Defective Products

  • Friday, May 2, 2014 - 14:39

    The common view of a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer is not flattering.   Most people see the PI lawyer as an “ambulance chasing” parasite on our economy and our society.  This image, perpetuated by those who oppose personal injury lawyers in court, prevails.  Who are those who oppose personal injury lawyers in court?  Insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, product manufacturers, and doctors, to name a few.  There are plenty of resources available to generate the propaganda machine that feeds and perpetuates the adverse view of personal injury lawyers in our society.

    The fault is not all the big money, powerful interests.  There are, of course, plenty of personal injury lawyers who feed the flame and who lack regard for a calling higher than lining their own pockets.  But this group is a minority.  Most personal injury lawyers willing to take on America’s biggest and most powerful entities are devoted to more than their own profit.  These men and women are empowered by the realization that their work makes a difference, that by holding negligent (and worse) actors accountable for the harm they cause, no matter how rich or powerful the negligent actor is, the plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer helps make all of us safer.

  • Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 16:57

              Another year comes to a close this month.  For the Ratzan Law Group, this has been an emblematic year in the life of our trial lawyers.   We had our ups and our downs, our successes and failures.  We took risks on behalf of our clients, and most of them proved successful.  We successfully battled one of the largest transnational companies in the world.  We secured favorable settlements on behalf of our clients. We lost one trial.  We gave back to our community with money and with time.  We fought on behalf of our colleagues.  We supported a dear friend fighting breast cancer.  And we celebrated life.  It was a good year.  We achieved, we prevailed, we fell short.  We felt joy.  We felt pain.  We are left with a feeling of great satisfaction, but also a feeling that we can do more and we can do better.  We love that feeling because we think it drives us to be our best.

  • Friday, May 24, 2013 - 12:53

    There are many important and valuable trial tactics and techniques.  You can and should read books on the subjects and attend seminars too.  Here are 5 "big picture" tips to remember before every trial:

  • Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 16:10

                     In a recent article published by JAMA ("The Journal of the American Medical Association"), the authors revealed what we all probably knew anyway: medical errors, including surgical errors, actually make money for hospitals.  After all, when the errors cause complications the patients require more care, more days in the hospital, and the hospital bill is larger.

                     The authors, from various institutions including Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, demonstrated that private insurers and Medicare routinely pay for the added care, irrespective of whether the care was occasioned by medical malpractice.

                     The data, though intriguing, is hardly surprising.  The difficult issue, however, is whether we can trust the marketplace to motivate doctors and hospitals to reduce medical errors when they have no financial incentive to do so.  The article points out that no one believes hospitals are intentionally causing errors to make money.  But the converse concern remains: no one really believes hospitals have great incentives to spend money on error reduction when doing so reduces revenues.

  • Friday, April 5, 2013 - 15:05

    "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.  An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent!"

    --Horton the Elephant            

                    I loved Horton as a kid, and my kids loved him too.  For some reason, over the past few years, whenever I pondered the cigarette industry's challenge to the Florida Supreme Court's Engle opinion, I found myself repeating the elephant's famous line from the Dr. Seuss book Horton Hatches the Egg.  It is a silly book and the elephant is a silly character.  Clearly, most of us, including me, view the Suprme Court as an august and serious body.  But the silliness of the industry's challenge evokes silly images.  And so, like Horton the Elephant, the Florida Supreme Court, in Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al. v. Douglass, 2013 WL 978259 (Fla. 2013), made it clear that it meant what it said in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So.2d 1246 (Fla. 2006).    

  • Friday, March 22, 2013 - 12:01

              Any plaintiff’s lawyer who has successfully resolved a case for a Medicaid beneficiary knows the importance of the United States Supreme Court’s opinion Wos v. E.M.A., 568 U.S. ___ (2013), released this week.

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 16:33

     "In suits at common law, trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature." James Madison

     "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."  Thomas Jefferson

                     "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."  You've heard this one before.  It is the famous quote from Shakespeare's Henry VI.  Though it is reminiscent of the old joke about lawyers at the bottom of the sea, it was not a joke in the play.  In fact, it was part of a scheme, hatched by Dick the Butcher, to enable the rebel Jack Cade to overthrow the king.  The people that stood between the Jack the rebel and dominant, unchecked power were lawyers.

                    This tells us what we already know.  Lawyers provide order and accountability in our society.  Our jury system was designed to provide justice, deliver order, and insure safety.  When wayward people or companies fail to follow the rules, endanger our well being, put profits over safety, and injure innocent people, the wrongdoers can and should be held accountable in a court of law.

                    But things these days have gone all wrong.  The tort "reform" movement has tried, and to a large part it has succeeded, to kill all the lawyers.  Our system is losing its power to hold people, corporations, hospitals, and insurance companies accountable for the harm they cause, whether negligently or purposefully.  Today and in large numbers, judges, juries, and legislators are motivated by impulses and influences outside the evidence, having nothing to do with the facts of a given case.

                    Why?

  • Friday, December 7, 2012 - 17:56

                    After Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services v. Ahlborn, 547 U.S. 268 (2006), the United States Supreme Court decision allowing for an equitable distribution argument to reduce a Medicaid lien, the law in Florida remains murky.  A new decision from the 4th DCA, Roberts v. Albertson's, et al., 37 FLW D2515 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012), has certified the question to the Florida Supreme Court and provides a good road map for the plaintiff's lawyer seeking an equitable resolution of a Medicaid lien.

  • Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 14:07

    The other day, I sat on an airplane next to a surgeon.  We were heading to Boston.  He is a surgical chief at one of the Harvard hospitals.  He was on his cell phone, bemoaning the fact that many of his patients were exposed to drugs formulated by New England Compounding, the company that mass-produced pain medications infected with a deadly strain of meningitis.  The injectable drugs, known as methylprednisolone acetate, have now killed at least 29 people, and caused disease in 377 more.  Over 14,000 patients have been exposed.  Many in pubic health are calling this one of the worst public health disasters since the 1930s.  They have referred to the facility as one that lacked “basic clean room principles.”

    New England Compounding supplied many of America’s most influential and busiest hospitals, including systems at Harvard, Yale, and the Mayo Clinic.

    America’s largest and best health care institutions trusted New England Compounding to provide safe and effective medications for their patients.  As Dr. Gerard Martin, of Children’s National Medical Center told the New York Times last week, the hospitals trusted New England Compounding because they trusted the FDA as well as state regulators to insure safety.  “You believe that when a company is being regulated they’re following good practices, “ Dr. Martin told The New York Times.

  • Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 18:31

                     In Tricam Industries, Inc. v. Coba, the Third District Court of Appeal  recently addressed the nagging question of attorney "due diligence" with respect to juror background checks.  Ever since the Florida Supreme Court's opinion in Roberts v. Tejada, 814 So. 2d 334, 339 (Fla. 2002), when a party receives a less than favorable jury verdict, that party might engage in post verdict research of the jury panel only to determine that at least one of the jurors had an undisclosed litigation history.  This post verdict research then leads to a motion to interview jurors and a motion for new trial.  Whether the lawyer and his client have a legitimate gripe will turn on whether they failed to exercise due diligence.