Legal Malpractice Summary Judgment Win

Jonathan Vine and Keisha Hall of CSK’s West Palm Beach office were recently successful in defending a Law Firm in a highly litigious Legal Malpractice matter. In the underlying matter, our clients, an attorney and Law Firm, were retained by Plaintiffs, a medical provider, to dispute the findings and overpayment of an Agency’s Medicaid audit. The overpayment amount along with fines and fees resulted in a demand for Medicaid reimbursement of $970,504.27. The Plaintiffs’ Petition for a Hearing to dispute the Medicaid findings and overpayment was denied by the Agency as untimely filed. Specifically, the Agency claimed the Petition was not timely received because Defendants failed to use either of the filing methods set forth in the Agency’s Final Audit Report.

As a part of the defense, we argued that the Petition was timely, where two Agency attorneys received the Petition via email. We further argued the Abandonment Doctrine and asserted that Plaintiffs abandoned the right to appeal once the Agency denied the Petition. Significantly, Plaintiffs had retained new counsel who could also have filed an appeal but abandoned their right to file the same. We further argued that the District Court would have either found that the Petition was timely received or use the Doctrine of Equitable Tolling to reverse the Agency’s decision where there was substantial compliance with the Agency’s filing requirements.

The Court in this matter heard arguments on the dispositive issue, addressing Plaintiffs’ Motion on whether an appeal would have likely been successful. The Court agreed with Defendants’ position and ruled that Plaintiffs had abandoned their right to appeal and therefore precluded any claim for legal malpractice. The Court ruled that the Agency pulled a “gotcha,” with its denial of the Petition where there was actual/substantial compliance. The Court concluded that an appeal of the Agency’s decision to deny Plaintiffs an administrative hearing would likely have been successful, and further found that “Plaintiffs therefore abandoned this claim for legal malpractice by choosing not to take an appeal.”

Jonathan Vine
(561) 383-9203

Keisha Hall
(561) 383-9248

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