PRACTICE AREAS

Our firm is nationally recognized for its trial practice and, in particular, experience in medical malpractice defense. Bennett Bigelow & Leedom lawyers have a well-established practice involving the representation of healthcare institutions and professionals in all phases of medical negligence litigation, from prevention and claim investigation to discovery, trial, and appeal. Through years of experience, our firm has obtained many defense verdicts for our individual and institutional clients. We have provided defense in virtually every type of medical malpractice lawsuit, including complex birth injury, wrongful death, and other catastrophic injury cases.

Representative areas of experience include:

  • Birth Injury
  • Cardiology
  • Corporate Negligence
  • Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Failure to Diagnose
  • General Surgery
  • Gynecology
  • Lab Errors
  • Lack of Informed Consent
  • Loss of a Chance
  • Medical Battery
  • Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
  • Neurology
  • Nurses & Other Healthcare Providers
  • Obstetrics
  • Orthopedics
  • Promises to Cure
  • Radiology
  • Wrongful Birth/Wrongful Life
  • Wrongful Death

Bennett Bigelow & Leedom’s extensive experience, knowledge of medicine, and understanding of the issues unique to healthcare allows us to both understand the issues facing our clients and help to identify the best solutions. Results are case-specific, but include resolutions based on motion practice, settlement, arbitrations and jury verdicts. While our firm explores every avenue, we are always ready to proceed to trial as zealous and experienced advocates on our client’s behalf.

Our well-trained paralegal and support staff allow us to expertly and cost-effectively handle the most complex medical malpractice case. Utilizing the latest technologies in case management, our paralegals are highly skilled with Thompson Reuters’ latest releases of Case Notebook and Case Logistix. By simplifying the process to update and maintain medical records, medical chronologies, timelines, and case materials, such technology permits more efficient work product of superior quality.

Due to this experience and expertise, our attorneys are also frequently asked to consult on cases and defend healthcare providers prior to trial. We are able to concisely recognize the issues, and help formulate and execute an action plan that best meets our client’s needs.

The litigation attorneys at Bennett Bigelow & Leedom have earned a reputation for excellence in the Northwest and beyond. For over three decades, our attorneys have collectively tried hundreds of cases in superior and federal courts and in arbitration. Our lawyers are advocates for a wide variety of local and national businesses, governmental entities, not-for-profit organizations, and private individuals. We are nationally recognized in such areas as commercial litigation, employment, education, healthcare fraud and abuse, and product liability, in addition to medical malpractice defense. We also have an active and successful appellate practice, and are experienced in all forms of dispute resolution including arbitration and mediation.

From the most complex commercial litigation to the most straightforward cases, our team has shown a formidable depth and breadth of experience. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, as well as all types of product liability defense, including manufacturers and resellers.

In sum, Bennett Bigelow & Leedom applies a teamwork model to provide our clients with efficient, effective, and experienced legal representation on a wide range of litigation issues. We achieve results for our litigation clients by understanding the issues presented, the needs of our clients, and the realities of the legal situation.

Employment
Appellate
Products Liability
Medicare/ Medicaid
Premises Liability
Class Actions

Our employment attorneys provide practical and proactive counseling to clients in all areas of the employment relationship, including:  hiring, discipline, discharge, employee disabilities, employee leave, alcohol and drug testing, and workplace investigations as well as responses to complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. We frequently review, revise, and draft employment policies and handbooks, as well as provide on-site training, which helps employers implement best practices to minimize their exposure to employment claims. Employment law is a complex and always changing area of law and we are trusted partners with our clients in navigating those laws and avoiding their potential pitfalls.

When employment claims inevitably arise, our clients benefit from our experience representing employers in arbitrations and other alternative dispute forums, administrative proceedings before the Washington Human Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in state and federal court. Our dispute resolution and litigation experience ranges from defending against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, failure to accommodate claims, alleged leave violations, wrongful discharge claims, to breach of contract claims (such as employment contracts and non-competition and solicitation agreements). Should an employment claim reach trial, our clients trust that they have committed, vigorous, and experienced trial attorneys on their side.

Appeals and critical trial court issues are a core component of our litigation practice. Bennett Bigelow & Leedom lawyers have extensive experience at all levels of the state and federal systems in cases involving medical malpractice and products liability, healthcare regulation and reimbursement, employment and class action litigation, and a wide variety of constitutional issues. The firm’s depth of knowledge and experience allows us to accurately and efficiently assess cases, provide top-notch briefing, and deliver effective oral argument on key issues facing our clients.

Much of our firm’s product liability work involves defending pharmaceutical and medical device companies that are sued for alleged problems with their products or devices. Our firm’s experience in the products liability area also includes serving as local counsel in the defense of mass tort lawsuits of national importance for products including IUDs, breast implants, and heart valves.

Our litigation practice group was proud to have been one of four law firms selected from around the country to represent the State of Washington in its lawsuit against all the major tobacco companies. The settlement of that lawsuit, together with similar lawsuits later filed by 43 other states, resulted in the largest settlement in American history.

Bennett Bigelow & Leedom has achieved extraordinary results for healthcare providers in litigating issues involving Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. We have represented clients in Medicare appeals to the fiscal intermediary, the Medicare carrier, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and in state and federal courts. We have been a leader in obtaining increased Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share payments around the country. Our lawyers and paralegal staff are well-equipped to handle the significant data management requirements of these cases. Likewise, we have had significant success in pursuing and/or litigating issues arising out of state surveys and wage index issues. We have also successfully represented a large number of providers facing fraud and abuse investigations, allegations, and litigation initiated by both governmental entities and private parties.

As property owners and renters, healthcare providers and facilities face similar legal risks as other businesses when a patient or visitor is injured on their premises, such as in a slip and fall. The unique settings of hospitals, therapy centers, and other healthcare facilities, however, can often complicate claims of premises liability. Bennett Bigelow & Leedom, as an experienced firm in both healthcare and litigation, has a proven track record of successfully resolving claims against healthcare providers and facilities in premises liability cases.

Ranging from claims arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to allegations of improper medical liens, Bennett Bigelow & Leedom has a wide range of experience in litigating class action claims. When dealing with class actions, the high potential value of the claims and complicated nature of the issues make pre-trial practice and briefing of the utmost importance. Our attorneys are practiced and proven at obtaining favorable class action results both pre-trial and at every stage of litigation.

Our insurance practice provides a full range of legal services to insurers and the insured in both first-party and third-party settings. We have extensive experience in insurance coverage disputes, bringing declaratory judgment actions where necessary in both state and federal court. We provide clients with analysis and opinions regarding primary versus excess coverage, subrogation rights, duties to defend and indemnify, and reservation of rights.

We also have extensive experience in the area of bad faith litigation. Whether it is representing policy-holders or representing one insurer against another, we litigate diligently on behalf of clients, but also pursue alternative dispute resolution where appropriate. Washington bad faith law imposes extraordinary duties on insurers. We have the knowledge and experience to protect our client’s interests, whether it is prosecuting or defending against claims of insurer bad faith.

Bennett Bigelow & Leedom is experienced at advising clients regarding the regulatory requirements for licensing and regularly represents providers who are facing investigation. This area of representation continues to be an important and growing portion of our healthcare practice as the Department of Health continues to increase both implementation and enforcement of its regulatory authority.

Healthcare Licensing
Quality Assurance Commission Representation

Our firm advises healthcare facilities on the requirements for licensure and reporting necessary to ensure compliance with both existing regulations and new enactments. Ranging from the need to maintain records to the licensing requirements for individual providers, our firm provides a full range of consulting on issues addressing healthcare facilities.

Our attorneys represent healthcare providers who are facing investigation and/or disciplinary action. Such representation requires in-depth knowledge of both the medicine at issue and the environment in which it is provided in order to understand how the relevant regulations apply to the situation at hand. Bennett Bigelow & Leedom has the technical knowledge to provide effective representation and a proven history of success at defending against potential sanctions or disciplinary actions.

At Bennett Bigelow & Leedom, our attorneys’ wealth of knowledge and experience give our practice the versatility needed to serve clients across a wide spectrum of the healthcare industry. We understand that our clients often require guidance regarding both basic and complex business issues, from creation compliance with HIPAA to implementation of new business structures. We are adept at addressing our clients’ varying needs, including those of our hospital clients who have constituted a key focus of our practice since the firm’s founding. Additionally, we are well-versed in managing the distinctive needs of academic medical centers, whom we represent on a range of issues.

HIPAA / HITECH
Health Professionals and Organizations
Business Structures and Transactions
Hospitals and Health Systems
Academic Medical Centers
Tax-Exempt Organizations

Our firm advises healthcare systems on compliance issues regarding health information privacy, security and breach notification requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), and state law. Bennett Bigelow & Leedom has also represented clients in HIPAA compliance audits conducted by the Office of Civil Rights.

Healthcare professionals and their practice organizations require cost-effective legal expertise that includes knowledge of business law of general application as well familiarity with healthcare regulatory requirements. Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to provide effective representation to healthcare and other licensed professionals. Representative engagements include:

  • Medicare/Medicaid billing compliance issues
  • Payer Contracting Disputes
  • Facility and individual licensing, interstate licensing compliance issues, corporate practice of medicine and scope of practice issues
  • Independent Provider Organizations
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Medical staff bylaws, combined staff issues, staff discipline issues, and loss of privileges
  • Technology purchases and licensing
  • Patient care issues, including informed consent, end-of-life planning and other issues
  • Provider-related employment issues

When healthcare is involved, an otherwise routine business transaction can trigger complex regulatory issues. We help clients navigate what is often a confusing maze of federal, state, and local laws and regulations. We are innovative and detailed when structuring intricate business relationships, which help determine the success of many healthcare transactions. In every transaction, our objectives are the same: move the transaction forward, maximize its value for the client, and minimize the client’s risk.

Representative engagements include:

  • General Commercial, Business Structures, and Transactions
  • Mergers, Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, and Affiliations
  • Tax-Exempt Bond Financing
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights
  • Employment Law Counseling and Litigation
  • Real Estate Purchase, Sales, Financing, and Leasing
  • Regulatory and Licensing Issues

The legal issues involved in hospital management and reimbursement are complex and require experienced counsel. Bennett Bigelow & Leedom’s prior engagements include: representation regarding cost report issues and appeals, billing compliance advice, structuring hospital and provider arrangements to comply with reimbursement requirements, disproportionate share issues, legal defense in connection with federal and state investigations, internal compliance reviews and audits, qualification of special hospital/provider status, and other issues. We have had considerable experience and success representing hospital and health system plaintiffs in the Pacific Northwest and around the nation, frequently in multi-plaintiff proceedings or through hospital associations, in connection with claims and recoveries based on various Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement law and regulations.

Other typical engagements for hospitals and health systems encompass the variety of business transactions involved in healthcare. We have helped structure arrangements between hospitals and physicians, including:

  • Development of medical office and other facilities to create an integrated health system campus
  • Quality improvement structure and arrangements
  • Corporation structuring and reorganization, including development of integrated delivery systems by engagement or employment arrangements for physicians and other health professionals
  • Medical staff bylaws and related matters
  • Contracting with vendors, including outsourcing arrangements for hospital services
  • Development of internal compliance policies and procedures
  • Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (“EMTALA”) compliance
  • Defense of hospitals in connection with federal fraud and abuse investigations
  • Negotiation, advice, and documentation of payer contracts
  • Representation of hospitals and health systems in connection with mergers and acquisitions and sales of facilities, including:  due diligence reviews, compliance with charitable trust principles as they may apply to nonprofit organizations, Certificate of Need and licensing issues, anti-trust compliance, and a variety of transaction issues
  • Technology purchases and licensing
  • Patient care issues, including informed consent, end-of-life planning and other issues
  • Tax-exempt organization issues, including compensation planning for management and physicians; charity care; and state tax issues
  • Representation of hospital in connection with tax-exempt and other financing

We have extensive experience in handling the unique issues faced by academic medical centers located throughout the country, including both private and public institutions.

Among the issues on which we have recently represented academic medical centers are:

  • Faculty employment and compensation issues, including compliance with compensation related fraud and abuse laws and other regulatory requirements, and other issues unique to compensation in an academic setting.
  • Government regulatory enforcement efforts, including litigation related to Medicare teaching physician and supervision requirements, grant compliance, scientific misconduct, human subject protection and reimbursement in clinical trials, and reimbursement for investigational devices. We also counsel on compliance plans and conduct internal investigations on compliance issues.
  • Advice concerning the complex requirements of federal, state and private grant and sponsorship contracts and regulatory requirements.
  • Obtaining appropriate public and private reimbursement for clinical services, including reimbursement for graduate and indirect medical education expenses.

We also represent clients in litigating matters unique to academic institutions, such as issues of academic standing and medical malpractice claims relating to standards of care in a teaching environment.

Our work for tax-exempt organizations includes helping charities, including healthcare organizations, obtain tax-exempt status. We provide ongoing counsel to these clients about the organizational structure they must maintain to keep their tax-exempt status. And we advise them about the type of permitted activities in which tax-exempt organizations can engage without losing their exemption.

We also help tax-exempt clients comply with their reporting obligations, represent them in government audits and defend them when their tax-exempt status is challenged.

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