Update (September 30, 2014): Any experience with the table saw pictured at left or one like it? Do you think that experience would make you a better juror or a worse one in a case against a saw manufacturer based on a user’s serious table saw injury?
I suppose that would depend on whether you loved the product or hated the product, or whether you have little recollection about your experience and no opinion one way or the other about the product and about its safety (or lack of safety)? Whether you or your employer sells the product? Whether you or someone close to you was injured while using the product?
What if you found the yellow/gray-tinted blade guard shown above difficult to work with? When you used it, you could not really tell precisely where the wood was being cut. (Not only is it tinted. It is lined on the inside with saw dust after every cut.) What if you disassembled the safety device soon after purchase and used the saw with the safety device disabled for years, exercising extreme caution because the machine scared the bejeezus out of you and you are uncoordinated and accident-prone? (This paragraph, by the way, is a description of my experience of a similar product 20 or so years ago, for what it’s worth.)
At one point in this line of questioning do you think you would be excused from serving on the jury of this trial, scheduled to begin on October 14 in Duluth?
Update (September 29, 2014): Plaintiffs in the putative class action described below signed a contract promising to bring any lawsuit under the contract in Illinois state court (Cook County). Then they filed their lawsuit against Oasis Legal Finance in Minnesota. Can plaintiffs get away with that? I expect they can’t but we’ll see. (Plaintiffs’ argument is that the contracts are “void ab initio,” (Complaint, Para. 70), and therefore Minnesota courts should set aside the contract in its entirety, including its forum selection clause.)
I recommend you read the linked Oasis Legal Finance “purchase agreement,” which OLF included in its papers in support of its motion to dismiss. I also think you might enjoy OLF’s “letter of direction” between the “Legal Claim Seller” and her lawyer, also linked.
“I will pay you $620 today. You pay me nothing if you lose your lawsuit. You pay me a maximum of $2,260″ if you recover money in excess of that amount ($2,260) in more than 2 years from now….” That appears to be the deal, roughly, in a nutshell. Does this violate Minnesota law? Why?
(Incidentally, I theorized in the original post that maybe contingent fee lawyers would view litigation financiers as competitors. On further thought, I am now thinking they might be collaborators and facilitators, not competitors, to personal injury lawyers. If this is the case, is McSweeney Langevin biting the hand that feeds? Or helping out an Oasis competitor?)
Kudos and recognition to Minnesota Lawyer writer, Patrick Thornton, for bringing my attention to the Zimmerman|Reed v. Meshbesher & Spence et al. lawsuit in an article published on 9/22/2014 in Minnesota Lawyer (behind a paywall). It’s a well-written piece.
Clients are people (for the most part) but sometimes they are fought over by lawyers as if the clients were so many money-bags.
Plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers hold themselves out to the world as if they are crusaders for justice, but this is not necessarily how they all behave from day-to-day. In fact, some will argue that some of these lawyers never behave that way. Some are greedy, opportunistic, exploitative, shallow, unscrupulous, and downright ugly.
The recent case of Zimmerman|Reed v. Meshbesher & Spence, now pending before Hennepin County District Court Judge Susan M. Robiner, gives us a peak inside two Minnesota personal injury institutions. The perspective we get may or may not be damning in the minds of most Minnesota Litigator readers. The discussion of “developing clients” (Zimmerman Reed Complaint, Para. 6) and “secur[ing] clients” (Zimmerman Reed Complaint, Para. 7) and fighting over ownership interests (more or less) in “institutional clients” (Zimmerman Reed Complaint, Para. 10) suggests that this lawsuit is entirely about money. Clients are people, not assets, but good luck finding any indication that they’re being treated as anything other than assets in these papers…
The paucity of record evidence in this case combined with the failure of the extensive briefs associated with the present motions to connect their presentation of copious isolated facts to a coherent legal theory makes it difficult to construct a logical and/or chronological overview of the events underlying [Plaintiff's] claims or otherwise impose order on what appears to have been nothing short of a business relationship disaster.
The lawsuit where I got this quote was filed in October, 2010. The quote is from a court opinion this week. The case was then thrown out of court this week. But over eight months in 2012, the case went up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and then, after reversal, came back down to U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.). Judge Tunheim issued a ruling this week on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment post-remand.
What will any of these tenacious litigants recover from their four years of battling (aside from heartfelt thank-you notes from their lawyers and maybe a bottle of scotch or some other tokens of appreciation from their law firms around the holidays)?
Update (September 24, 2014): The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected the petition for review in the case discussed below. Presumably the Minnesota Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeals determination that the Minnesota legislature “has had decades to respond to [the Minnesota case on which the Walsh Court relied], [and the legislature] has declined to remove or alter the general six-year statute of repose for long-term exposure claims or latent defect/injury claims.”
Original Post (July 11, 2014): Dean Patrick Walsh (hereinafter “Mr. Walsh”) worked as a full-time union pressman at the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 1966 until he retired in 2004. In 2009, Mr. Walsh was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and he succumbed to the disease on June 30, 2009.
Let’s assume that Walsh’s illness was the result of his exposure to the toxic solvent, benzene, during his time working at the presses of the Star Tribune. Let’s further assume that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim based on Walsh’s exposure to this “insidious chemical” is six years.
Would a lawsuit brought on behalf of Walsh’s estate in June of 2012 be time-barred?