Medicare recovery process demystified.

Practitioners for plaintiffs and defendants alike shiver upon hearing the words Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Contractor. Fear not lawyers who have internet access, the MSPRC has availed itself of modern technology and done lawyers a huge favor at the same time with the the MSPRC website, which is robust, user-friendly, and full featured with forms, letters, tool kits, and contact information. My favorite part is the MSPRC flow-chart of the overview of the recovery process. The Letters section has a menu with codes that correspond to the various letters sent during the recovery process. Identify the code on your letter and find the corresponding menu. You can click for a brief description of the letter, but the best feature is the advice on what step to proceed to next on the flow chart. Very cool stuff for attorneys suffering through the process.

msprc

Does the grocery store have a duty to secure its buggies?

Early on law students are exposed to the concept of “reasonably foreseeable.” It will be interesting to see how this plays out in a case recently filed in Orleans Parish by a woman who was in an automobile accident she alleges was caused by a stray shopping cart. The plaintiff contends that the grocery store failed to make appropriate security measures which resulted in the basket rolling off the parking lot and onto the highway where she was driving. Doubtless, the issue will arise whether Winn-Dixie knew or should have known that its baskets were a substantial factor in causing an unreasonable risk of harm. In this case, whether it should have known the basket could ultimately end up in the highway, and whether it could have prevented the accident had it exercised reasonable care.

Whether or not Winn-Dixie has such a duty is not an ironclad rule. Although, theoretically our civil law system has a code which we rely upon in instances of tortious infractions, the outcome will be heavily fact intensive. What measures were taken to avoid the situation, by both the plaintiff and the defendant? Did Winn-Dixie have actual knowledge that its baskets were exiting the property (either intentionally or negligently)? The answer will have to be decided by a judge summarily, or perhaps even by twelve jurors. The result is guaranteed to be interesting.

DnD

Virginia jury awards over $3 million to injured hospital patient.

A jury in Newport News Virginia awarded $3.5 million to a woman who was injured while under the care of a hospital. The 87-year-old woman had a hip surgery but fell while still recovering in the care of Riverside Hospital. The case is an interesting juxtaposition between a negligence case and a medical malpractice case. Here, the plaintiff alleged her injuries were due to negligence on the part of the hospital staff and personnel, rather than the fault of a doctor in performance of medical care. The plaintiff was successful in persuading the jury the hospital could or should have been able to prevent the injury had it exercised reasonable care.

On the plaintiff side there is cause for guarded enthusiasm. The hurdle of trying the case successfully is over, but the post trial procedure now begins. Given the amount of the award it would be surprising if the defendant doesn’t request a new trial, reduction of the judgment, or a judgment not withstanding the verdict which could take weeks or months depending on the volume of cases on the court’s docket. In Louisiana, the time delay for filing an appeal begins after post trial relief has been adequately disposed of.

In Jefferson Parish suit resident alleges she was injured at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Recently reported by the Louisiana Record, Bed Bath & Beyond is being sued by a customer who was alleges she was injured while shopping at a store when boxes fell on her head. The article also gives details that the New Orleans based law firm is representing the plaintiff in the 24th Judicial District Court of Jefferson Parish before the Honorable Judge Ross LeDart. Given the conservative reputation of the venue I’d rather be on the defense side of this case. The articles also notes that the plaintiff is seeking an”unspecified” amount of damages, which is the standard form of a Louisiana pleading which doesn’t allow for a monetary amount to be included but rather a “prayer” for damages which are “reasonable under the circumstances.”  This leaves open the possibility for the defense to file a removal action to federal court, which is another standard practice, and what I would do if I were defending the case. In any event, this is just the inception of the case and anything could happen in time.