A California lawyer tells doctors that they should not expect to be asked to testify in workers’ compensation trials unless they contribute $2,500 to Phil Angelides’ campaign for governor.
A Beverly Hills lawyer who represents injured workers before the state has told doctors that he and his colleagues will not refer clients their way unless they contribute at least $2,500 each to defeat Gov. Schwarzenegger. The group representing the attorneys who specialize in workers compensation insurance cases immediately disavowed the lawyer’s comments.
Attorney Lawrence Stern, in a June 26 email, said that “we at CAAA (California Applicants Attorneys Association) have taken a pact not to support any (doctor) who has not contributed at least $2,500 to the elections…” The mail was sent to Marlena Garland, who markets the services of the doctors, known as agreed medical examiners, or AMEs, in the workers compensation insurance system. Copies of the email also were sent to ranking CAAA members, including former CAAA President David Schwartz and current President David Rockwell.
Angelides spokesman Brian Brokaw said the Angelides campaign, “had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was a stupid mistake, we condemn it, and we’re glad that CAAA moved quickly to remedy the situation.”
Stern, a member of the CAAA committee that specializes in industrial relations, urged AMEs “along with us to stand shoulder to shoulder and to reach into their pockets, if necessary sell their Mercedes or not buy a new one for another year and help us get rid of Arnold (Schwarzenegger).” Stern noted that the AMEs have benefited from client referrals, and “it is time they started paying something back.”
Garland and Stern were not immediately available to comment.
CAAA spokesman Steve Hopcraft said that Stern “crossed the line” in the solicitation. “You can’t compromise the independence of the doctors who are supposed to be chosen by both sides. He crossed the line, and he’s been told that. It is just one member who got over-enthusiastic and over-zealous. He’s apologized,” Hopcraft said.
As far as I can determine on the basis of Google searches, this story has been carried by CapitolWeekly and nowhere else. The web page for the CAAA describes the organization this way:
The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA) is the most powerful, and most knowledgeable legal voice for the injured workers of California. Serving California’s injured workers since 1966, CAAA has been built with the support of its members who recognized the necessity of an active voice for injured workers.
A web page for Lawrence Stern describes the attorney as past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the CAAA, and currently serving as Court Appointed Arbitrator in Personal Injury and Product Liability matter.