Doug Landau comes to the defense of duped doctor


The facts are simple enough.

Dr. “D” sublet space from Dr. “X.” Since they had similar medical practices,
they shared reception, telephone answering, billing and office management personnel.
Dr. D gave Dr. X a check for his share of the workers compensation insurance
premium.

They shared the common reception area and waiting room, but had separate examination
rooms. Employees of both doctors used the kitchen, but Dr. D only used the
kitchen for meeting with drug sales representatives. When the refrigerator
would not close because of ice build up, Dr. D told his staff not to do it
since it was not his fridge and not their responsibility.

The claim was brought by the billing specialist/receptionist/office manager,
who claimed to have slipped and fallen due to melted ice from the fridge
while in the kitchen over a weekend. Her medical bills totaled over $134,000
and continuing, she had not worked since shortly after the accident, and
she was claiming permanency to both legs ! When Dr. D turned the claim over
to the workers comp insurance company, he found out that while he had given
Dr. X a check for his half of the premium, Dr. X had simply “pocketed” the
money. Dr. D had no insurance, despite his cancelled check “for comp insurance” to
Dr. X, and he was facing having to pay several hundreds of thousands of dollars
in benefits out of his own pocket !

Doug Landau, Herndon Super Lawyer, was brought in to defend the doctor. The case
was tried before Deputy Commissioner Colville over several days in Alexandria,
Virginia. She is one of the most respected, experienced and thorough judges
in the Commonwealth, and she sifted though thousands of pages of testimony,
depositions, exhibits and hearing transcript to render her decision.

Mr. Landau argued that the claimant was, at the time of her alleged, unwitnessed
fall, working in the kitchen used by Dr. X and his staff, in the course of
her work for him (seeing his patients over the weekend and defrosting his
refrigerator), not working for Dr. D’s office (who did not work weekends).
The doctors and staff gave sworn testimony that conflicted with the claimant.

Furthermore, the claimant’s own time sheets showed that she was billing Dr. X for more
than 50% of her time, as well as Dr. D ! Landau also found out that she had
numerous prior claims before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission,
under different names, with different lawyers. This Virginia trial lawyer
also discovered the claimant had previous injuries to her knee in a drill
team accident and in an automobile accident. She had also gotten several
cash settlements in her prior claims, including a case against another doctor
before coming to work for Dr. X.

Deputy Commissioner Colville ruled in favor of Landau’s client. She believed “that
one or more individuals were not telling the truth because there were too
many inconsistencies in the testimony.” The claimant’s lawyer appealed the
case to the Full Commission in Richmond. There, Commissioner Tarr ruled 7
months later in a unanimous decision, that the trial judge was correct and
that Mr. Landau’s client was not liable for any comp benefits. They found
she was NOT performing any work for Dr. D in any part of the office where
his materials were stored at a time when she would be expected to be employed
by his practice. In the VWC’s unanimous decision, rendered 5 years after the date of this woman’s
slip and fall, Commissioner Tarr wrote:

The Commission usually does not overrule a Deputy Commissioner’s credibility
findings and cannot do so here where the record is significantly inconsistent.

Accordingly, we AFFIRM the Deputy Commissioner’s findings that the claimant’s injury did
not occur in the course of or arise out of her employment with Dr. D.

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