My mother, Carolyn, just turned 83. About a year and a half ago, she bought an iPad! Mom started out with a Kindle and she really loved it. After I received an iPad as a gift from my son, Mom took a gander at it and decided she wanted one of those. So we jumped in the car, went up to Best Buy and she bought an iPad! Mind you, my mother never really used a computer and, in fact, was scared to death of them. So the iPad was truly a new experience. Back up twenty or more years. Pap-Pap Wally, my mother's father, was in his late seventies when he bought his first computer. It was from Radio Shack and had a cassette tape player hooked to it! He loved it and taught himself how to write programs in DOS and use spreadsheets. He bought a new computer about every six months (much to my grandmother's dismay). Pap-Pap Wally was a whiz, especially considering his age. He attempted to teach my mother but she was so afraid she would delete something or make the thing crash, she didn't do very well. Believe it or not, Pap-Pap Wally was instrumental in my beginning interest in computers. When I left work to begin my family in 1980, the office I worked at had just purchased a Word Processor. I didn't get an opportunity to even use it. In 1986, a friend and I opened up a children's used clothing business and decided we should get a computer to keep track of our inventory. So I went to Pap-Pap Wally to take a few lessons! I think my grandfather would now be proud of his daughter and her iPad!
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The most recent school shooting in Oregon made its way across my Twitter timeline with the same urgency of a story about the most recent baseball player to be the highest paid at his position. After a full day, I couldn't have told you the exact number of casualties, the names of those who died, or who the shooter was. In fact, I would imagine the majority of people reading this would have a better chance naming every starting quarterback in the NFL than one kid involved in the Oregon shooting. Compare that to Columbine High School, where in 1999 two young men named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire and killed 12 of their fellow students. For weeks, the Columbine story was all we saw on news stations across the country. The names and faces of the victims were etched into our minds, and the shooters' lives unraveled before us. As a nation we truly grieved. Let us fast forward to 2014. School shootings are becoming so commonplace we, without realizing it, brush them off just as we would a mosquito on a soggy summer night. According to The Washington Post, since January 2013 there have been at least 74 other instances of shootings either on or near school grounds. Seventy-Four-in eighteen months. That averages out to one school shooting every 7 days. When I read that figure everything stopped for several moments...and the magnitude of one school shooting per week for the last year and a half sunk in.
Tune into this week's episode of the Bordas & Bordas Legal Review where host Jamie Bordas and guest Chris Regan discuss the Ed O'Bannon law suit against the NCAA that seeks to allow college players to be paid for use of their names, images and likenesses. In the second half of the show, Jamie and Chris discuss GM's difficulties with its defective switch that caused more than a dozen deaths across the country, in a variety of Chevy models. Learn about product liability, antitrust law, and a host of other interesting topics on this week's episode of the Bordas & Bordas Legal Review.
On Friday afternoon, a Wheeling jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty in the much anticipated Craig Peacock Trial. The trial, which focused on the death of Wheeling Jesuit student, Kevin Figaniak, who died after a fight with the defendant, was widely publicized. Within minutes of the jury returning a verdict, social media began to explode with posts and comments. Many of the local news outlets posted BREAKING:NEWS updates informing the public of the recent findings. People were quick to chime in with their opinions on the merits of the case and the decision of the jury. Many were stereotyping pipeliners, some poking fun at the justice system, yet others gently reminded the public that they were not part of the jury, and therefore, did not hear the facts of the case as presented. I, like everyone, was deeply saddened by this story. After all, I am a mother, and the thought of a phone call telling me that my college student child had gotten into a street fight and subsequently died, makes me sick to my stomach. I am also young enough to remember college and nights of drinking and partying and just how horribly alcohol can affect people- their minds, their judgment, their memory, their impulses. Nothing about the story of a young person losing their life is justifiable or excusable. Losing a child is one of the most heart wrenching things I can fathom. And when alcohol is involved, sadly, it is also the most preventable. All of these emotions- shock, sadness, confusion, got me thinking about the significant right and responsibility that we all hold as citizens of the United States.
A question that law students and attorneys are often asked is "so, what made you want to become a lawyer?" The answers to this question are limitless, and certainly a variety of factors influences one's decision to pursue a legal career, but one that I have heard from many of my friends and colleagues is that a family member or other respected person in their life is an attorney. This was not the case for me. Having said that, you may assume that this is because I was not closely acquainted with any lawyers during the time that I was figuring out my career path. Also not the case. My father, who is one of my biggest heroes and role models, is a lawyer, and a good one, at that. You may be wondering, then, how it is that my father's being an attorney did not influence me to become an attorney.
Bordas & Bordas was in trial and I was in a hurry, trying to file a document that had to be hand-delivered to the judge and to our attorneys who were in trial. I was in a very big rush, and one of the clerks asked me a question. When I turned to answer her as I was stepping into the elevator, my car key slipped out of my hand and fell though the small opening at the bottom of the elevator and disappeared into the shaft below. The hole was only about an inch wide. "Oh My Stars!" I said. The clerk looked at me and said "Was that your phone that dropped down into the elevator shaft?" "No," I responded, "It was my car key." Even more unfortunately, it was a car key belonging to my husband's car, and he was out of town. She looked at me and said, "What are you going to do?" I told her "I'll worry about it later, but right now I have to get back upstairs and deliver these documents to the judge and the attorney from our office in trial." The clerk was kind enough to call the building maintenance staff for me to get some help. This is when my story got really interesting. First, I had to call my husband and ask him where the extra key was for his car. He reminded me that I had just dropped the extra key down the elevator shaft, as he had his own keys with him. Things were really starting to look bad for me. The maintenance gentleman told me it was a one in a million shot to retrieve my key. He also said that they would have to call an elevator company out of Pittsburgh to come down to stop the elevator.
As I began to wind down from my weekend on Sunday evening, I chose to watch the 63rd annual Miss USA Pageant on NBC. Luckily enough I caught it right at the beginning and I, like many other women my age, was hooked and had to stay up late until the Miss USA 2014 was crowned. The competition was held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the entertainment provided by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly added to the show. With 51 women, one representing each state and one representing the District of Columbia all participating in the event, the competition seemed extremely tense. However, what truly amazed me was how the representatives from our tri-state area were three women from nearby towns. I believe that we live in the best area of the United States, and have always been fascinated by the fact that we can be in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio in such a short travel time. When the three candidates were announced, their hometowns were all relatively close to my hometown of Wheeling, WV, as Miss West Virginia was a Parkersburg, WV native, Miss Pennsylvania was from Pittsburgh, PA, and Miss Ohio was from Massillon, OH. Although Miss Pennsylvania was the only one to make it into the top 20 before being eliminated in the next round, it is really exciting to know that these women were representing such beautiful towns so close to my home.
I recently had the pleasure of presenting the 2014 Public Servant Award at the annual meeting of the West Virginia Association of Justice. WVAJ is a group of trial lawyers in the state of West Virginia who have chosen to represent the interests of injured victims. I have been privileged to be on the Board of Directors for many years. The recipient of the Public Service Award was Joyce McConnell, who has been the Dean of the West Virginia College of Law since 2008. She is well educated, highly respected in her profession and a real God-send to the law school. In addition to teaching and running the law school on a daily basis, Dean McConnell has undertaken a huge expansion at the law school. New classrooms, practice courtrooms and talented faculty members have been added.
By now, I'm sure many of you have been subjected to the ongoing marketing blitz about testosterone therapy for treating "low T". Touted as a way to make men feel more alert, energetic, mentally sharp, and sexually functional, millions of American men are using a prescription testosterone gel, patch, or injection to boost testosterone levels. Although testosterone therapy isn't approved for age-related conditions and the natural, age-related decline in testosterone levels, a FDA loophole permits aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing urging men to talk to their doctors if they have certain "possible signs" of testosterone deficiency, including common things like feeling tired. As a result, testosterone replacement has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry over the course of the last two decades. In fact, according to researchers at UCLA, testosterone replacement has been marketed so successfully in recent years that sales of Androgel, a testosterone therapy, eclipsed sales of Viagra in 2013. However, a growing body of evidence has raised alarming concerns that testosterone treatment could be deadly.
Last evening I sat on my back porch admiring the peaceful skyline that formed above the trees as far as my eyes could see as the sunset on Pinewood Drive. The weather was finally comfortable again as summer began to set in. Everything was so calm. I tuned into the sounds of nature and the beauty of it all was so powerful. I thought about how lucky my family and I were. In that moment, I paused to remember that I must always be grateful for this beauty of nature while it's right before my eyes. This led me to think about how we don't really know where we're headed or when it's all going to end. There are so many subjects that may be uncomfortable to discuss, but, really should be addressed while you are able to now. Have intimate talks with your family so that they understand your wishes and you understand theirs in turn. The day may come when you least expect it that you have to make those decisions for each other.