reza-breakstone-webAttorney Reza Breakstone writes about the legal ramifications of self-driving cars in an article published in the Winter 2016-2017 edition of The Litigator, the official publication of the Capital City Trial Lawyers Association in Sacramento, California. Attorney Breakstone co-authored the article with Attorney Paul Hoybjerg of Roseville, California. In the article, “The Self Driving Car: Science Fiction Becomes Reality, Creating a Legal Quandary,” the authors write the time has come for the self-driving car.

“The self-driving car is no longer a distant dream of an imagined future. It is here, it is now, and it is reality. There already exist automated functions that come standard on vehicles: anti-lock brakes, self-parking, cruise control, and crash avoidance cameras. Automated cars will affect more than simply your ability to tie your tie or apply your make-up on the way to work. They stand to completely change the automotive industry, insurance world, legal market, public transport and city planning, while redefining the American culture of feeling “freedom” behind the wheel.”

The article explains the current levels of automation among vehicles on the market, investments in the industry and ramifications for auto insurers and plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury cases.

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“The less thrilling ramifications may be to the bottom line of auto insurers and the plaintiffs’ and defense bars in personal injury cases. Currently, auto insurance premiums account for $200 billion nationwide. The insurance industry, with decreased vehicle ownership and decreased liability issues on the part of the user, will find itself cut out of the equation. Allstate Corp. Chairman Thomas Wilson predicts that driverless cars will have “the most detrimental impact on auto insurance” and one “we don’t want to wait” to figure it out.”

The article says questions of liability and specifically who will be responsible need to be resolved and there must be uniform laws that states are willing to adopt.

“The self-driving car brings with it the hope of decreased fatalities and the excitement of a new horizon of transportation. The technology is closer than most realize. Multiple players, from automakers, insurers, and lawyers must be aware of the change or be left in the dust. While the technology is rapidly gaining steam with the help of major corporations and bright minds, there is still much that must be sorted out before the self-driving car is ready for the road. Or, maybe, before we are ready for the self-driving car.”

Read the full article.

About Attorney Reza Breakstone
Attorney Reza Breakstone joined Breakstone, White & Gluck as an associate in 2015. He has earned a reputation as a tough and tenacious litigator helping both individuals who have been personally injured and burgeoning companies who have had insurance and contract disputes. More on Reza Breakstone.

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was quoted in a front-page Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article about common law liability for injuries caused by sidewalk defects. The current common-law standard dates back centuries and prohibits many plaintiffs from recovering compensation for injuries. But a recent Appeals Court ruling may have finally set the stage for change.

Attorney Breakstone welcomes the idea. “I think that the common law is a living body of principles that has to evolve as social conditions and the realities of life evolve,” he said.

20161128_sidewalkdefectEarlier this month, the Appeals Court ruled in the case of Halbach, et al. v. Normandy Real Estate Partners, et al., concurring that a Superior Court judge had correctly granted summary judgment to the defendant, 100 & 200 Clarendon LLC, which operated, leased and maintained the John Hancock Tower and a neighboring garage in Boston.

toy-shopping

Many of us will shop for a child this holiday season. Do your homework first, so you purchase gifts which are both safe and fun to use.

Each year, children and young adults are seriously injured or killed while playing with dangerous and defective toys. We should be able to trust that the toys we purchase from reputable stores are safe, but that is not always the case. In 2015, there were an estimated 185,500 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 11 deaths to children younger than 15 years old, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Riding toys, specifically non-motorized scooters, were associated with the most toy-related injuries.

Before you shop, here are a few tips:

Check out the CPSC recall page. Check the recall page before you shop. You can search for a specific toy, by manufacturer or in several different useful ways.

Read labels. Look for labels with age recommendations and follow them. If you shop online, double check the age recommendation and other labels once you receive the product box. What you see on the computer screen may not be what you actually receive.

Read the Top 10 Worst Toys 0f 2016 list. Take time to read this list and make sure not to buy any toy mentioned on it. Another toy to note: the Tonka 12V Ride-On Dump Truck. It has not been recalled, but Toys R Us has pulled it off shelves after one of the toys caught fire in Bellingham, Washington over the weekend.

No small pieces. Do not buy toys with small pieces for small children under three years old. Consider every part, even things such as small plastic eyes and noses on stuffed animals and dolls which could become loose.

Plastic film. If you purchase toys with mirrors or similar surfaces, remove the protective plastic film before giving the gift to a child. It is a choking hazard.

Avoid magnets. Do not purchase toys or adult gifts with small magnets. If a small child swallows two or more magnets, they attract in the stomach. Surgery may be required to remove the magnets and the child may suffer very serious complications. Thousands of children have these suffered these injuries and required surgeries. At least one child died in recent years, according to news stories.

The CPSC and companies have recalled many of the popular magnet toy sets in recent years, such as Buckyballs toys, and strengthened federal standards. But some are still sold. Steer clear of any product with small magnets. Once they are brought into a house, small pieces can fall under furniture or other areas and stay there for years until they are discovered by a child. They are hard to thoroughly clean up.

Electrical toys. Children should use toys with electrical components under adult supervision and follow age recommendations. Before you buy an electrical toy, check with a child’s parents to see if it is appropriate.

Cords and strings. Do not buy toys with long strings for infants and young children. A child can wrap a long string around his or her own neck and strangle themselves.

Batteries. Do not purchase toys which operate with small circle button batteries.

Balloons. Children can suffocate from balloons and the CPSC advises against letting children younger than 8 play with balloons. One risk is a child can swallow a balloon or suck it in while blowing it up. After the balloon pops, a child can also choke on the broken pieces.
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Congratulations to attorneys Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck for being selected to the 2016 Super Lawyers lists. This is the 13th year our firm has been recognized by Super Lawyers for being among the best in New England at obtaining justice for those who have been injured by negligence in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.. Together, our three partners have over 100 years combined experience practicing law in Massachusetts. Here is how they were honored:

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone
Boston Attorney Marc BreakstoneCongratulations to Attorney Breakstone who was named a Top 100 New England Super Lawyer and a Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer for 2016. Attorney Breakstone specializes in representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice and personal injury cases and has practiced in Boston for 30 years. For the 13th year, Attorney Breakstone was also recognized as as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in the area of medical malpractice for plaintiffs (2004-2016). This is his 10th year on the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list. He was selected as a Top 100 New England Super Lawyer for the fifth time.

Attorney David W. White
david-150-2Congratulations to Attorney David W. White, who was named a 2016 Massachusetts Super Lawyer in the area of personal injury, plaintiff representation. This is the 13th year he has been recognized for excellence among Massachusetts and New England lawyers. Attorney White has been selected to the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers list three times and to the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list seven times.

Attorney White is a past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has practiced law in Boston for over 30 years. He has distinguished himself for his advocacy on behalf of his clients and his leadership among Massachusetts lawyers. Attorney White represents clients in all types of personal injury and insurance cases, including bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, motor vehicle accidents, product liability and dog bite cases.

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck
gluck_150Congratulations to Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, who was named a 2016 Massachusetts Super Lawyer in the area of personal injury, plaintiff representation. Attorney Gluck has been consistently recognized for excellence by Super Lawyers for 11 years. Attorney Gluck has practiced law in Boston for over 35 years and specializes in handling cases involving pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, motor vehicle accidents and motorcycle accidents.

About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers is a multiphase selection process which rates attorneys in every state. The top 5 percent of attorneys are selected to Super Lawyers lists.

How the process works: Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research by Super Lawyers, which is part of the Thomson Reuters company. Lawyers are evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement on an annual, state-by-state basis. The company’s objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys which can be used as a resource for other attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.

Super Lawyers listings are printed annually in Boston Magazine and are available on the Super Lawyers website. Continue reading

cyclist-1Breakstone, White & Gluck is teaming up with Boston Bikes, the City of Boston and cycling groups this week to remind cyclists to use bike lights. All over the city, cyclists are being surprised with free lights (if they need them), as part of Boston Bikes’ #BeBrilliant campaign to keep cyclists safe.

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the 500 bicycle light sets to Boston Bikes, which is part of the City of Boston, for the third year. Boston Bikes staff and volunteer groups have been giving the lights away this week in Dorchester, Allston, Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Mattapan, Roxbury, South Boston and Downtown. Groups include Rozzie Bikes, Commonwheels Bicycle Collective and Bike Dorchester.

Under Massachusetts law, cyclists must use bike lights to help them stay visible to motorists. Cyclists must have a white light on the front of their bike and either a red light or a red reflector on the rear. This is an important reminder since Daylight Saving Time ended last weekend and the nights are getting darker earlier.

“As evenings get dark earlier, people who are driving, walking and bicycling need to be more aware of each other than ever,” said BTD Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca, in an announcement posted on the city’s website. “Our top priority is ensuring the safety of people traveling on our streets, and we ask everyone to help us by slowing down and looking out for each other.

Here are a few safety tips for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

For Drivers

  • Follow the speed limit
  • Do not use cell phones
  • Always yield to pedestrians
  • When turning, slow down and look for bicyclists going straight
  • Make sure you do not open your car door into the path of a bicyclist or another driver
  • Do not park or stop in the bike or bus lane

For Pedestrians

  • Always use crosswalks
  • Avoid crossing the street between two parked cars
  • Wear reflective colored clothing

For Bicyclists

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet and use bike lights
  • Bike in the same direction as traffic, unless the street is marked otherwise
  • Stop at stop signs and follow all traffic signals
  • Wear reflective colored clothing
  • Use hand signals
  • Yield for pedestrians

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Breakstone, White & Gluck has completed its 2016 Project KidSafe campaign, donating nearly 5,000 helmets to children in Massachusetts this year. With help from local bicycle committees, police departments, schools and community groups, we have now donated more than 10,000 bicycle helmets over four years to help children ride safely.

Our partners, Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck, thank everyone who has helped us and embraced our goal: to keep children and families safe and encourage them to wear a helmet every time they ride to prevent serious head injuries.

Read More About Our 2016 Donations:
2016 Project KidSafe Campaign Wrap-Up
2016 Local Bicycle Committee Donations
2016 Police Department Donations
2016 School Donations

Our Partners:
Boston Bikes, Roll It Forward
CYCLE Kids
Bikes Not Bombs
Arlington iCan Shine Camp
Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee
Ashland Farmers Market
Bicyclecentro of East Boston
Bike Milton
Commonwheels Bicycle Collective
Dedham Bike Rodeo
East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition
Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition
Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Friends of Lexington Bikeways
Groundwork Somerville
Haynes Early Education Center in Roxbury
Massachusetts Safe Routes to School
Northbridge Public Schools
Somerville Kiwanis Club
Somerville Public Schools
The Home for Little Wanderers
Tierney Learning Center of South Boston
Up Academy Dorchester
Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee
Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Westwood Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Committee
Windsor Street Care Center of Cambridge
Worcester Earn-a-Bike

Our Police Department Partners:
Cambridge Police
Dedham Police
Everett Police
Randolph Police
Norwood Police
Waltham Police
Marlborough Police
Malden Police
Tewksbury Police
Somerville Police
Framingham Police
Lexington Police

Cycling Clubs and Bicycle Organizations:
We were also pleased to support safe riding in other ways, by sponsoring the Boston Cyclists Union, MassBike, Northeast Bicycle Club, Charles River Wheelmen, New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA), CYCLE Kids and Bikes Not Bombs. We are also sponsoring the Boston Bikes #BeBrilliant campaign again in 2016.

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Local bicycle committees are the wheels behind our success. As we finish our Project KidSafe campaign, our partners, Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck, want to thank all the local bicycle committees who organized community events and helped us donate bicycle helmets to children in 2016. Committee members volunteered their time and fit helmets for children, while also speaking to families about the importance of always wearing a bicycle helmet, every time they ride.

This year, we thank the: Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee; Bike Milton; Framingham Bicycle and Advisory Committee; Friends of Lexington Bikeways; Westwood Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee; Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. While not bicycle committees, the Kiwanis Club of Somerville, Boston Bikes and the Ashland Farmers Market all deserve mention. Here are some photos from the year or read more about our 2016 Project KidSafe campaign here.

Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Arlington.

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Ashland Farmer’s Market

child wearing a bicycle helmet at the Ashland Farmers Market

Bike Milton
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Milton.

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Framingham Earth Day 2016
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Friends of Lexington Bikeways
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Lexington.

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Kiwanis Club of Somerville
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Somerville.

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Westwood Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Westwood.

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Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Westborough.

westborough-2-1000px-crop Attorney David White with children sitting on bicycles, wearing bicycle helmets Children riding bicycles and wearing bicycle helmets donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston.

Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee
Read about our children’s bicycle safety donation in Watertown.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to partner with more than a dozen police departments in the Boston area during our 2016 Project KidSafe campaign. During the first three years of our campaign, police departments provided critical support in helping us give away children’s bicycle helmets. This year, we expanded our police donations to help protect more children and reach more families. Our partners, Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck, thank police departments for helping us give away more than 1,500 helmets in 2016. Our attorneys have now donated over 10,000 helmets to children since 2013 and we owe much to the support of local police officers and departments.

The police departments did a great job this year. Some departments organized bike rodeos and gave away bike helmets. Others gave helmets away one at a time to children who needed one. Others, like Framingham, Lexington and Somerville, dispatched officers to help fit helmets at community events. For several years now, Somerville Police Officer Marianne Manfra has participated in two events in June. With her help, we reached more than 400 children in less than two weeks last Spring. Read about our Somerville bike helmet donations.

Cambridge Police Department incorporated the donation into their National Bike Safety Month activities, by announcing a helmet voucher program. Please check out our photo album and read more about our 2016 Project KidSafe campaign.

Our 2016 Police Partners:

Boston Police
Cambridge Police
Dedham Police
Everett Police
Randolph Police
Norwood Police
Waltham Police
Marlborough Police
Malden Police
Tewksbury Police
Somerville Police
Framingham Police
Lexington Police

A little farther west, we thank Easthampton Police for supporting us.

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As part of our commitment to keep children safe, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bicycle helmets to several schools and safety programs during our 2016 Project KidSafe campaign. We made donations to schools in the Boston area and across the state.

We made our largest donation of 400 helmets to Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, which works with schools, communities, students and families to increase biking and walking among elementary and middle school students. Safe Routes to School offers safety education and organizes bicycle rodeos in more than 50 percent of communities in Massachusetts.

This is the second year our law firm has partnered with Safe Routes to School. In 2016, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated helmets to support Safe Routes to School’s work at schools, including:

  • Brayton Elementary School in North Adams
  • Arlington Elementary School in Lawrence
  • Gibbons Elementary in Stoughton

Last Spring, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School also gave out helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign at a bike rodeo at the South Boston Neighborhood House. Attorney David W. White fit helmets for the kids and participated:

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Left: Attorney White with Moss Lynch and Jana Linhart of Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, Maren Tober of South Boston Healthy Community Champions and Mary Picard Walsh from the South Boston Neighborhood House. Next: Attorney White helping a young cyclist. Next: Group shot of kids with Jana Linhart, Safe Routes to School outreach coordinator and Attorney White. Last: Young cyclist takes to the obstacle course.

In 2015, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated helmets to support Safe Routes to School’s work at:

  • Lawrence Bike Program, Lawrence
  • Avon Bike Rodeo, Avon
  • Reingold School Bike Rodeo, Fitchburg
  • Bike & Trike Parade, Salem
  • Newman School Festival, Needham
  • Greenfield Bike Rodeo at Greenfield Middle School, Greenfield
  • Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem
  • Milton Rodeo at Pierce Middle School, Milton
  • Williams Elementary Bike Rodeo, Pittsfield
  • Ciclovia, Lawrence
  • Springfield Library Bike Rodeo, Springfield
  • Foncesca Bike Summer Session, Fall River

Other Donations to Schools
Through our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated over 10,000 helmets to children in Boston and across Massachusetts since 2013. Our other donations to schools and education centers during our 2016 campaign include:

Somerville Public Schools and CYCLE Kids
In Somerville, we donated 300 helmets to Somerville Public Schools and CYCLE Kids. The helmets were given to fifth graders who completed the CYCLE Kids curriculum as part of their physical education classes. The curriculum teaches students how to ride a bicycle, bicycle safety and nutrition basics. This is the third year we have made this donation. Attorney Marc L. Breakstone joined Somerville Police Officer Marianne Manfra, Physical Education Teacher Kris Savage in handing out the helmets to students at the Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School last June. Read our blog.

Arlington Public Schools

In Arlington, we made a donation to the Arlington Public Schools for the third year. We donated 170 helmets to support the Walk to School Day events for elementary school students. These events focus on encouraging children to safely walk and ride bicycles to school. Our Project KidSafe bicycle helmets were donated to children who needed one during these events. The donation was coordinated through the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee. Read our blog.

Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center
For the second year, Breakstone White & Gluck donated bicycle helmets to the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center in South Boston. Attorney David W. White fit helmets for the children at the center’s summer party in July.

A boy receiving a new bicycle helmet. 20160707-IMG_1261 20160707-IMG_1351 20160707-IMG_1242  Attorney David White with a young cyclist in South Boston. 20160707-IMG_1293

Haynes Early Education Center
In Roxbury, we donated 75 helmets to the Haynes Early Education Center, which is part of the Boston public school system. The school gave the helmets to children who needed one at its Healthy Families Event. Read our blog.

Photos: Arlington Public Schools left, then the Haynes Early Education Center.

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Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition and Easthampton Public Schools
In Easthampton, we donated 140 bicycle helmets to children at the Event to Celebrate Bike Safety in May. The event was sponsored by the Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition, Easthampton Police, Easthampton Public Schools and the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. Attorney David W. White attended to help fit helmets for the children. Read our blog.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to help students at Groundwork Somerville ride their bicycles safely this summer. As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, our attorneys donated bicycle helmets and neon safety vests to 25 students on The Green Team.

Students wearing bicycle helmets and neon vests in Somerville, Massachusetts.

The Green Team is Groundwork Somerville’s environmental youth employment program, where Somerville youth work to make positive social and environmental change, while gaining valuable job training and career skills. The students spend summers working across the City of Somerville, building gardens, cleaning up rivers and engaging the community about ways to protect the environment and cultivate agricultural and forestry resources. The students rely heavily on their bicycles to travel between sites and bicycle safety is a priority.

Among The Green Team’s projects: developing The South Street Farm near the Cambridge border and participating in the planning of Somerville parks. If you shop at the Union Square Farmer’s Market or the Mystic Mobile Market, you may have bought produce from The Green Team gardens.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to support Groundwork Somerville. We encourage you to visit their website at www.groundworksomerville.org.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe in Somerville
Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to children’s bicycle safety. Over the past four years, our attorneys have donated over 10,000 bicycle helmets to children across Massachusetts through our Project KidSafe campaign. We have partnered with Groundwork Somerville for the past three years, donating helmets and safety vests.

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We have been active in Somerville all four years of our safety campaign, also donating helmets to The Kiwanis Club of Somerville’s Bike Safety Day and helmets to every 5th grader who completes CYCLE Kids, which teaches bicycle riding and nutrition skills. In 2016, we were pleased to donate over 400 children’s bicycle helmets in the city. Read recent coverage in The Somerville Times.

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