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New MestheliomaCircle.org Website Provides Easy Access to Meso Info

mesotheliomacircle.org

We are excited to tell you about the recent redesign of our health website MesotheliomaCircle.org. We sponsor this site in order to provide resources and information about mesothelioma, its treatment and causes as well as how to pursue legal remedies.

We provide this information at MesotheliomaCircle.org to everyone free of charge with no subscription, log-in or sign-up required.

At Kazan Law, we offer experienced legal help to mesothelioma patients and the other victims of asbestos exposure. But we understand that mesothelioma patients and their families need more than legal help. Mesothelioma is a ruthless cruel disease that lies dormant for many years. But when it emerges it moves quickly. Mesothelioma patients and their families suddenly need to know about all kinds of important things such as tests and medical procedures, how to prevent weight loss from chemotherapy, how to prepare for a hospital visit and what experimental treatments are available for free through the U.S. government’s cancer research agency. Mesothelioma families also very much need some upbeat fun ideas like how massage therapy, pets, funny movies and even a little bit of dark chocolate can be of some benefit to mesothelioma patients.

That’s why we started MesotheliomaCircle.org. We want to offer support for mesothelioma patients and their families in a comprehensive meaningful way that tries to address all their needs in one convenient place.

At Mesothelioma Circle, we have a team of professionals dedicated to helping mesothelioma patients and their families to get the information they need to make informed decisions about their health, financial, and legal care.

We take special care to provide you with the most current information with links to the most credible sources available on the wide range of topics we cover.

We hope our new design for the website makes all the information you need even more accessible. Please check it out and tell us what you think.

Kazan Law Chosen For 2015 Best Lawyers List

2015 Best Lawyers

Clockwise from top left Steven Kazan, David McClain, Denise Abrams, Dianna Lyons

What an honor it is this year as Kazan Law celebrates its 40th year to be chosen for Best Lawyers highly selective list for 2015.

For 40 years, Kazan Law has made it our number one priority to fight for justice for innocent people fatally poisoned with asbestos by those who thought they could profit by getting away with murder. In trying to balance the scales of justice, we seek to empower the powerless and through monetary awards in some way right the wrongs that were done to them and their families.

That is all. That is enough. Our legal wins on behalf of our clients gives us all the accolades we need. And yet it is very gratifying for Kazan Law to receive this esteemed professional accolade from our comrades at arms, our community of attorneys.

Selected for the Best Lawyers list for Oakland in the categories of mass tort litigation and class action on behalf of plaintiffs along with me are my longtime partner David McClain, recently retired partner Dianna Lyons and partner Denise Abrams. For me and David both, this year marks our tenth anniversary of being part of this elite list. We are delighted and also grateful to our colleagues for highlighting us as their choice for these categories.

For us, one of the most meaningful aspects of being selected for Best Lawyers is that it is strictly a peer-based list. It is not a paid for honor. It can’t be bought.

In the words of Best Lawyer: Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer-review. The methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. Our belief has always been that the quality of a peer-review survey is directly related to the quality of its voting pool.

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

To our esteemed colleagues we say a humble thank you.

Kazan Law Summer Clerks Reflect On Asbestos Law Experience

asbestos lawSummer clerks at Kazan Law learn that asbestos law practice is different from most other types of law. Our historic stance on advocating on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure often pits us against the type of big companies that many law firms seek to represent. But we find that law students who choose to work with our plaintiff’s asbestos law practice for the summer are a special breed and passionate about serving the greater public good. As they leave us to return to school, here’s what this summer’s clerks had to say about their asbestos law experience with us:

Luis Landeros, third year law student at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

I take away from my experience at Kazan a reaffirmation that even the little guy who has been wronged can obtain some form of justice.

Law school focuses on theory and precedent so you never have a chance to really understand or comprehend the amount of work it takes to take a case to trial. Working at Kazan definitely made that clear.   It was an extremely valuable experience to work on the different stages of a case and seeing the interplay of different factors.

Tenette Smith, third year law student at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

One of the most important things I learned at Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood is how fundamental the law is to ensuring safety in the workplace; the place we spend the majority of our time each day.

At times it was heartbreaking to hear the tragic news of clients that had ultimately succumbed to their diseases.  However, I have an immense sense of pride to have been actively involved in the litigation that brought the families that the clients left behind a sense of security as they move forward in their lives without their loved one.  As I continue to grow in my legal career, I will remember to always be critical, to be aware, to be involved, and most of all to be compassionate.

Anthony Caruthers, third year law student at the University Of San Francisco School Of Law

The many individual meetings I had with my supervising attorneys changed how I will approach litigation and the practice of law in general. Moving forward, I will always keep in mind the influence individuals can have on the world and people around them. Every person I interacted with this summer was an excellent person who diligently sought justice for their clients. I had not experienced real passion for a legal practice until I came to Kazan. Such realness is rare today, and I now know that I will not be satisfied until I am in an organization filled with great people who desire to make a real difference in their community. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to work at a place like Kazan.

Yuki Cruze Before working at Kazan, I had only heard rumors of how much work it takes to put on a trial, but to actually see the firm abuzz with everyone working diligently toward a common goal was truly eye opening. I have gained many practical skills from working at Kazan, but the most important thing I learned is how important it is to be a zealous advocate in all aspects of litigation.

5 First Steps to Take When You Become a Family Trust Administrator

family trust Becoming the family trust administrator is a big responsibility during a stressful time. We always hope for the best for all our clients who are suffering from mesothelioma. We hope that they are receiving excellent medical care and responding well to treatment. We want them to be able to enjoy with their families the financial awards we win for them in their lawsuits against those responsible for exposing them to asbestos.

But mesothelioma is a cruel disease. Tragically, sometimes a client with mesothelioma will pass away from the disease before or shortly after we win their case and obtain financial justice for them. Because these awards can and often do amount to millions of dollars, a family trust typically is formed to manage the money. In addition to coping with the stress of mesothelioma, a lawsuit and grief over the loss of a spouse or parent, the family member designated as the trust administrator has to take on this responsibility. Here are a few first things to do. It’s a lot. We know. We can help.

  1. Bring Estate Documents to Local Government Offices

Bring copies of:

  • the will
  • the trust agreement
  • the death certificate

to the county clerk office where you live and to any county clerk office where your loved one owned property. This will remove their name from the property tax rolls. You should receive a tax payer identification number for the trust.

  1. Locate and Update Assets

Part of your duty as a trustee is to manage all the estate’s assets. To do that, you have to find them first.

Look for:

  •  bank statements
  • deeds
  • stock certificates
  • life insurance policies.

Or you can wait for monthly statements in the mail or get a transcript of last year’s tax return from the IRS. For each bank and investment account, you will need to change the name on the account to yours so you can keep it active and make decisions to for the good of the trust.

  1. Bring Estate Documents to Banks and Brokerages

Before they do business with you,

  • banks
  • brokerage firms
  • other third parties involved with the trust’s assets

will need proof in writing that you are the trustee. Bring each of them copies of the original signed trust agreement and the death certificate.

  1. File claims for insurance, Veterans and Social Security benefits
  1. Notify, Notify, Notify

Ask the attorney who prepared the trust to give you a summary. This will suffice for notification purposes. In addition to banks, brokerages, insurance companies and Social Security, notify;

    • Phone services and utilities
    • Credit card issuers
    • The post office (have mail forwarded to you if the address is different so you will receive bills, checks and other mail)
    • Medical care providers

East Oakland Youth Development Center’s Creates New College Scholarships

East Oakland Youth Development Center We are proud to announce that the Kazan Law Foundation helped support the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) in creating several new college scholarships. Through scholarships funded by our firm and others, 45 students were awarded funds for the 2014-15 academic year. EOYDC has provided more than $400,000 over the past 10 years to students.

For the first time, we are sponsoring three scholarships, at $5,000 each.  Our three recipients are: Bryce Bell who will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Marisa Jolivette who will attend Cal State East Bay; and Branden Vonderwerth who will attend Nichols College.

The scholarships to this worthwhile organization were presented at EOYDC’s 10th Annual “Something for Everyone” Art, Wine and Jazz Reception. The purpose of this wonderful event was to honor East Oakland students who pursue higher education.

EOYDC does a superb job of providing summer enrichment programs to traditionally underserved populations. For example, this summer in partnership with the African American Male Initiative at Oakland Unified School District, EOYDC helped send fourteen participants, nine high school and five college students, on two-week educational visit to China for cultural, educational, and science related  lectures and field studies.

It is no secret that college costs have been skyrocketing as the average person’s income has declined. Yet education remains one of the most powerful ways to help create change on an individual basis. Rates of poverty are closely correlated with an individual’s level of educational attainment: one – third of Oakland residents who did not complete high school live in poverty, compared to only 6% of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a recent Oakland Youth Indicator Report.

Numerous studies have shown that academic success is linked to individual and societal benefits, from improved employment opportunities, increased earnings, reduced crime, and improved self efficacy. We applaud the efforts of EOYDC in this important endeavor and appreciate Kazan Law partner Gordon Greenwood guiding us in supporting this worthy cause.

Asbestos Toxicity Scare Partly Shuts US Capitol

asbestos toxicityThe US Capitol partly closed recently due to fear of asbestos toxicity during a building repair project. The partial closure included the chambers where the U.S. House of Representatives usually meets. Congress stayed away while folks in hazmat suits checked things out. According to media reports, “An accident involving asbestos work forced a temporary closure of the House side of the Capitol and prompted House leaders to delay the day’s session for two hours.”

By mid-morning a handful of tourists were sitting in the visitors’ gallery, observing an otherwise empty chamber.

I find it ironic that our Congressional representatives are so terrified of asbestos toxicity that they won’t go anywhere near the stuff. Yet they are just fine with exposing the rest of us to it. The U.S. has repeatedly refused to ban asbestos despite attempts by the US Environmental Protection Agency to do so. As a direct consequence, a further 250,000+ tons of asbestos was used in the U.S. just between 1991 and 2010, according to data from the United States Geological Survey.

The Capitol asbestos scare occurred as the historic building undergoes a major overhaul, the Washington Post reported. Along with multimillion-dollar renovations to the iconic cast iron Capitol Dome, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the office responsible for its management and maintenance, is having asbestos removed from other parts of the building.

Construction of the main section of the Capitol began in 1793 and was finished in 1826, the U.S. News report says. “As the country grew and more lawmakers joined Congress, a south wing for the current House chamber and a north wing for the Senate were built. Both were completed in 1868, along with a new, larger dome.”

Initial news reports said the asbestos incident occurred when workers were removing asbestos from the fourth floor of the Capitol. The East Grand Staircase, which runs from the first floor to the third floor inside the House side of the building, was blocked off and more than a dozen workers spent much of the day examining the area. Also closed was the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Room, a third-floor room near that staircase that was named for the late speaker and Massachusetts Democrat.

The extreme danger of asbestos toxicity is something I discuss often here. The bottom line is that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Congress seems too beholden to the asbestos lobby to protect the American public from asbestos. But they sure know how to vote with their feet when their own safety is threatened.

Asbestos Fibers – Silent Invisible Killers

asbestos fibersWhen it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones from harm, asbestos fibers pose a challenging and very lethal threat.

If there’s a flame under a pot on the stove, you avoid putting your hand in that flame. If you are chopping vegetables with a sharp knife, you keep the sharp edge away from your fingers. When you are crossing a street, you wait for the walk sign and if a small child is with you, you hold their hand while you cross to protect them from possibly getting hit by a car.

But what do you do if there is a threat that you cannot see, feel, taste or smell? How do you protect yourself? How do you protect your family? You can’t. It’s impossible. That is the frightening truth about asbestos fibers.

Asbestos fibers can be 700 times smaller than a human hair, according to a Princeton University asbestos fact sheet. Some asbestos can be seen as dust but asbestos fibers can also be invisible to the human eye. You can’t see it. What’s more, it is odorless, tasteless and indestructible.

Asbestos fibers do not evaporate into air or dissolve in water, the US Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry reports. Small diameter fibers and particles may remain suspended in the air for a long time and be carried long distances by wind or water before settling down. Larger diameter fibers and particles tend to settle more quickly.

Asbestos fibers generally do not break down to other compounds and will remain virtually unchanged over long periods.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the EPA have determined that asbestos is a human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. Yet asbestos remains legal in the United States, tragically impacting families. An estimated 10,000 Americans die every year from preventable asbestos-caused diseases. “Without adequate regulations, Americans cannot determine or manage consumer, environmental and occupational asbestos risk,” states the Environmental Working Group, an organization that monitors the safety of U.S. products.

If you can’t see or smell or taste asbestos, how do you know if it is in a product you are working with? You don’t. Only the people who put it there know. In many cases we have handled, product manufacturers and distributors knew of asbestos contamination and withheld that information with tragic results. Workers and their family members, who were contaminated by secondary asbestos exposure, have been diagnosed with fatal asbestos-caused diseases. Let us know if this has happened to you.

Judge Decides Asbestos Lawsuit Should Go to Trial

asbestos lawsuitAn old laboratory parts catalog provided an Alameda County Superior Court judge with sufficient evidence to enable Kazan Law clients James and Louise Leonard to take a step towards justice with their asbestos lawsuit.

Judge Jo-Lynne Q. Lee decided that their case Leonard v. Avantor Performance Materials, Inc., et al., (Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG13684263) could move forward to trial. The Leonards were represented by Kazan Law attorneys Ted Pelletier and Autumn Mesa.

James Leonard, now 71, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2013.  He had worked as an operator in Dow Chemical’s research department from the early 1960s to the 1970s. There he built and operated laboratory tests that investigated whether new products were ready for mass production.

Mr. Leonard’s exposure to asbestos began half a century ago and continued for nearly 10 years during his work in test labs where he wrapped glass lab equipment with asbestos and then later scraped the asbestos from the lab’s glassware.  This asbestos wrap and other asbestos lab products were supplied by research laboratory product distributor VWR, along with other asbestos lab products.

At his deposition, defendants’ lawyers asked Mr. Leonard to identify the brand, manufacturer and supplier of the equipment and asbestos materials he used during the 1960s and early 1970s when he worked in labs. He couldn’t do it and said he could probably provide the information if he was shown a catalog.  But the defense lawyers did not show him a catalog.

VWR asked the court to throw out the asbestos lawsuit because Mr. Leonard did not have and could not obtain sufficient evidence necessary for trial.  But the judge agreed with us that defendants’ failure to show Mr. Leonard catalogs at deposition coupled with his later identification of asbestos products from VWR catalogs demonstrates that there is sufficient evidence for the case to be tried in court.

We applaud Judge Lee’s understanding that the public‘s safety is a serious matter that should not depend on a lawyer’s game of “Gotcha!” Manufacturers and distributors of dangerous products need to be held accountable for harming people even when those harmed cannot recall from memory all the 50 year-old details about each product.

Kazan Law Helps Sponsor USS Hornet Lunar Landing Anniversary

USS HornetWhen the USS Hornet picked up astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins from the Pacific Ocean following the first lunar landing in July 1969, according to a local newspaper report, the crew welcomed them aboard with buttons that read “Hornet Plus Three.”

Now one of the three, 84-year-old Aldrin will return to the aircraft carrier this Saturday, July 26 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of what Armstrong famously described as “one giant leap for mankind.”

Kazan Law is proud to be one of the sponsors for this historical event as our way to honor the memory and service of our hundreds of clients who served in the USN and worked at US Naval shipyards all over the country.

“Splashdown 45” will take place all day July 26 and includes a talk by Aldrin, one of just 12 people to have walked on the moon and a lifelong advocate for space exploration.

The day’s activities aboard the ship, now a museum, also include a cocktail reception and dinner where attendees can meet the Apollo astronaut.

“President Richard Nixon was aboard the ship when Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins arrived wearing masks and jumpsuits because scientists feared they might have picked up “moon germs.” The astronauts were checked out in a mobile quarantine facility, a converted Airstream trailer in the ship’s hangar bay, where Nixon talked with them through a window as just about everyone across the world with a television watched,” the media article states.

The Hornet’s exhibits include the quarantine trailer used by the Apollo astronauts and the Sikorsky Sea King helicopter used to recover the Gemini 4 crew in June 1965, which carried out the first spacewalk by an American. The helicopter is featured in the 1995 film “Apollo 13.” The Hornet has been a museum at the former Alameda Naval Air Station since October 1998. Along with its role in the Apollo 11 and 12 missions, the aircraft carrier saw action during World War II and the Vietnam War. A registered state and national historic landmark, the ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5.

“Splashdown 45″ will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 26 followed by an evening reception from 6 to 10:30 p.m. aboard the USS Hornet, 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 in Alameda. For information, go to www.uss-hornet.org or call 510-521-8448.

Who Needs to Take Risk with an Asbestos Settlement?

asbestos settlementThis is a guest post by Patrick Collins of Schultz Collins Lawson Chambers, Inc., the firm we hired to advise us on how to handle Kazan Law’s pension funds, our charitable foundation’s funds, and that some of our partners hired to advise them on personal money management.

The horrible byproduct of taking investment risk with your asbestos settlement is that losses may trigger considerable regret. Had you not taken the risk, the money would still be in your pocket. Damn.

Here are some propositions for you to consider regarding your asbestos settlement:

Proposition One: Wealthy folks don’t need to take investment risk. If you have a sufficient amount of money to support your spending and bequest needs, you don’t need to earn high investment returns. Billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett do not need to make risky investments—even if they never earn an additional dime, they will never be able to spend all of their wealth. This is why the super-rich give hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable causes. If you are super-rich, you don’t need more money. No need = no reason to take risk.

Proposition Two: The amount of risk you need to take with your asbestos settlement depends on the budget required to support a target standard of living for yourself and your family. All else equal, the higher your monthly budget, the more you may need to supplement existing wealth with money earned from future investment returns.

Proposition Three: It is not just your level of spending that determines the amount of investment risk that you need to take with your asbestos settlement. Rather, it is the level of spending relative to your existing wealth.   If you have a million dollars and want to live in a cabin in the woods and be self supporting, you probably do not need to send much, if any, of your current wealth into the future. If you have a million dollars and want to live like Donald Trump, you probably need to consider how to fund a great many future expenses.   A need for money to pay future bills = a reason to take investment risk today.

Proposition Four: Without risk there is no reward; taking risk with your asbestos settlement, however, does not guarantee that you will be rewarded. The whole idea of risk is that the value of an investment might shrink instead of grow. As a consequence, you must plan your investments carefully and take only the risk that you really need to take—not too much, not too little.

The first step is to figure out a budget—even if you do it on the back of an envelope. Write it down. Look at it. Chances are you’ve forgotten some important items so bump it up. Put in a margin for unexpected expenses. You are on your way to determining if you have the luxury of avoiding investment risk; or, if you need to become an investor.

The posts provided by Schultz Collins Lawson Chambers, Inc. [SCLC] convey information on basic investment concepts.  They are intended to facilitate prudent investment decision making.   They should not, however, be the sole factor in making investment decisions; and, they are not intended to act as advice or recommendations for any specific investor.    SCLC acts as Independent Investment Counsel and is a Registered Investment Advisor.  It does not provide legal, accounting or tax advice; and the opinions expressed in the posts are solely those of SCLC.  You can find additional information about SCLC, their personnel, and client services at www.schultzcollins.com

Related posts:

Your Asbestos Settlement and Investing

Your Asbestos Settlement and Financial Risk

 

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