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Bauman, Dow, & León, P.C.

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BD&L Settles Insurance Bad Faith Claim against Excess Insurance Carrier for $4.5 Million!

BD&L attorneys obtained a $4.5 million excess settlement for the family of a deceased victim. Faced with a wrongful death claim against one of its policy holders, the excess carrier Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company refused to pay the claim or provide a legal defense. BD&L Shareholder Mark C. Dow determined that the Farm Bureau excess policy provided coverage. Farm Bureau’s adjusters had made a “no coverage” determination. BD&L then set out to hold Farm Bureau accountable to its policy holders and to enforce Farm Bureau’s duties to defend its insured, and pay the value of the claim.

After significant litigation headed by Mr. Dow who was assisted by BD&L’s associate Deborah Stambaugh, the New Mexico District Court agreed there was coverage and Farm Bureau should have defended its policy holder and paid the claim. The parties settled after the Court’s ruling.

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BD&L represents local Doctor in a $2.3 million jury verdict (updated).

After a 4-day trial, a Bernalillo County jury awarded $2.3 million to local optometrist Dr. Willis Muncey, represented by Christopher Bauman in a suit against Eye Glass World (EGW), a national optical retailer. The $2.3 million jury award consisted of $300,000 in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages. The trial testimony revealed that EGW surreptitiously copied Dr. Muncey’s patient records after normal business hours. EGW then filed a false complaint against Dr. Muncey with the New Mexico Board of Optometry in order to cover­up its theft of the records by alleging that Dr. Muncey had abandoned his patient files.

EGW appealed the jury Verdict arguing among other things that the New Mexico state courts were preempted from deciding Dr. Muncey’s claims pursuant to the exclusive federal court jurisdiction of the Federal Copyright Act. The Court of Appeals rejected EGW’s appeal, upholding the Verdict in favor of Dr. Muncey. In November, 2012, the New Mexico Supreme Court dealt the final blow to EGW’s efforts to avoid the jury’s verdict by denying its petition for Writ of certiorari.

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2012 Update: Dr. León has successfully prosecuted numerous patent applications on behalf of Firm clients.

Among others, since 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office granted the following certificates of patent registration and trademark registrations to Firm clients in connection with important, innovative technologies and brand names.

US Patent No. 8,077,754; Pool Power Control in Remelting Systems. Inventors Rodney L. Williamson, David K. Melgaard, Joseph J. Beaman. Assignee: SMPC, Huntington, WV.

US Patent No. 7,959,028; Improved Lid for Beverage Containers. Inventor: Richard J. Leon, Bonsall, California.

US Design Patent No. D604,562; Golf Ball Tumbler. Inventor: Carlos A. Lopez. Assignee: Productopop, Inc., Miami, Florida.

US Patent No.7,994,311 Fluorescent Chemosensors For Metals Based on Dipyrrins. Inventors: Paul A. Bentley, Yujiang Mei. Assignee: STC.UNM, Albuquerque, NM.

US Patent No. 7,777,176: Composition and Method to Characterize Membranes’ Defects. Inventors: Douglas A. Loy, Dylan Joseph Boday and Jason Wertz. Assignee: Energy Materials Corporation, Livermore, CA.

US Patent No. 7,766,872: Prefilled, Single Dose, One Time Use, Self-Destructing, Auto-Disabling Safety Syringe with an Injection Molded Barrel; Method of Manufacture and Method of Use. Inventor: Timothy Ackerman, Sarasota, FL.

US Patent No. 7,775,165: Collapsible Furniture and Method to Collapse and Assemble Using a Plug Joint System. Inventor: Wristen Paschich

In addition to Dr. León, the Firm’s intellectual property practice includes associate attorney Simone M. Seiler who is also registered before the USPTO.

Dr. León has also assisted Firm clients in the registration of numerous state (New Mexico and Florida) and federal trademarks. Since 2009, due to the Firm’s efforts, the USPTO has issued twenty-two Trademark Registration Certificates to Firm clients and allowed four additional applications. Some of the most salient trademark registrations the Firm has obtained are listed below.

US Trademark Registration No. 4,097,044; Bioworld (for recyclable paper and plastic products) Owner: Bioworld, LLC

US Trademark Registration No. 4,094,646; Bioworld and Design (for recyclable paper and plastic products). Owner: Bioworld, LLC

US Trademark Registration No. 4,068,380; It's Not Bottled…It's Better! (for drinking vessels). Owner: Universal Water Systems

US Trademark Registration No. 3,476,122; Fair But Firm (for educational services in the boxing industry). Owner: Joe Cortez

US Trademark Registration No. 3,967,146; MedFlip.com Dynamic Medical Laboratory Market Place (for online auctions in the medical field) Owner: Cory Hess

US Trademark Registration No. 3,984,742; YDI Developing Lives (for charitable academic and community outreach services). Owner: Youth Development, Inc.

US Trademark Registration No. 3,796,608; Molekul (for dermatologicals). Owner: WM Molekuel Kosmetik Inc.

In addition to representing Firm clients before the USPTO, Dr. León has successfully represented clients in patent, trademark and copyright infringement actions before the federal courts of New Mexico and Florida. (See, e.g., Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc., v. Nicor, Inc., et al., CIV 04-0424 JB/LFG, in which the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico issued a Summary Judgment Order in favor of the Firm’s client).

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BD&L successfully settles lawsuit against American Physicians Assurance Corporation on behalf of Donald J. Ham, M.D.

In July of 2010, the Firm successfully settled a lawsuit it brought on behalf of Donald J. Ham, M.D., against American Physicians Assurance Corporation (“APA”) claiming APA acted in bad faith for failure to settle. The lawsuit argued that APA had intentionally failed to settle an underlying malpractice claim against Dr. Ham thus unnecessarily exposing him to an eventual $6 million dollar punitive damage jury verdict. The Settlement Agreement required that its terms be kept confidential.

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BD&L successfully negotiates a favorable settlement for local plumbing and heating company.

On November 3, 2009, the Firm successfully negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of our client, Century Plumbing and Heating Co., which had sued its general liability carrier, Colorado Casualty Co., after Colorado Casualty failed to provide a defense in an arbitration proceeding where Century was accused of breach of contract and construction and design negligence. Century settled the underlying arbitration and brought suit against Colorado Casualty alleging bad faith insurance practices. The bad faith suit was settled at mediation within seven months of its filing. This is the second insurance bad faith lawsuit involving construction related claims settled by the Firm this year. In January, 2009, we negotiated a settlement of an insurance bad faith case against Century Mutual Insurance Company for $295,000 after Century Mutual’s insured, DNV Construction, was found liable in an arbitration for causing approximately $90,000 in damages related to a construction project.

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Firm Shareholder Alberto A. León is registered to practice before the Federal US Patent & Trademark Office.

Firm Shareholder Alberto A. León, J.D., Ph.D., is licensed in the States of New Mexico and Florida and is registered to practice before the Federal US Patent & Trademark Office.

The Firm maintains correspondent or co-counsel relationships with several firms throughout the US and in several foreign countries. For many years Dr. León has maintained an Of Counsel association with the Miami, Florida Law Office of Stewart A. Merkin.

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