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Fall 2013 Issue

Editor's Message

by Paul Slager

The turning weather is a powerful reminder of how quickly time passes. Can it possibly be late fall already? As temperatures drop and the hours of daylight shrink, the CTLA Forum arrives in your inbox to brighten your day with important extra reading material. I realize extra reading material is probably not what you are missing right now, but, trust me, you do not want to delete this (at least until after you read each and every article)!

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Trial Reflections: The Challenges and Rewards of a Team Approach to Managing a Multi-Plaintiff Case

by Matthew Shafner

On November 2, 2007, a fuel tractor-tanker crossed into the opposite lanes of I-95, killing its driver and two other drivers and injuring three persons, in addition to causing property damage and environmental clean-up costs. Six different plaintiffs represented by six different law firms filed suit against two primary defendants. Suit started in New London Superior Court but after 4 years of motions, status conferences and lengthy discovery, the case was transferred to Complex Litigation in Hartford and ultimately tried to a verdict in April 2013. I found the experience of working closely with other counsel to represent six unique plaintiffs to be both rewarding and instructive.

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Spotting the Potential Auto Product Liability Case

by Brenden P. Leydon

So you get a call from a grieving family member whose loved one was just killed in a one car motor vehicle accident, in which the car they were driving struck a tree. You do your due diligence and determine that said tree has no assets or insurance (oaks in particular are known to be quite shady). Thereafter, you tell the potential client there is no one from whom recovery is possible and close your file. If this is your standard practice, you also should consider putting your own liability carrier on notice, as you may be overlooking a very significant potential recovery for your client.

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The Epidemic of Patient Errors: Emerging Expectations under Health Reform Legislation

by Bob Ruch

In 2006, I published a series of two articles relating to the epidemic of patient errors in hospitals and other medical settings. There was both good news and bad news. Today, seven years later, there is still both good and bad news. What has changed is the presence of a large number of quality enhancement initiatives along with Health Reform legislation and its main product - Medicare- serving 47 million Americans. Collectively, these initiatives have created a medical tsunami recasting the American healthcare delivery system at breakneck speed.

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President's Message

by Douglas Mahoney

Almost 60 years ago a handful of personal injury attorneys met and formed what is now known as the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. From those humble beginnings, the CTLA has grown into the force which it is today. As an organization we have become the leading voice at the Capital for protecting the civil jury system. Not only do we serve others, we serve our own members with seminars that are consistently terrific. The CTLA Listserve has become an invaluable practice tool to most of our membership. The list of services we provide for our members seems endless. However, above all, we remain committed to protecting the rights of the injured.

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Special Needs Settlement Planning: The Power of Special Needs Trusts

by Sharon Pope

Well before the injured party you represent signs on the dotted line, you must screen for critical government benefits your client may be eligible for based on need. After you screen for these benefits, consider enlisting the help of a special needs planner if the injured party is a recipient (or could become a recipient) of these government benefits.[i] Maintaining or obtaining government benefits can be essential to the long term security of the injured party post-settlement. Furthermore, the personal injury attorney who ignores this step risks facing a legal malpractice suit.[ii]

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Protecting Apparent Agency: Why Hospitals Are Liable for the Negligence of Their Medical Staff

by Alinor C. Sterling

Is a hospital responsible for the negligent acts of its nonemployee emergency room physicians, radiologists, and anesthesiologists? Or are these physicians independent contractors, such that the hospital in which they work is not legally responsible for any malpractice they commit? Does it matter that the hospital has marketed itself as providing quality care through these same physicians? These questions implicate the doctrine of apparent agency, a theory of vicarious liability which holds the hospital responsible for the negligence of independent contractor physicians when it has created the appearance that those physicians work for it. Hospitals now argue as a matter of course that apparent agency is dead in Connecticut. The injured plaintiff’s sole remedy lies in an action against the individual physician, they claim, even if the hospital led the plaintiff to believe the physician worked for the hospital. This article explains the attack on apparent agency, and the three reasons why it is wrong.

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Past Issues

Summer 2013

Spring 2012

Winter 2011

Fall 2010


Winter 2010

26 pages
579 KB

Spring 2009

28 pages
199 KB

Summer 2008

28 pages
764 KB

Winter 2008

40 pages
982 KB

Winter 2007

44 pages
833 KB

Spring 2006

36 pages
784 KB

Fall 2005

48 pages
782 KB

Winter 2004

80 pages
1,227 KB

Fall 2003

92 pages
1,866 KB

Winter 2003

68 pages
1,451 KB

Spring 2001

128 pages
1,668 KB

Winter 2001

68 pages
649 KB

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