Law firm liable for contributions on wages paid to its patient advocates
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Monday, November 11, 2019

Law firm liable for contributions on wages paid to its patient advocates

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

A personal injury law firm, which provided non-attorney patient advocates, or "watchdogs," to accompany plaintiffs to independent medical examinations, was liable for additional contributions on remuneration paid to the claimant, a patient advocate, and others similarly situated. There was substantial evidence that the law firm exercised overall control over important aspects of the work as it advertised for patient advocates, who were required to submit resumes and be interviewed, and then imposed very specific requirements governing nearly every aspect of their work. The law firm exercised control over work assignments by determining which patient advocates would be offered the opportunity to attend any particular examination, by assigning specific patient advocates in response to customer requests, and by arranging for replacements when a patient advocate was unable to report to an assigned examination. Law firm staff reviewed all reports that were submitted and, in response to customer complaints, the firm sent a memorandum to the patient advocates describing common errors and admonishing them to follow the prescribed protocol. The Board's decision was affirmed (In the Matter of the Claim of Sylvia Bloomfield, N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div., Third Dept., No. 528114, September 12, 2019).

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