BRIEFCASE. Roth, Brown, Keegan, Mazza and Gold Selected by Super Lawyers. Bhattacharya Included on Rising Star List

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1 BRIEFCASE Roth, Brown, Keegan, Mazza and Gold Selected by Super Lawyers Partners Alan Roth, Abbott S. Brown, James F. Keegan, Anthony Mazza, and William L. Gold were named by Super Lawyers magazine as top attorneys in New Jersey for No more than five percent of all New Jersey attorneys in more than 60 areas of practice are named to the New Jersey Super Lawyers list, which is published in the April 2010 edition of New Jersey Monthly and in New Jersey Super Lawyers magazine. The research team at Super Lawyers undertakes a rigorous multi-phase selection process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, independent evaluation of candidates by the attorney-led research staff, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a good-standing and disciplinary check. One of the most critical steps in the Super Lawyers selection process is the general survey, in which ballots are mailed to every attorney in the state who has been licensed to practice for five years or more, approximately 32,000 lawyers. Attorneys are asked to nominate the best lawyers they have personally observed in action whether as opposing counsel or co-counsel, or through other first-hand observation in the courtroom. The intent is to discourage lawyers from voting for others based purely on reputation. Each lawyer is given a score based on the number of votes he or she receives and the source of those votes. Votes received from lawyers in other firms count for significantly more points than votes received from lawyers in the same firm. Our attorneys were named Super Lawyers in the following specialty areas: Alan Roth and Anthony Mazza in Plaintiffs Personal Injury General; Abbott S. Brown and William L. Gold in Medical Malpractice Plaintiff; and James F. Keegan in Business Litigation. BW Bhattacharya Included on Rising Star List K. Raja Bhattacharya has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers New Jersey Rising Star list for He was chosen in the specialty area of Business Litigation. Ballots are mailed to the most recent group named to the Super Lawyers list: the top five percent of attorneys in the state. Those named to the Super Lawyers list are asked to vote for the best attorneys who are either 40 or under or who have been practicing 10 or fewer years. They are instructed to vote for lawyers they have personally observed in action whether as opposing counsel or co-counsel, or through other first-hand courtroom observation. (Continued on page 2)

2 Bhattacharya continued from page 1 In addition to the general survey, the attorney-led research team reviews the credentials of potential Rising Stars candidates and assigns points based on a set of defined evaluation criteria. The research department evaluates each candidate based on: verdicts and settlements; transactions; representative clients; experience; honors and awards; bar and other professional activity; education and employment; and other outstanding achievements. The point totals from the general survey and research process are then added to arrive at a final tally. The lawyers are ranked by point totals and no more than 2.5 percent of the best up-andcoming attorneys in the state are named to the Rising Stars list. To ensure a diverse and well-balanced list, the research staff considers factors such as firm size, practice area and geographic location. The Rising Stars list includes both private practice attorneys and attorneys in non-private practice areas such as prosecutors, in-house counsel, judges and public service lawyers. After serving as a law clerk at Bendit Weinstock, Raja joined the firm as an associate in He practices in the areas of commercial litigation, general litigation, landlord/tenant law, franchise law, and personal injury law. Settlement in Mold Case B endit Weinstock recently settled a case on behalf of a client who became severely ill due to toxic mold contamination of his condominium unit located in Weehawken, New Jersey. The client purchased his condominium unit in early 2001 and shortly thereafter began to experience debilitating sinus infections, extreme fatigue, dizziness, disorientation and cognitive impairment, which ultimately required him to resign from his job. Our client was diagnosed with Selective Antibody O n May 2, 2009, Governor Corzine signed the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Act, effective as of July 1, This new law applies to most private and public employers in the state and is funded by a new payroll tax on employees, which became effective January 1, The Act provides an employee with up to six weeks paid leave either to care for a family member suffering from a serious health condition or to bond with a newborn or adopted child under the age of 19. There is an exception allowed for children over the age of 19 if they are incapable of self-care. Eligible employees can take advantage of this act intermittently, using 42 separate days, or consecutively for 30 days. Eligibility Deficiency with Normal Immunoglobins (SADNI). Bendit Weinstock brought suit against the condominium association, the attorneys who handled the real estate closing, and the real estate brokers who were involved in the sale, claiming damages for the physical injuries, lost wages, and loss of value in the condominium suffered by the client. We argued that these parties were aware or should have been aware of the mold contamination prior to the sale of the unit to our client. The firm was is determined on the amount of wages earned in the duration of base weeks, which is when an employee earns $143 or more per week for 20 consecutive weeks or if he/she earns $7,200 or more over the 52 weeks prior. While employers are not required to keep an employee s position vacant, the employee will likely be able to obtain a settlement in an amount in excess of $900,000 for our client. The matter was handled by partner William L. Gold and associate K. Raja Bhattacharya. BW New Jersey s New Family Leave Program entitled to reinstatement due to other state and federal laws. Furthermore, employers are allowed to require that employees seeking to take advantage of this program use a maximum of two weeks (out of the potential six week paid leave) as part of sick, vacation, or other paid time off. Businesses with fifty or more employees should consult the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act for potential limitations on the application of this program. For more information about the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Act, contact the Department of Labor and Workforce Development at BW

3 Bergé Active in Healthcare Issues P eter I. Bergé, an associate with Bendit Weinstock since 2004, continues his medicolegal teaching activities as well as his medical volunteer work. He has been a licensed physician assistant (PA) since 1983 and maintains his license in New York State. Peter also lectures on legal and medical topics to local and national audiences. In April of 2009, Peter presented a program on legal aspects of hospital-acquired infections at the annual Boardwalk Conference of the New Jersey Association for Justice in Atlantic City. This was his second time presenting at the Boardwalk medical malpractice program. In April and October of 2009, Peter, an adjunct faculty member at Pace University s Physician Assistant Education Program, lectured to senior PA students on medical and legal issues. In September, he was a speaker in a web seminar (Webinar) presented by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on emergency department malpractice cases. In October, he was invited to speak on a panel at Rutgers School of Law titled Obama and Sotomayor: The Age of Minority Leadership. The program addressed the impact of the election of Barack Obama as president and the appointment of Sonya Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court on minorities in the legal profession and on law in the United States. In November of 2009, Peter attended training on the H1N1 influenza virus (formerly known as swine flu ) given by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOMH) Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). He subsequently staffed a point of dispensing (POD) immunization center in Manhattan, where about 3,000 people were vaccinated against this novel Influenza A virus. Peter joined the MRC in It is a group of healthcare volunteers that was organized to provide public health services in response to severe outbreaks of life-threatening diseases or terrorist attacks with biological weapons. Vaccination PODs, such as this one, serve to test the vaccine or medication distribution system that would be used in case of public health emergencies. In March of 2010, Peter contributed a chapter titled Attorney Use of Medical Records in a Medical Malpractice Case to the newly published Medical Legal Aspects of Medical Records, Second Edition Volume I. Published by Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc., the book provides a comprehensive overview of medical records and their use in legal proceedings. BW Bendit Weinstock Charitable Fund Has Spring Fundraiser A message from Abbott S. Brown M ost families have been touched by breast cancer. Many members of my own family, including my father, and many of our clients and their families have suffered from this deadly disease. The Bendit Weinstock Charitable Fund, Inc. (BWCF), a registered 501(c)(3) fund, was created last year. This spring, the BWCF is raising funds for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. This is the Avon Foundation s largest annual fundraising initiative, and also one of the largest fundraising programs in the country (See: The organization raises money for awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research. The money raised is donated to local, regional, and national breast cancer organizations, with a relatively small percentage retained for administrative and fund-raising costs. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please send a check payable to the Bendit Weinstock Charitable Fund, Inc. All donations are, of course, fully tax deductible as per section 170 of the IRS Code. Additionally, every penny of every donation to the BWCF is donated to our designated charities. BW pays all administrative or other costs. The BWCF accounting records are open for inspection by anyone at anytime. The BWCF conducts several fund-raisers for various charities each year. As we have done for several years, we will continue to raise funds in the fall for food banks throughout the State of New Jersey. We hope you join us in this battle against breast cancer. BW

4 Evaluating Healthcare-Acquired Infections Desiderio Named to Advisory Council H ealthcare infection cases come in a variety of forms. The most commonly discussed type is bacterial infection related to surgery or other invasive procedures. In past years, healthcare-associated infections, particularly bacterial infections related to surgery, were thought to be unavoidable, and many attorneys rejected such cases. The increasing incidence of bacterial infections that are resistant to multiple antibiotics, such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, commonly pronounced mer-suh ) and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), has drawn attention to the role of simple hygiene measures in controlling the spread of such infections by healthcare providers. It is now clear that many, if not most, of those infections can indeed be prevented by the vigorous enforcement of simple handwashing measures. In fact, studies have shown that aggressive campaigns to encourage physicians to comply with simple routines such as washing their hands between patients under the threat of suspension of privileges are effective both in dramatically raising compliance of the physicians and in impressively decreasing the incidence of MRSA and similar infections. Active screening of patients for bacterial colonization (presence of bacteria without active infection), either by culture or by more rapid and effective DNA amplification testing, can also greatly decrease the incidence of healthcare-related drug resistant infections. The combination of enforcing hand hygiene and screening patients for hidden bacteria is even more effective. The success of these methods is so convincing that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now have a list of such preventable infections, and they will not pay hospitals for treatment if the conditions occurred in their facility. The challenge of assessing a health-facility-acquired infection claim, particularly when dealing with infections related to surgery, is differentiating between infections that the patient would likely have developed anyway from those that are probably the result of someone s negligence. According to Bendit Weinstock associate Peter Bergé, the approach to evaluation of claims relating to healthcare-acquired bacterial infections includes evaluating the timing of the infection in relation to healthcare facility admissions and surgical procedures; considering the location of the infection and types of invasive procedures that the patient has undergone; and looking at the specific type of bacteria involved and analyzing the antibiotic susceptibility/resistance patterns (bacterial culture and sensitivity test results) to determine how likely it would be under normal circumstances for that infection to occur in the absence of negligence. If you believe that you or a loved one has contracted a healthcare-related infection, please do not hesitate to contact Peter. He concentrates his practice in medical malpractice and is also a New York State licensed physician assistant with more than 30 years of healthcare experience. BW Roger J. Desiderio was recently appointed to the University Advisory Council for Seton Hall University. The Council is comprised of prominent alumni who are appointed by the University President. Their goal is to help advance Seton Hall s mission of forming servant leaders for a global society and strengthen the University s competitive position among the nation s Catholic institutions of higher education. Roger holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Seton Hall University and later graduated cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law. He joined Bendit Weinstock in 1981, became a partner in 1985 and currently serves as Managing Partner. Roger s practice is concentrated in the areas of general and personal injury litigation, as well as business and real estate transactions. He is the municipal attorney for the Township of Maplewood, having served in that capacity since 1994.

5 Abbott S. Brown Continues to Serve the Legal Community O ur partner, Abbott S. Brown, continues to serve and educate the legal community. Abbott has been a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Jury Selection and Voir Dire since its inception in This Committee was charged with the task of making recommendations to the Supreme Court regarding changes to the manner in which jurors are selected at the beginning of a trial, a process known as Voir Dire ( to speak the truth derived from the Latin, verum dicere). In conjunction with serving on the Committee, Abbott has recently lectured on this topic at three seminars: The Keys to Jury Selection in a Civil Case, for the New Jersey Institute For Continuing Legal Education, Voir Dire, for the New Jersey State Bar Association, and New Advances in Jury Selection, for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Educational Foundation. Abbott also served the Bar as counsel for the Amicus Curiae (a friend of the Court) in four cases. He represented the New Jersey Association for Justice in Khan v. Singh, 200 N.J. 82 (2009) and in Ryan v. Renny N.J. (2010); and he represented the Association of Trial Lawyers of America-N.J., in Gonzales v. Silver, 407 N.J. Super. 576 (App. Div. 2009) and in Cohen v. Cuomo, A T3 (App. Div. 2009). Abbott continues to chair the popular annual Hot Topics in Medical Malpractice Litigation for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and moderated the 13th version of this seminar in October 2009, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Abbott was also the Program Co-Chair of the Medical Malpractice seminar for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America on November 12 and 13, 2009, in Secaucus, New Jersey. Abbott also delivered lectures on The Doctrine of Apparent Employment in Medical Malpractice Litigation, and on Deposing Defendant Doctors in Medical Malpractice Cases, both for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Educational Foundation. Abbott continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Seton Hall University School of Law in the Health Law and Policy Program, where he currently teaches a medical malpractice course and has taught medical malpractice law since Finally, Abbott recently completed the fourth edition of his text titled New Jersey Medical Malpractice Law and the third edition of the companion volume, New Jersey Medical Malpractice Cases, both published in 2009 by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Also in 2009, he had two articles published in the New Jersey Law Journal: The Doctrine of Apparent Employment in Malpractice Cases and The Affidavit of Merit Redux. Although this was a very busy year, we are certain that Abbott will continue to serve and educate the legal community again in BW Patricia Holmes Marks 25 Years with Firm T his past year, Patricia Holmes celebrated twenty-five years as a legal secretary with Bendit Weinstock. She has provided secretarial and paralegal support to Roger Desiderio and Stanley Weiss. Born in London, England, Patricia and her family resided in many states, as her father was in the Air Force. She attended college and secretarial school in Long Beach, California and paralegal school in Fairfield, New Jersey. Patricia commenced working for Bendit Weinstock in She moved to Connecticut briefly, returning to New Jersey and Bendit Weinstock approximately nine months later. Patricia considers the firm of Bendit Weinstock not only a place to work but also her extended family. Patricia and her husband, Jimmie, make their home in Orange, New Jersey and have been married fourteen years. They share five children and nine grandchildren. She and Jimmie enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Patricia is an avid reader and enjoys music, knitting, crocheting, sewing and cooking. BW

6 Bergé Settles Two Cases P eter I. Bergé represented a diabetic woman who had been treated in a hospital emergency department for a puncture wound to the foot. Despite noting signs of infection and an abnormally high blood sugar, the doctor sent this high-risk patient home without specialist evaluations or proper instructions for follow-up or warnings of what specific signs and symptoms should prompt an immediate return to the hospital. She was also given a misleading handout regarding the antibiotic she was prescribed. As a result, the infection spread and she required disfiguring surgery and suffered emotional distress and worsening of her overall condition. The case settled for $425,000. Peter also represented the estate of a man who had been in an accident, resulting in a serious spinal injury. After urgent surgery he was taken to intensive care, where he was able to speak and denied having any pain. When he showed distress of some kind, instead of evaluating him, the nurse gave him pain LaPlante Joins Firm B endit Weinstock is proud to announce that Erica LaPlante joined the firm as an associate in January She had been a law clerk with the firm from Erica practices in the area of general litigation, estates and trusts administration, elder law, and environmental law. Erica received her J.D., with honors, from Seton Hall University Law School in Newark, in May She earned a B.A. degree in psychology from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York and attended Penn State University. Born in Albany, New York, Erica currently resides in West Orange, New Jersey. Erica is a member of the American Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and New York. After graduating from law school, she completed a two-year federal clerkship with the Atomic Safety Licensing Board Panel at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., focusing on nuclear and environmental law. BW medication and left the room. He stopped breathing and suffered a cardiac arrest. There was a delay in providing artificial respiration, as well as cardiac compressions (CPR). Although his heart was restarted, he was left with severe brain damage from lack of oxygen, and subsequently died. Since there was no evidence of conscious pain or suffering, the damages were limited to the economic losses of the estate. The case settled for over $700,000. BW About this Newsletter Editor: Anthony Mazza An electronic version of this newsletter may be found at This newsletter is published for the information of our friends and clients. Please contact Ruth Smith at (973) or if: Your address has changed. You desire assistance in obtaining further information about anything referred to in this newsletter. Bendit Weinstock A Professional Corporation Counsellors at Law 80 Main Street, Suite 260 West Orange, NJ Telephone Facsimile Benjamin L. Bendit ( ) Thomas E. Weinstock ( ) Hilton P. Goldman ( ) Alan Roth (NJ & FL Bars) Personal Injury Litigation, Workers Compensation, General Litigation James F. Keegan* Commercial Litigation, Matrimonial, Bankruptcy, Administrative Law Abbott S. Brown* Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury Litigation Roger J. Desiderio* Litigation, Municipal Law, Workers Compensation, Real Estate William L. Gold* Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury Litigation, General Litigation Sherri Davis Fowler (NJ & VA Bars) Commercial Litigation, Bankruptcy, Matrimonial Anthony Mazza* Personal Injury Litigation, Workers Compensation Associates Peter I. Bergé K. Raja Bhattacharya Isabelle Farrell Britton (NJ, NY & CT Bars) Erica LaPlante (NJ & NY Bars) Of Counsel Christine M. Tiritilli Counsel Barrett F. Kalb (NJ & NY Bars) Max Spinrad * Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney

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