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Stevenson Klotz Monthly Calendar—April of 2016

April Fools' Day, April 1. Play a joke on a friend, remember to be a good sport when someone does the same to you.

New Beer's Day, April 7. Unofficial holiday celebrating the end of Prohibition in 1933.

National Library Workers Day, April 12. A day for library staff, users, administrators and friends to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.

National Golf Day, April 18. Celebrate spring by playing 18 holes with a few friends.

Earth Day, April 22. An annual event, where events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Go green!

Arbor Day, April 29. Another springtime rite. Plant a tree and show that you care for the environment.

Also Inside This Issue:

Recipe of the Month

Simple Coleslaw

This is my favorite coleslaw recipe. It is easy to make and great with just about anything, especially barbecue. No carrots. No purple cabbage. No mayonnaise. And straight from Eric’s Kitchen!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small or ½ large head green cabbage
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2½ tblsp. ketchup
  • 1 tblsp. brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper

Chop the cabbage fine by hand or use a food processor and place in a large bowl. Combine all of the other ingredients into a non-reactive bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Taste for seasoning, adding sugar and/or salt as necessary. The sauce should have a sharp, not sour, taste. Stir the sauce in with the cabbage and let stand for ten minutes. Add salt as needed.

What's Going on at SKLF?

As usual, there’s a lot happening at Stevenson Klotz this month. This month Chris and Eric attended a quarterly meeting of their business development group PILMMA. This is a proactive group that helps law firms develop strategies and systems in order to give the best customer service and best legal services to our clients. Participating in this organization is a tremendous amount of work, but we hope by consistently developing our firm’s systems and services we will be a standout firm to the people who choose us to represent them. This month we also had our very fist firm planning retreat. This involved all of our attorneys and staff devoting two days to planning the implement our firm goals for 2016 and how to best live up to our firm’s core values. Chris and Eric will be attending a national seminar about “1983” lawsuits, also called civil rights lawsuits. These are very specialized cases and the goal is to stay on the cutting edge since we frequently represent clients in civil rights lawsuits who have been injured or abused by a city, county or other governmental agency.

Talc Lawsuits

Really, talc use by women may cause cancer? Who would have thought that Johnson & Johnson and other talc companies would ever keep women from knowing that using talc powder might cause them to have ovarian cancer? Ask yourself... Would you have let your female family members sprinkle talc powder in their underwear if you knew that it might cause a very aggressive and deadly cancer? Of course you wouldn’t. The risk is not worth the benefit. But companies have made billions of dollars from the women who have made the simple act of using talc powder near their genital area a daily routine.

This case is starting to look like the infamous tobacco cases, or Ford Pinto cases where the corporate big shots knew about the dangers, then hid the studies and downplayed the knowledge that their product potentially had a very serious, if not deadly health side effect. The following facts come from the recent talc lawsuit that resulted in a $72 million verdict against the talc industry.

In 1971, the first study was conducted that suggested an association between talc and ovarian cancer. Dr. W. J. Henderson and others conducted this study in Cardiff, Wales. In 1982, the first epidemiological study was performed on talc powder for use in the female genital area. Dr. Daniel Cramer and others conducted this study. This study found a 92% increased risk in ovarian cancer with women who reported genital talc use. Shortly after this study was published, Dr. Bruce Semple of Johnson & Johnson came and visited Dr. Cramer about his study. Dr. Cramer advised Dr. Semple that Johnson & Johnson should place a warning on its talcum powders about the ovarian cancer risks so that women can make an informed decision about their health. Since 1982, there have been approximately twenty-two epidemiological studies providing information regarding the association of talc and ovarian cancer. Nearly all of these studies have reported an elevated risk for ovarian cancer associated with genital talc use in women. In 1993, the United States National Toxicology Program (NTP) published a study on the toxicity of non-asbestiform talc and found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity. Talc was found to be a carcinogen, with or without the presence of asbestos-like fibers.

Is it too much to ask that if a company knows of potentially deadly side effects, that they let the consumers know of the possible danger? The reason why companies don’t do this is an acknowledgment of these studies and data would have sunk the billion-dollar talc industry. This looks like another example of companies putting profits over people.

Person of the Month: Patrick Elebash

Escape on Palafox

Each month, we like to feature people we work with, our neighbors, or people who are influential in our community. This month, we sat down with Patrick Elebash operator of the new downtown entertainment concept, Escape on Palafox.

Escape on Palafox is an adventure game where participants are locked in a room with the goal of solving puzzles, finding clues, and cracking codes to “escape” the room in sixty seconds or less. Patrick and his family, also owners of Elebash Jewelry, a fixture on Palafox, opened Escape in February of this year. It has sold out every weekend. Four to eight people participate in this real-life game, which is based upon the Escape Room Computer games. The concept is great for team-building exercises for business, fellowship building for youth or school groups, and family fun for every age. Patrick says that so far they have had participants ranging from children to people in their 70’s!

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Chinese figure skater Yao Bin wasn’t one to give up after just one defeat. Or several, for that matter. Yao grew up in a Chinese factory town dubbed the “Ice City” because the average winter temperature was a frigid negative five degrees Fahrenheit. In 1979, the Chinese government decided that the People’s Republic would make a foray into pairs figure skating. Officials tapped 21-year-old Yao to partner with 12-year-old Luan Bo as the nation’s first pairs team.

The duo had to learn the difficult and often dangerous sport without benefit of experienced coaches or mentors, using only still photos to see how routines were supposed to look. Yao dropped his young partner so many times she was forced to practice wearing a helmet and body pads.

The novice skaters entered the world skating arena just four months later, journeying to Germany to compete in the 1980 World Championships. Neither had ever been out of China, yet they traveled alone because there was no budget for coaches to accompany them. They finished dead last, the audience laughing at their stumbling performance. Undaunted, the pair competed in the World Championships in 1981 and 1982, as well as the 1984 Olympics. Each time, they finished last.

After such public humiliation, most people would have slipped quietly out of the spotlight. Not Yao. He used the defeats to feed his ambition to make China a respected force in pairs figure skating.

In 2004, more than 20 years after his inauspicious skating debut, he coached China’s pairs teams to second, third, and fifth-place finishes. And in the February 2006 Olympic games, Yao’s team gave the favored Russians a run for the money—finishing second, third, and fourth and bringing home the silver and bronze medals.

April Fool!

It’s April 1st—the day for practical jokes large and small. If you’re looking for inspiration, remember one of the all-time great media hoaxes.

In 1957, the BBC’s respected news program Panorama ran a story celebrating a bumper spaghetti crop in Switzerland—thanks to a mild winter and the near elimination of the destructive “spaghetti weevil.” The program included footage of Swiss farm workers pulling strands of spaghetti from trees and laying them in the sun to dry.

Although some viewers caught on and chastised the BBC for playing fast and loose in a news program, others fell hook, line, and pasta ladle. Many even telephoned the network to ask where they could get their own spaghetti trees.

Eric's Corner

March was fun for my family and me. It started with celebrating my dad’s 69th birthday. He had us over to play cribbage and fixed some of his outstanding fish chowder. Baseball season is in full swing. Cole and Lucy Adams are both playing, so we are spending most of our evenings up at the ball fields. Lucy Adams and I got a chance to go turkey hunting one weekend in Alabama. While we did not even hear any turkeys, we certainly had a great time with our friends who went with us. Carrie took the kids to Gainesville to watch a University of Florida baseball game. She was there for work but her dad went with her to help the kids. She was able to squeeze in some fun with the kids while her dad entertained them during the day sightseeing around the campus. Chris and I went to a conference in Atlanta related to a personal-injury management marketing group that we belong to and got some fresh ideas on marketing. Look for these to develop. Work has been steady. We have been able to help a lot of people this year. We always look forward to referrals, so if you know anyone we can help, we would be glad to talk with them. While this column is supposed to be about what happened in March, I would be remiss if I did not wish my grandfather a happy birthday also. He turned 93 on February 3rd!

Try This Uncommon Career Advice

Read enough self-help books, and you’ll run across a lot of the same repetitive career advice: Work hard, be helpful, go the extra mile. If you’re already doing this, and want to add oomph into your career, consider this advice from the Fast Track Promotion website:

  • Develop your emotional maturity. Focus on staying calm no matter what happens at work. Treat everyone with respect. Learn to choose your words carefully—and more important, recognize when it’s best not to speak at all.
  • Negotiate in good faith. Find out what the other person wants, and work toward a mutually satisfying agreement instead of one with winners and losers. In other words, seek solutions, not victories. Negotiate as if you’re both on the same side.
  • Shift your point of view. Support your organization’s goals, not your own. When you make a decision, ask yourself whether it’s one your manager or CEO would make. If not, reconsider your priorities.
  • Provide real value. Instead of just doing your job, find out how your work supports your organization’s objectives, and then give a little extra to help your it thrive. Talk to your manager about what you’ve done and what you can do to add to the organization’s success.
  • Listen to feedback. Praise is fun to receive, but often we learn most from criticism. Make a point of listening to and considering other people’s points of view, and incorporating their feedback into your performance. You’ll show that you’re a team player committed to improvement.

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