Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Attorney Seth Cohen Inducted Into Million Dollar Advocates Forum

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Veteran attorney Seth Cohen, who is of counsel at Deuterman Law Group in Greensboro, has been certified as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious association of trial lawyers.

Membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to attorneys who have obtained million dollar verdicts, awards or settlements for their clients. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. attorneys are members.

In his senior role at DLG, Cohen represents clients in their labor and employment claims. He works closely with the rest of the DLG team to ensure that workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, VA Disability and personal injury clients receive the justice they deserve.

“For more than three decades, Seth has dedicated his career to fighting against discrimination and advocating for people whose civil rights and civil liberties have been violated or infringed,” said firm President Dan Deuterman. “His induction to the Million Dollar Advocates is another example of his strong client advocacy.”

Before joining DLG, Cohen was a partner for 25 years with Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen in Greensboro. He continues to serve as general counsel of the ACLU of North Carolina and as an adjunct professor at the Wake Forest University School of Law.

The Atlanta native earned undergraduate degrees in religion and journalism from the University of Georgia, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. Before attending law school, he worked as a newspaper reporter, most recently at the News & Record in Greensboro.

Cohen graduated in 1991 from the UNC School of Law with highest honors. He was a member of the law school’s chapter of the Order of the Coif, an honor society. He was admitted to the N.C. State Bar in 1991, and in 1997 he was admitted to the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

After law school, Cohen clerked for Justice Henry E. Frye, who later became chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

Cohen is a member of North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ) and the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA). He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, and Best Lawyers in America in Labor and Employment Law.

Attorney Casey S. Francis Earns Place in Prestigious Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums

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Casey S. Francis, an attorney with the Deuterman Law Group in Greensboro, has been certified as a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, two prestigious associations of trial lawyers.

Membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to attorneys who have obtained million dollar verdicts, awards or settlements for their clients. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. attorneys are members.

To qualify for the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an attorney must have secured a verdict, award or settlement worth $2 million or more on behalf of a client.

Francis is a board certified specialist in workers’ compensation law at the Deuterman Law Group. Since joining the firm in 2011, she has been the lead attorney on cases involving Spanish-speaking clients, with a focus on representing undocumented workers in their claims.

“Casey works really hard on behalf of her clients, and our peers in the legal field consider her an expert in these types of cases. She has successfully argued cases before the N.C. Industrial Commission, the N.C. Court of Appeals and the N.C. Supreme Court,” said firm President Dan Deuterman. “It’s no surprise to me that she has earned these professional honors.”

Francis is a magna cum laude graduate of N.C. State with bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and International Politics with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She earned her juris doctor with honors in 2011 from the UNC School of Law.

Francis is a member of the N.C. Advocates for Justice Executive Committee for Workers’ Compensation and is serving a three-year term as a member of the N.C. Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section Council. She is past vice president and founding member of the N.C. Association of Women Attorneys’ Piedmont Triad Chapter.


Attorney Ben Burnside Completes 7-Day Cycling Challenge

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Attorney Ben Burnside recently completed his second endurance fitness event — a weeklong bike ride across North Carolina — and he’s already planning for his next challenge.

In October, Ben participated in Cycle North Carolina’s Mountains to Coast ride. The annual bike ride takes place over seven days.

Cyclists ride between 55 and 75 miles per day on North Carolina’s beautiful backroads and stay in a different town each night. The goal is not to get there first or the fastest. Rather, the sightseeing endurance ride is geared to cyclists of all ages and abilities.

For Ben, it was a chance to challenge himself physically, spend time with a friend and also see parts of his home state he’d never visited.

“A good friend of mine heard about this ride, and asked if I wanted to do it with him,” he said. “I was in for the challenge, although at the time I had never ridden on a road bike or gone any significant distance on any type of bike.”

Though he first started planning for the ride in the summer of 2020, Ben’s training plans were interrupted by the pandemic and a serious leg injury.

Ben ordered a road bike in August 2020, but found out he’d probably have to wait about six months to receive it due to the unprecedented demand for them as a result of the pandemic.

While he was waiting for the bike to arrive, Ben broke his lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula, in October 2020. His injury required surgery, with titanium rod and screws used to stabilize his broken bones.

“This was a big setback in terms of my fitness level and general mobility, but I thought that cycling would be a good way to rehabilitate my leg once I was ready for it,” he said. “The healing process was longer and more difficult than I expected, but I got through it.”

When his bike arrived in March 2021, Ben’s leg injury wasn’t fully healed. But he started training slowly, finding cycling to be a good no-impact form of exercise.

He gradually increased his hours and distance on the bike. In March, he rode 65 miles. In April, he rode 188 miles. In May, he rode 228 miles, every month adding more miles so he would be ready for the endurance event in October.

Initially, Ben trained mostly at night after work and after his young children had gone to bed. Later, he rode longer distances on the weekends “with the support of my lovely wife, who was very encouraging and took on extra kid duties without complaint.” (Ben is married to Christine Burnside, another Social Security Disability attorney at Deuterman Law Group.)

How did he feel after completing the challenge and finishing Mountains to the Coast ride?
“Well my body was certainly very sore, but I felt accomplished and happy,” Ben said. “The week was spent hanging with my friend and riding five to seven hours per day over scenic terrain. I think I put in over 35 hours on the bike that week.”

This was not the first endurance challenge Ben has completed. In 2018, he participated in the Make-a Wish Trailblaze Challenge, hiking more than 28 miles to raise money for the charity.

“Although I’m not a great athlete, I like doing endurance challenges,” he said.

In fact, Ben is already planning for his next challenge. He wants to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in the not-too-distant future. He had a trip booked for 2020 to attempt the Kilimanjaro hike, but he was unable to go because of the pandemic.

Our Greensboro Office Has Moved!

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New Building. 

Same Passion for Justice!

We’ve moved from our former downtown Greeensboro location to our just completed office building on Lawndale Drive.

We’re easy to find, on-site parking is plentiful, and we’re following all the steps for social distancing and safety.

We look forward to seeing you in our new Greensboro space – or at our Winston-Salem office – sometime soon!

Our NEW Greensboro Office Address:

3524 Lawndale Dr. | Greensboro, NC 27408

Winston-Salem Office:

514 S. Stratford Road | Winston-Salem, NC 27103

New DLG HQ to Open This Summer

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Construction continues on the Deuterman Law Group’s new, expanded Greensboro headquarters building.

The two-story, 23,363-square-foot office building at 3524 Lawndale Dr., should be completed, ahead of schedule, in August. We will let you know on our website when we  are meeting with clients in the new building.

Since 2008, our Greensboro office has been located at 317 S. Greene St., across the street from the Carolina Theatre. As our law firm has expanded, we have outgrown that space. A Winston-Salem office opened in 2013, and in 2016 we leased additional office space in downtown Greensboro for some of our legal staff, as well as accounting and IT departments.

We’re excited to bring our Greensboro team back under one roof. Our Winston-Salem office will remain open.

The new headquarters building is located near St. Francis Episcopal Church and will be near the Lawndale Drive exit for the Greensboro Urban Loop. It will have ample parking for clients and staff, something the current downtown location does not offer.

The first floor of the new headquarters building will house attorney offices, conference rooms and other client-related areas.

“We worked for more than a year to design an office that works for our business, our employees and, most importantly, our clients,” Dawne Deuterman, the firm’s vice president said. “We will have a lot of room to grow in this new space.”

Precautions being taken by DLG management related to the Coronavirus and COVID-19

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Deuterman Law Group (DLG): Communication Regarding Precautions taken by DLG management related to the Coronavirus and COVID-19, i.e. the illness caused by the Coronavirus

First and foremost, we are happy to report that all employees of the Deuterman Law Group are healthy, happy and working hard to serve you.  Despite the fact that there are very few coronavirus cases reported in North Carolina, and none in Greensboro, we at the Deuterman Law Group believe that the coronavirus will become more prevalent in our state, and possibly our local community, in the weeks and months to follow.  As such, we at the Deuterman Law Group want to share information with you about how DLG will continue to operate safely and effectively in the wake of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Precautions Taken by DLG Management

  • DLG management team is monitoring information from the WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and federal, state and local agencies to help ensure the actions we’re taking are in line with the latest CDC recommendations and guidance. We are communicating regularly with our employees to keep them informed and to ensure their safety and that of our clients.
  • Henceforth, DLG management team will strongly recommend that any employee who is not feeling well to stay home.  In addition, we will strongly recommend that any employee who is experiencing coronavirus like symptoms to self-quarantine themselves and be tested for coronavirus.
  • As a precautionary step, we have begun providing hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in our offices, meeting rooms, and conference rooms for use by both employees and clients, and we are conducting enhanced cleaning in other offices as needed.  We have a limited supply of hand sanitizer and, if we run out of hand sanitizer, we will ask guests to use antibacterial soap and wash their hands in the restrooms.
  • As a further precautionary measure, we are hereby notifying the public and our existing clients that as of Monday, March 16, 2020, ALL CLIENT MEETINGS IN DLG OFFICES WILL BE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, and such appointments will be limited to only those meetings that absolutely require a face to face meeting.  As such, we are proactively scheduling all client meetings to be telephonic meetings to minimize the risk of viral transmissions.
  • DLG employees are strongly recommended to avoid physical contact with others as a means of minimizing the risk of viral transmission.  Clients who are in our offices by appointment will be asked to wash/sanitize their hands upon arrival at our offices.  Employees will avoid shaking hands or having any physical contact with clients.

Steps you can take

  • Stay up to date. For more information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
  • Follow these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as outlined by the CDC:
    • Wash your hands often (10 times per day or more) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, humming the song Happy Birthday to yourself twice is about 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people. Self-distancing of 6 feet between persons is recommended. (Imagine your outstretched arm just out of reach of the fingertips of another person’s outstretched arm; that is approximately 6 feet).
    • Stay home when you are not feeling well.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Stay informed on how our firm is proactively taking steps to minimize the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Please visit our website and Facebook pages for updated information.

Our first priority remains to keep Deuterman Law Group employees, clients, and other guests safe and well-informed while doing what we can to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Please know we have devoted significant resources and efforts to help mitigate against possible adverse impacts from the coronavirus and will continue working hard to provide the level of service you have come to expect.

N.C. State Bar Certifies DLG Attorney Christine Burnside As Specialist in Social Security Disability Law

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Deuterman Law Group attorney Christine Burnside has earned the status of Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law. This designation is a testament to Burnside’s expertise, her performance on behalf of clients and her reputation in the legal community.

The N.C. State Bar, through the Board of Legal Specialization, determines which attorneys statewide become board-certified specialists. To become legal specialists, attorneys must have practiced for a minimum of five years. They also must undergo peer review by other attorneys and judges, participate in continuing legal education in the subject matter and pass a board exam.

The N.C. State Bar offers this certification as a service to the public to help them identify lawyers who are most qualified to represent them. Board-certified attorneys have demonstrated special knowledge, skill and proficiency in a particular area of the law. In North Carolina, only 42 attorneys are board-certified specialists in Social Security Disability law.

The Deuterman Law Group is proud to have another attorney achieve board certification.

Christine Burnside’s colleague and husband, Ben Burnside, is also a Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law. DLG president and founder Dan Deuterman, as well as associate attorneys Casey S. Francis and Zach Marquand are Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation.

At the Deuterman Law Group, Burnside focuses her practice on Social Security Disability cases, helping clients secure the benefits they have been denied.

Burnside graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007, and she earned her juris doctor from the UNC School of Law in 2012. She was admitted to the N.C. State Bar later the same year.

Burnside is a member of North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA), and the Greensboro Bar Association (GBA).

Help for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals on Okinawa

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Deuterman Law Group’s Veterans Disability Team recently helped a Vietnam veteran receive a total disability rating, decades after being exposed to toxic chemicals on Okinawa and later developing prostate cancer.

The former soldier, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016, had previously been denied multiple times for disability benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our team was able to show that the client’s time on Okinawa and his participation in Operation Red Hat was at least as likely as not responsible for the development of the cancer three decades later.

It was an important victory for the client, but also for other service members stationed on Okinawa in the 1960s and 1970s, when the island was used to store defoliants and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals include the key components used to make Agent Orange.

While soldiers who were exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals in Vietnam automatically qualify for certain disabilities like prostate cancer, Okinawa vets face a much tougher battle when trying to prove to the VA that their cancers and other health problems are service connected.

As ProPublica reported:

“Anyone who set foot in Vietnam during the war is eligible for compensation if they become ill with one of 14 cancers or other ailments linked to Agent Orange. But vets with an array of other illnesses where the connection is less well established continue to push for benefits. And those vets who believe they were exposed while serving elsewhere must prove it — often finding themselves stymied.”

That toxic chemicals were stored on Okinawa is not in dispute. In January 1971, the American government embarked on Operation Red Hat, which it deemed “one of the most difficult operations ever accomplished by the United States military forces.” The operation, which was detailed in a military public relations video, involved the moving of 13,000 tons of toxic munitions from Okinawa to Johnston Atoll.

DLG’s client moved barrels of chemicals as part of Operation Red Hat. He even received a certificate commemorating his participation, and this ended up being a key piece of evidence in his VA Disability claim. It provided military documentation that he handled the dangerous chemical barrels – proof many other sick Okinawa veterans don’t have.

Since 2011, The Japan Times has published accounts of “hundreds of veterans [suggesting] Vietnam War defoliants were stored, sprayed and buried throughout the island.” Journalist Jon Mitchell has reported on the issue in Japanese and English, and maintains a website about Agent Orange and military defoliants on Okinawa.

In 2013, Japanese workers doing some redevelopment on a soccer park on the site of former U.S. base uncovered barrels of chemicals that had been buried. Independent testing by Okinawa City officials showed the drums and soil and water surrounding them contained high levels of dioxin, “a toxin known to cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage and hormone imbalances,” according to news reports.

To bolster the evidence in this client’s case, our DLG VA Disability team had the original Japanese government documents and lab reports about the buried barrels translated. The translation work was done by a group of  Japanese law students at Duke University School of Law.

The students translated about 20 pages of reports, including diagrams and maps. Our team also included evidence from a 1970s era military operational report that referenced “radiologic material on Okinawa.” This particular document had not previously been considered in any other Okinawa toxic chemical VA Disability claims decision.

In presenting the client’s case to the VA, his DLG attorney also refuted claims by the government’s top expert on herbicides — Alvin Young, nicknamed Dr. Orange. “Over the years, the VA has repeatedly cited Young’s work to deny disability compensation to vets, saving the government millions of dollars,” according to a ProPublica investigation. But as our team pointed out in this client’s case, most of the research Young cites is his own, not that of other researchers and scientists.

It is our hope that the evidence our team cited and their strategy in structuring their client’s appeal will also help other Okinawa vets in their VA Disability claims.

If you’re an Okinawa veteran or you’re an advocate, you should not rely on just one thing to prove exposure and make your case. The combination of military documentation, the Japanese lab reports and the client’s medical evidence contributed to his being awarded a 100 percent disability rating after initially being denied any benefit at all.

This was DLG’s first case involving an Okinawa veteran, but the team is now working on behalf of others who also served there and developed health problems as a result. If you or someone you know suffered an injury or has a condition that was caused or aggravated by your active military service, please contact us. We work with military veterans from all eras and all branches of service.

Vet Your Records: Free Legal Clinic for Veterans

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Attorney Chris Stevens will be volunteering as part of Pro Bono Week at Elon Law.

During a free legal clinic on Oct. 26, the DLG attorneys, along with Elon Law students, will be helping former military service members veterans and their family members request the veterans’ military service records.

The Vet Your Records clinic is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Elon University School of Law, 201 N Greene St, Greensboro.

“Obtaining access to one’s own records from the Armed Services can be more difficult than anticipated,” according to an organizer of the clinic. “Vet Your Records provides quick legal assistance to veterans and their families seeking copies of these records. Law students will work alongside attorneys to help veterans fill out the appropriate forms to request their records.”

Many veterans do not have copies of their service records, yet there are many reasons why someone might need these documents. Service records are crucial evidence in VA Disability and military cases, and they also are helpful in getting federal hiring preference and state benefits based on veteran status.

Veterans, their next of kin or a legal guardian may request these records. If you need help obtaining these documents, please make plans to attend this free legal clinic.

Attorney Michele Cybulski earns place in prestigious Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums

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Michele Cybulski, an attorney with the Deuterman Law Group in Greensboro, has been certified as a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, two prestigious associations of trial lawyers.

Deuterman Law Group Attorney Michele Cybulski

Membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to attorneys who have obtained million dollar verdicts, awards or settlements for their clients. Fewer than 1 percent of attorneys in the United States are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

To qualify for the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an attorney must have secured a verdict, award or settlement worth $2 million or more on behalf of a client.

“Michele’s achievement and admission into the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums is a testament to her hard work on behalf of clients,” said firm President Dan Deuterman. “She makes it her goal on every case to make sure her clients receive maximum compensation for their injuries and other losses. She and her team are wonderful advocates for their clients, and it’s no surprise that they would be recognized by our profession.”

At the Deuterman Law Group, Cybulski focuses her practice on injury cases, particularly those involving automobile, truck and motorcycle wrecks.

Cybulski graduated from the Elon University School of Law in 2009, and she joined the Deuterman Law Group the same year.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Cybulski spent 10 years with the world-renowned Center for Creative Leadership, a leader in executive education, leadership development and research. She worked with corporate executives across a wide spectrum of industries including global biotechnology, medical devices, software, and publishing, Her passion was helping companies learn how to develop core leadership competencies from within and produce more effective leaders.

She is a member of North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA), and the Greensboro Bar Association (GBA).