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Articles Tagged with seminar

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Earlier this month, Cumberland Law School sponsored its 26th Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar. The speakers included a Judge on The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and a well-known orthopedic surgeon. One of the afternoon sessions included a panel of four attorneys answering questions from the audience related to workers’ compensation in Alabama. I was honored to serve on that panel. The four of us represented diverse areas of the state. While my office is in the Huntsville / Decatur area, the other three panel members came from Dothan, Mobile, and Tuscumbia.

We discussed a number of very interesting issues and concerns related to workers’ compensation and medical issues. Three issues seemed to generate a significant discussion as well as a lot of questions. These were:

  1. Closing Medical Benefits.
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Ask most lawyers and they will tell you — seminars are typically boring. You sit in a bleak, windowless conference room. At the scheduled time, the speaker stands. The speaker then drones on and on (and on) until his time expires. By lunch, the audience is desperate for a break. After lunch, the audience struggles simply to stay awake. A few lawyers never return.

Yet, these boring events are necessary since our profession requires hours of continuing education each year. But, seminars don’t have to be boring. They should not be boring. They can, and should be, events where lawyers gather to mentor each other in their areas of practice.

I like to teach at least one seminar each year. I view these seminars as a great opportunity to meet other lawyers and to discuss issues important to my law practice. In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to speak a few times on issues involving personal injury, products’ liability, and workers’ compensation.

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I recently spoke at a seminar where we had a great discussion about ongoing medical device and pharmaceutical litigation. None of these companies paid for product attention. None of these companies paid for sponsorships. We were not promoting their products. Rather, we were discussing the injury, pain and death they needlessly cause.

Drug marketing is everywhere! You see drug and device ads on television. You see drug and device ads throughout newspapers and magazines. I have concerns about these direct-to-consumer ads for products that really require medical expertise. Yet, these visible ads are not the worst problem. What about the secret payments to physicians and medical groups in return for pushing selected products on unsuspecting patients? These same advertising drug companies provide millions upon millions of dollars to various physicians and medical groups. This includes payments directly to physicians. It also includes trips to fun places. I deposed a surgeon in one of my medical device cases who testified the device manufacturer regularly flew him to Las Vegas. Surprise! The medical device company put its “lab” near the casinos. The huge infusion of cash to select physicians who are supposed to be unbiased in their assessment and research raises serious questions. Would you like to know whether or not your doctor is receiving money from the pill company to push its product?

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, we now learn drug companies paid Alabama doctors $4.6 Million in 2009-2010. A recently released document shows that a single local physician, an internist in Decatur, even received over $200,000.00 in payments from GlaxoSmithKline, alone. Why do you think the drug company is paying a single local physician so much? For reference, that’s the same company that made billions marketing Avandia before the public became aware of its terrible dangers. The same company that apparently hid negative test results concerning Avandia. The same company that may have paid one member of the FDA advisory panel. Do you see a pattern of secret money to promote risky and dangerous products? I don’t mean to single out the local doctor just for pocketing $200,000 from drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. The same Decatur physician also received significant money from another pharmaceutical giant as well.

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Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersI’ve presented at several prior legal seminars planned and hosted by the National Business Institute (NBI). Our law firm focuses on constantly studying developments within personal injury law. So, we look for opportunities to teach or learn. NBI offers continuing legal education courses in numerous states, including Alabama.

On one earlier occasion, NBI planned a seminar aimed at providing practical advice from a panel of distinguished judges in northern Alabama. The attorney scheduled to host the question and answer session had to cancel. I served as a last minute fill-in. I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the judges and audience of attorneys. Over the years, I’ve taught at several NBI conferences on the topics of Alabama personal injury law, insurance claims, car and commercial truck accident cases, and workers’ compensation injuries. On other occasions, I’ve attended as an audience member.

On November 17, NBI is sponsoring a seminar in Huntsville titled “Personal Injury 101.” When NBI approached me about being one of the seminar presenters, I was hesitant. Why? I initially thought the topic too broad to provide meaningful information in a one-day seminar. However, when the event planner at NBI explained the actual topics for discussion and the attorneys committed to presenting them, I quickly changed my mind.

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