Nordstrand Black - March 2020





MARCH 2020


Meanwhile, my husband and legal partner Doug Black is beginning a similar journey. I’m proud to announce his recent election to the Montecito Association Board of Directors. For those unfamiliar, since 1938, the Montecito Association has been dedicated to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the semirural residential character of Montecito. As a nonprofit association, they are especially relevant after the devastating fires and mudslides. Doug is particularly well-suited for the role he’s taking in community planning. With his construction background, he’s able to lead the conversation when it comes to issues like roundabouts, freeway-widening projects, and land-use disputes. The board meets with other community leaders, from fire departments and school boards to local and state legislators. He sees this as a great learning opportunity to give back to the community which went through so much and is still rebuilding. Doug is excited to take on this new role. Doug and I care deeply about our clients and the community we share. As attorneys, we recognize we can do only so much to help — what good is a settlement for your injuries if you don’t have access to quality care? How many more accidents can be predicted without proper street planning? By volunteering our time outside the courtroom, we’ve found we can have a more holistic impact helping the people we represent.

The Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation (CRHF) Board is composed of volunteers dedicated to giving members of our community local access to quality rehabilitation care. By raising money for the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, those facing short-term and long-term disabilities can stay close to family and friends without making the two-hour drive to LA. For the past five years I’ve been honored to serve on the foundation’s board of directors, and now I am proud and humbled to announce that I’ve been elected Chair. I volunteered on the CRHF board because I know the difference that individualized, compassionate care can make for people recovering from serious injuries. Not only does the foundation’s support of the rehab hospital help their patients access care, but it also helps families who provide their loved ones in need of long-term care. Coast Caregiver Resource Center, a program of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, provides resources and support services to caretakers of adult family members with brain impairments and other chronic health conditions. opportunity to see the great work the hospital does for numerous clients. However, my connection goes even deeper. Over the years, my friends and loved ones have relied on the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital to get back on their feet. To have the opportunity to support such a great local service that has directly helped the people I care about is a responsibility I’m happy to embrace. As a personal injury lawyer representing accident survivors, I’ve had the

CRHF is strong and growing. Last year alone, the CRHF board raised over $936,000 in gifts and pledges — almost double our goal of $550,000. In turn, the foundation’s Patients Assistance Fund provided more than $230,000 in aid to approximately 150 patients who use the aquatic center and other community services. We were also able to provide funding for advanced training to 72 therapists who staff the hospital. Best of all, we were able to bring some truly empowering events to our community. Last July, CRHF supported the 34th annual Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp. A total of 42 campers ages 6–19 participated in the five-day event, which was packed with activities ranging from basketball to swimming. We followed this amazing event in September with a community Empowerment Educational Series Event. The guest speaker at this event was Jesse Billauer, founder of Life Rolls On, an organization that allows people with disabilities to enjoy the freedom and thrill of surfing. Our foundation has plans to work with Jesse to put on an adaptive surfing camp right here in Santa Barbara in the fall of 2020. 2020 promises to be a busy year for CRHF as we’re kicking off our fundraising campaign to relocate the rehabilitation hospital to the brand-new Goleta Hospital campus. This upgrade to a new facility will make it even easier for the rehabilitation experts to serve patients and their families. Having seen firsthand the good that Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital does, I’m eager to tackle this new and exciting challenge.

– Renee Nordstrand

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3 Eco-Friendly Home Swaps to Make When You Declutter

It takes a special kind of person to enjoy spring-cleaning. For most of us, the satisfaction of a clean house doesn’t quite outweigh the hours of scrubbing, sorting, and slogging through heaps of unnecessary stuff. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to start your spring- cleaning, try flipping the paradigm: Instead of spring-cleaning, think of what you’re doing as spring-greening, and make some eco-friendly swaps along the way. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 1. SWAP YOUR PLASTIC SPRAY BOTTLES FOR BULK OR DIY CLEANING PRODUCTS. According to a Statista report, in 2019, the household cleaners market was worth more than $31 billion, and it’s continuously growing. You can save money on cleaning supplies by taking the green route. When your current

stock runs out, try buying bulk cleaners or making your own. Both options will save plastic because you can reuse your bottles, and they can help you avoid the harmful chemicals found in most cleaners. Visit and read the blog post “Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies + Recipes” to get started. 2. EXPLORE ALTERNATIVE LAUNDRY DETERGENTS. If you’re used to using a plastic jug of liquid laundry detergent, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. This spring, try exploring greener alternatives like plant- based bulk laundry powder (Molly’s Suds is an excellent source). Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even try adding all-natural cleaners like soap nuts or English ivy to your laundry loads. For more on the former, search “soap nuts” on, and read

up on ivy detergent at Permacrafters. com/English-Ivy-Laundry-Detergent.

3. SAY GOODBYE TO PAPER TOWELS. Paper towels are a mainstay in American homes, but do we really need them when a good old-fashioned rag can do the job? According to the Ocean Conservancy, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are tossed in the U.S. each year! This spring, quit paper towels and keep a stash of dish rags under the sink to do your dirty work. When you’re cleaning out your closet, you can even cut up old T-shirts and add them to your rag stash! If you’re brave, try giving up tissues, too — an old-school hanky does the trick. If you’ve made all three of these swaps, don’t stop there! To continue your green journey, visit any of the blogs mentioned above and start browsing.

We recently represented a client who’d had a bad fall in a supermarket. She was walking past a broken ice machine and slipped on an unnoticed puddle of water, coming down hard. When she attempted to hold the business accountable for damages, she was faced with an all-too-common rebuttal: “You weren’t watching where you were going!” and “There was no water on the floor, you slipped because you were wearing high- heeled shoes.” Time and time again, we see these tactics used by businesses trying to pin the blame for a bad fall on injured people. They know that to be held accountable, the injured party has to prove the business created the dangerous condition that caused the accident or knew about it and failed to address it. This can be quite hard to prove, especially when it’s your word against the word of a major company. That’s why, in cases like these, we hire expert witnesses to prove your case. The defense argued that plenty of people had walked by that broken ice machine, and security footage didn’t show any water in the area where many other people had walked. Thankfully, our expert was able to point out that our client had also passed by a flower display. The water used to keep these displays hydrated could have easily led to a slick floor, contrary to the business’s claims. The expert also disproved the defense argument about the slippery shoes by finding that the store failed to use non-slip tile that was required for customer safety. BLAMED FOR THE FALL

In another case, where a client had slipped while perusing the aisles of a major retailer, we brought in an expert to testify about how these stores lay out their shelving, signs, and products to get shoppers’ attention. With the help of this testimony, we were able to make the case that the average person could not be expected to remain cautious inside such an intentionally distracting environment. In a third instance, a display played an even more direct role in an accident. An elderly client of ours tripped over a wooden palate while examining produce. The octagonal box holding the crops was resting on the square wooden palate, and the mismatched base caught our client’s foot and brought her to the ground. In a fourth recent case, we represented an elderly woman who tripped over a wheel stop in a parking lot. The wheel stop was located just outside the exit of a store, and our client did not see it on the way out due to its unexpected placement abutting the painted white line of the parking stall. True, her attention was momentarily distracted by the person loading groceries in the car next to hers, but our expert was able to refer to industry standards for wheel-stop placement and point out that it’s reasonable for people to be distracted by their environment. All of these incidents resulted in serious injuries, from fractured wrists to broken hips. In each case, the lawyers representing these big stores attempted to put the blame on those who took the fall. Thankfully, we knew to expect this and enlisted the help of experts who could testify to the responsibility that businesses must bear for hazards on their property to protect their customers.


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FALL PROTECTION How to Avoid the Worst After a Slip

On Page 2 of this issue, we talk about several slip, trip, and fall cases where we were able to make a difference for our clients. But what if you find yourself in a similar situation? Are there ways you can protect yourself physically and legally after a bad fall? It all comes down to awareness. AVOIDING INJURY The best way to not get hurt in these situations is to avoid falling in the first place. Do your best to remain aware of your surroundings, even in busy, distracting locations like supermarkets. If you do find yourself falling, try to remember not to throw your arm out to break your fall. It’s a natural reaction and difficult to avoid, but doing so often leads to broken wrists. If you can, try to turn as you fall in order to roll out of the impact. PRESERVING EVENTS As we mention on Page 2, many property owners or their insurance will try to

blame you for falling. To prove these charges false and support a claim that the property owner is ultimately liable for your accident, you are going to need evidence. The scene of your fall won’t remain the way it is for long — puddles get mopped up, trip hazards get stored elsewhere, and witnesses move on with their lives. In the moments after a fall, using your phone to take pictures of the conditions that led to the accident is a vital part of preserving your side of the story. If you fill out an incident report, take a picture of it as well. You should also talk to witnesses and ask for their contact information. While many businesses do have surveillance footage, they are not legally required to surrender those tapes unless they face litigation. SEEKING DAMAGES In the aftermath of a fall, you may not even know you have a case for seeking compensation. Many factors, like the

deliberately distracting way store displays are constructed, don’t occur to those outside the legal field. That’s why our firm offers free consultations, where you can get an expert opinion on the strength of your case. If you believe you might have a claim, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at 805- 962-2022.



2 salmon fillets (10 oz total)

Zest from 1 orange

• •

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 tsp salt

• • • •

2 tbsp ghee

1 tsp tapioca starch

1 tbsp garlic, minced 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped


1. Heat oven to 425 F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Salt each fillet with 1/2 tsp salt. Bake for 6–8 minutes. 3. In a saucepan, combine ghee and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. 4. Add rosemary, zest, and juice. Cook for another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in tapioca starch until lumps disappear and mixture thickens. 6. Plate salmon and top with orange sauce.




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33 W. Mission Street, Suite 206 Santa Barbara, CA 93101 805-962-2022 Keep up with the latest changes in the laws affecting consumers and learn how to protect yourself at




1 2

Renee and Doug Step Into New Roles

3 Eco-Friendly Home Swaps to Make During Spring-Cleaning


Four Times Retailers Tried to Blame Fall Victims

3 3 4

What to Do After a Slip & Fall

Orange Glazed Salmon

Stay Stateside With These Little-Known St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

98 feet once again this year. Don’t assume the turnout isn’t robust just because the distance is staggeringly low. The parade lasts for hours, drawing thousands of people to watch celebrities, musicians, bands, floats, and Miss Arkansas glide by. The event also features a Blarney stone kissing contest and a parade king and queen. A LITTLE LUCK IN AMERICA’S HEARTLAND O’Neill, Nebraska, is home to the world’s largest shamrock and more unique St. Patrick’s Day traditions. This Irish community doubles down on its heritage every March with a traditional parade, music, and Irish dancing. But the town also hosts a popular dodgeball tournament and donkey basketball. What could be better than pummeling your opponents in dodgeball and outpacing the competition while riding a donkey in the school gymnasium? Perhaps enjoying a pint or two with your teammates afterward. And O’Neill is just the spot to do it. OHIO’S LITTLE PIECE OF IRELAND You may not be able to fly to Ireland, but you can visit a little piece of it right in the U.S. Head to Dublin, Ohio, this St. Patrick’s Day for a traditional celebration sure to put a wee bit o’ pep in your step. Partake in a traditional Irish breakfast or enjoy a parade complete with bagpipers and Irish dancers. Boasting one of the largest celebrations in the U.S., Dublin is an affordable alternative for those looking to celebrate the Irish way.

Staying Stateside for St. Paddy’s?


There’s no place quite like Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day. What was once a purely religious holiday to honor the legend of St. Patrick chasing all the snakes out of the country has turned into a global celebration. But if a trip to Ireland isn’t in the budget, check out these three little-known stateside destinations that are just as festive. SHORT AND SWEET IN ARKANSAS Thanks to the clever thinking of some Irish friends meeting for a pint at a bar on one of the shortest streets in the world, Bridge Street in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will travel


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