Baratta, Russell & Baratta (BRB) has grown significantly over the past 21 years and we are grateful for the trust our clients, referring lawyers and past clients who have referred new clients have shown in us. We believe that a referral from a trusted colleague, friend or neighbor is far more valuable than the result of a Google search. So, thank you for your referrals.
Here are some of the Highlights of 2018:
Anthony J. Baratta (Tony) continued to prove himself as one of the leaders of the Pennsylvania Bar fighting for victims of brain injury and its consequences. He achieved results of over a combined $5 million for victims of brain injury in 2018.
In one of the more rewarding results for a brain injured victim was the $240,000 settlement Tony and his team achieved for a passenger in a motor vehicle who suffered post-concussion syndrome when her car was T-boned by another vehicle. Before coming to BRB, she had signed a release to be paid only $940 by the insurance company of the responsible driver. This victim was contacted directly by the responsible party’s auto insurance carrier days after the wreck and was told she would not recover anything if she did not accept their measly settlement offer because she had chosen the limited tort option on her own auto insurance policy and therefore their offer of $940 would be a windfall.
When her headaches and other symptoms persisted and she could no longer work as a bartender, she sought help from a number of attorneys. All of them, before she met Tony, refused to take her case because she had signed the release. Tony agreed to take on the case, hired a neuropsychologist and neurologist to help explain why this woman could not have understood what she was doing when she signed a release, and after 5 years of litigation, the case resolved for payment of $240,000. The case is a great example of why it is imperative that when someone suffers a brain injury, that person enlist the help of a lawyer experienced in these matters.
In confidential settlements of over $2 million dollars in medical malpractice cases, Tony helped victims hold the medical field accountable for failing to follow the rules of their profession that caused harm to patients.
In 2018, BRB was contacted by approximately 150 people who had something go wrong with medical care they had received and wanted to speak with an attorney to get answers. In many of the cases we hired experts to learn whether a negligent act was committed that caused harm only to learn that there was not. After full evaluation and investigation, we chose to proceed with only 3 cases, or 2% of the cases we were asked to evaluate.
We feel our efforts help those clients whose cases we don’t take by listening to them and helping them get some closure as well as an understanding of the legal process. Also, we feel we have protected the medical profession, a profession we greatly and justly admire, from frivolous claims.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
In published and confidential settlements of over $5 million, Tony helped clients hold careless truckers and other drivers accountable, including in these cases:
- $1 million dollar settlement against a Mercedes Benz dealership whose employee while driving a customer’s car turned left in front of a 70-year old motorcyclist causing him to suffer severe lower leg and foot injuries
- $550,000 in an uninsured motorist case for a commercial painter who suffered a torn rotator cuff that required surgical repair and loss of earning capacity
- A confidential sum for a pedestrian caused a degloving injury when struck by a commercial truck
- A confidential sum for a young lady passenger who suffered a facial scar due to a careless driver who crossed the center of the road
Each and every of these good results achieved for our clients was accomplished with the dedicated, diligent and compassionate assistance of Kim Kutler Esq., Heather Feenan and Diana Wojtylak. A personal injury matter takes years of work to resolve. Each of our clients is unfailingly pleased with the care these three professionals devote. In brief, none of these results could have been achieved without their extensive involvement.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling
Also, in our personal injury practice, Andrew DiPiero, Esq. achieved a result for a client that made LAW which will protect all Pennsylvania drivers. The matter involved “underinsured motorist benefits”. These are the benefits you should buy to protect yourself and family if injured by a careless person who does not have enough liability insurance to cover them for the extent the injuries caused to you.
Our client owned 4 vehicles and paid for $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, but not for “stacked” coverage, meaning that he was entitled to only $100,000 in underinsured coverage, not $400,000, argued his insurance company. Andrew DiPiero was able to successfully convince a trial court, then the Superior Court and finally the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the insurance company had not secured the proper forms to enforce a waiver of stacked coverage.
As a result, Andrew DiPiero was able to achieve a $400,000 payment for our brain injured client and also protect the rights of all Pennsylvania insured drivers.
ESTATE PLANNING & ADMINISTRATION
Kenneth C. Russell (Ken), a Member of the American Academy of Estate Planning, made numerous presentations throughout Montgomery and Bucks County regarding the wisdom of properly protecting your hard-earned wealth in an estate plan.
The estate planning practice touches far more people than the personal injury practice. Estate planning is about protecting your assets and loved ones when you no longer can do it. Estate plans are not just for the wealthy.
Everyone needs and should have an estate plan which typically comprises of:
- an Advanced Health Care Directive (living will and medical power of attorney)
- a Durable Power of Attorney
- a Will
Once the proper plan is in place, BRB can help to administer and execute it effectively.
Ken has proven through his 20 years of providing these services to clients all over the Delaware Valley that he is a go-to guy for this service.
Many of the clients who have received large financial compensation in personal injury cases have then relied upon Ken’s services to ensure that their money will be preserved to protect themselves, their families and their legacy.
Also, in 2018, Ken headed up the efforts to expand our services by opening a satellite Delaware County office in Media, PA.
EXPOSING FALSE FRAUD CLAIMS MADE BY INSURERS AGAINST DOCTORS AND THEIR INJURED PATIENTS
Andrew Baratta (Andy) continued to expose bad faith tactics of insurance companies, particularly those used to demonize injured accident victims and the doctors who help them. Andy’s advice and representation has been sought by M.D.’s, D.O.’s, Chiropractors, and Physical Therapists in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, and Washington state.
In November, Andy was invited to Austin, Texas to speak at the national convention of the Congress of State Chiropractic Associations to explain how the major auto insurance companies are using ginned up accusations of fraud against doctors to increase their own profit margins.
In December, the Federal Court in Maryland granted Andy’s Motion to Dismiss outright. This case was filed by State Farm against a group of doctors with offices in Maryland and Virginia.
In March, Andy achieved the confidential resolution of a fraud lawsuit filed by State Farm against a chiropractor in the Seattle area in which the doctor paid no money and led to the immediate resumption of payments from State Farm for all care provided by the doctor.
The Seattle case was also significant for the separately successful litigation which forced the doctor’s professional malpractice carrier to fund the bulk of the doctor’s defense against State Farm’s fraud accusation. The federal court’s opinion finding in favor of defense coverage was a victory for all doctors across the country targeted with similar lawsuits.
Andy has fought hard on behalf of doctors and their injured patients to expose the fallacy of the “predetermined treatment protocol”, a theory invented by the insurance industry to justify accusations of fraud against doctors who provide treatment to accident victims. This unscientific concept purports to identify fraud through “patterns” of care and cherry-picked statistics which can literally be found in any medical specialist’s records.
It is a scheme which has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the insurance companies and makes every doctor and their injured patients vulnerable to false and economically crippling accusations of wrongdoing.
Tony and Andy Baratta lost their mother but honored her memory with pro bono work, clothing drives and investment of services and money to the Laurel House, a Montgomery County charity that provides shelter and aid to battered women and their children. Many of our staff members participated in the Laurel House annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. Our staff members brought in used clothing and new toiletries from hotel visits to be delivered for sale in the Laurel House thrift shop. Anthony, Trish and their three children cooked a Christmas morning breakfast for the residents of a Laurel House shelter.
Tony continued his pro bono work with Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (Philadelphia VIP). This is an organization that provides pro bono legal services to Philadelphia citizens whose income is less than twice the poverty level.
Tony was awarded the 2018 Philadelphia Courts Civil Division Pro Bono award, which is awarded to only one civil trial lawyer each year, and he was honored in a ceremony in City Hall in October.
Tony Baratta (12 years) and Andrew DiPiero (13 years) were once again named Philadelphia Super Lawyers. Also, both are Nationally Certified Civil Trial Advocates and are rated “AV Preeminant” (the highest possible rating) by ratings agency Martindale Hubbel.
NEW STAFF MEMBERS
In 2018 BRB was lucky to add John Sweeney, Esq. to the Estate Planning & Administration department. Lorraine Lowery, a registered nurse, was made a full-time employee to assist the firm to best represent victims of medical malpractice, product liability claims and auto wreck cases. Maria Loecker became administrative assistant to Ken Russell and John Sweeney. Natassia Levine became our receptionist. We remain eternally grateful for employees who have been with us for many years.
We at Baratta, Russell & Baratta wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to play some small part in your life.