April 2011 Archives

April 27, 2011

Christian Mester Becomes Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

millionDollarLogo.jpgChristian Mester recently became a member of both the MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUMtm and the MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM.tm Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
Christian concentrates his practice on representing those injured by health care providers and is chair of the firm's medical malpractice department. Christian and his entire department (which includes two registered nurse attorneys) are honored to represent plaintiffs in medical negligence cases - they strive to hold those responsible for causing injury to others accountable. In one recent case, he settled a case on behalf of a brain damaged baby for over Five Million Dollars. This money allows the child to maximize his medical care needs to live as normal of a life as possible following the tragic events surrounding his birth - where the health care providers ignored hours of warning signs that, had they responded, would have prevented his injuries.
Please join the lawyers and staff here at GFM in congratulating Christian for this most recent accomplishment!
And remember, if you have been injured, or know of a loved one who has, by the negligence of a health care provider such as a hospital, doctor, midwife, nurse, or nursing home, then call Christian Mester at 1-888-213-8140 for a free consultation.

April 23, 2011

Goldberg's Response to Washington Post Article About Spillionaires

Our law firm, in conjunction with Finckbeiner & Robin, represent many of the fishermen, oystermen and small business owners that reside in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana in their Gulf Oil Spill Claims. These hard working individuals have had their lives destroyed as a result of the negligence of BP, Transocean, Haliburton and the other Defendants. Well last week, on April 14, 2011 The Washington Post ran a front page story titled "In Gulf Coast, streams of 'Spillionaires' which I felt unfairly characterized our clients as taking advantage of the situation in Louisiana. None of the clients we represent have become rich from the spill. In fact, to date, none of our clients have been made whole as a result of the spill and many of the fishermen still cannot fish and the oystermen cannot harvest oysters. To read the article click here. post article unfairly characterizing fishermen as spillionaires.pdf

Kevin Goldberg wrote a letter to the editor of The Washington Post. The letter read:

The April 14, 2011 front page story titled In Gulf Coast, streams of 'spillionaires' completely mischaracterizes the plight of the fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers and waterfront small business owners in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana in the year since the spill. As an attorney representing dozens of fishermen, oystermen and shrimpers from St. Bernard Parish, I have firsthand knowledge of the fact that these waterfront communities in areas such as Shell Beach, Hopedale and Delacroix Island are still devastated as a result of the oil spill. Many of the fishermen in these communities are now suffering from depression and other mental health issues because their livelihood has been taken away from them, and they are now unable to provide for their families. While some fishing areas off of the Louisiana Coast have reopened, there simply is not a market for Gulf of Mexico Seafood at this time. Nobody is buying the oysters. Most of the fishermen have not received anything close to adequate compensation from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility or BP. The fishermen struggle every day to put food on the table to feed their families, and to keep their houses out of foreclosure.

For the Washington Post To publish a front page story suggesting that "all is well" on the Gulf Coast and that these devastated communities of fishermen are gaming the system and have become millionaires is not only inaccurate, but it also does a disservice to these struggling communities. As we approach the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill the public needs to know that the suffering and losses continue to grow.

The bottom line is that the people we represent in Gulf Oil Spill lawsuits are some of the strongest and hardest working people you will ever meet. After Hurricaine Katrina, they rebuilt their homes, and were just getting back on their feet when the BP Gulf Oil Spill hit in 2010. Now, a year later, the fishermen and oystermen in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana are realizing that unlike Katrina, this is not the kind of disaster that they can rebuild and recovery quickly from. Please keep the fishermen and oystermen of Louisiana in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to struggle.

April 21, 2011

Curtis Cannon obtains jury verdict over 7 times State Farm's Last Offer!

While the lawyers at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester obtain some very large verdicts on behalf of their injured clients, on a day to day basis, we take pride in even some of the smaller verdicts where we just absoulutely crush the insurance company's last offer. A perfect example of this is the jury trial that Goldberg, Finnegan Mester Attorney Curtis Cannon had this week in Prince George's County Circuit Court. The Defendant struck our client from behind at 30 mph while she was at a complete stop in traffic. Our client sustained myofascial connective tissue injuries to her neck and low back as well as wrist sprains. She had roughly 10 weeks of physical therapy treatments and missed 5 weeks of work incurring $5,300.00 in medical bills and $5,800.00 in lost wages. The Defendants car was totaled with severe property damage. However, because he had a car lower to the ground than our client's car, our client's car showed little damage. In a sneaky maneuver, the insurance company for the Defendant took pictures of our client's car but never took any pictures of the Defendant's car and both cars were repaired and/or discarded prior to our representation of the client. The Defendant's insurance company (State Farm) offered just $2,000.00 to settle the case claiming this was a "minor impact" collision based on the photos to our client's car. We filed suit in District Court seeking a bench trial (a judge before a judge rather than a jury). State Farm, in a tactic they use to increase the costs of litigation for injured victims, demanded a jury trial and the case was removed to the Circuit Court for Prince George's County Maryland. Discovery revealed the Defendant was on a cell phone and reaching on the floor to pick up an ID badge prior to the collision which is the reason he slammed into our client's car at 30 mph. Despite this, the insurance company refused to admit liability for the accident, claiming the Plaintiff "cut off" the Defendant and was contributorily negligent. It was not until the day before trial did the defense admit liability. In addition, they paid a defense medical examiner (DME) to provide opinions that the Plaintiff's medical care was not reasonable or necessary as a result of the collision (this State Farm doctor never even examined our client). We were able to achieve a significant victory prior to trial in which the Judge cut out more than half of the defense medical expert's report as irrelevant, not supported by the facts, and not having the proper legal foundation. This significantly weakened the Defense's arguments. Despite the Defense attacking the Plaintiff's credibility and accusing her of faking her injuries for monetary gain, the jury awarded our client $15,000.00. While not a million dollar judgment, the result was 7.5 times the only settlement offer in the case and illustrates the need to have an attorney as soon as possible in the case so key evidence is not lost.

If you are injured in a car accident in Maryland and the insurance company makes a low ball offer, don't be tempted to accept it. Hire a law firm that has a reputation for going to trial. Call Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester at 888-213-8140.

April 3, 2011

They should have taught us about this in Hebrew School! (This post has nothing to do with Maryland Personal Injury Law)

Get Picture.gifDid you know that even here in Maryland---in the year 2011--under Jewish law a civil divorce does not disolve the marriage under orthodox Jewish law. Only a religious divorce officially dissolves the marriage. Under orthodox judaisim, in order for a woman to remarry, she must obtain a "get" from her husband to completely dissolve the marriage, and to remarry another orthodox jew. Only the husband has the power to grant or withhold a "get." The rabbinic authorities cannot force the husband to grant a woman a get.

Growing up in Rockville, Maryland, I went to hebrew school 3 days a week. I pretty much hated hebrew school, and did not learn how to speak hebrew very well (I can read it though). I must not have been paying attention when they taught us about the law of orthodox judaism. Luckily, I have now been educated about Jewish Law as a result of Friday's opinion from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in Lang v. Levi (The opinion was written by Judge Zarnoch).

The opinion delves into fascinating issues of rabbinical law, Beth Din, and how rabinical law works along side the civil law in Maryland domestic relations proceedings.
The nutshell version is this---An orthodox jewish couple from Montgomery County, Maryland got separated and divorced. To make sure that the man did not improperly withhold a get, they had the forsight to have a prenuptual agreement providing that that the woman would receive $100 a day from the time they no longer lived together until the time the husband granted a "get." They also had an arbitration agreement providing that the Beth Din (Jewish Rabinical Court) would decide issues regarding the prenuptual agreement. The woman tried to claim $108,000.00 as her entitlement under the prenuptual agreement. The rabinical court rejected her request and gave her only $10,200.00. The husband and wife both appealed the $10,200.00 award to the higher level rabinical court known as the Av Beth Din (she wanted more money, and he didn't want to pay the $10,200). The supreme rabinical court (Av Beth Dim) eliminated the $10,200.00 award to the woman, and decided that she should not get anything because the husband offered a timely get. Basically the rabbis reasoned that the purpose of the $100/ day fine provision was to make sure that the man gave the woman a timely get. In this case, Mr. Levi gave his ex-wife a timely get and there was no reason under Jewish law to enforce teh provision of the prenuptual agreement providing for the $100/day penalty. Ms. Lang, the wife, appealed to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland attempting to vacate the decision of the rabinical court and enforce the contract. She also challenged the arbitration provision of the prenuptual agreement.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the decision of the rabinical court and basically explained that a Maryland Court is forbidden from delving into interpretations of religious dogma and religious law.

This opinion is worth reading for anyone interested in learning about orthodox judaism's rabbinical court. I must say that I find it troubling that in 2011 a woman could be stuck in a marriage just because an orthodox jewish man does not want to give her a get. This just does not seem right to me. Apparently, in New York when a couple gets divorced the divorcing couple must affirm to the Court that steps have been taken to obtain a get thereby removing any religious barriers to marriage. In Maryland similar legislation was proposed but it did not pass.