February 2014 Newsletter | Attorney Richard. Pignatiello
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February 2014 Newsletter

February 1, 2014

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This publication is intended to educate the general public and is for information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Prior to acting on any information contained here, you should seek and retain competent counsel. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed as long as the newsletter print edition or text edition is copied in its entirety.



News to Use
February 2014 Edition




"..the only way someone should lift weights, is if they pay you to do it..."

A phone call came saying that a friend was getting all the old guys together for dinner. Those of us who lifted weights together at Vince’s Gym on West 25th during the 1970’s. When I walked into the restaurant that day I saw many old faces. And a lot of new hips and knees.

For me, it started with seventh grade St. Columbkille CYO football. I figured if I would never be tall, I could still be strong. That Christmas I remember my mother took my side. I wanted weights for my gift. And my father thought that was absurd. He said the only way someone should lift weights, is if they pay you to do it. I got my weights.

When I followed my cousins to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio I took my weights with me. The building manager let me use an unrented apartment to set up a weight lifting room. It had no utilities. No electricity. No heat. When not in class or working, you’d find me there. Alone and lifting. I liked it. I was good at it. When people would ask me my secret, I told them. When your center of gravity is as low to the ground as mine is, its easy.

Richard Pignatiello with powerlifting trophiesWith my friend, Randy Haddad, we started the Miami University Weight Lifting Club. As a typical college student, I had no money. And in my senior year that March of 1978, there was a national Powerlifting Championship in Shreveport, Louisiana. Miami University paid for my airplane ticket. I was the only one they sent to represent the school. I placed 15th in the nation.

During law school at Cleveland Marshall, I continued to compete. But it was harder. I was working to pay for school, maintaining my grades and training. The newspaper reported that I had made a “clean sweep” at the Ohio State Powerlifting Championships. I placed first in both Senior and Junior divisions. My lifts included a 700 pound squat lift which was a new Ohio State record. Other lifts included 380 pounds in the bench press and 605 pounds in the deadlift for a total 1,685 pounds. I was awarded Master lifter status from the United States Powerlifting Federation and qualified for Nationals again.

My coach asked me to give him three years. He said he could make me national champ. But at that Weightstime, powerlifting was not an Olympic sport. And I was about to graduate from law school. I was a law clerk for Alvin I. Krenzler of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals. And soon, I would be enrolled at the University of Miami in Florida in the Master of Tax Law program.

I had to make a choice. And I was lucky. I got out before I got hurt. Sure the knees are a little creaky, but they’re still mine as are the hips. The shoulder needed a little work a few years back, but overall I have no complaints.

So I hope that this New Year brings all of us good health, great happiness and a few old friends.

Richard A. Pignatiello's signature

Yellowstone's Supervolcano

A new study has revealed that there is enough hot molten rock under Yellowstone National Park to cause an eruption with 2,000 times the force of the 1980 Mount St. Helens blast in Washington state.

Yellowstone's SupervolcanoThe magma chamber beneath Yellowstone is estimated to be a whopping 55 miles long, 18 miles wide and ranges from 3 to 9 miles below the Earth. That’s twice as big as previously thought.

Researchers believe the amount of volcanic material there could lead to an eruption that would be on par with the largest the area has seen during the last 2.1 million years.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the most recent eruption at Yellowstone occurred around 640,000 years ago, and some observers have warned that it’s overdue to erupt again.

Any large eruption would likely have major impacts – both in the U.S. and around the world. Scientists predict that huge amounts of ash and pulverized rock would be spewed into the atmosphere and fall slowly back down. Lingering volcanic material would block sunlight, leading to a decrease in global temperatures.

There is a good chance that scientists will know ahead of time if an eruption is about to happen since there are so many instruments in Yellowstone monitoring seismic activity.

Speaking of seismic activity, some researchers are of the mindset that a large earthquake is more likely to occur at Yellowstone than a volcanic eruption. Tragically, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in 1959 at Hebgen Lake near Yellowstone killed 28 people.

Lawyers Everywhere Are Never a Good Sign

From my filesMy client and I walked into the conference room together. We took the only available seats left. Located on a high floor, it was a corner room with two walls of windows taking in an impressive view of Lake Erie. In the center of the room, a large imposing conference table with an assortment of lawyers and accountants sitting around it. In the middle of the table, a telephone conference speaker so that lawyers and financial experts in Chicago and New York could participate in the negotiation.

Lawyers everywhere are never a good sign.

An owner/employee buyout was in progress. I had only been hired a few weeks earlier. My client had been insisting from that first call that this entire deal must be done fast. I had received countless documents that had to be absorbed and my client was anxious to take the offer on the table. Fast. That was my client’s goal. Get it over with.

And in fact, the opposing side was demanding it. They instituted a deadline to finalize the transaction. Take the offer or leave it. That was their position. And their deadline made my client very nervous.

The offer to my client was a good one. It was a check in the low seven figures. And it was tempting. The clock was ticking. Over and over again, my client was telling me to just take it. My client was calling me constantly saying he was going take it.

And I was urging patience to absolutely no one who was listening to me. “Let me read all this”, I had said. I wanted to understand the business and my client’s value to it. My client was not the easiest and the buyout was not my client’s idea. The sides were fighting and it was bitter. Ugly. And it got personal.

Absolutely everybody wanted it done fast. And I wanted it done right.

So at 1:00 pm that afternoon, we sat at that conference table. The lawyers and financial advisors weighed in, their voices and opinions arriving one after the other. Everyone demanding to be heard. They said their opinions as if just speaking them made it a fact. I sat. I listened. There were legal implications, financial ramifications and complicated tax burdens. The company had a deliberately intricate internal structure. For more than an hour the voices droned on.

And what I didn’t hear, I didn’t like.

I suppose it looked sudden. But I stopped the voices both near and far. I said, “We are rejecting the offer. And we are leaving”. Once outside, I turned to face my client and said, “You won’t sign that offer. And if you do, I am not your lawyer”. And for the first time, my client didn’t argue with me. As much as my client was making my job difficult, I hated what the other side was trying to do more.

We left. My client could not take any more. The fight had been brutal. It was highly emotional. Standing on that sidewalk waiting for our cars, I said to my client, “Let me do my job”. And this time, my client listened.

With the client removed from the negotiations, the tone was more professional. But the negotiations were still brutal. The first thing I told them was they could create as many artificial deadlines as they wanted. They had violated every deadline they had imposed by refusing to turn over discovery materials. We would be done, I told them, when I said we were done.

They knew now that I was firmly in charge of the situation. I had read all those documents. Every word, on every line. And I knew their company. Not better than they did, but better than they realized.

I made document requests and under threat of court order, they finally complied. I was looking for the proof I suspected existed, but they did not offer. And I found it, buried in the details.

From the very first phone call when my client hired me until the check was delivered to my client, the entire process was a total of 38 days. And the check? It was $682,000 more than their original offer.

I got it done fast. But more importantly, I got it done right.

This is a true account of an actual case from my files. Identifying information may have been changed or omitted to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

Did You Know?Valentine's Chocolate Box

The very first “chocolate box” was introduced by Richard Cadbury (yes, of the famous Cadbury family/chocolate company) in 1868 and featured a candy box decorated with a painting of his young daughter holding a kitten in her arms. Cadbury is also credited with inventing the first Valentine’s Day candy box.

In a related note, the National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend nearly $19 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. We’re guessing that Cadbury had no idea that Valentine’s Day would become such big business!

This publication is intended to educate the general public and is for information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Prior to acting on any information contained here, you should seek and retain competent counsel. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed as long as the newsletter print edition or text edition is copied in its entirety.

Contact Attorney Richard A. Pignatiello Today

We invite you to contact the Ohio law office of Richard A. Pignatiello at 216-524-1000 to schedule a free, initial consultation with our lawyer regarding your legal needs. We return phone calls within 24 hours. In addition to our regular office hours, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. We offer payment plans.

The law office of Richard A. Pignatiello is based in Seven Hills, Ohio. We represent clients throughout the cities of Independence, Bedford, Parma, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Strongsville, Berea, Middleburg Heights, and Valley View, as well as Cuyahoga County and Medina County.

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