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There is no Yelp for Experts

March 1, 2021

It is common knowledge that expert witness fees can be one of the highest costs in litigation, if not the highest.  Especially if a referral service invoices for the expert assisting on the case. Therefore, an attorney will try to mitigate these costs by:

Finding an expert on their own, and using that expert on multiple cases

Asking around, via email blast or word of mouth, to see if anyone has an expert in the required specialty

Using a local doctor to screen their case, and trying to find an expert that agrees with this opinion

In addition to the risks and costs of the above there are many expert horror stories, that involve:

  • Not disclosing a disciplinary action
  • Not actively performing the procedure or care in question
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Distracted Driving

January 29, 2021

Every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving safely.

Highway Fatalities:

  • 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 NHTSA

Distracted Driving:

  • 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA.
  • Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the NSC estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of 2015 car crashes. NSC
  • In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA
  • The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS)
  • Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.  AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The growing frequency of distracted driving is alarming:

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Standard of Care in Telehealth Medicine

November 30, 2020

Standard of Care for Telehealth Visits In the recent months, telehealth has been an integral part of delivering health care services. Because this avenue of service has increased throughout the pandemic, patients need to trust that their care is competent; their privacy is protected; and there is continuity of care. To ensure patients receive high-quality treatment, state laws and medical board regulations require the standard of care in telemedicine reflect that of an in-person physician-patient encounter. Physicians who participate in telehealth/telemedicine must have appropriate protocols to prevent unauthorized access and to protect the security and integrity of patient information at the patient end of the electronic encounter; during transmission; and among all health care professionals and personnel who participate in the telehealth/telemedicine service, consistent with their individual roles. The key rule is that the standard of care in telemedicine is identical to the standard of care in an in-person office visit.

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To Knock or Not to Knock

November 9, 2020

 

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot to death by police shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. The police had a no-knock warrant and entered with a battering ram to search for evidence of drug dealing; none was found.  A Kentucky grand jury indicted former detective of the Louisville Police Department, Brett Hankison, on charges of reckless endangerment for his role in the raid. No charges were filed against Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, the two officers who fired shots inside the apartment. This has spurred a nationwide discussion of the use of no-knock warrants—and reforms that might prevent unnecessary death and injury in the future. (more…)

 

Accuracy of Drug Recognition Evaluations

October 5, 2020

Carol Stream police Sgt. Brian Cluever pulls over a motorist in
Carol Stream on Dec. 7, 2017. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

With the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 33 states (plus D.C.) and 11 states (plus D.C.) where recreational marijuana is legal, it has become necessary for police to be able to evaluate individuals based on suspicion of impaired driving due to drug use. A Drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.

The Los Angeles Police Department originated the program in the early 1970s, when LAPD officers noticed that many of the individuals arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) had very low or zero alcohol concentrations. The officers reasonably suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs but lacked the knowledge and skills to support their suspicions. In response, two LAPD sergeants collaborated with various medical doctors, research psychologists, and other medical professionals to develop a simple, standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts culminated in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program. The LAPD formally recognized the program in 1979.

The LAPD DRE program attracted NHTSA’s attention in the early 1980s. The two agencies collaborated to develop a standardized DRE protocol, which led to the development of the DEC Program. During the ensuing years, NHTSA and various other agencies and research groups examined the DEC Program. Their studies demonstrated that a properly trained DRE can successfully identify drug impairment and accurately determine the category of drugs causing such impairment.

How Do Police Determine Whether a Driver Is Under the Influence?

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Covid cures from around the world

August 31, 2020

There are currently no proven treatments for the deadly respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19), although many countries are in trials for existing and experimental drugs. So far, only one — the antiviral remdesivir — has been shown, in randomized control trials, to have some potential to speed up recovery. Most recently, convalescent plasma has been given emergency authorization to treat the virus.

There have been many claims of a cure made around the world.  Some of the most interesting include:

  • Drinking cow urine and coating oneself in cow dung.  All urine and dung may only come from cows in India.
  • USB flash drives being sold for $370 as a “5G Bioshield”, purportedly offering protection from the non-existent threat of infection transmitted via 5G mobile telephone radio waves.
  • Inhaling 0.5-3% hydrogen peroxide solution using a nebulizer.
  • Gargling with saltwater.
  • Drinking warm water or hot baths/heating to 26–27 °C (79–81 °F).
  • Wearing the color white as it may have a harmful effect on coronavirus, as claimed in a widely shared Facebook post.
  • A mix containing amphetamines, cocaine, and nicotine, on sale on the dark web for US $300, was presented as a vaccine against COVID-19.
  • A claim that cannabis could protect against the coronavirus appeared on YouTube, along with a petition to legalize cannabis in Sri Lanka.
  • “Virus Shut Out Protection” pendants, supposedly from Japan, worn around one’s neck, have been sold with claims that they prevent infection.
  • A suggestion that COVID-19 could be prevented by applying a cotton ball soaked in violet oil to the anus.
  • Drinking bleach.

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The Pitfalls of the Expert Search

August 3, 2020

Yes, knowing that you need an appropriately qualified expert is the first step in properly investigating the merits of your case, and connecting with the right expert is an investment that pays off starting with record review, all the way through to trial. Let Saponaro, Inc. assist you from the beginning, so you avoid these common mistakes.

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To Serve and Protect

July 6, 2020

Law enforcement is an integral part of our communities.  They ensure justice for over 8 million crimes a year and are responsible for 10 million arrests per year. Respect for police has been waning in recent years as methods of enforcement are increasingly called into question.  The perception of police as overzealous and abusive has eroded public trust and confidence.

In the last decade, 85,000 police officers have been investigated.  Reporters from USA TODAY and the nonprofit invisible Institute spent more than a year compiling records of police misconduct throughout the United States.

The records obtained include more than 110,000 internal affairs investigations by hundreds of individual departments and more than 30,000 officers who were decertified by 44 state oversight agencies. (more…)

 

Corona Virus Ravaging Nursing Homes

May 27, 2020

saponaro-nursing-home-abuse-and-infractions

As we continue to wind through the coronavirus, the most obvious cases of infection have centered around our nursing homes. There is no doubt that nursing homes and similar group living facilities are in a difficult position. USA TODAY reports that a minimum of 2300 long-term care facilities in 37 states have reported positive cases of COVID-19 and that over 3000 residents had died. Because the infection spreads rapidly and is not always symptomatic, nursing homes that exercise reasonable care may still experience an outbreak. USA TODAY also reports that before the pandemic, 75% of nursing homes had been cited for failing to properly monitor and control infection in the past three years.

Elderly and immuno-compromised individuals are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and whether the facility that they reside in is responsible for their infection requires a thorough investigation. (more…)

 

Work Life during a Pandemic

April 20, 2020

Changing times mean new opportunities. Not only are attorneys being asked to work in new ways, but clients are going to ask new questions that you should be prepared to answer. The following is a guide to finding your way during the pandemic.

What clients need:

Estate planning

The search term “getting a will” has risen sharply since March 8th according to Google Trends. Many people in uncertain times look to put a plan in place in case of illness or death. This trending search indicates many Americans are getting their proverbial houses in order. It is also a good time to discuss with clients the need for power of attorney should they become incapacitated.

Interpretation of changing federal and state benefit laws (more…)