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April 2008 Archives

April 4, 2008

New Legal Search Engine

While giving a presentation on legal research on the Web earlier this week, one of the presenters showed me this new legal search engine -- PreCYdent.  It contains free access to federal and state case law and continues to accumulate older case law.  The webpage explains:

PreCYdent search technology ranks results by 'authority', using mathematical techniques, such as eigenvector centrality, similar to those used by advanced Web search engines, as well as proprietary techniques we have developed that are specialized to the legal domain. PreCYdent search technology is able to mine the information latent in the 'Web of Law', the network of citations among legal authorities. This means it is also able to retrieve legally relevant authorities, even if the search terms do not actually occur or occur frequently in the retrieved document."

Here is an interview with one of its developers at Law Librarian Blog.  Here is Robert Ambrogi's post about it on his Robert Ambrogi's LawSites.

April 12, 2008

Form for Taking Ex-Parte Interview of Litigant's Treating Physician

The New York Court of Appeals' decision in Arons v. Jutkowitz and Kish v. Graham raised quite a stir. The Court held that opposing counsel may conduct an ex parte interview of the adversary's treating physician post-note of issue where that party puts his or her medical condition at issue.

Litigants are now required to provide their adversary with HIPAA compliant authorizations that permit the interview. The Chief Administrative Judge, by order dated February 27, 2008, promulgated an official form to be used as the litigant's authorization to allow the treating physician to submit to an ex parte interview. The authorization is addressed to the physician. You can obtain this form here.

Proposed Legislation to Prohibit Ex Parte Interviews

Here is all the current information on Senator DeFranciso's proposed to prohibit ex parte interviews of treating physicians in malpractice and wrongful death actions. Your comments are welcome and encouraged below.

April 18, 2008

New York Court of Appeals Will Hear Workers' Compensation Appeal

On June 2, 2008 the Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Ramroop v. Flexo-Craft Printing, Inc. on appeal from the Appellate Division – Third Department. This case involves a claimant’s right to ongoing workers' compensation benefits after a scheduled loss of use award of more than a 50% scheduled loss of use to an arm, leg hand or foot.

Mr. Ramroop was found to have a 75% scheduled loss of use of a hand. He received that award and was seeking to obtain additional benefits under §15(3) (v) of the Workers' Compensation Law. In order to obtain those benefits a claimant must be suffering an impairment of earning capacity” “due solely to the injury and must attempt to participate in a rehabilitation program. Mr. Ramroop was not allowed to enter into a rehabilitation program as required under §15(3) (v) of the Workers' Compensation Law in order to obtain the additional weekly benefits because of his status as an undocumented alien. The Workers' Compensation Board found that the claimant’s loss of earnings was not do solely to the injury to be eligible to obtain the §15(3) (v) benefits. It stated that his earning capacity was impaired by his undocumented status that prevents him from being hired in the United States.

A problem with this decision is that encourages the hiring of undocumented workers because they would not be able to be entitled to receive benefits when disabled. Additionally, it is clear that prior to the injury despite the claimant’s status he had an ability to earn money while working. If he did not have such ability prior to the accident he never could have been working to sustain the injury in the first place. Clearly, being undocumented is not an impairment to wage earning in New York State. The decision also runs counter the Court of Appeals in Balbuena v. IDR Realty, LLC which did not impair an undocumented alien’s right to damages so long as there was no fraud in the hiring. The Third Department was also silent as to what would happen to the claimant’s right to benefits if he were to leave the United States and go to a country where he can legally work.

The decision from the Court of Appeals may have a very substantial impact on all of the undocumented aliens working in New York State and their right to collect workers' compensation benefits after sustaining an injury. So far the Workers' Compensation Board has not expanded its bar to paying undocumented aliens to other situations. The decision will have to be watch closely.

Ronald Balter of Caruso, Spillane, Leighton, Contrastano, Ulaner & Savino, P.C. wrote this post.


Journalist Looking for Information on Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawsuits

For an article in this Sunday's New York Post, journalist Susan Edelman is looking for malpractice or personal injury lawsuits to cite as examples of so-called "never events,'' or preventable medical errors. They include: wrong-site surgery, wrong body part, wrong procedure, wrong patient; "retained foreign object;'' death or near-death and/or severe injury from medication errors; abducted infants; etc. Along with data from the state Department of Health, she hopes to include some details from some recent cases and, if possible, comments from the patients.

Please feel free to contact Susan directly off-list if you have material responsive to this query.

e-mail address: sedelman@nypost.com

Desk phone: 212-930-8062.

Cell: 917-584-7675

Thank you to Paul at Supraspinatus for the head's up.

April 28, 2008

Justice Scalia Interview

In case you missed it earlier today, here is the Justice Scalia interview on 60 Minutes (Part I and Part II). 

Justice Scalia's new book (written with Bryan Garner), "Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges" was featured in the interview.

About April 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Weblog in April 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.