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Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association Annual Holiday Awards Luncheon


On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association held their annual holiday luncheon and presentation of the 2017 Women of Achievement Award to Colleen M. Quinn. The luncheon was held at Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, Virginia.

Colleen is a partner at Locke & Quinn, a past president of the MRWBA, and a tireless advocate for her clients. Colleen has been practicing law in the Richmond area since 1988. She is dedicated to advocating for women, families and the LGBT community as is evidenced by the creation of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center and the Women’s Injury Law Center at Locke & Quinn. In addition to Colleen’s professional success, she is involved in many organizations that give back to the community, including the Richmond YWCA, National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Colleen’s list of accomplishments goes well beyond these highlights and we were honored to celebrate her at the December luncheon, expanding on her illustrious career.

Thank you to the luncheon sponsors! Our Platinum Sponsor was Minnesota Lawyers Mutual and our Silver Sponsor was Parker + Lynch.

Join MRWBA today by clicking here.

How Your Race and Gender Could Impact Your Injury Settlement


A black female school teacher facing multiple surgeries after a car accident and a four-year-old Hispanic boy with brain damage from lead paint in a rented apartment.

Both lives forever changed by the carelessness of others.

And both lives valued less than a white male’s when it came time to calculate their projected future earnings in personal injury claims.

Because 95% of personal injury claims result in confidential settlements, it is difficult to measure how often insurance companies and juries award females and minorities less than white males, or how great the disparity is nationwide. However, some trial lawyers, academics and policy makers argue that the practice is prevalent and unjust.

Read the full post at enjuris.com…

Is Your Landlord Liable for Your Safety?


As a tenant in an apartment building or rental home, you may not realize that your lease also guarantees you the right to expect a certain level of safety and security. You should be able to go to sleep at night not worrying that a careless landlord has left you at risk for an accident or injury.

If you are injured or attacked while living in a rental home, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against your landlord or apartment complex to help pay for your recovery.

For example, if a landlord fails to properly upkeep stairs and you are injured in a fall, or if an employee of the complex attacks or steals from you, your landlord could be found negligent.

Read the full article at enjuris.com… 

When Victims Prefer Female Personal Injury Lawyers – Are They Available?


A woman with horrific scarring after a botched breast reduction; a rape survivor suing her landlord for hiring the convicted criminal who attacked her; a class action lawsuit against a trans-vaginal medical product – all scenarios where plaintiffs might feel more comfortable working with a female personal injury attorney.

However, they may struggle to find one. An ABA study titled “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table”, discovered (using 2013 data) that women represented just 32% of lawyers on civil cases, 27% at trial, and 24% as lead counsel. This is in comparison to 68% of men taking on civil cases, 73% showing up to trial, and 76% being appointed as lead counsel.

The report notes that the disparity is even higher in tort (personal injury) cases, with 79% of lead counsel being male, and only 21% being female.

Click here for the full article on enjuris.com…

Sexual Assault Victims Can Seek Monetary Justice


A trusting patient with an unscrupulous doctor; a train passenger trying to enjoy a peaceful journey; and a young woman sleeping in her own home. All victims of sexual assault committed by perpetrators who were later found liable for their crimes.

Those findings provided much needed financial restitution for the victims’ pain and suffering.

After an attack, sexual assault and domestic violence survivors are often focused on healing, both physically and emotionally. What they may not realize is that financial compensation from a civil lawsuit could help pay for medical bills, relocation, lost wages and numerous other expenses that they may be forced to deal with as a result of being attacked.

Click here for the full article on enjuris.com…

Woman’s arm was yanked back by deli employee – $450,000 Settlement


By: Virginia Lawyers Weekly October 31, 2017

On Jan. 12, 2014, the plaintiff and her family were having lunch at McAlister’s Deli. While at
lunch, the plaintiff was seated in an armless chair at a table with her back to the aisle. At that
same time, a female busser carrying a large and heavy bus pan filled with dishes walked quickly
down the aisle towards the plaintiff, and as she passed by the plaintiff, she yanked the plaintiff’s
right arm backwards with the bus pan as she continued walking forwards. The plaintiff
immediately felt sharp pain in her right shoulder/upper arm and sought medical treatment.
Initially she was diagnosed with an acute right shoulder injury and referred to physical therapy
but it was not helpful and she subsequently underwent surgery for her right shoulder. During the
surgery it was found that the plaintiff had a superior labral tear. Two weeks following the
surgery, the plaintiff had to undergo a surgical revision for a repair of the subscapularis
osteotomy. Over the next year the plaintiff required prolonged orthopedic treatment, several
courses of physical therapy, cortisone injections, and pharmacological management. She missed
time from work as the owner and personal trainer of her fitness studio. Due to the surgical repair
and implanted hardware, the plaintiff had some permanency of limitation and impairment in her
right shoulder. The defense claimed that the shoulder injuries were degenerative and preexisting.

[17-T-149]

Type of action: Personal Injury

Injuries alleged: Initial injury was acute right shoulder injury to include a superior labral tear,
followed by a subscapularis avulsion following a right shoulder arthroplasty.

Name of case: Lisa Walker v. M 2 LLC, d/b/a McAlister’s Deli and Miller Group USA and
Sarah Gandolfo

Court: City of Richmond Circuit Court

Case no.: CL15-4708

Tried before: Mediation

Name of judge or mediator: Hon. Donald H. Kent

Date resolved: June 24, 2017

Special damages: $175,500.34 – Breakdown: Medical Bills: $155,793.96 Lost Wages:
$19,370.00 Mileage Costs: $336.38

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $450,000.00

Attorneys for plaintiff: Colleen Marea Quinn, Richmond

Attorneys for defendant: John W. Zunka, Charlottesville

Plaintiff’s experts: Geoffrey B. Higgs, M.D.

Defendant’s experts: William C. Andrews, Jr., M.D.

Insurance carrier: Defendant’s carrier – The Hartford

Daycare Injuries


Day Care Providers – What You Need to Know to Protect Your Children

Working parents throughout Virginia depend on day care providers to look after their children. Unfortunately, children at day care facilities who are injured often are too young to speak up for themselves. These injuries are varied and numerous and can range from milk bottle burns to playground accidents to being left behind abandoned on a field trip. If you are a parent of a child in day care, what do you need to know about the daycare to ensure the safest environment for your child? What should you know to be able to obtain adequate remedies in the event of injury?

Licensing. To ensure your child is in the safest environment possible, make sure that your child’s day care facility is licensed and regularly inspected by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Not all childcare providers are subject to the same background check, training, qualifications, health, safety, and inspection requirements as licensed providers. In fact, some programs, including religious exempt daycares, can be unlicensed but regulated, or unlicensed and unregistered. Ask for a copy of the license. More information about the types of day care programs in Virginia can be found on the Department of Social Services website at: https://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/cc/index.cgi. For the programs that are regulated by DSS, parents can check for inspection reports and violations at: https://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/cc.cgi.

Insurance. In selecting a day care provider for your child, make certain that the provider is properly insured. There must be adequate insurance to cover any injuries that your child might suffer. If a day care provider is licensed, it should also be insured; however, we have handled cases where the provider let the insurance lapse. Insurance is critical, because even if you have a valid claim, a lack of insurance will prevent a full and just recovery. Ask them for proof of current insurance coverage. Also ask them if they have medical payments coverage under their insurance to cover any medical bills regardless of fault.

Training. Finally, find out what qualifications the employees hold and what training is provided. Ask how injuries will be handled, reported and documented. While you are at work, you want to have peace of mind that your child is going to be cared for very well.

At Quinn Law Centers, we have handled many matters involving injury to children including daycare injuries. To explore a civil recovery for a daycare or similar injury, contact info@lockequinn.com. This article was written by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq., and Kati Kitts Dean, Esq., and provides general information only. For more details, please be sure to contact an attorney.

Legal Brief – Choosing Between Assisted Reproduction and Adoption


On this radio show sponsored by Creating a Family, Colleen Quinn, owner of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center at Locke & Quinn, joins host Dawn Davenport and Andrea Braverman, a therapist specializing infertility and alternative family building, to talk about “Choosing between Assisted Reproduction and Adoption.” For patients who have not been successful with IVF, the next decision many infertility patients face is whether they should move to third party reproduction (donor sperm, donor egg, embryo donation (or embryo adoption), or surrogacy) or should they move to adoption. Quinn addresses many of the legal aspects entailed in making these choices.

Listen to the Radio Show

When Victims Prefer Female Personal Injury Lawyers – Are They Available?


A woman with horrific scaring after a botched breast reduction; a rape survivor suing her landlord for hiring the convicted criminal who attacked her; a class action lawsuit against a trans-vaginal medical product – all scenarios where plaintiffs might feel more comfortable working with a female personal injury attorney.

However, they may struggle to find one. An ABA study titled “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table”, discovered (using 2013 data) that women represented just 32% of lawyers on civil cases, 27% at trial, and 24% as lead counsel. This is in comparison to 68% of men taking on civil cases, 73% showing up to trial, and 76% being appointed as lead counsel.

The report notes that the disparity is even higher in tort (personal injury) cases, with 79% of lead counsel being male, and only 21% being female.

“What these numbers show is that the steps to the role of lead counsel and trial attorney are much steeper for women than men,” the report states. “ …While women lawyers have been entering the profession in large numbers for three decades, they have not advanced at nearly the same rate as men.”

The reports cites the impact of children and other family responsibilities on women’s careers; bias in the law field; male-centered social norms; outdated law firm cultures, policies and the short-term business focus of many firms among other factors in this disparity.

Where are the female tort lawyers?

Despite the fact that women have been getting law degrees for decades, there has not been a proportional growth of women in leadership positions at plaintiff-focused law firms.

“Since 1980, women have earned at least a third of all law degrees; currently the figure is 47%. So we are not talking about a sudden influx of women in law,” said Rayona Sharpnack, founder and CEO of the Institute for Gender Partnership™ and the Institute for Women’s Leadership. “They have been joining Big Law firms for decades.”

“But they don’t get much of anywhere. Today they make up 45% of associates—but only 25% of nonequity partners and 15% of equity partners,” Rayona said. “Traditionally biased attitudes, lack of challenging opportunities, inequality in compensation, and lack of professional recognition methods all contribute to keeping women from making a full contribution to their profession of choice.”

As a result Rayona says, there are fewer women lawyers – especially fewer high-powered ones – available to fight the good fight for women clients.

Jennifer Kain Kilgore, attorney editor at Enjuris.com, recalls that her law school class had far more women than men enrolled, and that this year her school’s daytime class actually has 68% female enrollment.

“We definitely outnumbered the boys,” she said. “Most of us went on to do great things. We’ve only been out for the better part of four years, though, so none of us would be partners yet unless we started our own firms — which some of us did! I have a fair number of friends who started practices because they were dissatisfied with the opportunities in the legal market.”

Some law firms stepping up

While the disparities remain high at the class-action level, there are some individual attorneys and smaller firms that are seeking to address the gap in personal injury law.

Colleen M. Quinn runs the Women’s Injury Law Center out of the firm Locke & Quinn in Richmond, VA, where she is a partner. The Center provides legal services for women who want to be represented by women.

She launched the Center because “it was clear to me that there were injury issues unique to women, especially in the areas of civil recovery for rape and sexual assault, head injuries that affect women differently and plastic surgery and cosmetology injuries,” Colleen said. “In many of these areas women prefer to work with a female attorney.”

Civil case options for assault victims

Colleen also wanted to raise awareness for victims of rape and sexual assault who may not realize that there are potential civil recoveries that they can receive, in addition to a criminal case.

While there can be compensation in a criminal trial, it is often minimal as compared to a potential civil case outcome, Colleen said. For example, one of her clients was raped, stabbed and left to die by a maintenance worker at her apartment complex.

Colleen and her client launched a civil case against the temp agency that employed the worker, which failed to do a thorough criminal background check on him, and the apartment complex that did not allow tenants to install deadbolts in their apartments.

Both companies were found liable and the woman received $3 million in settlement, which helped cover her therapy and other recovery needs, including her move to a house in safer part of town with a security system.

Colleen, herself a domestic violence and stalking survivor, worked during law school with battered women’s programs and realized that nobody was creating awareness for women on their potential civil rights in these cases.

“A civil lawyer can make sure that every stone has been turned over and that all remedies are looked into,” Colleen said.

Victims in scenarios like this find empathy and comfort from having a female attorney, Colleen said. “I have a good appreciation of what they are going through and it makes it easier for them to open up. I also make sure that therapists are still involved with the victims during the civil case.”

Head injuries and women

The Center also takes a different approach to traumatic brain injuries, arguing that women are impacted differently than men.

“Women have unique multi-tasking abilities,” Colleen said. “I describe it as women having 10 dresser drawers open and working on them all at once. Head injuries can impact that focus and attention in a different way for women.”

Botched medical procedures

There are also medical issues where women may feel more comfortable dealing with a female attorney, such as a botched breast reduction surgery or cases involving scars or disfigurement. But Colleen doesn’t see many firms reaching out to women in the way that hers does. She feels that it gives her firm an advantage when talking with clients.

“I saw all of these areas and just wanted to make sure that women knew there were empathetic female attorneys to help them,” Colleen said.

Women getting a seat at the table in class-action cases

Since the 2013 ABA report there has been some progress for female representation in class action lawsuits. As a Law360 article notes, female lawyers are gaining influence in multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The first female-dominated plaintiffs’ steering committee was formed after U.S. District Senior Judge Kathryn H. Vratil gave a speech at a 2014 MDL conference at Duke University, where she called for greater diversity among plaintiffs’ leadership.

The following November, in a product-liability MDL involving power morcellators, the judge worked with attorneys to appoint the first female-majority plaintiffs’ steering committee. (Power morcellators were found to potentially spread cancer and decrease the long-term survival of patients when used to remove uterine fibroids.)

Finding female attorneys

While their numbers may be less, there are ways of finding female attorneys to represent you in a personal injury or other civil case.

The National Women Trial Lawyers Association offers a directory listing female attorneys and their geographic location and practice areas.

The National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms offers a directory that allows searches by practice area.

The American Bar Association provides links to national and local women lawyers’ associations, some of which provide listing of local attorneys.

Many state bar associations have a women’s network and local contact information. For example the, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts offers a directory for female attorneys broken down by practice area.

Benefits to having a female lawyer

In addition to adding personal comfort for some plaintiffs, having a female lawyer can also offer practical benefits, according to the ABA report:

“Women lawyers have many advantages in the courtroom—they connect well with jurors, particularly with women jurors, who often comprise half or more of the jury pool; are viewed as more credible and trustworthy; and are in many instances overprepared rather than underprepared. Women litigators have ample reason to be confident in their effectiveness as trial counsel.”

 

This article was originally posted on Enjuris.com.

New Laws Regarding Domestic Violence and Stalking in Virginia


As of July 1, 2016, new laws took effect in Virginia in the following areas relevant to domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking:

1. Protective Orders (“POs”)

  • Emergency POs to prohibit respondents from being in the physical presence of their victims can be obtained. These include prohibiting a respondent from intentionally maintaining direct visual contact with the victim or unreasonably being within 100 feet from the victim’s residence or job.
  • Where a victim is not a tenant of a residence but obtains possession of the premises through a PO; the law outlines the process by which the victim may become a tenant, and alternatively grants the victim 30 days to vacate.
  • Amendments to the laws make it a Class 6 felony if a respondent violates a PO to stalk or cause bodily injury to a victim.
  • Respondents under Family Abuse POs may not “knowingly possess any firearm while the [PO] is in effect.” The law allows them 24 hours after being served with the PO to transport a firearm in order to sell or transfer it. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services provides a list on their website of agencies willing to accept firearms from respondents under Family Abuse POs.

2. Stalking

  • It now is easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions for stalking; and there is a higher penalty for certain repeat stalking offenders as well as lower requirements to obtain a Class 6 felony charge.

3. Trafficking

  • Virginia law now provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by certain human trafficking violations, which allows victims to pursue financial recovery.

Seeking Help

If you need help or know someone who does, the following resources are available:

  • YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline – 804-643-0888
  • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-838-8238
  • The victim advocate program at your local Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

To explore a civil recovery for domestic violence or sexual assault, contact the Women’s Injury Law Center at Locke & Quinn at http://www.lockequinn.com/womens-injury-issues/ and quinn@lockequinn.com. This article was written by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq., and Kati Kitts Dean, Esq., and provides general information only. For more details, please be sure to contact an attorney.

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