-628-4500 to discuss your case and make sure your rights are protected.

 

Share

New Documentary About The Perils Of Texting and Driving

August 13th, 2013

TextDriveThe number of catastrophic injuries and deaths continue to  climb from distracting driving, including from texting and driving.  ”From One Second to the Next,” a short, new documentary from director Werner Herzog, tells horrific and poignant stories of lives forever changed by a driver’s decision to text and drive.  One person texted: “I’m on my way”; another”I love you”;  and another does not even remember what he was typing. These messages–texted by drivers behind the wheel–caused five people to die and cost an 8-year-old boy the use of nearly his entire body.  The emotional film hopefully will be widely distributed to the public.

The gut-wrenching perils of distracted driving documented in Herzog’s film should wake us all up to the fact that a split-second decision to text and drive could endanger countless lives.  Ohio’s ban on texting and driving went into effect on May 1, 2013.  If the documented hazards do not motivate people to change behavior, perhaps potential fines and tickets will discourage drivers from picking up cell phones and other devices while driving.

E. J. Leizerman & Associates is one of the leading catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death law firms in the state of Ohio. We are nationally recognized for our trucking accident practice and have significant experience handling all serious personal injuries and wrongful death. Please contact Rena Leizerman at 1-800-628-4500 to discuss your case and make sure your rights are protected.

 

 

Share

Tipping TVs Injuring More Children

July 27th, 2013

Fbaby boy watching televisionalling televisions sent nearly 200,000 children to the hospital over the past 20 years and the injury rate continues to climb.    Children across the country have suffered severe injuries and death from becoming pinned beneath a television or other piece of heavy furniture.   The real tragedy is that these injuries and deaths are completely preventable.  The simple act of securely anchoring televisions and heavy furniture to a wall stud with braces, brackets, anchors or wall straps could save countless lives and prevent so many of these horrible injuries.  Chicago attorney Ken Levinson recently wrote about the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s many other important safety tips to prevent these tragedies.

This is not an abstract problem.  Young children have been severely injured right here in Ohio from tipping televisions.  We currently represent a young boy who suffered severe brain damage as a result of a television falling on top of him at his elementary school.  His life will never be the same.  Nor will his family ever be the same.   We focus on getting his family just compensation so they can afford to provide needed care to their son, and so the family can focus on this young boy’s recovery and keep his spirits up.

Attorneys at E.J. Leizerman & Associates have significant experience navigating catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.  Please contact Rena Leizerman at 1-800-628-4500 to discuss your case and make sure your rights are protected.

 

Share

Ohio Law Raising Speed Limit To 70-MPH On Interstate Roads Goes Into Effect

July 10th, 2013

70MPG3_01

On July 1, 2013, the Ohio law raising the speed limit to 70-mph on mainline Interstate System roads (I-70, I-71, I-75, I-76, I-77 and I-90) took effect.   The law does not provide a lower speed limit for large trucks or private buses.  But watch out.  Accordingly to a July 1, 2013 Toledo Blade article, the Ohio Highway Patrol warns that 70 does not mean 75 and that patrol will be “very strict.”

Attorneys at E.J. Leizerman & Associates have significant experience with transportation law.  If you have a claim based on severe injury or wrongful death, contact Rena Leizerman at 419-243-1010 to discuss your case and make sure your rights are protected.

Share

PART III: WHAT IF THE INJURED PERSON FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY?

June 20th, 2013

Trap

Parts One and Two of this series addressed what steps to take when the tortfeasor defendant files for bankruptcy. This part, the final in the series, addresses what happens when the injured person—the plaintiff or potential plaintiff to a tort suit—files for bankruptcy protection.

Personal calamity mixed with financial trouble creates the perform storm for a bankruptcy filing. Just last week, we received a panicked e-mail from referring counsel on a significant personal injury case reporting that our client is in financial crises, facing down foreclosure of his home and wants to file for bankruptcy.  Our client has huge medical bills and his injuries may prevent him from returning to the same profession.

DISCLOSURE. As a threshold matter, if the plaintiff files for bankruptcy, he or she must list the pending or potential personal injury lawsuit as an asset in the bankruptcy schedules (Schedule B) (11 U.S.C. § 521(1)).  Failure to do so is fatal, warranting complete dismissal of the personal injury suit on judicial estoppel grounds. See, e.g., Eubanks v. CBSK Financial Group, Inc., 385 F.3d 894 (6th Cir. 2004).  And even if the case were not dismissed, it would be an unscheduled asset that belonged to the trustee; the trustee could decide to banish trial counsel and pursue the action for the benefit of the estate.  The injured plaintiff likely would lose standing to pursue the personal injury action.  The failure to disclose the suit may be used as an “act of dishonesty” in the tort suit (i.e., when defense counsel cross examines the plaintiff), bar the debtor’s discharge in bankruptcy (11 U.S.C. § 724(a)(4)(A), deny the debtor the ability to use important exemptions and even may result in criminal prosecution as a false oath under 18 U.S.C. §§ 152.   If you learn that your personal injury client filed for bankruptcy and failed to schedule the potential or pending suit, immediately contact your client’s bankruptcy attorney about a prompt amendment of the debtor’s Schedules.   While you are talking to the bankruptcy attorney, it is worth making sure that the debtor claimed the bankruptcy personal injury exemption on his or her Schedules.  Additional exemptions may apply; if the debtor does not the list lawsuit, however, it cannot use any exemptions to protect the proceeds from the suit.

RETENTION.  You may choose to contact the bankruptcy trustee to see whether the trustee will abandon the trustee’s interest in the case.  If the case is worth a relatively small amount, the trustee may elect to abandon the interest and you are free to litigate the claim.  If the case is worth a significant amount, however, the trustee likely will not choose to abandon the claim.  The trustee instead will elect to administer the claim as an asset of the estate.  The trustee has the authority to employ “special counsel” under 11 U.S.C. § 327(e)—the fee may be on a contingency basis and the attorney may have represented the debtor in the pre-filing litigation.  Special counsel may be employed only when it is in the best interests of the bankruptcy estate and the attorney has no other interest adverse to that of the debtor or the estate.  The trustee is not required to employ pre-filing litigation counsel, so it is important to comply with the trustee’s requests for information about the case, among other things.  In addition, be sure to comply with all special counsel retention requirements, which may include filing an application and/or affidavit of no adverse interest.

SETTLEMENT/LITIGATION.   If you are retained as special counsel and proceed with litigation, confer with the trustee about whether you must change the case caption (to make the trustee as the party-plaintiff, for example), the trustee’s expectations about authority to settlement and whether the trustee wishes to be consulted during settlement negotiations or trial.  Also, you will need to submit an application for allowance of compensation to the Bankruptcy Court before you can receive your fee.  Finally, with respect to a Chapter 13 case, the proceeds of the settlement or litigation will be used to fund the debtor’s plan and then any excess will be paid to the debtor.

ALTERNATIVE OPTION.  You may instead choose to wait until the bankruptcy case is closed to proceed with the personal injury case. Any property listed on a debtor’s Schedules that is not administered before the case is closed is deemed abandoned to the debtor.  This could take many years, however, and you may not wish to wait this long or risk an adverse decision by the trustee with respect to the claim.

The two keys here are (1) disclosure and (2) cooperation and dialogue with bankruptcy counsel and the bankruptcy trustee.  Attorneys at E.J. Leizerman & Associates have significant experience navigating the complex intersection of tort law and bankruptcy law.  If you have a claim based on severe injury or wrongful death, contact Rena Leizerman at 419-243-1010 to discuss your case and make sure your rights are protected.

Share

Part II: If The Personal Injury Defendant Files For Bankruptcy, Does The Plaintiff Have The Right To Any Recovery?

June 12th, 2013

Bankruptcy Piggy BankThe first part of this series addressed how to obtain relief from the automatic stay in bankruptcy and the effect of the bankruptcy discharge.  This part summarizes the different types of bankruptcy claims and how claim classification may affect your recovery to the extent you cannot proceed directly against insurance proceeds (including when there is no insurance, your damages exceed the policy limits or the automatic stay cannot be lifted).

 

Secured or unsecured

Your claim will be classified as an unsecured claim to the extent you have received no special assurance of payment such as a mortgage or lien.  Most tort claims are unsecured.

Pre-Petition or Administrative

A tort claim usually arises at the time of injury, but analysis of when a claim arises for bankruptcy purposes is not always clear.  Generally, a claim arises regardless of enforcement efforts (i.e. future litigation) or whether the claim is contingent, unliquidated or unmatured when the petition is filed.  What matters, for purposes of determining when a claim arises, is when the acts giving rise to liability (i.e., the tort) occurred; some courts look at when a cause of action arises under applicable non-bankruptcy law (i.e., state law).

If it is determined that your claim arose before the defendant filed the bankruptcy petition, then it is a pre-petition claim.  If the claim arose after the defendant filed the petition—but during the pendency of the bankruptcy case—then it is an administrative claim.

Unsecured, pre-petition claims usually are paid on a pro rata basis from available funds after secured claims or other senior claims have been paid out.  We highly recommend filing a “proof of claim” with the Bankruptcy Court, even when the debtor lists your claim on the Schedule of Liabilities. If your claim was not settled, tried or otherwise fixed prior to the bankruptcy filing, you may request a jury trial for personal injury or wrongful death claims (28 U.S.C. § 1411 and 157(b)(5)) for valuation of the claim.  If the bankruptcy proceeding is a Chapter 11 case and it involves the sale of the debtor’s assets (as a going concern, not a liquidation), depending on the terms of the sale, you should consider seeking payment from the successor entity on the grounds that there is a continuation of business and therefore a continuation of the liability.

If your claim arose after the bankruptcy petition was filed but during the case (i.e., before plan confirmation or order effectuating a sale of substantially all of the debtor’s assets)—then it is an administrative claim.  Sometimes, administrative claims are paid in full.  But when there are insufficient assets to pay the administrative claims, however, these claims also will be paid on a pro rata basis.

Future and Post-Petition

Future tort claims exist where (i) the claimant has had pre-petition contact with the debtor or its product but has not yet discovered the injury (i.e., asbestos cases); or (ii) where a product manufactured or sold by the debtor before the bankruptcy injures a claimant after the debtor has emerged from bankruptcy.  These types of claims pose a number of challenges, especially when the claimants are unidentifiable at the time of the bankruptcy and have not received notice of the proceedings.  Significant uncertainty remains with respect to “the challenge of administering unknown future claims in bankruptcy” (Wright v. Owens, Third Circuit 2012).

Claims arising after the bankruptcy—that is, after confirmation of a plan or sale of substantially all of a company’s assets in bankruptcy—are actually not bankruptcy claims; the rationale is that these claimants have not been afforded any due process in the bankruptcy.   You may seek remuneration against the reorganized company or its successor.

Perhaps the most important point to be gleaned here—and with respect to Part I of this series—is that a tortfeasor’s bankruptcy filing is not the death knell for personal injury or wrongful death claims.  Attorneys at E.J. Leizerman & Associates have significant experience navigating the complex intersection of tort law and bankruptcy law.  If you have a claim based on severe injury or wrongful death, contact Rena Leizerman at 419-243-1010 to discuss your case and make sure your rights are protected.

Share
E. J. Leizerman & Associates, LLC