Should you agree to talk with lawyers without it being court ordered?

  1. The administrator of a facility I worked at two years ago has called me. They state they would like for me to attend a meeting with some attorneys regarding a former patient. They told me they didn't know the details of what the attorneys were looking for, but that the attorneys needed to ask questions of the people that worked there during this patient's stay. They stated that they couldn't force anyone to attend this meeting, but they would like for us to attend. They couldn't give me an exact time for the meeting so I told them that I would try to make it, but I do have to work that day. They are supposed to call back with a time.

    After my initial shell shock I thought it through and had some questions I wanted answers to about this meeting. I called the facility back, but was unable to get the administrator to return my calls.

    I spoke with one of my ex-coworkers from the facility as well. She had also been called and reported yet another person to have been called as well.

    Its been two days since the initial call and I haven't heard back from the facility.

    I'm not sure that it would be a wise thing to do to volunteer information. I haven't been subpoenaed or anything. I can't think of any decent reason as to why I'd be named in a suit and I have thought about it long and hard. I don't feel like I'm guilty of anything, but the few times I have had to speak with attorneys for questioning have taught me it isn't fun. I really just don't want to be a part of it unless I have to be.

    Is this normal to have a facility requesting you to meet with a group of lawyers? I've only been called on in one law suit (in corrections) and I had a subpoena before anybody started trying to ask me questions.

    I'm thinking about not attending this meeting unless they get a court order. BUT I don't want them to come after me for being uncooperative or anything. They haven't even told me what is going on. I don't know how I'd talk my current employer into giving me that day off on such short notice anyway because it isn't court ordered.

    If any of you have any input I'd be greatly appreciative.
    •  
  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    If you have malpractice insurance, I would call the insurance co. and ask what they advise you to do. It's a pretty safe guess that the attorneys aren't wanting to meet with former staff to convey the family's gratitude for what good care you took of their loved one ... They are looking for information on someone -- I hope it's not you! :uhoh21:

    Best wishes --
  4. by   llg
    I agree totally about notifying your professional liability company and asking for their input.

    Also, I can't be sure from your previous post... whose attorneys want to speak with you.... the patient's attorneys? .... or the attorneys of the institution where you worked? If it is the patient's attorneys, I would probably not speak with them without a court order and without my own legal counsel present.

    If it is the attorneys of your employer, I would probably speak with them -- but be careful not to incriminate myself. They might just be looking to get the facts so that they can respond to an inquiry by the patient/family.

    llg
  5. by   MandyInMS
    I'm no legal wizz, but I don't see how volunteering info that isn't required would benefit you at all..I agree about asking your mal. insurance/getting their advice...the curiousity of who/what/when/what happened would be driving me batty though...best wishes (((hugzzzz)))
  6. by   leslie :-D
    or you might want to find out what/who it's regarding before you offer any information....i was totally stupid this year and didn't purchase malpractice insurance so in the event that you don't have anyone to contact, check out what it's about 1st and proceed with caution.
  7. by   FROGGYLEGS
    I am also sure that they aren't wanting to congratulate anybody for a job well done.

    The facility did tell me which patient this concerned but denied knowing why they were asking about this patient. This patient is one of the few that I do have a strong recollection of. One of the main things I remember is that her family was....well let's say "different". I am also almost positive that the facility DOES know whats going on. I'm sure they aren't going to send any lawyers invitation to investigate them.

    I was under the impression that it was the family's lawyers. I'm not sure if they said that or if I just assumed it. That was one of the questions I was going to ask them after I got my thoughts in order, but I can't get the admin. to return my call.

    Okay now it is time to smack myself in the forehead again. No, I don't have liability insurance. I had a nursing instructor advise against it so I took her advice and didn't get it after graduation. I've tossed the idea around, but haven't ever made it a priority to get insurance. You better believe I'm going to get in now though...never can tell when they'll come calling next time.

    If they really want me to attend this meeting of theirs they are going to have to answer some questions. I think it is just ridiculous that they can't be bothered with taking calls or returning them if this is so important.

    Thanks for all the advice. I do appreciate it.
  8. by   Nurse Ratched
    Quote from elkpark
    It's a pretty safe guess that the attorneys aren't wanting to meet with former staff to convey the family's gratitude for what good care you took of their loved one--
    OMG - that just struck my funny bone (I know - this is serious, but sometimes the way something is worded just hits you.)

    Anyway, I know the old "If you've got nothing to hide you'll be fine" line, but lawyers have a way of twisting things into stuff it isn't. If there was sufficient evidence of anything to be pursuing a lawsuit, there would be a discovery hearing happening. As it is, this sounds like someone going fishing for something. I wouldn't be inclined to do anything I wasn't required to do. Let your documentation from the time or incident in question speak for itself - you can't possibly hope to recall more specifically now than you did at the moment something happened.
  9. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from elkpark
    It's a pretty safe guess that the attorneys aren't wanting to meet with former staff to convey the family's gratitude for what good care you took of their loved one ... They are looking for information on someone -- I hope it's not you! :uhoh21:

    Best wishes --
    I certainly would NOT offer any info without a subpoena and my attorney present...I would not answer this kind of summons to appear at the facility that you are not even emplyoed by any longer..You can be sure that if anyone does show up they will be surrounded by lawyers-the families and the facilites and they will not be looking our for your best interests but covering their butts....and they'll have to meet you when it is convenient for you and your lawyers..
  10. by   FROGGYLEGS
    Quote from Nurse Ratched
    OMG - that just struck my funny bone (I know - this is serious, but sometimes the way something is worded just hits you.)

    Anyway, I know the old "If you've got nothing to hide you'll be fine" line, but lawyers have a way of twisting things into stuff it isn't. If there was sufficient evidence of anything to be pursuing a lawsuit, there would be a discovery hearing happening. As it is, this sounds like someone going fishing for something. I wouldn't be inclined to do anything I wasn't required to do. Let your documentation from the time or incident in question speak for itself - you can't possibly hope to recall more specifically now than you did at the moment something happened.
    I couldn't agree more with you about the "nothing to hide" motto.

    The one time I was subpoenaed it was as a witness; I wasn't named in the suit. The lawyers for both sides were quite friendly about getting me to talk to them before the court date. The friendliness stopped at the courtroom doors as you might imagine. I wasn't the one on trial but the lawyers from both sides tore into me like rabid dogs.

    I think I am in agreement with you about them fishing as well. I can't figure out why I haven't been subpoenaed if my answers are so important to their suit or whatever it is they have cooking.

    I can't recall this patient having any problems while I was on duty. I really don't feel like they could have any valid charges against me personally. The only way I think I could be named in their suit is if they are suing everybody.

    I feel confident that I haven't done anything to be concerned about, but I do have a bad feeling about meeting with the lawyers. I am very close to saying that I will not attend without it being court ordered.
  11. by   elkpark
    Now, don't forget to buy that insurance, so the next time something like this comes up, you'll have some back-up!!
  12. by   purplemania
    sounds like a fishing expedition to me. I would not go.
  13. by   FROGGYLEGS
    Quote from elkpark
    Now, don't forget to buy that insurance, so the next time something like this comes up, you'll have some back-up!!
    Believe me, you don't have to worry about that. :chuckle You have me sold on the subject. I'm going to look into some companies today and get that insurance.

    Quote from purplemania
    sounds like a fishing expedition to me. I would not go.
    At this point, I have decided against attending. I didn't trust this employer when I worked for them; I'm not going to start now. Their refusal to elaborate and to return calls makes me trust them even less.

    Thanks everyone for your help.

close