“That kind” of billboard has sprung up in our area. Lawyers soliciting calls from anyone who believes they or a family member have been aggrieved by a provider. What are our options, now that we seem to be under attack?
There are very few legal options to prevent or remove such billboards. Lawyers have the right to advertise. Thus, a lawsuit to remove the billboard is hard to win unless the billboard is false, which is hard to prove.
The billboards can lead to lawsuits by residents alleging poor care or negligence. Preventing these lawsuits is not brought about by just removing the sign but rather by providing quality care and defeating such lawsuits.
Defeating the lawsuit does not include settling it where the provider’s insurance company pays the allegedly mistreated resident. In such cases, the resident’s lawyer earns a legal fee under a common contingency fee arrangement where the lawyer receives a percentage of the financial benefit paid to the plaintiff resident.
These types of settlements seem to encourage more resident lawsuits. When providers fight these lawsuits and are victorious, it leads to no contingency fees to the plaintiff’s lawyer because the resident received no financial benefit. This type of victory on the merits should reduce additional claims.
Another area of claims that may be generated by such signage would be those by employees or former employees alleging illegal treatment based on discrimination against employees because of their status in a protected category. Such categories include, but are not limited to: race, disability, religion, age, sex, union organizing, or some other federal or state protected category. Again, defeating such claims on their merits should reduce additional claims.