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On this radio show sponsored by Creating a Family, Colleen Quinn, owner of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center at Locke & Quinn, joins host Dawn Davenport and Andrea Braverman, a therapist specializing infertility and alternative family building, to talk about “Choosing between Assisted Reproduction and Adoption.” For patients who have not been successful with IVF, the next decision many infertility patients face is whether they should move to third party reproduction (donor sperm, donor egg, embryo donation (or embryo adoption), or surrogacy) or should they move to adoption. Quinn addresses many of the legal aspects entailed in making these choices.

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Why Choose a Private Hospital?

Did you know you are better protected in the event of medical negligence if you choose a private hospital instead of a public one? When selecting a hospital or medical provider for medical treatment – know there is a big difference in the ability to recover for medical negligence as between them. Public hospitals, like the Medical College of Virginia, are operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and also are often teaching hospitals. Put very simply, a public hospital and its employees generally are protected from being sued by a concept called “sovereign immunity.”

What does “sovereign immunity” mean?

Sovereign immunity is a judicial doctrine that prevents the government or its political subdivisions, departments, and agencies from being sued without its consent. The doctrine stems from the ancient English principle that the monarch can do no wrong. Over the years that doctrine has been extended to protect the public purse, that is, the taxpayer’s money. However, given that medical providers at public hospitals generally have malpractice insurance, the public purse rarely is actually implicated.

Does this sovereign immunity extend to all employees of a public hospital?

Generally, so long as the employee is using some discretion in providing care, the answer is yes. In a recent Virginia Supreme Court case handled by our law firm, Pike v Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Supreme Court extended this immunity to nurses as well.

So can there be any recovery at all when sovereign immunity applies?

There is a very limited recovery of up to $100,000 available if notice is given within one year of a claim under the Virginia Tort
Claims Act for claims arising from the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any Commonwealth employee while acting within the scope of his or her employment. However, most cases of medical negligence involve injuries and damages well exceeding $100,000.

On the other hand, private hospital and provides cannot claim sovereign immunity. If they cause injury due to medical negligence, they can be liable up to the statutory medical malpractice cap in Virginia of two million dollars.

What does this mean?

While all hospitals and medical providers, regardless of whether they are public or private, generally strive to provide the highest
standard of care, medical mistakes can and do happen. Just be sure to be educated on the concept of “sovereign immunity” and how it can impact possible recoveries for such mistakes when you choose public hospitals and medical providers over private ones. There is a big difference in a recovery of up to $100,000 versus up to two million.

Assessing cases of medical negligence requires very experienced legal counsel. This article provides general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. For more about Ms. Quinn, please visit Colleen Quinn, Esq..

Learn more about Medical Negligence

In this radio show segment, Colleen Quinn addresses the topic of automobile liability, including the comparison of Virginia’s contributory negligence (fault) system versus the comparative negligence systems of the majority of states. Colleen also explains the concept of “maximum medical improvement (MMI)” as well as “uninsured motorist insurance coverage” and “negligent entrustment” (when the keys to a vehicle are given to someone that the giver knows will be a dangerous driver). Answers to prevalent automobile liability questions are provided in this segment, as Colleen explains why motorists should be cautious about signing releases following an accident, how worker’s compensation factors into the recovery equation, how liens can effect the amount recovered, how contingent fee contracts with attorneys work, and what information should be brought into Colleen’s office when the injured party decides to come in for their free auto case consultation at Locke & Quinn.

Product liability law involves issues with anything available for purchase. Listen as attorney, Colleen Quinn discusses three primary types of product liability cases: defect in design, defect in manufacturing, or failure to warn of a potential danger. Colleen details examples of prior cases in each of these three areas including a case about an exploding soda bottle, an improperly designed weight machine at a gym that resulted in crushing a finger, glass in a soda can, and a dead mouse in a potato chip bag. In addition to case examples, Colleen also provides answers, in this radio segment, to many of the questions that arise in product liability cases, such as: “Can medical devices like artificial joints be the subject of a product liability case?”, “What role does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) play in protecting the public from faulty food and drugs?”, and “What sort of evidence and/or witnesses might be necessary to be successful in a product liability case?”

Attorney Colleen Quinn discusses issues relating to employment law in Virginia including the hiring and firing of employees, workplace discrimination, and harassment. Quinn details which groups are protected under Virginia law from discrimination by their employer and what kind of accommodations employers have to provide disabled and other employees. Lastly, Quinn discusses sexual harassment in the workplace and just how far employers and fellow employees can go before they’ve crossed the line. So, if you’ve ever wanted to know if you could be fired for having blue hair, wearing a yamaka to work or if your employer can say “hey, nice legs”, give this radio clip a listen.

In this radio clip, attorney Colleen Quinn discusses adoption law and details the process of adopting a child. As President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Quinn is an expert in adoption law. Quinn answers questions regarding how one starts the adoption process, the differences between adopting domestically and internationally, and the average length and cost of the adoption process. However, Quinn isn’t just focused on parents adopting in this segment, she also discusses birth parents rights, including the rights of birth fathers, and how a placing parent would go about placing their child for adoption. Lastly, Quinn’s years of experience have led to many heartwarming or funny anecdotes which she shares in this radio clip.

In this radio clip, attorney Colleen Quinn talks about the legal aspects of surrogacy. Quinn is the current President of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys and is recognized as an expert in surrogacy law. Quinn answers questions about how to choose a surrogate, what type of screening surrogates should receive and the typical cost of surrogacy to the intended parents. She also details the difference between a surrogate being a compassionate carrier versus an arms-length carrier, and how that changes the costs of surrogacy. Lastly, Quinn details the legal rules of surrogacy including which states don’t allow surrogacy (this one may surprise you) and the legal rights over the child while it’s being carried by the surrogate.

“Female members of Virginia State University’s faculty and staff have filed suit against the university and its governing board alleging gender-based pay disparities, sexual harassment and favoritism, and retaliation when they complained.

The separate suits were filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Deborah Goodwyn, associate professor of languages and literature; Zoe Spencer, associate professor of sociology and social work; Sandra Evans, director of the first-year experience program; and Bridget Wilson, associate director of student health services.

Evans and Wilson both allege they were victims of unwanted sexual advances and harassment by Dr. Michael Shackleford, who left VSU on Dec. 31 after serving as vice president for student affairs and then as a professor. Shackleford is included in lists of male colleagues earning higher salaries in the suits by Goodwyn and Spencer.”

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2016 Women of Excellence Awards

Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of Locke & Quinn, as well as the Quinn Law Centers (including the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center and the Women’s Injury Law Center), was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Colleen was among three other award winners that evening, recognized in categories such as Community Leader, Rising Star, and Student Entrepreneur. The post below is from the March 17, 2016 Richmond Times-Dispatch article about this year’s event.

‘Creative and Courageous’ Entrepreneurs Honored by Women Business Owners

Four Richmond-area women were honored Thursday evening with 2016 Women of Excellence Awards by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

“The women who are honored at the dinner represent some of the most creative and courageous entrepreneurs in our region,” Myra Howard, president of the NAWBO Richmond Foundation, said before the event. “They exhibit passion, courage and perseverance and all have exceptional stories of relevance.”

Danielle Gildbert

Danielle Gilbert, administrative director in human resources with Bon Secours Richmond Health System, won in the Community Leader category. Gilbert is a high-performing person who is committed to the evolving mission of Catholic health care and volunteerism, according to the association’s write-up about the award winners.

Katherine Wintsch

Katherine Wintsch, founder and CEO of The Mom Complex, a consultancy firm, was honored as the Rising Star. Wintsch is a leading expert on modern motherhood and, as the founder of a consulting firm, companies rely on her and her team to reveal the good and the bad behind motherhood and turn those insights into new products and services for mothers. She also served as the 2015 Richmond Christmas Mother, which provided Christmas gifts for children in need and supported Christmas-related projects throughout the area. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has sponsored the annual fund drive since 1935.

Erica Amatori

Erica Amatori, a student at the College of William and Mary, was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Amatori is an entrepreneur, student-athlete and scholar in business and psychology. She founded a software company and created a nonprofit.

Colleen M. Quinn

Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of Locke & Quinn, won Entrepreneur of the Year. Quinn practices in the areas of adoption and surrogacy, personal injury, employment law and estate planning. She is the president-elect of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys.

Event Speakers and Attendees

About 300 people attended the event at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa Short Pump. Virginia first lady Dorothy McAuliffe opened the program. Lisa Schaffner, director of public relations and marketing for United Network for Organ Sharing, commonly known as UNOS, was the emcee.

The keynote speaker, business owner and author Christie Garton, imparted advice on motivating millennials — who she identified as people born from 1977 to 2000 — as employees and consumers. “Millennials are influential not only for their size (a quarter of the U.S. population) but also as consumers (purchase power of $1.3 trillion annually),” Garton, 36, said before the event. Garton is founder and CEO of 1,000 Dreams Fund, a nonprofit whose purpose is to support the dreams of young women with $1,000 scholarships, and creator of UChic, a lifestyle brand for teenage girls and young women.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Richmond National Association of Women Business Owners Foundation, which supports the educational programs of the Richmond Chapter of NAWBO.

Read the full story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch article ‘Creative and courageous’ Entrepreneurs Honored by Women Business Owners by Carol Hazard.