On Thursday, October 27th, 2011, the Stacy Schuler trial is expected to conclude. Judge Robert Peeler will give the verdict following the closing arguments of both the State and the defense. It is expected that the State will call its own expert witness to rebut the expert testimony provided by the defense yesterday. A forensic psychologist and/or toxicologist will testify that Ms. Schuler was not insane at the time of the alleged acts and that she could comprehend the difference between right and wrong. Yesterday, the defense provided two expert witnesses that claimed Stacy Schuler was insane at the time of the alleged acts due to a combination of health problems, Zoloft, and alcohol. The ‘SSRI Defense’, as it is being called, has been utilized approximately fifteen times during the last year in American courts – it has never succeeded. These experts based their testimony on evidence that anti-depressants mixed with alcohol can cause mania, increased sexual desire, and memory loss. As this is a bench trial, Judge Peeler will decide whether Ms. Schuler is guilty of sixteen counts of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors. Schuler is facing over eighty years in prison if convicted on all counts.
By: Gabe Moorman
I have been asked by Meghan Mongillo, Dayton’s Fox-45 “In the Morning” co-anchor, to be a guest on their live TV broadcast. I will be answering questions regarding the law and commenting on some of the high profile legal cases in Southwest Ohio. Specifically, we will be discussing the Ryan Widmer and Stacy Shuler cases.
The Widmer trial is approaching its final stage, as the attorneys for both sides will offer their closing arguments on Monday, February 14, 2011. The jury will then begin its deliberation and a verdict will be read by the bailiff at the Warren County Court of Common Pleas in Lebanon, Ohio. It is likely that people from across the country will be listening intently – as will I.
The Shuler trial has not yet started, but interest in the case has been very high from the start. Ms. Shuler was recently indicted on nineteen felony counts of sexual battery along with three misdemeanor counts. She stands accused of having sexual contact with five Mason High School students, most of them believed to be on the football team. Shuler, who recently resigned as a physical education teacher and athletic trainer, has been released and is currently living with her parents pending her trial. Stacy Shuler has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and have no contact with any of the alleged victims or any minors.
I am excited to join Ms. Mongillo at the Fox-45 studio in Dayton and hope to share some interesting and informative perspectives. Please tune in from 7:00 to 9:00 AM.
By: Tom Diehl (in 2008)
Representing the injured party in a personal injury claim is a difficult juggling act for the practitioner. The experienced litigator is well aware of the traps involved in even the simplest personal injury case, including issues like subrogation, medical liens and tort reform. The practice is fraught with land mines.
It just got a lot tougher. On December 20, 2006, the Ohio Supreme Court rendered a decision dealing with the collateral source rule. Robinson v. Bates (2006), 112 Ohio St. 3d 17. This decision is being used by insurance companies to try to decrease jury awards and settlements.
Pryor v. Webber (1970), 23 Ohio State 2d 104 was the leading case invoking the collateral source rule. The rule provides, basically, that evidence of a plaintiff’s receipt of benefits from a source other than the wrongdoer cannot be presented to a jury. Thus, if the plaintiff had his medical bills paid by health insurance, or med pay, or even by his kind uncle, the fact that those payments occurred could not be presented to a jury.
Robinson v. Bates affects the collateral source rule. In Robinson, one of Plaintiff’s medical bills was paid in part by Plaintiff’s health insurance and the balance was “written off” by the provider, leaving the balance as fully paid. The Plaintiff tried to introduce the full bill. The Defendant argued that only the “paid amount” should be presented to the jury. The Ohio Supreme Court, breaking with years of contra authority, declared that the original bill and the evidence of the write off could be presented to the jury. Expect insurance companies to seize upon this decision to try to further whittle settlements and jury awards.
But all is not lost. The practitioner is not without options and argument to counterattack Robinson. We intend to raise several arguments and use different tactics in these cases, including:
1. Making the defense prove the existence of the write off. This will be more difficult for the defense than might be expected as it will require testimony from the medical practitioners and, potentially, the health insurance carriers.
2. Reminding the trial court via Motions in Limine that the write off amount does not represent full payments as many health insurance plans utilize “hold backs” and “bonus payments.”
3. Reminding the Court that Robinson does not modify the collateral source rule. It merely changes what is and is not a collateral source.
At Thomas J. Diehl & Co., LLC, we have been handling personal injury claims in Southwest Ohio since 1988. We regularly work with counsel in ethical fee sharing arrangements. Thomas J. Diehl is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
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|January 10, 2010 http://www.western-star.com/news/lebanon-oh-press-releases/view-press-release/?p=15052
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Waynesville native Marty Hubbell has been named a partner in the law firm of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC located in Lebanon, Ohio.
Marty is a graduate of Waynesville High School, the University of Texas, and the University of Dayton School of Law. He has practiced law in Warren County for ten years, focusing in the areas of personal injury, domestic relations, civil litigation, and criminal defense.
Thomas J. Diehl is the managing partner of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC. Mr. Diehl has practiced law in Ohio for over 20 years, and focuses his practice on representing persons injured in serious motor vehicle accidents.
The firm represents clients in all parts of Southwest Ohio, including Warren, Butler, Montgomery, Clinton, Clermont, Greene, and Hamilton Counties.