Donahoe Kearney - June 2020


June 2020


With the start of June, most students are now officially starting summer break, even if it doesn’t seem much different than the last couple of months. Normally graduation season would be in full swing. I know a lot of parents are disappointed that their kids won’t be in a graduation ceremony. If I had a grad this year, then I would be too. Let’s face it, it’s always about us parents — our parties, our graduates, our memories. Someone asked me recently whether I had any advice for students graduating this year, and whether it was different because of the coronavirus. As someone who has been through that stage of life, I know those ceremonies and parties are only a small part of what’s actually worth getting excited about. Even in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, you can still seize new opportunities and make the most of your transition to the next chapter of your life. Look, the last few months have given you a rare and valuable opportunity to see and imagine a whole new way of doing things; how people react to difficult times; how people work together to help others; how people value community, health, freedom; and of course, what we can control and what we can’t. Graduation is a fresh start. I can remember my high school graduation and the excitement I felt about really starting my life. I told myself that I would make the most out of college. I wasn’t going to a fancy top-ranked school, but I was determined to make the most of it. I felt that same excitement when I graduated from college and law school, but it was nothing like that first graduation. I was moving into a world full of new possibilities. When I graduated high school, I wasn’t nervous about my next steps — though I can understand why a lot of graduates would be. Even though I had a lot of confidence, I still didn’t know exactly where I was going in life. I can relate to a lot of graduates in that regard. While I had a general vision of what I wanted my life to eventually be like, I didn’t have every step of it planned out when I was 18, or even when I was 22. All I knew was that I was going to make the most out of any opportunity that came my way.

So take the opportunity to be in charge of your own education. No one has to tell you how to think or what you should do. Think about it. With the amount of information and technology we have now, why can’t you take a class you’re interested in held anywhere in the world? Better yet, why can’t you teach a class or coach or tutor someone? I guarantee there is someone out there who would love to know what you know. Don’t be afraid to try new things, take calculated risks, or do things that are hard. Sometimes that means you have to trust your gut. I took two years of Russian in college in case I decided to go into military intelligence (I ended up infantry, where I barely needed English). And we went from copying Russian alphabet letters to reading Tolstoy in his native language. After the first year, I was the only one left in the class. After the second year, no one was left. Of course, the Cold War ended soon after that, and I haven’t used Russian since I took those classes. But that’s okay. It’s all part of discovering the path before you. In a way, because of the uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, some of you reading this might feel like a new graduate. You might be unsure about your next steps or maybe excited for a future that looks different than it did a few months ago.

My advice? Go for it.

-Frank Kearney

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In “The Verdict,” Frank Galvin is not in a good space. His law practice is in trouble, his reputation is well on its way to ruin, and he is literally down to one client. His life has become distilled to this one case, and the entire thing hinges on an expert witness: a doctor who is willing to say that a catastrophic injury (in this case, the woman was completely incapacitated due to asphyxia, a lack of oxygen to her brain) was the result of malpractice. With this expert witness, Galvin’s case should have provided the jury a solid link between the injury and the malpractice. This doctor, however, was their entire case, and it completely fell apart when the doctor went missing and then pulled out of the case entirely. Even though it was clear that the victim’s injury was caused by malpractice, it was impossible to prove without the expert witness, and Galvin didn’t have enough time to prepare another expert. On top of that, Galvin had taken up with a mole, who was employed by the defense counsel to leak information. He was not in a good place. With his sharp blue eyes and eagle-like demeanor, Galvin easily conveyed his false confidence, but in reality, he was completely screwed. Here’s where Frank Galvin went wrong ( and we see a lot of lawyers make these mistakes in real life): First, lawyers should always have more than one expert in line. For a complicated injury like the one portrayed in “The Verdict” (brain damage from asphyxia due to an error with anesthesia), Galvin definitely should have had more than one expert. In many of our medical malpractice cases, we have 10 or 12 different doctors (at least) testify on every aspect of the case. And we vet our doctors carefully to make sure they are trustworthy, reliable, and credible; it just doesn’t work to have someone who just “disappears” in the middle of the case.

Galvin also had an issue because he was trying to handle the case all on his own, without any type of co-counsel — he was a true solo practitioner. At Donahoe Kearney, we have two board-certified trial attorneys covering the case, constantly conferring on strategy with a network of consultants we use “behind the scenes” as support. The good news is that Frank Galvin pulled a rabbit out of his hat. But we won’t spoil it for you — you should watch it for yourself! “The Verdict” was filmed in 1982, so you might have trouble finding it, but if you can get your hands on it, then it’s definitely worth the watch! -Brooke Birkey


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In a catastrophic injury case, you only get one shot at helping your family. So don’t trust a guy like Frank Galvin in "The Verdict." In real life, you are going to need a legal team that understands what you and your family are going through — one that is experienced, has a history of successful verdicts and settlements, and works with reliable doctors and medical experts. And remember, these injuries often are caused by systems failures at a management level. "The Patient’s Guide" explains all of this — just call and we’ll send you a free copy.

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Nelson Almansa is originally from Colombia and had a great life there with his wife and two kids. He owned two boutique men’s clothing stores and ran a small factory. But things started to change when he separated from his wife and split custody of their two children. Before long, one child was living in Colombia and one in America. Nelson knew that he didn’t want this to be a long-term situation. So he moved to America to be close to both of his daughters, Vanesa and Karen. Today, Vanesa and Karen are both grown. Nelson’s voice is filled with pride when he speaks of them. But moving to America was a tough, big change. “I was crazy for a little while,” he said with a laugh. Initially, he thought he would be in America for a year and would go back and forth between America and Colombia.

Like most people, Nelson didn’t know much about hiring an attorney when he got hurt. But he soon learned that the insurance company was going to use its considerable power to limit his benefits. From the time he met Frank, Nelson knew that things were going to be different. He said, “For the first time, I feel like someone is helping me, like I have protection. When I came to the office, I knew it was different. I have rights, and the insurance company can’t force me to go back to work. I was referred to Mr. Kearney, and soon the insurance started paying me. Before that, I didn’t get paid for eight months, and I had to use my savings to survive.” It was like a weight being lifted off of his shoulders so Nelson could focus on his recovery. And that recovery from a serious injury would take a couple of years. Like a lot of our clients, Nelson was eager to get back to work. He was worried about losing his job and was anxious that even with benefits, he wouldn’t be making enough money. So, when his doctor returned him to light duty, he went back to work even though his job didn’t really have a light-duty position. He tried but just couldn’t continue working like he had before. I asked Nelson if he has any advice for other people who are going through a serious injury case. He said, “I trusted Mr. Frank, and I knew that I had a real injury. So I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. In the end, the difference between what the insurance company initially offered me and what Frank won on appeal was $90,000.” Nelson’s case settled after three years, and he was able to put that money toward retirement and now lives part time in Clearwater, Florida. He spends his retirement enjoying time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

That was 40 years ago.

Nelson chuckled as he told me, “I go back to Colombia every five or six years, but I consider America to be my home.” When he moved to America, Nelson became a banquet waiter for an exclusive hotel known for exceptional service. Hustling to serve a dining room customer and carrying a heavy load of trays, he slipped on water from a leak in the kitchen that the hotel hadn’t fixed. He fell backward and hurt his lower back, ending up with sciatica, among other issues, and all kinds of problems with the insurance company. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for the insurance company to take advantage of someone who doesn’t have a lawyer. Individuals just can’t compete with an insurance company on their own. "For the first time, I feel like someone is helping me, like I have protection. When I came to the office, I knew it was different. I have rights, and the insurance company can’t force me to go back to work. I was referred to Mr. Kearney, and soon the insurance started paying me. Before that, I didn’t get paid for eight months, and I had to use my savings to survive."


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Thanks to everyone who has attended our virtual town hall and our series of video interviews discussing ways we can all stay positive and healthy and get stuff done during the coronavirus quarantine. We discovered that one of our clients, Annalee, has a great deal of experience looking for the positive through her work as a StrengthsFinders coach. Here’s what Annalee has to say about focusing on the positive in people and leveraging their strengths! What if I told you you’re not one in a million but one in 33 million! And what if I told you that you really can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be more of who you really are! Research tell us that globally, only 33% of those who are employed are engaged in their work. Over four decades of research, 2 million global interviews, billions of pieces of data, algorithms, and continued studies of strengths psychology, we know that it’s actually more like 27%. This fact is sad, but true. The strengths movement began back in 1960 with Donald O. Clifton. Clifton is considered the “Father of Strengths Psychology.” One day he called his colleagues in and suggested they study what makes people happy and successful instead of focusing on abnormal psychology. They agreed, and the strengths movement took form. Over time, it has helped nearly 20 million people discover how and why they think, act, and feel the way they do. Clifton used the data he collected over 40 years and boiled it down to 34 talent themes. The personal configuration of themes is so individual that the chance of someone having the same top five talent themes ranked in the same exact order is one in 33 million. The chance of having the same top five

themes regardless of rank is still one in 275,000. The message is clear: You are specifically and wonderfully made. I love sharing this aspect of discovering your strengths, especially with parents and kids. It explains so much in a nutshell about just how unique we all are created. We are never going to be “just like our big brother or sister” or anyone else we compare ourselves to. We really do have our very own innate and unique gifts that can and should be celebrated and nurtured. StrengthsFinder is the assessment tool that can identify and unleash the talents in any individual. While we don’t need disasters to bring communities together, knowing, understanding, and appreciating the talents and strengths of one another can assist greatly, and we can see this now with the coronavirus pandemic. Families, businesses, governments, educators, nonprofits, workforce developers, and individuals can be lifted higher when we all unite to support each other to discover who we are and deliberately do what we love most every day. Focus on your talents and strengths, learn to manage your weaknesses (or ignore them) with the assistance of others and your faith, and live each day fulfilled and enriched knowing you’ve made a difference in the lives of others. I believe it is why we are here.

Annalee Ash is a GALLUP-certified CliftonStrengths coach, speaker, and facilitator. For more info on StrengthsFinder, reach out to Annalee at -Anale e Ash

CHICKEN PESTO QUESADILLA This Kearney family recipe is a favorite because you don’t have to measure anything — it’s all to taste. by Frank Kearney



INGREDIENTS • 1/2 onion, diced • Olive oil •

Precooked or grilled chicken breast, shredded or chopped into small pieces

When a coworker lost his grip on a 185-pound matrix frame Mr. McCrae was installing, the whole thing fell on his hands.

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Juice from 1 lime 1 jar pesto sauce

School may be closed but the kitchen is open. Here is Chef Quarantine, cooking up a storm when not injuring his father during extreme workouts. Notice the noise-canceling earbuds that block everything your parents say except words like "money," "food," or "car" — an absolute must for anyone with parents! And with the NCAA considering allowing athletes to profit off their likeness, he charged me $20 for this photo — can you believe it?

Mexican shredded cheese

An insurance doctor said he didn’t need treatment and could work in commercial construction, so he wouldn't be entitled to benefits (we see this a lot — they have a BS exam by a doctor who works for the insurance company and use that to cut off a hardworking person’s benefits), he knew he needed a lawyer to fight for his compensation and medical treatment so he could get better. Mr. McCrae showed extreme resilience because even after eight months of no benefits or medical treatment, he persevered and never lost hope or faith. And we won the benefits that he rightfully deserved.

Flour tortillas

DIRECTIONS 1. Sauté onion in olive oil. In a bowl, mix onion with chicken, lime juice, pesto, and cheese. 2. In a pan over medium heat, lay one tortilla and spread chicken pesto mix over one half of the tortilla, then fold it over so it is closed like a half-moon. 3. After 1–2 minutes, flip the tortilla

making sure the cheese melts. Repeat.

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Donahoe Kearney A T T O R N E Y S A T L A W 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006 202.393.3320



Moving With Confidence Into an Uncertain World


Brooke’s Review of ‘The Verdict’


Medical Malpractice


Client Success Story: Nelson Almansa


Spotlight on Annalee Ash Chicken Pesto Quesadilla Congratulations Corner: Lawrence McCrae


Frank’s Column: Be Like Mike


I don’t know about you, but in the last week, I have found myself watching dodgeball (it’s a real sport apparently — and more complicated than I remember in grade school) and women’s professional squash on TV (they even have replay challenges). But my favorite by far is the Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” on ESPN. I had forgotten how competitive he was and how much trash talking he did (while always backing it up). But what strikes me now is how focused Jordan was on being the best, how he worked harder than anyone else, how he took care of himself, how he was relentless in reaching his goals, how he got on his teammates, and how even though he was the star, he was a team player. He knew he couldn't win championships without help. Sure, like all of us, he was born with certain gifts — his were height and athleticism. But the real lesson lies in what he did with what he had. He could have coasted through a nice professional career, but that was never good enough for him. He wanted to be the best, so he set out to do it.

Isn’t that something we can all do?


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