Class Action Lawsuit Checklist: Do You Have a Claim?

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action is a lawsuit where a large number of potential plaintiffs have experienced the same or similar harm. These individuals, known as a “class” file a civil lawsuit against one or several entities. While the category of the class action lawsuits varies, the two factors that remain the same in all class action lawsuits are that the injuries in question are common to the entire class, and the potential plaintiffs together are too numerous to bring each case individually before the court. These cases can be brought in state or federal court based on the case at hand. 

Reasons for bringing a Class Action Lawsuit

Most often, class action lawsuits are brought for public policy reasons to change the way an entity is behaving or treating certain individuals. Sometimes, class actions are the only means of allowed injured individuals to recover from their injuries caused by larger entities. Also, most often, the costs of individual lawsuits would be far greater than the value of the claim for one person. Therefore, but for a class action without any legal ramifications, the entity would likely continue their conduct and possibly continue to cause harm to individuals. However, class actions allow many individuals who could not afford a lawsuit on their own to not only recover for their injuries but also remedy injustices committed by large corporations who have harmed them. These plaintiffs together then have the resources to hire an attorney and obtain restitution by filing the legal action.  Also, where there is a pattern of wrongdoing, the larger lawsuit allows a single judgment as opposed to many judgments. This avoids the risks of the inconsistency of judgments on important matters that affect many individuals. Further, this means fewer cases congesting small claims court that could have easily been dealt with in one collective lawsuit. More than anything, class actions motivate defendants to settle since there are so many plaintiffs.

Reasons against bringing a Class Action Lawsuit

Some reasons why a plaintiff may not want to bring a class-action lawsuit are that plaintiffs may be disappointed based on the time and money aspects of a class action case. Class action cases can take a long time to settle. When class members turn over control to attorneys, they may have certain expectations of getting money and a result quick. The plaintiffs may receive only a small award which may be a coupon or rebate instead of cash, which could be disappointing to some individuals who expect a cash award for their injury. The plaintiffs also give up right to sue individually, so they must deal with the outcome of the case whatever it may be. When complex lawsuits drag on for years due to the amount of plaintiffs, and damages do not amount to much due to the fact that they are divided among the entire group. 

Do you have a claim?

This can be proven in the same way a class is certified. To prove there is a claim, the representative plaintiff must follow Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 

1)    The number of class members renders it impracticable to join them in the action.

2)    The class members’ claims share common questions of law or fact.

3)    The claims or defenses of the proposed class representatives are typical of those for the rest of the class

4)    The proposed class representatives will adequately protect the interests of the entire class. 

Further, in addition to the numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation requirements of  Rule 23(a), the court must make at least one of the following findings from Rule 23(b).

1)    Requiring separate actions by or against the class members would create a risk of inconsistent rulings or that a ruling with respect to individual class members may be dispositive of other class member claims thereby “substantially impairing or impeding their ability to protect their interests. 

2)    The party against whom the class seeks relief has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class so that injunctive or declaratory relief as to the entire class would be appropriate.

3)    Common questions of law or fact predominate over class members’ specific questions, and that proceeding by wat of a class action would be “superior to other available methods” for resolving the dispute. 

What is the typical procedure for a class action lawsuit?

One individual or plaintiff is enough to file a lawsuit, so long as their lawyer is confident with good faith belief that other people were injured in a similar way. One or a few representatives file the lawsuit while other potential class members or plaintiffs are instructed on how to receive their award in case of settlement of positive trial verdict. 

A group or class of plaintiffs is represented by one or more “lead” plaintiffs. The injuries suffered and allegations alleged by the lead plaintiffs must be similar or the same to those of the other class members. The lead plaintiff must demonstrate that the class has a valid claim against the defendant and that all members have similar claims. The lead plaintiff must also show that the suit can adequately represent all group members. Class action lawsuits are usually filed either against government entities, financial institutions, manufacturers, retailers, or employers. 

A class-action lawsuit can be commenced where the plaintiff files a complaint that contains allegations of the lawsuit. Then, when the lawsuit is filed, every individual who could have been affected by the class action has a right to be notified about the lawsuit. They are entitled to the best notice possible, which could be through ads in tv, newspapers, magazines, or flyers. The court will tailor notice to best fit the case. 

Once potential plaintiff class members are notified, they can usually opt-in or opt-out.  If members have more specified injuries caused by a specific defendant such as a plane crash, these members are usually automatically a part of the class action, cannot opt-out, and must deal with the outcome. Potential class members who wish to opt-out of the class action suit must follow a specific procedure. If they do not follow this, they will remain as a part of the class until they do so.

Once the class action complaint is filed and served on the defendant, the class must be certified. This must occur before the lawsuit can proceed. The judge is allowed to exercise a fair amount of discretion in this process. Arguments for and against certification can be complex. A class certification basically means that the case has been vetted so that there is a viable claim and that the defendant is now facing a legitimate lawsuit. 

To be certified as a class, the requirements are the same as the lead plaintiff’s ability to have a claim. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) explains it must be impracticable to join all the claimants in one lawsuit. If there are 40+ people, this is usually sufficient, while 20 would not usually be sufficient for a class action. The claims must all be based on the same problem or wrongdoing, the named plaintiffs or class representatives must have the same or similar, and defenses to the claims must be the same or similar as well. Further, the class representatives must provide fair and adequate protection for the class. 

At this point, if the class is not certified, the case will be dismissed. If the class is certified, it can then move on to pre-trial procedures. Settlement negotiations may begin at this point as well. Most class action suits are settled out of court. The benefits of class actions are that they are efficient, collecting, and disposing of claims. They ensure each member is compensated for their injury or loss. The costs of the lawsuit are also lower due. Class action lawsuits rarely go to trial. If they are not dismissed they usually negotiate a settlement before the trial date.

Before settlement, the judge must approve the proposed settlement with attorney’s fees. The judge must make sure the amount is fair to all members of the class who will in turn be stuck with the settlement. Each member of the class will then receive a percentage of the total amount. The award may consist of cash, refund, services to monitor credit, or a certain benefit. 

Common Types of Class Action Lawsuits

The most common categories of class action lawsuits are environmental, finance, employment, civil rights, product defects, and dangerous drugs. 

Environment 

Environmental issues that may affect air, water or otherwise typically affect large classes of individuals. When there is this type of contamination, these cases are usually brought to change the way the defendants dispose of their waste, to promulgate them to make greater efforts to avoid polluting the environment and avoid future litigation. The Cochran Firm has handled environmental cases of this sort where pollution in the air from a chemical plant caused property and personal damage to nearby residential areas. The firm got a positive verdict in another case in this category when a company left zinc waste in a West Virginia community which put the residents at risk for cancer and disease. 

Finance

These class-action lawsuits often involve predatory lending and breaches of security law. Victims of fraud can bring these lawsuits to recover and ensure practices are changed to protect the interests of investors and future customers. This can also involve securities fraud. 

Employment

Employment class action lawsuits lead to defendants and similarly situated businesses to change their practices. Common types of employment cases involve wage and hour laws, sexual harassment, discriminatory hiring or pay hostile workplaces, or businesses being run against federal or state law. This can also involve manipulative business practices.

Civil Rights

Class action lawsuits are common with civil rights lawsuits, meant to bring about impactful and sustainable change. Notable cases have been integrating public schools, and more recently calling for fair conduct of police, sex discrimination policies, and unfair treatment of those with disabilities. The Cochran Firm currently has a case in Atlanta where many local attorneys are suing the city for their methods of handling police brutality cases. 

Product Defects

These product defects class actions make up a significant portion of all class action cases. In these cases, a defect in a product impacts many individuals. Where a successful verdict is reached, individuals are entitled to damages based on their injuries. These lawsuits require manufacturers to change their practices to prevent injuries of this sort from their products in the future. 

Dangerous Drugs

Defective drugs and pharmaceuticals often create injury in quite many individuals as opposed to a mere few. Individuals can bring lawsuits in this category to encourage certain pharmaceutical companies to maintain safer testing procedures and products in the future. The Cochran Firm is currently handling opioid lawsuits in the state of Nevada and represents nearly all counties and cities, as well as local Native American tribes. 

Cochran Firm Notable Cases:

The Cochran Firm has won many class action cases for clients. Some notable cases are related to the class action categories of dangerous drugs and environmental issues.

The Firm ended up with a $182.5 Million Jury Verdict against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Baxter Healthcare Corp., and McKesson Corp who gave 3 clients contaminated vials of Propofol that resulted in the individuals contracting hepatitis C.

They also received a $381 Million Jury Verdict on behalf of residents of Spelter, West Virginia who were put at risk of cancer, heart disease, and lead poisoning when E.I. DuPont negligently created a 112 – acre zinc waste site in their community. DuPont was ordered to pay for the clean up of the property and medical monitoring for the residents of the community.

The Firm received a $700 Million Judgement and Settlement against a chemical plant when the chemical PCB was allowed to migrate off-site resulting in property damage and personal injuries.

Finally, The Firm received over $1 Billion in recoveries for victims of the weight loss drug Fen-Phen. The lawsuit was against the manufacturer American Home Products. All in all, The Cochran Firm has secured over $35 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments for their clients. 

Resources:

All Law

Law Info

Cochran Firm

Legal Information Institute

What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury lawsuits are legal conflicts that happen when a single person experiences injury from either an injury or an accident, and another person might be held legally responsible for that damage. Personal injury claims involve two primary concerns: liability and damages. If you can connect the dots in between these two, indicating that the accused is accountable for the problems you sustained, then you have likely had a case and our system of justice will likely award you payment for the loss you received. Every tort case may it be through negligence, intentional torts, or strict liability can be the basis of an accident suit.

What are the Qualities of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

To qualify as an accident claim, the instance should include negligence, strict liability, or an intentional tort. Negligence situations are not limited to just car crashes. These cases reach lots of accident suits such as medical malpractice situations.

Another basis for a personal injury suit is strict liability. This expanding area of tort legislation includes holding people that design and create products “strictly liable” for injuries resulting from flaws in the products. In these situations, the complainant needs to reveal that the item was made and/or made in a way that made the item unreasonably unsafe when used as meant.

Intentional torts are one more basis for personal injury cases. This is when a person commits a tortious act upon function. Examples of this are if someone hits you or wrongfully detains you for theft. Individuals that commit deliberate torts like assault and battery can be held criminally or civilly liable.

What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Provide for You?

Injury cases cover a broad range of situations as well as accidents. While lots of people might assume they can manage their injury claims by themselves, and also can reduce legal charges, many clients can benefit from a personal injury lawyer’s experience and knowledge.

While in certain situations, you may handle your case with Small Claims Court and even your own insurance, you may also need to consult a legal professional. This can depend on the legal components of your case, and naturally the severity of the injuries. If an individual were to handle their own case, they would need to comprehend what they are capable of doing alone, and also what could be at stake if they were to mishandle their case.

To figure out if a lawyer is right for your case, or if you might be not sure about whether you need an attorney for your instance, it is best to call an attorney immediately after your injury.

Particular situations where you may not need a lawyer would be in car and truck crash cases with little to no injuries. Other variables that can contribute to a decision not to keep an attorney is if you are comfortable in working with a cases adjustor, or confident in researching regulations and the negotiation process. There is additionally normally no requirement to have a lawyer if you live in a no-fault state, do not have significant injuries or the truth that you have actually already been offered the highest negotiation settlement feasible under the accused’s insurance policy.

Nevertheless, there are other instances that would require you to work with an attorney. These are various depending if you are in small cases court or otherwise. If the insurer or party in small claims court has legal representation, then it may be wise to consider this also.

While some people decide not to work with an attorney since promptly after their crash, their injuries seem minor, this is not a good mindset. Some apparently minor injuries can turn into significant injuries within weeks to months of the accident. In this instance, where the small injuries are no longer small, and also you may have already approved a settlement deal, you cannot recuperate for any kind of future injuries from the mishap due to the fact that you signed away your civil liberties to sue regarding this insurance claim in the future by accepting the settlement.

A case might not be complete within a few days or even months after the crash which caused your injuries because you might have emotional distress along with pain and suffering.

All in all, when thinking about a personal injury claim, the level of the injury can make all the difference. It is important to speak with an attorney as well as wait to accept offers until you know the complete degree of your injuries.

A Walkthrough of a Personal Injury Legal Action:

When an individual is injured in whatever scenario it may be, if their problems relate to more than $10,000 which is the limit for most small claims courts, then they will likely not be able to represent themselves and also would require a lawyer.

After a preliminary examination, the lawyer will likely launch an exploratory investigation of the insurance claim to figure out if you may have a case. If the attorney establishes that the damaged individual has a possible case, they will become a client, authorize a cost agreement, and will subsequently have an attorney-client connection.

Prior to submitting a lawsuit, it is important to note the statute of limitations on your specific case. In some states, this can be as brief as one year. If you miss out on the target date for your case, it will be rejected. After identifying that a case exists, the plaintiff’s attorney files a complaint in civil court. This file discusses what the offender did and also exactly how the plaintiff was harmed.

When you file a legal action for your personal injury claim, you end up being the complainant or plaintiff in the case, and the person who harmed you after that comes to be the defendant in the case. After the problem is filed, the plaintiff’s lawyer will serve the accused, physically delivering the complaint, describing when the offender is meant to appear in court.

After the grievance is submitted, the Defendant will likely alert their insurance provider about the claim. At this moment, the insurer will then appoint and pay for a lawyer unless the offender had actually previously employed one. After you submit a lawsuit, pre-trial, attorneys on each side of the legal action, the plaintiff lawyer and defense attorney that usually represents insurance agencies, examine the situation and gather facts by exchanging papers, questions, and depositions. This is called the procedure of discovery.

The exploration procedure can take anywhere from months to years depending upon the case. Once discovery is done, the accused will try to dismiss the instance requesting for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff cannot win on the facts at hand. In the early stages of the claim, both plaintiff and defense attorneys will have a court appearance where they notify the court of the case progression, and after that to accept arbitration or mediation to resolve the legal action or set a trial date.

Negotiation is a lot more usual with personal injury situations in fact most move to the trial phase. To determine whether to clear up the case or most likely to test, the legal representative will likely supply a realistic evaluation of the instance to determine whether the case will certainly achieve success at trial.

One alternative as well as one of the most popular choices is an informal settlement. A lot of situations over fault for an injury or crash can be dealt with the negotiation procedure. The negotiation normally occurs between the attorneys and clients. If you work a case out of court, the plaintiff consents to a monetary quantity in return for going down the claim against the individual who wounded them. Both sides will after that likely sign a written arrangement, assuring to abandon any further activity in the form of a lawsuit, discharging the other side from future obligation. Both sides concur rather to a certain amount of cash in a settlement contract. A settlement can occur at any time when a claim is filed. This could be prior to trial and also after trial but prior to a jury reaches a verdict. It is the client’s decision.

One more choice is formal legal action. These are commonly initiated when the plaintiff submits a civil case against an additional individual, organization, corporation or government agency which will be known as the accused. If you win a case in court, the court will award problems for injuries. This can include payment for lost salaries, loss of future salaries, physical pain and suffering, physical disfigurement or impairment, or clinical expenses that arise from your injuries. The preliminary test usually lasts a couple of days. After trial, either party may launch an appeal which can last from months to years. However, after the trial process is exhausted, a defendant that loses the case must compensate the plaintiff for their damages.

It is very important to keep in mind that accused in civil instances such as personal injury claims are only billed a financial amount for their activities of harming the plaintiff. This is not the punishment that some plaintiffs wish. If you are searching for penalties or imprisonment to punish an individual that caused your injuries, after that you would certainly need to consider a criminal claim. While civil legal action courts can award punitive damages against an accused for their intentional acts against you, this is rare, and typically not utilized

Either way, if you win your case with settlement or trial, the liable individual’s insurer will pay cash to the defendant for the plaintiff’s injuries in the form of clinical costs, pain, and suffering as well as ongoing injuries and expenses. Overall, if you are thinking of enacting a personal injury lawsuit, it is best to review your case with a lawyer to identify the very best strategy for you.

Common Sorts of Personal Injury Cases:

Car Crashes:

One of the most typical personal injury cases involves automobile crashes. In these situations, there is likely a negligence insurance claim where a driver fell short of their duty to exercise reasonable care. Where this obligation is breached, and an injury results, the regulation enables you compensation for your losses. While the legislation in various states varies concerning fault, the underlying regulation of negligence continues to be primarily the same. A bar to recuperation in these cases is where a state is a “no-fault” state, and complainants are relegated to recuperate from their injuries as well as losses from their own insurer unless there is a serious injury involved.

Slip and Fall Cases:

Slip and fall cases are likewise a common sort of personal injury claim. This type of claim can take place where owners or renters of homes are accountable for problems where they breach their lawful duty to maintain their properties without risks so individuals on the residential or commercial property do not get harmed.

Medical Malpractice:

These claims can take place where a medical professional or healthcare professional do not meet the clinical standard of care and also subsequently a person obtains harm from this conduct.

Libel: 

These insurance claims might take place where either spoken or written words wound an individual’s credibility, and they are damaged as a result of the false declarations. The ordinary plaintiff typically must show that a negative, incorrect declaration was made and ultimately there was actual damage, usually in the form of financial loss. This can transform based upon your status as a celebrity or public figure. These individuals have to verify real malevolence.

Dog Bites:

These situations arise where pet dog owners can come to be financially responsible for bites or various other injuries caused by their four-legged pal. While laws may vary from one state to another, the owner is normally responsible via strict liability. Nevertheless, in some states, pets and their owners do not come to be liable unless the dog has a history of attacking and aggression.

Assault, Battery, and Other Intentional Torts:

These claims are often the most noteworthy claims, where a person hurts one more individual intentionally. These cases can be in court as a criminal instance, in addition to a civil instance. This way, they can obtain a settlement for their injuries, in addition, to punish their offender criminally.

Resources:

American Bar Association

FindLaw

Alllaw

Police Brutality Lawsuits in 2020

There have been many issues that have surfaced in the year 2020, however, one of the most impactful movements that have occurred are The Black Lives Matter protests. The BLM movement started after the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. These protests have taken place across the United States and have included thousands of Americans speaking out against the injustices happening against the black community. The Black Lives Matter movement mirrors the Civil Rights movement that occurred during the 1960s. Those protests were in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., who was an advocate and spokesperson during the 1960’s Civil Rights movement.

“This is taking place in a world that is not only deeply fractured, but also deeply fragile because of the coronavirus, the economic crisis that makes the country look a little bit like 1929, and the existential threat of climate change,” says Burnham, university distinguished professor of law at Northeastern. “It’s everything collapsing all around us.” 

The protests that occurred during the 1960s dealt with injustices easy to see in the community, but the Black Lives Matter protests are dealing with inequalities are not as easy to see or comprehend. There is a deep-rooted issue of racism in the history of the United States. This has caused inequities in our society and does not provide equal opportunity for everyone in America. A major issue that is linked with these inequities is racial profiling that many use especially law enforcement. Below is an outline of a lawsuit that has been filed against the city of Atlanta due to excessive force used by the police. If you or a loved one has been a victim of police brutality please contact The Cochran Firm today for your FREE consultation. 

A Police Brutality Lawsuit: Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta civil rights lawyers are calling out Atlanta City Hall by filing a lawsuit against the city as police brutality cases linger, and victim’s lives hang in the ballast. Almost 20 attorneys representing victims of police brutality, and victims’ family members came together at the steps of Atlanta City Hall Monday, October 26th to voice a collective message to the City of Atlanta’s legal department. Their collective message was clear. They are infuriated and disappointed with the way the city of Atlanta is dealing with their cases. 

The lawyers are calling for accountability not only from the city legal department, who tries the cases, but also from leadership in the city such as Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and members of the City Council. The lawyers explained they filed the lawsuit due to the fact that Atlanta’s legal department will not easily participate in settlement discussions and the fact that they delay taking their lawsuits to trial. These attorneys explained that this problem is specific to Atlanta, and they have not had issues with other cities elsewhere in this context. 

The lawsuits that the attorneys discussed were civil cases brought by victims or their families against the city. Clients involved include family members of individuals who were shot and killed by police officers. The attorneys represent the families of police brutality victims Jimmy Atchison, Caine Rogers, Deaundre Phillips, Rayshard Brooks, and many others who claim the city mishandled and delayed their cases.

The families voiced that not only did they handle the cases in a disrespectful manner, but they also delayed their loved ones’ cases. The lawyers collectively have 15 active lawsuits against the city for police brutality, some of which have been pending in the system for years on end. The lawyers explained that while publicly the mayor and city council side with their clients,  privately they are going through hell to get their clients justice. 

Local Atlanta civil rights lawyer, Mawauli Davis said “There’s an injustice that continues to take place right here in City Hall.” Davis explained while the public has seen city councilmembers marching in protest, and elected officials coming to funerals, there has been no justice yet for their clients, the victims of the police brutality.

Shean Williams, a lawyer with The Cochran Firm who has five ongoing cases against the city, claimed the city has a backhanded approach to dealing with the police brutality cases. The lawyer explained while the city’s leaders such as Mayor Bottoms publicly took a stance that was sympathetic to the victims and their families, they staunchly fight those same claims in court. Williams explained, “You can’t say publicly, ‘We’re sorry, we’re outraged,’ and show compassion, but in the courtroom show the opposite.” Williams said the city fought the cases “tooth and nail in the courts.” 

This two-faced effort was emphasized throughout the press conference. Attorney Brian Spears, who has practiced law in the city since the ’70s stated that little to nothing has changed since he first began practicing. Spears expressed that this is too long and that that is not a condition that the city should be allowed to continue. 

Tomika Miller, widow of Rayshard Brooks who was shot and killed outside an Atlanta Wendy’s in June explained the city’s two-faced nature, pointing out how Mayor Bottoms attended the funeral and consoling the family in public, yet after she left the public eye, they never heard from her again. Attorney Tanya Miller, who represents the family of Jimmy Atchison, who was shot and killed by an officer in 2019 also attended the press conference. She explained that she filed a lawsuit in early October, after the city declined any settlement negotiations, and further, the officer had no criminal repercussions. 

Miller stated, “We are in essence waiting for their response.” She further explained, “The city uses every possible legal leverage, legal maneuver that they can to avoid taking responsibility for what their officers have done.” Miller asserted that while the mayor is vocal on social media about her support for these families, and has made campaign promises to work on the police brutality in the Atlanta city system, she has been hypocritical of those promises, where the city’s legal team has not been accommodating to those same families she was so vocal of supporting on her social media platforms. This illustrates the claims that the city is being two-faced regarding these trials. 

Miller states “Those placated acts seem to be the limit.” She further expressed, “We ask you to be intentional in our leadership, in this space, as you are on the campaign trail. Attorney Justin Miller explained the city’s efforts to delay these lawsuits, and avoid settlement are what extends the length of these lawsuits, some taking several years to come to an end.

Craig Jones, an attorney who has argued several cases in front of the Supreme Court, and has practiced civil rights law for over thirty years claims the city has a “split personality.” He explained that while on television, the lawyers for the city will say one thing, in court the legal team will say something completely contrasting their public statement. Jones expressed that this treatment of officers could in turn be a deterrent, making the police officers want to work somewhere else where they do have insurance coverage and are protected in case of claims of liability. 

While in some of the city’s police brutality cases, the police officers have been fired, attorneys representing victims say this scattered action is simply not enough. Attorney L. Chris Stewart explained that the issues of concern with police brutality cases were complicated by the fact that the city of Atlanta does not have insurance for its officers, and if the city were to settle a case, taxpayer dollars must pay for the settlement as opposed to a third-party insurance company. 

Shean Williams stated, “there is no reason for this city with all of this revenue, not to have insurance coverage for this city, for their officers.” The attorneys explained that while police vehicles may be insured, the officers are not. 

Therefore, one of the biggest issues addressed was that Atlanta does not insure their police officers, subsequently forcing them to fight legal battles with their own assets on the line. Attorney Chris Stewart explained in representing the family of one of the victims of police brutality, Rayshard Brooks, that he has faced situations where the city will offer up an accused officer behind closed doors, then claim the city itself is not liable. Stewart further explained, the city’s police officers may not know or realize they are uninsured. He voiced that their police car often has more insurance than they would have for a police brutality situation. To these attorneys, this does not make sense, and reform is needed in this context.

Stewart claimed that covering police officers with an insurance policy is mutually beneficial for both parties to lawsuits. He explained the police officers are out there risking their lives, and that the city should care about them enough to cover them with insurance, to benefit them and their families. Attorney Shean Williams agreed with this thought, arguing that the city has put the victims’ families seeking justice through years of red tape in the legal system.

A spokesperson for the city made a statement that the city does not comment on pending cases. However, the spokesperson did comment on the city’s insurance. The spokesperson explained that the city itself is self-insured, but it is doubtful that coverage would include police officers who have acted outside of city policies while using private insurance coverage. The city had also previously stated that the officers in some of the cases in question were not following department policy in incidents that resulted in lawsuits.

Attorneys explained that while they consistently must wait several years to reach settlements in the city of Atlanta, other cities are able to resolve their civil lawsuits in a matter of months. The attorneys pointed out many cities across the United States that have paid settlements to victims’ families. Therefore, this is not a national issue, but a regional one instead, specific to Atlanta. 

For example, the attorneys related that the city of Louisville recently agreed to pay Breonna Taylor’s family $12 million after she was killed in a raid in March involving city police officers. Attorney Shean Williams explained that while Breonna Taylor’s family has already gotten some justice, some families in Atlanta have been waiting several years waiting for the city officials to step up.

Williams also represented 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston’s family. Johnston was shot and killed in 2006 when Atlanta officers served a no-knock warrant at her home. Williams explained how the city took 4 years to reach the 4.9 million settlement, and the family had to continue to wait to be paid. 

Williams explained the extensive time they drew out the settlement and funds was even worse due to the fact that insurance did not cover the case, and the city had to use taxpayer money. The attorneys explained that this behavior has gone on for far too long, and it is simply no longer acceptable. Legal teams for the police brutality cases explained that insuring the police officers could be a key solution in resolving these issues. 

Another lawsuit awaiting justice is one that has been delayed for four years now. This is the case of Caine Rogers who was killed by an Atlanta police officer in 2016. Caine was shot while driving after he reportedly swerved to avoid an officer’s patrol car. Authorities confirmed that Caine was not affiliated or involved with any crime that the officers were responding to. The family of Rogers is hopeful but not optimistic the case will be swiftly resolved. 

Many victim’s families are discouraged by the cities delays and lack of effort in pursuing an end to these lawsuits, yet some remain optimistic. The family of Deundre Phillips is optimistic that the attorney’s actions will help push the situation and get some of these cases cleared up. Tyvonia Phillips seeks closure and justice for her son that was killed by police in 2017 during a struggle with a police officer inside of a vehicle.  

The family of Jimmie Atchison also attended the conference. Atchison was reportedly shot in the face and killed when the police found him hiding in a closet as they attempted to serve a search warrant. 

One lawsuit that has obtained some justice is the case of Rayshard Brooks. Brooks was running from the police when he was shot in the back, kicked, and offered no medical treatment. Brooks was shot when he did not pose an immediate threat of death. The police officer was charged with murder. This felony murder charge carries life in prison or the death penalty if prosecutors choose to seek it. The officer was further charged with 10 other offenses that could lead to decades punishable behind bars. 

Attorney L. Chris Stewart said that “we shouldn’t have to celebrate as African Americans when we get a piece of justice like today. We shouldn’t have to celebrate and parade when an officer is held accountable.” The charges have caused some Atlanta police officers to walk off the job, or protest in response. This illustrates the disconnect between the police and the city, and the fact that reform is desperately needed to resolve so many prevalent issues. 

While the view up until recently has been that officers are justified in using deadly force in a case in which the suspect has a weapon that could cause grievous bodily harm, some experts believe this could change. Reform could mean more training or different policies for officers in the city of Atlanta. 

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research says more Americans today than five years ago believe police brutality is a very serious problem that far too often goes undisciplined and unequally targets black Americans. There are hopes that this action by local civil rights attorneys will create reform on behalf of city officials to move forward with these brutality cases, as well as enact reform measures to make sure these cases do not repeat themselves. There are hopes for the city to ensure police officers individually as well to help move cases forward. 

RESOURCES:

1. AJC: sent to us ab

https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/lawyers-call-out-atlanta-city-hall-as-police-brutality-cases-linger/XBRTNQWC6VH6XBKWUWHCTJYSQQ/

2. 11alive

https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/attorneys-criticize-atlanta-leaders-for-the-handling-of-civil-lawsuits-following-police-brutality-cases/85-f6bc7222-00d8-4ffe-8af2-977a926dc72f

3. CBS

https://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2020/10/27/alleged-atlanta-police-brutality-victims-families-demand-city-buy-insurance/

4. GDB

https://www.gpb.org/news/2020/10/26/atlanta-civil-rights-attorneys-unite-criticize-citys-handling-of-police-brutality

5. 7 News

https://www.wwnytv.com/2020/06/17/atlanta-awaits-decision-charges-black-mans-killing/

The Deadliest Workplace Killer: Mesothelioma Cancer and Threats of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure, as well as subsequent conditions such as mesothelioma cancer, kills thousands of Americans every year. It is essential to be knowledgeable about the threats of asbestos exposure and to uncover whether you might have actually been exposed. Prior to understanding diseases like Mesothelioma, it is integral to discover what asbestos is, along with where asbestos exposure can originate from. It is additionally important to know some general truths concerning asbestos exposure to establish if you may have been impacted. Lots of people understand just how harmful asbestos can be, yet may not know why the substance is so deadly. Asbestos is an all-natural mineral product. This item is resistant to heat and corrosion and has also been utilized thoroughly in insulation, concrete as well as flooring ceramic tiles.

How Dangerous is Asbestos Exposure?

While some might think that asbestos can be absorbed through skin or food, asbestos direct exposure occurs when someone breathes in or ingests asbestos dust. Asbestos relevant illness is most frequently triggered by months to years of regular workplace direct exposure. As a result, when people are affected by asbestos illnesses, it is caused by mineral fibers that have actually built up in an individual’s lungs. This could be individuals revealed to high levels of asbestos dirt over a length of time where air-borne fibers end up being lodged within the lungs. The greater the direct exposure is, the higher the lung damage will be.

The alveoli are affected because it has tiny sacs within the lungs where oxygen is traded for CO2 within the blood. Asbestos fibers can irritate and scar lung cells, in turn making it difficult to take a breath. Eventually, lung tissue would end up being so tight in this situation, that it would not be able to do its regular task of contracting as well as expanding.

Short-term or limited exposure seldom trigger disease and are not a significant risk. Nonetheless, long term direct exposure to these asbestos fibers can trigger lung cell scarring and also lack of breath. An additional reality is that the effects of asbestos exposure are cumulative, consequently, short term exposures with time can build up as well as lead to illness. Additionally, certain disasters may create asbestos direct exposure. There are different levels of asbestos exposure that people should also be concerned about, such as if the area was badly aerated, identifying how the asbestos was exposed and the appearance of the asbestos can forecast how much asbestos exposure there was.

Overall external elements consist of a dose of asbestos, a period of exposure, and the sort of asbestos one has been exposed to. Besides exterior elements, particular internal variables can figure out if the asbestos would certainly make an individual sick or not. Interior variables consist of genetics as well as smoking history can play a policy, multiplying a person’s risk of establishing disease.

When Is Asbestos Exposure High?

While no quantity of asbestos exposure is considered risk-free, most asbestos-related conditions transpired as a result of years of routine exposure or intense short-term direct exposure. It is also feasible for a solitary event to cause extreme quantities of asbestos direct exposure. An instance of this is 9/11, whereas a result of the clouds of harmful dirt, the locals and employees subjected in the aftermath of the attacks are consequently at a greater danger of developing mesothelioma disease. If there is just a solitary event of asbestos direct exposure, this is not generally a considerable danger, except in extreme conditions with hazardous dust.

A solitary event could be a house improvement project. Asbestos might come from rock disintegration in the country, and in more metropolitan locations, from construction work. Asbestos-related diseases do not often tend to appear until twenty years after direct exposure. Besides people captured in the after-effects of a terrorist strike like 9/11, or individuals subjected to house renovations for a long term amount of time, specific person’s occupations might cause them to be much more at-risk for direct exposure to asbestos. These individuals would certainly be exposed to mining, manufacturing, milling, setup, or removal of asbestos before the 1970s.

According to the Mayo Clinic, examples of workers likely exposed to asbestos according to these qualifications would be:

  • Asbestos miners
  • Aircraft and auto mechanics
  • Boiler operators
  • Building construction workers
  • Electricians
  • Railroad workers
  • Refinery and mill workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Workers removing asbestos insulation around steam pipes in older buildings

Further, secondhand exposure is even feasible for household members of subjected workers when asbestos fibers are carried home on clothes. People in the armed forces might have been exposed to asbestos also, especially those in the Navy. Also, individuals who live close to mines could be revealed to asbestos fibers launched in the air.

What Are The Effects of Asbestos Exposure?

After determining that asbestos exposure occurs due to asbestos fragments accumulating in the lungs, it is very important to then identify just how much asbestos exposure is dangerous. Asbestos signs can vary from light to serious. Impacts might not show up till decades after continued direct exposure. This could be 10-40 years after the first exposure. Some signs and symptoms consist of lack of breath, persistent dry cough, anorexia nervosa with weight loss, fingertips and toes clubbing, breast tightness, and discomfort.

The asbestos might after that trigger asbestosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, “asbestos is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.” Asbestos conditions may include particular deadly problems like mesothelioma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and also laryngeal cancer. Nonmalignant asbestos conditions can consist of asbestosis, COPD, and more. Benign asbestos-related illness are more typical than asbestos related malignancies.

Since you comprehend what asbestos is, and also just how exposure could affect you, we can move to understand the impacts of direct exposure in the form of mesothelioma. According to The Mesothelioma Center, “Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers and forms in the lining of the lungs abdomen or heart.” While lots of various other diseases can be triggered by asbestos exposure, mesothelioma is unique because unlike the various other cancers and diseases, it is exclusively caused by asbestos exposure.

Deadly mesothelioma cancer is incurable cancer that usually affects the cellular lining of the lungs. When this condition influences the lungs it is called “pleural mesothelioma cancer.” This kind of mesothelioma cancer makes up around 75% of all instances. The statistics for mesothelioma show that the typical age of the mesothelioma client is 69, as well as most of people are male. 

According to the CDC, more than 45,200 people died of mesothelioma in the U.S. between 1999 and 2015. Asbestos exposure remains the number one cause of work-related deaths in the world. Statistics show that as many as 3,000 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with mesothelioma, and most of these patients live less than a year from the diagnosis. 

There are four main types of mesothelioma cancer which can be identified by the location in the body where tumors develop.

  1. Pleural Mesothelioma 

This type of mesothelioma accounts for 75% of all cases, and forms on soft tissue surrounding the lungs.

  1. Peritoneal Mesothelioma 

This type of mesothelioma occurs in less than 20% of all cases, and develops on the lining covering the abdomen.

  1. Pericardial mesothelioma

This type of mesothelioma occurs in 1% of all cases, and forms on the soft tissue surrounding the heart.

  1. Testicular Mesothelioma

This type of mesothelioma occurs in less than 1% of all cases, and develops on the lining of the tests.

Mesothelioma develops in the membranes of body cavities and also tumors from this condition can then appear on the cellular lining of interior organs such as the heart, lung, stomach and even testes. This can result in various medical diagnoses based upon where the mesothelioma is located. Better, each kind of mesothelioma cancer features an one-of-a-kind set of symptoms, however typical symptoms frequently consist of lack of breath, upper body or stomach discomfort.

A quick breakdown from the Mesothelioma Center may be helpful to understand the process of how mesothelioma may develop.

  1. A person inhales or swallows microscopic airborne asbestos fibers
  2. The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart
  3. Embedded Fibers damage mesothelial cells and cause inflammation
  4. Over time tumors form on the damaged mesothelium, leading to mesothelioma.

  Symptoms of mesothelioma appear when tumors spread and in turn press against the chest wall, as well as the abdominal cavity. The Mesothelioma Center relates that the most common mesothelioma symptoms are:

  • Dry coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory complications
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
  • Fatigue Weakness in the muscles

To diagnose mesothelioma, medical professionals might make use of imaging scans, biopsies, blood tests and staging. While the biopsy is the only test that validates the illness, very early mesothelioma cancer medical diagnosis also aids to raise therapy alternatives for the individual. The mesothelioma stages are based on tumor size and location and range from 1 to 4.

  • Stage 1: At this stage, cancer is localized. Surgery is the most effective, the survival rate is higher, and median life expectancy can be 22.2 months.
  •  Stage 2: At this stage, tumors have likely spread from their original location and moved into adjacent structures. Surgery is still an option but not as effective. Median life expectancy goes down 2-20 months.
  • Stage 3: At this stage, cancer has spread into lymph nodes and surgery is then only an option in certain circumstances. The patient’s median life expectancy drops to 17.9 months.
  • Stage 4: At this stage, tumors have spread into other internal organs. While there are still options to ease symptoms like chemo and immunotherapy, median life expectancy at this point is 14.9 months. 

The people most in danger of developing mesothelioma cancer are individuals that dealt with asbestos for an extended amount of time or were revealed to big amounts of asbestos in their profession. These people might consist of veterans, relatives of mineworkers, blue-collar workers working as shipyard employees, power plant employees, construction workers and also firemen. Once we understand exactly how mesothelioma can be so lethal, it is very important to comprehend just how you can recuperate for this loss.

Almost every instance of mesothelioma cancer might have been protected against if the asbestos product maker had actually ceased use of the material once they understood the substance was dangerous. If this held true, and also producers quit utilizing the material years earlier, rates of mesothelioma would certainly have remained low, as opposed to becoming the most dangerous workplace killer.

While filing a suit cannot undo the misdoings done several years earlier, it may assist to hold asbestos product manufacturers responsible for their actions and honor the life of a loved one you have lost.

Additionally, filing a mesothelioma cancer wrongful death claim may supply payment to assist instant family pays to press clinical and funeral expenses along with solving various other financial problems.

Only the estate of the person who died can submit a wrongful death legal action. This activity should be handled by the estate representative. This individual is most often named in the decedent’s last will and testimony. He or she does not have to be a blood relative.

To file a lawsuit, the wrongful death claim must show documentation of:

  1. Known exposure: an essential element, this documentation must illustrate where the asbestos exposure occurred, the products utilized and organizations/companies responsible.
  2. Negligence: clear negligence must be shown on behalf of the defendants in exposing the decedent to asbestos.
  3. Significant Impact: more than just a mesothelioma death, the decedent’s estate must demonstrate that due to the death they were significantly impacted financially, emotionally, or both.

The lawsuit needs to be filed before the death of a loved one to help locate work records, medical records and other documents that may be difficult to locate. The wrongful death claim can be explained in 5 basic steps. This can occur by:

  1. Hiring an attorney. A mesothelioma attorney can help try or settle your claim.
  2. Investigation. The lawyer will investigate the claim to understand which asbestos products the decedent was exposed to.
  3. Filing a claim. The lawyer can then file a wrongful death claim against those responsible for the decedent’s death.
  4. Discovery occurs. Both sides of the lawsuit will gather evidence, and conduct deposition to gather testimony for a tentative trial proceeding.
  5. Settlement or Trial. Statistics occur in this phase that the vast majority of mesothelioma lawsuits settle, and the average settlement is 1.4 million to 2.4 million.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness, contact us today, or click here for a free case review.

Resources:

https://www.asbestos.com

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asbestosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354637

https://www.pleuralmesothelioma.com/lawyer/claims/after-death/

Safety Guidelines at the 2021 Trial Lawyers Summit

Safety has played a massive factor in planning for the upcoming Trial Lawyers Summit. If you are determined to enhance your legal processes, attending the Trial Lawyers Summit is the first step. On January 31 – February 3, 2021, YOU are our main priority. For this event, attendance is limited, but you can guarantee your spot by registering now. There’s no need to worry – you will receive a 100% refund if the Trial Lawyers Summit is canceled or if you cancel due to COVID-19 related issues. Though we do not know what requirements will be in place in January, we currently anticipate all events and sessions will remain on-site at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Large social gatherings will occur outside, and outdoor dining space will be made available for all meals, weather permitting. Plenty of disposable face masks and personal size hand sanitizer will be available for everyone, and physical/social distancing will be encouraged and respectfully enforced. Attendees will be required to wear a face mask during indoor activities and sessions. All session seating will be physically/socially distanced, and meeting occupancy will be limited to the seats available. To view our full COVID-19 safety guidelines, click here.

Best of all, Emmy award-winning medical reporter and writer Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be our keynote speaker at the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon on February 1. I’m interested to hear his thoughts on the world today regarding COVID-19 and what the future holds.

Check out the full conference agenda and view our online brochure.

Make sure to reserve your spot and I’ll see you next January!

Sincerely,

Michelle Swanner

Executive Director

The National Trial Lawyers

The Root Causes Of Semi-Truck Accidents

Semi-trucks and other big industrial automobiles are a typical sight on Interstate Highways and also in rural areas. Almost 2 million semi-trucks function by distributing items throughout the USA which substantially contributes to the economy.

Semi-trucks are categorized as weighing more than 10,000 pounds. These trucks can be involved in crashes involving serious injuries and deaths. Accidents including big semi-trucks have a tendency to occur in rural areas or interstate freeways. While there are lots of root causes of vehicle mishaps, a collision with another vehicle is one of the most typical.

Because of their size, semi-trucks require a reasonably long time to stop. It is very easy to see just how the driver of a smaller automobile would suffer injuries in a semi-truck crash. Semi-truck mishaps happen for all the same reasons as passenger car crashes. Truck drivers are ten times more likely to be the root cause of a mishap. However, some factors for semi-truck crashes are a lot more common. The following are the most typical sources of truck crashes:

Accidents Triggered By Truck Driver:

Drive or Human Error

Driver error makes up the highest portion of semi-truck accidents, making it one of the most common root causes of crashes. According to the FMCSA, eighty-eight percent of truck associated collisions are because of the error of the driver. This can include accidents triggered by a speeding driver, a driver who fails to inspect his blind spot before switching over lanes, and driver error. Some of the mistakes truck drivers can make include anything from negligent driving( e.g., speeding), to distracted driving(e.g., texting), to substance usage and/or abuse. 

One more major contributor is driver exhaustion. While truck drivers are required to comply with hours of service plans that figure out the length of time they can be behind the wheel for a single stretch, a number of drivers still drive long term hours and travel long distances. This leads to sleep deprivation and tiredness, putting them at high danger for mistakes as well as collisions.

Overspeeding/ Overtaking

Truck owners usually demand that truck drivers reach particular destinations within a specific time period. This is not always achievable due to several concerns, including inadequate weather conditions and traffic snarl ups in some sections of the roadway. Nevertheless, due to the stress that the drivers are put under to satisfy these deadlines along with the threat they encounter of losing their jobs, the motorists normally drive over the speed limit. 

Overtaking by these huge vehicles at such astonishing speeds pressures approaching drivers in smaller sized automobiles to veer off the road resulting in accidents, the majority of which are fatal. Overtaking additionally has the result of significantly lower reaction time. When driving at high speeds, drivers might be needed to damage right away or instantly veer right into one or more lanes of the road. When at higher speeds, stopping is not always feasible.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is also a major problem among the trucking community. While the hours that truck drivers work are determined and restricted by regulations, they still frequently have long hours and demanding schedules. Some truck drivers require themselves to remain awake through long haul drives when they need to be taking certain breaks and also relaxing. 

Truck drivers schedules are typically made up in a way that urges driving quicker and much longer than is secure. A vehicle may after that drive in potentially risky weather conditions to satisfy target dates. This can prompt drivers to lose focus, neglect secure driving methods, and trigger accidents. Exhaustion is the most typical reason for motorist error. Almost 40% of all vehicle crashes are attributed to tiredness.

Distracted Driver

Inattention and interruption can trigger crashes for truckers just like they cause issues for drivers of passenger vehicles. Driving for numerous hours cross country, truck drivers can become bored when driving and on a regular basis look for something to keep them occupied. This impulse to kill the boredom leads them to do one of numerous points. Is the driver consuming snacks, alcohol consumption, daydreaming or sending a text? 

The most typical one is using their phones to read or respond to a text message, make phone calls, or even see their preferred social networks websites. Changing the radio station while driving has also been attributed to distracted driving, resulting in mishaps. When traveling in the nation, the function of some radio terminals is poor in specific areas. This causes the drivers to get over to their radios and discover a station they can listen to. This happens when they get on the freeway driving at a high speed. Even a split second when a motorist takes his eyes off the roadway could be the distinction between safety and security, creating a crash.

Driving Under The Influence

It is illegal in every state to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Lots of truck drivers have actually been found guilty of using alcohol and non-medicinal drugs while on duty. Prescription and also non-prescription medications are a substantial problem as they typically hinder the capability of the driver to navigate such a big truck properly. Some just take these substances at stops in communities throughout the country while others go a step further and lug alcohol and drugs with them while driving. 

Regardless of how they use these substances, their driving ends up being impaired and they can easily create accidents. It is not only controlled substances that can lead to crashes when driving. Some prescription medicines that the drivers might be making use of likewise have the result of hindering their synchronization and reasoning, leading to road crashes. Industrial motorists are specifically held to a higher requirement than passenger vehicles and the public. 

They are only permitted a little alcohol in their system due to the fact that the dimension, weight as well as pressure of a semi-truck make them a fundamental risk to others when traveling. Security is of vital importance to drivers and because of enhanced danger of semi-trucks causing injury or death, they are held to greater requirements and standards. Intoxicated drivers can cause extreme threat to themselves and everybody else on the road.

Failing To Secure Loads

Whatever item the vehicle is lugging, it is critical that the claimed product is very carefully packed and also secured so weight is evenly distributed across the vehicle. Failing to correctly disperse the weight can make it more probable that a truck will certainly get involved in a crash. This is especially true when turning or attempting to stop. When an item is not properly tied down, it can possibly fly off the trailer onto the roadway right into the course of one more vehicle causing a potential road threat or auto crash.

Low Filled Liquid Loads

Lots of trucks transport liquids like gas and oil. These trucks were made to hold a specific amount of fluids before they are complete. It can be hazardous to maintain the truck partly full, due to the fact that the fluids can splash around in the trailer and consequently cause the vehicle to sway back and forth with turns and modifications in speed. Additionally, if a liquid makes an unexpected halt, a driver might cause a mishap.

Rear End Crashes

A rear end collision is among the most dangerous kinds of collisions. This sort of collision can happen when a semi-truck motorist fails to quit or slow their car in time to prevent a collision with an automobile before them. The vehicle strikes in the rear, usually with considerable pressure. A vehicle is not efficient in taking this heavy of an influence and will likely crumble. All vehicle occupants are in danger of injuries in the event of a rear-end collision. Back seat passengers in these situations have a more specifically high threat of injury.

Lack Of Training

There is a high need for truck drivers and also in some cases, the trucking companies rarely do sufficient training or work on their motorists’ skills. This subsequently can bring about harmful and also extreme mishaps, especially given that trucks are so hefty and large. 

Prior to truck drivers being able to drive substantial commercial lorries on public roads, they are required to put in a specific threshold of training hours and to satisfy. Nevertheless, not all truck drivers adhere to these guidelines. What you get subsequently is an improperly educated truck driver with little experience behind the wheel.

Lack Of Maintenance

Trucking companies are required by law to maintain their vehicles and also keep them in a condition that makes certain safety guidelines. Nevertheless, because there are prices and also time associated with preserving semi-trucks, this cuts into profits in making shipments. Similarly, vehicle owners are needed by law to ensure that their vehicles remain in top notch condition when hitting the roads. Nevertheless, they do not typically do this due to the costs involved and time it takes to maintain the trucks– time they might otherwise use to make shipments. Poorly preserved vehicles being driven by poorly trained drivers is just one of the biggest sources of truck mishaps.

Brakes 

According to the National Freeway Safety Management, at least 29% of vehicle crashes involve brake failure. This can be due to faulty evaluation, lack of upkeep, condensation or getting too hot. The federal government needs truck firms and drivers to remain on top of their brake conditions at all times. More than one situation can be responsible for brake failure. Manufacturers and developers can additionally be responsible. Badly maintained vehicles are among the largest root causes of truck mishaps.

Tires

Another typical problem found in huge truck accidents includes its tires. With so much riding on them, it is of the utmost value that they are constantly carrying out securely. Flaws in style, inadequate upkeep, and lack of appropriate examination can cause tire blowouts, which can cause significant devastation in the form of truck crashes.

Not Caused by Driver:

Issues With The Road Or Highway

Truckers invest a great deal of time taking a trip down random highways, generally in the evening. When roadways are not kept in exceptional maintenance, or when there are obstacles on them, they can perhaps cause accidents. If a trucker experiences climate problems on these highways( snow, heavy rainfall, etc.), the danger of a crash boosts. Even the most conscious vehicle driver can not entirely avoid the threat of a vehicle collision in certain roadway conditions.

Vehicle Malfunctions

Troubles with the truck itself can usually cause mishaps and collisions. Mechanical failures can happen when there is a defective design or installment of truck elements, such as when brakes fail to work properly. Trucks have to likewise be packed and maintained well. Failing to do so can cause rollovers, jackknifing, and different other hazardous scenarios that put other drivers in danger.

Accidents Caused By Passenger Vehicles:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) supplies ideas and also resources for commercial truck drivers as well as various other motorists. Common hazardous acts committed by car vehicle drivers at huge trucks, which typically result in truck accidents consist of:

  • Driving in the “No-Zones”– the areas behind and also beside a vehicle where the truck driver has actually limited or absolutely no exposure.
  • Changing lanes quickly before a truck.
  • Maneuvering to the right of a vehicle that is making a right turn.
  • Turning improperly right into traffic, creating a truck to maneuver or brake swiftly.
  • Failure to reduce or speed up when a truck begins to change lanes or merge.
  • Unsafe passing, especially passing with insufficient ground.
  • Passing a truck, after that being blown out of placement by air turbulence or cross-wind.
  • Pulling into website traffic from the roadside in front of a truck without accelerating completely.
  • Driving in between large vehicles.
  • Abandoning a car in a travel lane, or falling short to get a handicapped car entirely off the freeway as well as onto the shoulder.

Resources:

https://www.copleyroth.com/five-common-truck-accident-causes/

https://www.sidgilreath.com/learn/truck-accidents-causes.html

Remembering the Legacy of RBG

Some remember her as a lobbyist, and some might remember her as a feminist icon. However, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or “RBG” will certainly be remembered as a champ of equal rights. She made it her life’s work to make certain that no matter what gender you are or who you love, that you will be treated as an equal in American culture and in the eyes of the law. She did this by getting rid of gender-based stereotyping in regulations as well as legislation. Several think about RBG architect of the legal defence ladies’ rights in the 1970’s. 

Certainly, she transformed the lives for American women of all walks of life. By the time she took her seat on the Supreme court, she had revolutionized the lawful rights of females that extended from their individual lives to the office. She became a symbol to modern women of every age, passionately dubbing her the “Notorious RBG”. She will forever be remembered for her contribution to female’s legal rights in America. As Justice Ginsburg always fervently reiterated from the Old Testament, “Justice, justice, thou shalt pursue.”

While several recognize her for her time on the Supreme Court, long before this she was influencing the legal realm and society in its entirety from her work as a district judge in addition to being an attorney and law professor. Born in 1933, by 1959 at 25 years old she was a clerk to a judge in the United States District Court.

·       In the 60’s she was a research associate and professor at Columbia and Rutgers School of law respectively. 

·       In the 70’s she was general counsel for the ACLU and founded their Women’s Rights Project.

·       In the 80’s she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

·       In the 90’s she was sworn in as Supreme Court justice filling the seat of Justice Byron White on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was the second woman on the Supreme Court. She stayed in this position for 27 years until her death.

At the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg argued 6 as well as won 5 Supreme Court cases in the 1970’s.

Achievements as a Litigator:

RBG obtained her law degree from Columbia Law School in 1959 after attending Harvard Law School from 1956-1958. She had the ability to obtain a clerkship in the United States District Court for the Southern District Court of New York City from 1959-1961. Triggered from being deprived by her status as a female, Ginsburg passionately advocated gender equality. She altered millions of lives from her work as a lawyer. Prior to her time on the bench, she argued six cases in front of the Supreme Court, and won five of these.

RBG was a pioneer of women’s rights, working tirelessly to make sure that women were given the same treatment as their male counterparts in whatever context. Her fight against sex-based discrimination started far prior to her role on the High court. In her own experiences after finishing law school, she found that her gender was an obstacle to progressing in her profession. Although Ginsburg was ranked first in her graduating class at Columbia Law, she did not get work at any of the 12 preliminary firms she interviewed at. Further, Supreme Court Justices declined to take her as a staff regardless of raving referrals from professors at Harvard Law. 

Ginsburg fought for a lot more than women’s rights. While she is most definitely remembered as a symbol for feminism, a lot of Ginsburg’s lawful triumphs were not based on sex discrimination. Ginsburg further defended impaired individuals, undocumented people and the LGBTQ+ community. She focused on expanding civil liberties in regards to voting rights as well. Ginsburg also literally created the book on laws of gender discrimination, which was released 1974. When RBG initially began her legal campaign, ladies were treated much differently from their male equivalents.

Ginsburg argued six cases on equality prior to the U.S. Supreme Court. She made use of a gender-blind technique in her fight for women, impressing that every person no matter the gender was entitled to equal rights. Ginsburg argued Frontiero, Weinberger v. Wisenfeld, Califano v. Goldfarb, Durn v. Missouri, as well as Edwards v. Healy in front of the Supreme Court.

When Ginsburg started dealing with the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU, she started litigating sex discrimination cases. Her primary method was to slowly handle winnable cases to ultimately eliminate institutionalized discrimination against females with lawful criterion.

Notable Cases Argued 

Reed v. Reed: (1971 )

RBG represented Sally Reed in 1971. Reed thought that she needed to be executor of her kid’s estate opposed to her ex-husband. The court held that the state could not automatically prefer males over women to be executors of estates. This was the very first time the court struck down a state legislation because of gender discrimination. 

Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue: (1972 )

Ginsburg’s first big case was to oppose a law that prevented Charles Moritz from taking a tax reduction for the care of his 89-year-old mother. Ginsburg’s husband called this instance the going through a formula of asking the court to apply laws to both sexes. The government specified that this decision “cast a cloud of unconstitutionality over thousands of federal statutes.” These laws would certainly turn out to be the cases that Ginsburg would function relentlessly to overturn in the following decade.

Frontiero v. Richardson (1973 )

The court decided in this landmark case argued by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on behalf of the ACLU, that a statute that imposes requirements on women but not on similarly situated men violates the Due Process Clause of the 5th amendment. The court plurality agreed that when applying a strict standard of review to sex-based classification, that the government interest in administrative convenience could not justify administrative practices. During this case, which was Ginsburg’s first oral argument before the Supreme Court, she quoted Sarah Grimke, a 19th-century abolitionist and suffrafette, stating, “I ask no favour of my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” Ginsburg argued her case successfully and this case became a vital decision on the landscape of gender equality. 

Wienberger v. Wisenfeld (1975 )

In this case argued by Ginsberg, the court found for her client Mr. Wisenfeld who was a widower. The court located that sex based distinction in Social Security Advantages does breach the Fifth amendment of the Due Process Clause. The court found unanimously that the function of social safety benefits is to allow the enduring partner to correctly care for the youngsters, no matter the parent’s gender.

General Electric Co. c. Gilbert (1976 )

In this case, the court concluded that pregnant women were treated differently from nonpregnant women. While the ACLU’s amicus curiae brief affirmed that pregnant women typically sufferered of sex discrimination, the court saw it a different way. Nevertheless, after this, the company proceeded lobbying as well as their initiatives led to a modification to Title VII that developed that pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is considered sex discrimination and is illegal.

Success as a Judge:

Before her time as a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg was refused a clerkship from that very court. While extremely recommended by her Harvard professor for the placement of clerk for the High court, the justices were not prepared to hire women and rejected her entrance. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals where she served up until her visit to the United States Supreme Court in 1993 by President Clinton. Ruth Bader Ginsburg created American history during her time on the court. As a judge, Ginsburg started known as “The Great Dissenter” for her intense dissents from the viewpoints of her fellow high court justices. In talking about her dissents, Ginsburg stated that she hoped some of these would end up becoming law one day. 

Notable Cases from the Bench

USA v. Virginia (1996 )

In 1996, Ginsburg proceeded to defend gender equality under the 14th amendment. Ginsburg composed the majority opinion, a 7-1 ballot that the Virginia Military Institute might no more be an all-male institution. Virginia suggested not only that ladies were not matched for VMI’s extensive training, yet likewise that a separate females’ just military program was sufficiently equivalent. The court disagreed. This situation developed a new test for gender discrimination cases.

Olmstead v. LC (1999 )

Some states once allowed people with psychological handicaps to live in their own communities under the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA) Two Georgia ladies were held in isolation for years at a psychological medical facility following their first treatments, also after being clinically approved to move to a more community based setting. The court held that Georgia had actually gone against the community mandate. Ginsburg stated that the outcome of this case stood for the fact that unjustified isolation continues presumptions that persons once in isolation are unable or not worthy of joining community life.

 Stenberg v. Carhart (2000 )

This Nebraska case made it to ensure that under the Fourteenth amendment, a state cannot pass an anti-abortion legislation that does not consist of an exemption for the health of the mother.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (2007 )

Lily Ledbetter sued against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for sex discrimination that caused unequal treatment. While the claim was barred, Ginsburg composed a dissent that the majority’s judgment ran out touch with the facts of wage discrimination, missing out on real definition of Title 9, the statutes “broad therapeutic objective” and recommended that the Legislature remedy the Court’s reading of Title 9. This dissent led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which changed the Civil Right Act of 1964 to identify when an unlawful work technique happens pertaining to discrimination on the basis of sex. After this Act was passed, Ginsburg recognized that if the Supreme Court majority would not provide the answer and result some hoped for, that the judges in the minority could still persuade Congress to settle this grievance outside of the borders of the courtroom.

Shelby Region v. Holder (2013 )

The court kept in this case that the limitations mandating southern states obtain approval before changing voting needs was dated. Ginsberg declared that “tossing out preclearance when it has actually functioned, resembles throwing out your umbrella in a rainstorm since you are not getting wet.

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015 )

Ginsburg obtained assistance from all the justices on this case with her bottom line argument that extending marital rights to homosexual couples would certainly not damage the establishment of marriage.She argued that all of the incentives and benefits that marriage affords would still be available, therefore nothing was being taken away from heterosexual couples. These couples, she argued, would have the same incentives to marry and benefits from marriage that they currently have. 

Conclusion

In 1999, after her time as a lawyer, judge and High court Justice, Ginsburg obtained the Thurgood Marshall Honor for her contributions to equal rights and civil liberties.

Ginsberg battled cancer throughout her life, and also never ever missed out on a day of oral arguments even while she was undergoing radiation treatment. Ginsberg verified through this journey that she was a force to be reckoned with.

RBG left quite the legacy when she died at the age of 87, September 18, 2020 from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg shaped the lives of modern American women with her progressive opinions. As her profession as a lawyer and also Justice has instructed us, and Ginsburg specified, “Real change, sustaining change, takes place one step at a time.”

Resources:

https://www.cnn.com/2013/03/07/us/ruth-bader-ginsburg-fast-facts/index.html

https://achievement.org/achiever/ruth-bader-ginsburg/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/g34111816/ruth-bader-ginsburg-accomplishments/

https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/ruth-bader-ginsburg

https://www.aclu.org/other/tribute-legacy-ruth-bader-ginsburg-and-wrp-staff

https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/in-memory-of-justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-1933-2020/

Together Again at the 2021 Trial Lawyers Summit



On January 31 – February 3, 2021, The National Trial Lawyers will present the annual Trial Lawyers Summit, hosted at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. This conference is a unique gathering of America’s most outstanding civil plaintiff and criminal defense lawyers. Offering various networking opportunities and informative sessions, the Trial Lawyers Summit provides attorneys the chance to improve their trial skills and business management.





“The Trial Lawyers Summit is always a massive hit. There are tons of interesting educational sessions, excellent speakers, great networking events, and a fantastic venue. I’ve been to many conferences, but the Trial Lawyers Summit offers a unique experience. I’d strongly encourage any trial lawyer to attend the next one,” says Lisa Blue, 2020 President of The National Trial Lawyers.

Packed with compelling speakers, valuable conversations, exclusive social functions, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy catered meals and remarkable amenities, the Trial Lawyers Summit will become your focal point in the new year.





“Every year that I go, I enjoy it. The program is great. The networking is amazing because you can hang out and learn a lot by example and through anecdotal stories while you’re there,” says John J. Givens, a lawyer with The Cochran Firm – Dothan.

Attorneys, paralegals, students, and firm administrators from far and near flock to our unique, family-friendly conference each year to experience the most relevant legal sessions and engaging networking events.





“There are great events and great parties, but the substance of what you get and what you can take back to your practice to use on Monday is what makes the difference,” says Dustin Herman, a lawyer with The Spangenberg Law Firm.

The sessions hosted at the Trial Lawyers Summit introduce tactical, useful insights for lawyers at any stage in their career. Education at the Trial Lawyers Summit focuses on digital marketing, mass torts, criminal defense, women’s leadership, trucking and automobile litigation, traumatic brain injury litigation, and much more.

“I go year after year. Every year, they have the best lineup with the most engaging speakers. They have the speakers that are in the trenches trying cases day in and day out,” Herman says.





If you are determined to enhance your legal processes, registering for the Trial Lawyers Summit is the first step. Whether you are trying your first case or your hundredth, perfecting your practice starts with the Trial Lawyers Summit.

To register for the 2021 Trial Lawyers Summit, click here.If you’d like to view the full agenda, click here.



8 Ways Police Can/Cannot Lawfully Infringe on Your Civil Liberties

The ACLU has commonly stated that the method to construct the toughest case for reform is via looking into cops departments, and uncovering pertinent policies as well as practices they enforce. The company has also stated that to understand officers’ staminas and also weaknesses it is very important to contrast them to other divisions. A crucial topic is the use of physical force. This consists of comprehending your regional cops division’s formal written policies on how policemans are supposed to act as well as not behave in particular scenarios. According to the National Institute of Justice, there is “no solitary, generally agreed-upon meaning of use of pressure.” The Institute explains, the use of pressure usually depends on the officers and circumstance due to the fact that no 2 police officers or situations coincide. While there is no nationwide database of cases in which cops usage too much pressure, just in 2015 in 2019, the FBI introduced a national use-of-force information collection.

While officers often get assistance from their specific companies, no global collection of rules regulates when officers ought to use pressure or even how much. If there is a limit, this is usually department-based, and also set on a force continuum. There are 5 primary levels of authorities use force which are often found in a force continuum. Additionally, there are 6 main degrees of resistance to take into consideration.

Infographic on 6 degrees of resistance

Continuums need to think about lots of factors. These consist of the private’s resistance degree, the officer/civilian factors and unique aspects as well as the reasonable level of pressure for that scenario.

Several projects as well as organizations shine light on how the use of physical pressure must be limited by police divisions across the country. Among these tasks is Campaign Zero. The Task located that even more restrictive use pressure plans are associated with fewer police included murders.

They have actually offered numerous plan services to much better make use of various other techniques to limit civilians besides the use of extreme force which infringes on basic civil rights. Four main plan options provided in this area by the task were:

  1. Establish standards as well as reporting of police use of lethal force
  2. End traffic associated authorities killings as well as unsafe high speed cops chases
  3. Modify and also enhance regional cops department use of pressure plans
  4. Screen just how authorities use pressure and proactively hold police officers answerable for too much pressure

The task also created a version use of force plan based on evaluation and analysis of reliable use of pressure plans throughout the country. The task explains, “the cops include evidence educated restrictions on authorities use pressure that are developed to dramatically lower cops violence in areas.”

Another job named the “Use of Pressure Project”, integrated a listing of policies used by law enforcement agent across the nation that frequently fail to include restrictions on police force. Nonetheless, these plans are legal, albeit, they often infringe on standard human rights of private citizens across the country – overmuch so with individuals of color. Checking out the 100 biggest authorities divisions in America, the plans they have in the area might surprise you.

Policies Where Police Can Legitimately Infringe on Your Civil Liberties

Right here are some plans that exist throughout some of the greatest authorities departments in America. While these are lawful, they infringe on your civil rights and also stats prove it.

  1. Falling Short to Require Officers to De-Escalate.

44/100 of the police divisions reviewed call for policemans to de-escalate situations where possible prior to making use of force. Using de-escalation tactics consists of verbalization, producing range, time as well as room, tactical reposition and also other approaches whenever feasible instead of utilizing pressure.

  1. Allowing Officers to Choke or Strangle Civilians

28/100 of the police divisions assessed explicitly ban chokeholds and grips or limit these techniques to scenarios where lethal pressure is authorized. This can include carotid restrictions, hog-tying and also carrying individuals face down in a lorry, restraining oxygen to respiratory tracts. Using such a treatment, this is only approved when the aggressor is making use of harmful pressure. As a result, harmful force ought to only be utilized against lethal force in this circumstance when it pertains to chokeholds. This tactic is typically used where much less lethal pressure could be used rather resulting in the unnecessary injury or even fatality of private citizens.

  1. Failing to Require Police Officers to Intervene and also Stop Excessive Pressure

48/100 of the police departments evaluated call for officers to intervene to quit another policeman from utilizing too much force. Significant progression has actually been made in the area of cop’s misconduct in using dangerous force since the 1970’s. This naturally resulted from a reduction in racial disparities. Statistics reveal while in the 1970’s 6 individuals of shade were killed by authorities to one white person, today that number is down to 3 people of color to one white killed. This occurred via more stringent inner policies on the use of harmful pressure. Early treatment systems have also been revealed to reduce the average variety of issues against policemans in a cops department by greater than 50%. This includes reporting policemans who obtain two or even more grievances in a month, who have two or more use of force events in the past quarter, and afterwards calling for police officers to participate in re-training and be kept track of by a prompt manager after their very first quarterly report and also end a police officer complying with several reports

  1. Stopping Working to Restrict Officers From Capturing at Moving Automobiles

17/100 cops departments examined need police officers to provide a verbal warning, when possible, prior to utilizing fatal force. The rule in these instances is typically from the situation Tennessee v. Garner, where for the use of lethal pressure, the officer is warranted in shooting if they reasonably believe they are acting in response to an unavoidable risk of fatality or significant physical injury to themselves or various other persons.

  1. Failing to Develop a Pressure Continuum

84 of the 100 police divisions evaluated have a Force Continuum or Matrix consisted of in their use pressure plan, defining the types of force/weapons that can be used to respond to particular kinds of resistance. Force is sanctioned under details conditions where the police officer is acting in protection or defense of one more person. This policy is important to restrict the sorts of force as well as weapons that can be used to reply to particular kinds of resistance.

  1. Falling Short to Need Policemans to Exhaust All Various Other Sensible Means Prior To Turning To Deadly Force

42/100 authorities departments reviewed require officers to exhaust all various other practical alternatives before resorting to using deadly pressure. Project Zero has produced solutions to this problem. They explain that while cops eliminate numerous unarmed people, European nations do very little of this. Solutions used by the task include developing requirements and also reporting cops use dangerous pressure as well as licensing fatal pressure just when there is an impending threat to a police officer’s life or the life of one more individual.

  1. Failing to Require Police Officers to Provide a Verbal Caution When Feasible Prior To Capturing a Civilian

67/100 of the cops departments reviewed needed the policeman to give a spoken caution, when feasible prior to using deadly pressure. Project Zero has actually also commented on this, explaining that prior to harmful pressure is utilized, the civilian must be provided a practical quantity of time to follow this warning.

  1. Stopping Working to Require Policemans to Record Each Time They Utilize Pressure or Intimidate to Use Pressure Against Civilians

25/100 of all the cops divisions examined require policemans to report all uses of force consisting of endangering an additional private with a weapon. Further than this, Project No commented that the division ought to call for the names of both the policeman( s) involved as well as sufferer( s) to be released within the 72 hrs of deadly force.

8 Circumstances Where Cops Can not Legally Infringe On Your Civil liberties

According to the ACLU, because 9/11, cops have actually seriously misused their power and also have actually infringed on the legal rights of private citizens. Here are some instances of police abusing their power in such a way it legally infringes on your rights.

  1. Warrantless Wiretapping

Using phone conversation of Americans without a warrant is in offense of government laws as well as the Constitution. Eavesdropping on discussions of innocent Americans and wide data mining systems have actually ended up being a bigger problem in the 2000’s.

  1. Torture, Kidnapping and also Detention

While because 9/11, government actors have actually illegally abducted, apprehended and also hurt a variety of prisoners. These stars assert that they have the power to designate any noncombatant including an American as an “opponent fighter” without charge. Investigation right into Apprehension Centers have actually exposed several civil rights misuses as well as violations of International Law.

  1. Security

The USA have been encountering an enormous attack on their personal privacies with an increasing quantity of data collection, storage, tracking and mining. New innovations that have actually included the brand-new centuries have in turn aided to produce a “surveillance culture” of kinds.

  1. Misuse of the Patriot Act

Abuse of this act includes sending letters concerning national security to Americans that have no relationship to terrorism.

  1. Genuine ID

The 2005 Real ID Act laid the foundation for a national ID card, making it harder or persecuted people to seek asylum.

  1. No Fly and also Selectee Lists

The “No-Fly Checklist” was produced to keep tabs on private citizens the government restricts from traveling since those people have been labelled as a security threat. Considering that 9/11, the list has actually grown to consist of virtually 1 million names. The checklist has been kept in mind as erroneous, with many innocent people on the listing for no apparent reason, with little choice. Several members of Congress have additionally been flagged consisting of Legislator Ted Kennedy.

  1. Political Spying

Federal government actors have actually conducted snooping procedures on innocent Americans. Through the Flexibility of Information Act, the ACLU discovered that the government had actually been keeping an eye on relaxed teams. The TALON program which was a database constructed from illegally gathered info of anti-war groups was shut down in 2007.

  1. Abuse of Material Witness Statute

Given that 9/11, federal government stars have jailed and also restrained a variety of law following citizens with the material witness statute which permits the arrest and also brief detention of “material witnesses”. Lots of Muslims have actually been apprehended, and never ever treated as witnesses for crimes in that their testimony was never safeguarded where no efforts were made. Imprisonment of these “material witnesses” was from 6 months to over a year.

Analysis

Comprehending which rights you have which can and can not be infringed upon in particular instances, it is very important to accumulate data from your local authorities department, to understand how they contrast to various other departments across the nation on vital issues. To locate information, the ACLU has suggested using:

  1. Data Established by Area Citizens
  1. Formal Complaints Filed By Citizens
  1. Interior Cops Reports

Additionally it is necessary to comprehend your local police headquarters’s policies. To do this, refer to their Standard procedure (SOP) manual which contains the division’s official plans. This record should be readily available to the public, as well as if it is not, this is totally unacceptable under many state’s open documents regulations. The division ought to not keep any kind of SOP handbook. Moreover, the department should have an extremely restrictive harmful pressure policy. While a lot of huge city divisions do, small departments have not caught up to the fad. In this manner of community, surveillance must assist hold authorities departments liable to claimed plans, as well as subsequently ideally accomplish much less fierce areas with much less racial variation as a result.

Conclusion

To conclude– understand your legal rights, understand when cops as well as know when government stars can as well as can not infringe upon them legally. Studies show the more plans In position that restrict fierce pressure, even more innocent lives are saved. It is important to investigate your regional police, and also comprehend their standard procedure. Enlighten on your own on their policies. Study the globe of data and also discover how much force they use with violent weapons and also what their method is regarding this.

Interested in learning more or reading other articles like this one? Visit thecochranfirm.com to find out more about your civil rights and other interesting topics.