Road to justice
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How to Hold Manufacturers Responsible
Mesothelioma is a terrible disease, one for which there is no known cure. However, unlike other forms
of cancer, there is no mystery as to how people develop it. When a
person suffers from mesothelioma, it’s because they were exposed to asbestos. That’s the only way it can be contracted.
Because the causation is so clear, mesothelioma cases operate differently than other types of workers’ compensation claims. There’s no debate about whether it was the result of negligence or ill intent on behalf of the company. In fact, when you bring a mesothelioma claim, none of the fault lies with the company you worked for. Instead, it’s about finding the manufacturers who produced the asbestos-containing materials that somebody was exposed to. As you might suspect, that involves closely inspecting the claimant’s work history to identify possible sources of exposure. There are only a handful of companies that produced the products linked to mesothelioma, so it’s often a matter of working backward to discover the link between your employer and one of these companies. Once we identify the source of exposure through a process we call “discovery,” we can begin holding companies responsible. At this point in history, any company that produced asbestos-containing products is well aware that they will be subject to mesothelioma claims. It’s part of their business model to have funds set aside to pay out victims. In the event that we find two different manufacturers who bear responsibility, they may argue over who pays how much, but there is little debate surrounding what is a fair payout. There’s so much precedence and so little room to debate that these claims almost never make it to a courtroom. Once the companies know that they are at fault, they settle in a hurry. Due to the life-changing nature of a mesothelioma diagnosis, many people don’t think that it’s worth it to initiate a claim. While I understand the desire to focus on what really matters, it’s important to note that filing a claim isn’t an intensive process for one of our clients. Yes, we’ll need to meet with you and get a knowledge of your work history, but the work is basically hands-off
“At this point in history, any company that
produced asbestos-containing products is well aware that they will be subject to mesothelioma
claims. It’s part of their business model to have funds set aside to pay out victims.”
after that. Given what a difference a settlement could make for the quality of life of a claimant and their loved ones, it’s absolutely worth pursuing.
Another trend I’ve noticed is that claimants, who are often older folks, are occasionally reticent to bring about a claim because they see it as a betrayal against their employers. As I noted above, that is not how these cases work. You won’t be taking money from your previous employer; you’ll be taking it from the responsible manufacturer. So even if somebody was exposed at the best job they’ve ever had, they shouldn’t hesitate to file a claim.
Nobody should have to suffer from a disease that should’ve been eradicated decades ago. If you or somebody you love suffers from the disease, you deserve compensation. Reach out to our office today to find out how we can help.
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Prepare Your Garden
Autumn Steps for a Better Spring Garden
their roots to grow deep enough to protect them from the biting winter weather. Among the flower bulbs you should plant soon are tulips, daffodils, irises, and hyacinths. CHICKEN WIRE After you’ve planted your bulbs, there’s a risk that uninvited guests will dig them up. There are a few ways you can ensure that your bulbs remain undisturbed throughout the fall. One way is to place chicken wire over your bulbs after they’ve been planted. This keeps rodents from digging them up and allows the plants to grow through the gaps in the wire. KEEP YOUR GARDEN TIDY Once you’ve harvested your best fruits and vegetables, go back through and harvest the rest, even if you don’t plan to eat them. Make sure your garden is clear of old vegetables, fallen leaves, and weeds. Leaving decaying plants in or on top of the ground can spread diseases into the soil and attract unwanted pests to your garden. HEALTHY SOIL Pulling up weeds and all of your vegetables can help keep the earth free from rotting plants, but there are other steps you can take to ensure that your soil stays full of nutrients. Pick up a kit to test the pH levels of your soil. Most gardens thrive in soil with a pH of 6.5. Add compost to your soil supply now to give it time to break down during the winter months.
With fall just ahead, it’s a good time to think about your spring garden. For a beautiful garden next year, begin preparing this fall. Here are a few ways to get a head start! PLANTING BULBS If you want beautiful flowers in April, you should start planting bulbs now. Many flower bulbs need to be in the ground before winter settles in; this helps activate the bulbs’ biochemical process that allows them to bloom. Getting the bulbs into the ground before it freezes allows
For many of our clients, Vicki Koutsogiannis needs no introduction. She’s been an attorney at the Law Office of James R. Snell Jr. since 2014, and it’s hard to imagine what our practice would be without her. Vicki is a dedicated attorney with experience overseeing a wide variety of case types. “It’s been an incredibly busy year so far,” Vicki says.“The caseload has been heavy, and I’ve even had a few cases end up in front of a jury. While trial is often the last recourse for our cases, as a trial attorney, I appreciate the process of preparing for and overseeing a trial. It’s nerve-wracking for sure, but I didn’t become an attorney to have a stress-free job.” What keeps Vicki excited about her work? “I would say first and foremost it’s the chance to help people,” she says.“To be able to have the chance to get the best result possible for somebody, especially when they are facing immense distress, is all the motivation I need.”
Additionally, Vicki is inspired by her coworkers.“I love the people I work with,” she adds.“Jim is the only mentor I’ve ever known. It’s a joy being able to learn about a broad range of cases from somebody with so much experience. I get to do everything a general practice attorney could dream of, from criminal defense to personal injury and more.” When she’s not helping our clients, Vicki enjoys spending time with her friends and family. While she hasn’t been able to take a long-term vacation this year — like we said, we’ve been busy— she did manage to sneak away for a long weekend in New York City. In the coming months, she’s hoping she can clear out her calendar for a vacation to somewhere far away. Given all she’s accomplished this year, she more than deserves it.
Spotlight on Vicki Koutsogiannis An IntegralMemberof theSnellLawTeam
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How a Railroad Protest Laid the Foundation for a National Holiday The Pullman Strike and the Origin of Labor Day
Today, Labor Day mostly means a day off and the closure of public pools. But when it was first created, it was a president’s desperate attempt to curb the tension after one of the most violent strike breakups in American history. In the late 19th century, the workers of the Pullman Company, which manufactured luxury train cars, all lived in a company-owned town. George Pullman, the owner, lived in a mansion overlooking houses, apartments, and crammed-together barracks, all of which were rented by the thousands of workers needed for the operation. For some time, the town operated without a hitch, providing decent wages for the workers while netting the higher-ups millions of dollars. But after the economic depression of the 1890s brought the country to its knees, everything changed. George Pullman slashed his workers’ wages by nearly 30 percent, but he neglected to adjust the rent on the company- owned buildings in turn. As a result, life became untenable in the town, with workers struggling to maintain the barest standards of living for themselves and their families.
In response, the workers began a strike on May 11, 1894. As the event ramped up, it gained the support of the powerful American Railway Union (ARU). But Pullman, stubborn as he was, barely acknowledged the strike was happening, and he refused to meet with the organizers. The tension increased when Eugene Debs, the president of the American Railway Union, organized a boycott of all trains that included Pullman cars. The strike continued to escalate until workers and Pullman community members managed to stop the trains from running. Eventually, President Grover Cleveland sent in soldiers to break up the strike. Violence ensued, with soldiers making a great effort to quell the strike at its core. By the time the violence ended, 30 people had lost their lives and an estimated $80 million in damages had been caused throughout the town. A few months later, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a federal holiday. Many experts believe that this act was an effort to build rapport among his pro-labor constituents after handling the incident so poorly.
This month, as you fire up the barbecue and enjoy your day off, take a moment to remember the workers who fought for labor rights in our country.
Beans & Greens
This hearty pasta is perfect for the start of fall. With protein from cannellini beans and a heaping portion of kale, it’s the rare pasta you can enjoy without guilt.
Which NFL quarterback won the Super Bowl and earned his law degree in 1994?
Send your answers to Caitlyn (email@example.com).
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
1 bunch Tuscan kale, rinsed
1. The first correct answer wins a $25 gift card to Starbucks.
Juice of 1 lemon
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2. All other submissions are entered in a drawing to win a second $25 gift card to Starbucks.
Salt, for pasta water and to taste
3. The funniest wrong answer will be chosen by Caitlyn and will also win a $25 gift card to Starbucks. All entries must be sent to Caitlyn by Friday, Sept 21, and the winners will be announced in our next edition.
2 ounces fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 4. Add cooked pasta, kale, and 1 cup pasta water to skillet. Toss vigorously as kale cooks, about 4 minutes. 5. Transfer to bowls, top with a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle with cheese or salt, and serve.
1. In a large stock pot, boil 6 quarts of liberally salted water. On another burner, heat a large skillet to medium-low. 2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes less than the package recommends. 3. While pasta is cooking, add beans, red pepper, and 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet.
Congratulations to last month’s winner,Abigail Smith!
Inspired by Bon Appétit Magazine
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Inside this Issue
How Mesothelioma Claims Work PAGE 1
Get a Head Start on Next Spring’s Garden An Update From Vicki PAGE 2 Why Labor Day Is Indebted to the Pullman Strike Beans and Greens Rigatoni PAGE 3
Snell Law Office Happenings PAGE 4
We normally use this section of the newsletter to talk about some of the fun community events we’ve been involved in recently. This time, however, we wanted to highlight the excellent work our team has been doing on behalf of our clients. At this time of year, the caseload gets heavy and allows us to work on a variety of case types. Here are a few of the results we’ve achieved in recent months. A local worker recently suffered a neck injury while on the job and asked us for help filing a workers’ compensation claim. We secured $150,000 in compensation for the injured party. When a woman was rear-ended in Lexington, she called us to help ensure that she would receive due compensation for the damages and injuries that occurred • •
• A man drove his car into a ditch and was initially charged with a DUI. After reviewing the evidence, it was clear that the charges were not commensurate with the field work of the officer involved. We were able to reduce the charges to a speeding ticket. After being pulled over for a broken taillight, a man ended up charged with drug possession. These charges came as the result of an improper search conducted by the officer. Once we brought this to the attention of the prosecutor’s office, the charges against our client were summarily dismissed. DISCLAIMER: Past results are not a guarantee of future outcomes. Every case is unique, but you can bet that no matter the circumstances surrounding your case, our team will work tirelessly to achieve the most favorable result possible. •
4 Recent Case Results A Round-Up of Our Work
as a result of the accident. Luckily, she suffered no major injuries, and we were able to reach a settlement of $50,000.
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