The Philadelphia Inquirer (front page, 1-7-10), “Loss of daughter helps lawyer feel clients’ pain”

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Joel Feldman with his daughter, Casey, in a family photo. He used the skills he made making settlement videos put together a DVD about her. Go to Remembering Casey DVD to see the video.

“Loss of daughter helps lawyer feel clients’ pain”By Chris Mondics                                                                                   

Posted on Thurs, Jan. 7, 2010

The phone call every parent dreads came July 17, late in the afternoon, just as plaintiffs’ lawyer Joel Feldman was wrapping up a videotape interview in a medical-malpractice case with a cancer patient and his parents, who spoke of their emotional devastation.

For decades, Feldman has made a good living suing insurance companies, construction firms, and manufacturers on behalf of accident victims.

One reason he has done so well is that he has gotten adept at conveying the physical and psychic trauma visited on victims and survivors by acts of negligence that, at their core, result from someone else’s bad judgment – an inept physician, a reckless tractor-trailer driver, a construction company that failed to properly protect an employee’s safety.

Feldman helped pioneer the use of a powerful trial lawyers’ tool called a settlement video. The 15-minute DVDs typically feature interviews with surviving victims, family members, and expert witnesses that give defendants a taste of what they might face if they go to trial.

The intellectual and emotional message of the videos can be withering. Defendants often settle after viewing them. And that is the goal.

Over the years, Feldman says, he thought he understood the emotional turmoil of his clients and their devastation. But now he knows he did not.

The phone call that day came from police in Ocean City, N.J., who said Feldman’s 21-year-old daughter, a beautiful and vivacious communications major at Fordham University, had been hit by a delivery van as she walked to her job as a waitress on the boardwalk. (more…)