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February 2007
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NC Paralegal Association PowerPoint

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak this morning at the NC Paralegal Association in New Bern, NC.

Because I could not get all my materials printed in time, here are the materials for download:

The PowerPoint Slide Show in PDF format: 

Download nichols_preparing_your_client_for_trial_presentation.pdf

Here is the actual PowerPoint Show:  Power Point

Here is the client trial preparation form:

Download client_trial_checklist.pdf

If you have an questions, don't hesitate to email at [email protected] or call me at 919.915.0212.  Thanks for inviting me.  You were a great crowd.

Chris Nichols

Nichols Law Firm 1.800.906.5984

Liens and Workers' Compensation

I had the pleasure of speaking this  morning at the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyer's Workers' Compensation Roundtable Seminar.  I was pinch hitting for a number of State and federal Employees who were supposed to talk about:  Medicaid, Medicare, State Employee Health Plan, and TriCare.

Instead, they got me.

I am posting a link to my PowerPoint presentation for  those in attendance who wantde the "paper" copy of my talk.  Here is the link:  Ahlborn PowerPoint Slide show

Thanks for all the great questions!

Chris Nichols 1.800.906.5984

Corporate and Insurance Company Propaganda and Lies

Looks like AOL (America On Line) is attempting to pass off urban legend as news. 

This post is very important, and I hope that anyone coming to this webpage reads the whole post!

The America Online (AOL) website titled "Most Outrageous Lawsuits." Appears in the money and finance section of AOL and is also prominently displayed on the AOL home page.   The "most outrageous lawsuits" section contains mistruths and has been consistently debunked by web sites like   Snopes is the leading website that actually does research into "urban legends" and provides the truth behind the distortions.  It you have ever heard of the "Stella awards" (fake awards for "outrageous lawsuits"), here is the specific post from Snopes that proves the Stella awards are lies, or distortions:

The public has seen this propaganda before.  The "crazy lawsuits" they describe come directly from groups like Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) and the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), groups whose sole mission is to dismantle the civil justice system and eliminate accountability for corporate negligence.  In the past, when such front groups have provided examples of "cases," they haven't even been real.

AOL is preying on an unsuspecting public that assumes what is posted on its site is news, all to make the case that they, and other negligent corporations, should not be held accountable for wrongdoing in our courts.

There is good reason for AOL to invest its resources in the misinformation campaign to eliminate the right of Americans to seek justice.  In the past few years, it is the civil justice system that has been the last resort for shareholders and investors to hold AOL accountable for their negligence. The following are just a few examples of the trouble AOL has gotten in:

  • Just this week AOL agreed to pay $246 million to compensate the




    for losses to their pension and endowment funds after the company's stock prices plunged in 2001-2002. The University alleged that AOL inflated it stock price prior to its merger with Time-Warner by misrepresenting its sales, revenues and subscriber numbers.
  • On February 26, 2007, Time Warner reached agreements to pay $405 million to settle lawsuits related to past accounting problems at AOL.
  • On February 7, 2007, AOL reached a $105 million settlement with the California State Teachers' Retirement System that claimed that AOL executives and bankers had artificially boosted the value of its stocks prior to buying Time Warner.
  • In December, 2006, AOL settled a securities fraud case for $50 million with the state of


  • In 2005, Time Warner settled a $2.4 billion securities fraud lawsuit stemming from their misstatement of advertising revenue on the eve of its merger with AOL.

The American Association for Justice has made several attempts to get this propaganda pulled from the website but AOL has refused.  You can help, so consider taking the following steps:

If you are a member of AOL tell them to stop running this feature on their website by posting a comment;

Call the Chairman and CEO of AOL, Randy Falco, at (703) 265-1000 and ask him to take down the information;

Circulate this information to others who will take action; and

Send to any legal and political blogs you frequent.

Insurance Companies would like the public to think that all lawsuits are "frivolous".  "Frivolous" lawsuits get weeded out of the system by judges and lawyers (who refuse to bring them) LONG before they get to court.  In NC, every case that gets filed goes through multiple levels of independent review, from the moment the law suit is filed.

The most important of those levels of review is the "motion for summary judgment" or "motion to dismiss."  In every case, the lawyer for the defense can come into the court room, and tell the judge "this case is crazy, please dismiss it."  And Judges dismiss cases all the time.  Only cases where the Judge believes there is a reasonable argument survive.

After the motions to dismiss, in NC, in every lawsuit with a value over $10,000 ALL parties are required to attend a mediation.  At mediation, an experienced lawyer or judge makes the parties face reality and encourages settlement. 

Here is what NC's Judicial Website says about mediation:

Most citizens think of cases filed in our courts as coming to a close only after long and bitterly fought trials. After all, that is what they read in newspapers and see on television. However, the truth is that most cases filed in our State’s civil Superior Courts are never actually heard by a judge or jury. Instead, they settle on the parties’ own terms. Too frequently, that settlement occurs on the courthouse steps -- just before the trial is set to begin and the plaintiff and defendant have endured a long, sleepless night or nights. The Mediated Settlement Conference Program is designed to offer parties, with the help of their attorneys and a mediator, an opportunity and the support they need to settle their cases earlier

In my experience, 99% of cases that do not settle, do not settle because the Insurance Company, who hires the lawyers to defend the defendant, takes an unreasonable position on settlement.  That position is usually "we won't pay a dime because we didn't do it', or "we will only offer you a very small amount, but we will NEVER apologize for what we did."

Most lawsuits would go away with an apology.  That may be hard to believe, but in many cases it is true.

Chris Nichols 1.800.906.5984