Hey there, EB here. Good morning to our Premium members. A lot is going on this week for a trial junkie like me, not just because I’m a trial attorney and I am obviously interested in the cases that we are handling and some of my friends, but I love these national cases that are going on. Obviously, there’s tragedy involved in every case, because usually it’s a death. But we have the Karen Reed case in Massachusetts. We have Christopher Greger going on in New Jersey, which is, you know, the sad, sad case of the treadmill death of their five year old son. And then of course, in Florida, we have the Microsoft executive murder, Jared Bridegan, and the allegation is was killed by his wife and her new husband, Fernandez, it was a contract murder case. And the allegation that the individual who pulled the trigger is now state’s evidence. So it’s a death penalty case. And so we’ll talk about that. 

But let’s start off by talking about Karen Read. I really find this case fascinating because the state of Massachusetts charged her with second degree murder. I think they overcharged her. But also the defense has done something that I think they don’t really need to do, which is they’ve done a third party culprit defense, where they’re going to try to prove that there was someone else who committed the murder of the police officer, John O’Keefe, John O’Keefe. And Karen Reed dated for a long, long time since the early 2000s. They had a little break, I think around 2012. And the allegation is that they went out and we’re drinking with some friends. They left the bar and then something happened, which caused Camry to basically try to run over him in reverse. With her Lexus, in the snow, or when it was cold. It snowed that night. The allegations of the state of Massachusetts are that she ran over him going 25 miles an hour. There was a piece of broken taillight as well as some glass on the scene. And he was found in front of the Albert’s, the neighbor’s lawn. He lived adjacent to the Albert’s; they’re also involved in law enforcement, a very influential family and he was found dead the next morning by Karen Reed and a friend of hers. So I don’t think that people usually kill somebody and then drive back to the murder scene to act like that. You know, they had nothing to do with it. I think they tried to stay away from it. So I think the state is overcharged her for second degree murder, even if she possibly reversed she may not have known that she hit him there wasn’t a lot of damage to her car. And the defense thinks that the neighbors the Albert’s killed O’Keefe and put him out in the front lawn. That also defies credulity. Because if you’re going to kill somebody, you’re not going to leave them in your front line, you’re going to probably try to get rid of the body. So there’s mistakes, I think, being made on both sides of the prosecution and defense. But it’s a very, very interesting trial. Again, it’s a small town. And I think for the defense to really prove this third party culprit, defense, it requires a lot of conspiracy between a lot of people who are willing to lie and keep their story straight, so pay attention to that trial. 

The Senator Menendez trial is fascinating. He’s a senator from New Jersey, being tried in New York City. The allegations are that there was an intermediary who was giving gold bars and coins and money and cars to Menendez in return for him. You know, using his senatorial position to advance things for foreign governments in the Middle East. The interesting defense is he’s blaming it on his wife. His wife is going to be tried separately this summer, and Menendez is blaming all this on his wife saying that she’s the one that did all this. She brought the gold bars in the house. He didn’t know that it was in a lock closet, which he didn’t have access to. It was only his wife. Also this week, there was another representative I think from Texas, he was charged with taking bribes of $600,000 from foreign governments. It’s starting to get ridiculous of these politicians going to DC whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, just on a boondoggle.

The next case that I want to talk about obviously is the Gregor case, the treadmill case, I find that equally fascinating. I’m following that case, it’s just ridiculous. And the allegation is he put him on a treadmill and he ran him to death. The kid flew off the treadmill a couple of times and brought him home. And, the allegation is, clearly the kid was addled for days, you know, slurring his speech and tripping and falling and finally, like a week or week and a half after this happened. He, the kid woke up, fell and the father fainted and the father carried him to the hospital. This is another case where the father is blaming the wife saying that maybe the wife should have done something or noticed they didn’t wear the white did something and he’s also saying that the kid had pneumonia and this is what caused the death. He rejected a 30 year plea. He’s all in. Very sad. Very sad. 

Then we have the case in Florida, which is interesting. Jared Breggin then, you know, we talked about that he’s Microsoft executive, killed on a contract murder case, And the allegation is the guy who killed turned in his ex wife, who’s now married to a guy named Fernandez. What is interesting about that case is they had a hearing this week to disqualify the prosecution similar to when they did it in the Fulton County Trump case trying to have Fannie Willis recused from the case. In this case, they had 15 hearings, because the prosecution in response to an execution of a search warrant, received text messages, timeline and some key documents from the defendants to their attorneys, which are attorney client privilege documents which cannot be reviewed by the prosecution, the attorney client privilege is sacrosanct. Now, oftentimes, those documents will be turned over innocuously. And the court will instruct a prosecution not to review those documents, return them or or discard them, not, not to the point that it would infect the trial. The interesting thing in South Carolina, we have a taint team process where if the government executes a search warrant on defendants, and there are communications, they’ll have investigators review them and peel out the attorney client privilege communications. In this case, the judge finally ruled earlier this week on Monday, and held that there, she was not going to disqualify the prosecution, she was disappointed in the prosecution’s conduct, she didn’t find that it was prejudicial. But what she did is she struck the timeline in the text messages from being able to be used against the defendant. So that’s a big thing that’s happening now when we have these phones with all of our information on there text messages and emails, when the government gets your phone, they would be getting a lot of attorney client or other type of privileged information. So that’s an interesting thing.

So that’s really, uh, you know, a full week on national legal cases. In South Carolina, you know, the Colucci trial, as you know, has been continued. So we’re waiting to see what happens next legislative session ends or is ending soon. So we’ll see what happens in the flurry of bills at the end of the legislative session. 

So let’s move on over to the Law Library, and put our legal hats on, and we’re going to discuss two terms today. First one is mortality tables. And the second one is power of attorneys unlimited power of attorneys. So what is a mortality table? It’s what insurance companies and our state courts use to determine someone’s life expectancy. So if you’re in an automobile accident, or you have injury sustained as a result of a medical malpractice, and you are having permanent damage, let’s say it’s my shoulder is 50%, permanently damaged, and my back is 30%. So how do you value that? Well, if I’m a 30 year old person, there’s mortality tables in the in our statutes that change every year, based on census and demographics on how is the average life expectancy of a normal male in our state? Or what is the life expectancy of a female who lives longer than males? Obviously, you take much better care of yourselves than us males do. But if I’m injured at 30, there’s a calculation that you would do and say, okay to the jury, okay, look, if I have to live with 50%, shoulder, permanent damage, and 30% to my back, and I’m 30 years old, but my life expectancy is 74 years old. So that’s 44 years of living with this permanent impairment. The jury can value that on what it’s worth on an annual basis and that’s why mortality tables are so important. Even if you have a baby that’s been Warren, God forbid, because the doctor did something wrong and there was a deprivation of oxygen. You have these mortality tables, which give the jury a framework for awarding damages for as long as that person would live on an average basis. So that’s the importance of mortality tables.

Sam Berlin 

Can I interrupt you really fast? 

Eric Bland  

Here’s my producer, Sammy, Berlin. She’s the best, love her. She lives in New York City with parents and family in North Carolina shuffles back and forth and she keeps me absolutely focused. We talk about our legal terms and everything. So welcome, Sammy. Thank you. Okay. Tell me tell me I have a question. You got it. Go ahead.

Sam Berlin

So if you have a for example, this was a sad story. But my grandfather, he was 85, he wasn’t in good health. And he had a pacemaker. Okay. So, a few months ago he was going to the hospital in an ambulance. The person on the ambulance did not intimidate because they said they didn’t know how. And he died, most likely from not being intubated. Okay. My mom is a nurse practitioner, used to be a trauma nurse. The first thing she asked was why wouldn’t you intubate in an ambulance? And the person said we didn’t have a paramedic onboard. So my mom was trying to sue the county for, she found out that it was a paramedic, the paramedic lied to my mom and said she wasn’t a paramedic and wasn’t trained to intubate. My mom you know, was like,  talk to a lawyer, what would happen if we tried to sue? And it essentially was he, since he was older, he didn’t support a family, he didn’t work. His value was not above what the county’s insurance would be, which was $500,000. 

Eric Bland  

You gave me a couple things. Let’s, let’s chew on that. So the mortality tables there obviously didn’t work out in your grandfather’s favor, because the life expectancy of a male is something like 7475 in South Carolina and you know he’s in North Carolina, but it’s probably similar. And so he’s 85 years old. So he’s exceeded his life expectancy. But as a plaintiff’s lawyer, I hate that argument. And I love it. Because you’re basically saying that an 85 year old man is worthless, he has no value. Yes, it’s true that he’s no longer earning income. But what the loved ones lost in a wrongful death case, you have a survival action, which would be a claim that would be part of your grandfather’s estate, if he survived this negligence for, you know, let’s say an hour or two hours, the pain and suffering he went through, that’s a individually compensable component of the case. But the wrongful death is the law, the loss of love, that either your grandmother if she’s dead, then it would fall to your mother and father, and their siblings. And what you lost as a loved one is the ability to say goodbye to your grandfather, to tell him how proud you are of watching him grow older and how he presided over the family and you wanted to tell him, how much you love him, and that you’ll never forget about him. And that is such powerful testimony. Yes, you talked about a cap for your grandfather of $500,000. What the case would have to prove is okay, your grandfather’s getting rushed to the hospital. If he had been intubated? Is there a greater than 50% chance that he would have survived? That is the most important question. And evidently the attorneys who looked at it went to the experts and said, your father, your grandfather was going to the hospital for our emergency circumstances. Either a heart attack or whatever they put him in grave danger. And even if he hadn’t been intubated, it may not have saved his life, there wouldn’t have been a greater than 50% chance. I would look at that case with a couple of attorneys. I would talk to emergency experts, or physicians. Clearly the emergency EMS either is a county service or sometimes they contract out for that service, but they absolutely should always have somebody on in the automobile or in the truck that has the ability to intubate. That’s a sad story. But that’s where your grandfather lived past the mortality tables. But there’s still a claim there. And it is extremely powerful in front of the jury, when a loved one gets up and says, you know, you took away the ability of me to be able to say goodbye, a proper goodbye.

 So, moving on to power of attorneys. We hear that term all the time. And it’s a really important aspect of the law because when somebody travels overseas, or they’re going in for a major surgery, they give their power of attorney to someone else. And it can be as broad as a general power of attorney to do everything, which could mean handling money, selling property, buying property, gifting things, doing your tax returns, bringing lawsuits, defending lawsuits, that’s a general power of attorney. And that needs to be recorded in the county in which the person resides in the registered deeds office, and that person can act as if they are the person that their attorney is in fact for if you are that person, you can give limited power of attorneys. And this is done all the time. So let’s say there’s a husband and wife that owns a property and it’s being sold. And the wife is out of town for business and the property is going to close tomorrow. The wife can give a limited power of attorney to the husband to execute all the closing documents at that closing for the sale of that property, the HUD one sign the deed and that person signs in the name of not only himself but the wife and signs as Eric bland as attorney in fact, for Renee C. Bland, my wife and usually limited power of attorneys have expirations on them, like they’ll expire midnight, Friday night so that after the closing, you know, I couldn’t just keep acting on behalf of Vernay. So they’re very powerful, very important documents can’t tell you, you probably have had over 100 cases where somebody gave a power of attorney to somebody, and that person abused the power of attorney and used it for their own benefit, or the benefit of others. When you get that power of attorney, you can’t self deal, you can’t do that. It has to always be used for the benefit of the person who gave you that attorney. So if you have the need for it, make sure you go see a lawyer to discuss it. Don’t download the form that you can do off the internet and do it yourself. You have to understand the implications. So there’s healthcare power of attorneys to make healthcare decisions, whether you want to continue on with additional medical treatments to try to keep somebody alive or like a Living Will you deny somebody hydration and food because they have a situation where it’s going to be a certain death, and there’s no chance that they could be alive and people don’t want to be prolonged by artificial means. So power of attorneys are so vitally important, and they have to be carefully used, but there is a place for them. 

So with that, I’d like to thank my producer Sammy Berlin. I’m glad you guys finally got a chance to meet her. She’s a little pistol. I love her dearly and see you next week. EB out.

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