Recap of the 2013 MADD Northeastern Ohio Training Series

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During my 32 years representing the injured victim, the number of my clients who have been made victims of drunk driving is sadly, but undeniably, on the rise.

That’s why the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)  has become the centerpiece of the solution. MADD is leading the crusade to attack this growing epidemic from all directions.Tougher criminal sanctions such as incarceration, driver license suspension, higher insurance premiums, court calls and penalties are not sufficient deterrents.

Tim and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at the 2013 MADD training seminar in Richfield, OH.

Tim and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at the 2013 MADD training seminar in Richfield, OH.

Not only does MADD support tougher legislation and offer compassionate counseling for the victims, they also provide education for today’s youth and law enforcement.

To assist MADD in the training of local police officers and first responders, I sponsored a death notification training series this spring for Northeastern Ohio. Unfortunately, most departments do not have an established protocol on how to inform a family that one of their loved ones has died.

To fill that void, Julie Leggett, executive director for the Northeastern Ohio MADD affiliate office, and I instituted a series of four tailor-made symposiums for over 800 law enforcement departments throughout Lake, Cuyahoga, Lorain and Geauga counties. The symposiums concluded just last week.

Tim Misny with Northeastern Ohio officersAt these day-long seminars, officers benefited from expert speakers. The intent was that these individual officers would go back to their respective agencies and share what they have learned with their comrades in arms.

“This is just one of many things we are doing to turn the tide on driving while drunk,” said Julie Leggett. “The response of the officers has been fantastic. It has opened their eyes and given them sound procedures to rely on when they are called upon to inform a family that one of their loved ones has been killed.”

Understanding the needs of bereaved individuals and appreciating the complexities of the role of a notifier can be overwhelming. These seminars, I’m happy to say, have dealt with this head on.

Tim Misny at MADD training in Northeastern OhioAs part and parcel of the training, I lectured on several related legal issues. The exchange that I had with the participants has been nothing short of stimulating.

I highly recommend that you get involved with MADD, whether through donation or calling Julie to see how you can participate.

Donating is as easy as texting. Just text “MADD” to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation to MADD. The charge will just be included on your wireless bill. You can also donate at the MADD website, http://www.madd.org/local-offices/oh/northeastern/. If you want to get involved with our local MADD activities, call at the Northeastern Ohio office, 216-265-9229.

Of course, the easiest and best way to get involved with MADD is simply to support their battle for a better future by being safe and being sensible on the roads.

And that’s something we can all do.

Thoughts on Browns Owner and Pilot Flying J Ceo Jimmy Haslam’s FBI and IRS Investigation

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I’m still processing the news that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s multi-billion dollar business, Pilot Flying J, was raided Monday by FBI and IRS agents who were searching for evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Just when I thought that we had turned the corner and finally had an owner who was not only an astute business man, but moreover, an engaged leader, we find that an “ongoing investigation” by the FBI and IRS will be a black cloud over our cherished franchise for months to come.

What seemed to be a promising rebirth for our franchise may become nothing but another punch line. Can you image the national political cartoons? Depictions of prison bars superimposed over the owner’s louge?

I remember as a little boy my dad took me to Hiram College to watch the Cleveland Browns practice. I stood in awe as the great Jim Brown trotted onto the practice field. He was my first real life hero.

Since the glory days of the Jim Brown era, we have endured countless bad draft choices, lousy coaches, “The Fumble,” “The Drive,” “The Interception,” and one losing season after another.

This new situation is not going to go away quickly or easily. Jimmy Haslam is meeting around the clock with his criminal lawyers and public relations team at a time when he should be huddling with coaches and scouts in preparation of the 2013 NFL draft on April 25.

I realize that Haslam is innocent until proven guilty. However, I can’t help but consider the consequences if he is found guilty. The upheaval of the team’s ownership would be disruptive to say the least.

I don’t believe the NFL has ever encountered a similar set of circumstances, and quite frankly I’m surprised the NFL was unaware of this potential problem when they approved the Browns’ sale last summer for more than $1 billion to the man from Tennessee.

Suffice it to say that Haslam was dead wrong when he thought things couldn’t get worse than a 5-11 season.

Sports fans, what do you think?

 

 

John Carroll University’s Hillel Holds Holocaust Remembrance Day Event

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The question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was first posed in the book of Genesis by Cain after God asked where his brother Abel was, whom Cain had killed.

Throughout time, that question remains at the cornerstone of our moral obligation to people who are less fortunate and/or vict  ims of oppression and/or injury.John Carroll University - Holocaust Remembrance Day Event: Candle Lighting

Yesterday, I had the profound experience of participating at John Carroll University’s first Holocaust Remembrance Day service.

This memorial ceremony was led by David Markovich, the founding president of Hillel at John Carroll, a Jewish student group. I was one of six individuals whom David invited to read a story of a Holocaust victim and light a candle in their memory.

The story I told to an audience of John Carroll University faculty, administrators, students and community members in the Dolan Science Center had to do with a four-year-old Dutch boy named Abraham Beem. In 1941, when the Nazis took control of the Netherlands, the persecution and murder of Jewish citizens escalated.John Carroll University - Holocaust Remembrance Day Event: Tim Misny Speech

To escape certain death, Abraham’s parents sent him to a rural countryside village where the young boy lived as a member of a Christian family and took the name Jan de Witt. The German SS was relentless, and in 1942 discovered Abraham’s true identity. He and his sister Eva were sent to Auschwitz where they were immediately murdered.

This was one of six stories that were told at the Holocaust Remembrance Day service at John Carroll University, and these six stories represented six million stories of those who were killed in the Holocaust.

“This event is very dear to me because my family hails from the former Soviet Union and I come from a long line of Holocaust survivors,” David Markovich said. “I was very close with my grandfather who passed away six months ago, so I look at this as something in honor of my grandfather. It’s very important for the John Carroll community and for me personally.”John Carroll University - Holocaust Remembrance Day Event: Tim Misny and David Markovich

While the horrors of the Holocaust remain an isolated historical event in some people’s minds, yesterday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony drove home the answer to the question “Are we our brothers’ keepers?”

The answer is absolutely we are. We all have a moral obligation to not only be aware of our current events, but moreover we must act upon them. Whether that means petitioning our elected officials to do the right thing or personally take action in contributing financial support, protesting against injustices, and defending victims of oppression.

New Minimum Ohio Auto Insurance Requirements: You Get What You Pay For

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When I meet with someone who has was the victim of an automobile accident, I have three questions, all of equal import.

The most basic inquiry is liability, who is at fault and how do we prove it. Often times, the liability is clear on its face, as in the case of a rear-end collision. But many times, I must engage the services of an accident reconstructionist. This expert will reconstruct the accident using all available data and evidence, including witness statements, skid marks and an examination of vehicles involved.Umbrella Insurance Coverage

The second point of inquiry is the injury sustained. We examine the treatment my client received following the accident by police and fire personnel, emergency medical service technicians, and emergency room staff. My specialty is catastrophic injury cases and in those tragic circumstances the ongoing medical care, often times, courses over an individual’s life.

The third critical point of discussion during my initial meeting with a client concerns insurance coverage. One of the many services I offer my clients is the ability to identify and access sources of insurance coverage that may not be readily apparent.

If the person who was responsible for the car accident was employed and working within the scope of his employment during the time he committed the negligent act, I can access a substantial commercial automobile insurance policy.

Another little known source of insurance coverage has to do with insurance policies belonging to my clients’ blood relatives.

A few years ago I represented the family of a three-year-old boy who was killed by a drunk driver. The drunk driver had no insurance, the owner of the vehicle he was operating had no insurance, and the family of the little boy, likewise, was uninsured.

Upon further investigation, I determined that the three-year-old spent substantial time with his maternal grandmother. Under Ohio law, I am able to access his grandmother’s insurance policy if I can prove the boy established residency at his grandmother’s home. The criterion for residency involves several factors, such as receiving mail, keeping clothes at that residence, and spending substantial time in the home, for example, enjoying meals there and taking advantage of overnight accommodations.

The Ohio legislature has recently increased the state’s minimal insurance coverage requirements from $12.5k/$25k to $25k/$50k. Despite this much needed increase, these minimum coverage requirements cannot even come close to compensating a victim for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering when a bad accident happens.

Coupled with that fact is the stark reality that many drivers have no insurance whatsoever. Simply based on the number of calls I receive, it is my estimation that 20 percent of users of the public highways are uninsured.

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault, often times, the only way you can receive compensation is by utilizing your own insurance coverage. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to make sure you and your family are protected no matter what the circumstances.

Unpreventable accidents happen all the time, but what we can prevent is having inadequate insurance coverage. The best way to make sure that you, your family, and anyone who uses your vehicle will be protected is to purchase “umbrella” coverage.

An “umbrella” policy is a specific provision that you purchase in addition to your standard auto coverage. Typically, “umbrella” coverage is for $1 million and is viewed as additional coverage to whatever policy you may have in place. It is surprisingly affordable and I recommend you call your insurance agent today to get a quote.

An “umbrella” policy is an absolutely critical investment for you and your family.