Sunday, August 26, 2007

Welcome to Weasel-Dom

Dear faithful blog readers - Entering Weasel-Dom has caused the longest hiatus of my blogging career. Sorry for the delay...... here is what happens in Weasel-dom.....

A few years ago, the lower courts were flooded with these cases. Many cases engender motion practice. In Queens, for example, the motion calendar has approximately 150 motions every day!! There are so many motions that a separate part was created just for the motions. This is the real weasel-dom habitat. These motions are usually about some technical detail.....for the claimants trying to win the case on a technicality (if they had to win on the merits they'd not start a lot of these cases). Defense motions are also trying to knock the plaintiff case out on some technical grounds, so they don't have to spend more money defending.

Wht kinds of technicalities? Here are a few.....

Was the denial notice timely served? How do you serve it? Who can you serve it on? What must it say? What can it not say?

What if the claimant is a medical corporation, but the doctor files the claim? What if the doctor is under indictment? What if the papers assigning the claim from the patient to the doctor were in the name of the medical corporation?

Does the doctor have to attend a deposition if the insurance company wants it? What if they want it on EVERY case, large and small? What if the doctor sends a billing clerk to the deposition? What if the plaintiff wants to depose the claims examiner?

Can a plaintiff combine all his claims with many patients arising out of the same accident, and make one larger case against the same insurance company?

For awhile, the courts were so inundated with motions that they were giving one year adjournment on any motion where one side requested time to respond. I observed that this did not slow the onslaught of motions at all.

The "trial" side of the calendar is also backing up the lower courts. In some ways, this part of the system works, as many of the cases do settle. Still the calendar is huge, and one sometimes wonders why they cannot be settled pre-court. Of course, it is possible that many cases ARE settled pre-court, and we are only seeing the leftovers in court.

The most interesting no-fault cases are the ones with a "fraud" defense. In these cases, the insurance company smells a rat (or a weasel) and investigates a group of claims. I am aware of a case where the "patient" had been in 8 accidents in a 6 month period, and was treated at several different facilities. Not only that, but when the insurance companies investigated further, they found ten other people in the same apartment building with a similar history. I guess they all had bad luck.

Anyway, if anyone would like to come on a tour of Weasel-dom, just e-mail me and I will arrange it.

Now.....I can blog about some other things.

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