Articles Posted in Firm News

Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck in BostonThe Metro news website interviewed Attorney David W. White and other legal experts in the wake of Aaron Hernandez’ suicide at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts this week. Hernandez, a former New England Patriot who once received a $40 million contract extension for five years, had been serving a life sentence in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. As prosecutors prepared the Odin Lloyd case, they also charged Hernandez with a double murder in Boston in 2012. Hernandez was acquitted on the Boston murder charges just last week in Suffolk Superior Court. As he headed back to prison, his lawyer spoke about hopes for appealing the Odin Lloyd conviction and seeing Hernandez walk free someday.

But Hernandez apparently had no plans for appeal. Come Wednesday morning, he was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell at the Shirley prison. The state medical examiner concluded the cause of death was suicide by asphyxia from hanging. The football player’s brain will be sent to Boston University researchers who are studying CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease of the brain which can only be diagnosed after death. It has been found in other football players.

The suicide changes everything for Odin Lloyd’s family, who was pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez.

During a 2015 trial, Hernandez had been convicted of the first degree murder of Lloyd. Hernandez had an automatic right to appeal to the state’s highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, but had not completed that appeal. Massachusetts follows a legal doctrine known as abatement ab inito. If someone dies after a conviction but before their appeal is complete, the person’s legal records and convictions are null and void.

“Now that the conviction will be vacated, the family of Odin Lloyd has lost their collateral estoppel claim and they will have to start from scratch to prove he is guilty,” White said in the Metro interview.

Hernandez appeared to have a bright future with the Patriots, then came June 26, 2013. Police arrested him at his North Attleborough home in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who had been dating the sister of Hernandez’ fiancee. Less than two hours later, Hernandez was released by the New England Patriots, who had signed him to the $40 million five-year contract extension the previous summer. The contract included a $12.5 million signing bonus. On August 27, 2012, The Boston Globe predicted, “The Patriots are going to have the tight end of duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at least through the 2018 season.”

Read the article in the Metro (April 19, 2017).

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Boston Attorney Marc BreakstoneAttorney Marc L. Breakstone was quoted as a legal expert in a Boston Herald article titled “In Driver’s Seat With Insurance” (March 31, 2017). NuTonomy, the self-driving car company now testing its hands-free technology in Boston, has taken out a $5 million insurance policy to guard against lawsuits. Earlier this month, a self-driving Uber vehicle was involved in a car accident in Tempe, Arizona. Police found the Uber vehicle was traveling at 38 mph, below the speed limit, when the collision occurred and was not at fault. While there were no serious injuries, the accident has raised concerns.

Attorney Breakstone was asked whether the City of Boston could be held liable if there is an accident involving NuTonomy. He said no, but read his full answer.

Attorney Reza Breakstone has written on the topic of self-driving cars and the legal questions they raise. In 2016, he co-wrote an article titled, “The Self Driving Car: Science Fiction Becomes Reality, Creating a Legal Quandary,” for The Litigator, the official publication of the Capital City Trial Lawyers Association in Sacramento, California.

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Attorney David W. White discusses Massachusetts pothole law for motor vehicle damagesJust as sure as it brings snow, winter in Massachusetts always brings potholes. When drivers hit potholes, their cars can sustain major damage, sometimes totaling in the thousands of dollars. They often want to file a claim against the state or community which maintains the road.

NBC Boston recently aired a story on what rights consumers have if their vehicle is damaged by a pothole (1/24/2017). Attorney David W. White was interviewed and delivered bad news for drivers. Under Massachusetts law, drivers do have 30 days to file a claim against a town or state. But drivers are unlikely to recover any money because the state and towns will claim “contributory negligence.”

“If you are one percent at fault, you get zero percent recovery,” he said.

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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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

Boston Personal Injury Attorney Ronald E. GluckAttorney Ronald E. Gluck recently reached a $1.25 million dollar settlement in a case involving serious injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident which occurred in Massachusetts.

Attorney Gluck, who has successfully represented seriously injured motorcyclists for over thirty five years, obtained the full insurance liability policy limits for our client from the defendant’s insurance company.

The motorcycle accident occurred when the offending driver of a sedan made a sudden left turn in front of our client’s motorcycle, cutting off his path of travel and leaving him no room to stop. As a result he crashed into the side of the sedan, and suffered life altering injuries.

breakstone_150Attorney Marc Breakstone recently reached a $1.375 million settlement for a 77-year-old man who was struck by an MBTA bus while crossing Dudley Street in Roxbury. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple bone fractures. Even after two months of hospital and rehabilitation, he showed significant cognitive decline. Prior to the bus accident, the plaintiff had been a healthy, vibrant retired master barber.

The on-board video showed that the plaintiff was visible to the operator of the bus for at least three seconds before the driver took any evasive action to avoid striking the plaintiff. Analysis of the video also showed the bus was traveling above the speed limit.

Further, the bus driver reported to the MBTA Police that the pedestrian had run out from between parked cars. The video made clear that plaintiff stepped off the corner into the street and did not walk between parked cars. The video also demonstrated that he was not running.

The case was settled at mediation in May 2016 and later reported in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Read the case report.

Our Experience: One of the Largest Bus Accident Verdicts in Massachusetts
The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing those who have been injured by the negligence of others in car, truck and bus accidents. Bus accident cases are complex and many attorneys do not have experience investigating these cases or representing those who have been injured or killed. But our attorneys have this unique experience; we have handled motor vehicle and bus accident cases from the insurance claims level through trial and appeal.

Many cases can be settled prior to trial, but not every case. In 2008, Attorney Marc Breakstone took a client’s case against the MBTA to Suffolk Superior Court. After a two-week trial, his client was awarded $5.4 million, including interest. It was believed to be one of the largest verdicts ever in Massachusetts for an injury of its kind.

The MBTA filed a motion for a new trial and was denied. It then appealed the case. The state’s Appeals Court affirmed the judgment and the Supreme Judicial Court denied a petition for further review. By the time the MBTA had exhausted its options, the judgment rose to $7.1 million, with interest and medical expenses and lost earning capacity. Read about this case.

About Attorney Marc Breakstone
Marc L. Breakstone has established a reputation as one of the top medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers in New England. His record-setting settlements and verdicts have earned him the distinction of being selected as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in New England and Top 100 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts. He has also been selected by his peers as one of the top medical malpractice plaintiff’s lawyers in the Super Lawyer balloting. In 2002, Attorney Breakstone was honored as one of ten “Lawyers of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers WeeklyMore on Marc Breakstone.

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A truck and a motorcycle after a fatal accident in West Bridgewater, MassachusettsAttorney Marc Breakstone recently settled a wrongful death case for the family of a motorcyclist for $3.5 million. The case was settled in March 2016.

The motorcyclist was tragically killed by a waste disposal truck in West Bridgewater in 2013. The truck, which was being operated by a subcontractor, pulled out across the road in the path of the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist applied the brakes and laid down his motorcycle, attempting to avoid the collision and struck the defendant’s truck at less than 5 mph.

The motorcyclist continued to roll under the truck. The truck driver did not see him and ran the rear tires over his body, killing him.

The family of Dr. Anita Kurmann, who was tragically hit and killed by a truck last summer in Back Bay, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company. Attorney Ronald E. Gluck of Breakstone, White & Gluck filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family in Suffolk Superior Court. The Boston Globe reported on the case on May 19, 2016.

Read The Boston Globe article, “Family of cyclist killed in Back Bay last year sues truck driver.”

 

A front page story in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported that judges in the Commonwealth have embraced attorney-panel voir dire. The process was introduced in February 2015 and in the first year, lawyers conducted panel voir dire in 14 percent of Superior Court jury trials.

Speaking at a recent Massachusetts Bar Association voir dire workshop organized by Attorney Marc L. Breakstone, Judge Maynard M. Kirpalani reported that just over 700 impanelments were conducted in a one-year period and 14 percent or roughly 100 cases employed panel voir dire. Some 56 percent involved attorney-conducted voir dire of individual jurors; and 30 percent were judge-only voir dire.
There was a pilot project for a group of judges to use panel voir dire in most cases, except for life-felony matters or cases with good cause not to use it. While 15 Superior Court judges were part of the program, 38 of the 80 judges ended up trying panel voir dire.