Avoiding the “Mere Happening” Instruction When Applying DC Law in Maryland

By Cory Bilton

Double Yellow Line

As local lawyers are aware, practicing law in the DC area can be a jurisdictional nightmare.  DC law differs from Virginia law, which differs from Maryland law, which differs from DC law.  Locals frequently cross state lines while commuting to work, and may cross into another jurisdiction for after-work drinks.  This multi-jurisdictional nature weaves its way into many legal disputes in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area.  Many times, disputes can arise over purely jurisdictional differences.

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Expanded Protections for DC Cyclists Only Go So Far

By Cory Bilton

Bike Lane Emblem

The DC metro area has a lot of drivers and a lot of cyclists, both using the same streets and roadways.  If you ride a bike in the area, you know that many motorists do not give bicyclists the same respect as another car.  Back when I worked on a tugboat, we might have called this the “law of tonnage” (the object that weighs more has the right of way).  Fortunately, the law of tonnage is not a real law; it is just an excuse that drivers of heavy vehicles (or tugboats) use to jokingly justify the failure to follow the real rules of the road.  Jokes aside, there are times when a motorist’s lack of respect for a bicyclist transcends carelessness and becomes intentional.  When a motorist uses his vehicle to intentionally hit, terrify, or harass a bicyclist, it is harmful, shameful, and illegal.

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Taking a Peek at DC Area Hospital Charges

By Cory Bilton

False Teeth Repair Shop

You don’t often get to pick the hospital you go to after being injured; you just go to the nearest one.  This means that almost no one considers the price when choosing between hospitals.  While the DC metropolitan area has many hospitals to choose from, it turns out that the cost of your care can be vastly different from one hospital to the next.  Anecdotally, most of us might have already realized this.  But last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released pricing data on over 3,000 hospitals in the US, for the 100 most common inpatient procedures, allowing everyone to see just how greatly hospital prices differ.

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In Reimbursement Bout, ERISA Plan Knocks Out Equitable Defenses

By Cory Bilton

Boxing Gloves

Around our office, numerous jokes are made about my fascination with the law surrounding liens, subrogation, and rights of reimbursement.  So last summer, when I learned that a big ERISA reimbursement case, US Airways v. McCutchen, was granted cert by the Supreme Court, I immediately cleared my schedule for the oral arguments on November 27, 2012.  In order to avoid listening to me retell every little detail, associate Mike Martin from our office decided to join me to watch the epic match.  In one corner, weighing in with global megafirm Hogan Lovells, stood US Airways.  In the other corner, punching above his weight with the non-profit, public interest group Public Justice, stood James McCutchen.  It looked to be a classic David versus Goliath battle.

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Defense Medical Experts’ Use of Substantially Similar Evidence in Virginia

By Cory Bilton

Doctor Picture 3

For every injured plaintiff, there are defense experts who will testify that the plaintiff is not injured.  Usually this defense expert is a medical doctor who testifies either that the plaintiff was never injured to begin with, was already injured before the incident, or that the plaintiff was injured in the incident, but should have already recovered despite complaints of ongoing problems.  The latter opinion requires the expert to draw on evidence of other injured people whom the expert has treated personally, has heard about, or has read about in academic literature.  As with any “should” argument, it is an appeal to the average experience of others.  Which group of “others” you choose for comparison, can largely determine the logical outcome of the argument.

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