Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Ten California attorneys charged in massive multi-million dollar workers’ compensation scheme

http://orangecountyda.org/civica/pr ess/display.asp?layout=2& trickydick06/06/17
JDU remains a valuable resource for those who take the time ejs201706/07/17
"The cynics say that you can run a firm without resorting to jeffm06/07/17
Exactly, scumbags gonna scumbag. Faking car accidents, shady mtbislife06/09/17
Sadly, it's a symbiotic relationship. While defense firms la ejs201706/09/17
I think you're underestimating the amount of Saul Goodman la loblawyer06/09/17
That's absolutely true. I know many of them who are quite pr ejs201706/09/17
I too am always blown away with the respect some of the shad jd4hire06/09/17
I mean, I think this thread is hard on the Plaintiffs side f physicssezno06/09/17
Insurance as a whole is a leech industry that provides minor mtbislife06/09/17
I worked for a few weeks for 2 WC firms in Chicago. Small ou superttthero06/09/17
trickydick (Jun 6, 2017 - 10:27 pm)

http://orangecountyda.org/civica/press/display.asp?layout=2&Entry=5203

The Orange County district attorney has charged ten attorneys with what amounts to capping (paying referral services for clients on a per capita basis).

I work at a personal injury mill in Los Angeles that has been trying to expand a nascent workers' compensation department over the last couple of years with modest success. This news hit us like a tidal wave. It was like hearing that the top ten NFL players were being prosecuted for steroid abuse or that the top ten Wall Street firms were being prosecuted for insider trading.

One of the chief social values of JDU is discouraging potential law school applicants from enrolling and I hope this thread furthers that goal.

Attorneys tend to look down their noses at personal injury and workers' compensation, and rightfully so. But at a time when 50% of law school graduates can expect never to obtain jobs as attorneys, it is worth observing that practicing in the field of tort law can be very lucrative. Some of these firms generated milllions of dollars in revenue annually.

But in moments like this, you find yourself wondering whether or not it's worth the price. And I'll observe this much, in the L.A. legal market, the conventional wisdom is that to make serious money in this field it's necessary to do unethical things. The cynics say that you can run a firm without resorting to shady business practices, but that you'll never get rich that way.

I think that in the wake of this publicity stunt, the cynics are going to see things in a new perspective.

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ejs2017 (Jun 7, 2017 - 9:59 am)

JDU remains a valuable resource for those who take the time to read and to absorb the message. Law continues to become an even more perilous minefield and yet students continue to flock to law school in droves. JDU is perceived as a haven for the embittered. I see it as an outlet for concerned realists.

I work in Michigan and we are having similar experiences with Michigan No-Fault. For the reasons that you pointed out, the reality for most lawyers in this state is that the only way to make serious money (or to have any type of job security) is to enter the no-fault arena on the plaintiff side. Take a drive down any major highway in Michigan and all you see are billboards for Michigan's PI firms promising a fast, lucrative recovery.

As insurance companies clamp down on claims assisted by a very insurance-friendly legislature and higher courts, PI lawyers and medical practitioners are forced to push the envelope which in many cases has led to increased abuses of the system. The losers, of course, are the consumers.

It's gotten so nasty that the major PI lawyer in Michigan has filed suit on behalf of four women who claim that one of the other major PI guys sexually harassed them. Rumor has it that even more lawsuits are in the offing. It's all about gaining control in the ever-devolving PI turf war.

My firm which is one of the biggest in the state , like most firms in Michigan, has devoted a substantial amount of its practice to no-fault ID because that's where the money is, simply put. It's become the vast majority of what I do. Had I known when I ventured into law school that this is what I would be doing for a living I never would have gone.

Like most of us, I went into law school with vague notions of doing 'meaningful' work with the hope that I would be financially rewarded if I put in the effort. I make a decent living, living in one of the nicer suburbs, and our kids go to decent public schools. However, as you imply, it hasn't been worth it, in retrospect.

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jeffm (Jun 7, 2017 - 10:20 am)

"The cynics say that you can run a firm without resorting to shady business practices, but that you'll never get rich that way.

I think that in the wake of this publicity stunt, the cynics are going to see things in a new perspective."


I doubt it. It makes the news and is the talk of the town for a while, but that's just a mere 10 of the culprits. There are many, many more. Illegal referral fees are commonplace. Plaintiffs faking injuries are commonplace. Sending tenuous injury cases to chiropractors to gin-up standardized, bogus reports is par for any fender-bender practice.

All these players in this seedy game aren't going to give up their practices and take major financial hits just because 10 attorneys got busted.

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mtbislife (Jun 9, 2017 - 12:39 am)

Exactly, scumbags gonna scumbag. Faking car accidents, shady chiros, suing every person under the sun for some bs slip and fall case that resulted in a wrist sprain just to try to swipe a few grand. Injury work is such a joke. Its embarassing and clogs up the docket. Litigating whether something was a natural or unnatural accumulation of snow for three years is not practicing law, you are literally making the world a worse place. Not coming at you PI bros personally because I know the job market sucks but after having some experience in the system im shocked this bs is even allowed to exist.

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ejs2017 (Jun 9, 2017 - 7:04 am)

Sadly, it's a symbiotic relationship. While defense firms lament the state of the law and comment on the types of claims being filed and the personalities of the lawyers filing them they also recognize that the garbage claims are business.

I think that this is why the majority of lawyers who have resorted (or have no other option than)to handling these types of claims experience a daily existential crisis. I doubt that this was the goal at the outset.

This is the reality that most aspiring young lawyers need to appreciate. Their dreams of going to law school to practice "international" or "public interest" law are probably not going to be realized but for exceptional cases.

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loblawyer (Jun 9, 2017 - 9:44 am)

I think you're underestimating the amount of Saul Goodman lawyers who don't lose a wink of sleep over their career outcomes and are perfectly content making money doing this type of work.

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ejs2017 (Jun 9, 2017 - 10:17 am)

That's absolutely true. I know many of them who are quite proud of what they do and I made reference to two well-known representatives in my June 7 post. The phrase "doing God's work" is often thrown around by these individuals. Whether God takes a fee is open to discussion.

I guess I'm referring to the majority of my colleagues in the profession, who, if you asked them confidentially, would admit that they would much rather being something else.

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jd4hire (Jun 9, 2017 - 10:42 am)

I too am always blown away with the respect some of the shady PI attorneys get in our state. They are heavily involved in the local law school, who puts them up on pedestals. Then I have cases where they file suit and can't even verify whether anyone was in a car when an accident occurred. Or,the plaintiff never sought treatment until 6 months after the accident and the day after they signed a retainer agreement.

Gives law a terrible name, increases medical costs, clogs dockets, wastes judicial resources, causes insurance premiums to rise, but...it keeps me employed and busy.

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physicssezno (Jun 9, 2017 - 10:41 am)

I mean, I think this thread is hard on the Plaintiffs side for good reason but let's not forget the bs that the defense puts people through. I mean, they pollute the jury pool, lobby to undercut plaintiff rights, court budgets are tight so cases take forever (that's de facto tort reform), defense hires nonsense doctors to say nothing is wrong w PL, etc. the insurance industry is as insane as the plaintiffs bar. The expert fees are also outrageous.

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mtbislife (Jun 9, 2017 - 11:20 am)

Insurance as a whole is a leech industry that provides minor to no benefit for society. If we had legitimate healthcare that didnt leave folks with hundreds of thousands in medical bills and sensible tort reform most of this crap would disappear overnight.

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superttthero (Jun 9, 2017 - 10:51 am)

I worked for a few weeks for 2 WC firms in Chicago. Small outfits, 3-5 attorneys.

Both were making demands on the weakest or patently fraudulent cases, both were owners/members of shady referral networks, both had people (non-attorneys) going into hispanic neighborhoods to sign people up. They would call an attorney to get "approval" for the sign up (supposedly).

It's a joke that anyone gets in trouble while the industry keeps on truckin'. I have no sympathy for these 10, by any stretch, but this like like pulling over .1% of drivers speeding and throwing the book at them while ignoring that everyone else is also going 25+ over the speed limit.

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