Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kill all the Lawyers

Elmo's Tombstones

Was that Shakespeare? Oh, who cares.
I'm trying to tell this story without violating confidential information. Suffice to say that being a doctor is like being a celebrity without the adulation or salary. Someone thinks your testimony on something would help them get what they want in life? So they send you a subpoena. All they have to do is pay some lawyer big bucks and they can command your appearance in a court of law, even though you are being accused of nothing. Never mind that you don't want to abandon your current patients-in-need to gratify their every whim and appear in court to testify on their behalf. Never mind that they don't have to pay you for your time. If you don't show, you're in contempt of court. If you don't like it you can hire your own lawyer and pay him/her $200 or more per hour just for the privilege of them telling you you still have to go to court. And unlike your professional services, the services of an attorney for me to CYA are not covered by insurance. And they charge more per hour than you do and get to bill for phone time (which you don't), even though you went to more school than they did.
Plus they violate your privacy by sending a private detective to your house on a Sunday where they "serve" the subpoena to you in front of your kids. The guy could have come to my office during regular business hours, after all they know where I work, but no, they need to do the humiliation thing of catching you in your grubby clothes when you are expecting a play date of your son's to arrive. I hope that private detective is charging his client a bloody fortune.
Of course, they don't teach you how to handle this in medical school or thereafter. In medical school the hospital has its own private staff of high-priced lawyers in case you need advice. But now you learn the hard way that the law is the special province of lawyers. The rules are so confusing that you must hire an attorney to explain to you why they have the right to force you to testify. Or you can do it on your own, but woe betide you if you screw up!
Woe betide you, is that Shakespeare too? I could look it up but I have to call my lawyer now.


self taught artist said...

good luck with this, sounds intrusive and repugnant. more people should have the balls to handle their own stuff in life without running to a suit(lawyer) to do it for them and waste time and money of all involved.

jkirlin - your lowly and humble photographic servant said...

Oh man...

I've only been asked to testify twice but both times it was on someone else's dime. Good luck.

Amishlaw said...

Sarala, I'm sorry that you're having a bad experience with an incompetent lawyer. The lawyer subpoenaeing you must have thought you have testimony that would help her client. So the last thing she should want to do is start off on the wrong foot by alienating you. Any competent lawyer would know that an alienated witness could hurt her. I'm sure you will know what to do to teach that lawyer a lesson. What I would have done (and I think most lawyers would have done) is arrange with you beforehand to accept service of the subpoena by mail, to make sure you had plenty of advance notice to reschedule your patients, and to make sure you didn't suffer any loss of income by paying you a reasonable fee. I'm looking forward to hearing about your revenge.

Rayne said...

Oh no! This sucks.
I hope everything turns out okay and is over with quick and easy.

sarala said...

My apologies to amishlaw. I should have said kill almost all the lawyers. I know a few of you are good eggs--I have a lawyer friend helping me sort through my angst to get to the essentials of what I need to do. He may even manage to convince them all to drop my testimony. I just wish all my contacts with the law didn't have to feel like acts of aggression aimed at me.