Monday, December 15, 2014

When You Should Expect Your Lawyer to Dump You

Ever been dumped by someone? Ouch!!! Does it matter if you are at fault. But I thought he was my lawyer not my lover!

Some examples of when you should expect your lawyer to dump you:
- you share with your lawyer that you are going to commit a serious crime in the future. - you repeatedly disregard the advise of the lawyer
- there is just to much disagreement and arguing going on- can't agree on reasonable goals for the "together" part of your lives
- total loss of respect for the other
- the lawyer is not getting what he needs / expected (money) from the relationship
- your personal interests are in conflict
- it's just not fun anymore or in other words the relationship simply isn't working

There are limitations on when a lawyer can dump a client depending on the circumstances. Call us if you think we can help.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Low Cost Divorce

I have helped agreeable couples get the court process going, agree on the terms of the divorce, sign a settlement agreement and get divorced in court for $1-2,000, but that requires a cooperative approach by both husband and wife. More common for all the above would be $3-5,000.

Mediation does assume some level of understanding that compromise is a goal. This is especially important for the family unit if there are minor children.

I have helped high conflict couples through the divorce as well, at higher costs.

How often do lawyers behave badly by failing to encourage their clients from the start to consider peace and reconciliation as a goal in the divorce? I have seen it, all too frequently.

If you need a lawyer to mediate call us. If mediation is not the answer, we can also help kick butt if needed, but with an understanding that the goal is resolution not war. Think stick and carrot.

We are also here to go after damages against lawyers who have behaved badly.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rules for Tax-Smart Charitable Giving

In celebration of #GivingTuesday this year, the global day dedicated to giving back, Bruce and Leah share some thoughts on charitable giving. 

"Doing good deeds is second nature to many of my friends. These deeds can be small or large. They can be in acts of personal kindness or more global attempts to fix a problem. They can be by writing a check or spending time.

Some say what really matters is the intention or reason for giving of oneself. I don't agree. What matters is the good that is done. A good deed that helps others remains a help to others. So my thought as I reflect on Giving Tuesday is that we need more people to give. We should encourage giving even by those who give out of a sense that they do not want to be judged only by those other things they have done. Who knows the good deed may and should feel so good that it will encourage more positive conduct in his or her life. A journey starts with an intention to take one step." - Attorney Bruce Stanger

"So many nonprofit organizations contribute so much to our society and the quality of life in our communities. Find a nonprofit organization whose mission resonates deeply with you, and whose passion you share. Make sure that the organization is committed to excellence and best practices in all aspects of its operations. Give as generously as you can afford. Then enjoy the satisfaction that comes from contributing to something you care about." Attorney Leah Cohen Chatinover 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In oil baron's divorce, company lawyer plays star role

Wow billions to split in a divorce with most of the money tied up in a closely held business creates different dynamics. Is the lawyer for the company behaving badly by being in the court room during the divorce (behind closed doors)? Probably not. See the article posted on Reuters here.

When one spouse owns a business worth a lot of money the other spouse has a right to learn a lot about that business. Are funds being hidden? What is the business really worth? Should/could the owner be taking more money out of the business which could increase the alimony/child support a court may award.

So bottom line, if you or your spouse owns a business, expect your lawyer to ask for information about that business and expect a fight over what will or should be disclosed.

When billions are at stake the decision on whether or not to chase that information is easy. It is hard to decide how much money and energy to spend on the typical smaller business valuation. We have experts that we use to do such a valuation in the divorces we handle. We decide with the client if it is worth doing so. It is a cost benefit analysis. An analysis that has be done with limited information.

Call if we can help.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde

Lawyers sometimes are simply crooks. Just like any other crook they take advantage of opportunities to steal from others. Our crooked lawyer in this case worked as a patent lawyer for a big company on the companies patents. He was an employee of the company working full time for just that one client, his employer.

A patent lawyer can and should do research both before and after applying for a patent of other patents that are related. For example research into other patents to see if what their client wants to patent is truly something new. One enterprising crook who is of course a lawyer (well at this point he and his wife are alleged crooks as the case has not gone to trial) with his wife created a fake patent research company. Our lawyer behaving badly sent invoices from his fake patent research firm to his employer, who of course made the payments. The charges were on average between $30,000 and $40,000 per month. This went on for years allowing them to buy those extra toys like summer homes, boats etc. The total alleged stolen was $5,000,000.

In response to -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Low Cost Divorces

If you have no children and limited assets, try the Court Services Center, located in court houses throughout the state. The people there work to shepherd the litigants representing themselves through the system as they get divorced. I have done these for under $1,000. Which can be split.

For those who do have some money and or children but are able to talk to and compromise with their spouse I have been able to get a number of couples divorced using mediation. Both Husband and Wife hire me, not as their legal counsel, but as someone they can both use in coming to a conclusion on a deal and preparing the paperwork. If requested I can even go to court on the day of the divorce. I have done these for under $1,500. Which can be split.

For those who can’t deal with their spouse, mediation can often be the solution as well. Sometimes I can get the parties to see that spending lots of money on lawyers is not the answer. Rich or poor it is a negative way to go. Especially where there are children the parents need to find a way to work things out.

Monday, October 13, 2014

We Sue Doctors. We Sue Hospitals.

A man travels to Africa, comes home to the US, ends up in a hospital with a fever. Yes, of course we believe he should be checked for Ebola. Is the failure to do so malpractice? Seems pretty obvious to me that it is, but the real question is what is the standard of care in a hospital setting. It is not what I think but what other similarly situated medical care providers would say is normally done. That is the standard – medical professionals must provide reasonable care when compared to what other professionals do. It does not have to be the best, it just has to be reasonable.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Should Melissa Rivers sue Joan River's doctors for Medical Malpractice?

Well they are still talking about it. Should Joan Rivers daughter (really Joan's estate) sue River's doctors for Medical Malpractice? No surprise, but I say yes if it is clear negligence with clear damages.

My bottom line is that if a professional commits malpractice then their insurance company should pay reasonable (real) damages. Malpractice is simply negligence. We are not surprised when reasonable real damages are paid by the driver's insurance company after a car accident. If a driver screws up and someone is damaged, then insurance pays. If a doctor screws up, then insurance should pay.

We sue professionals for real damages caused by negligence. We sue lawyers. We sue accountants. We sue dentists. We sue hospitals. We sue doctors. We sue nursing homes. And we are proud of the work we do in demanding compensation for victims of professions malpractice.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Joan Rivers’ Doctor Faced a Past Malpractice Suit

We sue professionals. We sue doctors. We sue lawyers. It was recently reported that one of Joan Rivers doctors had faced a prior malpractice suit. Although we clearly believe professionals (including doctors) should be held responsible for negligent conduct, most prior claims of malpractice are not relevant to a different claim of negligence. Unless the prior claim of malpractice involved the same error it is of little value and many courts will say it is entirely irrelevant.


If I ran a stop sign 4 years ago it does not indicate a propensity to speed. I am not sure it even indicates a propensity to run stop signs. I made a mistake once. I should be liable for damages caused by my negligence (mistake) but it does not mean in a case involving speeding that it is at all relevant to say 10 years ago I ran a stop sign. Yes of course if I ran a stop sign at 4pm telling the officer I was late for a 5 pm meeting. If I then was speeding and caused an accident to happen, it would be relevant. But not if it happened many hours earlier or many years earlier.

So bottom line is that although it may be interesting to lay people to hear more about the players in a current story about a star, it is of no significance in a claim of malpractice.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Celebrating 13 Years

13 years ago in August it was me plus one lawyer and one assistant. Today we are 6 lawyers and 3 assistants plus a team of consultants and offsite workers. Technology now allows us to work from anywhere, our phones are desktops, and we are organized in ways I never imagined when I started practicing law 37 years ago. Feels like real progress as we stay on the cutting edge. I am proud of what we accomplish with our clients, where we are today, of our incredible team and I look forward to many tomorrows. 

Bruce STANGER Managing Member and Founder

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Conflicts of Interest

It's the cover up not the deed that get so many in trouble.

Lawyers have a general obligation to stay on the correct side of conflicts of interest. From the attached article it appears to be the lack of a frank and open disclosure that got this lawyer in trouble. If your attorney appears to have a conflict of interest, or somehow not making your interests the most important expect a full and frank disclosure. Ask your lawyer if you have any concerns. It may simply be a misunderstanding. A client can even waive certain conflicts, but the waiver has to be based on complete knowledge and often should include advice from your lawyer to consult with an independent lawyer. You are not expected to know the difference between a conflict that can be waived and one that cant.

Call us if we can help. We don't mind going after another lawyer, it is only fair that the public have lawyers who are willing to call another lawyer on the carpet if they screwed up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Email Best Practices for Lawyers to Avoid Malpractice Exposure

In this fast paced world of text and e mail expect your lawyer to be careful. But beware a fast pace makes for errors. One area of malpractice by lawyers is the use of e mail or text which when sent without thinking or double checking can go to the wrong person, not include someone that should be included or not get where it was intended.

Sending something that is confidential over e mail is accepted in most circumstances but if sent to the wrong person it can do serious damage. When a lawyer represents the wife, an e mail intended for the lawyers client which is accidently copied to the husband’s lawyer about those pictures of the husband or of the wife in a compromised situation will be used by the other side. There are rules about giving back that which was accidently sent to the other lawyer, but those rules may not save the day.

So expect your lawyer to double check before sending and to be careful generally with your confidential information. If he or she screws up and you are damaged give us a call we will fight to set things right.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How Long Do You Have to Sue a Lawyer in Connecticut?

As with much in life there is no simple answer. It depends!

The general rule is that a suit against a lawyer should be brought within three years of:
When the lawyer screwed up or
The last time the lawyer was working on your case or
The last time the lawyer tried to fix the screw up or
The first time you spoke to another lawyer about the negligence of your lawyer.

If the law suit is not brought in time you loose all of your rights but there are always exceptions. One of which is if the lawyer fraudulently hid the screw up it is three years from when you figured it out or should have figured it out.

BUT don't rely on this and figure it out on your own. It really is much more complicated then what I have told you here. Don't try and analyze this your self. Sorry but if you have been damaged by a lawyer you still should have a lawyer you can trust help you. Can We Help You? I hope so. Call us if you think you have been damaged by the screw up (malpractice) of a lawyer.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A-Rod Drops Malpractice Suit Against Yankees’ Team Doctor

Why did Alex Rodriguez drop his medical malpractice suit against the team doctors. We will never know; how can anyone know why a person does something.

Some possible reasons:
1 - Even if the doctors did misread the x-rays, to be successful in the suit A Rod would have to prove that he was really damaged. It is not enough to prove that a doctor screwed up A Rod would also have to prove the screw up damaged him. Here A Rod would have to prove that if he was told what the x ray showed he would not have played AND that if he did not play his shoulder would be better two tough things to prove. So although A Rod, through his lawyers is saying I just want to forget about this and play it may be that he has a weak case.

2 - He may just be ducking that video deposition the doctors lawyers were threatening. Does this tough Yankee really want to be talking about how bad his shoulder is and how damaged he is for his future.

3 - Rumors are that the Yankees were considering not letting A Rod back to complete his contract. Some say that the Yankees don't have to let A Rod finish his contract if he is injured. The Yankees could save millions by replacing A Rod. Filing suit claiming he was damaged and could not play, put the doctors in a position of proving that even if they were negligent A Rod was not damaged. So by filling suit A Rod put the doctors in the position of supporting A Rod's bid to return to the team. The doctors don't want to say A Rod can't play if then the doctors could be liable.

4 - Of course it could be what A Rod as his spokespeople say, just wants to get along.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Malpractice Comes In Many Shades

Our State has been rocked recently by the suspension of an Enfield Dentist’s license to practice dentistry after a patient died while under his care. The patient died at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield on February 17 after Dr. Rashmi Patel allegedly failed to "properly respond to J.G.'s oxygen desaturation and/or respiratory distress and/or cardiopulmonary distress" while performing 20 tooth extractions. Over the next several months Courts and the Connecticut State Dental Commission will review Dr. Patel’s conduct to determine whether the allegations of sub-standard care have any merit.

While in a case like this there appears to be convincing evidence of malpractice, individuals must realize that every case is not always so dire. Rather, malpractice comes in a variety of shades, and rarely results in anyone’s death. Medical malpractice can be the loss of movement of ones arm after receiving improper medical care following an injury, or the loss of your court case because a motion was not filed on time for legal malpractice. Even though nobody has died as a result, the negligence and the malpractice is real. Once this negligence can be proven and damages attributable to the negligence, the financial recovery is often real, too! Don’t be afraid to seek our assistance if you feel that you’ve been the victim of malpractice. If you’ve been the victim of your lawyer or doctor’s negligence, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do to help get justice for you.

For more on Dr. Rashmi Patel’s case see the Hartford Courant at keyword Patel.    


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Medication Mistakes

Have you ever heard a doctor say "this drug is 95% effective" or "this procedure works 97%" of the time? The good news is that the drug probably has a higher rate of success if administered properly and the procedure probably has a higher rate of success if done correctly. Here is the problem, we know that medical malpractice happens both in the performance of a procedure and the administration of drugs (especially in a hospital). So those percentages of success include failures that were not caused because the drug does not work and were not caused because the procedure is not a good one, rather they are caused because someone screwed up.

So here is the problem: if you are in a hospital which is not run well, if you don't take medication as you should, or if a doctor who is not at the top of his/her game is operating on you then the percentage that applies to you for any particular medication or procedure may be a good deal lower.

We sue professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants..... If you think you are a victim of malpractice call us, we can help.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jay-Z, Solange, and Privacy.

There should be a law for that. How often do we hear that phrase.

I think it is time for a law that protects public figures from the paparazzi mobs that follow them, from the far less than flattering pictures and even from the videos of the smack down by a friend or relative like that being chatted about on the net involving Jay-Z Solange.

I for one don’t buy the magazines that buy these photos, I don’t look at the internet sites that promote them and I don’t find it even interesting to hear about it because what it is really about is causing pain and embarrassment. It would be different if a public official was engaging in inappropriate conduct, but even then, Please Please no more pictures of congressman in underwear. A simple statement that Congressman so and so was again caught text a picture of his private parts.

The bottom line is that there are plenty of laws that might apply such as intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the concepts of freedom of speech and freedom of the press become shields allowing others to make lots of money off the pain of others. So although it may be legal to video tape people that have no expectation of privacy, (in an elevator but not in a restroom) especially for a legitimate purpose, that does not mean it should be broadcast on the net.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Should You See a Marriage Counselor or a Divorce Lawyer?

In response to the great article on Huffington Post titled: Should you see a marriage counselor or a divorce lawyer?

If you want to know if you should divorce your spouse, see a counselor.

The push in the article is to see a marriage counselor. I agree, see a marriage counselor to evaluate if you should get divorced. If you can handle it, I tell people asking me about a divorce, to consider doing some counseling independent of the marriage counseling. Even if the divorce goes forward the individuals counselor is a huge help.

All too often all the frustrations and problems that led people to my office continue to play out in the divorce, as well as new issues such as possible sense of foreboding and loss. Clients often bring those issues up when speaking with me. I don't mind but I then continue to encourage them to bring the issues to a trained counselor who is both better equipped to handle those issues and who likely charges half of what I charge per hour. :) Divorce is hard for most of my clients - I am there for them on all legal issues, and I am there for them, if they ask, to the extent I can help, on other issues as well.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hospitals Battle Medical Malpractice Costs

The recent Hartford Business article on medical malpractice costs is helpful in understanding a few of the purposes of our justice system which allows each one of us to sue doctors and hospitals in search of Justice for our injuries caused by the negligence of the medical establishment.

1. As noted the hospitals have been reducing claims by increasing quality control. One of the purposes of the system that allows us to force them to pay for injuries is exactly that to encourage responsible medicine, medicine that considers the best interests of the patients.

2. As noted, some hospitals have instituted a program of acknowledging their mistakes and paying the damages without requiring a long drawn out process. They system is designed to encourage just that and sometimes it works.
3. It has always been the law that you need a doctor to say another doctor was negligent. It is wonderful that the public understand that juries have always received guidance from practitioners in a similar area of medicine to help them deliver Justice to those involved.

Those of us who sue professionals, whether it be lawyers, accountants or doctors, are focused only on bringing cases where someone has been injured due to the negligence of another. Quick and fair resolution is the goal, the system unfortunately does not always provide for either. These rights have to be fought for. The number of errors that occur in our medical system is staggering. Most of the time there is no real damage, but when a loved one is the victim of the negligence of a health care provider we are lucky to live in a country which provides an opportunity to present the truth to a Jury.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lawyers in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit With Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez a name synonymous with great ball player and also synonymous with illegal steroid use. It is no surprise that he would sue for medical malpractice if he was not told by the Yankee doctor that a Scan revealed a problem which could make it risky for him to continue to play. If true the doctor may have put the team’s interest in having it's player ready to play, ahead of Rodriguez’ interest of taking more time off in light of the risks of playing injured.

It is no surprise that the lawyers for the doctor will want a video deposition of Rodriguez which can be leaked to the news outlets. It is just another tool in the bag of tricks lawyers who represent insurance companies use to make it hard on the injured party.

Rodriguez is accustomed to playing by his own set of rules. Normally I would side with the injured party, but it is hard to be empathetic for “poor” Alex Rodriguez. The rules, at least in Connecticut where I practice law, allow for video tape depositions. There seems to be some justice in Rodriquez having to play, at least in a lawsuit he brought, by the rules. I hope to see that video tape deposition on the news someday. How about you?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dewey LeBoeuf Wreckage

Dewey LeBoeuf – oh the arrogance of the powerful. Power corrupts. If the allegations are true of course. The allegations are simply that the leaders of this oh so powerful law firm, where the key partners made millions, for cooking the books to get money from banks and others. Too many lawyers succumb to the temptation of playing games. Lawyers are trusted with the money of their clients, they are trusted with the cases that their clients need pursued, when they cause damage they should be brought to justice.

When the leaders in a company by fraud damage the company, they damage the other owners. We see this in the press all the time, with big corporations being mismanaged by the leadership team. The other owners here are the innocent partners in the law firm. I am left to wonder if some of the other partners in the firm who may not have known about the cooking of the books will now sue the guilty, again assuming the allegations are true. They should, they too were damaged.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When An Attorney Won't Take Your Case

A recent article from The Epoch Times, titled "Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won't Take Your Case":

"More than 450 attorneys were surveyed for the Emory study, “Uncovering the Silent Victims of the American Medical Liability System[11],” which found that three out of four medical malpractice attorneys reject more than 90 percent of the cases they screen [12]. The study found:
The study recommended reforming the system by increasing funding for legal services [16], so attorneys could be compensated for their time; making defendants who lose a case pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees [17]; or sending malpractice complaints to an administrative system [18] with neutral adjudicators and medical experts so patients wouldn’t need an attorney."

The simple reality is that we have to devote tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes thousands of hours on each medical or legal malpractice case we take on. We are committed to the cases we take. We spend the money and we spend the time. Unfortunately that means we cant take on many of the cases that come to our attention. Call us. Maybe your case will be one we will take on. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Medicine for Medical Malpractice Claims

From the blog of a medical malpractice defense firm, four common things that can strengthen a defense:

1. Documentation, Documentation, Documentation: Testimony of recollections and how things are normally done can be considered as evidence, she says. “They are much more effective, however, when they’re backed up with documentation in the medical record.”

2. Use of Plain Language: “Doctors who communicate the rationale for their decisions in clear concise language are in a much better position to defend those decisions later, and their decisions are less likely to be questioned in the first place,” Christian writes.

3. Educated Office Staff: Christian says malpractice cases often involve communication by office staff to people calling for appointments or refills, canceling appointments or sharing concerns during office visits, so it’s key that the staff understands documentation and communication procedures.

4. Intelligent, Caring Physicians: “Jurors want to know that the doctor had the patient’s best interest in mind and used his or her best judgement to make a rational decision,” she says.

This is all true in my experience as well. Yes doctors who follow these rules or make a jury believe they did, will do better when sued for malpractice. Keep in mind that these are the same impressions that a lawyer will try to convey to a jury in a legal malpractice claim against the lawyer. All of this can be true and the lawyer may still be responsible for legal malpractice. All of these can be true and a jury could and should find against the doctor or the lawyer if that doctor or lawyer committed malpractice which resulted in damage to the patient or client.

We sue doctors. We sue lawyers. We sue accountants. We sue all professionals. But only if they breached the standard of care (committed malpractice) which resulted in serious injury. Call us if you have questions.

Read more:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Client Information is Privileged

Lawyers simply are forbidden from sharing stories about their clients. No bragging about who they represent. No jokes about who they represent. No describing in detail the case that was so interesting. Unless, of course, they have permission of the client.  If the client says it is ok, then it is ok.

Even if the client information is not privileged, the lawyer can't share it. Privileged information is the secret you tell your lawyer - "I really did kill that guy and I hid the murder weapon in the woods". That is a privileged statement and the lawyer obviously can't tell anyone.

Here is the less obvious secret, or not so secret information, that the lawyer can't blab about. In Connecticut, secret or not, if someone has filed for a divorce it is public information. But a lawyer who represents a client in a divorce shouldn't go telling people. Why? Because confidential information, or information that a client may reasonably want to be held in confidence, is still protected.  Even if it is not a privilege, even if it is not a secret, the lawyer should not talk about it without permission of the client.  There are of course exceptions and other rules that apply so speak to a lawyer if you think your lawyer has blabbed when he or she should have kept quiet. 

Bottom line is expect your lawyer to respect your privacy even if the information is not privileged.