There are many benefits to living in California.  We have gorgeous weather, wonderful people, and beautiful natural spaces that range from beaches to mountains and deserts to forests.  Of course, there are downsides and perhaps the most-voiced concern (aside from cost of living!) is the ever-present risk of earthquakes.  While earthquakes are a natural phenomenon, the actions or inaction of people/entities can add to the risk of injury or property damage.  At the Brod Law Firm, our Northern California earthquake lawyer helps people bring civil lawsuits after a California earthquake.  These include suits against various parties whose negligence had tragic results as well as suits against insurance companies who deny valid claims.

Major Earthquakes Strike Italy and Myanmar Bringing Tragedy to Two Nations

This week, the world was reminded of the havoc and tragedy that earthquakes can unleash.  As CNN reported, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday August 24.  Early reports put the death toll at 73 (Note: The number has since increased to at least 241.).  The mayor of Amatrice, where most of the fatalities occurred, told CNN: “The town is no more.”  At least 100 people were injured.  Officials expect death and injury tolls to rise in as rescuers dig through the rubble.  The risk is far from over as aftershocks are expected to roll through in the coming days.

Perhaps there is no profession that is the subject of as many jokes about greed and misguided ethics as the legal field.  The truth is, however, that most lawyers adhere to a very stringent code of ethics.  For Attorney Greg Brod, these principles are not just rules on paper, but represent a deeply personal commitment to ethical practice.  He is proud to serve as a plaintiffs’ lawyer and, because he values his professional obligations, he also serves as a Northern California legal malpractice lawyer.  At the Brod Law Firm, we take cases of legal malpractice in California personally.

Legal Malpractice Generally

In broad terms, legal malpractice claims in California, require showing that the lawyer was negligent because s/he failed to exercise the skill and care that a reasonably careful attorney would exercise under similar circumstances (See Civil Jury Instruction 600).  Also instructive is Rule 3-110 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct (“CRPC”) which provides that a lawyer violates of the rules of the profession when s/he intentiscalesonally, recklessly, or repeatedly fails to act with competence when providing legal services.  The Rule further defines competence as “the 1) diligence, 2) learning and skill, and 3) mental, emotional, and physical ability reasonably necessary for the performance of such service.”

Car crashes can have many terrible consequences that may impact automobile occupants and bystanders alike.  One consequence that many people don’t think about is the link between car crashes and gas leaks.  Gas leaks can be silent killers, poisoning the air and creating the risk of horrific explosions.  As a San Francisco gas leak injury lawyer, Attorney Brod knows these incidents are far more common than people might imagine.  He and his team believe in helping the injured and/or mourning by holding the responsible parties accountable for the consequences of their actions.  We bring personal injury suits and/or wrongful death claims in Northern California in cases of car accidents, gas leaks, and cases that involve a dangerous combination of both.

Auto Accidents Causing Gas Leaks: Far Too Common, Far Too Dangerous

CBS SF reports that fire crews were called to the 2200 block of Story Road in East San Jose on Sunday due to reports of a gas leak.  Accordgaslineing to San Jose Fire Department Capt. Brad Cloutier, the leak was the result of a motor vehicle crash.  Officials evacuated numerous buildings and homes located on Story Road and Amador Drive.

It is no secret that, as a whistleblower’s law firm, we are big fans of the False Claims Act (“FCA” or “the Act”).  The Act holds liable any person/entity that presents a false or fraudulent claim for payment to the federal government (or an agency thereof) and/or create false records to that end.  In essence, it forbids overcharging the government for goods or services or charging for goods/services that are never delivered.  The Act’s qui tam provision is particularly powerful since it enables private individuals to bring suits on the government’s behalf.  This is key because it is often private parties, rather than the government itself, who are aware of these fraudulent schemes.  Recent trends show that the legislature and the courts are committed to working with whistleblowers and, more generally, to using the False Claims Act as a powerful tool to battle health care fraud and other forms of fraud on the U.S. government.

DOJ Nearly Doubles Per Claim False Claims Act Penalties

As Becker’s Hospital Review, a healthcare industry journal, reported last month, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently published an interim final rule substantially increasing the monetary penalty for violations of the FCA.  Previously, penalties ranged from $5,500 to $11,000 per claim.  The new penalties neacash2rly double the old ones and range from $10,781 to $21,563.  These increased penalties took effect on August 1 and only apply to violations occurring after November 2, 2015.  The increase was made pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which required agencies to increase FCA penalties and authorized rulemaking to implement a “catch up adjustment” to account for inflation.  The DOJ is just one of the agencies updating penalties (the Railroad Retirement Board was the first), but it is certainly among the most impactful.

Most of the injury cases we handle at The Brod Law firm can be classified as accidents.  While the defendant’s negligence or recklessness caused the incident, typically the defendant did not actually intend for anyone to get hurt, much less killed.  However, it is important to remember that California law does allow for civil claims in the case of intentional injury, such as a civil case seeking compensation for shooting injury or death.  As an Oakland intentional injury attorney serving all of Northern California, Greg Brod works to get victims compensation for a wide-range of intentionally inflicted injuries and wrongful deaths.  This commitment includes serving as a San Francisco and Oakland shooting injury lawyer.

Spate of BB Gun Shootings in San Leandro and Surrounding Region

Webbguns are reminded of the importance of civil claims for intentional injury as we continue to hear about the rising number of BB gun shootings in our region.  Last weekend, ABC7 reported that police were looking for suspects who used a BB gun to shoot a woman and damage a pizza shop in San Leandro.  Investigators told reporters that the shooting happened on East 14th Street and said they are looking for the driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee seen in surveillance videos.

When you think about car accident victims, what groups come to mind?  Vehicle occupants and pedestrians are probably at the top of the list.  After a bit of thought, people might add motorcycle and bicycle riders.  However, the truth is that car accident injuries and fatalities can involve a broad range of individuals.  One often-overlooked group: Skateboarders.  As a recent incident reminds us, skateboard accidents can be serious, even deadly.  Sometimes the rider is at fault, but other times fault lies with the vehicle driver or another third-party.  In those cases, our skateboard accident lawyer in Santa Rosa, San Francisco, and Oakland can help the injured and/or grieving recover compensation for their loss.

Skateboarder Killed by Car Near Santa Rosa

According to The Press Democrat, a male skateboard rider was killed in an accident on northbound Fulton Road on Friday night.  A CHP spokesperson said that the skateboard rider had been travelling on the shoulder when he swerved into the path of a GMC Yukon at approximately 9:15 P.M. near the intersection of Fulton and River roads.  The rider suffered major injuries and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he later died.  Police say that the rider veered into the SUV’s path for unknown reasons and the driver was unable to avoid a crash.  Although the investigation is ongoing, police do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor and do not expect to charge the driver in the incident.

Yearswildfire ago, if you asked someone to name the biggest meteorological threat facing California, they would probably have answered “earthquakes” without a second thought.  In recent years, however, two closely-related threats have risen to the top of the list – drought and wildfire.  Given the “wild” moniker, many people assume that they have little or no legal rights when a wildfire causes damage, injury, or loss of life.  This is not necessarily true and our California wildfire attorney helps ensure that wildfire injury victims recover money from insurers and, when there is a human cause, from those responsible for the blaze.

Wildfire Roars through Lake County

On Monday, San Jose Mercury News reported on a wildfire that is roaring through parts of Northern California.  The Lower Lake Fire, broke out on Saturday and quickly grew to cover 5 square miles, aided wildfirefightersby winds, bone-dry vegetation, and soaring temperatures that hindered firefighters’ efforts.  After seeming to calm later Saturday, wind gusts kicked up flames again on Sunday and the fire tore into parts of Lower Lake, a town of 1,200 located some 90 miles north of San Francisco.  Fire officials compared the blaze to a wave of water pouring over the city.  More than 100 homes were destroyed over the weekend and Cal Fire said thousands remain in the threat zone.

We pride ourselves on our work helping whistleblowers bring claims pursuant to the False Claims Act.  As a False Claims Act law firm, we have specialized knowledge of this complex piece of legislation that empowers individuals to bring fraud claims on behalf of the government.  A ruling from a federal district court released in late Spring in a case alleging Medicare fraud looks at one of the many important details that come up in these cases.  More specifically, the case looks at what constitutes a “usual and customary” price for purposes of determining whether a provider is complying with the law and offering Medicare beneficiaries an appropriate price on prescription drugs.   In doing so, the court highlights one important requirement that is often subverted by perpetrators of fraud and also provides a reminder of how complex False Claims Act cases can be.

Bhealth$ackground on the Garbe Case

On May 27, 2006, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals released an important ruling in United States ex rel. Garbe v. Kmart Corporation, a False Claims Act case brought by James Garbe on behalf of the United States against Kmart.  According to the complaint, Garbe, a pharmacist at Kmart, noticed that another pharmacy charged his Medicare Part D insurer substantially less that Kmart typically charged insurers for the same prescription.  He investigated and found that Kmart routinely charged customers paying out of pocket less than it charged those paying with insurance (public or private).  He also found that most cash customers took part in Kmart’s “discount programs” and that this discount price was not included when Kmart calculated its “usual and customary” prices on generic medications for purposes of Medicare reimbursement.

Every car accident is flipfrightening, but rollover accidents are certainly among the most terrifying.  As an Oakland car accident lawyer with twenty years’ experience representing the injured and grieving, Attorney Gregory Brod understands the myriad of emotions experienced in the wake of an accident.  Attorney Brod also understands the particular complexity of rollover accidents and, along with his team, he can help victims recover critical compensation from other drivers, car manufacturers, and others whose negligence had terrible consequences.

Rollover Injures Three in Brentwood

According to the East Bay Times, a pickup truck travelling on Marsh Creek Road near the Clayton-Brentwood border was involved in a rollover accident on Monday.  The accident occurred shortly before 5 P.M.  Three people were transported to John Muir Medical Center for medical treatment.  Police say at least one person suffered major injuries in the crash.  As of this writing, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Perhaps the most important things one can say to the victim of sexual assault are “I believe you” and “You are not alone.”  As a San Francisco sexual assault victim’s law firm, we are here to represent the victim.  We are proud to act on behalf of brave children and adults who have suffered from these heinous wrongs.  We are honored to help bring civil sexual assault lawsuits that can provide a sense of justice and recover compensation from the assailant.

Police Arrest Petaluma Man on Charges of Sexual Assault Involving a Minor

ABC7 recently reported on a disturbing case of alleged sexual assault in Petaluma.  According to the article, police arrested a 38-year-old drug anhelpd alcohol counselor based on allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl.  Police say they found evidence and admissions during a search of the man’s home.