Travis Black - April 2020

BLACK & D E PAOLI, PC THE LAW OFFICE OF Be Heard

APRIL 2020

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A PASSION FOR CIVIL LITIGATION

STANDING AGAINST GREEDY CORPORATIONS

When I decided I wanted to become a lawyer, it was because I had found a way to stand up for people. I’ve always been the type of person to stick up and cheer for the underdog, and my path to becoming an attorney was filled with moments like that. In college, I was a criminal justice major and was bouncing back and forth, trying to decide if I wanted to be a nurse or a cop. Then, I took a class about civil rights and civil liberties, and I changed directions. One day, my professor and I were talking after class about my future plans, and he told me, “Well, you know, you’ve got a lot going on, and you seem really interested in the legal sides of things. Why not go to law school?” After thinking about it a bit longer, I did. Thinking back, I realize that a lot of what I was doing in my life at the time pointed me in that direction. Helping people has always been my passion. I worked to help people who were underrepresented or taken advantage of by the justice system. I helped foster children and those with mentally disabilities because I wanted to give people a voice when no one was listening. When I initially left law school, my focus was in dependency court, where CPS handles situations where a child is taken from their home due to certain circumstances. It was up to me to represent these kids and, at times, the parents. I loved working there because it made my heart burst, but it was also incredibly difficult and often very sad.

As I continued my work in the law field, I eventually met Travis through a mutual friend. At the time, I knew very little about civil litigation, having focused only on other areas of the law. Civil litigation seemed to have a bad reputation in my eyes, but when I started working with Travis, I realized pretty quickly that it was all speculation. The people Travis was representing were injured — many severely so — or had family members who had died in accidents, but the insurance companies refused to help them. These individuals thought that if they paid their insurance premiums every month, if something horrible happened, the insurance companies involved would help them. Despite being legitimately hurt, they couldn’t rely on these multibillion-dollar companies that were essentially bullying these people who were diligently paying their dues. After being involved in a few cases where I witnessed these companies

trying to vilify our clients and saw how injuries had changed our clients’ lives, my entire outlook on personal injury shifted. I couldn’t stand idly by and do nothing, and it kindled a burning passion. When I started working with Travis, this door opened for me, and he has been a wonderful mentor. He is very passionate about the law and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Travis always encouraged me to try things on my own and come to him if I had any questions. Today, we work side by side as a team, giving our clients a voice and fighting the injustice of these bully corporations. I am very fortunate to be a partner here at the firm, and I am excited about where our path will continue to lead from here. –Kelsey Depaoli

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SOMETHING IN THE WATER

Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.

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. 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.

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

When a client comes to us with their case, our attorneys understand the importance of gathering evidence as fast as possible to support them. Evidence is a major factor in each of our cases, so we work tirelessly to ensure we have acquired as much as we can. We leave no stone unturned; we realize that any bit of evidence can be the difference between winning or losing a case. In one such case, the evidence we collected not only helped our client but also gave us the facts we needed to overcome the at-fault party. CASE FACTS: Our client suffered an abrupt fall at a restaurant and, unfortunately, landed on a few broken drains. As a result, our client’s leg was severely injured, and he had to be rushed to the hospital. While our client did have an underlying medical condition that contributed to the severity of the injury, it hadn’t caused him to fall in the first place. When our client tried to seek compensation for his injury, the restaurant denied the claim, stating that they were not at fault for the fall, and questioned our client’s truthfulness and injuries. Our client then contacted our office, and we immediately took action. THE OUTCOME: Once we got into the case, our team began to investigate the true circumstances of the fall. Our thorough investigation revealed some vitally important details of the broken and exposed drains. We took pictures of these drains, and after reviewing the evidence, our team was confident we would overcome the restaurant’s denial and ensure our client received the proper compensation. MONTHLY CASE HIGHLIGHT THOROUGH INVESTIGATION PAYS OFF

Although the liability was still hotly disputed even after we shared our findings, we did not yield. We held firm and negotiated a reasonable settlement for our client. Although slip-and-fall cases are typically denied, our experience helped us secure a $400,000 settlement for our client. This not only helped him pay his medical fees but also allowed him to get back to his life before the accident took place.

If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall case, contact our office at 916.962.2896. We will fight for you and your claim.

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DID YOU SEE IT? 3 OF HOLLYWOOD’S BEST MOVIE EASTER EGGS

BE INSPIRED This April, many kids will search excitedly for Easter eggs, but aside from the holiday treat, the term “Easter egg” has a fun alternate meaning when it comes to media. In this context, an Easter egg refers to a hidden surprise or message, and people often enjoy trying to find as many as they can. This spring, turn on some of these classic movies and see if you can spot a few of Hollywood’s Easter eggs yourself. DISNEY ROYALTY’S FAMILY TREE At the beginning of Disney’s “Frozen,” released in 2013, Elsa and Anna’s parents leave to journey across the ocean. Their destination is unknown, and sadly, a treacherous storm sinks their ship. Three years later, their eldest daughter, Elsa, is coronated, and guests arrive at the castle. If viewers scan the crowd of visitors, they will see Flynn and Rapunzel from the 2010 Disney movie “Tangled.” (Notice the time difference?) The theory, confirmed by filmmakers, is that Elsa and Anna’s parents were traveling to Flynn and Rapunzel’s wedding. The connections continue with claims that the shipwreck in “The Little Mermaid” was their ship, and some even think that Tarzan’s parents were actually Anna and Elsa’s parents, who survived the wreck. FRANK ABAGNALE ARRESTING ‘HIMSELF’ At 15 years old, Frank Abagnale Jr. started his career as one of the U.S.’s most prolific con artists. Abagnale scammed the government

out of money, impersonated pilots and doctors, and swindled banks, making his story seem like a Hollywood plot. In 2002, “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, created just that. The movie follows the life of Abagnale, who briefly appears in the movie himself to arrest DiCaprio, who plays a young Abagnale. Today, Abagnale serves as a security consultant and teaches courses for the FBI. INDIANA JONES AND HAN SOLO TEAMING UP No movie franchises are as prolific as George Lucas’ “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” but they also share another Hollywood connection. Both series feature Harrison Ford, who plays Indiana Jones and Han Solo, and the franchises make references to each other, including hieroglyphics in “Indiana Jones” that feature R2-D2, C-3PO, and Princess Leia, as well as a club named Club Obi Wan. Though “The Empire Strikes Back” was filmed before “Indiana Jones,” Lucas had Ford in mind for his next great story and gave Han Solo a bullwhip in reference to Indy’s famous go-to tool.

EASY DEVILED EGGS

While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.

INGREDIENTS • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS 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.

• 2 tbsp milk • 1 tsp dried

EMBRACE THE PRESENT MOMENT FULLY AND WITH PASSION, BECAUSE ONLY THROUGH THE PRESENT MOMENT DO

parsley flakes • 1/2 tsp dill weed • 1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced • 1/2 tsp ground mustard • Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste • 12 large eggs, hard-boiled • Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish

WE TRULY LIVE. –RICHARD L. HAIGHT

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Inspired by TasteOfHome.com

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BLACK & D E PAOLI, PC THE LAW OFFICE OF Be Heard

1839 Iron Point Rd. #160, Folsom, CA 95630 Phone: 916.962.2896 bdlawteam.com

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Fighting for Our Clients PAGE 1

The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company PAGE 2 Using Evidence to the Fullest PAGE 2 Did You Spot These Movie Easter Eggs? PAGE 3 Easy Deviled Eggs PAGE 3 What Is Gardening Good For? PAGE 4

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FAMILY GARDENING GIVE YOUR KID THE GIFT OF A GREEN THUMB

Yes, there will always be football season, basketball season, and soccer season, but right now, it’s gardening season. That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt. If you’ve been searching for a way to get the kids away from technology and engaged with the real world, gardening is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is it fun, but it’s also beneficial for your kids’ development. For example, gardening can improve your children’s analytical abilities. As Dr. Wendy Matthews says, “Gardening exercises important reasoning, initiation, planning, and organization skills.” Furthermore, several studies, including one at Texas A&M University, suggest that gardening improves a child’s attitude toward fruits and vegetables and may make them more likely to choose them as snacks. Gardening helps kids identify with where their food is coming from, and nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry or pea pod they grew themselves. Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and a parent himself, and his co-author, Rob Knight, emphasize the health benefits of garden time in their book, “Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” The two found that exposure to different microbes, like those found in a garden, strengthens a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop allergies.

If this is your first time gardening, you don’t need much to get started. Grab a few shovels, a pair of gloves for each family member, and fresh potting soil, and you’ll be set. Then, you can decide together which plants you’d like to grow! Carrots are fun because of the surprise factor — just imagine your child discovering that the part they eat grows below the ground! Peas are tasty and fairly easy to grow, as are strawberries. The options really are endless. Depending on the growing season in your area, you can choose to buy seeds or opt for rooted plants. Last but certainly not least, the best part of gardening as a family is the healthy, fresh produce you’ll get to enjoy all summer long!

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