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Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP

April 7, 2014

Workers Compensation Board Sues Small Businesses in Self-Insured Trusts

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Over the past several years, the New York State Workers Compensation Board (WCB) has increasingly engaged in efforts to collect liabilities from members of self-insured trusts. Over the last decade, numerous employers joined group “self-insurance trusts”, in an effort to obtain lower premiums and save costs in Workers Compensation insurance. Those trusts tended to join together identical industries, such as trusts for manufacturing, trucking, and construction businesses.
Through principles of “joint and several” liability, each member agreed to be responsible for each other’s Workers Compensation claims. In principle, this concept should have provided businesses with significant savings in insurance costs. Unfortunately, many of those trusts were poorly managed, were underfunded, were unable to pay Workers Compensation claims, and defaulted. The WCB assumed control of those failed trusts and has been aggressively engaging in efforts to collect from trust members to resolve the trusts’ debts. In recent years, the WCB has commenced litigation against trust members, seeking to recover their share of their trust’s total debts. This often results in business being sued for significant sums and for an apparent disproportionate share of the trusts’ total debts. This firm has represented several businesses which had no prior claim history and diligently paid its premiums on time, but are now being pursued for tens of thousands of dollars or more. Unfortunately, this predicament has forced many defendants to close their businesses, to declare bankruptcy, or to move out of state.
If your business was a former member of a self-insured trust, and has been sued by the State, it is important to take immediate action to preserve your legal rights and to protect against a default. A failure to answer a lawsuit can have significant repercussions, including collections actions against your business. If you receive a Summons or notification that litigation has been commenced against your business, Maynard, O’Connor can provide you with legal assistance, guide you through the process, and defend you in this litigation.

March 10, 2014

Rob Rausch Participates in Focus Group on Legal Education and Professionalism

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Rob Rausch was recently invited to participate in a “Focus Group on Legal Education and Professionalism”.  The discussion was jointly sponsored by the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism and the NYSBA Committee on Legal Education.  Members of this panel included practicing attorneys, members of the judiciary, academics, and administrators with the Board of Law Examiners.  The discussion included such topics as changes in law school curriculum, reforms to the Bar Exam, encouragement of programs for pro bono work and mentoring, and promotion of professionalism of attorneys. Similar focus groups are being held throughout the state, and the data and comments collected will be considered at a statewide Convocation this summer.

March 3, 2014

Firm Presents Seminar on Depositions of Medical Professionals

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On February 18th, Rob Rausch and Alex Stabinski spoke to a group of critical care nurses on the topic of Depositions. Their program included an introduction to depositions, an explanation of the fundamentals of depositions, recommendations and strategies for testifying, and several interactive mock depositions. The program was sponsored by the Association of Critical Care Nurses and hosted by Albany Medical Center. Over 75 participants attended the event.

February 24, 2014

Bruce Bell Celebrates Anniversary At Firm

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Bruce Bell recently reached a significant milestone – 30 years with Maynard, O’Connor.  After briefly working in the New York State Assembly, Bruce joined the firm in 1984, and became a partner in 1989. Over the past 30 years, Bruce has successfully handled over 100 trials.  Bruce regularly represents hospitals and physicians in medical malpractice litigation, and handles a wide variety of personal injury and employment discrimination claims

Bruce is a graduate of Cornell University and University of South Carolina Law School.  He resides in Delmar with his wife Nancy.

January 20, 2014

Attorney Adam T. Mandell, Appointed to Committee on Character and Fitness for the Third Judicial Department

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On January 9th, 2014, attorney Adam Mandell was appointed to serve on the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Third Judicial Department.  The appointment is for a five-year term, and was made by the Hon. Karen  K. Peters, Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department.  The Committee assists the Court in assessing the character and fitness of applicants for admission to the New York State Bar.

December 16, 2013

Doctors face Final Jeopardy

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            The New York State Court of Appeals recently (October 22, 2013) issued a decision in the case of Koch v. Sheehan, which states that a physician may be removed from the New York State Medicaid program based upon a Consent Agreement that the physician reaches with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct.  The physician entered into a Consent Agreement with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct “in full satisfaction” of charges of professional misconduct lodged against him with regard to the treatment of two patients in 2006.  In the Consent Agreement, the physician pleaded “no contest” to charges that his care and treatment of both patients “failed to meet accepted standards of care”.  The Consent Agreement called for the physician to be placed on a 36 month period of probation subject to 11 specific terms, including that the petitioner would practice medicine only when monitored by another doctor acceptable to OPMC,,and that the physician would enroll and complete a continuing education program.

OPMC sent the results of its investigation, including the Consent Order in question, to the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG).  Both OPMC and OMIG are part of the Department of Health.  Based upon the Consent Agreement entered into with OPMC by the physician, OMIG, exercising its discretion, removed the physician from the New York Medicaid program.  The physician brought a lawsuit and the Supreme Court annulled the determination of OMIG and directed that the physician be reinstated in the Medicaid program.  The Department of Health appealed and the Appellate Division for the Fourth Department affirmed, holding that it was arbitrary and capricious for the agency to bar the physician from treating Medicaid patients when OPMC permitted the physician to continue to practice medicine.  The Appellate Division ruled that OMIG was required to conduct an independent investigation before excluding a physician from Medicaid on the basis of the OPMC Consent Order. The case was then appealed to the New York State Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals majority affirmed the annulment of the Order terminating the participation of the physician in the Medicaid program.  The majority ruled that since OMIG exercised its discretion, it was required to explain what it was about this case that caused it to exercise its discretion.  A rationale for the determination of OMIG was completely lacking in this case.  However, and most significantly, the Court of Appeals ruled that OMIG can remove a physician from the Medicaid program based upon a Consent Order that the physician entered into with OPMC.

The consequences of the decision of the Court of Appeal are far ranging.  If a physician is barred from participating in the Medicaid program, the ability of the physician to earn a living is drastically impaired.  Further, it is likely that if a physician is barred from participating in Medicaid, the physician may also see his relationships with private insurers terminated.  Further, hospitals may very well be reluctant to grant admitting privileges to a physician who is not allowed to care or treat Medicaid patients.  It has been said that being barred from the Medicaid program is the functional equivalent of losing one’s right to practice medicine.

Maynard, O’Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP has a number of attorneys who regularly deal with issues involving professional misconduct both in front of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct, as well as the Office of Professional Discipline housed within the Education Department.

December 9, 2013

Firm Continues its Support for Operation Adopt a Soldier

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Maynard O’Connor proudly continues to support Operation Adopt a Soldier, Inc. This not-for-profit organization provides a wide range of services that support our American soldiers and their families. The lawyers and staff of Maynard O’Connor recently collected several boxes of items for shipment overseas to our soldiers for the holidays. This year Operation Adopt a Soldier adopted six families. It is our goal that each of these families have all the trimming for their holiday dinners; in addition to the staple merchandise we contribute.

We also plan to continue with donations throughout the year, and will offer pro bono legal services to the soldiers and their families, as needed.


For more information regarding Operation Adopt a Soldier, visit its website at:  www.operationadoptasoldier.com

November 18, 2013

Rob Rausch Lectures on Discovery and Depositions

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On November 8th, Rob Rausch presented a lecture at Albany Law School, in conjunction with the school’s program to provide free Continuing Legal Education credit to recent graduates. Rob discussed procedures and advice for successfully handling personal injury litigation, and presented lectures on two topics:  “The Purpose, Procedure, and Strategy of Discovery” and “Guidelines and Recommendations for Depositions”.

Rob is a 1994 graduate of Albany Law School, and is currently President of the National Alumni Association.

November 11, 2013

Rob Rausch Lectures on Appellate Practice.

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On November 4, 2013, Rob Rausch participated in an Continuing Legal Education seminar on New York Appellate Practice. Rob spoke on the topic of “Taking an Appeal to the Appellate Division, Third Department”, and discussed general pre-appeal procedural issues, properly filing an appeal, preparing a Brief, and preparation for oral argument, among others topics.

The seminar was sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. Speakers were chosen from the Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction and included other appellate attorneys and justices of the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department.  This was the third time that Rob has been chosen to present at this seminar.

November 4, 2013

Firm Supports 30th Annual “Dancing in the Woods” Benefit

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For over twenty years, Maynard, O’Connor has proudly served as one of the sponsors of Dancing in the Woods, the annual black-tie gala to benefit Albany Medical Center Hospital’s Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. The “Melodies Center” is the Capital Region’s primary provider of care to infants and children with leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening blood cancers.  Dancing in the Woods is the longest-running fundraising event in our region, raising more than $6.5 million since its inception in 1983.  Rob Rausch is once again serving as co-chair of the event, and has been involved with its planning and organization for the past seventeen years. This year, the event will be held on Friday, December 6th, at the Armory on the Sage College campus. Further information, and a link for registration, may be obtained at:


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