Last month, former attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing about $300,000 from his client, Stormy Daniels. But Mr. Avenatti was already serving a thirty-month prison sentence for attempting to extort a “settlement” from Nike.

Continue Reading Don’t Go to Prison for Extortion: Lessons from Michael Avenatti

For better or worse, trademark infringement claims enjoy relaxed standing requirements which enable plaintiffs to move quickly to quash would-be infringers. These requirements are at their lowest ebb when parties seek declaratory judgments. This results in some creative uses of the declaratory judgment claim.

Continue Reading Sexy Little Claims: Declaratory Judgments in Trademark Infringement Claims

Breathless headlines warn of the “Great Resignation” or a “Resignation Apocalypse” that will soon empty cubicles all around the nation. Exaggerated as these reports may be, there is a kernel of truth to these warnings, and they should impact the way lawyers and their clients view depositions.

For decades, the median number of years that a salaried employee stayed with a single employer remained relatively stable at about four years. But this number is expected to decline in the years ahead.

Continue Reading Depose Like There’s No Tomorrow: Deposition Practice Needs to Adjust to the Realities of Today’s Workforce

We recently participated in what the New Jersey Law Journal called the “first complex civil jury trial to be conducted in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.” Although the case settled shortly after opening statements, this experience taught us that New Jersey courts are ready to try complex civil cases safely and responsibly with new COVID protocols that may force trial attorneys to depart from their usual practices. We published an article in the New Jersey Law Journal about this experience that may be of interest to our readers.

Continue Reading What an In-Person Trial Looks Like in a Socially Distanced New Jersey Court

In July, we reported (here) on a Third Circuit decision that held an out-of-network provider’s direct claims against an insurer for breach of contract and promissory estoppel were not pre-empted by ERISA. That opinion was a significant win for healthcare providers. Recently, there has been another important win for out-of-network providers—this time from

In an important win for healthcare providers, on July 17, 2020, the Third Circuit determined in a published opinion that an out-of-network provider’s direct claims against an insurer for breach of contract and promissory estoppel are not pre-empted by ERISA.  In Surgery Ctr., P.A. v. Aetna Life Ins. Co.[1] In an issue of first impression, the Third Circuit addressed the question of what remedies are available to an out-of-network provider when an insurer initially agrees to pay for the provision of out-of-network services, and then breaches that agreement.

This case arose because two patients—identified as J.L. and D.W.—required medical procedures that were not available in-network through Aetna. J.L. needed bilateral breast reconstruction surgery following a double mastectomy and D.W. required “facial reanimation surgery,” which the Third Circuit describes as “a niche procedure performed by only a handful of surgeons in the United States.” Neither J.L. nor DW had out-of-network coverage for these procedures. D.W.’s plan also contained an “anti-assignment” clause, which would have prevented D.W. from assigning his or her rights under the plan to the Plastic Surgery Center, P.A.
Continue Reading Third Circuit: Provider’s Out-of-Network Claims not Pre-empted by ERISA