Whether a worker is correctly classified as an employee versus an independent contractor does not depend on whether he is paid with a Form W2 or 1099. “The label placed by the parties on their relationship is not dispositive, and subterfuges are not countenanced.” S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations, 48 Cal.3d 341 (1989). Rather, it is a fact specific inquiry based on the conduct of the parties. When the existence of employee status is disputed, the law requires certain factors to be met which will dictate one way or another whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, these are often referred to as the Borello factors. On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018) which created a presumption that a worker who performs services for a hirer is an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits. California has recently codified the decision in Dynamex into the California Labor Code effective January 1, 2020. However, multiple exemptions exist in which a presumption of employee status does not exist and the Borello factors should be used instead.
Private doctor or hospital liens can become a huge problem in your case, without a reduction of these liens you could end up netting significantly less than what the gross settlement or judgment was. They are also notoriously difficult to negotiate because the hospital will be represented by an attorney who is likely being paid a percentage of the lien that he is able to recover. Nonetheless, I have broken down five (5) concrete steps with supporting statutes and case law that have worked for me in the past when negotiating these types of liens:
Liens are a legal mechanism that entitle the lien holder to repayment of services rendered. In the context of personal injury cases, liens are attached to any third-party recovery (i.e., settlements and verdicts) obtained by the plaintiff. They can come from many sources, for example: prior attorney lien, Medi-Cal lien, private hospital lien, workers’ compensation lien, doctor lien, etc. Invariably, liens will create uncertainty and delay in your case because they can significantly eat into the net recovery of your client and negotiating them down takes time. For purposes of this discussion I will focus on Medi-Cal liens and tactics on how to reduce them:
One of the classes commonly taught in business school is operations management. The tools used to increase operations efficiency apply to any business regardless of what it does. Operations are particularly important in the law firm setting. Even though attorneys are in the business of providing legal services, a large portion of time and costs are devoted to operations, i.e., making sure the logistics of the law firm are working smoothly and efficiently. Thus, the more efficient you can make your operations the more time you will have to devote to the substantive practice of law. The larger the law firm, the more important it is to streamline one’s operations. For example, receiving mail in a timely fashion is extremely important for law firms. Timely service of documents is defined by statutes and can be the source of contention or even litigation. For the solo practitioner, this is a non-issue. The mail goes directly from the mail box to the attorney. However, for larger firms, any time lag between actual receipt by the attorney could mean valuable time lost to write an opposition, perform a counter-action or in the worst case scenario a missed deadline. The most intuitive and simplest method of maximizing the efficiency of your law firm’s operations is to create an operations flow chart. Here’s how:
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, i.e., resolving your lawsuit outside of the court system without having to go to trial. For comparison, arbitration is also a form of alternative dispute resolution. In both situations, the merits of the lawsuit are heard by a neutral mediator or arbitrator outside of a court setting. However, arbitration results in a binding, court-enforceable decision by the arbitrator where as settlement only occurs in mediation by agreement of all parties. As well, arbitrators are often pre-selected where as mediators are mutually agreed upon by all parties. There are several reasons why you should mediate your lawsuit, here are our top five (5):
The United States constitution is the foundational document that sets forth the rules and principles our nation was founded on. It is the law of the land. It sets forth the fundamental rights guaranteed to each citizen, born by the blood of our forefathers. The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation, decides issues of constitutional law. The importance of the constitution can not be overstated, yet, many are unaware of their full rights under it. One particular class in law school, criminal procedure, taught me the nuances of applying and protecting our constitutional rights in everyday scenarios. One of our most important rights is guaranteed by the fourth (4th) amendment, it protects our right against warrantless, unreasonable searches and seizures. It reads:
One of the things clients often ask is, “what is my case worth?” For the client, this is an obvious and simple question, however, from the perspective of the attorney, the answer to this question requires a nuanced calculus. The basic value of a case is a function of the damages the plaintiff is entitled to and the strength of liability against the defendant(s). However, there are many more considerations to balance.
If you’re thinking about having to file a lawsuit, chances are things are pretty dire. If you or a family member are severely injured, dealing with medical bills on top of regular expenses can become overwhelming, if not impossible. One remedy is to make the responsible party pay for their actions by filing a lawsuit. Both individuals and corporations may be sued. The following is a general road map of what occurs when you file a lawsuit: