Defense Verdict Affirmed on Appeal

LDM attorneys Mark Novotny, John Walker and Sarah Macdissi recently obtained a ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court affirming a dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint against a Physical Therapy clinic based on the plaintiff’s failure to timely file her lawsuit.  In Churchill v. Columbus Community Hospital, the Court agreed that Physical Therapists are professionals, and that the patient’s fall in exiting an aquatic therapy pool, after being evaluated by her therapist for her ability to ambulate, was an action sounding in professional negligence.  The plaintiff’s complaint was therefore subject to the professional limitations period, and dismissed for failing to be timely filed.

Estate Tax Uncertainty Continues

President Obama’s new budget seeks an increase in estate taxes.

Although the ink is barely dry on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the “2012 Tax Act”) which became effective in January of 2013, President Obama’s new budget includes a proposed increase to estate and gift taxes.  Under current law, which was enacted as part of the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, estates are subject to a 40% tax on values in excess of $5,250,000.  In his recent budget proposal, the President would reduce the estate/gift exemption to $3,500,000 and increase the applicable tax rate to 45% of any amount that exceeds that exemption amount.

In the April 16, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal, the editors comment unfavorably on the President’s proposal and opine that the GOP is certainly going to resist the President’s efforts to change existing law.

The editors go on to observe that it is too soon to know if the President is serious about this part of his budget initiative or if the proposal is simply a bargaining chip to be exchanged for other provisions in his budget.  To read the full article, visit http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323346304578422763444261352.html

Mark Novotny and Denise Destache Speak on Preparing Physicians in Risk Management

Partners Mark Novotny and Denise Destache recently participated in the dinner and presentation to 86 medical residents from the University of Nebraska Medical Center discussing issues of Nebraska state licensure investigations, prescription of controlled substances and documentation.  The presentation was in conjunction with attempts to prepare physicians in the area of risk management.

Bright Prospect for Midlands Law School Graduates

Law school graduates in the Midlands have a brighter prospect of being hired than those on the coasts. Admission to law schools for the fall, has decreased nationally. In a recent article in the Omaha World Herald, partner Brian Brislen relates that new graduate hires, at the firm has actually increased this year compared to the previous two. Competition for these positions has grown with the increase in the number of graduates.  You can read the full story at http://www.omaha.com/article/20130409/MONEY/704099961/1685

LDM Successfully Defends University in Disability Discrimination Case

LDM attorneys Craig Martin and Jason Grams convinced a jury that their client, a local university, did not discriminate against one of its students.  The student alleged that he was removed from the Nursing Program because of his disability.  The university disagreed, asserting that the student was removed from the Nursing Program because he failed to meet the expectations of a senior nursing student.

The trial took four days to complete, and involved numerous exhibits and testimony from administrators, professors and students.  The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the university.

Discrimination claims against educational institutions, like those against employers, are difficult because of the sympathies engendered by a plaintiff.  LDM and the university were pleased that the jury looked beyond these sympathies and to the facts underlying the university’s decision to remove the student from the Nursing Program.