Bluegrass Business Law

February 17, 2007

Releasing more than you meant

Filed under: Personal Injury,Uncategorized — G.A. Napier @ 6:37 pm

In a just rendered, but NOT to be published opinion, the Kentucky Court of Appeals in Richardson v. DLC Inc., 2005-CA-001635-MR (February 16, 2007) looked at this language in a release of an employee of Little Ceasar’s Pizza from tort liability:

    This release does not release any claim against Little Caesar’s
    Pizza and the undersigned expressly reserves the right to
    pursue any personal injury or property damage claim against
    Little Caesar’s Pizza.

The COA states:

    The basic rule is that if an employee/agent is released from liability, then the employer/principal is thereby also released from liability based on the same acts of negligence. Copeland v. Humana of Kentucky, Inc., 769 S.W.2d 67, 69 (Ky.App. 1989). The release of the employee releases the employer from vicarious liability as a matter of law despite language in the release to the contrary. Id. at 70.

The key in looking at when a release of an employee also releases the employer is determining whether the suit against the employer is based on vicarious liability or if there is an independent claim of negligence. In this case, the only claim against Little Ceasar’s was based on vicarious liability even though it was framed as negligence in hiring. An attorney needs to carefully analyze the real basis of the different claims before entertaining a release of any party.

December 21, 2006

Victims’ Rights Groups!?

Filed under: Personal Injury — G.A. Napier @ 7:07 pm

I am anxious to hear from anyone with first hand knowledge of this phenomenon.  There are a number of victims’ rights groups set up that contact the victims and families of victims immediately (within days) of a major catastrophe, such as Flight 5191, offering “help”.  Some of these groups are likely legitimate and concerned.  Others have a less benign purpose in mind.

Those non-benevolent groups receive considerable funding from large plaintiff attorney firms and were most likely caused to be created by those firms.  The firms call this funding “charitable donations” but is actually an unethical form of fee sharing.  The groups “help” to the victim or family is to refer them to their sponsor firm for representation and tell them they need to protect their rights quickly.  Often, the firm is in a different state.  Often these firms expect fees of 40 to 45% (excessive in my opinion) of any recovery before expenses are taken out.  They then contract with a local attorney in the state of the catastrophe and give them a slice of that fee (why not cut out the middle man?).

So, if you are contacted by a victims’ rights group and they quickly refer you to an attorney or firm, please ask them some questions.  Ask if the firm they are referring you too is out of state, and if so, are they aware of a good in state attorney.  Ask them if the firm they are referring you to regularly donates to their group and how much.  Beware if they cannot or will not answer either of those queries. 

Victims’ Rights Groups!?

Filed under: Personal Injury,Solo & Small Firm — G.A. Napier @ 7:07 pm

I am anxious to hear from anyone with first hand knowledge of this phenomenon.  There are a number of victims’ rights groups set up that contact the victims and families of victims immediately (within days) of a major catastrophe, such as Flight 5191, offering “help”.  Some of these groups are likely legitimate and concerned.  Others have a less benign purpose in mind.

Those non-benevolent groups receive considerable funding from large plaintiff attorney firms and were most likely caused to be created by those firms.  The firms call this funding “charitable donations” but is actually an unethical form of fee sharing.  The groups “help” to the victim or family is to refer them to their sponsor firm for representation and tell them they need to protect their rights quickly.  Often, the firm is in a different state.  Often these firms expect fees of 40 to 45% (excessive in my opinion) of any recovery before expenses are taken out.  They then contract with a local attorney in the state of the catastrophe and give them a slice of that fee (why not cut out the middle man?).

So, if you are contacted by a victims’ rights group and they quickly refer you to an attorney or firm, please ask them some questions.  Ask if the firm they are referring you too is out of state, and if so, are they aware of a good in state attorney.  Ask them if the firm they are referring you to regularly donates to their group and how much.  Beware if they cannot or will not answer either of those queries. 

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.