What is the value of one healthy testicle? Pennsylvania jury answers that question.

A Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania jury awarded $870,000 to a man whose urologist removed the wrong testicle.  The man, fifty-four year old Steven Haines, had complained about testicular pain in one of the testicles for fifteen years and decided to proceed with removal surgery to alleviate the pain.  

His urologist, Dr. V. Spencer Long, performed the surgery, but removed the perfectly healthy testicle and failed to removed the problematic one.

Haines medical malpractice recovery includes $250,000 in punitive damages plus $630,000 in pain and suffering.  Haines' attorney suggested that even though his client deals with continued constant pain his client has not proceeded with removal of the remaining testicle because he faces a debilitating fear of the surgery.  Additionally, according to his attorney, if Haines loses the remaining testicle he faces a lifetime of testosterone treatment.

Are You Owed Back child support or maintenance/alimony? Consider a QDRO.

Federal law and Missouri state law generally protects retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), 403(b), etc., and pensions, from the claims of creditors.  But what if the owner of the retirement account or pension owes child support or maintenance arrears?  In many circumstances the person who is owed the support ("obligee") can obtain a portion of the retirement account or pension by way of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.  

In order to accomplish this the obligee should first consider filing a motion to determine amounts due and owing, and obtain an order specifying the amount of the arrearages including interest.  Then, the obligee may elect to proceed with a motion to approve the QDRO.  

The Smith Law Firm has successfully obtained large recoveries for clients who are owed back child support and maintenance.  Additionally, the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct allow attorneys to handle these cases on a contingent fee basis, unlike a typical family law matter.  This means that the obligee/client may pay nothing up front to an attorney.  

If you have questions regarding a child support or maintenance collection matter, please don't hesitate to call us at (314) 725-4400.

How does a trial court determine paternity of a child when the two possible fathers happen to be identical twin brothers?

The short answer is that the court will rely on non-genetic evidence, such as the testimony of the mother.

In 2007, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled on a case in which twin brothers Richard and Raymon Miller both engaged in sexual intercourse with Marie Adams, who gave birth to a child the following year.  Both the State and Ms. Adams sought a court order establishing which of the Miller brothers was the father, presumably in an effort to obtain a child support order in favor of Ms. Adams.

Identical twins share identical DNA, so blood tests demonstrated that both brothers had a 99.999% probability of being the father.  This “hard” evidence excluded everyone in the world other than the two brothers, but could not establish which of the Miller brothers was the father. 

Next, the court considered “soft” evidence, specifically the testimony of both men and the mother.  Both men admitted to having sex with Ms. Adams on or near the date of conception in August of 2003.  Ms. Adams testified that she did in fact have sex with both brothers in August of 2003.  However, she also testified that when she and Richard had sex on August 22 or 23, he used a condom; whereas, when she and Raymon had sex on August 8, he did not use a condom.

Based entirely on this testimony, the trial court ordered that Raymon was the father of the minor child. 

For more information, see In State ex rel. Department of Soc. Servs. v. Miller, 218 S.W.3d 2 (Mo. App. S.D. 2007)

Settlement Reached in Green Tree Composites Monarch Decking Class Action

The Smith Law Firm is pleased to announce that on September 13, 2016, United States District Court Judge Ronnie L. White entered an order granting preliminary approval to a class action settlement in Stolzenburg v. Green Tree Composites, L.L.C., 4:14-cv-1533.  Defendant Green Tree agreed to pay the sum of $470,000.00, which includes all attorney fees, litigation costs, incentive award to class representative and claims administration expenses.  The amount distributed to class members will be distributed among all class members submitting claims.  None of the funds will revert to any defendant.  All defendants continue to deny liability, but Green Tree entered into this settlement agreement after extensive settlement negotiation and two years of extensive litigation.  A full copy of the order can be found here.  The claims administrator will publish a website for claims administration here.  If you qualify as a class member and wish to become part of this settlement the deadline for submitting a claim form and all necessary documentation is December 22, 2016.  Earlier deadlines apply if you wish to object or exclude yourself.  Please contact the claims administrator directly at 1-888-627-6030 if you have specific questions about whether you qualify.

COMPENSATION MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS SUFFERING FROM PERMANENT BALDNESS (ALOPECIA); DECEPTIVE MARKETING OF TAXOTERE CHEMOTHERAPY DRUG

The Smith Law Firm, and other law firms in and outside of St. Louis, Missouri, have launched an investigation into the deceptive marketing of chemotherapy drug Taxotere by Sanofi Aventis.  We believe that Sanofi Aventis hid data suggesting that Taxotere caused permanent baldness in order to increase market share over equally effective competing chemotherapy drugs. 

Sanofi created Taxotere as patented chemotherapy drug for the treatment of breast cancer in women.  In applying for the patent, Sanofi claimed that Taxotere was a superior type of chemotherapy drug, exceeding the effectiveness of other drugs on the market.  In reality, we believe that Taxotere was no more effective than any other drug on the market for treating women with Stages 1 and 2 breast cancer.  Worse yet, in 6.3% of its users Taxotere also caused permanent and irreversible baldness (alopecia).

For more information click here.

When given a choice between two chemotherapy drugs that are equally effective at treating breast cancer, and equal in all other respects, almost all women would choose the one that does not carry a risk of permanent baldness.  If you or a family member suffered from permanent alopecia we would love to speak with you.  Please call us at (314) 725-4400 or send us an email.