Attorneys are accustomed to being called “ambulance chasers” or “sharks,” always interested in increasing their fees. Even if a lawyer reduces a bill for an unhappy client, that conduct may backfire if the client isn’t satisfied with the reduction. The attorney cannot later renege on the gratuitous fee discount or reduction, no matter what the reason. In a March 3, 2017, ruling, the Massachusetts Appeals Court − the commonwealth’s intermediate appellate court − held that a voluntary “professional courtesy credit” issued unconditionally to a client cannot be rescinded by a law firm when the client fails to timely pay its reduced bill. It just wouldn’t be “fair.”
Continue Reading Nice Attorneys Sometimes Finish Last

Hospitals are commonly named as defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits for claims arising from alleged injuries within their walls, but what is their exposure to liability for claims that arise from alleged sexual assaults by staff on their premises? In September 2016, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released a five-part investigative series examining the alleged epidemic of physician sex abuse in all 50 states. The series examined the purported problem of sexual abuse by physicians, including how licensing bodies discipline physicians, how cases of sex abuse are handled in each state, the ability of physicians to continue to practice despite allegations of abuse, and the effects of such abuse on the victims.
Continue Reading Claims of Negligent Hiring, Supervision or Retention Draw Hospitals into Abuse Cases

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If you are selling or acquiring an accounting practice, you need to read the AICPA’s new guidance “Transfer of Files and Return of Client Records in Sale, Transfer, Discontinuance or Acquisition of a Practice,” which clarifies the obligations of the selling and the acquiring parties and explains how to deal with clients that do not respond to the notification of the transaction.
Continue Reading Accountants M&A Alert: New AICPA Guidance on Transfer of Client Files

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As anticipated, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new regulations addressing the use of arbitration agreements in nursing home admission agreements applicable to facilities that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs. However, the scope has far exceeded what was expected. The proposed regulations only sought to ban mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of admission. The actual regulations prohibit “pre-dispute” arbitration agreements instead.
Continue Reading Is This the End of Arbitration in Nursing Home Litigation?

We have assisted many accounting firms in the creation or revision of their client engagement letters. They very often question the need to include certain provisions intended to limit their liability to their clients and sometimes ask whether the provision is even enforceable. Whether the provision will be enforced is uncertain due to the very limited case law addressing liability-limiting provisions in accountants’ client engagement letters, and there could be variations in enforcement from state to state. Nevertheless, we regularly advise our clients to include the provisions, even if enforcement is uncertain, because the provision might just be accepted and never challenged, thereby serving its purpose, even if a court strikes it down after a legal challenge. Continue Reading Deloitte’s $500 Million Sentence