Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Disclosing Tactics of Spelman Thomas Battle, PLLC

Tuesday’s Tirade
The Legalese of Dishonor

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Legalese is an English term for writing pertaining to law that is difficult to read and understand. There’s an implication in this style: the more the writing is esoteric the higher the fees and the untrained mind will be excluded from the legal process.

I believe that Spilman Thomas and Battle, PLLC, the prestigious law firm defending Carelink Health Plans, Inc. of West Virginia in my civil lawsuit, may have engaged in some very questionable practices. Yet from a purely institution perspective, Spilman may have represented Carelink well.

It is the not only law that is the subject here. It is lawyers representing justice, fairness, integrity. Practicing law can be a world of deceit. Will one apparently faulty factual premise made by Spilman, Thomas and Battle PLLC influence a critical judgement now before the court of Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr. from the West Virginia Northern District Court?

Many authorities believe that there is a law against such posturing:

Active misrepresentations by an attorney to opposing counsel by deliberately failing to state a material fact "falls short of the honesty and integrity required of an attorney at law in the performance of his professional duties." (Coviello v. State Bar (1955) 45 Cal.2d 57, 65-66 [286 P.2d 357].) The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official;
(West Virginia State Bar Rule 8.4. Misconduct)

The ASHA Code of Ethics prohibits "engaging in . . . a misrepresentation …."¹ This general prohibition is not limited to intentional misrepresentations. A misrepresentation is any statement by words or other conduct that, under the circumstances, amounts to an assertion that is false or erroneous, i.e., not in accordance with the facts.² A misrepresentation, therefore, may be intentional or negligent, i.e., a "fraudulent misrepresentation" or a negligent misrepresentation." By Judson R. Garrett, Jr.

In my blog unitedforjustice.blogspot.com, Disclosing Tactics of Spilman Thomas and Battle PLLC, I link to crucial documents associated with my formal claims of discrimination and intimidation by my HMO. Likely, you may find all the documents very interesting, but it is Spilman’s allegation on page four of Defendants’ Response to Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand that will create a lot of discussion: “At no time during the course of the hearing did Plaintiff or her counsel indicate that any discrimination was taking place.”

My civil case is predicated on discrimination and intimidation deliberately inflicted on me, a disabled person, by a business doing business in West Virginia. Carelink is attempting to justify moving the case to federal court where no damages can be awarded. It appears that Defense Counsel is suggesting in Carelink’s Response, dated January 2, 2008, that I was indifferent about this grave issue at the time of my hearing.

I was anything but quiet about this discrimination. Before filing a civil lawsuit, I had submitted a formal claim on March 10, 2006, against Carelink to the “regulatory agency” of our state, the West Virginia Insurance Commission. My complaint cites discriminatory actions and intimidation against someone with a disability.

I requested a formal hearing before an administrative judge. My complaint set off a scramble of activity that left former Carelink CEO Patrick Dowd without a job and me without any recourse. The “state insurance regulatory” agency did not desire to regulate this issue. Their lack of action speaks to the heart of the problem. Corruption.

Additionally, I contacted the West Virginia Human Rights Commission as they, too, “regulate” insurance matters against anyone with a disability. For two months this “regulatory” agency did its job. Then my case was turned over to the attorneys and I no longer existed in their eyes.

Here’s the kicker. It was August 10, 2006, only minutes before my administrative hearing on a claim before the West Virginia Insurance Commission to seek my benefits under law. My Counsel was the Director of the Office of Consumer Advocacy. His name Frank Hartman.

Hartman took this brief moment to inform me, as we walked to the courtroom, that “one of those deals behind closed doors” had been worked out without my consent and we were directed to keep our mouths shut about the “open” complaint against Carelink for discrimination. How’s that for intimidation?

And in January 2008 Spillman Thomas Battle PLLC had the audacity to point out that neither my counsel or myself had brought up the discrimination at the August 10, 2006, hearing. Were they not privy to the behind the scenes manipulations? Shameful. Judge Frederick Stamp of the 1st District Court is reviewing all documents now. Is this justice? Has my integrity been impugned?

Yes, we live in a world of questionable scruples. Lethal legalese manipulated to present a false portrayal. Taking advantage of the uneducated and less sophisiticated.

Yes, lawyers have a bad reputation. Some might say that this profession is the cause of our world’s problems. Any wonder Spillman attorneys are practicing in one of the most universally despised professions? Do they damage the many fine, honest men and women who daily expose truth in our courtrooms?

Just posing a few questions that may raise serious issues about legal representation. You see, I have no money to retain an attorney. Like so many other harmed Americans, I do not have access to the power attorneys, the ones who are paid handsomely to pull rabbits out of their hats.
I just sit back in amazement and do what I now do best. Write in the hope others will recognize the ancient deceptions of these conjurers.
What's the root of my problems in West Virginia? Corruption. Someone not only needs to look at regulatory agencies in West Virginia, some law firms need to look at their corporate conscience.
Tuesday’s Tale
BiPolar Illness: My Best Friend

For forty years I have lived with a serious mental illness, Bipolar Illness. After years of personal medecine, therapy and medication, I have been symptom free for several years. Ironically, my freedom occurred the very same month, May 2005, that Carelink Health Plans, Inc. denied me my rightful benefits.

It would be a few months later, before I received the ruthless letter from former CEO Patrick W. Dowd, that I was speaking with my spiritual director about how to proceed against Carelink. If to proceed. Father’s wisdom was once again prophetic: ”Penny, maybe God wanted to heal you so you could fight for justice.” The battle began that day in earnest.

It’s neither the time nor place to describe the years of great anguish I experienced since 2005, the courage it took to take each step along the way. The humility to face false accusations of being violent and dangerous, of being accused of seeking justice with Coventry legal just a little too many times.
It was my psychiatrist’s words to me when I sought her opinion of what to do that propelled me: “It’s not just the mentally ill that are vulnerable to greedy insurance companies, it’s the elderly.”

I have been transparent about living with bipolar illness for over ten years. The local newspaper promoted me as a positive face of the illness in two significant articles. Bipolar has become my best friend for I have been led to a rich life of writing, painting, and advocacy that offers me a new career at age 60.

People have always greeted my admission with love and acceptance. Many times I have opened the door for others to share their own troubles. But, it was meeting Carelink and their ruthless business tactics that made me a lot more cautious.

On November 1, 2005, former CEO Patrick W. Dowd, likely not acting alone, falsely accused me of fraud in an attempt to terminate me. He was ever so aware of how far into the Carelink system I had entered. What is most despicable is that Mr. Dowd acted with the knowledge of my living with a severe mental illness. Likely, he thought that I would be paralyzed by my illness.

So while I continued to investigate Carelink and Coventry’s business practices, they continued to deny those with emotional problems much needed care. And here lies damnable actions. And the apparent reprehensible manipulation of the facts by Spilman Thomas and Battle PLLC.

I am not alone as I fight a giant in the insurance industry. I am part of the many who have lived with bipolar illness who have come before me. Courageous men and women who by their living a full, rich life with a chronic illness, have opened possibilities for me to confront evil and win.

Edgar Allen Poe
Mark Twain
Patty Duke
Carrie Fisher
Connie Francis
Moss Hart
Mariette Hartley
Margot Kidder
Vivien Leigh
Ben Stiller
Lili Taylor
Robin Williams
Jonathon Winters
Lord Byron
Dick Cavett
William Faulkner
Patrick J. Kennedy
Sir Isaac Newton
Florence Nighengale
Emily Post
Ludwig Von Beethoven
Francis Ford Coppola
George Fredrick Handel
Joshua Logan
Vincent Van Gogh
Gustav Mahier
Ted Turner
Buzz Aldrin
Sol Wachtier
Rosemary Clooney
Oscar Levant
Townes Van Zandt
Robert Lowell
Winston Churchill
Lynne Rivers
Theodore Roosevelt
Ilie Nastase
Dick Cavett
Jane Pauley
Honors de Balzac
Art Buchwald
Johann Goethe
Graham Greene
Kay Redfield Jamison

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