Commentary

So, you need a lawyer and don’t know how to find one.

So, you need a lawyer and don’t know how to find one. What do you do? You could call a friend to see who she hired. Or, you could call a lawyer who represented you in the past to see if he can handle your matter or refer you to someone who can. Or, you could merely hire someone who runs TV ads, has billboards or has local celebrities shilling for him. After all, if you order a Big Mac because it’s on a billboard, why not hire your lawyer for the same reason?

Because there’s a difference.

If you don’t like the Big Mac, you’re out a few dollars. But if you hire a lawyer because a radio host says the lawyer is a friend – even though he potentially has no clue whether the lawyer actually is good, great, or terrible – you might end up like many of the people who call our office. They went to one of the firms that spend zillions on advertising, got shuffled from one legal assistant to another, and never knew which attorney would show up for any given hearing. And then lost their cases.

They call us, and lo and behold, we discover that the case should have been handled differently. Or that the case should have settled for more, but the lawyer handling the case needed to pay his advertising bill.

Pennsylvania lawyers are required to attend 12 hours of continuing legal education each year. On March 22nd, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued the list of attorneys administratively suspended because they didn’t have the time to meet that basic 12-hour requirement. Some of these “big name” lawyers made that list because they had so little regard for their obligations.

So, you need a lawyer and don’t know how to find one. Hopefully, you now realize that hiring a lawyer is different from ordering a burger.

Ask yourself, how seriously will they regard their obligations to you if they can’t even bother to spend less than two days taking the courses designed to keep them up-to-date on the law that impacts you – their clients? Is that the kind of person you want representing you?

You will never find anyone from our firm on that ignominious list. Why? We want to learn about current and cutting edge legal issues, and we are a firm that teaches the courses that other lawyers are required to attend. In 2017 alone, Havertown Attorney Dan Siegel taught dozens of CLE courses, was on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the continuing legal education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and has just been appointed Chair of the American Bar Association Law Practice Division’s Continuing Legal Education Board.

So, the next time you need a lawyer to handle your personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, skip the billboards and ask a friend or lawyer you trust. And if you don’t find someone, then hire the lawyers who are leaders not only in the courtroom but also in the rooms where lawyers learn from the experts.

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Underdogs – The Philadelphia Eagles Theme Resonates for This Lawyer

By now, everyone has heard about the Philadelphia Eagles and their rise to football supremacy as underdogs – the team that no one respected. On Sunday, we’ll see if the Eagles prove just how underrated and disrespected they were by winning the ultimate NFL prize, the Super Bowl.

Many people have expressed disbelief that being an underdog, or being disrespected, can be a motivator. I can attest that it can be and is a tremendous motivator. I know from experience, and have used that experience to motivate me even more to assure the best results for every client.

 In law school, I had no interest in joining a large firm, and never seriously attempted to be on law review. As a result, classmates (and some law firms) didn’t take my legal skills seriously.

As a lawyer, I have always practiced in small firms. Invariably, when involved in cases with attorneys from large firms, I could sense their assumption that I was not as capable as they were because they were on law review, or came from a more prestigious school than Temple, from which I graduated, ignoring the fact that many of our region’s finest lawyers attended this hometown law school.

When I ventured out as a solo, the stigmas became more obvious, and sometimes lawyers did not hide their derision. Then they would read one of my briefs, or hear my oral argument, and their perspective changed, dramatically. Just last year I was hired as appellate counsel in a complex personal injury matter that the trial court had dismissed. I called opposing counsel to request an extension of time to file our brief. Our conversation was laden with condescension.

Then my opponent, a graduate of an Ivy League university and a “top 20” law school (compared with Temple’s ranking at number 50), and a partner at a large firm, received my brief, and heard the argument in the appellate court. His attitude became far less superior, and it changed even more when the court ruled in my client’s favor and reversed his victory. Even worse, his client hired another lawyer to handle the case.

I have always had confidence in my skills, and know that there is a reason judges regularly comment about the quality of my firm’s work. One Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice recently approached me out of the blue, and began to tell me (in front of numerous other attorneys) how “exceptional” and “extraordinary” my brief was in a case that had been argued earlier that day.

Each of us measures our success differently, and each of us uses different tools to motivate ourselves. For me, the fact that some lawyers believe they are superior because of where they went to law school motivates me not only to win but also to demonstrate that my decision to live at home and attend one of the finest law schools in the country, albeit not one in the “top 20,” does not mean that my skills are better, or worse, than an attorney who graduated from another school.

When I consider the number of precedential cases in which I have served as counsel, I understand fully why the Philadelphia Eagles wear their underdog status as a badge of honor, and use it to help drive them toward a championship. Each of us must earn respect from our colleagues, and often the only way to do so is to defeat a supposedly “superior” opponent. Underdogs understand how hard they have to work to gain respect – and win. Let’s go Eagles!

 

 

 

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Social Security Disability Claimants Face Long Delays Waiting for Hearings

It takes an average of 23 to 25 months until a Social Security Disability claimant has their hearing. Don’t take our word for it, you can read it on Social Security’s website at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html. That’s a long time, and one that neither the claimant nor counsel can control. Worse, the 25 month wait time for the Philadelphia office is the longest in the country.

In fact, one of the toughest things our office has to do is explain the length of the process to people applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Even worse, that’s not the full story. Because those people must first apply for benefits and wait for that preliminary decision, which generally takes three to six months. Only then can they request a hearing before a Judge and get into the two-year long line.

We represent many of the claimants in the Philadelphia area who are feeling the effects of this crippling backlog. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, these are the disheartening statistics:

  • The average wait time for a hearing in Philadelphia is 26 months
  • The average wait time for a hearing in Elkins Park is 20 months
  • The average wait time for a hearing in South Jersey is 23 months
  • There are more than 10,000 Philadelphians currently awaiting hearings
  • 8,699 Americans died in 2016 while waiting for a hearing
  • Each Philadelphia office has more than 5,000 pending cases, but no more than 8 Judges

While no attorney can speed the process, they can offer guidance and preparation to help improve your chance at success. Our office regularly represents clients seeking Social Security benefits at every stage of their claims, including administrative hearings, and even in Federal District Court. The claims process involves complicated paperwork, appeals can be confusing, and the long wait for hearings makes everything seem worse. But we have the knowledge and experience to help guide you through the process. If you are considering a claim or have been denied, call our office at 610-446-3457 and we will explain the process and help you prepare your application or appeal properly.

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Federal Court Rules That Workers’ Compensation Settlements Apply Only to Workers’ Compensation Matters

On September 11, 2017, in Zuber v. Boscov’s, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an injured employee does not waive claims to FMLA and other benefits by settling his Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim and signing a Compromise and Release Agreement (C&R).

In Zuber, Boscov’s fired the injured worker after he returned to work and requested additional medical leave to care for his injuries. Although Boscov’s approved the request, it fired Mr. Zuber shortly thereafter. A few months later, the store settled Mr. Zuber’s workers’ compensation claim. As part of the settlement, the parties signed a C&R Agreement, which is required under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. When Mr. Zuber sued Boscov’s under the FMLA, the federal trial court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that it was barred by the language of the C&R. The 3rd Circuit reversed.

The 3rd Circuit ruled that the language of the C&R is governed by contract law and only applies to “matters which may be fairly said to have been within the contemplation of the parties when the release was given.” The Court also agreed that the C&R was limited to Mr. Zuber’s workers’ compensation claim.

Our office assisted the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, which filed an Amicus (friend of the court) brief. We have regularly challenged the use of C&R Agreements to prevent injured workers from filing other claims not related to their workers’ compensation claims.

(By Daniella A. Horn, Esquire)

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Pick a leader, not a law firm that plays follow the leader — and takes credit for the leader’s success

We all remember the childhood game of “Follow the Leader.” Some lawyers still play the game, and want to take the credit for the leader’s work. The recent Court decision in Protz v. WCAB in which Attorney Dan Siegel authored the friend of the court brief for the Pennsylvania Association for Justice — which invalidated the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) process under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, is a great example. Just look around, watch the ads on TV, and listen to your radio to learn about all the law firms who suddenly are “there” to help the injured workers whose benefits were increased as a result of Protz. They are the followers.

In a recent email, one law firm, which devotes countless dollars to advertising,  admitted that the firm had “been waiting” for the decision, which it described as “the most significant workers’ compensation decision in years, if not decades. The recent ruling should ensure that thousands of injured workers across the Commonwealth will continue to receive necessary benefits aligned with the true extent and duration of their injuries.” I thank the firm for acknowledging that the lawyers handling Protz ensured that thousands of injured workers across the Commonwealth will continue to receive necessary benefits aligned with the true extent and duration of their injuries. I also thank them for acknowledging that “Pressure and time were key to this monumental decision.”

Who applied the pressure? Not the firm quoted above. The lawyers who championed this cause included Dan Siegel, Thomas Baumann of Abes Baumann in Pittsburgh (who authored a terrific brief and argued the case superbly before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court), Larry Chaban, Brian Steiner, and a small group of lawyers who discovered the issue and were determined to fight until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled. Most firms did nothing; many never even realized that there were Constitutional problems with IREs. One firm now brags that since 2016 they were “denying ALL IRE requests.” Our firm – the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC – has  objected to having our clients attend IRE exams since 2010 (more than six years before the follower firm began to follow the leaders).

Most importantly, insurance companies defending against our cases made generous settlements to avoid facing our firm in a Pennsylvania appeals court. 

It is easy to jump on a bandwagon, but our firm has been willing to take the lead and fight in court, where results matter, not just in newspaper articles, where bravado can win the day. Our successes mean that injured workers throughout Pennsylvania receive more benefits — and we have always fought to expand the rights of all injured victims. Consider the list of precedential cases handled by Dan Siegel:

Verizon Pennsylvania Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Ketterer), 2014 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 162 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Mar. 12, 2014)

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that a physician must have an active clinical practice, i.e., the physician must provide preventive care and the evaluation, treatment and management of medical conditions, at least 20 hours per week, in order to be qualified to perform Impairment Rating Evaluations under Section 306(a.2)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 551.2(1).

Ferguson v. Morton, 2013 PA Super 329, 2013 Pa. Super. LEXIS 4574 (Pa.Super. 2012)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court’s order granting a new trial based upon the inflammatory closing argument by plaintiff’s counsel. In particular, the Court held that trial court erred in presuming that the jury’s verdict improperly included punitive damages. Thus, the trial court abused its discretion by concluding that the summation so prejudiced the jury as to require a new trial.

Commonwealth v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Harvey), 993 A.2d 270 (Pa. 2010)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed that the use of actuarial data to calculate pension offsets for injured employees who also receive pension benefits from a defined benefit plan. By not foreclosing a claimant’s ability to challenge the calculations and the assumptions underlying them, injured workers may still employ actuaries to establish when improper and inaccurate calculations form the basis for a claimed offset.

Philadelphia Gas Works v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Amodei), 964 A.2d 963 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2009)

This en banc Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decision held that when an employer seeks an offset from workers’ compensation benefits for pension benefits paid to an injured employee, the offset must be calculated based upon the net amount of the benefits received by the worker.

McElheney v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Kvaerner Phila. Shipyard), 940 A.2d 351 (Pa. 2008)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a worker injured while on a ship in a graven dry dock was not injured upon the “navigable waters of the United States,” and was entitled to benefits under both the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court ruled that the graven dry dock, which by definition was cut and dug out of the land, was not within the limits of the navigable waters of the United States.

Thorne v. Miller, 317 N.J. Super. 554, 722 A.2d 626 (1998)

This is the first reported case in New Jersey to address the obligation of a driver who waves or signals another vehicle into traffic. The trial court held that a driver who waves to another driver to proceed is under a duty of reasonable care that, at the least, requires the driver who waved to observe whether traffic conditions were such as to allow the other driver to proceed without accident; whether, in this case, the waving driver breached that duty and whether the breach was a proximate cause of the accident is for the jury.

Smith v. Pulcinella, 440 Pa. Super. 525, 656 A.2d 494 (1995)

This Pennsylvania Superior Court decision extended to general negligence cases the malpractice doctrine that, where the conduct of two or more tortfeasors causes an injury, and the damages cannot be reasonably apportioned among the negligent parties, any one of the tortfeasors may be held responsible for the entire verdict if that party’s negligence was a substantial contributing factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries.

Curran v. Greate Bay Hotel & Casino, 434 Pa. Super. 368, 643 A.2d 687 (1994)

This Pennsylvania Superior Court en banc decision analyzed when a verdict may be reduced under the Comparative Negligence Act, and also held that the failure to request the correction of an inconsistent jury verdict constitutes a waiver of any objection to the verdict.

Denny’s v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (Stanton), 142 Pa.Cmwlth. 531, 597 A.2d 1241 (1991)

This Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decision specified those actions by employees that are in furtherance of an employer’s business, thus requiring an employer to provide worker’s compensation benefits to employees injured under the circumstances.

Walsh v. City of Philadelphia, 526 Pa. 222, 585 A.2d 445 (1991)

This Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision defined the nature of permissible claims against municipalities under the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act, and outlines the standard for the types of injuries for which local governmental bodies are responsible for damages under the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.

So, when you are seeking a lawyer, consider whether they are willing to truly fight, or if they prefer to follow the leader.

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Oral Argument Matters – Here’s Proof

There are some attorneys and judges who say that oral argument doesn’t matter. Today I have proof that it does.

On May 10, 2017, I argued the case of Erie Insurance v. Bristol before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. When I filed the petition asking the Court to take the case, the court rephrased the issue (the legal argument we wanted the Court to decide) in a very broad and somewhat unusual manner that changed the focus of the case. When we filed our Brief, we addressed the issue framed by the Supreme Court but also outlined why the argument that we had originally asserted was still relevant. This required filing a nuanced brief that responded to the Court’s concerns while also advocating for our client in the manner we believed to be most effective.

At oral argument, the Court questioned me at length (nearly 25 minutes) about whether the Brief we filed had addressed the issue as rephrased by the Court. While we believed that the Court could decide the case based on the rephrased issue, the argument focused primarily on whether the Court should have ruled based on the question we originally presented. Fortunately, I was prepared (and spent two days preparing for the argument) and was able to address the Court’s concerns.

Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – in a highly unusual action – issued an Order agreeing to decide the issue as we had originally framed it (6 Justices joined in the Order, 1 dissented). I do not believe that the Court would have issued this Order today without the benefit of oral argument.

Click here to read the Court’s Orders.

Click here to view the oral argument.

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Attorney Dan Siegel Named Pa. Workers’ Compensation “Super Lawyer” – Will Anyone Know?

For the 10th consecutive year, Havertown Attorney Daniel J. Siegel has been named a “Super Lawyer” in the area of workers’ compensation (representing claimants/injured workers and medical providers). Dan, who is also the author of Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law: The Basics: A Primer for Lawyers, Workers, Medical Professionals & Others, is the only workers’ compensation Super Lawyer in Havertown. In addition, many of the other Super Lawyers are clients of Dan’s, and many have retained him to assist with their most complicated cases, and their appeals.

If you are searching for a workers’ compensation Super Lawyer in Havertown, however, you will probably never find Dan’s listing. Why? Because Dan has not paid for an enhanced listing, Super Lawyers places Dan’s listing on the 7th page (out of 8 pages) of the results; despite being the only workers’ compensation Super Lawyer in Havertown, he is the 155th lawyer listed in the results for that search.

Dan regularly represents injured workers in their claims and represents medical providers seeking payment for treatment provided to injured workers; Dan also represents individuals in personal injury claims arising from motor vehicle accidents, defective conditions on property, etc. In addition, Dan represents and assists other attorneys with their appeals and complicated matters. Just this week, Dan argued the case of Erie v. Bristol before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The case will determine how the statute of limitations is triggered in uninsured motorist claims (claims that arise when a person is injured by another driver who either does not have motor vehicle insurance or who fled the scene and could not be identified).

Click here to read how Super Lawyers are selected.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules That Workers’ Compensation Impairment Rating Physicians Are Not Bound by the Injury Described in the Notice of Compensation Payable

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a physician performing an Impairment Rating Evaluation under Section 306(a.2)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 511.2(1) should consider all conditions that the physician believes are related to the work injury when performing an IRE. In the case, Duffey v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Trola-Dyne), No. 4 MAP 2016 (Pa. January 19, 2017), the Court ruled that an IRE physician must consider and exercise independent professional judgment to make a whole-body assessment of the degree of impairment “due to” the compensable injury.

In Duffey, the claimant underwent an IRE after receiving 104 weeks of benefits. The IRE physician considered only the injuries listed on the NCP and concluded that the claimant had a 6 percent total body impairment. Claimant filed a Review Petition, alleging that the physician failed to consider all of his work-related injuries, including psychological injuries. The Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed, granted the petition, invalidated the IRE and amended the NCP to include the psychological injuries. On appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board reversed and the Commonwealth Court affirmed the WCAB ruling. The Supreme Court granted allocatur and reversed the decision, with two Justices dissenting.

In the Majority Opinion, Chief Justice Saylor concluded that a physician conducting an IRE (1) must apply professional judgment to assess (or per the applicable Regulations, arrange for an assessment of) the Claimant’s psychological conditions, and (2) determine whether those condition were fairly attributable to the compensable work injury.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Baer asserted that the Majority had departed from the issue presented by the Claimant. He also concluded that the ruling will allow claimants to invalidate an IRE by expressing a new symptom previously unknown to an employer.

In a separate dissenting opinion, Justice Wecht argued that the Majority had misconstrued the concept of a “whole body” impairment to permit IRE physicians to go beyond the scope of a claimant’s compensable injury. He also criticized the Majority’s reliance on the 6th edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, particularly in light of the Commonwealth Court’s decision in Protz v. W.C.A.B. (Derry Area School District, 124 A.3d 406 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2015), appeal granted, 133 A.3d 733 (Pa. 2016), in which the Court invalidated the use of the 6th edition of the AMA Guides.

Of further note, it is at the least, curious that the Court issued this Opinion before its decision in Protz. (Attorney Daniel J. Siegel authored the amicus curiae brief in Protz on behalf of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice.) If the Court completely invalidates the IRE process, then there would be no need for a decision in this case. I believe that the dissents are correct, however, that this opinion will lead to more litigation and will permit claimants to assert during an IRE that they suffer from injuries that have never been accepted as or determined by a WCJ to be compensable. Click here to read the Duffey opinion.

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Lawyers & Social Media – Adding Flames to Fires

Ah, social media. Facebook, Yelp, you name it, social media is out there, and lawyers are using – and misusing it. Here are some recent examples that highlight the issues confronting us – and why it is best to recognize the problems up front – so you don’t have to hire me to represent you in front of the Disciplinary Board later.

Consider Attorney John Mahoney of Washington, DC, who got into a conflict with a former client, who thought his fees were excessive, and his expenses were unwarranted and unnecessary. The client also was displeased with his representation during mediation.

The client posted comments about the attorney on a website. In his response, Attorney Mahoney revealed specific information about the case, the client’s emotional state, and what transpired during your attorney-client relationship – although he did not identify the client by name. Although the investigation did not support the client’s allegations against the attorney, he nevertheless violated the Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6’s prohibition against revealing client confidences.

In particular, the lawyer included the name of the client’s employer, the dates on which certain events occurred, and other detailed information that could lead back to his former client. He added to his problems by violating Rule 8.4(c) when he “posted a further response on the website concerning Disciplinary Counsel’s investigation of the client’s allegations and Disciplinary Counsel’s statements. Specifically, although Disciplinary Counsel advised you that your postings on the website about the client were inconsistent with your obligations under Rule 1.6, you posted another response on the website stating that Disciplinary Counsel had ‘clear[ed]’ you and quoted a sentence from a letter that omitted information about the Rule 1.6 violations that we found meritorious.” Click here to read the DC Disciplinary Decision.

Or, consider Attorneys John Robertelli and Gabriel Adamo, whose New Jersey Supreme Court case focuses on procedural issues regarding the New Jersey Disciplinary process. With that caveat, the case’s genesis was Facebook. Here’s what happened:

“On March 10, 2007, a police car driven by a sergeant with the Oakland Police Department allegedly struck a pedestrian, Dennis Hernandez. Hernandez claimed that he suffered permanent injuries, and commenced suit against the Borough, the police department, and the sergeant. Plaintiffs, who are attorneys licensed in New Jersey, were employed by the law firm that represented the defendants in the lawsuit. In order to obtain information about Hernandez, plaintiffs directed a paralegal employed by the firm to search the internet. Among other sources, she accessed Hernandez’s Facebook page. Initially, the page was open to the public. At a later point, the privacy settings on the account were changed to limit access to Facebook users who were Hernandez’s “friends.” The [Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE)] contends that plaintiffs directed the paralegal to access and continue to monitor the non-public pages of Hernandez’s Facebook account. She therefore submitted a “friend request” to Hernandez, without revealing that she worked for the law firm representing defendants or that she was investigating him in connection with the lawsuit. Hernandez accepted the friend request, and the paralegal was able to obtain information from the non-public pages of his Facebook account.

“Hernandez learned of the firm’s actions during discovery in the lawsuit, and objected to defendants’ use at trial of the documents that the paralegal obtained from his Facebook page. He also filed a grievance with the District II-B Ethics Committee, asserting that plaintiffs violated the RPCs by contacting him directly through his Facebook page without first contacting his attorney. The Secretary of the District II Ethics Committee, with the consent of a public member, declined to docket the grievance, having concluded that the allegations, if proven, would not constitute unethical conduct. Hernandez’s attorney then contacted the Director of the OAE (Director) and requested that the OAE review the matter and docket it for a full investigation and potential hearing.

“After further investigation, the Director filed a complaint against plaintiffs with the District XIV Ethics Committee. Plaintiffs requested that the Director withdraw the complaint, contending that the OAE was precluded from proceeding after the DEC declined to docket the grievance. The Director refused to withdraw the complaint, and plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Superior Court to enjoin the OAE from pursuing the matter. The trial court dismissed the complaint, holding that the Supreme Court and the ethics bodies that it established have exclusive jurisdiction over attorney disciplinary matters. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s determination in an unpublished decision.”

The New Jersey Supreme Court granted plaintiffs’ petition for certification and held that, consistent with the broad authority that the Rules of Court grant the Director and the important goals of the disciplinary process, the Director has authority to review a grievance after a DEC Secretary has declined to docket the grievance. The OAE may therefore proceed to prosecute plaintiffs’ alleged misconduct.” Click here to read Robertelli v. New Jersey Office of Ethics.

All because of Facebook.

In short, be careful, get guidance, and avoid being too social on social media.

 

 

 

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Debunking the Myths of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

In you read the newspapers and listen to the ads by the insurance companies, the biggest problem in workers’ compensation is fraud by employees. According to some the entire system is filled with employees who are too lazy to work and just want to glom off the system. These doomsayers are wrong. There is very little fraud in the workers’ compensation system and in fact many of the worst offenders are the employers and insurance companies who are crying “wolf.”

Workers’ compensation attorney Dan Siegel addresses the myth of the “F” word in his column in Pennsylvania Law Weekly, highlighting many facts that are often overlooked or purposely not discussed. For example, employers often miscategorize employees as “independent contractors” in order to avoid paying their insurance premiums. Or, insurance companies file petitions when they know there is no legitimate basis to do so. It is because of these “bad egg” employers that Pennsylvania was forced to pass the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act in 2011.

In reality, however, fraud is a very small part of the workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania, and Dan’s column squarely addresses and debunks the myths. Click here to read the column.

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