Preferred Care Skilled Nursing Facilities File Motions to Dismiss New Mexico AG's "Unsubstantiated" Claims Initiated by Out-of-State Lawyers Known for Coaxing Attorneys General to Sue

Suit Filed at the Urging of Washington, D.C. Trial Attorneys Recently Featured in A New York Times Investigation on Firm's Efforts For "Big Paydays" Through Questionable Legal Practices

May 19, 2015, 13:53 ET from Preferred Care Management Partners Group LP

SANTA FE, N.M., May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Preferred Care Management Partners Group LP:

Eighteen defendants, referred to as "Preferred Care defendants" in an amended complaint filed by New Mexico Attorney General (AG) Hector Balderas, filed two Motions to Dismiss last Friday. One motion, filed on behalf of the seven facilities operating in New Mexico and a management company providing services to those facilities, tells the Court that the claims are based on a simulation that has never been used by the New Mexico Department of Health, adopted in any court or recognized in the healthcare community. 

The action was initiated by an out-of-state law firm known for targeting long-term care facilities. The firm's campaigns to persuade state Attorneys' General was the subject of a New York Times investigative story titled "Lawyers Create Big Paydays by Coaxing Attorneys General to Sue," and has pursued similar legal strategies against providers by partnering with state's Attorneys General across the country.

"The state's action initiated by Cohen Milstein law firm in Washington, D.C. is becoming a text book case for these lawyers who put money in the campaign coffers of attorneys general across the country and then push them to file questionable claims against various in-state businesses," said Mike Gavin, President of Preferred Care Partners Management Group (PCPMG).  "It's an egregious display of greed and opportunism that moved one former Attorney General of Massachusetts to say it 'threatens the perception of integrity and professionalism of the office' ….of the attorney general. We are confident that as the facts and details of this complaint receive due attention, Preferred Care and other defendants will prevail over these unsubstantiated claims."

The New York Times investigative report that first ran in December of 2014, leads with a meeting between Cohen Milstein attorney Linda Singer, a former AG herself, and former New Mexico AG Gary King.  The story opens as follows:

"When they met at the J. W. Marriott Hotel two blocks from the White House, Linda Singer, a former attorney general turned plaintiffs' lawyer, approached Attorney General Gary King of New Mexico with an unusual proposition…. Ms. Singer wanted him to sue the owner of a nursing home in rural New Mexico that Mr. King had never heard of and Ms. Singer had never set foot in. She later presented him with a proposed lawsuit that did not cite any specific complaints about care."

The Times piece goes onto note, "The lawsuits follow a pattern: Private lawyers, who scour the news media and public records looking for potential cases in which a state or its consumers have been harmed, approach attorneys general. The attorneys general hire the private firms to do the necessary work, with the understanding that the firms will front most of the cost of the investigation and the litigation. The firms take a fee, typically 20 percent, and the state takes the rest of any money won from the defendants.

While prospecting for contracts, the private lawyers have also donated tens of thousands of dollars to campaigns of individual attorneys general, as well as party-backed organizations that they run. The donations often come in large chunks just before or after the firms sign contracts to represent the state, campaign finance records and more than 240 contracts examined by The Times show."

Preferred Care stands by the quality care provided by the facilities to New Mexico's frail elderly and the dedication and commitment of compassionate staff who consider long term care an honorable profession. 

"The great state of New Mexico and its citizens, including those who choose the skilled nursing profession, the elderly patients they serve and the family members devoted to aging loved ones, deserve more than frivolous lawsuits designed to line the pockets of predatory attorneys," said Gavin.  "Former U.S. Attorney and current AG of Colorado John Suthers had it right when quoted in regard to this pattern of attorneys mining for business.  He said, 'Farming out the police powers of the state to a private firm with a profit incentive is a very, very bad thing.'"

On May 8, Preferred Care Management Partners Group LP, with the consent of all other Defendants named in the lawsuit, filed in the Santa Fe District Court a Notice of Filing Notice of Removal to Federal Court of Attorney General Balderas' complaint. 

 

SOURCE Preferred Care Management Partners Group LP