LDM attorneys Bill Lamson and Cathy Trent-Vilim recently obtained a ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court affirming a $1 million plaintiff’s verdict. In Werner v. County of Platte, the Court rejected the County’s objections to the trial court’s receipt of certain evidence, and its determination that the plaintiff was an “innocent third party” for purposes of Nebraska’s vehicular pursuit strict liability statute, and upheld the trial court’s judgment for Mr. Werner in the amount of $1 million, the maximum permitted by Nebraska law.
Cathy S. Trent-Vilim recently published “They’re Not My Clients – What Do You Mean I Owe Them a Duty of Care?” in the January, 2013 edition of the Nebraska Defense Counsel newsletter. The article discusses the Nebraska Supreme Court’s recent expansion of an attorney’s duties to third parties. You can read the full article at https://www.dropbox.com/s/al85okak2zaqrbs/They%27re%20Not%20My%20Clients.pdf
Congratulations to LDM partner Mark E. Novotny, for his recent induction in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). ABOTA is an invitation-only organization aimed at elevating the standard of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession. It seeks out attorneys who display the skills, civility and integrity to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and educate the public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment which guarantees the right to trial by jury.
JoAnna Thomas was recently appointed as interim Vice Chair of the Executive Committee for the Omaha Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Ms. Thomas participated in the Omaha Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division Exploratory Committee from June through December, 2012. The exploratory committee examined areas in which a Young Lawyers Division could benefit newer members of the bar and encourage community involvement in Omaha and participation in the OBA. The exploratory committee submitted a formal proposal for organization of the YLD, which was approved in late December, 2012. The YLD will serve the interests of attorneys within their first five years of practice and those under the age of 36. The YLD houses two programming committees: a committee for outreach and communication, focused on mentorship and community service in Omaha and surrounding areas; and a committee devoted to continuing legal education, focused on addressing practical issues faced by young practitioners.
Lamson, Dugan and Murray is pleased to announce that three of its partners have once again been chosen as The Best Lawyers in America: Bill Lamson for company litigation, commercial litigation, litigation – regulatory enforcement (SEC, telecom, energy), medical malpractice and personal injury litigation; Bob Murray for corporate and tax law; and Pat Vipond for commercial litigation and plaintiff and defendant professional malpractice law.
LDM partner Mark Novotny recently spoke to the Omaha Dental Group on the topics of professional malpractice civil litigation, licensure investigations and proceedings, controlling risks and risk management. The audience consisted of practicing dentists and oral maxillofacial surgeons from the Omaha area. The presentation included outlining current case law, a step-by-step discussion of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services disciplinary review process and highlighting recent claims and lawsuit by learning through the peer review process. Mr. Novotny frequently is asked to speak with groups concerning professional malpractice, health care law and administrative proceeds.
LDM attorneys, led by brief writers Stacy Morris and Cathy Trent-Vilim, successfully defeated the summary judgment attempts of a defendant securities lending bank and its parent company in a $42 million action LDM brought on behalf of its insurance company client. The underlying lawsuit, brought by LDM attorneys Pat Vipond and Mark Novotny, centers on actions of the securities lending agent in investing the insurance company’s assets in inappropriate and risky investments in the form of mortgage backed securities and the bank’s failure to notify its customers once the investments began to fail. Causes of action include breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, conversion, gross negligence and breach of contract against the defendants. In denying the defendants’ motions for summary judgment, the federal district court judge adopted LDM’s arguments and allowed the case to go forward.
LDM attorneys last week secured the dismissal of a disciplinary action against a physician’s assistant who practices in Lincoln, NE. The Petition for Disciplinary Action alleged that the physician’s assistant had practiced while her ability to practice was impaired by prescription medication, had improperly treated family members, and had failed to keep appropriate records of patient treatment. Bill Lamson, Bill Settles and Denise Destache disputed these allegations in a contested case hearing before the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The State sought permanent revocation of the physician’s assistant’s license. Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer of the Nebraska DHHS issued an order finding in favor of the physician’s assistant and dismissing the Petition for Disciplinary Action in its entirety. This was a significant victory for both the physician’s assistant and the Firm.
Anne Marie O’Brien was the headline speaker at a continuing education seminar for over 100 local insurance industry professionals on December 13, 2012.
The group of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America is more commonly known by its acronym: The Big I. It is comprised of professionals from both Nebraska and Iowa.
The presentation focused on recent legal decisions affecting property and casualty insurance. The members of the Big I have frequently asked Mrs. O’Brien to speak on a variety of insurance topics so that members can reach their continuing legal education goals. At the seminar, Mrs. O’Brien discussed several, seminal Nebraska Supreme Court and 8th Circuit decisions of first impression that affect insurance coverage and limitations. These include Nelson v. American Home Assurance Company, ___F.3d__ No. 12-1638 (8th Cir. Dec. 6, 2012); Buckeye State Mutual Ins. Co. v. Humlicek,284 Neb. 463, __N.W.2d __ (Oct. 12, 2012) and D & S Realty, Inc. v. Markel Insurance Co., 284 Neb. 1, 816 N.W.2d 1(2012) among others.
The members had numerous questions as to how these decisions affected their industry and whether they should give additional advice to policy holders who may be looking for this type of coverage.
Mrs. O’Brien speaks often to insurance industry groups in the Midwest on coverage issues, policy interpretation, legal nuances of insurance law and other issues that relate to policy holders.
On November 6, 2012, Firm Partner Bill Settles spoke to a group of students in the Nurse Anesthesia Program at Clarkson College. The topic of the presentation was “Common Charting Errors”. Mr. Settles frequently teaches classes concerning medical-legal issues to nursing and medical students, residents and fellows in all specialties of medicine, and office managers and hospital administrators. Mr. Settles’ presentation explained the purposes of medical charting, described the use of the medical chart in litigation, and set forth common charting pitfalls for practitioners to avoid. The purpose of the presentation was to familiarize the students with the litigation process and to provide them with pointers that may help them avoid being sued. It has been the Firm’s experience that good charting practices are the best defense to medical malpractice claims, and we attempt to reinforce those practices to young practitioners whenever possible.