Category Archives: Consumer Law

Morrell Caterers Sued in Three Lawsuits – Alleged Kosher Food Fraud, Top-Shelf Howard Fensterman Morrell, & Morrell Employees Tips

Under Jewish kosher dietary laws, you can’t mix kosher and non-kosher food at any meal or in any kitchen. If you do, then the kosher food becomes tainted and is no longer kosher.

Scott Morrell, head of one of Long Island’s largest kosher caterer, is accused by former employees of preparing and serving, over a number of years, non-kosher food in kosher kitchens – – food that he represented as kosher. This is a direct contravention of kosher dietary laws.

Two former employees of Morrell Kosher Caterers allege that as part of Morrell’s non-kosher catering business , Morrell brought non-kosher food into the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah. This food was placed on the same food preparation tables where kosher food was also being prepared, and the same pots and pans were deliberately used to cook both kosher and non-kosher food.

The result of this deliberate co-mingling of kosher and non-kosher food, pots and pans is the contamination of all the kosher food prepared in the same kitchen, from that first moment of contact onwards.

Examples of the non-kosher food introduced into the kosher kitchen by Morrell include shrimp, lobster, pepperoni, prosciutto, and sausage. Despite this, Morrell represented that the food being served at kosher events his firm catered was in fact kosher and, as such, customers were charged more money for the kosher affairs. Typically, Morrell contracts for kosher events included a charge of $800 for kosher food.
Class Action Lawsuit brought by Morrell Employees — A Second Lawsuit

But this is not all the bad news for Morrell.  A second lawsuit , a class action brought by hundreds of former Morrell employees , accuses Morrell’s company of, over a six year period, holding onto service charges included in the catering contracts — money that was earmarked for waiters, bus staff and maitre d’s. The employees said that the caterer also demanded that they give back to Scott Morrell any cash tips they received at events catered by Morrell’s company.

Howard Fensterman Morrell — A Third Lawsuit

Howard Fensterman Morrell — A third lawsuit against Morrell was by attorney Howard Fensterman. It alleges breach of contract and fraud by Morrell regarding a function hosted by Fensterman on May 29, 2010. That event was catered by Morrell’s firm. The suit accuses Morrell of substituting lower priced liquor for premium, top- shelf  liquor brands, as called for in Fensterman’s contract.

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Long Island Attorney Steven Cohn Clears Up Misconceptions About “Extortion” — Howard Fensterman Morrell

In lawsuits, when two parties are suing each other, it has been custom and practice for decades across the U.S. that in many instances the opposing attorneys informally exchange the suits with each other before they are formally filed with the clerk of the court.

The purpose of this long-accepted courtesy is to allow the attorneys to talk together and see if any or all parts of the parties’ lawsuits can be settled or resolved before going through lengthy and expensive litigation.

This is a key tenant that enables our civil justice system to move forward efficiently and not become bogged down in endless litigation of lawsuits that otherwise could be settled out of court.

In these instances, typically, the attorney for one or both parties get to the point where they say “it may well be in our mutual financial interests to terminate or resolve all or parts of these suits.”

A recent case in point where this happened involves Scott Morrell of Long Island’s Morrell’s Caterers, one of the largest catering services on Long Island . Importantly, in early 2012, Morrell faced three lawsuits for allegedly illegal and deceitful acts.

Background: Three Lawsuits Against Morrell Kosher Caterer

One was brought by two senior employees of his catering firm. Another was initiated by hundreds of former employees, and a third lawsuit against Morrell was brought by Long Island attorney and Morrell client, Howard Fensterman [Howard Fensterman Morrell]. Morrell is a long-time friend of Fensterman with whom Morrell had participated over the last ten years in separate, outside investments.

Specifically, according to numerous news media reports, including an article in the Long Island Press of February 16, the first lawsuit – – by two senior employees of Morrell’s catering business – – accused Morrell of deliberately bringing non kosher food into what was supposed to be a kosher catering kitchen, thus effectively “contaminating” both the food and kitchen in violation of Jewish law. Examples of the non-kosher food introduced into the kosher kitchen by Morrell include shrimp, lobster, pepperoni, prosciutto, and sausage. Despite this, Morrell represented that the food being served at kosher events his firm was catering was in fact kosher and, as such, customers were charged more money for that.

The second lawsuit, by hundreds of former Morrell employees, accused Morrellscompany of, over a six year period, holding onto the service charges included in the catering contracts that were earmarked for waiters, bus staff and maitre d’s. The employees said that the caterer also demanded that they give back to Scott Morrell, personally, any cash tips they received at events catered by Morrell’s company.

The third lawsuit against Morrell, by attorney Howard Fensterman, alleges breach of contract and fraud by Morrell related to a function Fensterman hosted on May 29, 2010 — an event catered by Morrell’s firm. The suit accuses Morrell of two dishonest actions — Howard Fensterman Morrell. First, the suit accuses Morrell of charging Fensterman apremium for top shelf brands of liquor and, instead, serving lower priced brands.Second, the suit accuses Morrell of encouraging Fensterman to pay, and receiving from Fensterman, an 18 % service charge above the cost of the affair, to assure more attentive service from the Morrell staff and a higher quality affair, without telling Fensterman that he, Morrell, was going to keep the money for himself.

Morrell Tries To “Switch The Topic” — Howard Fensterman Morrell

Howard Fensterman Morrell — In an attempt to deflect public attention from these allegations , Morrell’s response was to try to change the subject, alleging that the presentation of Howard Fensterman’s lawsuit to Morrell’s attorneys, prior to its filing in court, was an attempt to “extort” Morrell.

The facts are that Long Island attorney Steve Cohn, personally hand delivered the lawsuit to the office of Morrell’s attorneys to see if a pre-filing resolution might be achieved, avoiding the monetary and emotional cost of litigation for the parties.

Morrell’s desperate action was to cry “extortion” in the hope of diverting the attention of past clients , rabbis and congregation members from his alleged actions of breach of one of the most sacred duties of a kosher caterer — in essence, serving non-kosher food to unsuspecting clients and their guests. Morrell’s diversionary tactics were also meant to shift the media attention away from his alleged acts and to try to discredit Howard Fensterman’s good name.

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Top-Shelf Attorney, Howard Fensterman, Claims Liquor Served at Morrell Kosher Caterers Was Anything But — Howard Fensterman Morrell

Howard Fensterman, the well respected Long Island, New York attorney and successful businessman and investor, is feeling the pain of a victim as he deals with the unpleasant realization that his long-time friend and former investment associate, Scott Morrell, head of Morrell Kosher Caterers, fraudulently deceived him by serving less expensive brands of liquor instead of the premium, top – shelf brands contracted and paid for by Fensterman for a function he hosted on May 29th, 2010 [Howard Fensterman Morrell].

Howard Fensterman Morrell

Howard Fensterman Morrell — Fensterman is accusing Morrell of breach of contract and fraud in that Morrell’s kosher catering establishment charged Fensterman for premium, top-shelf scotch and vodka, but instead served lower price brands.

While Fensterman refuses to guess how long the alleged “bait-and-switch” practice has been going on under Morrell’s watch, Fensterman has been advised that this has been a long standing practice at Morrell Kosher Caterers.

•  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/morrell-caterers-accused-violating-kosher-laws-long-island_n_1265199.html

•  http://www.newsday.com/columnists/james-bernstein/caterer-morrell-sued-again-by-wait-staff-1.3539312

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Co-operative Legal Services Extends Its Personal Injury Claims Service

The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has announced that it is extending its range of personal injury claims services.

Already a specialist in claims arising from road traffic accident claims, CLS is now promoting its services in England and Wales for claims in connection with:
• Accidents at work
• Trips and slips
• Industrial disease claims
• Medical negligence claims
• Sports Injury claims

Eddie Ryan, managing director of CLS said: “It has been our ambition since we launched CLS in 2006 to offer a broader range of Personal Injury Claims services to our membership and the general public.

“We believe that The Co-operative’s values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others places us in a unique position to provide a different claims service, which is focussed on the customer and their recovery and not just their claim.”

CLS already offers a wide range of free injury claim advice, as well as Will writing services, Conveyancing and Probate and Estate Administration services to The Co-operative members and the general public.

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The Co-operative Legal Services Strengthens Its Offering to Customers with Landmark Information Group

• The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) are to use Landmark Information Group’s Anti-Money Laundering tool to assist in compliance with AML regulations

• CLS to also adopt Landmark Financial Asset Search to support its probate team in identifying potentially lost or forgotten assets that should be distributed as part of the administration of an estate
• CLS is part of The Co-operative Group, the largest consumer-owned co-operative in the UK with over 5.5 million members and over 21 million customers

Landmark Information Group today announced that The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) will be using its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Financial Asset Search (FAS) solutions to further strengthen its offering to its customers. As the leading supplier of property and environmental information, Landmark provides comprehensive solutions to assist legal professionals with their search obligations; as well as providing their clients with peace of mind.

James Sherwood-Rogers, Managing Director of Landmark Legal & Financial, said: “To secure this business from such a prestigious and industry-leading firm demonstrates the strength and credibility both Landmark and its products have within the legal sector. Money laundering is a significant issue that law firms cannot afford to overlook and CLS recognises Landmark’s AML is the most effective solution to ensure compliance with AML legislation. Similarly, our ground-breaking Financial Asset Search is a valuable aid for probate practitioners and executors in helping with their search obligations and provides complete confidence that searches undertaken are all-inclusive. CLS provides a comprehensive suite of consumer legal services and we are delighted they have selected Landmark’s Anti-Money Laundering tool and Financial Asset Search as their solutions of choice for their extensive client base.”

Launched in 2006 as part of The Co-operative Group, the largest consumer-owned co-operative in the UK with in excess of 5.5 million members and over 21 million customers, CLS is an industry leader in will writingprobate, conveyancing, employment law and accidents or injuries claims.

Eddie Ryan Managing Director of CLS said: “Championing our member’s interests has always been central to The Co-operative Group’s strategy. Landmark has proven expertise and a reputation for superb services. We are impressed by Landmark AML and Landmark FAS, which both add value to our current services and we have already seen fantastic results for our clients.

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Acne Victims Are Helped With Makeovers, Lawsuits

Hiding acne can be easy if you use the right makeup. Houston-based Heidi Schulze, one of America’s top makeup artists, proves it in a new how-to video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuptUKD_MGg, which transforms a self-conscious car saleswoman with adult acne into a drop-dead gorgeous top-model lookalike.

If only more acne sufferers had tried this approach. Instead they took Accutane, which cleared up their blemishes but also gave many users severe, lifelong and debilitating digestive disorders that often involved surgery. Now these victims are taking Accutane creator Roche Pharmaceuticals to court – and they’re winning.

A 38-year-old Alabama software engineer who took Accutane in his 20s was finally forced to have his colon removed almost 15 years after taking the drug to treat a severe case of acne. In early 2010, a jury awarded him $25 million for his losses and suffering. Five other recent verdicts have pushed victims’ awards to a total of $56 million, as juries found that Roche did not adequately warn consumers about the drug’s risks.

Faced with such Accutane lawsuits and increased competition, Swiss-based Roche took Accutane off the market last year, after 27 years of sales that reaped billions in profits. But despite health hazards, generic Accutane remains available, sold as Claravis, Sotret and Amnesteem. Each has active ingredient Isotretinoin, as did Accutane.

Isotretinoin medications have been proven to cause an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, or UC. Often such victims must have surgery – and many haven’t suspected till now that their incurable condition was the result of taking an acne medication.

That’s not to say Accutane hasn’t done some good. More than 13 million people took Accutane during its 27 years on the market, and it permanently cleared up the pimples of 85 per cent of those with severe acne. But for too many, the health hazard trade-off has been severe.

A far better solution for acne sufferers is to try Schulze’s makeup approach, which isn’t disguised with heavy foundations and powder. Rather, the answer is a light, mineral-based product applied with a careful, deft touch in the right combination of colors. And this natural makeup doesn’t look like makeup once it’s applied.

“Most women with acne make the mistake of using concealers, as they are called, to cover pimples,” Shulze said. “That cakes up the face, doesn’t look natural, and since people with acne have oily skin, the makeup ends up sliding off anyway during the day. ” The mineral product Schulze uses in the video has no oil, so it stays put, relieving self-conscious sufferers.

About Accutane-Lawsuit-Lawyer.com
Accutane-Lawsuit-Lawyer.com can provide American victims of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche with a defective drug lawyer in all 50 states. Visit http://www.Accutane-Lawsuit-Lawyer.com and simply apply for a free case evaluation at Accutane-Lawsuit-Lawyer.com, or call toll-free to (800) 339-0606 to explore your options for an Accutane lawsuit. A legal representative will respond to help you assess your Accutane side effects case. You may be entitled to substantial economic recovery for your losses caused by the negligence of a pharmaceutical corporation.

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The Co-Operative Group Promotes Legal Services To Food Shoppers

The Co-operative Group today (15 April) launched a high profile campaign to promote the legal services offered by its own specialist division to shoppers in its food stores.

The in-store campaign aims to raise awareness of the wide range of advice and expertise available through The Co-operative Legal Services.

The campaign, which will last nine weeks, includes in-store radio and animated till screen displays.

Eddie Ryan, Managing Director of Bristol based Co-operative Legal Services, said:”The shoppers in our 3,000 plus food stores represent a huge market for us so we were delighted that during a similar campaign last year awareness levels of CLS jumped by more than 5 per cent.

“We are confident that this campaign will be equally successful as it is the first time we have promoted our legal services to the enlarged food estate following the acquisition of Somerfield last year.

The Co-operative Legal Services, part of The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest mutual retailer, provide a range of legal services to members and customers covering Will writing, Probate & Estate Administration, Conveyancing, Employment andPersonal Injury Claims. A wide range of free legal advice is also provided.

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Quigal.com Is Celebrating Its National Launch With A Sweepstakes Campaign

Quigal.com is celebrating its national launch with a sweepstakes campaign, which will award the winner an Amazon Kindle.

Quigal.com offers users the ability to search online for top-tier attorneys in their local market. “We felt that giving away a Kindle was the perfect way to launch our product nationally,” said Founder and CEO, Renate Harrison. “The Kindle is an innovative new device that is changing the way people read books and, similarly, Quigal is innovative and new and changing the way the people search for attorneys.”

The sweepstakes will run for a period of two months and participants can enter several ways: (i) by leaving feedback on Quigal’s website – Quigal employees are looking forward to reading the feedback and will consider any added features or changes visitors suggest; (ii) by becoming fans of Quigal on Facebook; and finally, (iii) by becoming followers of Quigal on Twitter.

Quigal.com is one of the first attorney search websites to make extensive use of social networking. Moreover, Quigal.com allows its attorneys to link to their own social networking sites. This is a feature that many other attorney search sites have not yet exploited. Harrison noted that, “At Quigal, we strive to run our site in a way that matches how visitors and businesses use the internet. Many businesses and professionals make use of social networking sites to promote their trade and it just seemed natural that Quigal would allow its attorneys to link to them as well.”

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Online Attorney Search Website To Offer Nationwide Service

Quigal, LLC, a leading provider of online attorney search services in Massachusetts , announced today that it will be offering nationwide service. Quigal.com is an attorney search engine that allows users to easily search for and quickly contact top quality legal professionals located in their area. Quigal first launched its initial beta website in Massachusetts in October of last year.

Online Attorney Search Website To Offer Nationwide Service

“Quigal.com has continued to grow as expected and we are excited to bring this service to users nationwide,” commented Renate Harrison, founder and CEO. “The entire country can now have access to quality attorneys anytime.”

Since first launching its site, Quigal.com has been steadily changing the way the public searches for attorneys online. Its attorney search service allows a user to simultaneously contact up to ten distinguished attorneys by geographical location and practice area.

In preparation for launching nationwide, Quigal.com made sure its database infrastructure was ready to handle the challenges of going national. “We took the time we needed to make sure that our national launch would go smoothly and seamlessly, we know our users expect nothing less,” explained Harrison .

In conjunction with its national launch, Quigal.com has also announced that it will be running a sweepstakes campaign. More information regarding that campaign can be found by visiting www.Quigal.com.

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New Jersey Resident Affected by the January 2010 Toyota Recall for Defects in Gas Pedals Files Suit

Class Action Status Requested To Benefit All Residents of New Jersey Who Own or Lease Toyota Vehicles Subject to the January Recall.

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, together with Douglas & London, P.C. and the Becnel Law Firm, LLC, announces that it filed suit on behalf of a New Jersey woman who purchased a Toyota vehicle subject to the recall issued in January 2010 for defects in the vehicles’ gas pedals. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, seeks class action status intended to benefit all residents of New Jersey who purchased or leased a Toyota vehicle of model years 2005-2010 subject to the recall for defective gas pedals.

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP has been contacted by hundreds of Toyota owners with questions about their legal rights in relation to the January 2010 recall. If you or someone you know owns or leases one of the Toyota vehicles involved in this recall, please contact our office by visiting www.yourlawyer.com. Free case evaluations are also available by calling Parker Waichman Alonso LLP at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

In August 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Toyota launched an investigation relating to the unintended acceleration of some of its vehicles. On September 29, 2009, the NHTSA announced that Toyota was recalling floor mats on approximately 4.2 million vehicles, which allegedly caused the accelerator pedals in the vehicles to become stuck in the depressed position, leading to uncontrollable and rapid acceleration of the vehicles. On January 21, 2010, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles produced in the years 2005 through 2010 due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration. To date, Toyota has recalled a total of 5.3 million vehicles due to defects in accelerator pedals, which can unexpectedly become stuck in place and send the vehicle into rapid, uncontrollable and unsafe acceleration.

According to the class action lawsuit filed by Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, Douglas & London, P.C., and the Becnel Law Firm, LLC, in 2008 Margaret Gonzalez purchased a Toyota Avalon LTD from Brunswick Toyota in Brunswick, New Jersey, which was subject to recall in January 2010. The complaint alleges that because of Toyota’s negligence, Ms. Gonzalez and members of the purported Class lost the use of their vehicles, and sustained, among things, economic losses and severe emotional distress.

The complaint charges Toyota with negligence, breach of express and implied warranty, unjust enrichment and violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The class action lawsuit seeks to recover compensatory, equitable, and actual and punitive damages for the Class, as well as injunctive relief and attorneys fees.

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Parker Waichman Alonso LLP Files Suit Against Toyota Motor Corp. USA, Inc.

Class Action Status Requested To Benefit All Residents of New York State Who Own or Lease Toyota Vehicles Subject to the January Recall

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, together with the Becnel Law Firm, LLC and Douglas & London, P.C., announces that it filed suit on behalf of a New York man who leased a Toyota vehicle subject to the recall issued in January 2010 for defects in the vehicles’ gas pedals. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, seeks class action status intended to benefit all residents of the State of New York who purchased or leased a Toyota vehicle of model years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and/or 2010 that is subject to the January 2010 recall for defective gas pedals.

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP has been contacted by hundreds of Toyota owners with questions about their legal rights in relation to the January 2010 recall. If you or someone you know owns or leases one of the Toyota vehicles involved in this recall, please contact our office by visiting www.yourlawyer.com. Free case evaluations are also available by calling Parker Waichman Alonso LLP at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

On January 21, 2010, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles produced in the years 2005 through 2010 due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration. To date, Toyota has recalled a total of 5.3 million vehicles due to defects in accelerator pedals, which can unexpectedly become stuck in place and send the vehicle into rapid, uncontrollable and unsafe acceleration.

According to the class action lawsuit filed by Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, the Becnel Law Firm, LLC and Douglas & London, P.C., Peter Phaneuf leased a Toyota Camry LE in 2009, which was subject to recall by Toyota in January 2010. The complaint alleges that because of Toyota’s negligence, Mr. Phaneuf and members of the purported Class lost the use of their vehicles, and sustained, among things, economic losses and severe emotional distress.

The complaint charges Toyota with negligence, breach of express and implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and violations of the New York State General Business Law. The class action lawsuit seeks to recover compensatory, equitable, and actual and punitive damages for the Class, as well as injunctive relief and attorneys fees.

About Parker Waichman Alonso LLP
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP is a leading products liability and personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs nationwide. The firm has offices in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Parker Waichman Alonso LLP has assisted thousands of clients in receiving fair compensation for injuries resulting from defective products, drugs and medical devices. For more information on Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, please visit: www.yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

About Becnel Law Firm LLC
Becnel Law Firm, LLC has been in existence for over 30 years and is one of the largest personal injury firms in the New Orleans area. The Becnel Law Firm LLC is a full service law firm representing clients both locally and nationally.

About Douglas & London, P.C.
Douglas & London, P.C. is a national personal injury law firm based in New York City. Over the past decade, Douglas & London, P.C. has built a formidable reputation by taking on precedent-setting mass torts and complex cases involving products liability, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

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Online Attorney Search Service To Offer Nationwide Service

Quigal, LLC, a leading provider of online attorney search services in Massachusetts , today announced that it will start offering its search service nationwide beginning April 5, 2010. Currently, the website (www.quigal.com) allows users in Massachusetts to easily search for and quickly contact top quality legal professionals located in their area. Quigal first launched its initial beta web site in Massachusetts in October of last year.

“The steady increase in web traffic we have successfully serviced since our launch has demonstrated that we are ready to offer our service nationwide,” commented Renate Harrison, founder and CEO. “Fortunately, things have gone pretty much as planned and we feel that this is the right time to take this next step.”

Since first launching its site, Quigal.com has been steadily changing the way the public searches for attorneys online. Its attorney search service allows a user to simultaneously contact up to ten top-tier attorneys by geographical location and practice area. This announcement means that, starting April 5 th , the entire country will have access to top-tier attorneys anytime.

To handle the expected influx of new users, Ms. Harrison added: “In the next couple of months, Quigal will be making sure its database infrastructure will be ready for the challenge of going national. We are taking the time we need to make sure we do this right. We know our users expect nothing less.”

Are you interested in registering with Quigal? Please visit Quigal’s website at www.quigal.com. For more information about Quigal, please contact Juliana Gaita-Monjaraz.

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Michael Simpson Elected Bristol Law Society Council Member

Michael Simpson, Head of Employment at Almondsbury based Co-operative Legal Services has been elected a council member of the Bristol Law Society.

Michael Simpson Elected Bristol Law Society Council Member

Michael who has been a member of the Society for 10 years was elected at the recent annual general meeting.

Michael has worked for The Co-operative Legal Services since 2007, representing clients with his considerable expertise in employment law and providing valuable help and advice to employment problems.

In a previous role Michael represented trade union members in their Employment Tribunal claims.

Commenting on his election Michael said:” I would like to see the membership of the Society expand by ensuring that it is providing a valuable support infrastructure for the full range of legal practices and businesses in the South West.

“There are already some exciting developments with the Society entering into a contract with Central Law Training to provide premier tier CPD courses for members at competitive prices.

“Bristol Law Society has also entered into a long-term relationship with the University of West of England which will provide a number of unique opportunities for member firms in addition to improved premises and facilities. The Society is also creating a corporate membership package that is designed to engage all individuals who support the provision of legal services within each firm in the city.”

A keen long distance cyclist and Marathon runner, Michael decided to take up the triathlon (swim, bike & run) in 2008 and completed the full ironman event (2.5 mile swim, 110 mile bike & 26 mile run) event at Sherborne Castle in Dorset.

The Co-operative Legal Services provide a range of legal services to members and customers covering Will writing, Probate services & Estate Administration, Conveyancing, Employment and Personal Injury Claims. A wide range of free legal advice is also provided.

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The Co-Operative Legal Services Provide Will Writing Service

The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has teamed up with Emma’s Diary, the leading website for pregnant women and new mums, to provide an exclusive Will writing service.

Through extensive research amongst its members, Emma’s Diary understands what mums want and has recognised the need to provide further information on writing a will, which is one of the top things that parents do after having a baby. As a result, Emma’s Diary has chosen to work with CLS as its sole Will provider and will be promoting this service to all its members via the Money Matters finance section of the website.

Eddie Ryan, Managing Director of CLS said: “Emma’s Diary understands how writing a Will protects its members and their families.

“They wanted to work with a partner whose trusted, ethical and professional approach would ensure that writing a Will would be a positive experience whilst delivering the required legal expertise needed for such an important decision.”

Emma’s Diary has a membership base of just over 1.3 million members, which attracts appropriately 100,000 unique users on its website every month.

The Co-operative Legal Services provide a range of legal services to members and customers covering Will writingProbate & Estate Administration, Conveyancing, Employment and Personal Injury Claims. A wide range of free legal advice is also provided.

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Quigal Launches New Search Site for High-Achieving Attorneys

Quigal, LLC announced today that it was launching its attorney search web site for residents of Massachusetts. Quigal’s site allows the public to search for attorneys who have impressive educational backgrounds or substantial work experience in complex legal matters and allows users to communicate with multiple attorneys quickly and easily. During the initial launch period, attorneys authorized to practice law in Massachusetts are invited to register with the site free of charge until April 1, 2010.

For Quigal attorney members, a unique feature of the web site is that the number of attorneys who can register is limited to ten per zip code, which increases each registered attorney’s visibility vis-à-vis potential clients.

The inspiration for Quigal came from attorneys and clients who complained about the poor quality of existing directory services, both online and print, recalled Renate Harrison, Quigal co-founder. “My colleagues complained that existing directories contained so many lawyers that the odds of engaging a client were too low to justify the expense, while users felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of attorneys they had to choose from and the multiple pages of information they had to fill out,” Harrison noted. “So I asked what I thought was a simple question: how can we improve the way clients find lawyers online? I believe Quigal is the answer.”

As of today, Massachusetts residents can begin using Quigal. Quigal is built on the idea that users should have confidence in the quality of attorneys made available to them on attorney search sites, and that the number of registered attorneys should be limited, so that each attorney has a realistic opportunity to engage clients. Key features of Quigal include:

• Search: Quigal enables the public to search for attorneys by zip code, city, state, practice area, or law school attended. Quigal also permits potential clients to search for attorneys who are available for a live chat.

• Exclusivity: Quigal attorney members who subscribe to a zip code always appear on the first page search results for that zip code. A maximum of ten attorneys can register for each zip code.

• Quality: Quigal only registers attorneys who have graduated from a top-tier law school or who have substantial work experience managing complex legal matters.

• Ease of Use: Quigal offers several options for potential clients to contact attorney members. A simple online query form and attorney profiles with full contact information appear on every search results page. Also, a live chat option allows potential clients to chat real-time with attorneys. Quigal also allows its registered attorneys to link to their social and professional networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
In the coming months, Quigal will be rolling out its web site nationally, as well as introducing new site features.

Are you interested in registering with Quigal? Please visit Quigal’s website at www.quigal.com. For more information about Quigal, please contact Renate Harrison.

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What’s Been Sleeping In Your Bed?

FROM:George Rust/561-644 4128 / ybstag@msn.com

While animal rights’ activists tossed Ringling Bros.[Feld Entertainment] into a legal ring in Washington D.C federal court this month., another case is soon to pounce on Busch Entertainment Corp – – the theme-park subsidiary of InBev/Anheuser-Busch.

The Florida case, however, is more than a contest over cruel and inhumane treatment of animals “on display.” It raises serious health issues for the travelling public.

According to filed court documents, Cuban-born Arlin Valdez-Castillo, a 40-something chambermaid at Boykin’s Miami airport Hampton Inn was assigned to conduct her housekeeping duties in hotel rooms occupied with an unusual clientele: lemurs, spider monkeys, a tropical parrot, and a five-year-old, five-foot long alligator named Bob. Although the rooms smelled like a zoo, according to members of the hotel staff, Arlin did her duty … retrieving feathers and fecal matter left by the untidy exotics. Arlin didn’t know about zoonoses [the medical term for diseases spread from animals to humans] until she fell seriously ill, was hospitalized for two weeks with angry lesions spontaneously erupting all over her body.

That was 2004. Next month, after five years of reoccurring skin lesions, diagnosed by a prominent Miami immunologist to have been caused by exposure to the exotic animals, a federal judge will weigh the evidence between man and beast. Recently, a Miami neurologist, who will testify at the upcoming trial, opined that the initial zoonotic infection has spread to Arlin’s nervous system, causing her severe pain in some extremities which he diagnosed as RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).

Unable to work, Arlin’s cause of action for payment of her mounting medical bills –- now calculated to exceed $450,000 with no end in sight – and sufficient funds to sustain a modest lifestyle and provide for future care, has been stymied at every turn by Busch lawyers, who claim “it’s her fault” that she had allergies.

Such outrage does not stop with Arlin. Conservation Ambassadors, formerly Wild on Wheels formerly Zoo-to-You, a California company which claims to promote animal conservation and provide an educational experience to curious townsfolk across America. It is no coincidence that Conservation Ambassadors appears to have a single client – Busch – to promote the corporation’s revenue-producing theme parks, including Busch Gardens – Tampa.

But does dragging helpless wild animals cross country, submitting them to the dark, frigid cargo-holds of Boeing’s best for 5+ hours really teach respect for wildlife? Or does it smack of high-powered publicity stunts to lure visitors out of shopping malls into theme parks to pump up the corporate bottom line?

Tourists and truckers should inquire of roadside innkeepers: What was sleeping in my bed before booking their motel rooms. Unwary folks may be exposing themselves to serious infectious diseases. These animals of the wild may not leave the light on for the weary traveler, but deposit dangerous microscopic organisms on the welcome mat in their wake.

Additional information/substantiation available at:
PACER (Public Access Court Electronic Records) www.pacer.gov
Southern District of Florida Case # 1:06-cv-20772-WPD

Previous coverage: as follows
Hotel Online (9/08)

Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive
________________________________________

A Hampton Inn Miami-Airport West Housekeeping Attendant Claims Health

Woes After Cleaning Up for Two Lemurs, a Monkey and an Alligator
By Douglas Hanks, The Miami HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sep. 24, 2008 – There’s no doubt some guests at the Hampton Inn Miami Airport West behaved like animals during their stay four years ago. They had an excuse, though — being lemurs, a spider monkey, an alligator and a parrot.

The menagerie — stars of a traveling zoo exhibition — lies at the heart of a lawsuit by a maid who cleaned rooms rented by the animals’ handlers for eight days in February 2004. Arlin Valdez-Castillo blames chronic medical problems on exposure to bird feces, monkey dander and other alleged hazards from the exotic guests.

The case, being heard in federal court in Miami, will force a judge to weigh the legal protections for employees, employers and beasts when all three land in close quarters.

Defense lawyers want Judge Shelby Highsmith to throw out the case partly based on court precedents that animal owners face liability only if their charges attack (such as a dog bite) rather than simply perform natural functions (such as spider monkey droppings).

“Plantiff’s alleged allergic reaction was not due to the dangerous propensities of the wild animals,” attorneys for Busch Gardens, which hired the animals for a local publicity tour, wrote in a motion. “Rather, the allergic reaction was due to Plaintiff’s own immune system.”

The case also reveals some of the complications involved when business travel includes the furry and the feathered.

ANIMAL HOUSE
Lawyers submitted as evidence a Busch Gardens manual for traveling with animals. Among the tips: Book a room near an ice machine when on the road with penguins and always put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door when leaving an animal alone in a hotel room.

According to court documents, the messy dispute began in February 2004, when Busch Gardens booked a South Florida publicity blitz for its safari theme park in Tampa. It hired the traveling Wildlife on Wheels animal troupe run by Conservation Ambassadors, a nonprofit in California’s wine country.

On Feb. 9, Maya the spider monkey, Bob the alligator, Tango the Macaw and lemurs Zuri and Rufio were loaded into containers and flown from California to Miami on an American Airlines flight.

They joined Busch Gardens workers for performances at Miami Heat and Miami Hurricanes basketball games, a Florida Panthers hockey game, and school and television appearances.

At night the animals and their Wildlife on Wheels handlers slept at the Hampton Inn, at 3620 NW 79th Ave. in West Miami-Dade.

Valdez claims her superiors forced her to clean the rooms once the handlers and animals left for the day.

Lawyers and executives for the hotel declined to comment.

Alan Landsberg, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer representing Conservation Ambassadors, said: “We believe the plaintiff has no case.”

HAIR AND FEATHERS
In her deposition, Valdez said she made contact with hair, feathers, urine and feces while cleaning the rooms.

“When you walked into the room, it was like being in a zoo,” Valdez said Tuesday afternoon through a translator in the Coral Gables office of her lawyer, John Hess.
But Migdalia Gonzalez, another Hampton Inn maid, said in a deposition that she encountered an “unpleasant” smell and plenty of feathers and bird food while cleaning up the rooms, but no feces, fur or visible urine.

Five hours into her 2006 deposition, Valdez also recounted being kidnapped two weeks earlier from outside her suburban Miami home by two men she claims took her to a cemetery and warned her to drop the lawsuit. Hess said a police report was filed, but no arrests have been made.

Valdez’s suit claims the animal exposure left her with physical and emotional problems, including skin lesions throughout her body, headaches and depression.

A University of Miami doctor, Nancy Klimas, wrote in a 2005 report that Valdez developed severe animal allergies “through a prolonged and dramatic exposure of animal dander and excrements during those 2 1/2 weeks” at the Hampton Inn.

Becca Bides, a spokeswoman for Busch Gardens and its sister park, Sea World, declined to comment directly on the suit but said: “We have been conducting animal interaction programs in our parks, and all over the world, for 45 years. And we have never had a history of such an occurrence.”

The suit says Boykin Management, the Ohio company that owns and manages the Hampton Inn franchise, forced Valdez, 42, out after she complained of health problems from the animal exposure.

But in court filings, Boykin denied making Valdez clean the rooms and rejected allegations she came into contact with feces, dander or other animal substances.
The Busch Gardens travel guide states animals may “roam” in hotel rooms, but all “feces, urine and marking excretions should be properly cleaned if this occurs during playtime.”

Busch Gardens, in a court filing, suggests Valdez brought on the problems herself.

“Plaintiff so carelessly and negligently conducted herself as to cause or contribute to the occurrence of the incident,” the theme park’s lawyers wrote.

But Valdez said she only cleaned the rooms as best she could, scooping up feathers by hand from the sink and scraping droppings off the carpet.

“I did what I had to do,” she said Tuesday.
—–
To see more of The Miami Herald or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.herald.com.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Miami Herald
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

Contact Details:
Plaintiff’s counsel:
Michael M. Tobin, Esq.
Tel: 305-445-5475

John P. Hess, Esq.
Tel: 305-445-9525
Email:jphess55@hotmail.com

Bryan J. Yarnell, Esq.
561-622-1252 x178
bryanyarnell@gmail.com

Defendants’ counsel:
Robert Blank, Esq. [Defendant Busch]
Tel: 813-223-4253
Email: rblank@rumbergerkirk.com

James E. Mitchell, Esq. [Defendant Conservation]
Alan L. Landsberg, Esq.
Tel: 954-761-8600
Email: jem@bunnellwoulfe.com
all@bunnellwoulfe.com

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Jim Adler, An ATV Injury Lawyer Whose Warning Exposes The Hidden Dangers Of ATVs, Especially The Yamaha Rhino

“If you hand people a gun that shoots backwards, don’t act shocked at what happens.”

That’s ATV injury lawyer Jim Adler talking about ATV manufacturers and their deceptive advertising. The advertising says that ATVs are a great way to have fun. But this personal injury attorney is hearing from people all over the United States who have been seriously injured in ATV accidents.

2008 case files at the Adler law firm reveal the grim reality that manufacturers don’t talk about: The ATV can cause life-altering accidents at low speeds with no warning, especially in the Yamaha Rhino.

• A Florida woman began having severe headaches two months after an accident in a Yamaha Rhino. An MRI showed a skull fracture and scar fragments sticking into her brain. The Yamaha Rhino passenger had two brain surgeries.

• An Arizona honor student was taken by life-flight to a hospital with a broken right leg, a fractured neck, broken ribs, a broken collarbone and punctured lungs. He has dropped out of school due to brain damage from bleeding in the brain.

Callers from 18 states this year have been telling Adler similar tales. Some injuries aren’t life threatening: a broken foot or leg. But all needed a doctor’s attention. Many required hospitalization. Some have permanent disabilities. And one died from head injuries.

What makes the ATV, particularly the Yamaha Rhino, so dangerous? Its design flaws and lack of safety equipment. ATVs have a narrow wheelbase and high center of gravity. That makes them “tippy.” The two-seater Yamaha Rhino lacks doors, safety handles and other safety equipment. It is particularly dangerous since it is larger and heavier than most ATVs.

Victims of ATV accidents report rollovers at low speeds – at two to three miles per hour one client said – when they tried to make a turn. Some ATVs have flipped suddenly, landing on arms and legs, crushing them. Videos show ATVs jerking and bouncing over sand dunes and on back trails heading to hunting cabins, deer stands and duck blinds. YouTube is full of daredevil stunts on ATVs in contests and exhibitions. Sales of the recreational sports vehicles are a fast growing-component of the automotive market. That worries Yamaha rhino injury attorney Jim Adler.

“The rates of death and injury to kids in ATVs would knock your socks off and the companies that make ATVs know it,” Adler says.

In 2005, an emergency room doctor with the American Academy of Pediatrics called ATVs the “perfect recipe for tragedy” given their unstable design. “Safe Kids Worldwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Consumer Federation of America, have been calling for a ban on kids under 16 in ATVs since 1987 because they know how deadly they are.”

An ATV crash is “…12 times as likely to kill a child as an accident with a bicycle,” according to Safe Kids. Adler is a member of several Safe Kids coalitions in large U.S. cities. The coalitions work to reduce preventable accidents – the number one killer of children 14 and under.

The deadly design of the early ATVs prompted the Justice Department to file suit against the manufacturers, claiming that they violated the Consumer Product Safety Act. In 1987, major ATV manufacturers and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a 10-year Consent Decree, which among several provisions agreed to stop making the deadly three-wheeled ATV. Makers began manufacturing ATVs with four wheels but many three-wheelers remain in use.

The Wall Street Journal slammed the ATV industry in an article in February 2004, pointing out federal statistics showing that in 2002 more than 110,000 ATV riders were injured seriously enough to require emergency department treatment and that one-third of these were under the age of 16. In 2007, this number has increased to over 150,000 with 27% occurring in children.

About the Company:
Jim Adler is a lawyer with 30 years experience in all types of personal injury cases. He is also a TV and radio personality who has served the public for 25 years on TV and radio talk shows, in newspaper interviews and on civic group panels discussing the legal rights of accident victims. His law firm, Jim S. Adler & Associates represents the seriously and catastrophically injured in Texas and other states.

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The bankruptcy laws require the utility company to restore the service of any utility that was terminated prior to the filing

Immediately upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition, no creditor may pursue or commence an action against the debtor (person filing the petition). It’s the law. Therefore, after the filing, a utility company may not terminate the debtor’s service, even though there may be substantial arrears. Also, in the event that the debtor’s service was terminated prior to the filing, the service must be restored, upon notifying the utility provider after the filing. Generally, the provider will restore the service within 24 to 48 hours after the filing.

New Jersey residents can obtain answers to questions regarding foreclosure resolution and bankruptcy laws by visiting http://www.bankruptcylawyer-nj.com

The bankruptcy code states that within 20 days after the filing, the debtor must pay a security deposit to establish a new account. Each utility company may apply a different criteria in determining the deposit amount. The utility companies generally apply the following criteria to determine the amount of the security deposit: 1. average monthly usage for the 12 months prior to the filing; 2. average of the highest two months of usage during the 12 months prior to the filing; 3. twice the average monthly usage for the 12 months prior to the filing.

Is the debtor required to pay the pre-bankruptcy debt owed to the utility provider? If the debtor has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and meets all of the requirements for a discharge, the debt is eliminated without any payment. After a debtor has established a new account, subsequent to a chapter 7 discharge, the utility company may terminate the service for payment arrears, based on their typical standards.

New Jersey residents can obtain answers to questions regarding foreclosure resolution and bankruptcy laws by visiting http://www.bankruptcylawyer-nj.com

The following pertains to chapter 13 protection. An individual may file a chapter 13 case for numerous reasons that are unrelated to utility issues. A chapter 13 typically requires the debtor to make monthly payments to a trustee (bankruptcy administrator) over a 36 to 60 month period. The trustee payments may be paid to various creditors based on the debtor’s financial position and desires. Utility debt is classified as unsecured. The debtor may be required to pay none, some, or all of their unsecured debt, based on the following factors: personal and household income; personal and household expenses; real and personal property values; amount of arrears on secured debt; and, to some extent, the debtor’s desires. A chapter 13 may permit the debtor to eliminate the entire utility balance, without payment.

Similar to a chapter 7, in the event that a debtor falls behind with the utility payments after the chapter 13 filing and the establishment of a new account, the company may terminate the service, based on their typical standards relating to payment default.

For more information on bankruptcy laws in New Jersey, visit
http://www.bankruptcylawyer-nj.com

Robert Manchel is a New Jersey, Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney, whose practice is limited to foreclosure resolution and bankruptcy law. For more information, please contact Mr. Manchel at (856) 797-1500, 1(866) –503-5655 or go to his web site at http://www.bankruptcylawyer-nj.com

Robert Manchel handles cases from the following counties: Cumberland, Atlantic, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Ocean, Mercer, Monmouth, and Philadelphia.

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RJW Has Reported On The Latest Hearing In The Sofa Burns Group Litigation

RJW, a leading national firm of solicitors, has reported on the latest hearing in the ‘sofa burns’ group litigation which took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

So far around 3000 people have been affected by the sofa rash and other allergic skin reactions and burns after purchasing sofas containing the anti-mould agent Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF) and are pursuing claims against Argos, Land of Leather and Walmsley’s Furnishing, as well as a number of other retailers.

It was ruled that further investigation into the medical evidence was necessary and that more clarity over affected sofa models and batch numbers was needed for those seeking sofa rash compensation.

It was also revealed that a major advertising campaign would hit the press and continue throughout October, in order to alert the public to the potential link between skin injury and rashes and affected sofas.

In addition, those who have already brought sofa rash claims through a solicitor should expect to receive a postal questionnaire in the next couple of months which must be returned as soon as possible in order to assess the viability of their claim.

Richard Langton, the RJW partner in charge of the sofa litigation said; “The judge has made it clear he wants all the defendants to clarify their position on accepting liability. We should then be able to make good progress towards settling cases so consumers get proper financial redress as soon as possible. Anyone who thinks they may have been affected needs to join in the proceedings urgently if they want to get the benefit of the group action.”

The next hearing in the case is due to take place in December.

About Russell Jones & Walker
Russell Jones & Walker is a leading national firm of solicitors dedicated to upholding the legal rights of individuals. From the firms foundation in the 1920s the focus has and continues to be, people and those who represent them.

The firm has grown from its trade union roots into a respected national organisation with nine offices across England and Wales, and an associated office in Scotland.

The reputation of Russell Jones & Walker is built on the range of expertise offered by its partners and staff and on the scope of their practical experience.

RJW Solicitors represents clients across a range of areas from personal injury work to commercial and criminal litigation; from employment to defamation and reputation management; and from clinical negligence to family law.

Case Number 604759.2

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An update by Russell Jones & Walker on severe skin reactions caused by leather sofas sold by several leading high street retailers

Following a recent BBC Watchdog expose of severe skin reactions caused by leather sofas sold by several leading high street retailers, Russell Jones & Walker announces update.

Back in February, the BBC’s Watchdog programme exposed a story about leather sofas, sold by a number of leading high street retailers, which had caused severe skin reactions in some people. The Chinese manufactured sofas, the majority of which were purchased from Land of Leather, Argos and Walmsleys, were thought to contain a chemical which was causing extreme allergic reactions in some people, including rashes and blistering that resulted in hospitalisation for some.

Watchdog reported on 12 May 2008 that, in conjunction with Russell Jones & Walker (RJW), it has since discovered that the cause of these ‘sofa burns’ is Di-methyl Fumarate (DMF), a chemical known to cause skin irritation. This fungicide is contained within a sachet which is placed inside the sofas in order to protect against mould during storage, transit and everyday usage. Argos’ independent investigations have also now confirmed these results.

A team of Solicitors led by Richard Langton and Christian Shotton of RJW is currently representing injury claims on behalf of more than 500 people who have suffered due to the affected sofas, and this number is continuing to grow. Around 1000 individuals are now launching a group action in the high court to sue the retailers who sold the sofas for damages.

The majority of the sofas have now been recalled, but a list of known affected sofa batch numbers has been compiled on the RJW Solicitors site in order to enable worried consumers to check whether their sofa might be one of those affected.

In light of the ongoing problem, RJW Solicitors has also advised that anyone who has experienced similar skin problems, even if their sofa’s batch number does not appear in the list, should still contact the retailer where they originally purchased the sofa from.

About Russell Jones & Walker
Russell Jones & Walker is a leading national firm of solicitors dedicated to upholding the legal rights of individuals. From the firms foundation in the 1920s the focus has and continues to be, people and those who represent them.

The firm has grown from its trade union roots into a respected national organisation with nine offices across England and Wales, and an associated office in Scotland.

The reputation of Russell Jones & Walker is built on the range of expertise offered by its partners and staff and on the scope of their practical experience.

RJW Solicitors represents clients across a range of areas from personal injury work to commercial and criminal litigation; from employment to defamation and reputation management; and from clinical negligence to family law.

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