Baratta, Russell & Baratta, (“BRB”) would like to thank our clients, friends and family for the many referrals made to us over the past 22 years. We are continually and eternally grateful for the trust you show us by doing so. A referral from a trusted client, colleague, friend or neighbor is far more valuable to us than being the first firm that comes up as the result of a Google search. So, thank you for your continuing referrals.
Here are some of the highlights of 2019:
PERSONAL INJURY RESULTS OF NOTE
The BRB personal injury team negotiated a number of confidential settlements in medical malpractice cases. One such case involved a matter on behalf of a woman who had given birth to a healthy first child, but, in the course of that delivery, all of the placenta was not removed. This led to post-partum bleeding, the need for a dilation and curettage. Unfortunately, the uterus was scarred during the procedure preventing the woman from being able to have additional children. Anthony J. Baratta, Esquire (“Tony”) handled the case which was filed in Camden County NJ.
Another matter that was successfully resolved dealt with the case of a woman who suffered the premature loss of her transplanted kidney when a radiologist failed to properly identify a mass which then delayed its discovery by four years. Although the woman was able to avoid metastasis, she did suffer the premature loss of that transplanted kidney requiring a new transplant. Tony handled the case which was filed in Philadelphia County.
BRB was able to obtain a substantial six figure settlement in the case of a roofing contractor who, in opening a box to take out an attic ceiling fan, severely lacerated his finger on an unprotected sharp edge. The manufacturer of the ceiling fan did not properly protect against the exposure of the sharp edge and did not properly warn of its potential for severe injury. Tony handled the case which was filed in the Federal Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Also, BRB was able to successfully resolve a claim against a medical product manufacturer of arthroscopic shavers. In a meniscal surgery, the shaver broke off in the knee of a thirty-five-year-old woman. The broken piece was able to be safely retrieved by the surgeon but the process left the woman with chronic regional pain disorder (CRPD sometimes known as RSD). It was alleged that the shaver was not properly designed to withstand the forces imposed upon it in the process of the surgery. Tony handled the case which was filed in Lancaster County, PA.
Motor Vehicle Liability
Our firm handled numerous cases involving motor vehicle liability. One case involved the death of a 72-year-old man killed as a pedestrian by a tow truck operator. Complicating the case for the Plaintiff was that the victim was walking in the street in the direction of traffic (the wrong side for pedestrians to walk), at night, on an unlighted residential street wearing all dark clothing. BRB successfully prosecuted the case and achieved a resolution of $750,000 by producing evidence and obtaining expert opinion to show that the tow truck operator had enough time to avoid hitting the pedestrian. Tony led the way in this case filed in Philadelphia County.
In another significant victory, a $500,000 settlement (all of the insurance coverage available) was obtained on behalf of a woman who suffered a fractured patella when struck by a motorist crossing the center line of traffic causing a head-on collision. Tony handled this case filed in Atlantic County NJ.
Andrew DiPiero was able to resolve a case involving the negligent operation of a school bus causing the collision with a woman in her 80s which resulted in serious bruising, contusions and lacerations. The case resulted in a settlement award of $300,000. The lawsuit was filed in Bucks County.
Tony successfully tried to jury the case of Angela Jackson v. Milford Township. We had been asked to try this case by another lawyer, in another law firm, when that lawyer was unable to successfully settle the case. Up to trial, the highest offer made by Milford Township was $25,000. After a week-long jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, BRB was able to obtain a verdict in the amount of $400,000. The case involved our client having fallen down a set of exterior steps due to what was alleged to be a defective handrail. Our client had been diagnosed with end stage degenerative arthritis in her right knee before the fall, but the fall was alleged to have caused the need for a knee replacement that otherwise would not have been necessary for years in the future but for the fall. Brennen McCurdy provided technical support at trial ensuring that all of the exhibits were professionally displayed to the Jury.
EXPOSING FALSE FRAUD CLAIMS MADE BY INSURERS AGAINST DOCTORS AND THEIR INJURED PATIENTS
In 2019, Andrew Baratta, Esquire, helped lead the firm’s successful representations of chiropractors and other practice groups across the country and in the Philadelphia region against the bad faith tactics of auto insurance companies. In June, Andy successfully convinced the Federal Court in Miami to dismiss a lawsuit filed by State Farm Insurance Company against an orthopedic physician against whom State Farm had made sweeping allegations of wrongdoing in the treatment of auto accident patients. The Opinion of the Court will have wide ranging implications restricting insurers’ ability to lodge similar complaints in the future.
Andy also successfully represented medical practice groups and individuals in separate federal lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Maryland negotiating confidential settlements in favor of his clients in each of those matters. Andy was also able to sue Allstate Insurance Company in Philadelphia on behalf of a large multi-office medical practice alleging that Allstate was inappropriately delaying payment owed under Pennsylvania law.
ESTATE PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION RESULTS OF NOTE
Kenneth C. Russell, Esq. (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. It is 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.
Unfortunately, some people do not have in place a properly prepared estate plan and Ken, along with Associate attorney John Sweeney, Esq., litigated several matters in various Pennsylvania Counties for family members who suffered financial loss as a result of either lack of planning or poor planning.
In addition to the estate planning and administration matters, Ken and John help numerous clients with asset protection for individuals and families who may need nursing home care. This is referred to as “Elder Law”. The costs associated with nursing home care are astronomical, in excess of $10,000 a month in many instances, and such a bill can eat up quickly anyone’s lifetime of savings. BRB’s asset protection strategies help families protect their financial legacies.
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.
OUR CHARITABLE WORK
All of us at BRB feel very lucky to have what we have received in our lives. We consider it part of our greater purpose to help others in our communities.
Here are a few examples.
The entire BRB family continued to support The Laurel House, a charitable entity that provides a hotline and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and also provides a broad range of services and domestic violence prevention education throughout Montgomery County. In July of 2019, the staff of BRB participated in the Laurel House’s main fund-raising effort, “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes”. Photographs from that event can be seen on our website.
Tony Baratta and John Sweeney continued to volunteer their time and energy to economically disadvantaged Philadelphia citizens through the Volunteers for the Indigent Program (Philadelphia VIP) which provides Pro Bono legal services to Philadelphia citizens. Tony also remained a board member of Philadelphia VIP to help it continue to be the number one entity providing charitable legal care to impoverished Philadelphians.
PA Brain Injury Association
Tony is also a Board Member of the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Association for which he offers his expertise developed over years of representation of hundreds of severely brain injured people.
Phuture Phantoms Youth Basketball
Andrew Baratta, Esquire, is the founder and President of Phuture Phantoms Youth Basketball, a youth basketball organization for elementary and middle school kids in the Phoenixville Area School District with which Andy coaches multiple teams
Philadelphia Bar Association
Andrew DiPiero, Esquire volunteered his time as the Co-Chair and Main Speaker for the Philadelphia Bar Association’s CLE Program dealing with attorney fee agreements.
Harmony Retreat & Animal Rescue
Kim Kutler, Esquire volunteered and performed substantial fund-raising efforts for Harmony Retreat and Animal Rescue which is looking to open an adoption center for rescued/abandoned and abused animals.
Other Board Memberships
Phoenixville YMCA – Andrew Baratta, Esquire
New World Association – Andrew Baratta, Esquire
Quaint Oak Bank – Andrew DiPiero, Esquire
Tony Baratta (15 years) and Andrew E. DiPiero, Jr. (16 years) were once again named Philadelphia Super Lawyers. Also, both are nationally Certified Civil Trial Advocates and are both rated “AV Preeminent” (the highest possible rating) by ratings agency Martindale Hubbel.
NEW STAFF MEMBERS
In 2019, BRB was lucky to add Victoria Freedman as an assistant to the Personal Injury Department. Carmen Hober became our receptionist.
We at Baratta, Russell & Baratta wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2020. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to play some small part in your life.
 Although a particular lawyer may have been the lead attorney in handling the case, the successful outcome of each of our personal injury cases would never be achieved without the hard work and dedication of the entire personal injury team including Tony Baratta, Andrew DiPiero, Andy Baratta, Kim Kutler, Heather Feenan, Diana Wojtylak, Victoria Freedman-Holland, Brennen McCurdy and Lorraine Lowrey, R.N.