Interesting Proposal for New System to Report Medical Mistakes


Safer and more efficient delivery of health care services has been an ongoing topic of conversation in our country for many years.  I have blogged many times about how access to the courts and the resulting penalties on poorly performing health care providers can help rectify the safety issues that are prevalent in our system.  Studies have also shown that tort reform as it relates to med mal penalties has little to no real impact on the cost of health care.


A recent article in the New York Times outlines a new system for patient reporting of medical mistakes that the Obama administration hopes will help health care providers learn from mistakes that often go unreported.  The system would be voluntary and the results would be kept confidential, hopefully alleviating fears from providers of medical malpractice liability and fines for poor performance.


According to Dr. Carolyn Clancy, the director of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Currently there is no mechanism for consumers to report information about patient safety events.”  She adds that, “Patient reports could complement and enhance reports from providers and thus provide a more complete and accurate understanding of the prevalence and characteristics” of medical errors.


According to the article, consumer groups applauded the initiative, while health care provider organizations are warily supportive.  The American Medical Association had no immediate comment, saying it needed to study the details.


The full article can be read here.


Paul Myers
Chief Credit Officer


Photo Credit: Lawyers_Maryland via Photobucket

Lance Sears Interview – Part One


Click on the video to watch part one of Mr. Swanson’s recent interview with Lance Sears of Sears & Swanson, P.C. in Colorado Springs, Colorado.





$5,000 Law Student Scholarship from Public Justice


Do you know of a law school student who would like a chance at winning a $5,000 scholarship?  Check out the 2013 Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Contest from Public Justice.  This is an essay contest and this year’s topic question is “Is Democracy for Sale”?


Even if you don’t know a student who could benefit, please share this with friends, your former law school, etc.  Help Public Justice spread the word!


Complete details are available by clicking here.



Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


Brian Chase and Scott Ritsema 2012 Consumer Attorneys of the Year


Congratulations to Brian Chase and Scott Ritsema on being named recipients of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) 2012 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award presented at the 51st Annual Convention held last week in San Francisco.  The prestigious award is bestowed upon the plaintiffs’ lawyer who has achieved a significant result in a case that assisted consumers or changed consumer law for the better in California.


Below is a short video in Brian Chase’s own words describing the case in which their client Ms. Romine was rendered a quadriplegic in a defective seat case against automotive seat manufacturer, Johnson Controls, Inc.  In the video, Attorney Chase also talks about the real life impact he and colleague, Scott Ritsema were able to make in Ms. Romine’s life by holding Johnson Controls accountable and ensuring financial resources for Ms. Romine’s future care.



Thanks to the entire team of trusted professionals at Bisnar |Chase who work with endless passion and determination to ensure those with life altering injuries get the care they deserve.


To see the full list of CAOC 2012 Award Recipients, click here:


Lisa Wagner
Senior Vice President, Client Services


Jim Orr Interview – Part One


Click on the video to watch part one of Mr. Swanson’s recent interview with Jim Orr of Heygood, Orr & Pearson in Dallas, Texas.




Crossroads for Your Law Firm on E-Discovery?


Photo Credit: via Flickr

The November 15, 2012 edition of Law Technology News featured a great article by Gina Passarella from The Legal Intelligencer regarding new e-discovery choices for law firms.



There seem to be developing two schools of thought on the subject:



(1)  Investing substantial dollars in technology, people and processes or

(2)  Hiring a preferred vendor, known as managed services providers, to handle the process across the firm’s platform to manage efficiency and cost for clients.


Of course, there is always the third choice – – – the gray area.   Firms that choose a hybrid solution to manage some e-discovery in house and outsource the larger, more complicated cases to a third-party vendor.


Interesting choices as the age of e-discovery continues to evolve.  Read the entire article here for more insight and suggestions.



Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Photo Credit: via Flickr

Advocate Capital, Inc. Thanksgiving Hours


In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Advocate Capital, Inc. offices will be closed on Thursday, 11/22/12 and Friday, 11/23/12.  All payments, fundings and other transactions received on these days will be processed promptly on Monday, 11/26/12.


If you have any questions regarding the processing of any transaction, please feel free to contact our Accounting Team at 1-615-577-5448 or

The entire Advocate Capital, Inc. Team wishes a safe holiday to all!


Kelly O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP

Vice President, Finance and Administration


Recent Accident Shows Impact of TN Tort Reform


I’ve written a number of blogs over the years about the tort reform movement in Advocate Capital’s home state of Tennessee.  A recent article in the Johnson City Press discusses the impact of tort reform, particularly when cap limits are applied to government entities.


While the new tort reform law in Tennessee limited noneconomic damages to $750,000 (up to $1 million if the loss falls into a catastrophic category), an older law in Tennessee limits liability for government entities to $700,000 per INCIDENT, regardless of how many people were injured.


A recent school bus accident in Washington County injured 26 students, so the liability per student was limited to $16,000.  “So, if (the driver) had rolled this bus twice and killed these kids, we’d be looking at these parents and saying your child is worth $16,000,” said local attorney Tony Seaton.  Not a conversation I would want to have.


In addressing damage caps in general, Bryan Capps, President of the Tennessee Association of Justice said, “Limiting those kinds of damages are particularly hard on the young and the old. If you have a child, and they haven’t established any earning capacity and they have a catastrophic injury, they’ve lost the enjoyment of possibly a lifetime. Or you have an elderly person who no longer earns money and they don’t have economic damages and they suffer an enormous amount of physical or emotional pain.  So they’ve had enormous injury, they’ve suffered a great deal. That has a large value that is now arbitrarily capped.  They may not have any real economic value because they don’t earn anything. We believe it’s simply unconstitutional under Tennessee’s law for the legislature to come in and substitute its judgment for a jury, and that’s what it does. The caps on non-economic damages have allowed the members of the legislature to come in and predetermine — as opposed to a jury of our peers, which the constitution requires — the maximum value of those kinds of damages.”

The full article can be read here.


Paul Myers
Chief Credit Officer


Majed Nachawati Interview – Part One


Click on the video to watch part one of Mr. Swanson’s recent interview with Majed Nachawati of Fears | Nachawati, PLLC in Dallas, Texas.



Protecting Data Prior to Discovery


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>As any good lawyer knows, the protection of data prior to discovery is a crucial yet complicated task, especially in the digital age. Information that could make or break a case is constantly at risk to potential discardment. Whether the mishandling of the data was intentional or not is beside the point. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.


Judy Selby, head of the Baker Hostetler’s E-Discovery and Technology Practice Group, provides sound advice on how to prevent this from happening, even under fixed constraints. Judy lists four tactics one could submit to secure documents from potential threats…


  • Preservation Order
  • Imaging Order
  • Preservation Letter
  • Agreement with Counsel


For more detailed information about the pros and cons of each approach read the article in its entirety here.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

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