Monthly Archives: December 2012

Resolved in the New Year

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car accident attorney Ohio says no texting while drivingI hope that your Christmas was a happy and healthy one shared with family and friends.

As we approach the New Year, if you are anything like me, you think about two things:

  1. Dropping the holiday weight; and
  2. Making a realistic New Year’s resolution.

Let’s forget about number one because I’m going to eat what I’m going to eat – nothing to discuss.

But in terms of a New Year’s resolution, I hope you consider joining me in making a New Year’s pledge not to allow my driving to be distracted by my cell phone, whether it involves checking emails, texting, or placing calls.

As a personal injury lawyer, I can tell you first-hand that at least 25% of the motor vehicle accident cases I handle are caused because the driver is more engaged with his cell phone than the safety of the users of our highways.

The statistics involving distracted drivers are alarming.

  • 50% of teens surveyed admit to texting and driving (AT&T Poll, 2012)
  • 40% of American teens say they have been in a car when a driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger (Pew Research Center)
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 5 seconds, the equivalent – at 55mph – of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed (VTTI)
  • You are 23 times more likely to crash while texting and driving (VTTI)


The shocking aspect of this is that distracted driving is a GROWING trend. (CTIA) With more and more people becoming addicted to their cell phones and tablets, more and more people are put in danger.

The knee-jerk reaction to this problem is more legislation. Well, Ohio Governor John Kasich, this year, signed into law House Bill 99 which prohibits those under 18 from using, in any manner, an electronic wireless communication device while driving and prohibits adults from texting while driving, specifically.

Our legislatures, whether local, state, or federal, can enact all of the laws they want until they’re blue in the face, but it will continue to have little, if any, impact on the problem.

I believe the real answer lies outside of government.

First and foremost, we must commit to not using our cell phone to text while driving.  This is my New Year’s resolution, and I hope it will be yours as well, placing us in the position to lead by example.

Second, I think the answer lies with car manufacturers and cell phone companies. They have the best opportunity to make a significant change by blocking technology in cars.  Personally, in all of the vehicles owned by my family, the GPS systems cannot be programmed while the car is in drive.

This is just one example of how car manufacturers and cell phone companies can use technology to prevent danger instead of causing it. More features such as this one could facilitate a change in the way we use technology while driving.


Take a look at this commercial for the Sprint Drive First App.  In this commercial, you see a teenage girl texting away, oblivious to the outside world. But suddenly, when she gets into her car, she can no longer send a text due to the technology within the app.

Texting has become so ingrained in our everyday lives that it’s almost a reflex. Using technology to block the use of cell phones in the car would take away the chance of human error and could prevent us from making a potentially deadly mistake.

New Year’s is a time for new changes, changes that will make our lives better. If nothing else, I hope you resolve to give thanks every day for the incredible gifts that God has given us.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Medical Malpractice Cases: Why So Complicated? Getting Legal #93

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Cleveland medical malpractice attorney explains why medical malpractice cases are so complicated, and why you need an experienced lawyer to file your claim.

Tort Reform Takes Your Right to Just Compensation

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Tort-Reform-frivolous-lawsuitThe biggest con job that has ever been perpetrated on the American consumer is tort reform. The far reaching and powerful insurance lobbyists were able to sell a big lie to the American people.

In essence, they said that frivolous lawsuits, particularly medical malpractice claims, were the reason our healthcare costs and doctors’ malpractice insurance premiums were so exorbitantly high.

Physicians, they claimed, were leaving their practices because the premiums for their malpractice coverage were too high, and doctors and hospitals were practicing “defensive medicine,” which jacked up the cost of healthcare.

Now that the dust has settled and tort reform is a reality in America, we have a clear picture for the first time.

What tort reform accomplished was, in effect, to cripple the ability of Americans to seek redress and compensation in court for injuries they sustained at the hands of medical professionals.

Frivolous Lawsuits?

The target of tort reformers was to put an end to “frivolous” lawsuits. I must tell you that in my 32 years as a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney, representing families who, at no fault of their own, have become victims of medical malpractice, I have never seen a frivolous lawsuit.

A frivolous lawsuit is defined as an action brought about by one party against another, wherein that prosecuting party knows full well there is absolutely no basis for the claim.

All courts have civil procedures set in place to discipline lawyers who may bring a frivolous law suit. They, if found responsible, must pay the opposing party’s attorney fees and be subject to punitive damages and disciplinary action which could result in suspension from the practice and/or permanent disbarment.

Healthcare Tort Reform

We were told that tort reform would reduce physicians’ insurance premiums. It has not. When was the last time, in the history of mankind, that an insurance company reduced a premium on anything?

The other really big lie was that hospitals and physicians would stop practicing “defensive medicine” and thus exponentially reduce healthcare costs. These savings would then trickle down to the consumer, and our rates would be reduced.

Guess what? The hospitals and physicians continue to order a plethora of unnecessary diagnostic tests and insist upon unnecessary hospitalization stays.

Recently, 60 minutes did an amazing exposé on this issue. The segment, “Hospitals: The Cost of Admission,” explained how Health Management Associates (“HMA”), one of the largest medical chains in the United States, fired emergency room physicians because they refused to admit healthy patients simply to meet an arbitrary minimal hospitalization quota set solely to make money.

Paul Meyer, the former Director of Compliance at HMA and former FBI veteran who specialized in the investigation of Medicare fraud, says that the practices of HMA are clearly illegal.

Meyer said, “They were submitting bills to the government for the admission of patients, and the patients didn’t meet the appropriate prescribed criteria for admission, and for the hospitals to bill Medicare for those admissions, that is false billing. It’s Medicare fraud, simple as that.”

I can’t tell you how many times, in the course of a week, I receive a call from a potential medical malpractice claimant, and I must tell them that because of tort reform they cannot bring an action. Typically, the client says, “I thought tort reform only applied to frivolous lawsuits.”

Boy oh boy, what a great sales job. It’s right up there with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. The American consumer stood idly by while their precious access to a courthouse was taken away.

Over 80 percent of the medical malpractice cases that are tried nationally against doctors and hospitals result in verdicts for the doctors!

The system worked. It didn’t need any fixing. For the legislative branch to tell the judicial branch that a medical malpractice claim has a maximum value of $350,000 is not only unconstitutional, but it is morally reprehensible.

Ohio Tort Reform

Twice in the history of the great state of Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio did the right thing and said tort reform was wholly unconstitutional. Tragically, the Ohio Supreme Court in Arbino v. Johnson & Johnson upheld the Republican-backed and insurance lobbyist-sponsored Tort Reform Act.

This was a sad day for the Ohio consumers, but as we all know, the political pendulum swings both ways.

In the meantime, if you or a loved one feels that you have been made a victim by medical error, you need to call me at 1-800-55-MISNY and I can guide you through the treacherous maze that medical malpractice claims have become.

The City Mission: Share Your Holiday

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Misny helps City Mission Cleveland

Two years ago, a family friend gave my son, Max, a rather unique birthday present. He made a donation in Max’s name to the City Mission.

Truth be told, I have driven past the City Mission thousands of times but never thought about stopping in. For some reason, I wanted to hand deliver the donation to the City Mission’s venerable director, Reverend Rich so I drove to their main location at 5310 Carnegie Avenue.

How lucky are we?  The best way to answer that question is to visit the City Mission in person.  If you are anything like me, you have a tendency to take things for granted- our homes, the great food we eat every day, even our comfortable beds.

Reverend Rich gave me a tour of the facility and introduced me to dozens of workers, volunteers, and people who rely on the Mission’s charity. As this magnificent man showed me their facility, I was blown away. Moreover, I was deeply touched by the loving, non-judgmental spirit of everyone.

cleveland personal injury attorney misny helps city missionI was surprised to learn that the majority of those who participate at the Mission are single moms. The Mission provides clean clothes, a safe place to sleep, daycare, GED training, and job placement.

The City Mission is Cleveland’s oldest charity organization.  The Mission relies 100 percent on donations for its existence. It is for that reason that my wife, Stephanie, and I have adopted the City Mission as our primary charity.

In addition, we have joined forces with our friends at CBS 19 Action News.  We are sponsoring “Share Your Holidays.” It is the largest single food and clothing drive in the entire state.

We have had a great drive this week, and there’s still time to give!  Everyone can give something, even if it’s an old coat you don’t need or picking up a few extra food items at the store.

When Max received that birthday present two years ago, never in my wildest imagination did I think it would have such a profound effect on our family and our lives.

Do you have someone on your list this year who is hard to shop for?  Need ideas to get that person who has everything already?  Make a donation to the City Mission in that person’s name. I promise you that person will be deeply touched, and you will truly help someone in our hometown when they need it the most.

Consider stopping by the Mission and dropping off gently-used clothes and/or canned goods. They also need volunteers, so please just ask how you can help them when you stop by.

To learn more about the City Mission you can visit their website at http://www.thecitymission.org/home.

 

Landmark Avandia Settlement Won’t Protect Patients

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Recently, Pfizer paid a $2 billion fine and GlaxoSmithKline coughed up $3 billion in fines for failing to report safety data about the diabetes drug, Avandia. Yet the costly Avandia settlement doesn’t seem to have changed the way pharmaceuticals are marketed.

The only way to stop pharmaceutical companies from continuing to market and sell drugs they know are problematic is to change the culture in Washington, D. C. First and foremost, the practice of these companies getting off by merely paying fines has to stop.

That’s why, in addition to exacting these colossal penalties, the Justice Department must start criminal prosecution against the people who conspire and facilitate this practice of blatant lying and withholding of critical research data.

I promise you, when CEOs of the pharmaceutical giants have to wear orange jumpsuits and all of their freedoms are taken away, these executives will finally realize their despicable, greedy conduct has severe and personal consequences.

However, it’s not enough for the Justice Department to prosecute pharmaceutical company CEOs for their morally reprehensible behavior that results in unnecessary harm and danger to the consumer. Washington must come to the realization that the FDA must have more resources in order to properly approve and regulate the conduct of
pharmaceutical companies.

Very recently the FDA proved to be wholly ineffective in regulating the New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company. This company produced an epidural steroid that resulted in a national meningitis outbreak, resulting in 34 deaths and over 500 patients becoming seriously ill. Specifically in Ohio, there have been 19 cases of fungal meningitis linked back to these steroids.

According to the New York Times, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg testified before Congress that the agency’s failure to properly regulate the company was due to their “limited, unclear, and contested authority in the area.” The agency asked Congress to clear up the confusion between state and federal coverage, but Republican congressmen pushed back against providing the FDA with any additional power to regulate.

Too often, elected representatives are bought by powerful pharmaceutical lobbyists, and they clearly do not have the consumer’s best interests at heart.

Washington must give the FDA the proverbial “big bat” and the authority to swing it.

At the end of the day, all I am asking for is that the pharmaceutical companies include on the label any and all known risks associated with taking the drug. Typically, they have no problem mentioning everything from diarrhea to dry mouth, but they refuse to mention the more serious, life-threatening side effects such as heart attacks and strokes.

As long as they keep this nefarious practice up, I will continue to make them pay!

If you or a loved one took a bad drug and would like to discuss it with me, feel free to call me at 1-800-55-MISNY or visit my website at www.misnylaw.com and tell me your story.

Victims Never Pay a Penny to Bring a Medical Negligence Claim- Getting Legal #92

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Today I’m sharing how I work on contingency, so my clients never have to take out their checkbook. I pay all expenses up front. Watch my TV clip to learn why you should choose a lawyer with plenty of resources and how I take care of expenses for my clients.

If you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice or have medical negligence claim, I’m here to help. Call my office at 1-800-55-MISNY and we’ll discuss your case.