America’s most influential lawyers and law firms announced

The Trial Lawyer, the official magazine of The National Trial Lawyers, has announced its lists of the most influential lawyers and law firms for the past year.

The RoundTable is made up of America’s 50 most influential civil plaintiff and criminal defense lawyers. Nominations are accepted from the magazine’s readership, and each lawyer is evaluated for his or her professional achievements, trial results, and ability to make a difference in the legal community.

The Forum is comprised of the 25 most influential civil plaintiff law firms in the United States. Readers may also nominate firms for The Forum, and each firm is also evaluated for professional achievements, trial results and effective impact in the legal community.

A list of the newest members of The RoundTable and The Forum is available by clicking on the hyperlinks. The lawyers and law firms will be honored at the Trial Lawyers Summit being held February 4-7, 2018 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in South Beach, Florida.

WSJ columnist accuses plaintiff attorneys of ‘smelling cash’ over opioid crisis

In a commentary at the Wall Street Journal, media strategist Dennis Kneale accuses plaintiff attorneys of “smelling cash” from the opioid crisis and threatening the livelihood of pharmaceutical companies. Kneale says Big Pharma “has an image problem: The industry has been tainted by the opioid crisis.” He goes on to estimate that lawsuits related to the crisis could grow into hundreds of billions of dollars, and compares it to the costly settlement reached 20 years ago with the tobacco companies. You can read the commentary in its entirety here.

Plaintiffs’ joint statement on lawsuit filed against Harvey Weinstein

Joint statement by plaintiffs Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt:

“On October 8, 2017, The New York Times published an article that outed Harvey Weinstein as both an abuser of women and an aggressive bully. By week’s end, the entire world knew what we have silently known for decades: Harvey Weinstein serially abused us and many other women, using his vast wealth and power to threaten, intimidate, stalk, harass and silence us.

We are but six women representing hundreds. Dozens have come forward so far, and many more remain in the shadows, still trying to find their courage. They are watching us defend ourselves for not coming forward sooner. They are reading internet comments, assessing the risks of coming forward and hoping that a few of us can obtain justice without them having to add their names to the list and go down in history as having been ‘Weinsteined’. That is not a label any of us wish to wear. But we will, if we can transform our horror stories into a cultural shift.

Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.

Soon after the Weinstein story broke, the world learned that individuals, companies and an entire industry knew about the pattern of abuse we suffered, but covered it up and turned a blind eye. It has been two months and the world is still asking how this could have happened. How could so many women have been violated? How could so many people have covered up for him? How could so many people have done nothing to help?

Money.

One thing is clear: to create a permanent change in the culture, we need to send a message to the powerful and wealthy individuals, companies and industries that fêted their Harvey Weinsteins, instead of protecting the victims. These individuals and companies chose to put ad revenue and movie sales, profits and ledgers before compassion and integrity. If money is the language they speak, then so be it. Let them learn that it is costlier to cover up assault, harassment, rape and violence. Let them learn the hard way: wallet first.

If this is happening in Hollywood, it is happening at the hospital, the supermarket, the accountant’s office, the mechanic’s garage, the school… everywhere.

The decision to publicly reveal our painful stories was not an easy one. We fully expect Mr. Weinstein, his surrogates, and his legal team to fight mercilessly. But we are still here, still signing up for this, because it matters. We come to this decision anticipating the worst and hoping for the best. We are afraid, but we are determined. We are, collectively, a very small David challenging an enormous Goliath.

We hope Mr. Weinstein’s legal and PR teams decide to change their tactics and submit a full mea culpa and admission of the wrongs perpetrated by both him and his enablers. We hope the board—particularly Robert Weinstein—feels the full weight of the secrets they kept. It is our fervent hope that these men will choose to go down in history as redemptive characters, not as men who helped cover up rape culture.

We intend to see this matter through and help create a new world for our children in which the workplace is safe from both sexual predators and those who would keep predators’ secrets and allow them to flourish. We hope this case sends a message to all companies sheltering abusers and their secrets: the tide has turned.

Today we stand together, united in one cause, to stop systemic sexual abuse in the workplace and the silencing of victims with NDAs and threats to their careers and wellbeing.

We have watched with horror, amazement, pride and gratitude in the last two months as women (and men) the world over have come forward and named their abusers. We stand with all those brave people who have had the courage and temerity to shine a spotlight into the darkness. Predators thrive in the shadows. It is only by keeping their secrets for them that we allow them to get away with it.

That stops today.

Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.

Let’s finally do something about it.”

Download the Complaint
Read the Press Release

Visit the Case Page

Video: 3 things to know about the Roy Moore allegations

Roy MooreWhat do you need to know about the Roy Moore allegations? Politico’s Daniel Strauss has laid out three things to know about the allegations and what they could mean for the Senate race in Alabama in this video.

Not to be outdone, The Onion has a video with 5 Things to Know About Roy Moore.

How do you handle a problem like Roy Moore?

Roy MooreRoy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and Republican candidate for US Senate, continues to deny charges from five woman who accuse him of sexual misconduct. All of the women were teenagers when Moore is said to have committed the sexual misconduct. Yet the mountain of evidence against him continues to grow. Slate writer William Saletan has come to the conclusion that Moore is flat out lying, based on the evidence against him. The latest accuser, represented by National Trial Lawyers Executive Committee member Gloria Allred, says Moore grabbed her by the throat, tried to force her head into his crotch, and locked her in his car to prevent her escape. Despite all this, Moore continues to double down and deny the allegations, even after the latest accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, produced Moore’s signature in her high school yearbook.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (video) have both stated that Moore should step aside and withdraw from the race. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose former Senate seat Moore is campaigning for, also says he has no reason to doubt the women accusing Moore (video).

These accusations aren’t even the only issues with Moore, who was twice removed from office as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The first removal happened in 2003 after he defied an order from the US Supreme Court to remove a granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. The second happened in 2012, when Moore was removed from office for again refusing to follow a judicial order when he instructed probate judges in Alabama not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore is also accused of questionable activity at his Foundation for Moral Law. A watchdog group is asking the IRS to investigate the foundation for allegedly misusing its’ tax-exempt status. The foundation promised Moore $180,000 a year in salary, and Moore holds a promissary note worth more than half a million dollars if the foundation can’t pay up, according to Al.com.

Moore’s refusal to withdraw from the race is proving to be a vexing problem for Republicans. If his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, wins, the GOP hold on the Senate becomes even more tenuous. And if Moore wins, which is still possible, some Republicans say he should be ousted from the Senate.

The special election for Alabama’s US Senate seat is scheduled for December 12.

Former AL Supreme Court Justice and GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore accused of sexual encounter with teen girl

By BibleWizard – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEsVodF9sHE, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62292444

Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Alabama and twice-removed chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has been accused of having a sexual encounter with a teenage girl when he was 32 and she was 14. The Washington Post reports that Leigh Corfman says the then-assistant district attorney took her to his home, gave her alcohol, and had her touch him inappropriately. The Post further reports:

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

The Post says the Moore campaign has denied the allegations. AL.com has Moore’s full statement on the accusations. Moore was twice removed from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The first removal happened in 2003 after he defied an order from the US Supreme Court to remove a granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. The second happened in 2012, when Moore was removed from office for again refusing to follow a judicial order when he instructed probate judges in Alabama not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Politicians’ Fitness for Office: Transparency Needed

by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

As Democrats parade the opinions of various psychiatric and psychological TV “experts,” claiming that President Trump is “mentally ill” and unfit for office, I was recently asked: “Should Congress and political candidates release medical records to run for or hold political office?” And “Is it even ethical for psychiatrists and psychologists to be on TV claiming the President is mentally ill, or has a personality disorder, if they have not examined the patient?”

These questions became even more relevant with the recent revelation that Grubbs Pharmacy on Capitol Hill delivers prescriptions almost daily to members of Congress and their staff, some of which are medicines for serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s dementia. In fact, the pharmacist who handles these prescriptions for Congress and the elite on Capitol Hill is quoted in the article saying he finds it “troubling” that the public does not know who is suffering from such diseases that affect brain function, memory, judgment, and ability to think and analyze complex information.

In several recent media interviews, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demonstrated facial tics, long pauses as she searched for words, stumbling over the pronunciation of simple words, and difficulty remembering basic information, dates, names, and even who is President.

Democrat presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton displayed facial tics, speech pauses, difficulty standing, and difficulty recalling words during the 2016 campaign. Yet the public was only told she had “pneumonia.” These observations are not typical of pneumonia and suggest a more serious neurological problem.

Senator John McCain disclosed he has a serious brain cancer, but has remained in office casting critical votes that affect all Americans, although this type of cancer can impair thinking and judgment and cause behavior changes.

President Trump has not exhibited any of the behaviors described above to suggest a medical or mental problem affecting performance. His speech is fluid, articulate, and does not show the pauses and loss of common words that are easily observable with Pelosi, Clinton, or McCain.

The public is already aware of a marked double standard for members of Congress and political elites with regard to offenses that would lead to jail or major financial or other penalties for the average consumer and voter. Some recent examples include insider trading, failing to disclose contributions properly, failing to pay taxes, failing to disclose foreign investments, and a host of other offenses leading to politicians’ personal financial gain.

But what has not been discussed in the public debate or media is the even more serious issue of politicians’ failure to disclose to voters any physical or mental impairment and failure that may affect their ability to perform the job they are paid to do in representing us.

Compare politicians’ lack of transparency regarding serious medical illnesses or drug or alcohol abuse with what we see in other professions:

• Physicians are required, as a condition of their license to practice medicine, to disclose any mental or physical impairment, condition or disability that may affect their ability to carry out their duties to patients, including any substance abuse. They are also required to disclose any arrests (for anything other than minor traffic violation, such as speeding). Failure to disclose this information on a license application or renewal is terms for sanctions that can include loss of license to practice medicine, or inability to obtain hospital privileges in all 50 states.
• Airline pilots have similar requirements for an annual physical and mental exam, regular performance evaluations in the cockpit with instructors evaluating in-flight performance on required “check rides.” Airline pilots also have random drug screening
• Commercial truck drivers have requirements for random drug screens and physical and psychological exams as part of their commercial drivers license renewal.
• Law enforcement officers also face random drug screening, and are subject to internal affairs investigations if they display behavior that is unprofessional, or show physical impairments that may affect job performance.

Why are members of Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive Branch of government exempted from similar requirements when they are making decisions that affect the lives of millions of Americans?
As a prescription for what is making Washington toxic and dysfunctional, this physician suggests requiring all politicians holding or running for office to release their medical records and disclose any medical or mental conditions for which they are being treated with prescription medications.

Would YOU want a pilot for your flight to show the problems exhibited by Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton or John McCain? Would YOU want your doctor displaying such incoherence and memory loss during your exam?

VOTERS, time to speak up. Hold politicians accountable for proper medical disclosures.
Then decide: Are they fit to hold office and make decisions that affect MY life?

Author/Contributor short bio:

Dr. Vliet has been a leader in patient centered, individualized medical care. Since 1986, she has practiced medicine independent of insurance contracts that interfere with patient-physician relationships and decision-making. Dr. Vliet focus is medical freedom and free market approaches to healthcare. Dr. Vliet is the founder of Vive Life Center and Hormone Health Strategies with medical practices in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX, specializing in preventive and climacteric medicine with an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems from puberty to late life.

Dr. Vliet is a 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient for her national and international educational efforts in health, wellness, and endocrine aging in men and women, and is recognized in the US as a motivational speaker in health and wellness and a powerful patient advocate, proponent of free market approaches to lower healthcare costs. Dr. Vliet is the recipient of Voice of Women Award from Arizona Foundation for Women in recognition of her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone connections in women’s health.

Dr. Vliet’s consumer health books include: It’s My Ovaries, Stupid; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect– And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman’s Guide to PCOS, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Great Sex, Strength, and Stamina.

Dr. Vliet is a past Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a member of the AAPS Editorial Writing Team on healthcare reform, and a member of International Menopause Society and the International Society for The Study of the Aging Male (ISSAM). She received her M.D. degree and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She earned her B.S. and Master’s degrees from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Dr. Vliet has appeared on FOX NEWS, Cavuto, Stuart Varney Show, Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity and many nationally syndicated radio shows across the country as well as presented hundreds of Healthcare Town Halls addressing the economic and medical impact of the 2010 healthcare law and free market reforms, as well as seminars and radio shows on healthcare reform, Men’s Health and Women’s Health.

Dr. Vliet speaks as an independent physician, not as an official spokesperson for any organization or political party. Dr. Vliet has no financial ties to any health care system or health insurance plan. Her allegiance and advocacy is to and for patients.

ICE gets colder by detaining girl with cerebral palsy awaiting surgery

How far is too far when it comes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rounding up undocumented immigrants? That point likely varies from person to person, but to the mother of 10-year-old Rosamaria Hernandez, who has cerebral palsy, it’s chillingly clear: it’s the moment when ICE agents stopped them at a Border Patrol checkpoint east of Laredo, Texas while rushing to a hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. According to Time, the agents “escorted” Rosamaria to a hospital in Corpus Christi for her operation. After being medically cleared, the girl was taken to a federal facility for processing refugees in San Antonio and processed. Needless to say, both Rosamaria and her mother, Felipa de la Cruz, are terrified, and Rosamaria faces deportation. Their attorney, Alex Galvez, told Time, “She said, ‘Don’t worry. We’re going to see each other soon. Everything’s going to fine. Hang in there.’ She was trying to make her smile,” Galvez recalled. “Her daughter said, ‘Mom, where are you? I miss you. Why aren’t you here? And they start crying.” Galvez says it’s the first time Rosamaria will be separated from her mother, who brought her into the US illegally. Her parents have been living here for more than ten years and have no criminal history, according to Galvez.

It’s cases like these that make you wonder if ICE’s heart is colder than a stone, even than absolute zero. Galvez says as soon as Rosamaria is released from the facility in San Antonio, she will face deportation. Deporting a little girl with cerebral palsy who needed emergency gall bladder surgery? I don’t know if ICE can get any colder than that. All we can do is hope that Congress will do something soon to help Rosamaria and other families like hers gain a path to citizenship. The Trump administration killing DACA was cold; but ICE taking a disabled girl into custody on her way to surgery is coldest of all.

Laying out the case that Trump obstructed justice

The Brookings Institute has released a report that outlines the case that President Donald Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey. Authors Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen “break down and analyze” whether the president may have obstructed justice, and what ramifications may follow. The Washington Post says the report amounts to “an amicus brief for use by special counsel Robert S. Muller III and his team.” The authors state that “the public record contains substantial evidence that President Trump conspired to obstruct justice with senior members of his administration although the public facts regarding conspiracy are less well developed.”

You can read the Brookings Institute report here.