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October 7, 2013



October 2, 2013

zoo.pngParents across the country routinely take their children to the zoo every weekend in an effort to instill an appreciation for nature. However, a routine visit turned tragic for the Derkosh family when 2-year old Maddox Derkosh was mauled to death at the Pittsburgh zoo by a pack of African wild dogs.

Visiting the zoo with his mother, young Maddox fell into the African wild dog exhibit when his mother lifted him above the railing so that he could get a better view. Tragically, he fell into the exhibit housing the wild dogs whereupon they pounced and mauled him to death.

Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh filed a lawsuit this past May alleging negligence on the part of the zoo for failing to provide adequate warning that the space above the railing was unprotected and that a small child such as Maddox could fall into the exhibit. According to the lawsuit filed by the Derkosh's, the zoo was on "notice" of a dangerous condition given that parents routinely lifted their children above the railing area. The parents also allege Maddox's death could have been prevented if the zoo had better tranquilizer darts for subduing the wild dogs.

In recently filed court papers, the zoo has fought back claiming that Elizabeth Derkosh was contributorily negligent when she lifted her small child above the railing, which at 42-inches in height complied with applicable building and safety codes. Further, according to the zoo's court filings, the zoo cannot "control all of the conduct of its patrons while they are on zoo premises." It also defended itself in court papers by noting that visitors must be "responsible for their safety" and have "a duty to act in a reasonable prudent manner."

While the zoo has some valid defenses and points in response to the Derkosh's lawsuit, the tragic fact remains that a small child died needlessly and under exceptionally horrific circumstances. The "failure to warn of a dangerous condition" is a legitimate legal theory that is very applicable in this case and will require resolution by a jury. If in fact the zoo had notice that parents routinely lifted their children above the railing, an area that was unprotected and could lead to a child falling directly into the wild dog exhibit, then a jury could find the zoo liable.

Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Lawsuit Dealt A Setback - Personal Injury Lawyer Paul S. Padda

September 10, 2013

Thumbnail image for gavel.jpgFollowing the tragic death of Michael Jackson, the "King of Pop," his family filed a lawsuit against AEG Live, the company with whom he had contracted to perform a series of worldwide concerts. The lawsuit named AEG and two of its corporate executives as defendants claiming that they had acted negligently when they hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician that treated Michael in preparation for the concerts.

This past week, the judge presiding over the case dismissed the two corporate executives from the lawsuit ruling that the Jackson family failed to show that the executives did anything to "control, direct or perpetrate" Michael's drug use. The ruling, however, allows the case to proceed against AEG Live.

AEG has claimed that it never had a contract with Dr. Murray and therefore cannot be held responsible for Michael's death. The company has admitted, however, that it paid Dr. Murray $150,000 to care for Michael using an "artist advance" which Michael was allegedly obligated to pay back at a future date. At the heart of the case is an internal corporate email in which an AEG executive writes the following regarding Dr. Murray: "We want to remind [Dr. Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary." This email forms the cornerstone of the Jackson family's lawsuit advancing the theory that AEG is ultimately responsible for Michael's death since it paid Dr. Murray's bills.
Dr. Murray is currently serving a four year prison sentence for Michael's June 25, 2009 death resulting from a drug-overdose. A jury will now have to determine whether AEG can be held liable in the civil wrongful death suit that seeks millions in compensation.

Cohen & Padda, having previously represented Michael Jackson's father Joe Jackson, understands the pain families go through at losing a loved one. Death is the ultimate price to pay, but when it results from the potential negligence of another, it can be exceedingly difficult to deal with on an emotional level. While the American justice system cannot bring back a loved one or rectify an injury, it permits compensation for those left behind who must suffer the agony of life without a precious family member.

Teen Drivers in Nevada

September 4, 2013

traffic.jpgAs teens go back to school this falls, many will transition from riding a school bus to driving themselves. However, passing a driver's test alone does give a young driver enough experience to fully handle all the driving hazards on our roads today.

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for teens. Take some extra steps to ensure the safety of your teen and the other drivers.

  1. Ban cell phone use while driving. There are many discussions about this across the web and it is illegal. Your teen can sign a pledge and you can download apps that prevent phone usage while the car is in motion. However, it is important to remember to lead by example in this case. Show your teen that driving is not a time to multi-task by putting your own phone away while driving.
  2. Make seat belts mandatory. It is the law after all.
  3. Extend the time your teen holds a learner's permit. Spend more learning time with your child driving. This allows your teen to encounter different driving experiences with you there to guide him/her.
  4. Set a nighttime driving restriction. Most fatal accidents happen at night. Set a driving curfew.
  5. Set a passenger restriction. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that one passenger increases a teen's accident risk by 48 percent and the risk grows dramatically by each passenger added. Determine how many (if any) passengers our teen can handle and set limits.
  6. Set a no tolerance policy on alcohol. Again, this is the law. Your teen has likely been taught not to drink and drive, but it is an important discussion to have prior to driving.
  7. Consider formal training. There are many agencies in the Las Vegas valley that offer formal training for teen drivers. This is an important activity that is often second nature to experienced drivers. A professional instructor likely has techniques, tips and advice that a mother or father forgets to pass on.

The right to drive is an important time in a teenager's life. Follow the steps above to ensure it is a safe time.

Lost Sperm Leads To Lawsuits - Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Paul S. Padda

August 27, 2013

Thumbnail image for What's the difference between an M.D. and a D.O.?  Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois recently found itself the recipient of 40 separate lawsuits filed by men that lost the chance to be biological fathers after their sperm samples were destroyed when a tank that was keeping them frozen malfunctioned. In a press release, hospital officials acknowledged the mishap by stating "we deeply regret that this equipment malfunction occurred."

As a result of the tank's failure, a team of doctors from Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation urology and reproductive endocrinology departments contacted more than 250 patients to advise them of the equipment failure in the sperm bank. The hospital's press release noted that more than 100 patients have "engaged us in further evaluation and consultation."

The lawsuits seek monetary damages from Northwestern under a negligence theory based on the hospital's failure to take adequate precautions to safeguard the sperm, costing the men a potential opportunity to be fathers. In assessing the men's damages, a jury will be required to place a value on lost "fatherhood." These cases could potentially result in damages awards in the millions of dollars.

#Back2School Safety: Sharing the Road with School Buses

August 21, 2013

Thumbnail image for School Bus School buses are a safe form of transportation for your kids. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger car and 10 times safer than walking to school. Most of the students injured by a bus are injured are pedestrians. This is why it is important to know the school bus safety laws and proper procedures.

  • It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children in all 50 states.

  • All traffic must stop (in both directions) on undivided roads when the students are exiting or entering the bus.

  • Never pass a school bus on the right.

  • Yellow lights are used to alert drivers that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children.

  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign signals drivers that the bus is stopped and unloading or loading children.

Always be alert when traveling near school buses. Children can be unpredictable and excited to get to school or get home to tell their parents about their day. The distraction makes them less likely to be aware of your vehicle. It is up to you to keep pedestrians safe on the roadway!

Be safe as you head back to school and have a great year!

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

August 14, 2013

Thumbnail image for spine xray.jpgIf you're visiting this site, chances are you've been in an accident. Chances are you're also experiencing pain from your accident and struggling with the uncertainty of what comes next. Dealing with the insurance company can be intimidating and confusing. Equally importantly, how you deal with the insurance company can make the difference between whether you obtain successful compensation for your injuries or not. If you don't cut your own hair when you need a haircut or perform surgery on yourself when you're sick, why would you attempt to vindicate your legal rights without the benefit of a lawyer? The right lawyer can make a substantial difference in how much compensation you receive from an insurance company. At Cohen & Padda, we take pride in keeping our clients educated and fully informed in the entire claims process following an accident.

Do I Need To Make A Personal Injury Claim?

While you may have medical insurance to cover your healthcare after an accident, you may still need to file a personal injury claim to cover other expenses. The claim can help you recover additional damages including lost wages, damage to your property, any permanent disability, rehabilitation, as well as, present and future pain and suffering. Many of these claims can be settled outside of a courtroom, but some will require decision by a judge or jury.

Why Settle?

Cohen & Padda will only suggest a settlement when it is appropriate for your situation! In some cases, it will be necessary to go to court. However, a court case can take several years from beginning to end. By settling a case, the defendant pays you an agreed-upon sum of money quickly after all documents are signed. The documents include a statement releasing the defendant from future responsibility.

When Can You Settle?

You can agree to a settlement at any point in the case. Cohen & Padda will discuss the possibilities with you as each offer is made in your case.

How Much Is My Case Worth?

The amount of a settlement is based upon your lawyer's ability to show "damages." You must provide the responsible party with information about your injuries, expenses and any need for future treatment.

How Can Cohen & Padda Help?

The laws surrounding personal injury cases can be complicated and each case is unique. Cohen & Padda has successfully handled thousands of cases. We are prepared to offer you fierce advocacy to protect your rights!

What Can You Expect When You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

August 7, 2013

gavel.jpgIt is tough enough when you are facing injuries caused by someone else's negligence (or intentional acts), but navigating the legal system can be intimidating and confusing. Cohen & Padda handles each case with fierce advocacy to defend your rights.

File a Summons & Complaint

The first step in recovering damages is to file the complaint in the state the injury occurred. The summons is the notice to the defendant to appear in court with a response to your complaint.

Proof of Negligence or Intentional Tort

Negligence is proven by exhibiting the defendant failed to perform duties safely (i.e. driving in a safe manner).
Intentional Tort may be proven if evidence exists that the defendant planned to do you harm.

Preponderance of Evidence

If you have ever served jury duty or watched an episode of Law & Order you know that criminal cases require "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." However, personal injury cases require a "preponderance of evidence." This means proof is required that the defendant is 50 percent likely to be responsible for your injury.

Damages can Exceed Medical Bills

Damages from many different aspects of your injury may be claimed in the suit. These may include: past medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages/work time, and pain and suffering.

Cohen & Padda can help with fierce advocacy to defend your rights so you can focus on your recovery!
Don't get mad, get legal!

Stay Safe this Summer - Practice the ABCs of Pool Safety

July 31, 2013


Tips for Handling Damage to Your Vehicle from our friends at Collision Bay

July 23, 2013

car accident.png
1. Take pictures of damage at the scene to eliminate delays.

2. If the car isn't drive-able, have it towed to a shop or your home so you don't accrue high storage fees from a tow yard. If the police take the car, have a shop pick it up the next day that way you don't pay out-of-pocket for anything. Collision Bay tows 24 hours a day and 7 days per week.

3. Insurance companies want you to take the vehicles to their shop; however, you have the right to take it to the repair shop of your choice.

4. If you have full coverage insurance, use it even if it's not your fault. You will need a rental if your car is not drive-able anymore and insurance companies can take days or even months to put you in a rental.

5. Picking the correct shop: Many people go with the cheapest shop or the one that is willing to waive a deductible. Be careful when doing so because shops don't really make a lot of money; if they are saving a deductible make sure you ask how they will do it. You don't want to cut corners when it comes to repairing your car after an accident . If the insurance company gives you a lower estimate than the shop, don't worry - take it to the shop even if it's less than what they are giving you. Insurance companies will always give you a lower amount because:

  • many people take the money and never get the car fixed or

  • because they can't see the hidden damage. They us a process called a supplement which means that even if the insurance company gives you a lower estimate, the shop calls them back and shows the adjuster that things are missing in the estimate and they will make up the difference.

Drive safe!

Many Asiana Airline Passengers Suffer Spinal Injuries - Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Paul S. Padda

July 11, 2013

The recent tragedy involving the Asiana Airline crash in San Francisco proved three things:

  1. it's a miracle more people did not die which only demonstrates how much safer aircraft have become;
  2. the importance of wearing seat belts, whether on an airplane or in a car; and
  3. the human body remains as it always has, delicate and subject to severe trauma.

According to medical reports, the majority of the survivors of the Asiana Airline crash sustained spinal injuries. Dr. Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital where many of the survivors are being treated, stated that some passengers needed immediate surgery to stabilize their spines. In an interview following the crash, Dr. Manley reported that among the worst injuries are crushed vertebrae that compress the spinal cord and ligaments so stretched that they can't hold the neck and back in place like they're supposed to do.

spine xray.jpgWhile there will be a lot of investigative fact finding following this tragedy to ascertain what exactly happened, the accident once again underscores the importance of seat belts. Dr. David Okonkwo, a neurosurgeon with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has stated that the best thing passengers can do prior to impact in airline accidents is to assume the "crash" position, meaning they should lean forward with the head as far down as possible and arms over the head. This position, according to Dr. Okonkwo, can limit the spine jolting back and forth and offer some protection.

The fact that 305 of the 307 passengers survived the Asiana crash is nothing short of a miracle and a testament to how much safer modern aircraft is. Nonetheless, passengers aboard that flight will undoubtedly be dealing with spine issues for the rest of their lives. While technology has evolved, the human body remains as fragile as it has been since the beginning of time. Whether on a plane or in a car, buckle up if you want increase safety.

Supreme Court Makes It Harder For Employees To Sue - Las Vegas Discrimination Lawyer Paul S. Padda

June 27, 2013

gavel.jpgIn two major rulings issued this past Monday, the United States Supreme Court made it significantly more difficult for American employees to sue their employers for discrimination and retaliation.

A bitterly divided Court held that, in order for an employee to prevail on a discrimination claim, the person must show that the discrimination was either committed by, or condoned, by a "supervisor." The controversial aspect of the Court's ruling is that it now defines supervisor to mean a person with hiring or firing authority. In the first case, Maetta Vance, a catering specialist with Ball State University, accused her co-worker Shaundra Davis of racial harassment and retaliation. Vance sued the university under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claiming the university was liable since Davis was her supervisor. The Supreme Court disagreed. Writing for the Court, Justice Samuel Alito stated that in order to be a "supervisor," a person must have the authority to "hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline."

In rendering this definition of "supervisor," the Court rejected the argument that a supervisor should be defined as anyone with day-to-day oversight of an employee's activities. Commenting on the Court's ruling, Pennsylvania State University law professor Michael Foreman stated that the Court's decision does not "reflect realities of the workplace." Another law professor, Carolyn Shapiro of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law commented that the Court's ruling "reduces the incentives for employers to police harassment."

In a second case, a medical doctor sued the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center alleging discrimination and retaliation. His retaliation claim was based upon the fact that a hospital that had extended him an employment opportunity withdrew the offer after a former supervisor of the doctor opposed it. The doctor sued for retaliation claiming the hospital withdrew the employment offer in the face of pressure from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. Although a jury awarded the doctor more that $3 million, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the jury verdict by finding that in order to prevail on a retaliation claim, an employee must now "establish that his or her protected activity was a but-for cause of the alleged adverse action by the employer." This ruling significantly increases the amount of proof an employee must show to prevail on retaliation.

Not every judge on the Supreme Court was pleased with these two controversial decisions. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the Supreme Court "relieves scores of employers of responsibility for the behavior of the supervisors they employ." Commenting on the retaliation ruling, Justice Ginsburg noted that the Court was motivated by "a zeal to reduce the number of retaliation claims filed against employers." Expressing her frustration, Justice Ginsburg, in an unusual pronouncement, urged Congress to pass legislation overriding the Court's decision.

Female Lawyer Sues International Law Firm Greenberg Traurig - Las Vegas Employment Attorney Paul S. Padda

June 13, 2013

gavel.jpgAccording to The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund, women now surpass men in educational attainment. In 2012, 40% of women between the ages of 21 and 30 had either an associates or bachelor's degree. On the other hand, only 31% of men in the same age range had similar educational attainment.

Despite the significant educational advancements by women, they remain at a disadvantage in the workplace. According to the American Association of University Women, young women fresh out of college earn approximately $8,000 less per year than their male counterparts who perform similar jobs. However, these disparities traverse all income levels according to researchers and exist in professions such as medicine and law where women now account for significant percentages of the workforce.

Not all women are content to accept these unjust disparities. Francine Griesing, a former partner at the international law firm Greenberg Traurig ("GT"), has recently filed a $200 million class-action lawsuit in federal court against the firm alleging a "boys club" culture where higher pay and plum client assignments for men are the status quo while female lawyers are routinely overlooked. According to Ms. Griesing's federal complaint, GT "pays women less, promotes them at lower rates than men and virtually freezes them out from high-level managerial positions." Ominously, the complaint also alleges that the pattern of gender discrimination at GT has one notable exception, namely that "GT prioritizes pay and promotes women who have intimate relationships with Firm leaders or who acquiesce to sexualized stereotypes."

Legal commentators following this lawsuit state that litigation of this kind may be on the rise in the future as women in positions of power at law firms are increasingly more likely to speak up about perceived mistreatment or unfairness. "I don't think it's a coincidence" states Lauren Stiller Rikleen, an attorney and executive-in-residence at the Boston College Center for Work and Family. "I think women still filed these lawsuits at personal risk, however, I think what's changing is the climate for tolerance of feeling unfairly treated."

Calling the lawsuit a "publicity stunt," GT has vowed a vigorous defense in federal court. Ms. Griesing's complaint, which alleges "GT's discrimination is particularly severe, even in the context of an industry-wide problem of gender discrimination against female attorneys" will be closely followed by legal industry observers.

Meet Your District Judges

June 11, 2013

Join us Saturday, August 17th from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Canyon Springs High School to the Inaugural 'Meet Your District Court Judges.' The event is dedicated to promoting voter education about the Clark County 2014 General Election, training future leaders, improving access to justice, and promoting transparency of Clark County's judicial system.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for padda headshot.jpgWhile discussing the upcoming event Paul Padda, stated, "We are pleased to lend our support to this historic event and are very excited that our efforts will help provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to students from Canyon Springs High School desiring to enter the legal profession."

Students from Canyon Springs High School will be presented with the opportunity to participate in the 'Shadow a Judge for a Day Program'. This program enables students to spend a day with a judge and develop a better understanding of how courtrooms function. Participating judges represent Civil/Criminal and Family departments. Students are encouraged to share their experiences at the event.

Confirmed participating moderators include: Clark County District Attorney, Steve Wolfson and Clark County Public Defender, Philip J. Kohn, Esq.

The Eighth Judicial District Court is served by 52 elected judges. There are 32 civil/criminal judicial departments and 20 family/juvenile judicial departments. Currently 35 District Court Judges have confirmed their attendance including 24 civil/criminal judges and 11 family/juvenile judges.

Confirmed judges include:

Civil/Criminal Judges

  • Kenneth C. Cory

  • Valorie J. Vega

  • Kerry Earley

  • Carolyn Ellsworth

  • Elissa Cadish

  • Douglas E. Smith

  • Michelle Leavitt

  • Mark R. Denton

  • Adriana Escobar

  • Abbi Silver

  • Timothy Williams

  • Michael Villani

  • David Barker

  • Jerome T. Tao

  • Valerie Adair

  • Susan Johnson

  • Stefany A. Miley

  • Gloria J. Sturman

  • Nancy L. Allf

  • Ronald J. Israel

  • Susan W. Scann

  • Jerry A. Wiese

  • Joanna S. Kishner

  • Rob Bare

Family Judges

  • Cynthia Dianne Steel

  • T. Arthur Ritchie, Jr.

  • Cheryl B. Moss

  • Kenneth E. Pollock

  • Cynthia N. Giuliani

  • Jennifer Elliott

  • Bill Potter

  • Frank P. Sullivan

  • Bryce C. Duckworth

  • Bill Henderson

  • Vincent Ochoa

Additional Judges will be announced as their participation is confirmed.