Champion Firm, P.C. - April 2020


Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys hampion Firm, P.C.


APRIL 2020


going to games regularly means I get to see a lot of players from different teams come through.

Spring is here at last, and there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to, like the nice weather and the fresh air. But above all else, I've been looking forward to spring because it means going to Atlanta Braves home games. I love baseball, and nothing says spring like catching a Braves game. Fortunately, I split Atlanta Braves season tickets with some friends, so I get to catch 20 home games each season. While I’ve always been a bigger fan of football, as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to appreciate baseball more. There’s a real strategy to the game. Teams have to swap out their pitchers when certain batters come up to the plate, and there’s so much data teams have to analyze. If you’ve seen “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I also like the fact that, in baseball, teams who don’t have a higher payroll can still win it all. Unlike football or basketball, there’s no real star power. In baseball, the underdogs can still come out on top. I love an underdog story; that’s why I became a personal injury attorney. When I was growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, we had a minor league baseball team, the Fayetteville Generals. My first ballgame was a Generals game. But my dad was from Pennsylvania, which meant our family always rooted for Pittsburg teams. We rooted for the Steelers for football, the Penguins for hockey, and the Pirates for baseball. Mind you, this was back in the early ‘90s, when the Pirates were really good. I was such a huge Pirates fan, so visiting Pittsburg to see a Pirates game was the best part of summer vacation. Back when I collected baseball cards, I had a special book where I kept all my Pirates cards. I actually still have all those cards! My mom threatened to throw them out if I didn’t get them out of her house. I can still remember the awe I felt going to a Pirates game as a kid. Watching the players I’d seen on TV come out onto the field was so cool. Attending baseball games as an adult doesn't have quite the same magic as when I was a kid, but I still look forward to the games. It’s a lot of fun to watch major league games in the town where I live, and

If you’ve never been big on baseball but want to give it a try, you have to attend a game in person. Unlike football or basketball, where the games are just as exciting

when you watch them on TV, I’ve always felt like you have to be in the stadium to really enjoy a baseball game. I’m sure even die-hard

baseball fans will agree. There’s nothing like sitting in the bleachers with a hot dog and some popcorn surrounded by fellow fans and hearing that crack as the bat connects with the ball. Then there’s the seventh inning stretch, where they play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” You don’t get that experience at home in your living room. For the peak baseball experience, I recommend a night game in the summer. Catching a game in the middle of June at 1 p.m. can be brutal. It’s more fun to go at night, when the temperature is cooler and you can soak in the stadium lights. Night games are when you really understand why baseball was once called America’s pastime. That said, when the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I’ll always enjoy catching a ballgame.

–Darl Champion

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SOMETHING IN THE WATER Why Rob Bilott Took on DuPont

When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found. Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. 3. ‘What kind of results have you obtained?’ An attorney with only small claims to their name has either never handled a big case or has been unable to successfully get larger claims for their clients. If your case has a lot of damages, look for an attorney who can deliver the results you need. 4. ‘When will you return my calls?’ One of the biggest frustrations people have after hiring a lawyer is not having their calls returned. Strong communication between an attorney and their client is vital for case success. Make sure your attorney has a system for promptly returning your calls. 5. ‘Are you willing to go to court?’ While most cases will be settled out of court, you want to work with a lawyer who’s willing to go that extra mile by filing a lawsuit and going to court if that’s what it takes to get you the best possible result. 6. ‘Am I comfortable entrusting this lawyer with my case?’ This is a question you must ask yourself. Once you have all the information, are you comfortable with the idea of this attorney being responsible for your case?

Rob Bilott had no idea of the magnitude or importance of Wilber Tennat's case when he agreed to represent him. The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously. But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong. The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits.

Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. All it takes is one bad apple for people to assume the whole barrel is rotten. We see this all the time in law. Stories of ambulance chasers and shady attorneys spread fast. Some people are so worried about getting stuck with a bad lawyer that they don’t call an attorney when they really need one. When you need legal help, ask these six questions to make sure you find an attorney you can trust. 1. ‘What area do you specialize in?’ If you were accused of a crime, you wouldn’t hire a real estate attorney to represent you. Make sure your attorney understands the area of law you need help with so they can better handle your case. 2. ‘Have you handled a case like mine before?’ An attorney who has handled many car accident cases isn’t necessarily the right fit for a medical malpractice case. Make sure your attorney can handle the unique challenges of your case. 6 Questions to Help You Find a Good Attorney Someone You Can Trust


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7 SIGNS YOUR DECK IS UNSAFE On the Verge of Collapse

Other causes of deck collapse include:

Spring has returned, and it’s time to get back outside. Memorial Day weekend is coming up soon, so start planning that first big cookout! There’s nothing like firing up the grill and spending time with

• Ledger board splitting • Board rot • Post and beam failures • Joist failures • Bad foundation • Hanger/toenail failure

your family out on the deck. But before you break out the burgers, check that your deck isn’t on the verge of collapse. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors estimates that only 40% of decks are completely safe to use. Deck collapses are horrifying events. A 2018 deck collapse in Conyers, Georgia, sent six people to the hospital, including two who had to be airlifted out due to serious injuries. Decks can collapse any time of year, but these catastrophes are more common in the spring and summer, after months of harsh winter weather causes new damage. When constructed appropriately, most decks are completely safe and will last for years. However, if a deck isn’t up to code, it can become a ticking time bomb. Shoddy craftsmanship is the No. 1 cause of deck collapses. If the ledger board of your deck is nailed into the side of the house instead of bolted down, the deck can pull away from the house and collapse.

There are usually a lot of warning signs before a deck collapses. Unfortunately, most people aren’t trained to recognize these dangers. Experts recommend having your deck inspected by a professional every two years. If your deck is over 10 years old, you should have it inspected annually. And if you suspect there might be a problem, have a certified contractor come out and take a look right away. A professional inspector can help spot problems before they turn into disasters. A deck is the perfect venue for outdoor events this summer. Just take the time to make sure your deck is safe before it’s too late.



Inspired by


• Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste • 12 large eggs, hard- boiled • Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise • 2 tbsp milk • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes • 1/2 tsp dill weed • 1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced • 1/2 tsp ground mustard

Grab Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

This month, one lucky baseball fan will win a $50 Visa gift card! Just prove your love of the game by answering this trivia question: When was the last time the Atlanta Braves won the World Series? Email your answer to for a chance to win. Submissions must be received by the end of the month. Congratulations to our February trivia champion, Sue H. , who won a Date Night Package from Fandango!


1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.

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Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys hampion Firm, P.C.




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Take Me Out to the Ballgame 1


The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company

2 3 3 3 4

Could You Spot a Bad Attorney?

7 Signs Your Deck Is About to Collapse

Easy Deviled Eggs

Win a $50 Visa Gift Card!

The Best Locations for Spring Blooms

SEE SPRING BLOOM In These Beautiful Locations

you can even ascend the town’s titular Crested Butte to spot some rare alpine sunflowers next to the picturesque West Elk Mountains.

Spring is here, which means beautiful flowers are finally showing themselves after a long winter. Here are some of the best places in the U.S. to see flower blossoms and welcome the season. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches across North Carolina and Tennessee, and while its scenery is beautiful year-round, the park is especially alluring to nature enthusiasts during the spring. Through this season, miles of lady’s-slipper orchids, irises, cardinal flowers, and lilies dot its lush green landscape. It’s dubbed “Wildflower National Park” throughout this time of year, and you can experience it by car or on foot. The park also offers expert-led tours that weave through the flowers during their peak bloom. CRESTED BUTTE Crested Butte, Colorado, is best known for its winter sports and summer hikes. But recently it has drawn the attention of flower enthusiasts for its unique pink, orange, and gold alpine wildflowers that appear in the spring. This natural phenomenon even inspired the creation of the annual Wildflower Festival in midsummer, which features nature walks, art, photography, culinary experiences, and more. For a truly unique experience,

ANTELOPE VALLEY The California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, California, is a 1,780-acre park that

features sloping hills covered with fields of vibrant orange, yellow, and red poppies in the spring. Warm temperatures and heavy rainfall across Southern California during this time of year create a brief period of thick blooms as far as the eye can see. And while the poppies can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car, the best way to experience them is to walk the leisurely Antelope Loop Trail for a breathtaking, up-close adventure. Spring flora is gorgeous and naturally attracts large crowds of people every year. If you plan to visit any of these destinations, just remember that their ecosystems are delicate. Respect park signs, stay on designated trails, and do your part to make sure these flowers return year after year for future generations to enjoy.


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