Protecting Your Family in an Auto Accident

Bob Blamer 2016When you buy insurance for your automobile, you want to protect those in your car as much as a known person in another vehicle if someone is seriously injured.  Michigan no-fault insurance companies are doing what they can to reduce coverage for your loved ones, even though you are paying for full insurance protection.  Some insurance companies are employing a step-down auto insurance clause, which is a provision that applies when one family member pursues a compensation claim against another family member arising out an automobile crash.

The purpose of the step-down clause is to reduce the liability coverage to the state-required minimum if a family member is at fault for a crash and another family member is injured.  For example: you and your spouse are traveling in your vehicle and you lose control of your vehicle by negligence.  You have liability insurance in the amount of $300,000.  Under the step-down clause, the liability coverage is reduced to the state-minimum of $20,000 for your spouse.

Many families don’t find out about the step-down clause in their policy until it is too late.  Michigan no-fault insurance companies that have step-down clauses should be avoided.   Some of the companies using such clauses include Progressive, Farm Bureau, Geico and Grange, just to name a few.

Talk to your agent about your policy.  These step-down provisions are hard to find in the policy, and you should make specific inquiry to your agent to see if your policy has such a provision.  If it does, adjust your policy to ensure adequate protection is provided to protect your loved ones.

Robert L. Blamer is a partner is our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on plaintiff’s personal injury and litigation.  He assists clients with many types of negligence actions, workers’ compensation claims, and social security disability claims.  He has handled, resolved and taken to trial many cases with tremendous success not only in Michigan but throughout the country.  His trial experience includes automobile negligence, complex professional negligence, products liability and complicated plane crash matters.  Mr. Blamer may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or rblamer@cmda-law.com.

Acho Quoted on ESPN.com regarding NFL Concussion Case

Jim Acho 2016Jim Acho, a partner in our  Livonia office, was recently quoted in an article on ESPN.com regarding a last-minute appeal in the NFL concussion case. Mr. Acho represents about two dozen clients in the concussion case and is disappointed with this latest development since CMDA has clients with meritorious claims who have been waiting patiently to file them.

The family of late Buffalo Bills fullback Carlton “Cookie” Gilchrist asked the U.S. Supreme Court court on Tuesday to review whether the judge should have approved the potential $1 billion settlement without a full challenge to the scientific evidence presented jointly by both sides. This appeal, even if rejected by SCOTUS as Mr. Acho predicts, will delay payouts for at least several months. As stated, Mr. Acho disagrees with this latest appeal and sees it as an unnecessary and senseless delay to providing much-needed help to former players who are suffering and in need of assistance. Nonetheless, he will remain optimistic in his fight for these much-needed benefits to ex-players. CMDA’s philosophy has always been to stay the course, and stay the course we will.

Click here to read the full article.

James R. Acho is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, labor and employment law, law enforcement defense and plaintiff’s personal injury.  He is a nationally respected sports law attorney.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jacho@cmda-law.com.

Acho Featured in MiLW “Sidebar of the Week”

Jim Acho 2016Jim Acho, a partner in our Livonia office, was featured in this week’s “Sidebar of the Week” in Michigan Lawyers Weekly.  The article focuses on his sports law practice, specifically representing retired athletes.  Hall of Famer Lem Barney was his first client out of law school and, for the past 15 years, Acho has represented retired players from across the country.  Acho describes the stark reality of representing players from the 1950s through 1980s who are suffering with serious health issues, including CTE from numerous concussions, and often can’t afford their prescriptions.  He is currently handling over two dozen concussion claims for retired NFL players.  Seeing their suffering firsthand solidifies his drive to better the lives of retired players.

To read the entire Michigan Lawyers Weekly article, click here.

Jim Acho is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, plaintiff’s personal injury, labor and employment law, and law enforcement defense.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jacho@cmda-law.com.

CBS Detroit Article Highlights Acho’s Involvement in Helping Retired NFL Players

Jim Acho 2016Jim Acho, a partner in our Livonia office, was featured in the CBS Detroit article, “Livonia Attorney Fighting for Concussion Settlement from the NFL.”  The article highlights his involvement in the upcoming class action settlement against the NFL and his desire to help retired NFL players struggling with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other neurological disorders.

Additionally, Mr. Acho delivered taped opening remarks to current players at the recent NFL Players Association’s annual meeting.  His message to players stressed the importance of planning for their post-football lives now, including annual visits to their doctor.

To read the entire article, click here.

Jim Acho is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, plaintiff’s personal injury, labor and employment law, and law enforcement defense.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jacho@cmda-law.com.

Land Owner has a Higher Duty than an Injured Party

Bob Blamer 2016In a recent case, a woman fell and injured her back when brick and mortar steps beneath her crumbled.  The land owner brought, and was awarded, a summary disposition dismissing the case at the trial level.

Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the land owner has an actual duty to take reasonable steps to prevent dangerous conditions, which could include the duty to inspect.  However, an injured party’s duty is only to use ordinary intelligence and casual observation while walking across a parking lot or store’s floor.  The success of an injured party in these types of cases requires an attorney to be well versed in this area of law and know how to educate and prepare a client so as to defeat the Defendant’s attempt to have the case dismissed.

Robert L. Blamer is an equity partner in our Livonia office where he focuses his practice on plaintiff’s personal injury and litigation.  He assists clients with many types of negligence actions, workers’ compensation claims, and social security disability claims.  He has handled, resolved and taken to trial many cases with tremendous success not only in Michigan but throughout the country.  His trial experience includes automobile negligence, complex professional negligence, products liability and complicated plane crash matters.

Acho Gives Opening Remarks at NFLPA Annual Meeting

JAchoCMDA_NFLPAJim Acho, a partner in our Livonia office and finalist last year for the position of Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, was invited back by NFLPA President Eric Winston to give the opening remarks at the 2016 meeting. Winston said the players wanted to hear from Acho again.

Mr. Acho delivered his remarks via teleconference from Detroit to the players in Hawaii. “Eric and George Atallah were very gracious to ask me back and I was honored to do it.” Due to the request, and Jim’s obvious popularity with the players, he has been asked if he will run again for the position in 2018. Jim’s response is this: “I’m grateful the players think highly of me, but I learned last year that the time required to campaign for the position of Executive Director the way it needs to be done is not likely something I’d want to put my family through. I will always remain a champion for retiree benefits and well-being however, and I am happy to always work with the good people at the NFLPA.” Look for an upcoming piece on Jim and his work with retired player concussion cases in CBS Sports this month.

Jim Acho is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, labor and employment law, law enforcement defense and plaintiff’s personal injury.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jacho@cmda-law.com.

Plaintiffs May be Able to Recover on a Slip and Fall on a Foreign Substance on Floor

Bob BlamerAs in all premises liability cases, a dangerous condition is open & obvious if “an average user with ordinary intelligence would have been able to discover the hazard and risk presented upon casual inspection.”  The Court of Appeals and Supreme Court have been using this defense to have cases tossed out of court and many Plaintiffs’ attorneys will not take such cases.

However, inroads have been made against this open & obvious defense at the Court of Appeals level.  In Bialick v. Megan Mary, Inc., the plaintiff stopped at a gas station, entered the store to pay for gas, and fell.  Although she couldn’t see anything on the ground before she fell, such as water, her hands were wet after she fell.

The Court rejected the Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff should have been aware of a potentially hazardous condition inside the building based on the drizzly or misty weather conditions outside, and Plaintiff was allowed to proceed.

Robert L. Blamer is an equity partner in our Livonia office where he focuses his practice on plaintiff’s personal injury and litigation.  He assists clients with many types of negligence actions, workers’ compensation claims, and social security disability claims.  He has handled, resolved and taken to trial many cases with tremendous success not only in Michigan but throughout the country.  His trial experience includes automobile negligence, complex professional negligence, products liability and complicated plane crash matters.

Black Ice is Not an Open & Obvious Danger

Bob BlamerBlack Ice Not an Open & Obvious Case Allowing Plaintiffs a Recovery:

In any slip and fall case the Defendants in today’s system of justice always argue that the condition was open & obvious to a person of ordinary intelligence with casual observation. If the condition is in fact open & obvious and does not meet any of a very limited number of exceptions, there is no duty, and if there is no duty, there is no possibility of recovery against the Defendant. In Slater v. Blarney Castle Oil Company, however, the court held that a condition of black ice by definition is not an open & obvious danger and therefore the Plaintiff can be allowed to recover under certain circumstances.

Robert L. Blamer is an equity partner in our Livonia office where he focuses his practice on plaintiff’s personal injury and litigation.  He assists clients with many types of negligence actions, workers’ compensation claims, and social security disability claims.  He has handled, resolved and taken to trial many cases with tremendous success not only in Michigan but throughout the country.  His trial experience includes automobile negligence, complex professional negligence, products liability and complicated plane crash matters.

Acho Keynote Speaker at Sports and Entertainment Law Symposium

Jim AchoJim Acho, a partner in our Livonia office, was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Sports and Entertainment Law Symposium hosted jointly by the Chaldean American Bar Association and Sommer Schwartz, P.C.  Mr. Acho discussed highlights of his law career, including being nominated to run as a candidate for the position of Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) in 2015.  Entertainment lawyer Jay Yasso of Sommer Schwartz, P.C. also spoke at the event.

Mr. Acho concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, labor and employment law, law enforcement defense, and plaintiff’s personal injury.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jacho@cmda-law.com.

Litigation: How to be Better Prepared

Curlew, DougUnder the American legal system, there is no realm of human activity that fails to spawn litigation. The financial cost of a potential judgment is easily recognized. Less understood is the cost of time, energy, and resources (financial and human) of the litigation process itself. Even the defendant who avoids judgment by “winning” his case will still have expended resources that the law generally affords no avenue to recover.

The primary protection against both a potential judgment and the cost of litigation is insurance. Every individual, organization, and enterprise should obtain insurance coverage adequate to encompass both the scope of their activities and the potential dollar amount of liabilities that might arise from those activities. Be attentive to your policy terms and ask questions of your insurance agent. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of you as the insured, not your insurer, to choose the correct coverage.

Even with insurance, however, other preventative steps should be taken. Being attentive to avoid and remedy liability risks in advance is an obvious measure. When potential liability incidents do occur, however, other steps will aid your defense counsel to protect your interests.

First, be alert to incidents that may result in legal claims against you or your enterprise. If these occur, do not wait for a claim to be filed. Notify your insurer and your attorney immediately.

Second, retaining complete information about any incident posing the potential for litigation is critical. This is true even for information that may impact your defense in a negative manner. There are legal penalties for destruction of evidence, even in civil cases. More importantly, your defense attorney needs to know as many facts about the incident as possible and as soon as possible, in order to best prepare your defense. Relevant records kept in the general course of business, together with any special reports of a particular incident, should be kept and provided to defense counsel as soon as possible. The same is true for any video, photographic, or audio records.

Any participants in an incident, together with non-participating witnesses, should be identified whenever possible. Documentation of their observations is best obtained early, given the frailties of human memory. This should be done even before any actual claim is filed against you. Again, these should be provided to defense counsel as quickly as possible.

Finally, recognize that your attorney will need continued communication and cooperation through the litigation process. The best defense is proactive, not reactive. The efforts of your attorney to develop a general strategy for your defense and to pursue specific tactics in support of that strategy are dependent upon your cooperation in promptly providing information and evidentiary materials. Moreover, the legal system imposes deadlines for certain activities required of parties to litigation. Prompt response to requests from your attorney for information is critical to meeting these deadlines. Lines of communication must be available and open at all times.

Litigation may prove unavoidable. It always entails unwelcome costs and burdens. These can be reduced, however, if you are prepared.

Douglas Curlew is an attorney in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on appellate law, premises liability, and insurance law. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or dcurlew@cmda-law.com.