Cooper & Elliott Press Releases

Barton Keyes Admitted to Partnership with Ohio Civil Litigation Firm Cooper & Elliott

Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 @ 6:24 PM

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio civil litigation firm Cooper & Elliott is pleased to announce that Barton “Bart” Keyes has been admitted to the firm’s partnership. Mr. Keyes joined Cooper & Elliott in December 2011 and has since been practicing in matters of wrongful death, civil rights violations, personal injury, medical malpractice, and business litigation.

According to Cooper & Elliott co-founder, Chip Cooper, having Mr. Keyes as a partner will continue to further Cooper & Elliott’s mission and purpose.  “When Rex Elliott and I formed the firm back in 1995, we set out to protect people who have experienced life-altering harm and help them find the answers and meaning they deserve. Bart is an excellent trial lawyer and because of the kind of person he is, he will ensure that our firm carries on this important work well into the future.”

Mr. Keyes reflected, “I’ve seen people taken advantage of who don’t have knowledge of their legal rights or the resources to protect themselves. Seeing these injustices and feeling compelled to right such wrongs as a young person is what motivated me to become a lawyer. My partnership with Cooper & Elliott is such a good fit because the firm’s reason and goals for existence mesh with my personal motivations.”

In his time with the firm, Mr. Keyes has worked on many cases that align with his own core beliefs. Through compelling storytelling and unbridled tenacity, he and the firm have helped clients overcome seemingly indomitable adversaries.

From sexual assault victims of prominent community members, to defrauded business owners facing financial ruin, to families devastated by the wrongful death of a loved one—Bart has doggedly pursued justice on their behalf.

Mr. Keyes resides in Columbus with his wife and three young children. In his free time, he and his family like to stay active. His sons participate in Kung Fu and he and his wife run in the occasional Warrior Dash and enjoy supporting organizations that serve individuals on the autism spectrum.

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.

 

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Cooper & Elliott Creates Focused Intake Process to Facilitate Claimants Eligible for Zimmer Durom Cup Settlement Program

Posted on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 @ 2:02 PM

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio personal injury attorneys Cooper & Elliott are pleased to announce the formation of a focused intake process to facilitate claimants eligible for the Zimmer Durom Cup settlement program. This program is designed to make it easier for possible claimants to discuss eligibility for the settlement program created by joint replacement manufacturer, Zimmer.

About the Zimmer Durom Cup Settlement Program

In the early to mid-2000’s, multiple joint replacement and medical device manufacturers (including but not limited to Zimmer) produced metal-on-metal hip replacement implants.  According to court records (1), there have been a significant number of complaints regarding various defects and premature failure of the device.

Zimmer released the Durom Cup hip replacement implant in 2006.  Recipients of the Zimmer Durom Cup have reported a variety of painful health complications related to the product failure—many of which have resulted in implant removal or revision surgery.  A recall of the Zimmer Durom Cup issued in 2008.

Loosening of the device due to boney growth failure, bone loss (necrosis) and metallosis (metal poisoning) are among the problems patients have reported experiencing.

Zimmer became the subject of a substantial number of claims regarding the Durom Cup. For pretrial management purposes, these cases were consolidated into a multi-district litigation.  If a claimant filed a case in federal court in any of the fifty U.S. states, those cases were moved to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey under the case number 2:09-CV-04414.

On February 11, 2016 the plaintiff’s lead counsel and Zimmer’s defense attorneys announced the negotiation of a settlement program which will allow for more expedient processing for claimants.  While the creation of this settlement program by Zimmer is not an admission of liability for product defects, it is an agreement to streamline the negotiation process for patients with claims.

Prior to the establishment of the settlement program, claimants faced a long road to recovery.  It could take years for Zimmer to address a claim, and some claimants had to file a case and wait for it to move through the court system.  The settlement program streamlines this process for patients who have suffered from Zimmer Durom Cup failures.

Claimants Must Register by April 29th 2016

The attorneys at Cooper & Elliott have created a focused intake procedure to facilitate application for those who may be eligible to participate in the Zimmer Durom Cup settlement program.  The registration deadline for this program is April 29th 2016.

Certain patient cases may contain particular factors or circumstances which could entitle them to a larger sum than that established by the Zimmer settlement agreement.  Please contact a Cooper & Elliott attorney at http://zimmersettlements.com, zimmer@cooperelliot.com or 614.481.6000 to discuss specifics determining eligibility.

Case Numbers and Courts of Record: 

  • 2:09-CV-04414, U.S. District Court for the district of New Jersey

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.

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Ben Cooper Joins Ohio Civil Litigation Firm Cooper & Elliott

Posted on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 @ 9:40 PM

CooperCBenjamin-53011-1055-C-smallColumbus, Ohio – Ohio civil litigation law firm Cooper & Elliott is pleased to announce C. Benjamin Cooper has joined the firm. Along with other attorneys at Cooper & Elliott, Mr. Cooper will practice in matters of wrongful death, civil rights violations, personal injury, medical malpractice, and business litigation.

Mr. Cooper joined Cooper & Elliott for the chance to work on meaningful, interesting, and challenging cases and learn from experienced trial attorneys. “The firm loves getting into the courtroom, and for cases that are very personal and important to the people who’ve been harmed,” said Mr. Cooper. “Also, the judges I talked with during my clerkship knew of and greatly respected Cooper & Elliott and its attorneys—that spoke volumes. I really felt lucky to join them.”

While Mr. Cooper possesses the compassion, intelligence, and creativity Cooper & Elliott look for in their select group of attorneys, he also brings an impressive background. “Ben was at the top of his class at UVA, both undergrad and law school, he was a rising star at a well-known Washington, D.C. law firm, and he was hand-picked to clerk for a United States Court of Appeals judge,” said Rex Elliott, the firm’s co-founder. “He has now carried this same standard of excellence to our firm and our clients. We are very fortunate to add Ben to our extraordinary team of lawyers and staff.”

Mr. Cooper received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law. He worked in the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan Lovells before clerking for R. Guy Cole, Jr., Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Mr. Cooper also teaches and guest lectures on oral advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law.

In April, Mr. Cooper scored in the 100th percentile on the Ohio bar exam, joining Mr. Elliott as the second attorney at the firm to achieve that distinction.

Mr. Cooper currently resides in Columbus, where he hopes to help initiate new social programs for underrepresented populations.

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Estate of Michael W. Griffith Reaches Fourth Settlement Agreement

Posted on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 @ 12:38 PM

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio law firm Cooper & Elliott announces a fourth settlement in the wrongful death case brought by the family of Pastor Michael W. Griffith. Mr. Griffith was abruptly killed by a drunk driver named Evan Kulasa, who was underage and had been overserved alcohol at a party.  Mr. Kulasa also was underinsured.

Initially, it seemed that Mr. Griffith’s family would be compensated only by Mr. Griffith’s underinsured motorist coverage—an amount too small to make an appreciable difference in the family’s altered lives. Already having to adjust to the loss of a loving husband and father, it appeared the family also would have to deal with the loss of income of their primary breadwinner.

But after a determined investigation and vigorous prosecution by the attorneys at Cooper & Elliott, Mr. Griffith’s family has been able to reach three additional settlements. The most recent was reached with the insurer of the host of the party that left Mr. Kulasa intoxicated on the morning he struck and killed Mr. Griffith.

Previous settlements in this case include:

  • An initial settlement with Mr. Griffith’s underinsured motorist coverage carrier.
  • A settlement with the insurer for Mr. Kulasa’s father under a negligent entrustment claim. With Mr. Kulasa’s history of drug and alcohol abuse, criminal record, and poor driving history, Cooper & Elliott successfully argued that his father never should have allowed him to use the car.
  • A settlement with the owner of the apartment complex where the all-night party was held, leaving a minor driver intoxicated at three times the legal state driving limit.

Although no financial settlement will ever replace Michael Griffith to his family, his church, or his community, the money from these settlements will let his family focus on the healing process instead of worrying about financial obligations. The team at Cooper & Elliott is now confident it has found all the responsible parties and has held them accountable for the harm they caused.

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.

Stonehenge Land Company’s Case Against Board of Education/School District Settles out of Court

Posted on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 @ 2:54 PM

Columbus, Ohio – Business litigation law firm Cooper & Elliott is pleased to announce that the case between Stonehenge Land Company and a Board of Education (the full name has been withheld from this post for privacy) has reached a settlement agreement for $980,000.

According to court documents, the settlement was reached after the trial court indicated that it would very likely allow the case to proceed to trial.

Unfortunately, the poor decision-making of the School Board has cost the school district and its students a considerable amount of money. While Stonehenge had the right and reasons to sue for a much larger amount, they elected to settle for a smaller sum, sufficient to cover some of the losses caused by the School Board’s decisions without unduly harming the students of the district.

In 2007, the Superintendent of the School District asked Stonehenge Land Company to help secure a large parcel of property across from their High School.  The School Board had long desired the property to expand the High School classroom space but was not experienced in acquiring or developing real estate.  Stonehenge secured the property at a substantially reduced price and agreed to assign the Purchase Contract to the district in exchange for a promise to construct buildings on the property and for long term leases on two plot lots and a ground lease on the first floor of one of the buildings to be constructed on the property.

After Stonehenge put in months of work and assigned the purchase contract, the School Board changed course, publicly bid the construction contract and issued leases to third parties completely cutting Stonehenge out of the deal. Stonehenge was left with no recourse, except to sue the School Board, its Superintendent and its Board Members for fraud and breach of contract.

After choosing to violate its contract with Stonehenge, the district attempted to hide behind laws that protect governmental entities and schools from liability. Cooper & Elliott argued on behalf of Stonehenge that the School Board was engaged in a commercial activity and the typical shield applying to governmental entities and Schools did not apply. Cooper & Elliott believed strongly that the Court was poised to permit these claims to proceed to a jury trial.

Cooper & Elliott will not allow citizens to be bullied by any governmental entity that tries to then hide behind laws that shield the government against lawsuits.  In cases of injustice like this one, our law firm will fight until justice is done and the injured party is put back into the position it would have been in but for the governmental misconduct.  It is our hope that this case will cause this district and other governmental entities to think twice before engaging in commercial activity and then attempting to profit at the expense of others.

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.

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Federal Judge OKs Multiple Cases Against Pilot Flying J for Fraud

Posted on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 @ 9:56 PM

Columbus, Ohio – Trucking companies represented by Cooper & Elliott in cases against Pilot Flying J for alleged fraud, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation will be allowed to continue their lawsuits. U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar rejected Pilot Flying J’s request to dismiss these claims. Requests by Jimmy Haslam (CEO of Pilot Flying J) and other executives to dismiss RICO conspiracy claims asserted against them in companion cases were also denied.

Pilot Flying J has already paid out nearly $85 million to settle an initial class action suit and another $92 million to the federal government that spared the company from criminal charges. However, not all trucking companies damaged by Pilot Flying J were part of this initial settlement.

These additional cases now move to the discovery phase, where the trucking companies can obtain emails and company documents from Pilot Flying J and require current and former employees and executives to give sworn testimony.

In April 2013, Pilot Flying J’s headquarters were raided by the FBI, which had investigated claims that the company deliberately withheld rebate payments from trucking companies and lied to the companies about how much they were owed.  To date, ten Pilot employees have pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud charges arising from the long-running scheme, including Pilot’s former national sales director.

Pilot Flying J’s illegal rebate scheme – referred to within its sales force as “jacking the discount” – is yet another example of large-scale corporate greed.  Pilot Flying J is the largest seller of over-the-road diesel fuel in the United States, and its size and market share gave the company the chance to commit massive fraud.

According to court documents, in a recording made by an undercover informant, Pilot Flying J’s former vice president of sales indicated that CEO Jimmy Haslam knew of the scheme.

Trucking companies trusted that a company with Pilot Flying J’s size and reputation would deal honestly and fairly with them. Their trust was violated in the worst way. In an excerpt from undercover recordings made by the FBI, Pilot’s director of national sales was caught on tape explaining and teaching the fraud to other salespeople, including how to target less savvy trucking companies:

“Some of ‘em, some of ‘em don’t know what a spreadsheet is.  I’m not kiddin’.  So, again, my point is this: Know your customer… If the guy’s sophisticated and he truly has gone out and gotten deals from the other competitors and he’s gettin’ daily prices from us, don’t jack with his discounts, ’cause he’s gonna know, okay?… There’s guys that I move a penny, there’s guys that I move 15 cents.  I mean, it’s an art, it’s a feel, it’d do what you do.  It’s not do more, don’t, you know, don’t ever expose yourself…

I ask myself, is this a customer that I send a daily price fetch to?  Does he buy from anybody else?  Does he have any idea what cost-plus-4 means to his business?  Nope.  Has no clue.  Absolutely know [sic] idea.  Well, do I want to pay him $25,000?  Maybe… I look at my P&L, and my P&L says, ‘Huh.  I’m payin’ him $25,000 and we made $25,000 on it.  That’s not a very good deal for me.’  I’ll probably cut this one down to like 21.  This customer is not a very sophisticated buyer and he doesn’t know what we’ve done here, right?”

“The financial consequences to a small business dealing with a corrupt partner can be devastating,” said Chip Cooper of Ohio business litigation law firm Cooper & Elliott. “Standing up to big corporations like Pilot Flying J sends a strong message that they can’t get away with fraud just because they’re an industry leader or think their customers are too naïve to detect the fraud or too intimidated to cry foul.”

Cooper & Elliott has a long history of successfully representing small businesses against much bigger opponents. “The contingency fee-based representation we offer has allowed many small companies to take action, even though they may lack the resources to pursue behemoths like Pilot Flying J,” said Cooper.

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.

Sean Alto Joins Cooper & Elliott

Posted on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 2:25 PM

Sean_Alto-HeadshotColumbus, Ohio – Ohio civil litigation law firm, Cooper & Elliott, is pleased to announce Mr. Sean Alto has joined the firm. Along with other attorneys at Cooper & Elliott, Mr. Alto will practice in matters of wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice and business litigation.

Mr. Alto’s reasons for joining Cooper & Elliott are numerous and include the opportunity to work with experienced and respected trial attorneys and litigators, as well as the ability to try interesting and challenging cases. “My primary reason for joining Cooper & Elliott is due to the firm’s stellar reputation,” said Mr. Alto. “They tend to take on large and very important cases – those cases where litigation may be contentious but where they still obtain favorable outcomes for their clients.”

How well an attorney will fit into the Cooper & Elliott culture is an important consideration when hiring a new attorney at the firm. “We’re careful about who we bring on board, and that holds true with regard to Sean Alto”, said Chip Cooper, the firm’s co-founder. “What immediately struck us about Sean is that in addition to being an excellent lawyer he’s an intelligent, creative and compassionate person, and those are really important characteristics for an attorney at Cooper & Elliott.”

Rex Elliott, the firm’s other co-founder remarked, “One of the many things that impressed us about Sean is his authenticity. He’s just an open, genuine and approachable attorney. Those qualities are at our very core here at Cooper & Elliott, so Sean fits right in.”

Mr. Alto currently serves as the Chair of the Columbus Bar Association’s Common Pleas Court Committee. He received his Juris Doctorate from Capital University Law School, and received his undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University. Mr. Alto resides in Columbus with his wife, Kelly, and their cocker spaniel, Teddy. When he’s not at work, Sean enjoys golfing and long-distance cycling.

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Wrongful Death Claims Versus Survival Claims: What’s The Difference?

Posted on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 @ 2:34 AM

187621262When your client loses a loved one to a case of wrongful death, there are two distinct claims possibilities. The first and most obvious course of action is to file a claim under Ohio’s wrongful death statute. However, if the decedent suffered any conscious pain or suffering before death, even if only briefly, a survival claim also comes into play.

Lawyers who do not have experience handling wrongful death claims often overlook the survival claim – to the detriment of the decedent’s beneficiaries.

How To Define A Wrongful Death Claim
The administrator of the decedent’s estate brings on a wrongful death claim. The types of damages available under a wrongful death claim include:

  • Loss of support from the decedent’s earning capacity
  • Loss of the decedent’s services
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of prospective inheritance
  • Mental anguish

The proceeds recovered in a wrongful death claim are allocated through the probate court. The court adjusts the share of each beneficiary in a manner that’s equitable, taking into account the age and condition of the beneficiaries, the injury and each beneficiary that has suffered as a result of the death.

Since the proceeds are distributed directly to the decedent’s next of kin, there is no estate tax on any claim rewards.

How To Define A Survival Claim
A survival claim is not concerned with damages to the next of kin, but focuses on injuries the decedent suffered during his or her lifetime. Like a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s personal representative brings on a survival claim.

However, the damages from a survival claim are for the decedent’s pain and suffering, and the decedent’s economic losses (such as for lost income and medical expenses). These damages become part of the estate and are distributed according to the decedent’s will (or by statute if the decedent died without a will).

The Differences Between Wrongful Death And Survival Claims
There are several important differences between a wrongful death claim and a survival claim. The following are two examples to help illustrate the contrast between claims:

  • A jury may award punitive damages and attorney fees for a survival claim but not for a wrongful death claim.
  • Insurance companies may assert subrogation rights against proceeds from a survival claim, but not against proceeds from a wrongful death claim.

Understanding the variations and nuances between a wrongful death claim and a survivor claim makes a huge difference in the amount of money the beneficiaries receive.

As a lawyer, you know that each area of a particular practice comes with its own set of complexities. Only years of hard-won experience lend the requisite knowledge necessary to see consistently favorable results for your clients.

Referring your client to an experienced wrongful death attorney is the most reasonable course of action. The right wrongful death attorney will have no qualms about welcoming you onboard to consult on the case. Ultimately, their lead in your client’s lawsuit is going to carve out the most efficient and effective path to justice.

Ready to team up with an experienced wrongful death attorney capable of delivering your clients the best possible results? Call 614-481-6000 or click here to speak with a Plaintiff Protector at Cooper & Elliott.

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Personal Injury Mediation: A Viable Alternative To Deadlock Negotiating

Posted on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 @ 4:00 AM

describe the imageWhen it comes to personal injury litigation, some people turn away from the process due to its potential to be expensive, stressful and time-consuming.

However, in recent years, personal injury mediation has become common in these types of cases. A large percentage of civil cases settle, in turn making mediation the most common settlement technique.

Personal Injury Mediation: What Is It?
Mediation occurs when a third party (mediator) facilitates a discussion with the sole purpose being to settle the case. The third party is typically a personal injury lawyer who has experience trying these types of cases for plaintiffs, defendants or both.

Mediation is an entirely voluntary process. If mediation does not work – meaning both sides of the dispute cannot reach an agreement – the only consequence is that the litigation continues. Since nothing either party says during mediation is usable by the other party in later stages of the dispute, there is no downside to mediation.

Mediation: First Steps To Ensure Settlement Success
The key to any personal injury settlement is not simply to settle the case, but to get the highest value possible. Here’s what you need:

  • Select A Strong Mediator: Look for a professional mediation service, staffed by full-time mediators who have both mediation experience and a legal background or identify individual mediators that have a long track record of successful mediation experience.
  • Select The Right Counsel For Your Case: This means finding a well-seasoned personal injury attorney who the other side fears.
  • Conduct In-Depth Preparation: Deep knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, along with a total understanding of all the defenses are crucial to a successful outcome.

Work with your lawyer to determine the best possible personal injury settlement scenarios to push during mediation.

During your personal injury mediation process, your lawyer needs to educate the mediator as much as possible before the mediation date. This must be done so the mediator understands the defense pressure points and the objectives to achieve in any settlement. Preparation and education will also help facilitate a smooth process the day mediation begins. We prepare power point presentations and detailed mediation statements to help ensure success at mediation.

The Benefits (And The Barrier) Of Personal Injury Mediation
Pro: When you reach a stalemate in your negotiations with the insurance adjuster, mediation is a way to break the impasse.

Pro: When you sit across the table from the insurance adjuster, you’ve put a human face to your set of personal injury claim documents. Because of this, they are more likely to understand the risks of a jury trial by putting a face to the tragedy.

Pro: The third-party mediator encourages a break in any deadlock, so the whole process is typically faster, easier and less expensive than taking your case to court.

Con: Because both parties must agree to mediation, it is sometimes difficult to get an adjuster on board due to the extra steps involved, including that crucial personal appearance.

Where Do You Draw The Line Before Deciding To Mediate?
You’re going to need legal counsel with a personal injury background, as well as a professional mediator, if any of the following scenarios have the parties at an impasse:

  • The insurance company has not offered anything close to fair personal injury compensation.
  • The major dispute involves the extent of your personal injury and to what degree each party was at fault.
  • You see no other avenues for negotiating, beyond taking your claim to a jury.

If you’ve suffered a personal injury, the law reserves you the right to certain compensation that helps you pay for time lost at work, medical bills and any loss of life enjoyment. You deserve to have the truth about your personal injury revealed as well as a settlement that assists in your path towards recovery.

Personal injury mediation has revolutionized the legal system as a viable alternative to achieve desired results, without the expense and complex battles of a court case.

Would you like to learn more about personal injury mediation and partnering with the right attorney to guide you through the process? Call 614-481-6000 or click on the button below to speak with a Compassionate Consultant at Cooper & Elliott.

Right the Wrong

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