Friday, April 30, 2010

Chiropractors and Lawyer--Money Grubbing

The Lousiville Courier-Journal reports on a lawsuit filed against a Louisville law firm that had a sweet deal set up with a chiropractor for mutual back massage, so to speak.  This si from Andrew Wolfson's article on the law firm and their chiropractic referral service: 

"Another lawsuit has been filed against Winters Yonker & Rousselle, asking that it be forced to forfeit all attorneys’ fees for allegedly accepting unethical referrals from a for-profit referral service.  The complaint, filed Wednesday in Jefferson Circuit Court, asks that the suit be certified as a class action on behalf of all of the firm’s clients in Kentucky. The suit was filed by James Rose and Christopher Rose of Elizabethtown, who says they hired the law firm after a motor-vehicle accident in May 2009.

The suit says that about two minutes after calling the "1-800-ASK-GARY" line, Christopher Rose was contacted by a representative of Winters & Yonker, as the firm is now known, and instructed to meet him at 1st Physicians Rehabilitation Inc., a medical office in Louisville, where the law firm signed up the Roses as clients.  The suit alleges that the law firm obtained the referrals through “illegal and/or unethical solicitation,” and that attorneys fees collected by Winters & Yonker from the Roses and other clients should be forfeited. Kentucky lawyer ethics rules prohibit referrals in return for anything of value.

The suit says that both the lawyer referral line and 1st Physicians Rehab are owned by Dr. Gary Kompothecras, a Florida chiropractor, which the suit says refers clients to Winters & Yonkers in exchange for the right to treat them as patients.  According to the lawsuit, fees for the law firm and 1st Physicians were deducted from settlements obtained for the Roses.

Similar claims were made in a suit filed in February by Sharon Langford of Louisville. Both suits were filed by Louisville lawyers Sam Carl and Richard Head.  The defendants, including the law firm and 1st Physicians, have filed an answer denying the allegations in Langford’s suit.

The complaint filed Wednesday names as defendants Bill Winters and Marc Yonker, who practice in Florida; Joseph Rousselle Jr., who left the firm; and Donald Matthew Kannady, who practices in its Louisville office.  Yonker, the firm’s spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment."
This sort of thing happens all the time!  Do not be shocked.  Sometimes, there are legitimate referrals to good lawyers by doctors worried that a patient needs competent legal advocacy--abd, sometimes competent lawyers feel that a client needs a good patient advocate in a medical-legal situation.  But the kind of scummy thing suggested here is also not uncommon.

A few years ago I represented one of the best supermarket chains in the OurState area.  This was and is a class operation that has been in business in OurState since the Great Depression and the family that owned it still owns it and still runs it like a family business.  They had an employee with a workers' compensation claim that I defendned for them against a real aggressive group of guys.  I go out to the lawyers' offices to take the deposition of the client and lo and behold the lawyers have an office door right next to the chiropractor's office door.  The same chiropractor treating the client.mmmmmm, what a coincidence!  Turns out the lawyers owned the building where the "doctor" rented his space.  One can only wonder at the independent judgment arising out of such a relationship.  Well not really.

I may have related the story of the Chriopractic Cuties, doublemint twin sisters who service the personal injury traffic in another large OurState town.  Occasionally a plaintiff attorney from T-town has flashed cocktail lounge photos of these beauties at me.  These "doctors" never seem to have any problem getting scandalously large chiropractic bills paid by the OurState workers' compensation fund. 

What a racket!

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