On February 14, 2016, Garretson Resolution Group (GRG) submitted comments to the Florida Supreme Court seeking clarification of a proposed rule which could be interpreted to limit a Florida lawyer’s ability to outsource healthcare lien resolution activities to a third party expert. If enacted, the proposed rule would only allow a lawyer to engage another lawyer to assist with healthcare lien resolution activities under extraordinary circumstances and only then once the lawyer has exhausted his own ability to resolve the lien successful on behalf of his client.
For years, lawyers nationwide have relied upon the ability to utilize lien resolution experts to address reimbursement obligations on behalf of their clients. When done right, both the lawyer and the client enjoy the net benefits of increased efficiencies, better lien reductions and more timely disbursements. Multiple bodies such as the American Bar Association have opined that outsourcing lien resolution is ethical. The proposed rule, if enacted verbatim, could be interpreted to bar a Florida lawyer from utilizing experts in the lien resolution context like they do when hiring non-lawyers experts such as economists, life care planners or accident reconstructionists. GRG believes the decision ultimately should be left to the client as to whether non-lawyer lien resolution experts should be engaged to apply their expertise so that a better, more timely result is achieved. GRG encouraged the Florida Supreme Court to make clear that Florida lawyers are permitted to follow the national trend and permit its lawyers to use discretion in determining when to engage non-lawyer experts to assist in healthcare lien resolution and charge those expenses to their clients similar to other expert expenses.