On the Pulse: Top Civil Legal Issues Trial Lawyers and Their

On the Pulse: Top Civil Legal Issues Trial Lawyers and Their Clients Face

What are the top civil legal issues that trial lawyers and their clients face?

According to Pew research, in approximately 3 out of 4 civil cases in America, at least one side will not have legal representation. In cases where an individual is up against an institution, the institution secures legal representation while the individual does not – almost 90% of the time.

Facing countless barriers to justice, from poverty to disability to lack of education about America’s legal system, individuals are struggling to get the legal representation they need, and in turn, the justice they deserve.

Fortunately, the tides begin to change when a trial lawyer enters the mix. Since trial attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis, their clients – those who’ve struggled otherwise to secure representation – aren’t expected to pay a cent if/until they win their case. Not to mention, trial lawyers possess important and intimate knowledge of the country’s court systems, improving a plaintiff’s chance at success.

That is perhaps the largest benefit: plaintiffs with legal representation are more likely to win their case or reach a settlement than those without representation, according to Pew data.

But still, trial attorneys must always expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything. Hear from three top trial lawyers about how they helped their clients face some of our nation’s most pressing civil legal issues.

Jesse Bernheim on consumer issues

In the broad category of cases involving consumer issues, they often cover false advertising, scams, debt collection, contract breaches, and product liability. The latter is a focus of Jesse Bernheim, the founder and CEO of his full-service personal injury, product liability, and consumer advocate law firm, Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a significant part of his practice involves trying cases against the world’s largest medical device and pharmaceutical drug companies. In these cases, Jesse fights for his clients to get the compensation they deserve for their suffering at the hands of these multibillion-dollar institutions.

“Pharmaceutical and medical device companies put out products that they had not properly tested. They fail to warn consumers about the dangers of those products. We fight day in and day out to hold them accountable for it,” Jesse said.

Both Jesse and his partner, Walter Kelley, served as lead counsel and court-appointed leadership counsel in hundreds of defective hip implant cases, totaling more than $74 million in settlements.

The firms’ cases have generally alleged the manufacturers of faulty implants were “negligent in designing, manufacturing, or testing the product and failed to adequately warn patients and healthcare providers about the risks,” according to Bernheim Kelley’s site.

These cases are very difficult to try. But Jesse hopes his diligent fighting will only inspire more plaintiffs to come forward to find their justice.

On the Pulse: Top Civil Legal Issues Trial Lawyers and Their Clients Face
Credit: Adobe Stock

Alexandria MacMaster on class action

Class action cases involve representing a group or class of people injured or assaulted by the same person and/or institution. For Alexandria MacMaster, a trial attorney at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– based contingency fee law firm, Laffey Bucci Kent, she recalls representing four women who had been sexually assaulted at a massage therapy location by the same perpetrator:

“We went through that process together [during the COVID-19 pandemic] and I was able to support them through what was already a complicated process. There were depositions taken and discovery exchanged and motions filed. That case went as far as summary judgement, but it was denied by the institution we were holding accountable. The case ultimately settled, and I do believe the clients were happy with that.”

As one of her first cases after joining Laffey Bucci Kent, the stories of her clients inspired Alexandria to continue advocating for those taken advantage of by the powerful.

“While the women I represented didn’t have too many interactions with one another, I felt the solidarity between them. Those survivors had to speak to the attorneys that represented the institution where the assault occurred, and allowed for it to occur, several times to several women. It was traumatizing,” Alexandria remembered.

“But their strength was beautiful. I was able to fully appreciate that they needed support through this – the depositions, the questions, the medical examinations – all to accomplish justice. And it was a privilege to support them.”

Credit: Adobe Stock

Reza Torkzadeh on taking action against a city

If a plaintiff alleges that a city’s law and/or policy harmed its citizens – or put them in harm’s way – that is considered a complaint against a city. It’s a type of case that Reza Torkzadeh, founder and CEO of his Los Angeles, California– based personal injury and accident law firm, TorkLaw, is intimately familiar with.

In fact, he remembers prosecuting a tragic, wrongful death case that ended up proving TorkLaw’s ability to affect change where it mattered most – even in defeat.

“Our client was struck by a car at an intersection which we believed was very dangerous. [TorkLaw] argued that the city knew it was dangerous because there was a 25-year history of accidents at that intersection.”

More than 100 accidents, to be exact. During the trial, the TorkLaw team argued that with minimal expense, the city had every opportunity to install stop signs or traffic lights to prevent further accidents. Still, they ultimately lost.

“After the trial, the city made all of [those] changes. So even though we lost, and it was heartbreaking, no one will ever get killed at that intersection again,” said Reza.

On the Pulse: Top Civil Legal Issues Trial Lawyers and Their Clients Face
Credit: Istock.

Extending access to justice for all

It takes intelligence, guts, and a whole lot of determination to take on these important civil cases, especially if a plaintiff is up against a corporation. But it also takes financial wherewithal – a common critique of the contingency fee model.

And because taking a case to trial can cost an exorbitant amount of money, it can pose a tremendous burden for contingency fee law firms, no matter their caseload. That’s why top law firms across the country partner with Esquire Bank to gain the liquidity and capital they need to pay for essential case disbursements.

“Esquire Bank provides us with a lot of tools and services that other banks don’t. [They] know our needs as a plaintiff’s law firm and really understand how we operate. That sort of insight into our business plays a tremendous role in making our relationship better than with another bank,” said Jesse.

Read more in-depth stories about trial lawyers and their tenacious fights for client justice at justice.esquirebank.com.

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