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Please use the links to the right to check out firm news and more information relating to these specific areas of law. Happy reading and please contact us if you have any questions that we can help answer.


i-Civics Day 2015

Attorney Tad McLeod joined a group of volunteers from the S.C. Young Lawyers Division (YLD) for the fourth annual iCivics Day on Monday, May 18th to help teach students about civics, the U.S. Constitution and our court system.  The volunteers held iCivics classes at schools across the state    The presentations included an informational slideshow along with question and answer opportunities for the students. 

Founded and led by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive and engaging learning resources. Our educational resources empower teachers and prepare the next generation of students to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens.  A growing base of more than 70,000 educators and seven million students relies on iCivics to provide a high quality civics curriculum each year. iCivics games have been played more than ten million times by students across the country.

Tad McLeod and Bob Jackman  met with 4th graders from Irmo Elementary School and discussed the formation of the Constitution, separation of powers, State and Federal government organization, and the court system. 

iCivics 2015 - Irmo

 

 


Veterans appeal Federal Judge’s dismissal of Dorn VA Class Action

In a blow to veterans’ remedies in South Carolina, and across the nation, U.S. District Judge Terry L. Wooten dismissed a federal lawsuit arising out of a lost laptop computer in February 2013.    The lost or stolen laptop contained the personal and confidential information, including social security number and dates of birth, of approximately 7500 veterans who received medical care at Dorn VA Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Plaintiffs, who filed the lawsuit in April 2014 seeking both monetary and injunctive relief, were represented by Mike Kelly Law Group and Douglas J. Rosinski, Esq.    The litigation involved substantial discovery depositions, document production, expert witness testimony and hundreds of pages of legal memoranda, all of which culminated in the parties each presenting their respective arguments before Judge Wooten on January 28, 2015.

The Court issued a 36 page opinion outlining the grounds for the dismissal on March 31, 2015.  On April 14, 2015 Plaintiffs filed their Notice of Appeal and will proceed with taking this case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  

Order 3-31-15 NOTICE OF APPEAL – 4-14-15

 


A Tragic Dilemma for Tommy Taylor

An article published by The State uncovers the terrible situation that now confronts Tommy Taylor, a resident of Gilbert.  Taylor, 59,  participated in a clinical trial for a medical device, manufactured by CVRx,  that controls the flow of blood in his carotid arteries.  The device, a neo Legacy, did not gain approval from the FDA.

Taylor now faces three options: (1) the manufacturer will bear the costs of removing the device if the procedure is performed by April 1; (2) Taylor can leave the device in his body, but the battery will likely die in less than one year; (3) Taylor can continue to replace the device every 12 to 14 months at an expense of $400,000.

View the complete article at:  http://www.thestate.com/2015/03/17/4052326_failed-medical-device-trial-leaves.html?rh=1

 

 


Mike Kelly: Remembering Anne

Dear Friends,

As many of you know my beloved wife, Anne Kelly, passed away unexpectedly on the morning of February 28, 2015. “Unexpectedly” truly cannot capture the nature of Anne’s passing. On that fateful Friday night, Anne and I were enjoying a dinner party with lifelong friends. She was smiling, laughing, and being the Anne all of us loved. Within a few hours she was lost to us. In hindsight I cannot imagine Anne wanting to depart any other way – with a great meal, good wine, and dear friends.

The hole I am experiencing is tough to articulate. I can only say that Anne is with me every minute, every day. I think this is a blessing. In 13 years of knowing Anne (10 years as a married couple) I experienced many of the happiest moments of my life. No one can take those memories away, and I intend to live and relive them for the rest of my life.

I want to reach out to the hundreds of people who sent flowers, brought food by our home, wrote me touching letters, and who simply laid a supporting hand on my shoulder. I have been touched by each and every one of you. You have warmed my heart. I simply do not have the words to properly relay my deep appreciation for your unwavering support.

We are always faced with trials, challenges and loss in this earthly life. We never see them coming, but they are just around the corner. Life experiences sharpen us, and regardless of the experience I have always kept pushing forward. As I jump back into my full work schedule I am reminded that our neighbors’ experience loss in some form every day. Throughout my adult professional life, regardless of the challenging event be it parenthood, marriage, divorce, health, family, etc., there has been one constant – my profession.

I have been blessed on so many levels. I was blessed to be the father of two super sons. I was truly blessed to have Anne Kelly in my life. I am blessed to have the love of family, the support of my friends like yourself and my whole legal team in my life, which has been so important over the last two weeks. I have also been blessed to be an attorney who has the opportunity to help others who have experienced loss or injury. Overwhelming blessings.

I will continue to grieve (which I know is normal and healthy), but make no mistake there are people every day who need an advocate and advisor and I am going to help every person I can possibly help. I know that is what I am here to do, so the work will go on! It’s one way for me to stay sane and busy as I continue to find closure to this gaping hole in my heart! I am back and we are here for you.

God Bless.

Mike Kelly


Tort Reform: The Intended Consequence

Every few years we ramp up the rhetoric on stopping “junk lawsuits” and implementing medical liability reform to stop the rise of medical costs brought about by doctors who feel compelled to order a patient every medical test imaginable to cover themselves in the event the patient sues them for malpractice. You can expect to hear the same rallying cry again with the 2016 election cycle already underway. Here is what you will not likely hear from any candidates or current elected officials.

Tort Reform and Medical Malpractice Reform has not stopped the rising costs of medical case. It has not even curbed the rising costs of medical care, and it never will, although it sure sounds good from the political pulpit.  In the years since tort and medical liability reform statutes were implemented by several states and growing pattern appeared as stated in a recent article on Forbes.com:

[The last bubble to burst was that because doctors are fearful of getting sued, they practice “defensive medicine, prescribing unnecessary and costly tests and procedures. That myth was dispatched by the recent publication of a major study in the New England Journal of Medicine. A team of five doctors and public health experts found that tort reform measures passed in three states – specifically designed to insulate emergency room doctors from lawsuits — did nothing to reduce the number of expensive tests and procedures those ER doctors prescribed.”]

[The latest blockbuster revelation looked at the impact of tort reform restrictions implemented in three states over 10 years ago. Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina passed legislation that made it virtually impossible to sue doctors or hospitals for emergency room treatment. The study examined 3.8 million emergency department visits at 1166 hospitals between 1996 and 2012.

Why ER visits? Because the researchers knew that “emergency physicians practice in an information-poor, high-risk, technology-rich environment.” It was a setting, they noted, that “might lend to defensive practice and magnify the costs.”

What they found was that doctors in the tort-reform states – who were virtually immune to malpractice suits – prescribed just as many MRIs and CAT scans as doctors in the control states. Removing the risk of getting sued didn’t change doctor behavior.]

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecohen/2015/03/02/on-tort-reform-its-time-to-declare-victory-and-withdraw/

So if tort reform legislation has not curbed or stopped the out of control costs of medical care in South Carolina what is the explanation. Could it be that the point of “defensive practices” is indeed to magnify the costs of medical care? Could it be that the point of magnifying costs is to increase overall profitability? Could it be that the most effective way to ensure profitability is granting de facto immunity to medical providers from all errors or deviations from the medical standards or care?  Is that the real consequence of tort and medical liability reform? The Intended Consequence.

Is there any profession which deserves immunity from their actions? Should a police officer be immune from negligence? An attorney? Your accountant? Your homebuilder? Make no mistake about it, creating walls to accountability through our civil justice system does nothing to improve the quality of medical care (or any service) you receive, and it will not get any less expensive either.


MKLG salutes Monica Holmes-Thomas

Please take a moment to watch this story.    Monica Holmes-Thomas is a teacher at Hopkins Middle School working hard to educate our future leaders day in day out.  She has been doing this for 26 years.  You would think that she might take the weekends off, but every Saturday she is volunteering with Resurrection Ministries serving food to those in need.   She is not just serving food, but actually cooking her famous chili and serving it with a smile.  We agree with WIS-TV, she is truly a community builder.

 

http://www.wistv.com/clip/11176278/community-builder-mean-ol-teacher-finds-perfect-recipe-to-balance-school-and-service?autostart=true


Blue Cross Blue Shield dropping Lexington Medical Center

If you have ever had a trip the Emergency Room for anything then you know the claims filing business can be a frustrating process.  Some charges are not covered, some bills keep getting invoiced even after their paid, etc. etc.  It appears that thousands of BCBS policyholders will not longer be able obtain care from Lexington Medical Center.   WIS-TV reports:

“LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) –

Families across the Midlands may soon have to find new a new doctor after a contract breakdown between a major insurance company and a local hospital system.

Starting March 1, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina will no longer cover care from Lexington Medical Center or its affiliates as in-network, according to a letter the insurance company sent to its customers.

The insurance company claims Lexington Medical Center is demanding excessive fee increases.

The letter also states Blue Cross and Lexington have been in negotiations for months, but have not been able to come to an agreement over the fees.

Patients who are covered under Blue Cross Blue Shield would now have to pay higher out-of-network fees to go to the same LMC doctors or practices that they have been to in the past.

We have reached out to Lexington Medical Center for comment and will continue to update this story.”

We will be watching this story in the days ahead as March 1st approaches.  We hope that LMC and BCBS can reach an agreement to avoid what will undoubtedly lead to billing issues for many policyholders.


SC Bar President Cal Watson: The Valuable Role Lawyers Play As Public Servants.

S.C. Bar President Cal Watson wrote a nice editorial in the Greenville News for President’s Day about the valuable role lawyers play as public servants.  We could not agree more! Thank you Mr. President!

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/02/09/lawyers-serve-elected-officials/23121599/

President’s Day has historically been a time for us as citizens of the United States to remember and celebrate the lives and achievements of former U.S. presidents. I am proud to note that 26 (more than half) of our presidents also served their communities and clients as lawyers, bringing their unique and valuable skill sets to the chief executive office.

Reflecting a bit more closer to home as this President’s Day approaches, I am particularly thankful for the lawyers of South Carolina who have held their hand up for service in all levels of public office. As officers of the court, lawyers work every day to uphold the Constitution of the United States. They play a crucial role in ensuring the rule of law prevails for citizens like you and me, a principle that sets us apart from many other countries around the world.

Lawyers also have a valuable role as public servants.

Not only do lawyers play an essential role in the protection of our individual rights, they were an asset to the historical formation of our nation’s democracy. Since John Adams’ appointment to the first Continental Congress in 1774, lawyers have been a staple in U.S. legislatures where they bring a number of strengths to the law-making process, including training in constitutional issues and the rule of law. Their legal education and instruction in oral advocacy are well suited to the job of helping the legislature craft our laws. Thirty-five of the 55 framers of the U.S. Constitution were lawyers, and today our Constitution is a model for democracy around the world.

I am proud that South Carolina lawyers are dedicated to advancing justice and ensuring the civil legal system is available to all South Carolina citizens. Many lawyers chose this profession because they believe in the American legal system and want to make a difference in the lives of those they represent. These are also valuable qualities of our elected officials, and 37 of our state’s lawyers were elected or re-elected to public service in the November 2014 general election. Lawyers serve South Carolinians as lieutenant governor, attorney general, U.S. congressmen, and state senators and representatives.

The legal profession has a long-standing tradition of public service, and the South Carolina Bar commends lawyers who aid their communities by serving in this capacity.

Cal Watson of Columbia is president of the South Carolina Bar. For more information go to www.scbar.org.


Save Fort Jackson – Our local economy is at risk!

Can you imagine Columbia without Fort Jackson? Potential cuts at the post would have a major effect on our local economy.  It does not appear that Fort Jackson is in danger of closing, but the cuts in work force at the post will clearly prevent or diminish its annual training of 47,000 new recruits.  There are several graduation ceremonies per year for soldiers completing basic training that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Columbia.  There is no doubt that any drop in these number will have an negative effect on the local economy.

A public meeting will be held at Shandon Baptist Church on February 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm.  This is an opportunity to show the U.S. Army what Fort Jackson means to our current economy, our storied history, and our local veterans.

#saveFortJackson

Save Our Fort!


Holiday Party Hosts Beware! Social Host Liability in South Carolina

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Ding Dong Ding Dong.  This is the time of year when your calendar fills up with more party events than you can possible attend.  You may even be hosting an event yourself.  While holiday gatherings are a wonderful time to connect with friends and family, if you event is serving alcohol then you need to be aware of some potential legal risks.  These risks are particularly important if any of your guests are under the age of 21.  That can range from a high school student to a college senior who is 20 years 11 month and 29 days old. 

 

Prior to 2007 , the common law in this state provided that a social host incurred no liability to either first or third parties injured by an intoxicated adult guest, but the law as to minor guests was unclear.  Basically, if you left the office party at your bosses house, and harmed someone else only that guest would be individually liable for the harm caused.  This would have included your college students home for the holiday, but this doctrine was changed in the 2007 case of Marcum v. Bowden.   In Marcum, the South Carolina Supreme tackled the issue of whether an adult social host who serves alcoholic beverages to an underage person (someone under 21) owes a duty to that guest and/or a third party injured as a proximate result of the host’s service of alcohol.  

 

In a very important ruling for anyone hosting a holiday, birthday, or office party from that date forward, the Court held that adult social hosts who knowingly and intentionally serve, or cause to be served, alcoholic beverages to persons they know or should know to be between the ages of 18 and 20 may incur liability where, under the same circumstances, they are immune for service to persons aged at least 21 years old.  Marcum v. Bowden, 372 S.C. 452, 460, 643 S.E.2d 85, 89 (2007).  In sum, be mindful of your son or daughter’s college friends who are under 21 and drinking by the fire at the annual party as they may be exposing you to serious civil liability if one of them drives home and hurts themselves or someone else.  Know your guests and always monitor your underage guests minimize your risks.

 

 

 

 


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