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ARMSTRONG LAW AND RTGR LAW ARE MERGING

Message from Bill Armstrong:

ARMSTRONG LAW AND RTGR LAW ARE MERGING

As some know, after having been in practice since 1975, I started the Armstrong Law Firm in June of 1993. The firm was founded with a focus of achieving the highest quality of representation for our clients, which efforts were coupled with an intense goal to practice with integrity, quality and ethical considerations at every step. The firm was also founded with a perspective of affording value for clients where the complexity of the matter correlated with the skills of our attorneys. Through wonderful partnerships, we had the incredible opportunity to successfully manage and defend many of the most complex and sensitive matters for our clients, including the chemical litigation which proliferated in the electronics industry, as well as the evolution of multi-forum litigation involving FEHA and the ADA, where the underlying issues generated around work injuries.

Against the background from which Armstrong Law Firm originated, an incredible opportunity for our firm and our clients has now evolved.

I am thrilled to announce that effective May 1, 2019, Armstrong Law Firm is merging with RTGR Law. RTGR has its main office in Oakland, but has offices throughout California. RTGR shares common values which are so critical to the manner in which I have attempted to fulfill my obligations to clients.

For our clients, other than execution of substitution of attorney documents where needed, we view this transition as seamless. Conflicts checks have been performed with none identified. Those matters which you have entrusted to us which are managed by ALF lawyers, Owen, Gary, Kia and myself will continue to be managed from the San Jose office of RTGR Law. I will move to a Senior Partner status with RTGR Law and will work diligently with Tom Richard and his partners as we continue to strive for daily excellence in the work we perform for you. Through the combined firm, we intend to offer a broader and varied platform throughout California with shared and enhanced expertise which is rarely available to Employers, Carriers and Administrators.

For every client of the merged firm, it is recognized change could bring some angst. It is with this in mind that I commit that our mutual success will not be measured on May 1, 2019. Rather, it will be our intense commitment that on the first day of each month, the last day of each month, and each day after May 1, 2019, we will be dedicated to being accountable.

 

For more information and Frequently asked questions, you can visit the FAQ blog post on RTGR’s website here.

WCAB Limits Scope of Discovery

WCAB Limits Scope of Discovery

By Kia Myers

Recently, the WCAB issued a decision limiting the scope of discovery of Defendant’s subpoena for medical records. In Gildo Beitia v. City of Oakland, 2018 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. 228, the WCAB denied Defendant’s Petition for Removal of WCJ’s Ordering Limiting the Scope of its subpoena for medical records in a split decision. Defendant argued that by issuing the order without a hearing Defendant’s right to due process was denied. The WCAB disagreed.

In Beitia, Applicant filed a specific injury claim on September 3, 2015 involving his back and spine and included hypertension and weight gain as a compensable consequence. Defendant issued subpoenas for Kaiser and Advance Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Group (Advance Physical Medicine). On September 19, 2017 applicant filed a Motion to Quash defendant’s subpoenas for any and all medical records from Kaiser and Advance Physical Medicine. The WCJ issued the Order limiting the scope of the subpoenas to injuries filed in the claim (back, spine, weight gain, and hypertension) on November 6, 2017.

In its decision the WCAB appear to agree that the subpoena was overbroad and therefore was not persuaded that substantial prejudice would result from the denial of the Petition for Removal. The WCAB opined that there are other forms of discovery to determine if additional records are necessary, such as the deposition of a treating physician or subpoenaing of additional records.

What is not clear from the decision is whether applicant’s deposition has been taken. If it had not Defendant could question applicant about their medical history. Was there a medical condition that applicant did not want revealed?

As a defense attorney, I have to own up to my immediate suspiciousness about this case. My thought is what is the applicant trying to hide? When I put myself in applicant’s position, I can understand why one would be concerned about one’s entire medical history being released to the insurance company. Having your medical records released could feel extremely invasive at worst, and unnerving at best. However, when one puts their medical condition at issue, it opens the discovery into one’s relative medical history.

Applicant has claimed compensable consequences of weight gain and hypertension. A relevant medical records should be reviewed to determine causation. Weight gain and hypertension are conditions that could have various causes, including other medical conditions or medications.

Let’s consider hypothyroidism, a condition that is known to cause weight gain. What if applicant was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and the condition was possibly the cause of applicant’s weight gain? Based on the Order limiting, it is likely that records related to this condition may not be released. If applicant fails to disclose the thyroid condition, would Defendant have a basis for additional discovery such as a physician deposition to support a release of the records? What other options would Defendant really have to support the release of records of other possibly relevant medical conditions?

As the dissent noted, it is necessary for the doctor to review all available medical records which might impact the issue of weight gain and hypertension. Without the complete records, an evaluating physician would not have all of the relevant information to make a fully informed opinion. Kia Myers Holsey is an associate attorney at Armstrong Law Firm in San Jose, California.

© Copyright 2018 Kia Myers. All rights reserved.

 

 

reference this article was written for the CLA eNews, Sept 2018 edition

We’re Hiring!

Attorney at Law

Armstrong Law Firm is a successful, boutique law firm in downtown San Jose, CA. We are currently looking to hire a lawyer with, ideally, 2-5 years’ experience in Workers’ Compensation and/or Employment Counseling.

Our ideal candidate will be proactive in managing complicated matters. Part of our vision as lawyers includes implementing and executing effective and timely legal strategies identified through constant exchanges with our clients. Polished and persuasive communication skills which address the expectations of our clients is a priority.

Our Firm specializes in the management of work injury issues and the defense of workers’ compensation matters. Our clients include Employers and Public Agencies throughout the Bay Area.

We offer competitive compensation and benefits and an environment which is extremely collegial and team focused. We are driven by the quality of our work and results. Artificial billing expectations are not part of our vision. Successful candidates must be members of the California State Bar, in good standing.

Please submit your cover letter, resume and writing examples by way of email: info@armlawfirm.com