November 2011 Archives

November 28, 2011

Attorney Joseph Lamy Secures Dismissal of Assault Charges

This morning in Kent County Courthouse, criminal defense attorney Joseph Lamy secured the dismissal of assault charges based on the defense that the accused was legally entitled to come to the aid of another person in danger.

The canon of law surrounding "self-defense" to assault or violent crime charges is large. It is abundantly clear that a person is entitled to use reasonable self-defense if he or she believes that they are under imminent physical harm. There is case law that supports an extension of this self-defense rule to a third party intervenor.

In the case at hand, my client witnessed one person strike another smaller person during a dispute. My client was behind the attacker and when the attacker motioned to strike the other person for a second time, my client brought him down to the ground. The police felt that excessive force may have been used and because the "victim" wanted to press charges, my client was arrested for simple assault. We argued from the onset that my client was intervening for the protection of someone in danger of imminent harm. Today we were successful and had the assault charges dismissed.

State v. Beeley, 653 A.2d 722 (RI 1995) has a detailed discussion of self defense under exactly these circumstances.

...three conditions must be met. First, the force must be such as the actor could use in defending himself or herself from the harm that he or she believes to be threatened to the third person. In other words, the actor may use the same amount of force that he or she could use to protect himself or herself. Second, the third person must be justified in using such protective force in the circumstances as the actor believes them to be. Thus, if the third person was resisting an arrest by a known police officer, he or she would have no defense and, if the circumstances were known to the actor, the actor would have no defense either. Finally, the actor must believe that his or her intervention is necessary for the protection of the third party.

Regarding the final factor, the Court will consider what the intervenor reasonably believed at the time of action. If the intervenor reasonably believes that the third party is danger of imminent harm then he is justified in using reasonable force to prevent the harm. My client met all of the criteria for this case and as such the matter was dismissed.

November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone

Today marks the single most heavily trafficked day of the year. Highways will be jammed with family members making, sometimes long, treks to visit each other for the Holiday. It is a weekend in which our office receives a lot of calls for auto accidents. Don't let it detract from the Holiday but be careful out there because the sheer volume of cars increases the likelihood of car accidents, minor or serious.

If you live in a State other than Rhode Island or Massachusetts and are involved in a car crash or slip and fall while visiting family in these States, you should know that you will need to hire a local attorney licensed in Rhode Island and/or Massachusetts. The State in which the accident occurred holds the applicable law and is the State in which a lawsuit, if necessary, would need to be filed. You will not be able to return to your home State and hire a lawyer unless they are also licensed in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. My office has represented many long distance clients who happened to be injured while visiting Rhode Island or Massachusetts, and the process is not difficult. With email, fax, Skype and other applications, my office can represent you as if you lived 1 mile away rather than 1000.

Business aside, I want to wish everyone reading this post, including past and future clients, a happy and safe Holiday.

November 22, 2011

Hiring an Attorney for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

One of my favorite shows on TV is AMC's Mad Men. It is brilliant in every way. One element of the show, however, is shocking to those of us born of a more recent generation and that is the frequency and severity of the sexual harassment to which the women are subjected. Obviously, we have come a long way in this area and no one would recognize the type of office that mad men depicts. We have not, however, resolved the problem of sexual harassment at work. There is a reason that all major companies require employees to participate in "workplace sensitivity" and other human resource trainings to prevent sexual harassment.

It does still happen, and more often then we may think. A great deal of sexual harassment cases are never discussed because the victim is afraid to come forward for fear that she will not be believed or that she may be fired, etc.

Both State and Federal law prohibits sexual harassment. Unlawful sexual harassment is often defined as: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, under any of the following conditions: (a) submission to the sexual conduct is made a condition of employment, either expressly or impliedly, (b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions (i.e. loss of a job promotion opportunity) affecting that individual, or (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or (d) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

There are numerous examples of sexual harassment, including but not limited to: unwelcome sexual propositions; unwelcome touching such as hugs, kisses or other physical contact; lewd gestures or remarks; unwelcome discussions of sexual acts, physical anatomy or sexual practices; unwelcome showing of sexual pictures, drawings, movies, jokes, etc; comments or discussion about one's physical appearance.

An employer has an obligation to protect its employees from this type of offensive environment and may be liable for damages should you experience this type of sexual harassment. If you feel that you are being harassed in your workplace, make an effort to collect evidence in your support as it will greatly assist your potential lawsuit. Evidence such as emails, text or phone messages, pictures, etc. can go along way towards establishing your case for sexual harassment. Even if there is only your word, but you feel that you have been sexually harassed at work, it is imperative that you contact an attorney. My office has helped victims of workplace harassment and will speak to you for a free consultation. Remember, that the law also prevents employers from retaliating against employees who complain about sexual harassment. Do not be a silent victim. You have the right to a safe, comfortable and enjoyable workplace.

November 14, 2011

Social Media and Video Surveillance in a Personal Injury Claim

This is a bit of a dual topic post, but they share similarities. What I am referring to is the number of ways in which an insurance company can spy on a plaintiff during a personal injury claim. The two most common ways that adjusters and defense attorneys can try to obtain information about a claimant are: 1) social media and 2) video surveillance. It is important to remember that your activities and statements may not be private if you are in the middle of a personal injury claim against an insurance company, in particular, if your case has gone into litigation. Regardless of whether your injury was caused in a car accident, slip and fall, or other type of accident or injury, it is ALWAYS in your best interest to keep details of the case or lawsuit private.

Social Media

Almost everyone is on Facebook and Twitter, including this office. (Please click the links to follow our pages). If you are in the middle of a personal injury claim, however, you may want to keep quiet about the details of your claim and your injury status especially if your Twitter and Facebook accounts are open to the public. If the insurance company believes that: a) your injury is not as severe as you claim, or b) that you healed from the injury much sooner than the medical records indicate, then the insurance company may look for evidence to support their opinion which includes looking at your Twitter or Facebook profiles. If you make statements or post updates that suggest you are feeling better or if you upload pictures of yourself performing manual labor or exercising, then rest assured the insurance company will use that evidence against you. If you were injured in an auto accident or other type of incident and want to update your friends and family regarding your condition, it is best to make your posts private or to keep your posts vague so that it can not be used as evidence against you. Also, do not accept friend requests from people that you do not know since this may be an insurance adjuster or an employee of the defendants law firm.

Video Surveillance

Many people are shocked to find out that they may have been the subject of a private investigation. It is true, however, that insurance companies will hire private investigators for 10-20 hours to videotape your behavior if they believe that you are "faking" or "exaggerating" your injuries. If these videos show that you are able to work in a physical profession or exercise, then that evidence will be used against you in your personal injury claim. Surprisingly, this is not illegal or a violation of your privacy. I do not want to scare anyone into thinking that they are being followed. In fact, this tactic is very rarely used and usually only in cases in which the insurance company truly does not believe your injury claim.

In the end, it is important to remember that you and your attorney should control your personal injury case. You do not want to hand over control to the insurance company by saying or doing things that can be used against you at a later time.

November 7, 2011

Personal Injury Attorney Joseph Lamy posts Testimonials and Results Page

A number of people have recommended that I post a results and testimonials page on my website to show the great results that we are obtaining for our clients. I understand that there are a lot of personal injury attorneys that you can hire for your accident case and I also understand that the words of your friends and neighbors might be very helpful in deciding if my firm is the right choice for you. To that end, I have added a testimonials and results page to my website which includes emails, letters and cards that I have received from clients thanking our office for a job well done.

In a few short years my office has grown tremendously thanks, in large part, to the kind referrals of past clients. A personal injury attorney needs to not only be an aggressive professional but also a trustworthy friend. I go to great lengths to forge long lasting and solid relationships with all of my clients who are very important to me. I want to thank all of my clients and I invite any past or current client to comment on this blog post sharing your thoughts and observations about my law firm.

The results and testimonials page will continue to be updated. Please take a chance to look at the page and see what customers are saying about our firm. Testimonials are included from auto accident victims, slip and fall victims, medical malpractice victims, etc.

When you are looking for a personal injury attorney to take your case you will see that all bodily injury attorneys offer a free consultation and a no fee unless we win policy. My firm goes above that and tries to do things differently by keeping open lines of communication, pursuing quick and aggressive results and by making all of our clients feel like the most important client. Please take a minute to talk to us and see what sets us apart from the rest.

November 2, 2011

As Many as 2000 Patients May Have Received the Wrong Medication at Rhode Island Hospitals

Lifespan, which manages several RI hospitals including: Rhode Island Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital, has today announced that as many as 2,000 patients over the past year may have received an erroneous prescription at one of these Lifespan Hospitals. Lifespan is blaming this medical malpractice error on a computer, or software, malfunction. Their statement does not indicate whether anyone was harmed by this malpractice. It is understood that most affected patients have been contacted regarding this error or are in the process of being contacted.

Giving a patient the wrong medication, the wrong dose of a medication or unnecessary medications are all examples of medical malpractice. While the full extent of these errors by Lifespan are unknown, you may be entitled to collect personal injury damages if you were injured or harmed because of receiving incorrect medication. At the same time, not all victims of this mistake are entitled to compensation. If you discovered the error before ingesting the medication or if you ingested the medication but were not harmed, you may not be entitled to compensation. However, if the wrong medication caused you personal injury, even temporarily, you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, medical bills (if you were required to seek treatment) and lost wages if you were unable to work.

It is unclear if anyone was seriously injured by Lifespan's mistake but given the high risk of pharmaceutical medication, it is likely that someone was seriously injured. Patients may have been given medications to which they are allergic or may have been given medications that have harmful or potentially fatal interactions with other medications. Overdoses from receipt of the wrong amount of medication are also possible. Anyone seriously injured because they were prescribed the wrong medication should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney right away.

November 1, 2011

Rhode Island Attorney General Introduces "Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks"

It appears that Rhode Island law enforcement organizations love rhyming, yet juvenile, slogans for their campaigns. In the wake of "Click it or ticket" an effort to remind people to buckle up or face a citation, comes the Rhode Island Attorney General's office with "Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks!". This witty little ditty is meant to bring to everyone's attention the very real and very serious dangers of texting while driving. Clearly I'm having a little fun with the nature of these awareness campaigns, but I am fully supportive of their intent.

Texting while driving, as demonstrated in earlier posts on this blog, is as dangerous and potentially more dangerous than drunk driving. Texting increases both the likelihood and seriousness of being injured in a car accident. We say "texting" but in effect any use of your smartphone that takes your attention away from the road can lead to a car crash. Checking Facebook, Twitter, email or anything else that your smartphone might be capable of takes your attention from the road. Even though you feel that you are only glancing at the phone for a second or so, your attention is greatly distracted and an accident may be inevitable.

Here are some of the statistics that I have discussed in previous posts: Roughly 20% of all injury causing auto accidents are caused by distracted drivers and Smart phone users are more than four times likely to be in a car accident. Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association has reported that distracted driving is the Number ONE cause of teenage deaths in America!