Congress is working hard to force companies such as Apple™ to help law enforcement officials decrypt data in smartphones. Legislation has been drafted to require these companies to provide information on how to decrypt the phones or technical assistance in decrypting the phones. A draft of the bill defines “data” to include “communications and any information concerning the identity of the parties to such communications or the existence, substance, purport or meaning of such communications.” If this legislation is ultimately enacted, you may want to stop storing any personal information on your smartphone.


“Equal justice under the law is not merely a caption on the façade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists . . . it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.” Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King, Jr.


April 19, 1775 was the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. The battles of Lexington and Concord on this date were the first military conflict of the war. The patriots’ gunfire at North Bridge in Concord became known as “the shot heard around the world.” Ralph Waldo Emerson created this phrase in his “Concord Hymn.” The British Parliament voted to end the war in April of 1872. The Treaty of Paris and The Treaty of Versailles were signed on September 3, 1783. This battle began the long road to the United States Constitution and the freedoms we enjoy today.


The Missouri Supreme Court released an opinion on April 19, 2016 holding the statute placing a cap on noneconomic damages did not violate the state Constitution. Plaintiffs sought damages from a physician, his practice group, and a hospital for the death of their 34-year-old wife and mother. The jury found the health care providers were negligent and awarded $9 million in noneconomic damages. The Trial Court reduced this award to $350,000 as required by the statute. The Supreme Court affirmed the reduction. Thus, the decision of the jury was disregarded.


Arabella Mansfield was the first woman lawyer in the U. S. She was born on May 23, 1846 and admitted to the practice of law in 1869 in Iowa. At that time, women were prohibited from taking the examination required to be admitted as an attorney. Ms. Mansfield took the examination, received high scores, but was denied admittance. She challenged the state law in court.  The Iowa Supreme Court held women could not be denied the right to practice law.


The May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports reported that less than 2% of doctors are responsible for 50% of payments by insurance companies since 1990 for damages caused by malpractice. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Perhaps the government should take away the licenses of these physicians instead of taking away jury awards from injured patients and their families. Capping damages and denying people access to justice is not going to change either of the statistics above.


Late-night TV host John Oliver highlighted the medical debt affecting nearly 43 million Americans. People are often left with medical debt after being injured by the negligence of a person or company with no or inadequate insurance. Health insurance companies may claim a large amount of a settlement to satisfy subrogation rights. The injured party is left with little funds to meet future medical costs. Some individuals still cannot afford to pay for health insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. If you have overwhelming medical debt, you may want to contact RIP Medical Debt™ to see if the organization can help you.


State Farm’s new slogan is “Here to Help Life Go Right™.” A class action lawsuit filed in an Illinois federal court alleges State Farm lied about the financial support it provided to an Illinois supreme court candidate who was elected.  The judge then voted to reverse a $1.5 billion dollar judgment against State Farm. The judgment was entered in a lawsuit alleging State Farm violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act by using generic parts in car repairs. The class action alleges State Farm provided almost $4 million of the $4.8 million in contributions to the judge’s campaign.