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RUBIN M. SININS - Partner

IN THE NEWS: Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Defense Lawyer Quoted in Associated Press Article

By JW Law

New Jersey’s veteran defense attorney, Rubin Sinins, was recently quoted in an Associated Press article on the verbal jousting between the U.S. District Judge William H. Walls and attorneys from both sides of the aisle in a high profile political corruption case involving Senator Bob Menendez.

Menendez, New Jersey’s Democratic senior senator, is accused of carrying out an extensive bribery scheme with a Florida-based ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen, for several years. Just two days into the trial, Judge Walls stopped the proceedings twice to admonish attorneys about the relevance of their lines of questioning.

Walls referred to the prosecutor’s questioning of a witness as “ridiculous,” ‘’junk” and “sheer nonsense.” He also told the defense attorney to “shut up” as the two engaged in a heated argument on Wall’s opinion, where he dismissed the defense’s request to temporarily hold the trial so that Menendez could participate in “critical” votes in the Senate.

Sinins said it’s the judge’s prerogative to maintain total control over the courtroom.

“A trial judge has total control over the courtroom, and any attorney who forgets that does so at his peril,” he said.

RUBIN M. SININS - Partner

Sinins added that the residual effect of such exchanges could affect the client’s case, even though they were made outside the presence of the jury.

“A trial is about, in large part, the attorney’s credibility in trying to convince the jury that what they’re saying is the correct version of events. If a jury senses that a judge does not respect an attorney that is devastating to the client’s case.”

To read the full article, please click: Jousting between judge, attorneys enliven Menendez trial

 

 

nursing home elder abuse

Wrongfully Discharged from a Nursing Home? Read This

By JW Law

Moving a loved one or even broaching the conversation about moving to a nursing home or assisted living is an emotionally challenging process. But when nursing homes abuse or improperly evict residents, it is devastating both for residents and their families.

A recent story from National Public Radio (NPR) sheds light on the growing practice of involuntary discharge of Medicaid residents to accommodate Medicare and private pay patients to maximize reimbursements.

“This story offers an exquisite example of how the nursing home industry puts profits over people while committing fraud along the way,” said Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Francisco Rodriguez.

According to the available figures, in 2014 about 1.4 million people occupied 15,600 nursing homes across the country, of which 45,185 were in New Jersey and a staggering 105,390 in New York State.

While both federal Medicare and Medicaid programs pay for most of the nation’s nursing home care, roughly $75 billion in 2014, Medicare reimburses at a much higher rate for rehabilitation services than Medicaid for long-term care.

“Medicare pays for short-term rehabilitation after hospitalizations, whereas Medicaid pays for long-term care when a resident does not have assets to pay for a nursing home themselves,” explained Rodriguez.

In the article, NPR reported how a particular nursing home chain in Maryland and Illinois discharged Medicaid residents without proper discharge planning and charged Medicaid for planning services that it never provided.

“Nursing homes are required to discuss plans of an eviction with a resident and/or their loved ones, as well as prepare detailed records for the resident to give to their next facility or care provider,” he added.

However in this case, Instead of discharging the resident into an appropriate facility they were sent to homeless shelters. Some were left unattended on the sidewalk in front of their family member’s homes, even though they had dementia.

Those residents, who did not “fit the mold” or complained about the services, were inappropriately transferred to hospitals or in psychiatric wards. “…and of course, the government ends up paying more taxpayer money to take care of that resident’s unnecessary hospitalization,” said Rodriguez about this disturbing trend. “More importantly, residents end up with their health and safety in jeopardy, and family members and hospitals, end up with having to clean up the mess.”

nursing home involuntary discharge
Sadly the issue of wrongful eviction goes far beyond Maryland and Illinois. In a race for Medicare dollars, most nursing homes across the country wrongfully evict their long-term care residents.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data from the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program finds complaints about discharges and evictions are up about 57 percent since 2000. It was the top-reported grievance in 2014, with 11,331 such issues logged by ombudsmen, who work to resolve problems faced by residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult care settings.

Know your rights:

The Federal Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Act protects occupants against unreasonable transfer or removal by specifying only six grounds for discharge:
-The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs
-The resident no longer needs nursing facility services
-The resident’s presence endangers the safety of others in the facility
-The resident’s presence endangers the health of others in the facility
-The resident has failed to pay
-The facility is closing

Even if one of the above conditions legitimizes the nursing home’s decision, there is a protocol that they must follow to ensure the patient’s safety. According to the federal law, the nursing home must fulfill proper discharge planning requirements. These include: providing a written notice 30 days before the removal/transfer unless there is emergency justification for removal on short notice. In addition to the notice, the discharge planning procedure requires the facility to prepare a report of the resident’s mental and physical health status and a post-discharge plan of care for the resident.

Sometimes these facilities toss out residents who are “undesirable” or complaint a lot. They often use the threat of discharge as a method of retaliation or obtain compliance from family and residents who may be complaining about dangerous conditions, inadequate care, or violations of state and federal regulations.

“Residents and their families need to understand that these threats of discharge and other forms of retaliation by facilities are just that, threats,” said Rodriguez. “In reality, it is the residents and family members who do not complain on behalf of their loved one to the authorities, like the state Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, who end up putting residents at risk. If they do not complain to the state when the illegal and dangerous conduct occurs, those residents are at the greatest risk. They will be run over by the thirst for profits of the owners of these nursing homes.”

If you or your loved one resides in a nursing home, rest assured that you have protection under the law. If you know of anyone who is unfairly discharged or threatened with eviction, contact Javerbaum Wurgaft’s nursing home Lawyers. Our highly experienced lawyers will intercede to enforce the law and fight for their rights.

Read Related:

A MUST READ FOR ANYONE SELECTING A NURSING HOME

Judge Marguerite Simon

Governor Christie Nominates Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Marguerite Simon to ELEC

By JW Law

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, at the request of Senator Loretta Weinberg, nominated Judge Marguerite Simon (Ret.) of Javerbaum Wurgaft to the board of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). Simon (D), formerly Presiding Judge of the Chancery Division in Bergen County, is currently Counsel to Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins in Springfield where she practices alternative dispute resolution.

Simon was nominated by Governor Christie on February 27 to the board of ELEC, an independent State Agency charged with a critical mission of policing campaign finance, lobbying, and pay-to-play issues across the State. The State Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet later this month on her nomination to become ELEC Commissioner. If approved, she will join ELEC Chairman Ronald DeFilippis (R), Eric Jaso (R), a former Federal prosecutor, and Stephen Holden (D), a retired State Superior Court Judge from Camden County, restoring the Commission’s traditional partisan balance of two Democrats and two Republicans.

Judge Marguerite Simon
Her appointment to the board will help restore the election regulator to its full power for first time since 2011. For the past year, the Board was unable to convene due to vacancies. While the agency continued to investigate the disclosure laws, the lack of a requisite quorum prevented the Commission from holding hearings and delivering swift justice to offenders. With the appointment of Jaso and Holden, the Board recently resumed work. Simon now hopes to help fast-track the proceedings.

“I am sincerely honored to have been nominated to the board. I look forward to working with other board members of the ELEC,” said Simon.
Her nomination comes just in time for the rapidly approaching election for Governor, and the Legislative Assembly, the big-money elections under state control.

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Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Andrew Moskowitz Obtains $375,000 Settlement in Age Discrimination Lawsuit

By JW Law

 

Case: DeGarcia v. Kean University

Date: December 2016

Attorney: Andrew Moskowitz

Settlement: $375,000

Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C. would like to congratulate, Andrew Moskowitz, of our Springfield office, for obtaining a $375,000 settlement in age discrimination lawsuit against Kean University.

The university agreed to settle with William DeGarcia, a former administrator, for $375,000 after he alleged that the college discriminated against him for his age. Mr. DeGarcia worked for Kean for nearly thirty-three (33) years.

At the end of August 2009, he was appointed as Acting Director II (D30) of the Exceptional Educational Opportunities/Educational Opportunity Fund (“EEO/EOF”) Program. The EEO/EOF was subsequently combined with Kean’s Spanish Speaking Program and Passport Program and renamed the Educational Opportunities Center (EOC).

 

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After nearly three and half years as Acting Director of the EOC and its predecessor, Mr. DeGarcia was informed in January 2013 that he had not been chosen for the permanent Director position and that; as a result, his employment was being terminated. At the time of his termination, Mr. DeGarcia was fifty-five (55) years old. Kean had prepared a list of employees with 25+ years of experience – which included Mr. DeGarcia – whom Kean sought to “transition to retirement.”

The individual chosen instead was a 37-year old with no managerial experience. Also, the individual who chaired one of the search committees repeatedly told Mr. DeGarcia that he had “been at Kean too long” and that she wanted “new blood” in the Department.

Finally, there was testimony that Kean’s President had stated to Kean’s Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs that he had brought Mr. DeGarcia in to clean up the “mess at EOF” and that, “when it was all set up and running well, then he was going to fire him” because Mr. DeGarcia “had outlasted his usefulness.”

News of the agreement was reported by NJ.com.

Do you think you are being unfairly discriminated against because of age? Contact Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins. Our attorneys provide comprehensive legal representation to individuals who have been discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of gender, disability, race, age, and more. Call for a consultation to discuss your case and learn more about your legal rights at (973) 379-4200.

NOTE: Any information about verdicts or settlements obtained are based on the unique facts of each case. This amount reflects the gross recovery in the case (before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).