Monday, December 30, 2013


            The possibility that a resident of a nursing home may fall is a very serious danger.  Every year approximately 1,800 senior citizens living in nursing homes die from fall-related injuries.  To illustrate this point a little further the CDC has compiled numbers that are shocking to say the least.  A typical nursing home with 100 beds routinely reports between 100 and 200 falls.  Only 5% of adults 65 or older live in a nursing home, but nursing home residents account for about 20% of deaths from falls in this age group.  A resident in a nursing home typically falls more than once, with the average resident having about 2.6 falls per year. 

            A fall in a nursing home can be caused by any number of reasons, but the most common include:

1)    muscle weakness and walking problems account for approximately 24% of falls;

2)    environmental hazards like wet floors and incorrect bed height cause 16% to 27% of falls; and

3)    poorly fitting shoes and improperly used walking aids round out the list. 

Falls can be prevented with a combination of treatment, rehabilitation and environmental changes.  Nursing homes are required by law to supervise their residents and provide assistive devices to prevent falls from occurring.  However, as the statistics make clear, falls continue to be a constant threat to nursing home residents, and sometimes those falls can be attributed to the nursing home’s negligence.   

If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect contact us.  These claims are complicated and challenging, and you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to evaluate your claim.  We have seen the pain caused by this form of nursing home neglect and are prepared to answer your questions.  So if you or a family member is suffering from a recent fall contact Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr  at (814) 946-4100, or go to our website at

Monday, December 23, 2013

Decubitus ulcers are also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores, and occur far too frequently.   A decubitus ulcer is defined as a localized injury to the skin and underlying tissue that usually occurs on bony parts of the body where pressure has been applied for a period of time.  The most common areas where decubitus ulcers occur are the tail bone, buttocks, back of heels, elbows and shoulder blades.  Depending on how the patient is positioned they may also occur on the ear, pelvis, hip, knee and ankles. 

The CDC released an article which found that 159,000 nursing home residents, or approximately 11%, were suffering from decubitus ulcers.  Decubitus ulcers are defined by stages, and the CDC found that the most common stage suffered by the residents were Stage II.  In this stage the ulcer may expand into deeper layers of the skin, and may appear as a shallow crater.  The skin may begin to die or become damaged beyond repair in this stage.  (For a more in depth look at the four stages of decubitus ulcers, please see the Nursing Home page on our website.)  

Decubitus ulcers may not only be painful, but they could be fatal.  Because the wound is open, the risk of infection is high.   If bacteria spread throughout the body via the bloodstream, which is known as sepsis, this could pave the way for potentially fatal complications. 

These claims are complicated and challenging, and you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to evaluate your claim.  We have seen the pain caused by this form of nursing home neglect and are prepared to answer your questions.  So if you or a family member is suffering pain from decubitus ulcers or has died from infection related to decubitus ulcers contact either Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling.  Please contact us at (814) 946-4100, or see us on our website at  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The population of Pennsylvania is aging, we are currently ranked 4th in the U.S. by percentage of population of residents age 65 and older.  This translates into almost 2,000,000 Pennsylvania residents that are 65 and older.  Pennsylvania has approximately 710 nursing homes which houses, on average, 81,000 Pennsylvania residents.  This number is only going to rise, and by 2020, Pennsylvania’s 60 and older population is expected to balloon to more than 3,000,000 people, or 25% of the total population.

With the demand for nursing home care so high and only rising, these facilities are currently understaffed, and the employees are poorly trained.  These two factors are a perfect recipe for disaster because the residents depend on the staff for the most basic requirements of life like food, water, medicine, and personal hygiene.  If a nursing home fails to provide appropriate treatment to maintain the resident’s health to the best of its ability, the facility may be negligent.  Nursing home negligence may take many forms, but the most common include: (1) failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration; (2) failure to assist with personal hygiene, including providing adequate services for incontinent residents; and (3) failure to prevent and/or treat bedsores.

In fact, two of our most recent nursing home cases have involved bedsores, otherwise known as pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers.  In both cases the nursing home failed to properly prevent and treat the bedsores and they became infected.

Because nursing home litigation can be quite complicated you need to have an attorney with the experience and knowledge to handle these claims.  If you or someone you know has been the victim of nursing home negligence please allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr and Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate your claim today to determine if you have a case against a nursing home.  Please give us a call at (814) 946-4100.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


FICTION:  Medical malpractice litigation is forcing doctors out of practice. 

FACT:  There are currently 307 physicians per 100,000 people in the United States.  Since 1990, the number of physicians has increased 40 percent while the U.S. populations seen an increase of 18 percent.  The number of doctors licensed in the United States grows each year, and is far outpacing population growth. 

FICTION: Medical malpractice is driving physicians out of states without damage caps.

FACT:  The number of physicians in every state has increased, and there are actually more doctors in states without damage caps.  In the vast majority of states, the increase in physicians has either matched or outpaced population growth.  No data has been provided to support the theory that capping non-economic damages helps states attract or retain physicians. 

FICTION:  Damage caps lower doctors’ medical malpractice insurance rates. 

FACT:  If damages are capped, insurance companies pay out less money for awards, but they will no pass those savings to doctors in the form of lower premiums.  As pointed out on the strongest example of this is in Texas.  Texas passed a restrictive damages cap in 2003.  Despite the enactment of the damages cap GE Medical Protective told the Texas Insurance Commissioner that caps had a negligible impact on rates while announcing a 19 percent increase in doctors’ premiums. 

GE Medical Protective acknowledged that “non-economic damages are a small percentage of losses paid.  Capping non-economic damages will show loss savings of 1.0 percent.”  The president of the American Insurance Association has said that “we have not promised price reductions with tort reform.” 

If you are injured, don’t allow anyone to convince you that you shouldn’t file a lawsuit.  Allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine if a valid claim exists.  We will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your claim.  Call us at (814) 946-4100.

FICTION:  Lawyers attempt to get ridiculous verdicts that drastically outweigh actual damages.

FACT:  Corporations and insurance companies have been conducting a crusade for the past 50 years to depict injured victims as greedy liars with dollar signs in their eyes.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the 2005 median award for plaintiffs who won monetary damages in civil trials was $28,000.00; only 4 percent of all plaintiffs’ awards were more than one million dollars or more. 

Tort reform advocates also argue against punitive damages.  Punitive damages serve as a sanction for behavior that is judged to be particularly reckless.  Big business has spread the myth that juries are handing out multimillion-dollar awards left and right.  Punitive damages are not awarded as frequently as the tort reform advocates claim.  The Bureau of Justice found punitive damages were awarded to only 5 percent of all plaintiffs in civil trials.  The Supreme Court also found that:

1.       Punitive damages have not increased in the past several decades with the exception of adjustments for inflation.
2.      The amounts of punitive damages rendered by juries and judges are similar. 

Most punitive damages are awarded in lawsuits that involve businesses suing other businesses.  This fact makes it seem as if businesses are fine with punitive damages as long as they are the plaintiffs

FICTION:  Greedy plaintiffs and their attorneys abuse our judicial system by taking cases to courts that are likely to give them the verdict they want even if their case has nothing to do with that jurisdiction. 

FACT:  The goal of venue reform is to bog down cases in local courts.  The insurance companies are betting that injury plaintiffs don’t have the time or resources to wage a lengthy legal fight.  They rightly assume that victims are more likely to settle for less than they deserve to avoid years of potential litigation.  Small settlements translate to less justice for victims and more profits for corporate interests. 

Smaller court systems have faced budget cuts and a backlog of cases.  Some plaintiffs have sought relief in larger court systems.  Larger court systems have several advantages over smaller, local ones including:  1) expertise to hear these complex cases; and 2) they have the resources to handle litigation in a timely and efficient manner. 

If you are injured, don’t allow anyone to convince you that you are just being greedy.  Allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine if a valid claim exists.  We will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your claim.  Call us at (814) 946-4100.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Every year nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs, and close to half of those victims are children.  1 in 5 people that are victims of dog bites require medical attention, which equates to about 900,000 Americans that received medical attention for dog bites in the past year. 

In 2012, dog bites accounted for approximately one third of settlements of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims.  Pennsylvania ranked fifth in states with the most dog bite insurance claims. 

Pennsylvania law does not impose absolute liability on an owner for dog attacks, not even in respect to a dog having vicious tendencies of which the owner is aware.  The plaintiff will need to prove negligence in order for the defendant to be found accountable for any injuries sustained because of a dog bite.  In order to prove a dog bite case, historically the claimant had to prove that the dog had bitten at least once in the past.  However, the law in Pennsylvania now is the following:  If a dog has any vicious propensities, regardless of whether it has bitten in the past, the dog’s actual bite upon you can serve as the standard for determining whether the owner was negligent.

Liability for a dog attack may even fall to a landlord.  A landlord may be held liable for injuries by animals owned and maintained by a tenant when the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. 

            Your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims.   We will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims. 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr and Attorney Aaron Ling have experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Fiction:  People are filing frivolous lawsuits that clog our justice system and take advantage of the courts.   

Fact:      The Rand Institute for Civil Justice has found that only 10 percent of injured people seek compensation and only 2 percent of them file lawsuits.  Also, since 1991, tort cases reflected only six percent of all cases filed.   Big business, corporations and insurance companies have framed several legitimate lawsuits as frivolous by selectively discussing facts or falsely reporting them entirely. (Please see our blog concerning the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case).  Additional interesting facts are:
                1.  Personal injury lawsuits have decreased by 21 percent. 
                2.  There has been a 52 percent decrease in personal injury jury trials from 1992 to 2005.  

Fiction:  Our tort system threatens business owners and job creators with frivolous lawsuits that will drive them out of our state. 

Fact:      Corporations and small business have repeatedly admitted that fear of litigation is not a high motivator for them.  The Economic Policy Institute has found that “there is no historical correlation between the inflated estimates of the costs of the tort system and corporate profits, product quality, productivity, or research and development spending.”  In 2008, a small business lobbying group, surveyed its members asking them to rate their problems and priorities.   Out of 75 issues surveyed, “Cost and Frequency of Lawsuits/Threatened Lawsuits ranked 65th.  To give this some perspective, the 64th issue that concerned businesses and corporations was solid and hazardous waste disposal. 

Fiction:  Medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs for everyone.
Fact:      Medical negligence compensation accounts for only 0.3 percent of national healthcare costs.  According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the total amount spent defending medical malpractice claims and compensating victims is $7.1 billion annually – just 0.3 percent of America’s $2.2 trillion in overall healthcare spending. 
Please stay tuned for part 2. 

If you are injured, don’t be bullied into thinking that you shouldn’t file a lawsuit.  Allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine if a valid claim exists.  Call us at (814) 946-4100.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

           It’s that time of year again when we should start thinking about winterizing our vehicles.  Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr would like to offer a few tips that will help with this process.   
  1. Check your tires - You should always check to make sure your tires are fully inflated to manufacturer’s specifications.   Usually this information is on the inside the driver’s side door. 
  2. Check your brakes - A mechanic should be able to do an evaluation of the brake pads and braking system to ensure that they are working properly
  3. Check your fluid levels - You should always check your oil, windshield washer fluid, and transmission fluid.  However, you should also be aware of your coolant levels.
  4. Check your battery - A battery that is not working properly may result in you being stranded this winter.
  5. Check your windshield wipers - If your windshield wipers are not properly clearing the windshield you may have an obstructed view of what’s ahead.
  6. Put together an emergency kit containing a cell phone, a heavy blanket, gloves, salt/sand, a flashlight, water and non-perishable food.

Now that you have properly winterized your vehicle we would like to offer some advice to prevent an accident from occurring.   You should always decrease your speed and leave at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.  Remember to brake gently to avoid skidding, and to use low gears to keep traction on hills.  Remember to keep your lights and windshield clean to increase visibility.  Be particularly careful on bridges and overpasses, which will freeze first.  You should never pass snow plows because it’s likely that the road in front of the trucks is much worse than the road behind them.  Of course, the best tip is, if you don’t have to travel in winter weather…DON’T! 

However, despite our best efforts sometimes an accident is unavoidable.  If an accident does occur it’s important to know that Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state.  Comparative negligence simply means that if your negligence contributed to the accident your damages will then be reduced by the amount of your negligence.  So please take every precaution to decrease the chances of contributing to an accident, and properly prepare your vehicle and yourself for the conditions ahead. 

Some preventative maintenance and exercising a little caution can go a long way in preventing an accident from occurring in the first place, and protecting you from liability.  However, if you are injured in a vehicle accident this winter please allow either Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron M. Ling to review your claim

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


                State Farm has released its annual deer-related collision report, and Pennsylvania is again listed as the fifth most likely state for a deer collision.  Pennsylvania drivers have a 1 in 77 chance of hitting a deer this year.  Even though the odds seem good, State Farm has reported that the odds of colliding with a deer are actually down by 4.3 percent.  The reason for the decline is simple.  There are more registered drivers on the road. 
State Farm compiled these numbers by look at the total number of deer collisions between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, and found that 1.22 million deer-related collisions occurred during that period, which they say is down by 3.5 percent compared to the previous year.  State Farm also reports that November is the most likely month for an incident to occur, followed by October and December. 
State Farm has reported that the “Top 5 Most Likely States for Deer Collisions” are as follows:  1) West Virginia; 2) Montana; 3) Iowa; 4) South Dakota; and 5) Pennsylvania.   State Farm has also provided tips for deer safety:
1.       Be aware of posted deer crossing signs, which are placed in active deer crossing areas.
2.       Deer are most active from 6-9 p.m.
3.       Use high beams headlamps as much as possible to watch for deer at night.
4.       Do not be a distracted driver.  Using cell phones and eating while driving may cause a driver to miss seeing a deer until it is too late.
5.       Deer typically travel in groups, so if you see one it’s likely there are more

At the law firm of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr we are highly experienced in handling vehicle accidents.  If you, or a member of your family have been injured in a vehicle accident please contact either Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron M. Ling, to evaluate your claim.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

20 Years Later: Get the Facts Straight about the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case!
            This case may be one of the most sensational and high profile tort cases in recent memory, and the media incorrectly reported nearly all of the facts.  This case was one that proponents of tort reform used as a rallying cry to attempt to limit jury verdicts in what they thought were frivolous cases.  Tort reformers will typically attach themselves to a case that garners national attention, and spin the facts to make the jury verdicts seem ridiculous and nonsensical.  It was reported that she was awarded 2.9 million dollars, but the actual amount was reduced to a much smaller amount.
The facts of this case prove that nothing was frivolous about her claim.  Stella Liebeck, was 79-years-old when she spilled a cup of coffee in her lap while sitting in a parked car at a McDonald’s parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The coffee that was spilled in her lap that day was served to her at a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees, which is about 30 degrees hotter than most home brewing machines.  The coffee caused her to suffer burns over 16% of her body, and 6% of those burns were third degree burns.  She was in the hospital for one week and amassed medical bills in excess of $10,000.00.  She attempted to settle with McDonald’s, but was only offered $800.00 to settle her claim. 

A seven day trial ensued, which included testimony from burn experts that liquids served at between 180 to 190 degrees could cause third degree burns within 15 seconds of contact.  To drive home the severity of the burns, the plaintiff’s attorney produced pictures of the burn area, which are quite graphic.  McDonald’s was well aware that their hot beverages were being served at dangerous temperatures.  Between 1983 and 1992 nearly 700 people had been burned by hot coffee at McDonald’s.  McDonald’s believed that because these burns occurred in only 1 out of 24 million cups sold, it was statistically insignificant.  The jurors felt differently when they awarded compensatory damages in the amount of $200,000.00.  The jury was asked whether McDonald’s should be punished: evidence showed that McDonald’s ignored hundreds of other burn claims, and chose to keep brewing the hot coffee.  Internal memos indicated that McDonald’s chose profits over safety.  Jurors awarded punitive damages against McDonald’s in the amount of 2.7 million dollars, which was based on the revenue of two days of coffee sales.  Unfortunately she was only awarded 1/6 of what the jury felt she was entitled to.  The judge in the case drastically reduced the total award from 2.9 million dollars to $650,000.00.   

McDonald’s now serves coffee at between 170 and 180 degrees, which is 10-20 degrees cooler than they previously served it.  Stella Liebeck, passed away in 2004 at the age of 91, but she is still a part of our popular culture and this case is still one of the most misunderstood cases ever reported.  To hear Stella’s story in her own words click the link below[1].  If there is one thing to take away from this case, it is that we shouldn’t be so quick to jump to the conclusion that an injury claim is frivolous.  An individual suffered very serious injuries in this case, and was made the subject of jokes and is still being ridiculed today nearly 10 years after she passed away.  She did nothing to deserve the media attention that she received as a result of this lawsuit.  She simply opened a cup of coffee that was served to her at a dangerous temperature, and she suffered damages as a result. 


Friday, October 25, 2013


                In Cambria County last Wednesday a driver waived his preliminary hearing on charges that he was responsible for the deaths of two people.  The driver was charged with among other things, texting while driving.  While the Commonwealth has a heavy burden to carry, what is interesting is that this is the first time texting while driving charges have been filed in Cambria County since the law prohibiting texting while driving had been enacted nearly 2 years ago.   This tragedy occurred close to home in Cambria County, but may have easily occurred in Blair, Centre or Huntingdon County. 

                Cases like this have serious consequence not only criminally, but also civilly.  A Victim’s family may have a claim for serious personal injuries.  At the Law Firm of Douglas V. Stoehr we have experience in handling injury claims caused by the negligence of drivers that are texting while driving.  If you have been the victim of an auto accident related to a distracted driver please give either Attorney Doug Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling a call to evaluate your case today. 

                Remember that responding to that text message can wait.  No message it worth your life, or the life another individual.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013


                If you are expecting to welcome trick or treaters onto your property this Halloween there are a couple things that you should be aware of.   First, if you are a homeowner, you have a responsibility to keep your property safe for anyone entering your property.  These people are owed a duty to be protected from certain dangerous conditions that you either caused or created, know about, or should have known about.  These types of cases are known as premises liability cases, or more commonly, “slip and fall” cases.  Second, you could be responsible for injuries if it happens on your property, and you breached the duty owed to the people entering your property.  At the law firm of Douglas V. Stoehr, we have experience in handling premises liability or “slip and fall” cases, but we would prefer that no one gets injured this Halloween.  We can provide a few tips for you to keep in mind while decorating, and getting ready to hand out candy:  
·         Make sure that your walkway, sidewalk and/or steps are well-lit and visible from the street to your front door.
·         Make sure that any dangerous conditions on walkways, sidewalks and steps are repaired or marked clearly to let people know of the dangerous conditions
·         Remove anything that may cause an individual to trip or fall while on your property, i.e., decorations and extension cords. 

If you or a family member is a victim of a premises liability or “slip and fall” case, please call either Attorney Doug Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to discuss your potential claim.   As always, remember to have fun and be safe out there this Halloween.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Halloween Danger

Safety experts have long warned that Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians.  Excited trick or treaters can easily be struck by a vehicle.  At the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr, we have experience handling cases in which pedestrians are struck by vehicles. 

Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr, would recommend that parents talk to their children about safety no matter how old they are before going out on Halloween night.  Some safety tips to help prevent injuries include, always cross at crosswalks, carry flashlights, wear reflective clothing and avoid masks that limit vision.  So be safe out there, and have a good time, but if the unfortunate does happen, Attorney Douglas Stoehr and Attorney Aaron Ling are here to discuss your potential claim. 
For those trick or treaters taking to the streets in Altoona, remember that “Trick or Treat Night,” is scheduled for Thursday, October 31st, from 6 to 8 p.m.  However, dates and times may be different for outlying communities.  For dates and times in Hollidaysburg, Bellwood, Tyrone, and Roaring Spring check with your local municipality.  Again, please be safe and have fun. 

Halloween trick or treaters

(Photo from) Bucks County’s Halloween Trick or Treat Guide 2011, photograph, accessed on 11 Oct. 2013.  <>




Thursday, October 10, 2013

Winter Sports Injuries

Being from Western Pennsylvania it’s hard not to enjoy the fall, but with the changing of the seasons we know that winter is right around the corner.  For many of us this winter will include a trip to one of the three ski resorts that serve our area.  Ski resorts can be a great place to cut loose with family and friends, but unfortunately sometimes those fun times end prematurely when you or a family member is injured.  At the law firm of Attorney Douglas V.Stoehr, we have experience in handling injuries related to skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing accidents.  Sometimes these injuries can be very serious and life altering.  If you have been injured in a winter sport activity please contact us to discuss the possibility of a personal injury claim. 

The most common causes of skiing and snowboarding injuries include:
·         Collisions with other skiers or snowboarders
·         Falls or collision with objects such as trees, fences, barriers or signs
·         Chair lift or tow line accidents
·         Accidents due to inadequate instruction from a skiing or snowboarding instructor, and
·         Accidents due to skiing or snowboarding equipment failure. 

Your personal injury lawsuit will be based on the legal theory of negligence, and can be quite complex.  Furthermore, there is a Pennsylvania Statute that generally affords a defense to these types of claims.  Therefore, if you get hurt a ski resort, contact us.  We will investigate the facts and analyze the law, and will give you an opinion as to whether you have a claim.

See our website, or contact Attorney Stoehr or Attorney Ling at (814) 946-4100.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Distracted Driving

As we pointed out in our post on Tuesday, Fall begins the season where we need to be more cautious while driving due to dangerous road conditions.  Did you know distracted driving is not just limited to cell phone use? Eating or drinking, searching for or moving an item in the car, having a very involved conversation with another passenger and even looking at a map or GPS are all factors that can take away your focus and stop you from giving your full attention to the road. 
If you are involved in a car accident, most states, including Pennsylvania, have at least one section on the incident report dedicated to distracted driving violations.  Fines and charges may increase if you are cited with one of these violations. 
In addition to fines and charges for distracted driving, you also are putting yourself and others in danger.  Please watch this video on a young Pennsylvania girl named Casey Feldman who fell victim  to a distracted driver while crossing the street. We encourage all of our readers to remember to stay focused while driving, especially as dangerous weather approaches us. 
Attorney Stoehr represents those injured through no fault of their own, including automobile and pedestrian accidents. Call today for your free case evaluation 814-946-4100.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Passing of the Honorable Thomas G. Peoples, Jr.

Re:  The Passing of the Honorable Thomas G. Peoples, Jr.
Judge Thomas peoples died on September 19, 2013, at the age of 77.  Like most people, and particularly attorneys, I had the utmost respect for Judge Peoples.  He was a man of utmost integrity, and unflappable character.  He was very loyal to his family, staff, and the people he served, i.e., the citizens of Blair County. 

 I enjoyed an inside view of Judge Peoples.  My mother, Barbara Stoehr, served as his secretary for many years in the District Attorney’s Office and later as the Judge’s secretary.  I remember Judge Peoples being mentioned at the dinner table on many occasions during high school.  Judge Peoples could be stern and seemingly inflexible.  However, this somewhat tough exterior was his way of committing to his own beliefs.  If you needed someone to jump in the foxhole with you, Tom Peoples was definitely in my Top 10. 

 Later in life I had the good fortune (maybe not, he was a tough grader!) to be a college student in Criminal Law I and II taught by District Attorney Tom Peoples.  More often than not I managed an “A” in college.  With Tom Peoples I savored my “B” in both courses!  Later I was undecided whether I wanted to go to law school.  I conferred with Judge Peoples after college, but the timing wasn’t right, and I entered the business world.  I became more serious about law school at age 30 and discussed this with him in great detail prior to application.  I was living in Virginia at the time and remember coming home for the weekend.  Judge Peoples remained in his office Friday afternoon until I arrived.  We talked for several hours in his chambers until early evening.  Perhaps our talk was not the sole reason for attending law school, but the insight he gave me was pivotal in my decision.

 Finally, I had the opportunity to try my first case as a civil litigator in a two-day jury trial before his Honor.  My mother went to high school with Judge Peoples and was still his secretary.  Perhaps a cynical person would believe that this relationship would give me the “inside advantage” with Judge Peoples.  After all, I would merely need to smile and wink, and expect favorable rulings.  It was wise on my part not to have any such expectations . . . Judge Peoples’ pretrial rulings and rulings during the trial were very even-handed.  In one instance, Judge Peoples politely listened to my objection, gave me his ice-cold stare, and overruled me with such emphasis that I wondered why I had opened my mouth.  Fortunately I won this “slip and fall” case but it had nothing to do with an alleged relationship I had with the Judge. 

 I attended Judge Peoples funeral and the Resolutions of the Blair County Bar.  I spoke with Judge Peoples’ wife, Maureen, who now resides at Garvey Manor.  I think she remembers me but it is not important.  What is more important is the admiration and love she felt from the many mourners.  The eulogy given by Court of Appeals Judge Brooks Smith reminded us that Judge Peoples was a complex man.  He was steadfast in his beliefs and unwavering in his faith.  Yet he was a common man with a dry sense of humor.  Above all, Judge Peoples was respected by all.  The Blair County Court has lost its leader and he will be sorely missed. 

                                                                                                 Attorney Doug Stoehr, Altoona


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Attorney Stoehr and Dog Bites

Recently, Pit Bulls have been receiving a lot of negative attention due to the perceived danger of the breed.  Whether you agree or disagree with this danger, the truth of the matter is that any type of dog breed can be harmful under the wrong circumstances. 

If you or a loved one have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you as a victim have rights. Many people do not know their rights and therefore fail to go after the compensation they deserve.  Dog bite laws can be confusing and may vary from state to state. Here is what you need to know about dog bite laws in Pennsylvania:

1.) Legal liability must be proven in order to receive compensation from an attack.  This means that a victim must prove that the dog owner was being negligent in order for the owner to be held responsible for the attack.
2.) Landlords may be held liable for injuries by a dog their tenant owns/takes care of if he/she is aware that the dog is a danger and fails to take action to remove the pet from the premise.
3.) If a dog is deemed "dangerous" different laws and penalties may apply. A dangerous dog is one that has a previous record of attack or has attacked without provocation or both. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving Blair and the seven surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for victims of dog bites and other types of animal attacks. For more information on his Altoona, PA area firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at

Friday, September 20, 2013

Protect Yourself From Defective Products

Defective products are unfortunately a common source of lawsuits in Pennsylvania and across the rest of the United States.  Recently, a Pennsylvania couple filed a $5 million lawsuit against Medtronic Inc., a company that manufactures the Infuse bone graft.  The couple claims the company failed to warn them about serious side effects caused from using the product. Read the article in its entirety posted by HERE

As consumers, we must always be on alert for defective products. Here are some tips to prevent you and your loved ones from falling victim to product liability:

      Research products before you buy them
-          -Beware of low-cost products – you get what you pay for
-         - Purchase products from companies with an established reputation
-          -Know your product’s warranty and guarantees 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving Blair and the seven surrounding counties in central -Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for product liability.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wrongful Death Class Action

On September 6, posted an article about a wrongful death class action filed against Fresenius Medical Care (FMC).  Click HERE to view the entire article.  Tina Nunn filed on behalf of herself, her late husband and others who have also been affected by Granuflo and Naturalyte, dialysis products made by FMC. The case has received a lot of national attention and the products have been recalled due to harmful side effects including cardiac arrest and heart attack, the latter of which Nunn’s husband was a victim of.

When tragedy strikes, even the little things can seem overwhelming.  Support and understanding is vital for the surviving family members to move forward and also for a successful case. Attorney Stoehr can help a family take care of the legal matters accompanied by an accidental death. You can count on his firm to answer all of your questions in a timely and honest manner.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving Blair and the seven surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for surviving family members who have tragically lost a loved one in an accident. For more information on his Altoona, PA area firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Attorney Stoehr Involved in Police Shooting Case

Doug Stoehr is currently representing an Altoona resident who was shot by an Altoona Police Officer on April 8, 2013.   Doug and his client preferred to avoid publicity but needed to respond to a newspaper article and TV spot about the incident.  Most recently the case was highlighted again in the newspaper, when the Altoona Mirror obtained a copy of the formal Complaint that Attorney Stoehr filed in federal court in Johnstown. 
Below is the link to the Altoona Mirror article.  Although the article is not entirely accurate, it does summarize the allegations in the Complaint.  This claim will now be litigated through the federal system, and Attorney Stoehr will work zealously to obtain compensation for his client, who was shot in the shoulder area.  This has resulted in a permanent injury for the client, and a loss of  income. 
Attorney Stoehr represents those injured through no fault of their own in Blair and the surrounding  counties.  Call Attorney Stoehr at 814-946-4100 for a free evaluation of your personal injury claim.