bed bugs nymphs and adults

Bed Bugs

A recent article in the Martinsburg Journal newspaper discusses some of the bed bug infestations at The Cottages of Martinsburg, a residential complex in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

The article explores some of the harms that come from a bed bug infestation.  There is tremendous annoyance and inconvenience, both from the bugs and from the treatments.  There is the potential loss of valuable property, such as bedding and furniture.  There are the bites themselves.  And, of course, there is embarrassment when someone else learns you have bed bugs.  These problems are made much worse when a landlord is is slow to respond or unresponsive.

A great source of information on bed bugs comes from an EPA website page:  There are a tremendous amount of useful tips, including the six step process for getting rid of bed bugs.  Its third step, which is very important to all of us, is to:

Keep the Infestation from Spreading
-Anything removed from the room should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and treated.
Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left for an extended period of time to ensure any active bugs are dead (research shows variation in the length of time needed, but it can be as long as a year).
-Empty the vacuum after each use.
Seal the bag and throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
-Don’t discard furniture if you can eliminate the bed bugs from it.
-If furniture cannot be salvaged, discard it responsibly. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
Use spray paint to mark furniture with “Bed Bugs.”
-Take steps to have infested items picked up as soon as possible by the trash collection agency.

If you live in The Cottages of Martinsburg, or other residential complex, and have had a bed bug issue, contact us to discuss whether there are any legal actions that you can take.

Laura Davis rocked at Harvard Law School!

Attorney Laura Davis

Attorney Laura Davis

Skinner Law Firm congratulates Attorney Laura Davis for successfully completing the American Trial Lawyers Academy’s Ultimate Trial Advocacy:  Art of Persuasion program. This prestigious advanced training for experienced trial lawyers is administered by the the American Association for Justice and The National College of Advocacy at Harvard Law School.

Through this intense week long program, Laura further improved her advocacy skills in many important areas:  forming relationships with the jury; using demonstrative evidence effectively; and countering negative juror perceptions and behavior. The sessions provided:  techniques on capturing, holding, and directing the jury’s attention; workshops on storytelling and theme creation; and trial psychology. She was able to practice and master many new skills in the small workshops.

Effective trial advocacy not only requires a high degree of intelligence but also excellent communication skills. Making and keeping a connection with every jury member is no easy task, especially when you have multiple generations serving on a jury. This prestigious training will further improve Laura’s advocacy for the victims of wrongdoing. Skinner Law Firm is proud to celebrate her for being accepted to and completing this program.

Stephen Skinner selected as a Super Lawyer

Attorney Stephen SkinnerStephen was selected this year as a WV Super Lawyer. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. Stephen is one of three Super Lawyers in the Eastern Panhandle for personal injuries. Stephen is currently the only Super Lawyer in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan Counties for Bad Faith Insurance, Brain Injury, Consumer Law, Lemon Law, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Trucking Accidents, and Wrongful Death.

“I’m very grateful to receive this honor, and I’d like to thank the great team at Skinner Law Firm, including my brother Andrew Skinner and my partner Laura Davis and my associate lawyer Bryan Gray, along with  our fantastic staff, because I couldn’t do it without them.” – Stephen Skinner

Stephen Skinner Receives 2011 “Living the Dream” Award

The Skinner Law Firm is proud to share the news that Stephen Skinner was recently awarded one of five “Living the Dream” awards given annually by the Martin Luther King, Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission. Each year in honor of Dr. King, the Commission selects five “individuals who best exemplify, through action or personal traits, the principles and ideals characterizing King in his pursuit of social change.” Stephen received this prestigious award in the category of Human and Civil Rights, the category recognizing a person who has been actively involved in the pursuit of equality for others as an advocate for social change. Stephen is founder and current board president of Fairness West Virginia, a statewide civil rights advocacy organization. Under Stephen’s leadership, this group focuses on issues that include employment and housing discrimination, safe schools, and hate crimes. Other recipients of this year’s award were Rabbi Victor Urecki (Advocate of Peace), Professor Charles DiSalvo (Scholarship), and Delegate Clifton Moore (Governor’s “Living the Dream”). Stephen was pleased to receive the award at the same time as one of his favorite law school professors, Charles DiSalvo.