AG Schneiderman Files Suit To Stop Illegal Rollback Of Net Neutrality

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Phony Lawyer Awards

Last week Mockingbird Marketing made an announcement: That Lucy Davis had become a Lawyer of Distinction. Hey! I’ve received those offers too!

The problem? Lucy isn’t a lawyer. Lucy is a dog. The four-legged woof-woof kind.

Mockingbird (which builds websites for lawyers) put up its satirical posting to show the worthlessness of many  lawyer “awards” — they put in an application for their dog and it was accepted.

To practicing attorneys, this comes as no surprise. We are besieged by such companies doling out awards like fun-sized Halloween candy, with of course, a nice fancy plaque to hang in your office. Or maybe a crystal “trophy.” No, they aren’t free.

And that’s pretty much how it’s easy to figure out the difference between a phony award and a real one: Did the lawyer pay for the “honor?”

To my knowledge, these are all private companies that are unaffiliated with any recognized bar association.

I wrote about one such company a few years ago, marketing the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. I wasn’t particularly nice about it.

So, below are some of the groups/companies that have “invited” me in the past couple years aside from Lawyers of Distinction, as I tossed their literature marketing materials into a pile in a corner of my office. And no, I will not give them links — you can demonstrate your own Google-fu by researching if you like:

First up, simply because it’s on top of the pile, is America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators. The annual membership is $300. Nice badge they give you, huh?

Next up is the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys  — “10 Best Attorney” for New York. It’s $295 for the 2018, as per its website. And I love the disclaimer on their About Us page regarding warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Nice plaque.

Then there is Corporate Vision, which “selected” me for its 2017 Legal Excellence Awards as “Best Law Firm 2017.” This comes with a pitch to be in Corporate Vision, whatever that is, along with profiles, interviews, a nice crystal trophy, digital logos, etc. The price wasn’t in the pitch, but this sure as hell didn’t look like a non-profit.

I was also “selected” as of one of AI Magazine‘s “One to Watch in Law.” Woo-hoo. It comes with a “bespoke crystal trophy” and digital winner’s logo. Never mind that my practice has nothing to do with artificial intelligence. All for just £185. You read that right. That is British pounds. No, I’m not admitted to practice law in Great Britain.

Next up, the American Society of Legal Advocates. Sounds impressive! And I was selected as eligible for the Top 100 Litigation lawyers in New York!  (What, no top 10?). It comes with a plaque and an electronic badge. All for just $200 each year.

Rue Rawlings’ Best Attorneys of America — Limited to the Top 100 attorneys in New York. The dues are $1,000.

National Association of Distinguished Counsel — Top One Percent. Annual membership is $300.

Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Awards — The fee is $1,500 if they “certify” you for inclusion. I confess to being a bit uneasy putting this company on the same list, as its marketing materials are very impressive and they ask for certification of certain verdicts and settlements. Nevertheless, if there is a fee to join, that makes it a club with a name, and not (to me) an actual award. Awards don’t have strings attached.

Some folks may ask about SuperLawyers, which I’ve written about before. I remain unclear how valuable that honor is, and while it isn’t a non-profit for sure (sold to Thomson West in 2010)  at least they’ve never demanded a fee to be listed.

Finally, there is the never-ending solicitations from plaque companies, looking to assist you in making your award look nice and fancy on your ego wall. (For what it’s worth, my office wall is mostly family pics.)

Bottom line for the consumer: There are a lot of companies out there hustling “awards” designed to make lawyers look good to potential clients with fancy badges, plaques and crystal trophies.

Don’t be razzle-dazzled. You’ve been warned.


Phony Lawyer Awards syndicated from

When Long-Term Disability (and Not Short-Term) Becomes Necessary

Why do many people turn to long-term disability? Perhaps a workplace injury has impacted more than your health, making your everyday life a difficult battle. Not only could you miss time at work, which could result in lost income, but you may also have a variety of medical treatments to attend. Nobody plans on becoming disabled, but unfortunately, it could happen to us without notice. Long-term disability insurance is intended to make many of these matters easier on you by covering a portion of your income when you are disabled. If you have become disabled due to an injury you may ask: Why should I consider long-term disability instead of short-term?

Seeing the Differences

disability insurance lawyerPerhaps you have been injured and now you’re facing the possibility of short-term or long-term disability insurance. You may wonder what the differences are between the two. Disabilities are more common than you think due to workplace accidents. For instance, the Council for Disability Awareness has compiled statistics regarding disabilities and how frequently they occur. The average worker has a 30% chance of becoming disabled in the workplace, and about 12% of the population (and growing) already receives disability benefits today. Workplace injuries are causing more and more workers to become disabled every year.

Short-term disability insurance provides coverage for only a limited amount of time, after a short waiting period. Most of the time, this insurance coverage gives you enough time to recover, spanning from a few weeks, to a few months, to a year at times. You will be given a maximum coverage amount for a limited amount of time. Long-term disability, on the other hand, gives you a lot more freedom if you have sustained the most serious of injuries.

With a long-term disability claim, you will prove that you are disabled due to being unable to perform the duties of your job because of the injury you’ve sustained. Your treating doctor will give an opinion about the state of your injury or illness and the claims administrator will take a look at your disability to make their final decision. Some of the notes and documents they will look at are notes left by a doctor, lab results, x-ray results, surgical reports, and more. Perhaps you can also show that your disability is ongoing and that you are still receiving treatment and, if this is the case, you are more likely to get the long-term disability benefits you deserve.

Some of the main injuries and illnesses that call for long-term disability insurance every year include musculoskeletal disorders, cancer, poisoning illnesses, cardiovascular disorders, and mental disorders. You may find that waiting for long-term disability benefits can take a longer time to process, but in the end, you will be able to receive benefits for years.

So, in the end, which is right for you depending on your injury? There may be no doubt that your injury is going to cause you turmoil and hardship for years to come, and so long-term disability may be your main consideration. It doesn’t hurt to ask for assistance in making this decision by calling an insurance lawyer with a focus on long-term disability. Call us today at Edelstein Martin & Nelson at 800-300-0909 or 215-731-9900.



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A few helpful facts about long-term disability claims

The benefit of long-term disability insurance is often offered by an insurance company or employer.  It includes monthly payments to covered workers who cannot perform their work duties due to medical reasons.   

Most often, a long-term insurance care policy will require the policyholder to apply for Social Security benefits.  Benefits will usually be reduced depending upon other sources of income such as Social Security disability, worker’s compensation, or accumulated retirement or sick leave.  Our attorneys can help you with the process of filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits or Worker’s Comp.  

Even though your disability might have begun as a short-term disability, it has now turned into an extended, long-term disability that has led you to be impaired to the point of being unable to work.  We will guide you through the process of recovering long-term disability benefits by documenting your disability.

long-term disability claims lawyerIn the event that you are denied benefits, it’s always a good idea to file an appeal.  We assist clients with the appeals process as well as clients who were approved at first and then later had their benefits stripped of them.  If you have lost benefits or are currently seeking an appeal to a decision, our attorneys can help.  We have years of experience in disability benefits applications and appeals.  

Get a copy of your policy

You should obtain the policy itself before even thinking about filing a claim.  Your employer’s human resource department will send you a plan and its descriptions.  If your policy is an individual one, contact your insurer.  Request all relevant documents and go over them carefully.

Disability policies involve stringent deadlines relating to filing the initial application and any subsequent appeals.  Missing a single deadline allows an insurer to deny your claim regardless of all other factors, so be sure to submit everything on a timely basis.

Defining a disability

While no single definition of disability exists, it’s generally defined by insurers as being unable to perform the duties of one’s own occupation due to injury or illness.  This often means that you only need to prove that you cannot do your particular job, although certain policies do define disability as in inability to work at all.

Obtain medical evidence to support your claim

Opinions of your doctor coupled with documented medical records will be two of the most important pieces of evidence for your case.  After filing a claim, your insurance company will do these things themselves.  Ask to see your claim file for yourself so you can ensure all necessary information is present.

Ask your doctor to write a note that contains details about your medical history and current limitations.  Do not sit back and rely on the insurance company to do anything for you.  Be sure your doctor gives specific medical details as to why you have been disabled.

If you have a long-term disability claim to file, or have been denied benefits and need to appeal, contact our skilled and dedicated attorneys today.



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Will Gov. Cuomo Sign Lavern’s Law?

Yes, a real case. Yes, the x-ray hangs in my office.

There is one bill on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk from last year. Just. One. Bill.

There were 606 bills that passed by both of New York’s legislative houses. All have been signed, or vetoed.

Except for Lavern’s Law. A law that Cuomo previously stated that he supported and would sign.

It was finally sent to the Governor during the holiday week for signature. He has 30 days to sign it.

As I bang on this keyboard, it sits on his desk.

Lavern’s Law, for those that don’t know, mimics the law in 44 other states, extending the statute of limitations in certain medical malpractice cases from the time the discovery of malpractice was made, or could reasonably have been made, instead of when it occurred

In the final hours dickering over the bill, it was watered down to apply only to cancer cases, leaving all other “failure to diagnose” cases, where the patient didn’t even know s/he was victimized, hanging out in the cold.

But still, even in its watered down state, it is something for those that have not only been victimized by malpractice, but didn’t even find out until the time to bring suit had expired.

As I previously described it:

The law is named for Lavern Wilkinson, who went to Kings County Hospital on February 2, 2010 with chest pain. A radiologist saw a suspicious mass on the x-ray. But Wilkinson wasn’t told.

When it was found again two years later when her complaints worsened, the 15-month statute of limitations had expired. As per the Daily News summary of the incident:

A chest X-ray found the cancer had spread to both lungs, her liver, brain and spine. The disease was now terminal.

She left behind family including an autistic daughter.

Lavern Wilkinson, who lost her chance for justice before she even knew she had that chance.

The bill passed the Assembly. Then it passed the Senate 56-6, that being the tougher of the two houses.

Why hasn’t the bill been signed?

It can’t be due to insurance premiums because, after all, the state’s largest insurer is being sold to Warren Buffet because it’s so damn profitable.

And at just 2 ½ years for suits against non-governmental medical facilities, we already have one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the country (most are three years or more). And that is before even considering that we don’t measure the time from the date of discovery, and that suits against governmental facilities are just 15 months.

And with some of the lowest legal fees for attorneys, the medical community has already been granted widespread de facto immunity for most acts of malpractice — since taking smaller suits simply isn’t financially economical.

And it can’t be because of a lack of caps on malpractice cases, because we not only have them, but have had them for over 200 years.

New York has become, with some of the best medical care in the world, one of the absolute worst places with respect to finding justice when that care goes wrong.

And all this happens despite medical liability insurance premiums and premiums continuing to plummet, and the costs of insurance as a percentage of healthcare costs likewise continuing to drop. From a Public Citizen study in 2017 (The Medical Malpractice Scapegoat), look at these three charts:

Under what justification does a state close the courthouse doors on its citizens before they even knew they were injured?

Under what logic do we grant further immunity to those that commit preventable harms?

For what public policy reason do we continue to withhold justice?

This bill enjoys widespread support among voters, as demonstrated by the overwhelming vote in the Senate.

It is long past time that New York get a date of discovery law. There are no reasons not to do it.

Gov. Cuomo, please sign that bill.

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