Jun 16, 2015

More Problems For Eric Conn's Former Clients

     The next problem for those 900 former clients of Eric Conn whose Social Security disability benefits are threatened: Few of them will be able to hire an attorney. Since they're now eligible for interim benefits as they appeal, there won't be any back benefits for an attorney to get a one quarter  fee out of. Of course, the local Social Security attorneys could drop everything else and represent all these folks pro bono but any attorney who did so would be bankrupt long before these cases are resolved.
     This is going to continue to be a mess for years into the future.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it make sense for Nosscr to send out an appeal to their members who can afford it to step up and take on a case or two pro bono for these claimants?

Anonymous said...

What about a fee petition?

Dan Smith said...

The article says that medical providers are charging 1
$1 per page for medical records, but when I looked into this earlier I noticed that KY has a rule that all patients are entitled to a free copy of their records.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anyone raised the issue of why Conn and the associates in his firm are not representing these clients? As no sanctions have been brought against Conn and he is still able to represent claimants, shouldn't he be representing his clients?

We seem to be giving him yet another pass.

Anonymous said...

I am told that Conn initially told all suspended claimants calling in to his office to come in, with the intention of representing anyone that did so without charge. Unfortunately, the SSA will not accept anything from his office on these cases. They have also advised any of his current clients they have opportunity to speak with that they should seek new representation.

I don't really think he could be said to be getting a "pass." The fallout from this has been enormous and it continues to grow. Without a doubt, with the vast array of civil suits being filed almost daily and the hysteria and panic being stirred by the media and local attorneys, Conn is feeling the crunch.

Anonymous said...

ANON 9:08 Perhaps you could share who told you SSA will not accept anything from Conn. Or at least point us to the information, if it exists. This might ameliorate some of the hysteria and panic. If Conn is still allowed to represent clients, how can SSA prevent him from representing his own? Does not make sense. But SSA's reactions to this whole scenario from hide the judge to no due process have be inept and nonsensical. Why stop now.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of SSA's actions or reactions in this situation make sense.

I was told by several of the affected claimants that this was the answer they received when they initially called the administration upon receiving their letters of suspension.

Anonymous said...

wouldn't any representatives be able to take some of these cases and file a fee petition for their work? Seems like this may be a prime example of where the fee petition process could work out well for both claimants and the reps.

Dan Smith said...

@11:26

I agree, and I called the contact listed in the article this morning to inform her as much

Anonymous said...

While the fee petition process would work it would be difficult for the attorneys to collect from the claimants. From time to time I see claimants who are going through a Cessation case. I usually take those cases on an hourly basis. I ask the clients to send a modest amount per month ($50.00). That amount is put in trust and at the end of the case I request a fee. I do not really make much money on these cases but I look at them as free advertising. Unlike most of my competitors I refuse to advertise. I have practiced law since 1973 and have been involved with Social Security Disability law since 1979. I have handled around 5,500 cases and I believe in reputation and referrals from attorneys and satisfied clients. My practice has suffered because I refuse to give in to the advertising game. Besides, I have a face for radio, not tv.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:26 and Dan Smith The problem with even a fee petition case when a claimant is receiving a continuation of benefits is that they will use these benefits as they are received and have no source from which to pay the approved fee after the attorney receives approval of the fee petition. Certainly some claimant's may be willing to pay a percentage of benefits into trust each month but my experience has been that most cannot afford to and of those who initially agree to, a large percentage stop making payments after a few months. Certainly a fee petition can work in some cases, but its not an answer for the vast majority.

Anonymous said...

Seems like more fodder for class action. The agency has screwed up again by essentially removing representation after removing due process. Maybe they will come up with another winner idea here. Would like to know if the agency really is telling claimants they can not use Conn. Can SSA just pick an unsanctioned representative and advise clients he is out of bounds? Did they put that in writing or just advise the clients on the phone?

Anonymous said...

Not exactly sure how an attorney is absolutely necessary. Thought those clients just need to file an appeal to have benes turned back on. Then, they might have to prove disability again.

Wouldn't there be back due benes from the time benefits were turned off until turned back on? I am sure an attorney could charge a fee for this.

Anonymous said...

Where is this notion that SSA is preventing Conn from representing claimants. I think a claimant notice that I saw specifically said Conn could represent claimants.

Anonymous said...

That's odd... I've seen literally hundreds of those letters and never saw that. In fact, they seemed very carefully worded so as to make sure the claimant was informed that Conn was no longer their rep.

jason said...

So you've been representing SSA cases for a long time. What if anything do you think will be the impact of the Conn situation on the system writ large? Will anything change because of this, and if so, what?

Johnny Cash said...

We are already seeing the fall out of the Conn situation. The drop in approval rates in the past few years, the increased suspicion on the part of SSA that everyone is a fraud; it's a direct result of the Huntington fiasco.

jason said...

According to the data I've seen approvals have gone up; the total number of people on disability has soared since 2007.

Johnny Cash said...

Jason: the number of people on benefits may have gone up due to the increased population in older age categories but the approval rate of ALJs has fallen since the Huntington issues came to light a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

you know, you could (like almost every other attorney in the world) collect your fee from the claimant. Charge them an hourly rate.

Anonymous said...

8:36: not "every other attorney in the world" collects their fee from the claimant. Personal injury and work comp attorneys have their fees separately paid by the insurance companies. This fee, by the way, doesn't contain that mysterious "user fee" for the trouble of cutting that check.

Anonymous said...

Under Kentucky law a patient is entitled to one free copy of med records.....subsequent copies are $1 a page usually...if the Claimants are required to resubmit evidence they will be charged for copies (local press reports Conn destroyed client's files so the free copies are gone).