Accounting gavel_TS_105865310Occasionally, attorneys may get a call from an out-of-state attorney requesting them to serve as “local counsel” in a new lawsuit in their home town. Lead counsel explains, “Yeah, I just need you to file some papers, let me use your office for depositions once in a while, and tell me what the judge is like. I might even need you to attend a discovery hearing if need be.”

It sounds like a tempting opportunity to bring in new work and maybe get some easy billable time without a substantial increase in workload. But when one accepts the responsibility of being “local counsel,” traps await that may result in professional liabilities in surprising and unexpected ways.

Continue Reading Part 1: Local Counsel: Opportunity or Pitfall?

Drepressed Man TalkingAt some point in their careers, most medical malpractice defense attorneys have defended a medical facility against a claim for negligence based on one patient being attacked by another. The negligence claim is premised on a failure to properly supervise and protect a patient from another who is known to have a propensity for violence. This scenario happens in psychiatric institutions, hospitals (psychiatric units or regular floors) and long-term care facilities.
Continue Reading Patient-on-Patient Violence: Does a Negligence Case Trump a Patient’s HIPAA Rights?

medical-health-records122481179TSRecently, I was preparing my physician-client for his deposition in a medical malpractice lawsuit. At the end of the meeting, he asked me: “How can I do better in the future?” My client was referring to his entries into the electronic medical record (EMR). With the transition to EMRs, this is one question that all medical providers should be asking. My initial blogs will discuss the problems with EMR and how they present in litigation.
Continue Reading “How can I do better?” The Pitfalls of Electronic Medical Records, Part I

Nursing-Home-Care_TS-119913526State and federal regulations weren’t enacted to protect nursing home residents only from neglect and abuse. Federal law requires facilities to maintain environments that promote, maintain or enhance a resident’s quality of life. Adults have the right to make choices about significant aspects of their life in a facility. Indeed, the facility must make reasonable accommodations for the individual resident’s needs and preferences to the extent that the health and safety of the individual resident or others is not endangered.
Continue Reading Romance between Nursing Home Residents – Should the Facility Step In?

Gavel and book_TS_99074151As empty nesters, my wife and I ask each other the standard question as we sit down for dinner each night: “How was your day?” We usually exchange small talk about work, the commute and so forth. As an attorney, I am acutely aware of the attorney/client privilege, and therefore careful not to jeopardize my clients’ confidences. Sometimes, however, lawyers and other professionals can’t help disclosing facts about their work that may be deemed violative of confidences. Some may be covered by strict privileges, such as lawyer/client or physician/patient relationships. If the wrong information is disclosed to the wrong person, while not a technical violation of a recognized privilege, the professional can be exposed to claims of an ethical breach, giving rise to licensing issues, negligence claims or damage to business interests.
Continue Reading Loose Pillow Talk