Finney Injury Law - July 2019

1600 S. BRENTWOOD BLVD., SUITE 220 • ST. LOUIS, MO 63144 // FINNEYINJURYLAW.COM // 314-293-4222 // JULY 2019

AWAITING A VERDICT JUSTICE HANGING IN THE BALANCE

B y the time you read this, I will have received a verdict on a case I am preparing right now. I have no idea what the verdict will be, nor what the jurors will think of me, my client, the damage done to his life, and the things he has and will endure. Part of me is angry. This should be easy — this man was seriously harmed through no fault of his own, and plenty of insurance is available to pay for his loss. Just pay the man. Let me give you a little background on this case. About two years ago, I was brought in by a referring attorney who had gotten in a little over his head. By the time I was in the case, it was already six months old, and the client was angry because nothing had been done to move the case to resolution. The client was still in significant pain, and his mechanic shop was suffering with no relief in sight. I first met him at his office, which is a trailer. It sits right in front of his garage, and he leases part of the lot to an auto salesman. As you come in the door, there is a lectern with a Bible on it, and the business is named for the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before we could even get through our introductions, the client said, “What are you gonna do for me?” He was rubbing his swollen right wrist, and his But most of me is very scared of the unknown.

eyes were bloodshot from no sleep. He was agitated, and there was serious heat behind his question. But his question was dead on. That should be the question I answer for all clients. I looked him in the eye and said only what I knew I could promise, “I am going to work as hard as I can for you. I am going to do whatever I can to help you.” I let it sit for a moment. He leaned back in his chair and just nodded his head, but his suspicion was still there. I don’t blame him. That was two years ago. Since that day, he and I have had disagreements, arguments, and many visits. In fact, as I write this, I am preparing to head to his shop to spend some more time with him. We will talk about whatever. It doesn’t really matter, but I will be enriched getting to know him — his story is remarkable. He was put in a children’s home at age 7 and was the only one of the 12 in his age group at the home to graduate high school. He went on to two years of pastoral school and started children’s programs in Oklahoma and Arizona. When his wife wanted to be closer to family, they moved to Missouri. He’s been married 38 years and has three kids, one of whom sadly passed away. He left the ministry to come home and work, so he got a job as a local delivery man. His boss soon

recognized his ability to care for cars, and he started taking care of the delivery fleet. But the extra hours didn’t lead to extra pay, and he had a family to support, so he quit. He started taking in clients at his home garage. Soon, his reputation grew, and he got too big for the house. A mechanic took notice, and offered him a job. He took it. When that mechanic then couldn’t pay his rent, my client saw a chance. He asked the landlord to take a chance on him, but the landlord said no. He asked again. And again. The landlord said he wouldn’t make it two weeks, but 25 years later, he still has his shop. He worked his body to the core in his shop every day to provide for his family, and he has arthritis from it. It comes with manual labor. But since the crash, he hasn’t been able to do much. He had surgery, but he needs more — he is in pain all the time. The defense says the injuries are not because of the crash, but because of the arthritis due to working his body so hard to provide.

We will leave it to 12 people to decide.

arrived, but they found unusual markings at the site. A few days later, more servicemen went into the forest where they spotted three mysterious bright lights in the sky that shone for hours. EAST COAST GO FAST VIDEO In 2015, a U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter captured video of a bizarre, fast-moving object that had no visible wings and emitted no heat or no exhaust trail. The video, which can be viewed at COI.ToTheStarsAcademy. com/2015-go-fast-footage , shows the object in the fighter’s targeting system. The pilot and the weapon systems officer can be heard shouting and asking, “What is that, man?” The video leaked in 2017 along with news of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP), a secret U.S. government organization investigating UFOs. Most UFO sightings have rational explanations. Even the famous Roswell Incident was proven to be debris from a surveillance program the U.S. military used to spy on the Soviet Union. But there’s something to be said about how a UFO sighting makes us look up at the night sky and wonder if we’re not alone. DID YOU SEE THAT? 3 FAMOUS UFO SIGHTINGS (BESIDES ROSWELL)

Going stargazing this summer? Be sure to keep your eyes out for unidentified flying objects (UFOs)! July 2 is World UFO Day, commemorating the supposed UFO crash that took place in 1974 in Roswell, New Mexico. Everyone knows about the strange things that happened in Roswell, but let’s look at a few lesser-known, but no less strange, UFO sightings. THE FIRST FLYING SAUCER On June 24, 1947, civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying his plane near Mount Rainier in Washington when he reported seeing nine blue, glowing objects flying in a V formation at around 1,700 mph. Arnold would later describe the crafts’ motions like “a saucer if you skip it across water.” The government confirmed there were no aircraft tests in the area that day. In the following weeks, other sightings of Arnold’s flying saucers would crop up across the region. THE RENDLESHAM FOREST INCIDENT Things got weird at a Royal Air Force military base in England on Dec. 26, 1980. At around 3 a.m., two Air Force members saw odd lights falling into the nearby Rendlesham Forest. They reported finding a metallic object giving off lights and still moving. The object was gone when police

DOG-RELATED PERSONAL INJURY CASES WHEN MAN’S BEST FRIEND MESSES UP

St. Louis is a great city for dog lovers. We have dog parks in nearly every neighborhood and tons of pet-friendly activities happening all the time. For the most part, this brightens our city and surrounding areas with more sweet furry friends than you can shake a stick at. However, every once in a while, a doggo acts up and causes an injury. When that happens, it’s important for their owner to be held accountable. Notice that we say “injury” and not simply “bite.” While chewing on an unsuspecting citizen is the most common and obvious injury a dog can cause, it’s far from the only one. Dogs can knock people over, especially children, leading to fall-related injuries. Any injury directly caused by a dog is

covered under the same law. You don’t need teeth marks on your body to bring suit against a pet owner. There are a few aspects of personal injury law that are unique to canine- related cases. Normally, to bring suit, you need to prove negligent behavior caused your injury. That’s the case if, say, you slip and fall due to a spill in a grocery store. In cases involving dogs, the burden of proof is lower. As long as the dog acted aggressively “without provocation,” their owner is liable for any damages caused. Many people refrain from initiating legal action in injury cases involving dogs out of fear the dog will be euthanized as a result. In reality, dogs are rarely put down based on one

bite alone. Instead, they are put under observation to ensure they are not rabid. A judge ordering a dog to be put down is likely only in cases where the dog suffers from rabies or has caused multiple injuries. In essence, the law is set up so a dog owner is always responsible for the actions of their four-legged companion. Leash laws, which vary across municipalities, are rarely a factor in claims related to dogs. If an owner brings their pet around other people, it’s on them to make sure the pet acts properly even on a leash. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, call our office to find out more about your rights.

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HOW CAN A THIEF SUE THE FAMILY HE ROBBED? GONE TO THE DOGS

Have you heard the story of Terrence Dickson? Even if you don’t know the name, you might have heard his strange tale. Dickson was a burglar in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. One day, after breaking into a house and helping himself to some valuables, Dickson decided to leave through the garage. After discovering the automatic garage door was stuck closed, Dickson turned around and was horrified to realize he’d locked himself inside. To make matters worse, the family he was stealing from had just left for an extended vacation, so Dickson lived off of soda and dried dog food for eight days. When the family returned and found the unlucky burglar, a lawsuit was filed — by Dickson! He sued for mental anguish, and the jury awarded him $500,000.

were rightfully enraged. There was just one problem: Terrence Dickson never existed.

In 2002, a reporter from Pennsylvania contacted the Bucks County prothonotary's office, where all records for civil cases in the county are kept. He discovered there was no record of any cases involving such a burglar. It’s worth noting the original email where this story first appeared ended with a call for tort reform from a made-up law firm in Ohio. Likely, this hoax was an attempt to manipulate the public perception of the justice system. Despite being debunked 17 years ago, this tall tale still makes the rounds and often appears on lists of “outrageous lawsuits,” many of which are featured on the websites of legitimate law firms!

There’s nothing that shakes our faith in the justice system quite like injustice being served. When Dickson’s story

There are plenty of wacky legal cases, but when a story is too ridiculous,

first gained notoriety in 2001, thanks to an email circulated by the now-defunct Stella Awards newsletter, which highlighted “outrageous lawsuits,” people

there’s a good chance a few important details are being left out or the readers are being lied to. Don’t believe everything you read online!

YOUR REFERRALS MEAN THE WORLD TO US There is no greater compliment we can receive than a client telling a friend or loved one about us. If you know somebody who has been injured and needs an attorney who will fight on their behalf and give their case the attention it deserves, please pass along this newsletter and have them give us a call at 314-293-4222. Thank you for spreading the word about Finney Injury Law.

IMPOSSIBLY SILKY MASHED POTATOES

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine

• 4 Ibs. medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved • 6 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes • 1/2 cup heavy cream • Kosher salt INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

1. In a stockpot or large saucepan, submerge potatoes in just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, add 2 tbsp of salt, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. 2. Drain potatoes and let cool for 3 minutes. 3. Using a ricer, grate potatoes into the original saucepan over medium heat. 4. With a wooden spoon, stir potatoes until they begin to stick to pan and steam, about 2 minutes. 5. Add butter in four equal batches, stirring constantly and adding each batch only once the last has been fully incorporated into the saucepan. 6. Stir in cream, season liberally with salt, and serve immediately.

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1600 S. BRENTWOOD BLVD. SUITE 220 • ST. LOUIS, MO 63144

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FINNEYINJURYLAW.COM // 314-293-4222

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1

Awaiting a Verdict on a Worthy Case

Going Stargazing? Watch Out for UFOs! 2 2 3 3 4 DISCLAIMER: THE CHOICE OF A LAWYER IS AN IMPORTANT ONE AND SHOULD NOT BE BASED ON ADVERTISING ALONE. When Fido Becomes Cujo Did You Hear About the Dog Food Burglar? Impossibly Silky Mashed Potatoes St. Louis on Stage and Screen

WORKS OF ART SET IN ST. LOUIS

STORIES THAT FEATURE OUR CITY

S t. Louis is one of the

'KING OF THE HILL' (1993)

Midwest’s most important cultural hubs. As such, it’s

Not to be confused with the animated TV series of the same name, Steven Soderbergh’s 1993 film “King of the Hill” is based on the real-life account of A.E. Hotchner’s experience growing up in Depression-era St. Louis. Aaron, the film’s protagonist, struggles to fill his days and make sense of life while his father travels on business and his mother treats her tuberculosis in a sanatorium. Soderbergh is now best known for blockbusters like “Ocean’s Eleven,” but he got his start with small, poignant movies like this one. Another work based on reality, “Masters of Sex” dramatizes the studies of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The pair of pioneering researchers into the nature of our sexual desires were based at Washington University for the bulk of their illustrious careers. The show, which ran for four seasons, investigates both the nature of their studies and their personal relationship. Looking at the title, you are right to surmise this show is best suited for older audiences. 'MASTER OF SEX' (2013-16)

no surprise the city has served as the primary setting for many major works of art. While it may not have the glitz of Hollywood or the glamor of Broadway, the Gateway to the West can be proud of its starring role in the following iconic works of art.

'THE GLASS MENAGERIE' (1944)

Tennessee Williams, one of America’s preeminent playwrights, was born and raised in Missouri. His native stomping grounds were the setting for his breakthrough drama “The Glass Menagerie.” With heavy inspiration from Williams’ own life, the play centers around a fallen debutante who hopes to find a suitable future for her children. Given its prominence in both the literary canon and St. Louis history, we’re willing to bet that nearly every public school student was assigned the work at some point.

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