On November 29, 2021, a jury in Nevada found United Healthcare liable for underpaying TeamHealth, a nationwide provider of emergency medical services, by millions of dollars. The case, Fremont Emergency Services vs. UnitedHealth Group1, tells us more about the American healthcare system—both how it works and what is wrong with it—than a decade’s worth of governmental reports and hearings. Plaintiff’s central allegation was that United Healthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer and plan administrator, engaged in a multi-pronged scheme to dramatically reduce emergency reimbursement rates and artificially generate profits for itself. The case offers a revealing window into the “black box” process by which reimbursement rates are set and the enormous power of United Healthcare.
The new Texas abortion law known as S.B. 8 has been the subject of extensive commentary for its “bounty” cause of action against abortion providers and “aiders and abettors.” But the law creates a second cause of action that may infringe the right to counsel in federal courts and, as a result, may face its own judicial scrutiny.
At first glance, TikTok might not have obvious utility to the working professional. After all, its pandemic-era popularity seems to be the product of Zoom-schooled and homebound Gen Zers who flocked to the app as a new pastime and socialization tool. But over time, TikTok’s endless stream of short videos evolved to attract a variety of professionals seeking to market themselves and educate the public in a new format.
New York courts are trending towards a strict no-tolerance approach in disposing of cases for willful discovery violations. Under CPLR 3126(3), a party may seek to strike its opponent’s pleading for a willful failure to comply with discovery obligations. While this is a drastic remedy, litigants should consider whether to pursue it more aggressively. In a number of recent decisions, New York trial and appellate courts have taken a no-tolerance approach to bad behavior in discovery and have invoked CPLR 3126(3) to strike pleadings. Court are more and more often heeding the directive of the Court of Appeals that “[l]itigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously” and “disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated.” Andrea v. Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy & Drake, Architects & Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 N.Y.3d 514, 521 (N.Y. 2005).
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Van Buren v. United States, 141 S.Ct. 1648 (2021), resolves a longstanding circuit split over the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, and appears to have significantly narrowed the reach of a statute that has often been criticized as criminalizing too broad a range of computer-related conduct.
Many ethics attorneys were intrigued by media reports of a complaint filed in February by Elliott Greenleaf, P.C. against four firm shareholder-attorneys and a paralegal who left the firm’s Wilmington office to join Armstrong Teasdale LLP. The complaint alleged that the defendants made secret plans to depart and “secretly copied and transferred out of the Firm certain client files, client correspondence, and Firm work product,” and “destroyed and shredded Firm files.” That was only one side of the story, of course. Hearing nothing about the other side, we checked the docket to see if the case had quickly settled, as many similar cases do. It turns out that the case is very active, and it continues to raise issues of interest to practitioners in this area.
More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, lawyers have become pretty comfortable taking and defending virtual depositions, including preparing a witness remotely. Even though remote depositions will become less frequent as the pandemic subsides, remote witness prep may remain commonplace. Here are a few things we’ve learned over the last year that are worth considering even when preparing for in-person depositions.
As discussed in Samantha Gerencir’s recent post “Making Mental Health Parity a Reality – the Challenge Continues,” patients seeking coverage for mental health conditions continue to face an uphill battle. For many years, the health care system has prioritized coverage for physical ailments over behavioral health issues.
With a year of pandemic-fueled work-from-home experience under our collective belts, you can now find numerous helpful guides and horror stories to help you prepare for remote hearings and trials. There are some basics everyone should know by now, like making sure your internet is reliable (ethernet > WIFI); knowing the court’s rules for virtual hearings; and wearing pants. But here are some additional lessons from the virtual trial trenches that will help set you up for success:
It can be tough to wait for a judge to decide your motion. Lawyers and clients generally want a decision quickly, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
A little-known law, though, might help you learn a bit more about when your next motion will be decided. Under the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990, 28 U.S.C § 476, judges must report motions that have been pending for more than six months twice a year: once on March 31 and again on September 30. Generally, a motion is considered pending 30 days after it is filed.1
As the regulatory and business environments in which our clients operate grow increasingly complex, we identify and offer perspectives on significant legal developments affecting businesses, organizations, and individuals. Each post aims to address timely issues and trends by evaluating impactful decisions, sharing observations of key enforcement changes, or distilling best practices drawn from experience. InsightZS also features personal interest pieces about the impact of our legal work in our communities and about associate life at Zuckerman Spaeder.
Information provided on InsightZS should not be considered legal advice and expressed views are those of the authors alone. Readers should seek specific legal guidance before acting in any particular circumstance.