Category Archives: Blog

Update: CFPB Considers Ban on Arbitration Clauses

As anticipated, consumers are set to regain the power to sue banks under a proposal unveiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The proposed rule would restrict the use of arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts that had barred consumers from pursuing class actions in court, instead requiring them to attempt individual actions in arbitration.

Studies have shown that without the class action mechanism, few banking customers ever make it to arbitration as claims are typically minor—ranging from suspicious $5 late fees to $35 overdraft charges. As Ted Trief recently explained to the National Law Journal, “For small disputes it’s fairly clear [that] without a class action remedy they will not be addressed.”

The new rule is expected to take effect next year after a 90-day public comment period and drafting of the final rule. The rule is not retroactive; therefore it will only apply to new agreements rather than existing ones. Customers wishing to take advantage of the change can close their accounts and re-open new ones after the rule has been implemented.

Trief & Olk has extensive experience in class action litigation involving financial issues, having served on the plaintiffs’ executive committee in nationwide lawsuits against the country’s largest banks centered on deceptive overdraft practices.

 

Understanding Your Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage

Homeowners assume that once they have obtained insurance for their home, they are protected if a loss – such as damage to due to a fire or storm, stolen property, etc. – later occurs. Unfortunately, it is often only after having a claim denied by the insurance company that the homeowner realizes that the policy did not in fact provide the coverage that the insured homeowner thought she had paid for.

The gaps in coverage may result from one of the following common occurrences:

  • The insurance policy defines the “residence” that is covered in specific terms but the home does not meet that definition. For example, if “residence” is defined as the location where the insured is currently living but the insured is temporarily living elsewhere, the insurer can deny coverage.
  • The insurance policy covers losses for certain contents or personal property but the amount of coverage is much lower than the amount of losses suffered.
  • The insurance policy excludes losses from certain types of events or arising under certain circumstances. For example, most basic policies do not include coverage for damage due to flooding; a separate policy would be required to cover this type of loss.

Courts in New Jersey and New York expect the homeowner to have read the policy and will allow an insurer to deny a claim if such a denial is clearly based on the policy’s terms. See Busker on the Roof P’Ship v. Warrington, 283 A.D. 2d 376, 377 (1st Dep’t 2001) (citing Metzger v. Aetna Ins. Co., 227 N.Y. 411, 416 (1920)); Martinez v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 145 N.J. Super. 301, 310 (App. Div. 1976), cert. denied, 74 N.J. 253 (1977).

To avoid being unpleasantly surprised to find that expected coverage does not pan out, it is essential to read and understand your policy. In particular:

  • Review the definitions and the types of losses that are covered and those that are excluded. If there is a gap, consult your agent or broker to see if you can purchase additional coverage. For example, it may be possible to purchase additional flood insurance if the policy excludes this type of loss.
  • Review the dollar amounts on any limits to the coverage offered and compare those limits to the value of your home and contents. If you think the proposed coverage may not be adequate, ask your broker what a higher level of coverage would cost in terms of the additional insurance premium so you can make an educated choice between lower coverage (with a lower premium) and higher coverage (with a higher premium).
  • If you have a tenant occupying part or all of your residence (whether part-time or full-time), make sure you understand how your coverage is impacted by the tenant. If the tenant causes damage to your personal property, is the loss covered? If the tenant damages the premises she is renting, is the loss covered? If you are unable to rent the premises, does the policy cover lost rental income?
  • Review any conditions imposed by the insurance company for changes in circumstances. For example, if you will be away from the home for more than 30 days, the home may be technically “abandoned” under the terms of the policy, in which case the insurer could deny coverage for losses that occur in your absence. Advance planning is essential, as it may be possible to maintain coverage if your provide notice or purchase additional coverage for the home while it is unoccupied. Similarly, if the insured property is unoccupied while substantial renovations are undertaken, check with your insurer to see if the home would be covered or if separate coverage can be purchased.

Trief & Olk represents homeowners (and businesses) in claims against insurance companies and brokers for denial of claims relating to fires, theft, and other losses. If you have suffered losses from an insurance company’s failure to pay a claim, please contact our attorneys, who are licensed in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, for more information or to discuss your case.

CFPB Considers Ban on Arbitration Clauses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the federal agency responsible for regulating the consumer financial industry, appears poised to regulate arbitration clauses that restrict consumers’ relief when a dispute arises between them and their financial service provider.

In recent years, large corporations – particularly those in financial services industries – have been including mandatory arbitration clauses in their customer agreements. These provisions, which are generally buried in the fine print of an already lengthy “take or leave it” contract, often include a class action waiver, which blocks the consumer from bringing a class action – whether in court or in arbitration – to remedy harm suffered by them and other consumers. Because these class action waivers are deliberately designed by financial service providers to block consumers from effectively vindicating their rights, the CFPB is taking a hard look at these contract provisions. While the CFPB is not considering banning arbitration clauses entirely, it has proposed making arbitration clauses inapplicable in cases that are filed as potential class action lawsuits.

The need for the CFPB to intervene is clear. In a recent study published by the CFPB, the agency found that arbitration clauses are pervasive, with tens of millions of consumers covered by such clauses in contracts involving financial services, including credit cards, checking accounts, student loans, and mobile wireless contracts. That study also looked at the number of claims pursued through arbitration or federal lawsuits by consumers against such firms over a two year period, finding that only about 25 cases per year involved consumers’ claims seeking $1,000 or less demonstrating that consumers generally did not seek redress for individual matters that involved small claims. In stark contrast, the CFPB study found that 32 million consumers each year who were not restricted by arbitration clauses were able to join class action lawsuits and therefore were able to obtain redress through class action settlements. These class actions also brought about necessary change to improper business practices, providing consumers with additional valuable relief.

In a recent speech given by CFPB Director Richard Cordray, he recognized that “[b]y joining together to pursue their claims as a group, affected consumers would be able to seek and, when appropriate, obtain meaningful relief that as a practical matter they could not get on their own” and that the proposals the CFPB is considering “would deter wrongdoing on a broader scale.” As Mr. Cordray aptly stated “[c]ompanies should not be able to place themselves above the law and evade public accountability simply by inserting the magic word ‘arbitration’ in a document and dictating the favorable consequences.”

The CFPB has received feedback in response to its proposals and the next step will be for the agency to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and seek public comment before finalizing the rule.

Trief & Olk, which represents consumers in class actions brought against financial service providers, is encouraged by the CFPB’s actions and will continue to monitor the progress of CFPB’s rulemaking as it unfolds.

Hip Replacement Litigation Expected to Proliferate

When a patient undergoes joint replacement surgery, the expectation is that the joint replacement will last as many as twenty years before it needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, some joint replacements are defectively designed or manufactured, leading to corrosion of the implant within the body, build-up of metal debris in the patient’s soft tissues (a condition called metallosis), and damage to the tissue surrounding the implant. In those cases, patients often have to remove the defective medical device after only a few years in order to prevent further damage to their bodies. When such an event occurs, it is important that the injured patient know his or her rights, including whether the patient can recover the costs of any out-of-pocket expenses they incurred, and be compensated for the damage they sustained from the party responsible: the manufacturer and designer of the joint replacement.

In recent years, multiple medical device manufacturers have agreed to pay large settlements to customers who had defective hip replacements implanted in their bodies. In November 2014, Stryker Orthopaedics agreed to pay injured claimants a total of more than $1.4 billion to compensate them for injuries incurred due to Stryker Orthopaedics’ Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems, based on claims that the metal-on-metal ball and socket design led to corrosion of the implant and the emission of metal particles within the body. In September 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, agreed to settle thousands of similar claims from patients who had received the ASR hip replacement system in an amount totaling more than $4 billion. As joint replacement technology continues to proliferate, litigation in the field may become more and more likely.

One area that may receive particular attention in the near future is taper neck junction corrosion claims. In taper neck junction claims, plaintiffs allege that the metal-on-metal design at the junction of a hip replacement’s neck and ball components may result in corrosion, metallosis, and damage to the surrounding tissue. Unlike the ball-and-socket cases described above, the taper junction neck cases involve components that are relatively static, which would ordinarily suggest that corrosion from friction would be minimal. As a result, the scientific theory for why taper neck junction corrosion occurs is more complex and may involve as many as three simultaneous causes: (1) fretting or grinding between the neck and the ball which weakens the integrity of the metal; (2) crevice corrosion caused by liquids trapped in the space between the neck and head; and (3) galvanic corrosion caused by using different metals for the neck and head. Since the theory is complicated, an expert is needed to both analyze the product and explain why it is defective to the jury. This, in turn, requires an attorney who is both experienced in complex litigation and has sufficient resources to handle such a complex claim.

Trief & Olk represents injured individuals in a variety of product liability actions, including medical devices and consumer products. If you have been injured because of a medical device implanted in your body or any other product, medical or otherwise, contact Trief & Olk by telephone or via our website’s submission form to find out more about how Trief & Olk can help you.

Supreme Court Permits Use of Representative Evidence [Update re Tyson Foods]

Plaintiffs in class actions scored a victory in the Supreme Court, with a 6-2 opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, 577 U.S. ____ (2016). In Tyson Foods, the Court affirmed that the use of so-called “representative evidence” – such as a statistical sample – is permissible for establishing liability in a class or collective action.

In Tyson Foods, employees who worked in a Tyson pork-processing facility in Iowa, brought overtime claims against the company under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law for the company’s failure to pay them overtime compensation for donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) personal protective gear before their shifts formally started and after their shifts ended. The district court certified the FLSA claim as a collective action and the state law claim under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiffs prevailed at trial, proving liability and damages by using information from individual plaintiffs’ timesheets, along with a study performed by an expert, who analyzed the average times for donning, doffing, and walking to their assigned stations, based on 744 employee observations.

The defendant challenged the use of this study, and sought to have the Supreme Court issue a sweeping rule preventing class action plaintiffs from using statistical sampling altogether, relying on an earlier Supreme Court case, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2561 (2011). Justice Kennedy rejected the defendants’ argument that Wal-Mart v. Dukes stands for a wholesale rejection of representative evidence. Slip op. at 13. Instead, he explained that “[w]hether a representative sample may be used to establish classwide liability will depend on the purpose for which the sample is being introduced and on the underlying cause of action. . . . The fairness and utility of statistical methods in contexts other than those presented here will depend on facts and circumstances particular to those cases.” Slip op. at 15.

Here, because Tyson Foods had no records from which the plaintiffs could establish the amount of time spent donning and doffing the protective gear and walking to their workstations, the jury could rely on the plaintiffs’ expert’s statistical study. Because Tyson Foods did not offer evidence to discredit the substance of the statistical analysis (such as evidence that the study was inaccurate or that the sample was not statistically valid), the jury could draw reasonable inferences – as it did – regarding the amount of time spent on the activities at issue.

Barely a week after Tyson Foods, the Supreme Court signaled its acceptance of the use of “representative evidence,” when it declined to review a pair of cases on appeal from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Braun and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Hummel. There, the Pennsylvania state court permitted the plaintiffs to calculate damages for the entire class of almost 200,000 employees based on expert analysis extrapolating from testimony of six plaintiffs. Wal-Mart appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, protesting what it viewed as “trial by formula.” With the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the review, the Pennsylvania court’s ruling will remain good law.

Trief & Olk represents employees in actions under the FLSA and state laws challenging unlawful wage and hour practices, such as failing to pay minimum wages and overtime, both in collective and class actions. Employees that come to Trief & Olk often express concern that they cannot bring a lawsuit against their employer for unpaid wages because their employer did not keep any records of their time. These recent decisions by the Supreme Court reaffirm what has long been the law – an employee may prove such claims even if they can only extrapolate from the experience of other employees to prove their own claims.

Unaccepted Offers Do Not Halt Class Actions

One of the many tools defendants use to stem class actions involves paying a claimant their full damages at the outset of the lawsuit. The theory being, if the person bringing the lawsuit is now fully compensated, they have no standing to carry the case forward and thus no standing to represent a potential class action. This practice was recently addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857, the Supreme Court held that an unaccepted settlement offer of complete relief to a named plaintiff—proffered under Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—had “no force” and did not moot a class action. The Court reasoned that like any unaccepted contract offer, there were no lasting rights or obligations created between the parties. Thus, once the offer lapsed, adversity between the parties remained and a court was not deprived of its subject-matter jurisdiction.

At first glance, the decision may appear to bolster the class mechanism, yet the Court carefully noted that the holding was predicated upon the strictly prescribed facts of the case. That is, Campbell involved a situation in which the defendant merely tendered an offer to the named plaintiff, but did not take any additional steps such as placing the settlement funds with the court or some third-party.

The Court specifically declined to address this hypothetical, noting:

We need not, and do not, now decide whether the result would be different if a defendant deposits the full amount of the plaintiff’s individual claim in an account payable to the plaintiff, and the court then enters judgment for the plaintiff in that amount. That question is appropriately reserved for a case in which it is not hypothetical.

However, there should be little doubt concerning how the Court would rule in such an instance. Indeed, the dissents go on to offer a step-by-step guide—culminating with a defendant “deposit[ing] a certified check with the trial court”—explaining how to properly utilize a Rule 68 Offer of Judgment to moot a case.

Trief & Olk was recently on the receiving end of this guidance, wherein a defendant directly wired our named plaintiff a settlement offer in excess of her individual damages.

Hidden Arbitration Clauses Curtailed in NJ

A spate of recent decisions out of New Jersey has cast doubt on the practice made popular over the last decade by large corporations of burying small-font arbitration clauses deep into boilerplate agreements, hiding them from consumers. These arbitration clauses, in addition to requiring that all disputes be settled in arbitration—not in court—prohibit consumers from bringing any type of class action in any venue. Thus, consumers are permitted only to pursue individual claims where the costs often times outweigh the rewards. Relying on the Federal Arbitration Act, the U.S. Supreme Court has, in several recent opinions, upheld such class action waivers in mandatory arbitration provisions, based on the supposed importance of encouraging arbitration as a more efficient means of dispute resolution.

New Jersey courts’ first effort to push back against this practice came in a 2014 New Jersey Supreme Court decision, Atalese v. U.S. Legal Servs. Grp. Finding that the arbitration provision in question was an affront to the principles of mutual assent that are vital to formation of a valid contract under New Jersey state law, the Court refused to enforce an arbitration provision that was buried within a longer agreement because it “did not clearly and unambiguously signal to the plaintiff that she was surrendering her right to pursue her statutory claims in court.”

This decision, framed by the New Jersey Supreme Court as purely a matter of New Jersey contract law, has spawned a progeny of state and federal cases grappling with the issue. The most recent—Noble v. Samsung Electronics America—involved consumers who brought a class action, seeking to hold Samsung to account for its allegedly unreliable Galaxy Gear S smartwatch. In that case, Samsung sought to have the case dismissed from court based on the class action waiver buried in the customer agreement. In ruling on its motion, the question before District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo of the District of New Jersey was whether an arbitration clause appearing on page 97 of a 137-page owner’s manual was sufficiently conspicuous to provide consumers with notice that they were waiving their legal rights and effectively foreclosing any legal remedy. Arleo rejected Samsung’s attempt to enforce the contract, noting that the “shrink-wrap agreement,” found in a product manual bearing no clues that it contained a waiver of legal rights, was insufficient to alert a reasonable consumer as to its implications.

Notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s apparent willingness to enforce any and every class action waiver in a mandatory arbitration agreement, these recent opinions by the New Jersey courts indicate that the ability of corporations to foist these agreements on unsuspecting consumers appears to be narrowing. Future developments will be posted here.

Trief & Olk is a class action firm representing consumers.

Representative Evidence Challenged In Supreme Court

Currently pending before the United States Supreme Court is Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, in which the employer is challenging certification of a class of employees seeking unpaid overtime. After oral argument was held on November 10, 2015 (which was prior to Justice Scalia’s death), the principal issue appears to be whether representative evidence—in this instance, a proposed statistical analysis calculating the “average” time spent on a particular task as opposed to an employee’s actual individualized and personal circumstances—is sufficient to prove liability and damages at trial. A decision is expected to be issued before the Court’s term ends in June 2016.

In Tyson Foods, employees who worked in a Tyson pork-processing facility in Iowa, brought overtime claims against the company under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law for the company’s failure to pay them overtime compensation for donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) personal protective equipment and clothing before their shifts formally started and after their shifts ended. The district court certified the FLSA claim as a collective action and the state law claim under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After a nine day trial the jury returned a verdict in the plaintiffs’ favor. The plaintiffs had proved liability and damages by using individual timesheets, along with the average times for donning, doffing, and walking to their assigned stations calculated from 744 employee observations.

On appeal, the company took issue with the use of “averaged” representative evidence to prove liability and damages at trial and argued that the district court erred in certifying a class given the factual differences among the class members. The company heavily relied on the Court’s decision Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2561 (2011), in which the Court disapproved of representative evidence in a sex discrimination class action, which it characterized as “Trial by Formula.”

For almost 70 years, however, the Court’s decision in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680 (1946), has been the applicable standard applied in FLSA cases, permitting employees to use representative testimony to prove their case when their employer has failed to keep accurate time records. Relying on this precedent, the Department of Labor, which enforces the FLSA, argued in an amicus curiae brief submitted in support of the employees that because this case was brought under the FLSA (not a discrimination statute like the one in the Dukes case) the employees’ proof was sufficient.

At oral argument, several justices, including Justice Kagan and Justice Kennedy, appeared to agree with the government and focused on the application of Mt. Clemens and the use of representative evidence by employees in FLSA cases. In fact, he Court’s more recent decision in Dukes was not raised at all by the Court at oral argument. Notably, Justice Kennedy appeared to suggest that the burden of proof was lower in FLSA cases than in other employment-related class actions because in this case Mt. Clemens was the substantive law that applied. Justice Kennedy’s questions at argument further suggest that he may vote with the four more liberal Justices of the Court (Justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor), allowing the Court to issue a precedential opinion issued by a majority of the Court (rather than issuing a 4-4 tie opinion, which would be the outcome if Justice Kennedy were to rule with the three more conservative justices who remain on the Court after Justice Scalia’s death).

Trief & Olk represents employees in actions under the FLSA and state laws challenging unlawful wage and hour practices, such as failing to pay minimum wages and overtime, both in collective and class actions. Employees that come to Trief & Olk often express concern that they cannot bring a lawsuit against their employer for unpaid wages because their employer did not keep records of the hours they worked. If the comments from the Justices of the Supreme Court are any indication, employees can remain assured that the standard provided in Mt. Clemens, which has been the law for almost 70 years, will remain intact and they will be able to use testimony and other representative proof to demonstrate their claims.

NLRB Challenges Class Action Waivers In Employment Agreements

Over the past decade, large corporations have found a mechanism for avoiding class action litigation: their contracts or employment agreements include provisions that require any disputes be brought through private arbitration, rather than in a court, and that any such arbitration be handled on an individual basis. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld such provisions, referred to as class action waivers. Recently, however, employees have successfully challenged these contractual bans on class actions in actions brought before the National Labor Relations Board (known as the NLRB).

The NLRB’s mandate is to safeguard employees’ rights and to determine whether they can be represented by a union; the rights it enforces are guaranteed under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA protects employees’ ability to engage in “concerted activity,” which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment.  As the NLRB’s website explains: “A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action.” https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/employee-rights. In the view of the NLRB, this right to engage in “concerted activity” includes the right to bring an action in court on behalf of a group of employees. In other words, the NLRB views the ability to bring a class action against an employer as a tool to protect employee rights.

In 2012, the NLRB held in D.R. Horton, Inc., that an employer violates Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA when it requires employees, as a condition of their employment, to sign an agreement that precludes them filing joint, collective, or class actions addressing wages, hours, or other working conditions. When the employer challenged that ruling in federal court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, 737 F.3d 344 (5th Cir. 2013) disagreed with the NLRB panel, finding that the class action is a procedural mechanism, and not a substantive right guaranteed by the NLRA.  Since that opinion, the Fifth Circuit reaffirmed its understanding of the NLRA in Murphy Oil USA, Inc., 808 F.3d 1013 (5th Cir. 2015) and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals came to a similar conclusion in Sutherland v. Ernst & Young, 726 F.3ed 290 (2d Cir. 2013)).

Despite the outcomes in these court cases, the NLRB has continued to hear challenges to class action waivers included in mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts and has continued to strike down these provisions. In the last several months alone, the NLRB has rejected class action waivers in employment agreements for employees in various industries, including employees of Samsung Electronics America Inc.; Citigroup Inc. and its Citicorp Banking Corp. subsidiary; several restaurants (including Jack in the Box Inc. and Great Lakes Restaurant Management, LLC, a Wendy’s franchise based in Buffalo, NY); and a Honda dealership.

Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court will likely be called upon to decide whether the NLRB’s interpretation of the NLRA is correct. In the meantime, however, the NLRB is continuing its fight against mandatory arbitration provisions that incorporate class action waivers.

Trief & Olk represents employees in actions challenging unlawful wage and hour practices, both in collective or class actions brought in court and in individual arbitration proceedings brought when employers require such alternate dispute procedures as a condition of employment.

Montanile and ERISA liens

In many personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff’s medical care is paid by his or her private health insurance. In most states, the health insurance company (the insurer) can assert a lien on plaintiff’s recovery, i.e., any verdicts or settlements, to reimburse the insurer for the health benefits it paid out. New York is one of the few states that passed legislation preventing this type of lien, with one exception: self-funded ERISA liens (explained below) may still assert a lien on the recovery.  However, a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in Montanile v. Board of Trustees of National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, 136 S. Ct. 651, may have major implications for self-funded ERISA plans asserting liens on personal injury actions.

Self-funded ERISA plans are health benefit plans under which covered employees’ health care expenses are paid directly by their employer. Unlike traditional insurance plans, an insurance company does not guarantee payment of medical bills in exchange for premiums, although an insurance company or other company may be hired to manage the ERISA plan’s funds. When an ERISA plan participant is injured and brings litigation to recover for his or her injuries, the injured participant may be required to pay back the related health care expenses paid by the ERISA fund. Unfortunately, that money comes directly from the person who needs it most: the injured plaintiff.

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Montanile could severely hamper an ERISA plan’s ability to recover from injured plaintiffs. The Court held that when a plaintiff has obtained the proceeds of litigation and has spent it on nontraceable assets or otherwise made those specific funds indiscernible from the plaintiff’s general assets, the ERISA plan cannot seek recovery of the funds from plaintiff’s general assets. Its right to recover is directly and solely affixed to the proceeds of litigation and once those funds have been dissipated, no recovery can be had.

Of note, the Montanile decision will have no effect on other types of liens, including liens asserted by Workers’ Compensation, Medicare and Medicaid.

The full effects of this relatively recent decision have yet to be felt. However, one can presume that ERISA plans that sit on their rights to recover and then assert them after recovery and dissipation may be out of luck, to the benefit of the injured party.

Trief & Olk has extensive experience dealing with and negotiating a variety of liens in order to benefit our personal injury clients. It is our goal to obtain the most amount of recovery possible for our clients, and fighting liens is part of that process. If you have questions about your potential personal injury claim and its related liens, contact Trief & Olk by telephone or via our website’s submission form.