I Don't Want To Go To Court!

  1. Today is my birthday. whoopee. Had a lawyer call me today who was representing a company I worked for a couple of years ago. They are being sued by the former administrator who had hired me. He was fired and is suing for unjust termination. They ditched him and rightly so imo. Well the lawyer was asking me all kinds of questions. Some things I remembered, some I didn't. I had documented much of his behavior and the problems and just last month when I was cleaning I threw them away. Didn't want to have something around that was from such a turmoilous time in my career. The new management promoted me to Director, at which point I did everything I could to straiten out the mess that was created under his command. After I answered all the questions I could I started wondering if I should have said anything at all. I hope that I was wishy washy enough that they won't subpeona me. I don't know if the guy that was fired will call me up b/c he blamed me...said I made it all up and blamed me for his loss of employement. Not a good relationship imo. The day he was fired I was standing in my office and heard crashing, yelling, ....a violent departure. The guy was wacked imo. I guess I'm just venting and looking for a little support and cheering up. This is such a bummer. I don't have time to go to court. I've got my own kids and have to run the clinic. Pray for me that I don't end up dealing with all this on the stand. I've never been to court, never been in front of a judge and jury and don't see it as anything that I would enjoy doing. BTW, I didn't stay in that job for long. Anybody been there. What should I expect to happen???
    Last edit by flowerchild on Aug 17, '02
    •  
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Love-A-Nurse
    i do wish you all the best.
  4. by   JeannieM
    Flowerchild, I've given a deposition before and it isn't fun! (I wasn't the one being sued, thank the Lord). Above all else, DON'T TALK TO ANYONE ON THE PHONE!!! There are slash-and-burn lawyer groups who will, without actually lying, most definitely lead you to believe that they represent your hospital, your malpractice insurance company and ask you to give all sorts of information. I've heard of it being done to friends, and had it attempted on me.
    Phone rings: (It's 11:00 at night)
    Me (groggy): Hullo?
    Voice: Hello, this is the lawyer addressing the case of Mrs ????? (didn't remember it from Adam) who fell in the shower at your institution four years ago. The case goes to trial tomorrow morning (I'm not kidding on this) and we are wondering if you will be able to give testimony...
    Me: (What I wish I'd said): For confidentiality reasons, I do not give information on patients or professional matters over the phone at my place of residence. Please approach me officially at work with my supervisor present.
    Me: (What I actually said): HUH?????

    Anyway, Flowerchild, please be careful. Know who you are talking to, and protect yourself. I truly wish you hadn't pitched the documentation; I would recreate what you can remember, including dates and times, for your own benefit. Take care! JeannieM
  5. by   flowerchild
    Thanks JennieM, I am hoping this lawyer is who he said he is... I knew after the conversation that I probably answered too many of his questions and kinda wished I hadn't. Too late now. Like I said I hope I was too wishy washy with what I remembered for him to call me to the stand... I hope so.... It was 2 years ago and I didn't recall everything very well anyway. I figure that they'd subpeona me anyway, even if I hadn't said anything. Your right I need to write down what I do remember. The documents I threw out recently, I didn't even read them so none of the info is fresh in my mind. Let this be a lesson to others, keep your documentation. If I had kept the documentation I'm sure I'd of been subpeoned though. So getting rid of it just might save me from going to court... I hope. I don't know. I'll be much more careful in the future.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    flowerchild. my best wishes are with you. and happy birthday, even tho it's not. i am so sorry. good luck.
  7. by   debralynn
    :hatparty: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Flowerchild, Happy Birthday to you.....and many more......on channel four......etc. etc. etc..
  8. by   researchrabbit
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    I too hope you are not called to court!
  9. by   nimbex
    been there, though not on my birthday, wishes to you. I can tell you that should you have kept the notes, they most likely would be ADMISSABLE evidence in the court. Which can be a very bad thing if even one comment or word was not strictly professional.

    Never talk to a lawyer over the phone. When I was needed to be contacted by an attorney, it was handled through my hospitals attorney, who briefed me to the rules of the game and sat with me through the deposition. He told me under no circumstances should I discuss this with anyone especially the attorney.

    I suggest you contact your facility risk management ASAP! for damage control.

    PS, they WANT wishy washy, not a confident person standing with a lawyer who says "NO COMMENT". Good luck.... have a BIG slice of cake from me!
  10. by   montroyal
    Flowerchid, several years ago a I learned how to stay out of court. Nurses are liscenced by each state as professional. As such we can charge for services in which we use are professional trainning. This includes talking to attorneys and testifing in court as a professional. Md's have been doing this for years. As an ED nurse, I have been contacted several times by attorneys reguarding civil cases. As soon as the lawyer identifies himself, and explains the reason for his call, I tell them I charge a professional fee of $900.00 and hour plus expenses for these services. I then explain to him/her that this fee covers all conversations and phone calls. I then ask the lawyer if he wishes to continue with this conversation. No one has. Check with your local Board of Nursing to see if they have any guidlines reguarding of fee schedule for these services. You will be surprised how little control is over this industry. Keep in mind that this works for civil cases, not criminal cases. Good luck
  11. by   sjoe
    Montroyal. That is an excellent idea, and a fair price.
  12. by   froghairfinlay
    My brother is an attorney. He said that you should not answer any more questions unless you are represented. You need to talk to the department that handles these type of situations. Also, someone else has already suggested it, but you need to sit down and try to remember what happend and then write it down. Good luck.
  13. by   Jenny P
    Please get a lawyer who has experience in cases like this to represent you! Most lawyers will not charge for the first hour for consultation; so you can talk to them to find out what they can and can't do for you and what your risks are.

    Another piece of advice for others (that does not apply to you in this instance) is don't go to a lawyer who has no knowledge of medical issues if you are being charged with malpractice or negligence. It makes a big difference in your defense to have a lawyer who understands the nursing environment.
  14. by   Youda
    As you say, it's too late about the phone conversation. But, be prepared that anything/everything you said on the phone is now part of your first deposition if it gets that far. I made that mistake and was horrified that my casual comments on the phone were thrown back to me at a deposition! (Just called as a witness.) Try to remember the things you said on the phone and write them down in case you are grilled on your comments/answers later. Also, if you are called as a witness, you can take an attorney with you, but you'll still be asked all the hard questions and have to answer them. Ugly situation. Sorry you're gonna have to go through this, and it definitely sounds like you are.

close