Brian Brislen and Jason Grams to Present at National Business Institute Seminar

LDM attorneys Brian Brislen and Jason Grams will be presenting portions of the National Business Institute’s “Representing Your Client in Federal Court” seminar on November 15, 2013, at the Scott Conference Center.  The seminar is designed for lawyers and other legal professionals and will afford active licensed Nebraska attorneys six hours of continuing legal education credit in Nebraska.  Mr. Brislen will present sections on “Developing a Successful Trial Strategy” and “Testimony Tactics.”  Mr. Grams will present the section “Is Federal Court the Right Court? Jurisdiction, Venue and Local Court Procedure.”  Both authored corresponding written materials for the seminar.

Partners Present on Nursing Litigation

On Sunday, June 23rd, Partner Denise Destache gave a 3 hour presentation, including lecture, case study analysis, and mock depositions, to nurses enrolled in the UNMC Nurse Leader/Executive Advanced Development (LEAD) Program.  This is a Masters level program for nurse managers, administrators, and advanced practice nurses, aimed at developing their analytical skills with regard to legal, regulatory, risk management, and ethical issues, and to integrate these skills into their roles as nurse leaders.  The presentation was part of the student “immersion weekend,” which is intended to pull all of the course content together at the end of the semester.  It consists of 2 days where students, faculty and invited nurse leaders gather at a campus location and participate in role plays and case studies.

On June 28th, Partners Pat Vipond and Denise Destache gave a 2 hour presentation on nursing litigation at Alegent Health Creighton University Medical Center.  The presentation included participation by staff members in case scenarios and mock depositions.

Bill Settles Speaks at 8th Annual Midwest Regional NICU Conference

Partner Bill Settles presented to the 8th Annual Midwest Regional NICU Conference on August 22, 2013.  This conference was sponsored by the Nebraska Neonatal Advanced Practice Association and was attended by nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants who practice in the neonatal intensive care setting.  The subject matter dealt with common charting errors and their role in litigation as well as emerging problems with the use of social media in medicine.  The presentation outlined the six most common problems that charting can present in the defense of a medical malpractice case and how to avoid them.  The growing number of disciplinary actions against licensed health care providers arising out of the use of social media was also discussed.  Issues relating to patient confidentiality, HIPPA violations, and patient privacy were discussed and some best practices were outlined.

LDM Welcomes Three New Associates to the Firm

Katie French has joined our Business Department as an associate attorney after clerking for the Firm for several years.  Ms. French graduated from Creighton University School of Law.  She also received her bachelor’s degree from Creighton University, majoring in Economics. While at Creighton, she was selected as research assistant to Professor Catherine Brooks. Ms. French participated in the Street Law program, where she taught legal topics to seventh grade students at Sacred Heart School.  In addition, she was a semi-finalist in the school’s client counseling competition.

Douglas Amen has joined our Litigation Department as an associate attorney.  He received his law degree from Creighton University School of Law and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of Wisconsin. While at Creighton School of Law, he was a semi-finalist in the National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition in Chicago, Illinois, the Intra-School Negotiation’s Champion and competed in the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

David Voorman has joined our Litigation Department as an associate attorney.  He received his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law emphasizing in Civil Litigation and Constitutional Law.  He received his bachelor’s degree in History and Communications from Concordia University in Nebraska. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Voorman worked at the White House in Washington, D.C., serving both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations in the Office of Records Management.

LDM Clients Successfully Develop MIPPA Plans

LDM would like to recognize the accomplishments of two of its clients, Midwest Independent Practice Physicians Association and Midwest Independent Physicians, LLC, for the successful development of its health care insurance plans.  The insurance plans are identified as “MIPPA” with Coventry as the company provider and all of their plans are currently available for enrollment on the Nebraska health insurance exchange with options under Bronze, Silver and Gold plans.

Bill Settles Inducted in American Board of Trial Advocates

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) elected LDM partner Bill Settles to its membership at its June meeting.  ABOTA is one of the premier trial advocacy organizations in the country.  Membership in ABOTA is limited to trial attorneys with extensive courtroom experience who exhibit high personal character, who have an honorable reputation, and who are proficient in the courtroom.  Membership requires nomination by a member of ABOTA and an affirmative vote by 75% of the membership of both the local and national ABOTA chapters.  The Firm congratulates Mr. Settles on this exceptional honor.

LDM Welcomes New Team Members

LDM would like to welcome three new Law Clerks to the Firm this summer as well as a new Human Resources Manager.

Kate Geyer will be a 3rd year law student at University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she also received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Medieval & Renaissance Studies.  Jonathan Cox will be a 2nd year law student at Creighton University.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Colorado with a B.S. in Business Administration.  Ryan Crnkovich will be a 2nd year law student at Creighton University and also received his B.S. degree from Creighton in Business Administration.

Mary Beth Bisignano has over 15 years of experience in Human Resources and most recently worked for Medico Insurance Company where she was Human Resources Manager.  She graduated from Creighton University with a B.A. in Organizational Communication.

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

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.