New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Ambulance Chasing, Attorney Ethics


August 3rd, 2009

Ambulance Chasers, Runners and Other Creeps

Today’s post is inspired by a trifecta of recent stories on people chasing victims for profit. This includes:

1. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo last month indicting 14 people involved in a health care fraud scam involving doctors and at least one lawyer;

2. A Florida hospital employee selling patient medical records to a middle man who turns them over to a personal injury attorney; and

3. Two Brooklyn lawyers, David Resnick and Serge Binder, last week becoming the 13th and 14th lawyers to lose their licenses in a “runner” investigation going back to 1999 (previously here on 8/2/07: New York Personal Injury Attorney Probe Catches Another Ambulance Chaser).

Now every business and every profession has its scoundrels. Regardless of whether the lure is one of the big three of money, sex or drugs, it happens to doctors, lawyers, clergy, schoolteachers and every other group you can imagine. Every race, religion and group of any kind will have its problem participants.

But unlike the police and their Blue Code of Silence or the doctors and their White Coat of Silence, or the priests and their Collar of Silence, I don’t ever want to see such silence by lawyers.

The message should be loud and clear: If you employ runners to chase cases at the local hospitals you shouldn’t be practicing law. And it should be equally clear that the vast, vast majority of attorneys look down with utter disdain on such conduct. Without question, most of the lawyers that I run into, on both the plaintiffs and defense side, practice law conscientiously and ethically. The corrupt ones should not expect others to come to their defense.

When lawyers practice unethically it tarnishes the entire profession and makes it more difficult to represent those in need of legal services.

When I wrote my first piece on this two years ago, I wrote the following words, which I reaffirm today:

…I know this crap happens and I want it stopped. I have heard it through the grapevine as new clients reported on how they were approached by others after being hospitalized. It is utterly infuriating, and I am pleased that the Manhattan District Attorney is working on the issue. I have often quietly hoped (and today, not so quietly) that District Attorneys in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island would follow suit, not only investigating based on tips they receive, but even running sting operations.

Links to this post:

september 15 roundup
it’s almost as if arizona wants to encourage broken-windshield fraud [coyote]; “they are so greedy that — how awful! — they are selling food cheap.” [ann althouse takes out after michael pollan]; tom freeland examines “clarksdale sugar

posted by Walter Olson @ September 15, 2009 7:47 AM

personal injury roundup of links
wisconsin supreme court begins to lean to the right, notwithstanding last week’s informed consent holding. <1 million malpractice settlement in chicago (dallas fort worth injury lawyer) . advice on coordinating pip and workers’
posted by @ August 03, 2009 3:21 PM

2 thoughts on “Ambulance Chasers, Runners and Other Creeps

  1. Oh what a bunch of self righteous bull crap. Anybody who has ever tried to find a lawyer for legal malpractice case knows you guys cover each other.

  2. I know several lawyers that do legal malp stuff, and I would do one myself under the right circumstances.

    The big problem with them is that you have to prove two cases in one: You have to prove both the legal malpractice case as well as the underlying negligence case.

    It isn’t enough to prove a lawyer screwed up. You have to prove causation and damage also.