Shapiro & Fishman accuses McCollum of grandstanding

Law Firm Marketing

Law firm Shapiro & Fishman has accused Attorney General Bill McCollum of pre-election grandstanding and “abuse of power” in connection with McCollum’s recent announcement that his office is conducting a foreclosure fraud investigation into that firm and two others.

The allegations are in response to a coordinated investigation announced by McCollum during an Aug. 10 press conference. McCollum said his office is looking at whether the three South Florida firms engaged in unfair and deceptive actions in their handling of foreclosure cases.

The other firms were the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson in Fort Lauderdale and the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. in Plantation.

The firm’s response came Friday in a motion to quash a subpoena in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

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Workers’ Compensation Subrogation of Administrative Fees and Costs

When a worker covered by workers’ compensation makes a claim against a third party, the workers’ compensation insurance retains the right to subrogate against any recovery from that third party for all benefits paid to or on behalf of a claimant injured at work. When subrogating for more than basic medical and indemnity benefits, the Texas workers’ compensation subrogation statute provides that “the net amount recovered by a claimant in a third‑party action shall be used to reimburse the carrier for benefits, including medical benefits that have been paid for the compensable injury.” TX Labor Code § 417.002.

In fact, all 50 states provide for similar subrogation. However, none of them precisely outlines which payments or costs paid by a compensation carrier constitute “compensation” and can be recovered. The result is industry-wide confusion and an ongoing debate and argument with claimants’ attorneys over what can and can’t be included in a carrier’s lien for recovery purposes.

In addition to medical expenses, death benefits, funeral costs and/or indemnity benefits for lost wages and loss of earning capacity resulting from a compensable injury, workers’ compensation insurance carriers also expend considerable dollars for case management costs, medical bill audit fees, rehabilitation benefits, nurse case worker fees, and other similar fees. They also incur other expenses in conjunction with the handling and adjusting of workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation carriers typically assert, of course, that, they are entitled to reimbursement for such expenditures when it recovers its workers’ compensation lien. Injured workers and their attorneys disagree.

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