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10 Questions to Ask your Law Firm Vendor Management Program (Part 1)

Law firms providing mortgage servicer clients default-related legal services are vendors, and financial services companies need to treat them as such. Not only that, law firms often interact directly and continuously with...more

Some Legislation of Interest

With the end of the 2016 Maryland legislative session and the completion of bill signings by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., PK Law highlights several bills of interest to our readers: HB 185: One of the few pieces of...more

Debt Collection Litigation in the Cross Hairs: CFPB's Consent Order Against New Jersey Law Firm Creates More Problems Than...

Lightning can strike twice. With the ink barely dry on the Consent Order against the Hanna Law Firm (Hanna) in Georgia, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) yesterday took action against another debt...more

Real Estate E&O Policy Exclusions Arising from Bank-Owned Properties

From the 2015 PLUS Conference session “2015 Real Estate E&O Trends,” Mike Smith (Axis Insurance Services), Eric Myers, RPLU (Victor O. Schinnerer & Co.) and Gary Shendell (Shendell & Pollock) discuss the real estate E&O...more

When do healthcare defendants want to be accused of malpractice?

Most injury or wrongful death cases against hospitals, health care facilities, and health care practitioners are governed by the procedures in Fla. Stat. 766, also known as the Medical Malpractice Act. This Act itself is highly technical and specialized; medical malpractice claims come with a short statute of limitations of just two years. more

Feds Go After Websites Selling Suspect Medicine and Devices

Partnering with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, the FDA last month put the screws to more than 1,000 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous drugs and medical devices directly to consumers.more

The Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations in 2015

The Emergency Care Research Institute, (ECRI) Patient Safety Organization (PSO) has issued its 2015 “top 10 list” of safety concerns for multiple healthcare settings, such as hospitals, ambulatory care centers, doctor’s offices and nursing homes.more

DTSC Releases Final Priority Product Work Plan

On April 16, 2015, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its much anticipated Final Priority Product Work Plan under the Safer Consumer Products Regulations. The Work Plan, initially proposed on September 12, 2014, describes product categories it will use to evaluate and identify product-chemical combinations to be added to the Priority Products.more

U.S. Supreme Court case examines authority of state health care licensure boards and patient safety

Many individuals may find comfort in the knowledge that their doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals are required to pass rigorous testing in order to receive their licenses. These licenses are issued by each profession’s state licensure board.more

Unprofessional Marketing: Illinois Appellate Court Denies Professional Liability Coverage for TCPA Violation

On November 26, 2014, an Illinois appellate court held that a professional liability insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured for a class action brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because the insured’s robocalls did not constitute conduct of the insured’s business “in rendering services for others,” as required by the policy. Margulis v. BCS Ins. Co., 2014 IL App (1st) 140286 (Nov. 26, 2014).more

ABA Takes Restrictive Approach to Use of Law Firm Letterhead in Debt Collection - ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Formal Opinion 469 (November 12, 2014)

Brief Summary: The American Bar Association (ABA) has concluded that a prosecutor who allows a debt collection company to use the prosecutor's letterhead to demand payment from borrowers violates Model Rules 8.4(c) and 5.5(a) if the prosecutor has not reviewed the underlying facts or the contents of the letter. The opinion suggests that the same conclusion would also apply to lawyers other than prosecutors. Complete Summary: The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility addressed the ethical issues that arise when a debt collection company contracts with a local prosecutor's office to use the prosecutor's letterhead in debt collection efforts. The committee concluded that prosecutors who participate in such a system violate Model Rules 8.4(c) (dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation) and 5.5(a) (unauthorized practice of law). Please see full Publication below for more information. more

The enforceability of a trust accounting clause’s failure-to-object provision (the non-judicial settlement of trustees’ accounts)

It is common for the accounting clause of an inter vivos trust instrument to contain a provision along the lines of the following: “The written approval of such an account by the person or persons thus entitled to such account (OR THE FAILURE TO OBJECT TO SUCH AN ACCOUNT WITH (60) DAYS AFTER IT IS RENDERED) shall as to all matters and transactions stated therein be final and binding upon all persons (whether in being or not) who are then or may thereafter become entitled to share in either the principal or the income of the trust or share for which the account is rendered, except to the extent that such accounting involves the enlargement or shifting of the beneficial interest of any beneficiary of the trust.” Putting aside the inconvenient issue of whether a current beneficiary may bind in equity a future beneficiary when equitable property rights are at stake, I was brought up to take the failure-to-object feature with a grain/pinch of salt. From the trustee’s perspective it cannot hurt to have the failure-to-object arrow among the other arrows in defense counsel’s quiver, but shooting it off is unlikely to do much damage, absent very special facts. The newly-minted Restatement (Third) of Trusts suggests that such caution may be well-founded. It provides that, as a general rule, a beneficiary’s informed consent must be manifested by some affirmative act. “Consent or ratification ordinarily requires more than mere failure of the beneficiary to object to conduct that the beneficiary was aware would or did constitute a breach of trust (but cf. …[laches doctrine]…); the consent or ratification is normally expressly communicated to the trustee, orally or by delivery of a writing, although the consent or ratification may be implied by the beneficiary’s conduct in some circumstances.” See Restatement (Third) of Trusts § 97 cmt. b. One lawyer in a national law firm with a robust trust department of its own absolutely refuses to include a failure-to-object provision in his/her accounting clauses, at least when banks are the designated trustees. One wonders whether the trust instruments under which the lawyer and the lawyer’s partners are currently serving as trustee contain accounting clauses that also lack the failure-to-object feature. See generally § of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook (appointment of scrivener as trustee) [page 468-472 of the 2014 Edition]. The doctrine of laches is taken up generally in §7.1.2 of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook [pages 669-674 of the 2014 Edition]. In §5.5 of the Handbook [page 406 of the 2014 Edition], we remind the reader that a trust beneficiary, qua beneficiary, generally owes the trustee no duties, fiduciary or otherwise. See also §5.5’s introductory quotation. The topic of the non-judicial settlement of trust accounts is discussed generally in § of the Handbook [pages 538-540 of the 2014 Edition]. The text of the discussion is reproduced in its entirety below. more

HIPAA Violation Results in $1.44M Jury Verdict Against Walgreens, Pharmacist

Although HIPAA does not create a private cause of action, a recent Indiana Superior Court jury verdict demonstrates that HIPAA still could play an important role in private causes of action in state court based on negligence and professional liability as it relates to confidentiality.more

Bar President: 3Ls Should Get Paid for Internships

June 28 (Bloomberg Law) -- John Thies, outgoing president for the Illinois State Bar Association, talks with Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia about his organization's report on the impact of law school debt on the delivery of legal services. Among the changes ISBA recommends is the implementation of apprenticeships for third year law students in order to better prepare graduates to enter the profession. As current ABA rules prevent law students from receiving compensation while obtaining academic credit, ISBA's proposal would require a substantial policy change.more

Getting the Best Medical Care: a Newsletter from Patrick Malone - May 2013

In This Issue: - When Hospital Errors Follow You Home, and Into Your Soul - What Survivors of Patient Harm Can Expect - Hurting the Healing Process - Learn More About Your Rights and How to Reduce the Harms of Medical Errors - Recent Health Care News You Should Know About - Check Out Our Previous Tips - Excerpt from When Hospital Errors FollowYou Home, and Into Your Soul: An estimated 1 million hospital patients every year experience some kind of medical or nursing mistake. Some consequences are minor, others are fatal. "But even if patients are lucky enough to physically heal," says ProPublica, the public interest investigative news site, "their lives may never be the same. Sleep becomes elusive, relationships break apart and a wall of silence appears between patients and the doctors they trusted." In an article called "When Harm in the Hospital Follows You Home," offers insight about how the harms of hospital errors can endure well beyond the inpatient experience. This month we excerpt a conversation between more than 1,500 members of ProPublica's Patient Harm Facebook community and Dr. Gerald Monk, a professor at San Diego State University who specializes in the aftermath of patient harm for both patients and providers... Please see full newsletter below for more information.more

Home Loan Modification Help FAQs from the State Bar of California

Senate Bill 94 does not prevent an attorney from earning fees for helping consumers with home loan modifications. However, no one can accept fees up front for the work, nor can they place fees in their trust account. Consumers are also warned that there are FREE HUD housing counselors available and that they do not need to hire an attorney to assist them with applying for a loan modification.more

You Should Know - March 2013

In This Issue: - Silent Epidemic - Types of Abuse - Know the Red Flags - Excerpt from Learn to Spot the Red Flags of Elder Abuse: Abuse of Elderly a Growing Concern in Aging America: Right now, millions of Americans age 65 and older are being abused or neglected, often by the very people they entrust with their care and protection. Many more cases go unreported as elders are often unable, afraid or ashamed to report the abuse. This broken trust has contributed to the growing, silent epidemic of elder abuse. Whether physical, emotional or financial, You Should Know how to recognize the signs of elder abuse and help protect our most vulnerable citizens. Please see full newsletter below for more information.more

Law Firm with Inaccurate Billing Records Receives Nothing for Its Efforts

Woodland Hills Attorney Barry P. Goldberg warns his colleagues to have believable and accurate time records or risk receiving no compensation whatsoever from a reviewing court. Since the California Court of Appeal did not publish its decision on March 13, 2013, the case name and law firm will be spared mention in this article. However, the Los Angeles Superior Court trial court judgment and court of appeal decision will be the next “talked about” billing case which will circulate through law firms that regularly bill by the hour. Law Firms must endeavor to keep accurate records of billing or risk receiving nothing. At a minimum, Law Firms must have clear bills indicating exactly what work was performed, when it was performed and who performed the work. Computerized descriptions with identical time increments should be avoided. Finally, someone should review all billing statements to make certain that an attorney never bills for more than 24 hours in any given day!more

Law Prof: I May File Law School Ethics Charges

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg Law) -- Ben Trachtenberg, an associate professor at University of Missouri School of Law who has written about law schools misrepresenting incoming student GPAs, LSAT scores and graduate employment data, says he may file legal ethics complaints with state bars against those who allegedly published the bogus data. "Almost every day when I get up, I have to wonder is today the day I'm going to break down and file a complaint" with state bar ethics panels, he tells Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia. Trachtenberg would prefer ethics charges be filed by the schools that employed those who published the bogus data. "It's getting to be a little nuts that the folks who really know what's going on aren't doing anything about it," he says. He may file charges, if no one else has, once his article in the June 2013 issue of the Nebraska Law Review is published, he says. A draft of the paper is available here:

Questionable Actions of Class Counsel Did Not Merit Decertification in Class Action

This week we discuss the recent 7th Circuit junk fax class action case which determined that the misconduct of class counsel only merits decertification or denial of certification where the misconduct creates a "serious doubt" that counsel will represent the class loyally.more

Brokers – The Marine Peril of Not Knowing the Market

Two recent cases have highlighted the need for brokers to be familiar with the nature of their client’s business and the limits and exclusions of marine insurance products on the market. In both of these cases, the broker was found to have failed to have proper regard for these matters and held liable for the uninsured losses.more

CFPB gets preliminary injunction in mortgage relief assistance case

On November 16, a federal district judge in California entered a preliminary injunction in favor of the CFPB in the action it filed this past July against a law firm that offered mortgage assistance relief services to consumers.more

Getting the Best Medical Care: a Newsletter from Patrick Malone - November 2012

Some of the rewards of reading your own medical records are obvious. It's the best proven way to make sure the doctor understands everything you've tried to communicate to him or her, and vice versa. Still, many are reluctant to take the step of requesting their own records, as if they're prying into a secret space not intended for their access. Now, though, there's new scientific evidence for the benefits of getting and reading your records. That's a special thrill for me, as it validates advice I've been giving for a long time. Step One of the nine steps listed in my book, The Life You Save, advises readers to get and read your own medical records. But why, you say? Read on for enlightenment. In This Issue: - The "Adherence" Problem, and a Simple Solution - Don't Worry about Information Overload - Getting and Reading Your Own Records - Check Out OurPrevious Tips Please see full newsletter below for more information.more

Want to hire a cheap lawyer, watch out! (Part 2)

If you are in decision making process of which attorney or law firm to hire, this post informs you of an important point that will help you make that decision. So before you engage that all important counsel, you should read this post. Contact: George E. Bourguignon, Jr., Esq. Phone: (508) 769-1359 or (413) 746-8008 Website: Email: gbourguignon@bourguignonlaw.commore

Getting the Best Medical Care: a Newsletter from Patrick Malone - September 2012

In This Issue: - Are You Really Ready to Go Home? - Catching Up with Late Lab Results - Key Things to Watch for at Home - "I Want Outta Here!"One Myth about AMA Discharge - Recent Health Care News You Should Know About - Check Out Our Previous Tips - Excerpt from Introduction: You Can Go Home Again (from the Hospital), but There's a Lot You Need to Know First Thomas Wolfe may not have been thinking about hospital discharge when he wrote "you can't go home again," but he could have been. The process of going home from the hospital -- and staying home -- is so fraught with potential slips and mishaps that there is now a specific metric in hospital quality of care for the "30-day readmission rate."Usually, the lower it is the better. This month's newsletter will help you make sure the transition from hospital to home is a successful one for yourself or a loved one. It's such an important subject, and one where a well-informed family member can make a big difference, that I suggest you save this newsletter and look at it again when the time is ripe. Please see full newsletter below for more information.more

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