December 2010 Archives

December 31, 2010

Happy New Years from Attorney Joseph Lamy

I want to thank all past and current clients for making 2010 a wonderful year for my firm. Past clients, very happy with the work that has been done for them continue to refer, new personal injury clients to my office, and 2011 looks like it will be even better. Our criminal defense and entertainment law practices continue to grow at a wonderful pace as well. I am very grateful to everyone and I hope that the New Year is bright and promising for all of you!


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December 29, 2010

Study Suggests Obese People More Likely to Die in Car Accidents

With New Year's resolutions coming around the corner, a new study suggests that there may be another reason for the overweight to shed excess pounds. A recent study suggests that obese men and women are far more likely to die in serious auto accidents than are men and women of normal weight.

According to the study:

  • A body mass index in the class II obesity range of 35 to less than 40 kg/m2 boosted risk of fatality in a severe crash by 21.2% compared with normal weight;
  • And morbidly obese drivers with a BMI of 40 kg/m2 or greater were 55.9% less likely to survive an accident than their normal weight counterparts.
The primary cause for these findings seems to be that obese people are closer to the steering wheel and windshield which may cause traumatic injury upon impact. In addition, there already poor health may make it even more difficult to survive serious injury. The study compared data of over 150,000 auto accident fatalities over the period of five years to arrive at their conclusions.

Interestingly, mildly overweight persons, may experience protection from injury due to their size.

Continue reading "Study Suggests Obese People More Likely to Die in Car Accidents" »

December 21, 2010

Icy Roads Caused Chaos in Rhode Island Last Night

Winter weather driving is upon us and thanks to a sudden freeze that occurred around 8pm, last night was one of the worst winter weather drives in recent history. Icy and slippery roads forced the Rhode Island State Police to respond to 31 car accidents! And that was just the State Police. The calls were so sudden and overwhelming that the State Police were unable to properly respond to all the calls.

I was driving at 9pm last night as well and can attest to how slippery the roads were. As Rhode Island drivers we tend to think that a dusting is not enough to cause treacherous driving conditions, but that is untrue. In fact, the most dangerous factor is the freezing conditions which cause black ice that is impossible to detect at night.

If you were involved in an auto accident caused by the snow and ice, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. During our free consultation we will discuss liability to determine fault and determine if you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.

December 18, 2010

Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses Following Unemployment Benefits

I have received a few calls recently from people who are afraid of being charged, or have been charged, with obtaining money under false pretenses, following collection of their unemployment benefits. If the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training believes that you were working while collecting unemployment benefits, then they will take action to recover their money and may even refer the case to the Attorney General's office for prosecution.

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has stated on numerous occasions that they are looking to crackdown on those collecting unemployment benefits while maintaining some form of employment. These "crimes" are usually charged under R.I.G.L. 11-41-4 "obtaining money under false pretenses."

Critical to this charge and your defense is that this crime requires "intent to cheat or defraud." It may be difficult for the prosecution to prove any intent to cheat or defraud the Department of Labor and Training.

An investigation will almost always be opened by the Department of Labor and Training before any criminal charges are brought against you. It is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney early, if possible, during the initial investigation by the Department of Labor and Training. With proper attorney representation you may be able to keep this matter between yourself and the department without the added trouble of criminal charges.

Continue reading "Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses Following Unemployment Benefits" »

December 15, 2010

Massachusetts $71 Million Dollar Tobacco Verdict is Making News...

...and so it should. A suffolk county jury has awarded the family of Marie Evans an astonishing $71 million dollars in her wrongful death lawsuit against Lorillard tobacco, the makers of Newport cigarettes.

There have been many large awards against the tobacco companies in the past and by now the story is known to all. Tobacco companies knew for decades that their product was deadly but continued to hide and ignore evidence while promoting their product as safe. Years, and thousands of deaths later, the tobacco industry is the subject of thousands of lawsuits. But this case added another element that is quite interesting.

The estate of Marie Evans argued that Lorillard tobacco promoted and marketed Newport cigarettes to poor minority children. Ms. Evans was only 9 years old when first given a free pack of Newports while living in the Orchard Park housing projects as a child. Ms. Evans was hooked and smoked Newports until her death at the young age of 54. Attacking the cigarette companies for their predatory marketing practices of handing out free samples to poor and impressionable youth is a new tactic.

At this stage the case will surely be appealed, but there is also the chance that the jury could award punitive damages that excees the $71 million already awarded.

December 14, 2010

Our Phone Crisis is Finally Resolved!

After approximately 47 phone calls between Verizon and Cox and 7 service calls, our phone lines are finally fully operational again. I want to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to my clients or potential clients over the past several days.

December 14, 2010

Depuy Hip Recall

Depuy orthopedics announced a formal recall of their ASR hip implant in August of this year and it has since become an increasingly talked about story. The recall affects two products, namely, the ASR hip resurfacing system and the ASR XL acetabular system. Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed and many more are expected.

The ASR hip implant was marketed and sold in this country for approximately six years and has been implanted in nearly 100,000 patients. The reason for the recall is that approximately 13% of the patients who received the Depuy hip replacement required a second unnecessary surgery. Hip surgery is extremely painful and recovery can take many months of grueling therapy.

If you received a Depuy implant you may have a valid product liability claim. There are three common types of product liability claims:

  • Defective product design
  • Defective manufacturing
  • Inadequate warning and/or instruction

The Depuy hip replacement qualifies as a defective product design. The device is defectively designed and manufactured so that high levels of metal ions are released from the ASR hip implant. These metal ions released in the body can cause serious injury including, tumors, damaged muscle tissue, and osteolysis requiring hip surgery for correction.

It is also well established that the problems with the ASR device were known for quite some time. Many adverse reports were published highlighting the dangers with the Depuy ASR device and the FDA received hundred of complaints. The product was recalled in other countries as long as one year ago due to the serious risk.

Product liability cases are extremely complex and you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with this case. If you had hip surgery in Rhode Island or Massachusetts and received a Depuy ASR hip implant, contact our office right away for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we are successful in obtaining the compensation that you deserve.

December 10, 2010

I'm Blaming Verizon

I have to offer a sincere apology to any client, potential client, insurance company, or law firm who has tried to contact this office since yesterday afternoon. An attempt to switch our phone lines from Verizon to Cox has gone horribly wrong and my lines are down. I have been promised that the problem will be resolved by tonight.

I am sorry for any inconvenience. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me via email at info@josephlamy.com.

December 7, 2010

Rhode Island AG Elect, Kilmartin, to Adopt a Federal Immigration Program

The Providence Journal is reporting that Attorney General Elect, Peter Kilmartin, is planning to adopt the federal immigration program, "Secure Communities". Under this controversial plan, anyone arrested for a crime in Rhode Island will have the fingerprints taken and compared against a federal immigration database to determine if they are illegal aliens.

According to Kilmartin, the program is only aimed at identifying illegal immigrants accused of breaking the law. In his words, "these people are being accused of crimes, have probable cause to be arrested for crimes." Others are nervous that such a program could incite racial profiling arrests and discourage victims from reporting crimes (in particular, domestic abuse) for fear that their friend or family member may be deported. In addition, opponents to the program fear that people who are accused of trivial crimes, or have their charges dropped completely, can still find themselves embroiled in an immigration battle.

The Rhode Island ACLU is sure to challenge this program and there are bound to be opponents and proponents. It will certainly make the criminal justice system in Rhode Island a much more serious environment for those lacking proper immigration status.

December 7, 2010

New Snow and Ice Laws in Massachusetts for Slip and Falls

Massachusetts has long held a very pro-defendant stance when it came to slip and fall accidents due to snow and ice accumulation on sidewalks, driveways, stairs, etc. Under the prior law, a landlord was only liable for injuries caused by slip and fall if the accumulation of snow and ice was "unnatural" or "man-made". As you can imagine it was very difficult to prove that an accumulation of snow was "unnatural" and, therefore, it was next to impossible for those injured by slip and fall to collect for their injuries. This outdated law stems from an 1883 ruling and essentially encouraged landlords to neglect their property because they were immune from liability.

The law has been finally changed and landlords are now responsible for clearing natural and unnatural accumulations of snow from their property within a reasonable amount of time. In the ruling, Papadopoulos v. Target Corp, the Court held that the jury is now free to decide:

What snow and ice removal efforts are reasonable in light of the expense they impose on the landowner and the probability and seriousness of the foreseeable harm to others

The Court will now:

apply to hazards arising from snow and ice the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards: a duty to 'act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances including the likelihood of injury to others, the probable seriousness of such injuries, and the burden of avoiding the risk.'

This is an important ruling for anyone injured in a slip and fall caused by ice or snow accumulation in Massachusetts.

Continue reading "New Snow and Ice Laws in Massachusetts for Slip and Falls" »

December 4, 2010

Do You Have a Negligent Security Claim?

Providence has its share of violence occurring in, and just outside, of its many bars and nightclubs. Police details seem to break up fights every weekend and the City has made efforts to curb the violence including, but not limited to, revoking the liquor license of bars with frequent problems of violence, attempting to reduce closing time from 2 am to 1 am, and by increasing the police detail outside the clubs at closing time.

If the injury or attack occurs inside, or immediately outside, of a bar or nightclub, you may have a case for negligent security. Negligent security is a form of premises liability, in which the landlord may be responsible for the injury sustained. A property owner (including bar and night club owners) has a responsibility to assess the danger to their invited guests and take measures to prevent injury. Landlords can try to protect guests by hiring additional security guards, limiting the number of guests allowed inside, monitoring the amount of alcohol served to individual patrons, increased lighting, training their security personnel to properly respond to an incident, and many other methods. Such steps are particular necessary in high crime areas or in bars or nightclubs with "questionable" reputations.

I represent the family of a young man who was murdered outside of a Providence nightclub, and I receive many other inquiries from people who have been attacked inside a bar. It seems to me an increasingly serious problem occurring with all too much frequency. If you have been physically attacked or sexually assaulted inside a public facility, you may have a case for negligent security. And keep in mind that these types of cases, while most common in bars and nightclubs, can occur almost anywhere. Malls, sports stadiums, schools and universities, and apartment buildings all have a duty to protect invited guests and prevent foreseeable injuries.

In order to succeed in a negligent security case you need to show that the attack was foreseeable and that the landlord, or his or her employees, failed to take adequate action to protect the victim. Whether your case meets the requirements for a negligent security case really depends on the facts and you will need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you decide if you have a case worth pursuing.

It is also important to know that because of the increased frequency of these types of cases, many insurance companies are now placing exclusions in their policies which state that they are not obligated to pay negligent security claims. In other words, the insurance company will cover a slip and fall or other type of accident, but will not cover the damages to a victim who was physically or sexually attacked due to lack of security.

December 1, 2010

Plans Under Way to Improve Pedestrian Safety on Atwells Avenue

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Over the past several years, no less than eight pedestrians and one bicyclist have been struck by a motor vehicle while walking on Atwells Avenue in Providence. The number of bars and restaurants along the famous street draw out hundreds of pedestrians every night and due to the low visibility and high traffic of Federal Hill there is a persistent danger of a car accident. In addition, many drivers use Atwells Avenue as a short cut from Route 10 to downtown Providence increasing the number of cars on the busy street.

Following the high profile accident of City Council member Terrence Hassett, the City has decided to finally take action to improve pedestrian safety. Working with a number of engineers, the City intends to now increase the number of crosswalk signs, re-stripe existing crosswalks, and install a speedbump near Piedmont Street to slow down passing vehicles. The speedbump is to be located at a critical area of the street where passing cars often drive well over the speed limit, and near the area where Councilman Hassett was struck and injured.

It is an important and vital step for Providence to increase safety on one of its most beloved roads. The combination of too many cars, too many pedestrians, parking valets run back and forth, and dark and busy roads is a recipe for disaster. It is no surprise that so many pedestrians have been struck by vehicles in the past few years.

Pedestrian accidents are the most serious form of car accidents. A pedestrian is absolutely defenseless against the weight and speed of a passing vehicle and injuries are often permanent and severe. Pedestrians struck by cars often suffer: broken bones, head injuries, scarring, extended hospital stays, internal injuries, and more.

Continue reading "Plans Under Way to Improve Pedestrian Safety on Atwells Avenue" »