Purdue Pharma and the Opioid Crisis

Photo Credit: https://www.aacom.org/reports-programs-initiatives/aacom-initiatives/tackling-the-opioid-epidemic (last visited: Jan. 23, 2022).

Authored By: Cecile Nicolson

Editor in Chief, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          From April 2020 to April 2021, it is estimated that 75,673 people died from opioid overdose, an increase of almost 20,000 from the year before.[1]  The current opioid crisis began in the mid-1990s when the pharmaceutical industry began marketing opioids to primary-care physicians as a form of pain management. Continue reading “Purdue Pharma and the Opioid Crisis”

COVID-19 Vaccine Injuries- If You are Injured by a COVID-19 Vaccine, Can You Sue for Damages?

Photo Credit: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/covid-coronavirus-vaccine-development-speed (last visited Jan. 13, 2022).

Authored By: Anna Alyce Eastburn

Research and Writing Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          Vaccines are one of the most successful public health tools in preventing and protecting against vaccine-preventable diseases.[i]  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immunization of each U.S. child with the current childhood immunization schedule prevents approximately 42,000 deaths and 20 million cases of disease, with a net savings of nearly $14 billion in direct costs and $69 billion in total societal costs.[ii]  Despite vaccines being the best defense against vaccine-preventable diseases, no vaccine is 100% safe or effective. Continue reading “COVID-19 Vaccine Injuries- If You are Injured by a COVID-19 Vaccine, Can You Sue for Damages?”

Can Injured Employees Receive Compensation Through Their Employers for Medical Marijuana Treatment?

Photo Credit: https://www.staplesellislaw.com/personal-injury/can-i-sue-following-a-workplace-injury-in-florida/ (last visited: Dec. 30, 2021).

Authored By: Ken Thompson

Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          Minnesota recently addressed a question many medical marijuana patients have throughout the country with respect to their treatments: is treatment for a workplace accident covered by our employers?  On one hand, Minnesota legalized cannabis both recreationally and medicinally and, on the other, Federal Law still recognizes cannabis as a controlled substance.[i]  Such a question also holds pertinent questions for employers looking to find a cost efficient and productive form of treatment for its workers: if we provide medicines that are illegal at the federal level, are we aiding and abetting the use of a controlled substance so as to give rise to liability? Continue reading “Can Injured Employees Receive Compensation Through Their Employers for Medical Marijuana Treatment?”

Medicaid: Why Alabama Needs to Expand

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/vectors/medical-hospital-icons-doctor-4510408/ (last visited Dec. 16, 2021).

Authored By: Mickala Lewis

Research and Writing Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          Medicaid is a public health insurance program for individuals with low income in the United States.[1]  Since April 2021, Medicaid has provided healthcare coverage for over 75 million Americans, 751,960 of which are Alabamians.[2]  The program was created in 1965 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Title XIX of the Social Security Act into law.[3] Originally, Medicaid did not provide coverage to all low income individuals.[4]  Rather, eligibility was limited to individuals with low income who also fell into one of the following categories: children, pregnant women, elderly, or disabled.[5]  Over time, Congress expanded the program to offer more benefits and provide coverage to more people. Continue reading “Medicaid: Why Alabama Needs to Expand”

Standards Must Change: Fake News, Defamation, and Free Speech

Photo Credit: https://beconnected.esafety.gov.au/quick-reads/how-to-spot-fake-news (last visited December 14, 2021).

Authored By: Hunter Milliman

Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          The right to freedom of speech and press enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution has been a cornerstone of American society for over two centuries.  This right is undeniably crucial for a healthy, robust democratic system fueled by contrary ideas and civil discourse, but what happens when the expansion of those rights beyond the intent of the Founders leads to fake news and uncivil discourse? Continue reading “Standards Must Change: Fake News, Defamation, and Free Speech”

Social Security: Reform or Runout

Photo Credit: https://austincountynewsonline.com/wont-believe-governments-solution-fix-social-security/ (last visited on December 9, 2021).

Authored By: Claire Young

Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          Picture this: You’ve worked hard at whatever job of your choosing and now its payday. Those hours spent hustling will—should—translate into instant money your pocket.  However, upon looking at the breakdown of your compensation, you notice that your bottom-line figure has been reduced by a “Social Security Tax” totaling 6.2% of your pre-tax income. Continue reading “Social Security: Reform or Runout”

Intellectual Property and the Rising Popularity of NFTs: The Legal Issues Embedded in Non-Fungible Tokens

Photo Credit: https://www.fiverr.com/sailorshi/create-nft-crypto-art (last visited Nov. 3, 2021).

Authored By: Kristen Strickland

Executive Research & Writing Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          In the past year, interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has skyrocketed.  One headline-grabbing case involved an NFT of a digital art collage made from 5,000 individual images created by the artist Beeple that sold for $69.3 million in 2021.[1]  Now, other artists, celebrities, and businesses are joining the NFT craze. Continue reading “Intellectual Property and the Rising Popularity of NFTs: The Legal Issues Embedded in Non-Fungible Tokens”

Tips for Handling the Flimsy Witness

Authored By: Michael Flynn


          You are the lawyer representing a party in a big lawsuit!  The stakes are high for both parties in the lawsuit and the facts and the law of the case are both interesting and challenging.  The case promises to be hotly contested.  You have prepared as well as you can with detailed proof charts covering every witness culled from extensive investigation and document analysis.  Now it is time to move forward and execute your plan and see what happens.  A major step in the execution of your litigation plan is taking the deposition of the potentially adverse, even hostile, opposing party and witnesses.  You have put together a deposition plan for each witness that includes learning everything you can from each witness, confirming with the witness what you think you already know, testing the witness to see if you can gain some valuable admissions, and tying down the facts that each witness testifies about.  You are ready!  Then, at the deposition of a key witness, this happens:

            Q:        Who else was present at the final meeting you attended confirming the final design of the table saw?

            A:        I don’t know.


            Q:        Who else was present at the final meeting you attended confirming the final design of the table saw?

            A:        I don’t remember.


            Q:        Who else was present at the final meeting you attended confirming the final design of the table saw?

            A:        I think Mr. Patterson, the primary engineer.

            Unfortunately, this happens all too often to lawyers taking depositions.  These kinds of “flimsy answers” demand that the lawyer taking the deposition first listen to the answer and, when the witness and the subject matter of inquiry are critical to the lawsuit, figure out what to do next.

            Attorneys often struggle in depositions and at trial to get needed information from witnesses.  A witness may present these flimsy answers for a multitude of reasons.  A witness’s flimsy answers will become even more problematic when the witness provides such answers as a common response to questions of all kinds or to avoid providing damaging information to the deposing attorney.  There are numerous texts, articles, and continuing legal education publications that provide useful information about how to conduct a competent witness examination both in deposition and at trial.  The purpose of this article is to distill this information and  add  tips  specifically  directed  to  the  witness who provides the flimsy “I don’t know,” “I don’t remember,” or “I think so” answers.

The Compensability of COVID-19 in Workers’ Compensation Cases—A General Analytical Roadmap

Authored By: Stephen D. Palmer


          As of early 2021, more than 29 million people had contracted COVID-19 in the United States and more than 530,000 Americans had died from the virus.  With the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, there is a conceivable crush of workers’ compensation COVID-19 litigation coming.  This Article lays out a basic roadmap that practitioners (on both sides of the aisle) can use in analyzing the compensability of COVID-19 cases in their respective states and is mainly illustrated using the substantive law pulled from the state of Alabama.

Compelling Testimony from the Subject of a Mental Health Proceeding: To What Extent Should Fifth Amendment Considerations Apply?

Authored By: Sean Roman Strockyj


          This Article explores whether a respondent in various mental health proceedings in New York may be compelled to take the witness stand.  The author focuses on applications brought under New York’s Mental Hygiene Law (MHL), including psychiatric commitment cases, guardianship applications, and matters brought under the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (SOMTA).  In such litigation it is common for respondents to be represented by the Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS), court appointed government attorneys whose focus is mental health law.  Each of the aforementioned proceedings can result in jury trials, where an application for respondent testimony is most likely to be necessary.  It is a subject that developed an inconsistent body of caselaw and is scarcely addressed in scholarly publications.