Amicus Curiae is Latin and means friend of the court. Mark was chosen to be an Amicus Curiae brief writer on a case pending in the Ohio Supreme Court. The case is Griffith v. Aultman Hospital, 2014-Ohio-1218. The Griffith case started in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas and went to appeal in the Fifth District Court of Appeals. From there the lawyers prosecuting the case appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. It was at that juncture that Mark was asked to be an Amicus Curiae representative at the jurisdictional level in the Ohio Supreme Court.
In most instances the Ohio Supreme Court can pick or choose the cases they wish to accept. The criteria for them accepting a case is whether they believe a case is of great public interest or is an unsettled area of the law that needs to be resolved. Statistically the Ohio Supreme Court only accepts about 2% of the cases that are presented to it. The Griffith case was accepted by the Ohio Supreme Court. Now the Supreme Court will address the case on its merits. Mark will act in his capacity as Amicus Curiae on this case presenting the arguments as to why a hospital should be required to turn over all medical records of a patient upon that patient’s request for those records.
In the Griffith case when Mr. Griffith requested all the medical records from Aultman Hospital, not all of the records were provided. It came to light that Aultman housed some sensitive records outside of their medical records department. In this particular case critical records had been directed to the risk management office essentially keeping them away from the patient. Aultman’s attorneys argue that the hospital should only have to turn over records that are kept in the medical records department. The fallacy in that argument is that the hospital is the one who decides which records to put in the medical records department and which records to direct to and keep in other departments. Essentially that allows the hospital to hide patient records. The case is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court. Oral arguments have not yet taken place for the case.
Mark was also requested by his peers to present a continuing education lecture on introducing insurance and subrogation law to new lawyers. This will take place at the state- wide continuing education seminar in Columbus in May. It is gratifying to have the respect of your peers and the request for help in their cases. It’s also nice to receive recognition of expertise in your area of practice by being selected to help teach that field to new lawyers. Unlike most lawyers who practice in a broad range of areas, our firm is dedicated to the representation of injured people which by its very nature brings us into conflict with insurance companies on a regular basis. To fully represent injured people attorneys must understand insurance law and be able to deal with the complexities presented by insurance law and the facts of a particular claim. As Mark often tells clients if “I settled their case for a million dollars they might initially be happy but if I later told them that they had to pay back to their health insurance company a million and one dollars, that would leave them a dollar in the hole”. The Ohio Legislature (99 representatives and 33 senators ) whose campaign war chests are full with insurance company dollars have changed laws such that it not only matters how much you collect for a client in present time, but you must be able to retain it so that it is not taken back by the competing interests of a client’s insurer.