93.1 KISS FM – Ask A Lawyer, Part 3

Ask A Lawyer - Michael Gopin


Man 1: You’re listening to Mike and Tricia, 93.1 KISS FM.

Mike: Here we go. It’s time for our new monthly feature, Ask a Lawyer, with Michael Gopin, who joins us remotely this morning, as does Tricia. Good morning, Mr. Gopin.

Mr. Gopin: Good morning. How are you today?

Mike: Well, I’m okay, but Tricia’s in a bit of pain after taking a fall the other day. That’s why she’s broadcasting from home.

Tricia: Yeah.

Mr. Gopin: Oh, no, what happened?

Tricia: Well, unfortunately, I stepped off a curb at work, and I…next thing you know, I’m on the ground in the parking lot. Turns out I tore two ligaments in my ankle. And the worse part is that I can’t even sue anybody because it was all my fault.

Mr. Gopin: It’s not necessarily all your fault, but you do have some worker’s comp protections that…

Mike: Oh, hey.

Mr. Gopin: I don’t know if I wanna get you in trouble with the station here or anything, you know.

Tricia: Hey, nice.

Mike: Uh-oh, uh-oh.

Tricia: Good to know. I think we’re gonna need to talk off the air.

Mr. Gopin: Okay, sounds good.

Mike: But, Tricia, here’s the problem, though.

Tricia: What?

Mike: You are scheduled to be on vacation for the next two weeks anyway, so, I mean, you know, that kinda throws a wrench in that plan, I think.

Tricia: Oh, man.

Mike: Yes, yes, I know, especially since you’re home because we’re trying to prevent you from having to get surgery. So, you know…

Tricia: But that’s true, that’s true.

Mr. Gopin: [crosstalk 00:01:21]

Mike: …if that works out, I mean…

Tricia: Oh, man.

Mike: Well.

Tricia: Okay, well, maybe we’ll still talk to Mr. Gopin off the air.

Mike: However, he is available for a free consultation.

Mr. Gopin: Exactly.

Tricia: That’s right.

Mr. Gopin: Well, I hope you feel better.

Tricia: Thank you.

Mike: So do I, man, because this talking to basically a wall is really weird for me, and you know it’s all about me.

Tricia: I know, I know it is.

Mike: Okay, okay, but right now it’s all about Gopin because Michael Gopin is happening, ladies and gentlemen, so it’s Ask a Lawyer time.

Tricia: Okay, so we’ve got some questions from the app. And one of the first ones we got was Liz in East El Paso, who asks, “I work for a local company. Do they have to enforce COVID safety rules if I don’t feel comfortable as an employee?” So I guess she’s saying, “Look, I’m not digging the things that they’re doing. Is it required for them to enforce the COVID safety rules?”

Mr. Gopin: Well, there’s no uniform COVID safety rules to start with, so it’s really discretionary in terms of what the employer’s gonna do. But the employer must provide you a safe place to work. That’s the first thing they have to do. So they have to give you a safe place to work and to do so, they need to make sure that they have some protocols with regards to the COVID. You know, they need to be social distancing. They need to be…you know, have face masks and have sanitary conditions in terms of being able to wash your hands and things like that.

So I would recommend, you know, if it’s…if they’re not doing anything, I would get, you know, some of the other employees together and then bring it to management. I think if you do it in a group, you’ll have a lot more power behind you than if you do it by yourself. So if you’re not feeling comfortable and everyone else is not feeling comfortable, then I think it’s a good idea to take it to management and talk to them about it and see what you could do to ensure your safety. There’s no guarantees, of course, that an employer can guarantee your safety from COVID, but there are certain measures they can do, and I think that’s what’s important.

Mike: But let me ask you this, like in the State of Texas, though, doesn’t it usually favor employers?

Mr. Gopin: Typically, it favors employers, but this type of…this law is so brand new, I mean that’s more in terms of being terminated and so forth, when it’s definitely in favor of the employer. But in this type of situation with the laws, you know, not even really existing until a few months ago, and then there’s no real particular laws with regards to what employers do, these are just what seems to be reasonable, you know, what a reasonable employer would do in these situations. So, you have to go back and, you know, some employers let you work from home, others don’t let you work from home. Just the fact that you have to go into the office isn’t something that you could sue an employer for. They don’t have to allow you to work at home, but, you know, some do. So they just have to follow protocol to keep the workplace safe, and that’s the bottom line.

Tricia: Okay, second question we got from the app is Mary in West El Paso, who says, “Do you still have to abide by school zones right now?” Okay, so, here’s the question I have, not all school zones have blinking lights on them. Some of them are just static, you know, signs, and they don’t say, “Monday through Friday, only during school,” you know, all that stuff like that. It’s pretty much just, you know, the hours of operation of that school zone. So that’s a question I would ask too.

Mr. Gopin: And the answer is, “Yes, you still need to abide by those rules.” Some schools have administration people that are there. They may have some students there also that have special needs. So you don’t know what’s going on in that particular school. So the best advice is to definitely follow the sign and follow the rules, then there won’t be any problem.

You don’t know what a police officer’s gonna do if he sees you speeding through a school zone. The sign is a sign. I would take it as the letter of the law and abide by that rule.

Tricia: Okay, so a couple of years ago, I actually emailed the police department, and I asked the same question and the PIO, the public information officer, told me exactly what you just said. It’s pretty much up to the discretion of the officer…

Mr. Gopin: Correct, correct.

Tricia: …yeah, if there’s no light flashing. And I was like, “So even like Sunday or during the summer?” And he said the same thing. He was like, “Yeah, because you don’t know what’s going on.”

Mr. Gopin: Correct.

Tricia: And the officer could come back and say, “Well, it’s because they have some, you know, event going on or what have you.” So, yeah, I guess what you said, “Just follow those school zone signs.”

Mike: So it’s probably not best to when the police officer walks up to your window to say, “Oh, what? The donut shop was closed?”

Tricia: Oh, dude.

Mike: Right? Because…

Mr. Gopin: That may make him remember you when he goes to court.

Mike: Right? Because it’s at their discretion, that might, you know, tip it over to the side of giving you a citation.

Mr. Gopin: [crosstalk 00:06:31]

Tricia: Right, exactly.

Mr. Gopin: Yeah, I would definitely be very kind and nice to the police officer before he writes that ticket.

Mike: Okay. Before, but afterwards what have you got to lose, right?

Mr. Gopin, Yeah, well, you don’t wanna get arrested either, you know.

Tricia: That’s right, that’s right.

Mike: Okay.

Tricia: Wait till he’s out of earshot.

Mr. Gopin: That’s right. That’s the best advice.

Mike: Okay, so let’s take a break. We’ll be right back. It’s Ask a Lawyer with Michael Gopin and Mike and Tricia Mornings, 93.1 KISS FM.

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Man 1: You’re listening to Mike and Tricia, 93.1 KISS FM.

Mike: It’s our new monthly feature on Mike and Tricia Morning’s Ask a Lawyer with Michael Gopin. You can get more details on kisselpaso.com. If there’s a question you need to ask, would like to ask, would like to get some advice from Mr. Gopin on, you can use the submit audio feature on your free KISS FM mobile app. Or, you can direct message us via the KISS El Paso Facebook.

Michael Gopin and Tricia.

Tricia: Okay, Mr. Gopin, so we hear a lot about this hernia mesh thing. And, I’m not really sure I understand what the problem is with it?

Mr. Gopin: Okay, well, what it is is when you have surgery to repair a hernia, often they use a design called hernia mesh. And there have been several problems with the hernia meshes. They have a defective design, which is a manufacturing defect. And they failed to warn the patients and the medical community about these risks when they had these surgeries. And people are having major complications and major pain because of the hernia mesh and the problems that have come about because of it. They’ve had to have multiple surgeries. They’ve had pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal issues. They have had sexual dysfunction. There’s lots and lots and lots of problems that have occurred because of the hernia mesh issue.

Tricia: Okay, so we did a couple of questions online about hernia mesh surgery. So James asks, “How long after you had your hernia mesh surgery? Can you file a claim?”

Mr. Gopin: Well, typically, for a personal injury-type case, it’s two years after it happened, but with hernia mesh, it’s a little different. It’s when you have knowledge of the issue and the problem. So if that was a couple years or so after you had surgery, you learned about the issue and problem with hernia mesh. That’s when the statute of limitation runs. So it’s typically, you know, at least 10 years is what we typically see we can go back but as a case-by-case basis. But it’s when you learn of the…have knowledge of the defect and the issue that’s causing your problem with regards to hernia mesh. And there’s tens and tens of thousands of cases across the country where this improper design has caused people major issues and injuries and lots of litigation involving it.

Tricia: Okay.

Mike: Let me ask this on that. Is this hernia mesh, is it the same, or is this something totally different with hysterectomies?

Mr. Gopin: No, it’s totally different.

Mike: That’s a whole different thing, that’s a whole different mesh kind of thing?

Mr. Gopin: Yes.

Tricia: Okay, okay. Well, apparently, not everybody has symptoms or problems with it because Monica also wrote us, and she said, “I have hernia mesh implanted, but no complications. Do I have a case?” And if not, what symptoms would she have to have to…to have to experience rather, to file a case?

Mr. Gopin: Well, fortunately, for her, she wouldn’t have a case because she has no issues or problems with the hernia mesh, and a lot of people don’t. But if she would develop abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, those type of issues, it may be from the hernia mesh. She would have to go back to her doctor. The requirements that we have used in terms of accepting these type of cases if they need to do a second surgery, a revision of the hernia. So that’s our criteria in order to accept these cases. So, hopefully, she will not have that problem, and she will maintain her health and won’t have any issue with the mesh. So let’s knock on wood for her.

Tricia: Yeah, absolutely.

Mike: Mr. Gopin, typically, what is the issue with hernia meshes? Like, are they put in wrong? Is it just bad quality mesh?

Mr. Gopin: Yeah, it’s not the doctor’s issue. It’s a design flaw with the hernia mesh. And there’s many, many different mesh companies, and some of them had this defective flaw. And there’s been, you know, so many cases across the country with people who’ve had this problem. You know, people have had long-lasting permanent issues with pain in the abdomen. And sometimes the hernia mesh actually moves, and it can constrict your bowels, and it can also, you know, infect your liver. And there’s all sorts of, you know, life-threatening issues here. So it’s a real serious issue if you have these type of complications. And I would recommend you immediately go to your doctor to find out what’s going on because you can’t take these lightly if you’re having those issues.

Tricia: Yes.

Mike: And I recommend if you’re having any issues, that you get a free consultation from Mr. Gopin.

Tricia: Right, exactly.

Mike: We’ll be right back with more Ask a Lawyer, a couple of more questions with Michael Gopin on 93.1 KISS FM.

Michael J. Gopin

Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. It was two weeks after receiving his license, when he represented a person whose life had been forever changed after being blinded in a work-related incident...


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