1 107 June 2009 The Lawyers Of Hill Boren s Desk VOLUNTARY LAYOFFS, BUYOUTS, SEVERANCE PACKAGES, WOLVES IN SHEEP S CLOTHING? T. Robert Hill Ricky L. Boren Christopher L. Taylor Jeffrey P. Boyd Gregory A. Petrinjak James R. Krenis Shannon L. Toon Tamara L. Hill Mike Hartup Laura Bailey Featured In This Issue Voluntary Layoffs, Buyouts, Severance Packages, Wolves In Sheep s Clothing? Won t You Be Our Friend Honors and Accomplishments Trouble Hearing Proving a Social Security Disability Case Truth About Gardasil Top Ten Medical Events That Should NEVER Happen As many of West Tennessee s factories and employers fall on hard times due to the failing economy, they come to their workforce with what appears to be a golden parachute of options to ease the blow of being let go. Options range from voluntary layoffs, which allow employees to obtain unemployment benefits until the company gets back on its feet to voluntary buyouts, which are used to reduce the workforce with lump sum cash payments and finally voluntary severance packages, which are in the same vein as buyouts and are directed at a particular segment of the workforce and may include salary continuation along with benefits. Generally, these efforts by the employers are couched in terms of we must do this or the plant will shut down. Thus, workers are faced with a devil s bargain...take the money offered now and be the first out on the street looking for the few jobs that may be out there, or take your chances that the company makes it and you have a job six months or a year from now. On the front end, taking the money and running sounds like the way to go. However, an employee may be making a HUGE financial mistake by taking this approach. Accepting these deals could spell disaster for employees that have a prior workers compensation settlement, or a pending workers compensation claim. If you have settled your workers compensation case in the last seven or eight years, and returned to work for the same employer, most likely you have settled for a sum under the cap. If you have settled your case under the cap and lose your job through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to reopen your case and get more workers compensation benefits for your injury. THIS MAY NOT BE THE CASE if you take a voluntary layoff, buyout or severance package. In many cases, the money that may be made available by reopening the case can be substantially more than the employee could hope to receive in either of the three plant saving measures. In addition, money obtained through a workers compensation settlement is TAX FREE. BOTTOM LINE: Do not accept any offer of a voluntary layoff, buyout or severance package without first consulting with a Hill-Boren, PC attorney if you have had a prior or pending workers compensation settlement or if you feel that you will likely have a workers compensation claim in the immediate future. Civil Justice Building Won t You Be Our Friend? Civil Justice Building Online social networking has never been more popular, and now you can follow the Hill-Boren Law Firm on one of the largest sites around. Hill-Boren has created a presence on Facebook to share information with the Facebook community. The latest product recalls, recent Hill-Boren settlements and information about the lawyers of Hill-Boren are just some of the important topics featured on our profile. The Hill-Boren profile also contains a link to the Hill-Boren Social Security Disability Blog written by Attorney Michael Hartup. The blog features articles and discussions about Social Security Disability claims and settlements. You will have to sign up for a Facebook account to see the Hill-Boren Law Firm profile, but it is both free and easy. Just visit today! Over 100 Facebook users have already become our friends ; don t miss out on all of the excitement!
2 Honors and Accomplishments The Lawyers of Hill-Boren Attorney T. Robert Hill recently served as a Faculty Member at the 2009 Tennessee Association of Justice Midwinter Convention. Mr. Hill s many years of legal experience enabled him to teach the course New Rules of Practice in a Polarized Society to fellow attorneys. Mr. Hill has been honored to serve the Tennessee Association of Justice as a Past President, Life Member, Vice President, Secretary and a member of its Board of Governors. Attorney James Krenis has been selected by the Tennessee Supreme Court to serve a three-year term as a committee member to the Board of Professional Responsibility. The Board of Professional Responsibility was created to enforce disciplinary rules for lawyers in Tennessee. Mr. Krenis is honored to be involved in the process of upholding the ethical conduct of Tennessee lawyers. T. Robert Hill has been elected Chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party for As Chairman, Mr. Hill plans to increase membership in the party through active outreach and expand the party s participation in local and state political races. Brenda Shepherd of Hill-Boren was elected to the office of Secretary for the Party. The new MCDP leadership is encouraging all Madison County Democrats to get involved with the new Democratic Party. Hill-Boren Co-founder and Madison County Democratic Party Chairman T. Robert Hill was recently asked to speak at the Celebration of the First 100 Days of the Obama Presidency held at Union University in Jackson, TN. The event, sponsored by the MCDP and the Union University Democrats, drew four Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls: Ward Cammack, former State House Majority Leader Kim McMillan, State Senator Roy Herron and Mike McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned McWherter. Over 150 people attended. Trouble Hearing? You May Have A Work Related Injury When most people think of workers compensation injuries, they think of back injuries, shoulder injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. What is most often overlooked is the damage that occurs to an employee s hearing when they work in a loud factory environment, usually without hearing protection. The Tennessee Workers Compensation Act provides that permanent damage to an employee s hearing is an injury that results in benefits. The benefits may include hearing aids, medical treatment and cash awards. How do I know if I work in a plant that may cause hearing loss? In most cases, TOSHA does noise level testing and if the plant puts out enough noise to cause hearing loss, they require periodic hearing testing and the use of hearing protection. However, just because you currently have to wear hearing protection does not mean you cannot recover workers compensation benefits. If you worked in the plant prior to the hearing protection requirement, your hearing may already be damaged and you may be able to recover your losses. How do I know if I have hearing loss? If you have to have the television or radio at full blast to hear it, or if you miss conversation or routine noises like the phone, your hearing may be damaged. Your friends and family may notice changes in your hearing that you miss. Don t be fooled by the testing. Just because your company does periodic hearing tests and you have not been told that you have a hearing loss does not mean it is not there. In a lot of instances, the testing is done, but the employees are not provided with a copy of the results or they are not told that they have a significant hearing loss and should seek medical attention. Additionally, in a lot of instances the loss is so gradual that the employee does not notice it but it is revealed by the testing. A simple audiogram can determine if you have hearing loss. This test is low cost and non-invasive. BOTTOM LINE If you have worked in a factory for years without hearing protection, and then the company implemented a hearing conservation program, or if your company does periodic testing for hearing loss, you may work in a plant environment that is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage. Call Hill-Boren, PC today for a hearing loss workers compensation claim evaluation.
3 Proving a Social Security Disability Case To prove a claim for a Social Security disability case you have to establish the elements of a five step process. First, you must prove that you are not currently working. Second, you must prove that you have a severe impairment that places significant restrictions on your ability to perform work-like activities. Third, if you are able to demonstrate that your impairment meets the requirements of one of Social Security s presumptively disabling conditions, you win. If you are not able to prove your case at this step, which most people are unable to do, you must prove at step four that you can no longer perform the requirements of your past job. Finally, at step five, you must prove that there is no other work you can do. The steps may sound fairly straight forward, but it takes a skilled professional to find, gather, present, and argue the evidence necessary to establish each of these steps. If you are considering tackling a Social Security disability claim, you should also consider putting the knowledge of a lawyer who only handles Social Security cases to work for you. Call Hill-Boren today for a free evaluation of your case. Recent SETTLEMENTS Greg Petrinjak Attorney Greg Petrinjak represented a man who had worked at a local factory for over 30 years. He developed serious problems with his back due to bending, lifting, and twisting on the job, but the company doctor said this was just arthritis and not caused by work. Mr. Petrinjak took the case to trial and the client received an award of $69,314, plus lifetime medical benefits related to the back injury. Greg Petrinjak represented a young girl who was injured in a car accident and sustained serious cuts and abrasions to her head. She made a good recovery, but was left with scars on her scalp. The case settled for the insurance policy limits of $50,000. Mr. Petrinjak represented a man who suffered injuries to his hand in a car wreck. The client was unable to work for several months, but fortunately made a good recovery and was released by the doctor to return to his regular duties. The case was settled for $32,000. Greg represented a man who was injured when he fell and struck his shoulder on a machine at work. As a result, he underwent surgery to the shoulder. The client ultimately lost his job because he could not perform overhead work. The case was settled for $43,000. Jeff Boyd Attorney Jeff Boyd represented a truck driver who gradually developed neck pain driving on bumpy interstate highways. The driver developed excruciating neck pain and numbness into his fingers. He went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a herniated disc. After surgery, the client was unable to continue as an over the road truck driver. The case settled for $263,036 with lifetime medical benefits. Jeff Boyd represented a client riding around in a car after school. A teenager driver tried to beat a yellow light and crashed into the side of the car. The client sustained face and dental injuries and had medical bills approaching $70,000. The case was settled for the policy limits of $100,000. Mr. Boyd obtained a $40,000 verdict on behalf of a Henderson County man who was negligently shot by the Lexington Police Department in the attempt to execute a search warrant. The trial judge found that the joint Henderson County Sherriff/Lexington Police Department Tactical Unit negligently designed and executed the plan that resulted in the shooting. The client survived with no permanent effects from his injuries.
4 The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed a verdict Attorney Jeff Boyd obtained on behalf of a Goodyear employee for loss of hearing. The verdict, approximately $56,000, was for the hearing that was lost by the employee between 1968 and 1983, before Goodyear initiated a hearing conservation program. The medical experts testified that once the hearing had been damaged, any subsequent efforts to protect the hearing would not have prevented the progression of the client s hearing loss. James Krenis Attorney James Krenis represented a Hispanic client who did repetitive manual labor and suffered injuries. Her employer denied her injuries were a result of her job. Mr. Krenis arranged for the Department of Labor to order medical treatment. The treating physician said she was not permanently damaged after surgery on her arm but admitted it was a very severe injury. At trial, a Madison County judge ruled in favor of the client and she was awarded over $60,000. Mr. Krenis represented a Lauderdale County resident who hurt his knee while working as a mechanic. As a result of a previous knee problem, the insurance company only paid for his medical treatment until his doctor said he needed surgery, and then treatment was denied. His employer went bankrupt and he could not get another job while he was injured. Mr. Krenis proved to the Department of Labor after several depositions that the surgery should be paid by the company and that the client should get workers compensation for the time he was unable to work full time. The ruling was in favor of the client. The company appealed the decision but the client won the appeal as well. Confidential Settlement. James Krenis represented a Hispanic construction worker who fell 17 feet from a roof. The fall resulted in a broken femur and arm for the client. Although the insurance company and doctor said he was fine, Mr. Krenis was able to win the client a $132,000 settlement. Shannon Toon Shannon L. Toon represented a 52-year old baggage handler who sustained injuries to his back, neck and both arms as a result of lifting heavy bags from the carousel to a cart. He was diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, a lumbar sprain and a herniated disc in his neck as well as degenerative disc disease. Ultimately, surgery was performed for his arm and neck complaints. However, he continued to experience pain in his back, neck and arms as well as numbness and tingling in his extremities. The employer and the insurance carrier disputed compensability of the claim. Despite their denial, Mr. Toon was able to resolve the workers compensation claim for $125,000. Shannon L. Toon represented a 45-year old truck driver/forklift operator/security officer who injured his left knee and shoulder when he stepped in a hole on his trailer while securing a load. He was diagnosed with a left knee sprain and rotator cuff and labral/cartilage tears in his left shoulder. He was treated conservatively and released for the left knee injury. However, multiple surgeries were required for the left shoulder injuries. He continues to have decreased strength, numbness and constant pain in the left shoulder as well as occasional pain in the left knee. Following the accident, he was terminated for reasons unrelated to his work injuries. After a successful trial, Mr. Toon was able to negotiate a monetary settlement of $209,500. In addition, medical care for these injuries will remain open for the remainder of his life. Ricky Boren Ricky Boren represented a 77-year old lady that was a passenger in a van that was involved in an automobile accident. The client had to have shoulder surgery as a result of her accident. The case was tried and a verdict was returned in favor of our client in the amount of $202,593. Chris Taylor A Memphis woman was terminated after returning to work from a work injury. She sustained a neck injury and had to undergo surgery. After resolving her workers compensation claim for over $100,000, she filed a retaliatory discharge case. Prior to the trial in that matter, she settled for an additional $60, for the discharge. A man was waiting on a tow truck company to tow the tractor trailer he was driving. When the tow truck driver arrived, he immediately began to hook the tractor trailer and lift it off the ground without informing the driver, who had retreated to the cab of the tractor trailer. The driver attempted to exit the truck and fell because he did not know the truck had been lifted off the ground. The driver suffered a hip injury. After litigation, the case settled for $70, An employee suffered trauma to her right shoulder. Plaintiff was later diagnosed with adhesive capsulitis in her shoulder and had to undergo a surgical procedure. After employee returned to work, the case settled for $24, Correction: The Nursing Home Patient Act of 2009 was dubbed The Kill Old People Cheap Bill by Rep. Hank Fincher, not AARP as stated in the March Legal Brief. Hurray for Rep. Fincher.
5 The Truth About Gardasil The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer. In 2006, Merck, Inc. made a vaccine, called Gardasil, to protect girls and young women against contracting certain strains of the virus. Since June 2006, more than 23 million young women and girls ages have received the vaccine. At first glance, this would sound like a great thing... a way to protect your daughter from cervical cancer. Certainly that is what Merck wants you to think. But, what do they know about the dangerous side effects that they are not telling you while they profit from the vaccine distribution? Well, first, they know that over 30 young women and girls have DIED after taking Gardasil. One death reported to the Centers for Disease Control was that of an 11-year-old girl who died of a heart attack soon after receiving the Gardasil injection. Second, they know about the numerous other injuries that can be caused by Gardasil such as paralysis, Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (which slowly paralyzes the body from the bottom up, leaving its victims on ventilators for an extended period of time followed by countless months of rehabilitation to learn to function again, if and when the paralysis recedes), seizures, stroke and pancreatitis. These side effects are related to the damages Gardasil causes to the autoimmune system. Despite their knowledge, Merck continues to aggressively market Gardasil on television. Not only that, Merck has had their paid lobbyists convince legislators in 20 states to make the Gardasil vaccine MANDATORY for school-age girls. As a nurse, a lawyer and the mother of a teenage daughter, I considered Gardasil, but then I did some research. Gardasil is not effective against all types of HPV and not all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Merck is playing on the fear we all have of cancer to sell their product. Before you choose to get vaccinated, or have your daughter or granddaughter vaccinated, do your homework. Ask yourself; does the risk associated with the vaccine outweigh the limited benefit of the vaccine itself? If you or a loved one has suffered any negative side effects after receiving the Gardasil HPV vaccination, call Hill-Boren today for a case evaluation. Tamara Hill, R.N. J.D. Top Ten Medical Events That Should NEVER Happen Hill-Boren reviews hundreds of medical malpractice cases every year. Due to many factors, we are only able to accept about 20 new malpractice cases and we are often asked which cases get our attention. Recently, the National Quality Forum published a list of medical events that should never, ever happen to a medical patient. Most of these events take place while a patient is being cared for in a healthcare facility while others can happen anywhere, even a patient s home. We have listed the top ten events that are definite red flags for medical malpractice. 1. Surgery performed on the wrong body part 2. Surgery performed on the wrong patient 3. Wrong surgical procedure on a patient 4. Retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery or other procedure 5. Intraoperative or immediately post-operative death in a normally healthy patient 6. Patient death or serious disability associated with the use of contaminated drugs, devices, or biologics provided by the healthcare facility 7. Patient death or serious disability associated with intravascular air embolism that occurs while being cared for in a healthcare facility 8. Infant discharged to the wrong person 9. Patient death or serious disability associated with patient disappearance for more than four hours 10. Patient death or serious disability associated with a medication error If you or a loved one has experienced any of these events, call Hill-Boren today for a free case evaluation.
6 107 P.O. Box 3539 Jackson, TN June 08 June 2009 La primera consulta es totalmente gratuita. Le ofrecemos la máxima confidencialidad. Hablamos español. Return Service Requested visit us at Dangerous Product Docket Rhino Trasylol risperdal More than 120,000 Yamaha Rhino All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) manufactured by Yamaha Motor Corporation have been recalled. The model numbers of the recalled vehicles are the Rhino 450, 660 and 700. The vehicles are being recalled for repairs intended to prevent accidents that have resulted in 46 confirmed deaths and hundreds of injuries. The Yamaha Rhinos have design flaws that make them unstable and susceptible to low-speed rollovers. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a rollover accident, contact Hill-Boren. Trasylol, a drug manufactured by Bayer, was pulled from the market in November This drug is most often used to prevent bleeding during heart bypass surgery. Before it was removed from the market, about a third of all bypass patients had received Trasylol. The drug was later linked to kidney failure, often leading to the patient s death. Trasylol was also proven to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or encephalopathy (degenerative brain disease). If you or a family member have experienced kidney failure or other negative side effects after open heart surgery, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. Risperdal (also known as Risperidone) is an antipsychotic drug that is used for treating schizophrenia, bipolar mania, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and autism. While the FDA has not yet recalled this drug, studies involving Risperdal suggest an increased risk of diabetes and stroke. It has recently been linked to the development of breasts in teenage boys. If Janssen Pharmaceutical knew the risks of taking Risperdal were more dangerous than it claimed, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Our lawyers are investigating the circumstances of these cases. w
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