RCMTZ is pleased to announce that Matthew R. Persinger has joined the firm as an associate in the litigation division. Matt graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2013 and is licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio.
Originally from Whitehouse, Ohio, Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University, where he was awarded the position of “Academic & Social Success Mentor” and also headed the research team for the Political Science Department. In addition to being active in the Ohio Bar Association, Matt is also active in the Anthony Wayne Community. Before joining our firm, he was an associate attorney at a general practice firm and was also an Assistant Prosecutor in Williams County, Ohio.
Matt’s areas of practice at RCMTZ are expected to include business litigation, insurance defense, fraud investigation and employment law. He can be reached at email@example.com.
While generally most of my blog posts address issues in litigation or insurance related topics, I was preparing a will and the related documents the other day and a funny thing occurred to me: I have never made my own will. I used to chalk that up to being single and the fact that under the laws of Ohio my family would get anything I had and I was fine with that. But as I sat there I realized how even that was pretty bad reasoning, because the process of getting a will addresses so much more than who gets your “stuff.” The reasoning fails even more when you consider that a simple will, living will, healthcare power of attorney and general power of attorney (generally getting a “will” gets you all four) costs very little and addresses situations well beyond who gets your property when you are gone. In fact, most of the critical things addressed involve a person while they are still living. So I put together a list of the primary reasons why the cost of a simple will is easily outweighed by the benefits.
- You have minor children: Perhaps the single greatest reason to have an actual will is that you have minor children. If both you and your spouse/child’s other parent, a will allows you to convey your wishes regarding who you would like to become the guardian of those children. While obviously the will does not make the final decision (a court has to approve the selection), generally a court will give great consideration to the person nominated in the will and in turn provide the greatest chance of implementing your wishes.
- You do not die immediately: When people think of getting a will, they often times forget that the process also generally involves getting a living will. The living will is what addresses your desires, should you be unconscious or in a vegetative state and unable to convey your wishes. The living will can address any number of things regarding your healthcare, but the two primary concerns addressed are whether you want to have life sustaining treatment or wish to have that treatment terminated in certain situations, and whether you wish to have food provided to you if you are unable to eat on your own. There are plenty of safeguards built into the language of a living will (more than one doctor has to assess your situation, etc.), but the living will also relieves some of the stress involved with your family and loved ones trying to “guess” at what you would want done.
- The person you trust most is not family: In some situations, the person you want to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself is not a spouse or family member. The healthcare power of attorney basically gives that power to a person you designate while still in a sound state of mind. In a state such as Ohio that does not recognize same-sex marriage, it permits a person to transfer that decision-making authority to a significant other. And not to worry, no matter who is nominated, you can still put limitations/restrictions on that person’s decision making authority (for example your living will would trump the healthcare power of attorney).
- You care who gets your “stuff”: As I am sure we have all seen at one time or another, sometimes when a person dies it is like a race to the house for the remaining family to start looting their stuff and taking the keepsakes that each person wants. Years later, people are still upset because Aunt Gertrude took all the silver in the house. Making a will requires at least some type of oversight process (more so than if you died without one) before things are just taken and, more importantly, allows you to make sure that each person gets what you want them to have.
- It relieves unneeded stress on a significant other: I have always joked that the day I die will actually be the most stress free day in a long time. The reality is, however, that those left behind are left with a lot of stressful things to take care of at a time when they are grieving. Leaving a will at least helps minimize some of those stressful things by giving some direction on how you want your affairs addressed. Things such as who should be the administrator can be addressed, thereby preventing fighting between siblings or children and “new” spouses.
While there are certainly hundreds more reasons to get a will and the related documents, the five listed above are important enough not to need more. Furthermore, the time (and expense) involved is generally minimal and the peace of mind priceless.
On November 27, 2013, Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals released its decision in the case of In re The Estate of Horn, 2013-Ohio-5235. In Horn, the 2nd District reviewed a situation where the daughter of a deceased individual claimed she was owed payment from her father’s estate for repairs she performed on her father’s properties while he was still living. In reaching its decision, the Court considered the Hinkle Family Relationship Doctrine and ultimately ruled against the daughter’s claims.
The Hinkle doctrine stems from a 1902 Supreme Court of Ohio case, Hinkle v. Sage, 67 Ohio St. 256. In Hinkle, the Supreme Court established a rule for situations where an individual claimed to have entered into an agreement with a family member who later died. If the individual later filed a claim against the estate, no obligation to pay for the services is implied. Rather, that individual was required to establish that “there was an express contract upon the one side to perform the services for compensation, and upon the other side to accept the services and pay for them.” Id, paragraph one of the syllabus. In other words, the Court was requiring that a claimant must establish conclusively that the decedent had agreed to pay for the services being rendered. This prevented a family member from performing services for a relative and then later, after the relative had died and could not dispute the claim, saying that the relative meant to pay for the services all along.
In the Horn case, the Court was faced with a situation where, when the decedent’s will was presented to the probate court, it was revealed that the father had left equal shares to each of his six children. The decedent’s daughter then claimed to have performed work on real estate owned by her father, and claiming that as compensation for her work, she should be paid $28,572.00 from her father’s estate. The probate court determined that the daughter’s testimony was not credible. In upholding the probate court’s decision, the 2nd District noted that, per the Hinkle Doctrine, a claimant must prove, “by clear and convincing evidence, that there was an express contract between the claimant to perform the services for compensation and the decedent to accept the services and pay for them.” Horn, ¶ 15.
The lesson to be learned from Hinkle and Horn is clear; if you perform services for a family member and expect to be reimbursed for those services, treat the family member like you would any other person with whom you would enter into a contract. Although the agreement can be in the form of an oral contract, you are better off putting your agreement in writing. If you should have to make a claim for your services in the event the family member later dies, it is your job to prove that an agreement exists through “clear and convincing evidence,” a potentially challenging burden to meet. Simply relying on your own testimony, like the claimant in Horn, probably won’t be enough. Remember the Hinkle Family Relationship Doctrine and take the time and care to get your agreement in writing, or else you might not be getting paid later on!
Shareholder Mark Trimble has agreed to join the board of directors of the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club. The club is a year-round competitive swimming program serving Northwest Ohio, and its website can be found at http://www.teamunify.com/Home.jsp?team=ohgtac.
Shareholder Matt Rohrbacher recently participated in the first annual trustees’ retreat for Good Grief of Northwest Ohio. Good Grief is a not-for-profit organization offering a safe healing place designed to assist children, teens and young adults in dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Associate attorney Sarah Beaubien has joined the Board of Directors of the Detroit Achievement Academy, a start-up charter school planning to begin operations in the fall of 2013. Sarah joins four other Board members who collectively form the Academy’s inaugural Board of Directors. The Board oversees the operation of the school and supervises school finances and policies.
The Academy is the first non-profit charter school in the Detroit metropolitan area. The school will initially consist of kindergarten and first-grade classes. A new class will be added each year as the school grows.
An article written by Shareholder Todd Zimmerman to help businesses avoid liability stemming from winter weather has been published in Paradigm Magazine, an international publication read by thousands of attorneys around the globe. Todd’s article, “Limiting Your Exposure to Winter – Avoid the Liabilities Inherent with Snow and Ice,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Paradigm. The article offers practical tips for business owners and employees to recognize and resolve winter weather-related problems on their premises, which could otherwise lead to legal liability. The article can be found on pages 14-15 of the Winter 2013 edition, an electronic copy of which can be found at http://www.primerus.com/paradigm-magazine/2013-winter/.
Paradigm Magazine is a biannual publication produced by the International Society of Primerus Law Firms. Primerus is a legal society consisting of more than 190 member law firms worldwide. RCMTZ has been a member firm of Primerus since 2012.
Associate attorney, Adam Nowland, earned a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from the University of Toledo’s College of Graduate Studies. On December 14, 2012, Adam was awarded a Master’s degree from the University after having completed his studies for the fall semester.
While earning his law degree, Adam entered the University’s dual-degree program, which enables students in certain fields of study to pursue multiple degrees simultaneously. After passing the bar exam and becoming licensed as an attorney, Adam completed his MBA studies, while working full time at RCMTZ.
Adam plans to utilize the skills learned while obtaining his MBA to advise clients on legal and business matters. He joins RCMTZ shareholders David Rohrbacher (MBA) and Nicholas Cron (Master of Laws in Taxation) as attorneys in the firm’s business division holding dual advanced degrees.
TBA Board Member Michael J. Manahan will be attending and participating in the Toledo Bar Association’s strategic planning conference on October 4 and 5, 2012. The conference will be held at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio. During the conference, the Board of Directors will be setting out a plan for the future role that the bar association will play in the practice of law for Toledo-area lawyers.
The Toledo Bar Association is a voluntary association of attorneys in the Toledo area. Its website can be found at http://www.toledobar.org/.
Attorneys from RCMTZ plan to attend several seminars dealing with insurance fraud in the upcoming months.
On October 19, Shareholder Todd Zimmerman will attend the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) 2012 Insurance Fraud Conference in Garden Grove, California. A number of seminars are offered to cover a wide variety of fraud topics. Those topics include the establishment of relationships with insurance claims and special investigative units, suspicious fire losses, social media and investigations, auto schemes and utilizing the legal system to attack fraud.
In addition, shareholders Michael Manahan, David Bruhl and Todd Zimmerman will attend the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators’ (NSPII) Advanced Insurance Fraud Seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana. The seminar offers lectures on 14 different topics and features a number of speakers, including experts in risk management and complex fraud cases. The seminar will be held on November 12 and 13. Additional information about the seminar can be found at http://www.nspii.com/Seminar.aspx.
Shareholder Todd Zimmerman has been invited to speak at the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys’ (“OACTA”) 2012 annual meeting. At this meeting, to be held November 8 and November 9, Mr. Zimmerman will discuss the landmark Ohio decision Robinson v. Bates, governing evidence of how much money medical providers accepted to treat a patient as opposed to how much money those providers billed that patient. Mr. Zimmerman will also discuss updates to the body of Ohio law developed after Robinson and how it currently impacts trial attorneys and their clients.
Questions regarding Mr. Zimmerman’s planned discussion can be directed to him at http://www.rcmtz.com/attorney-profile/todd-zimmerman/contact/contact-form/.
On September 20 and 21, 2012, Shareholder Todd Zimmerman attended the Primerus Insurance Coverage and Bath Faith Seminar in Chicago, Illinois. The seminar consisted of a series of lectures for Primerus attorneys and their clients and covered topics such as insurer expectations, contractual indemnification, settlement strategies, and recognizing bad faith scenarios. The seminars were presented by attorneys working for firms affiliated with Primerus.
Primerus is an international society of the world’s top independent boutique law firms. The society consists of nearly 2,800 attorneys across more than 190 law firms worldwide. RCMTZ has been proud to be a member of Primerus since 2012. More information about Primerus can be found at its website, http://www.primerus.com/.
RCMTZ is proud to announce that it has joined Primerus, a society of the world’s finest independent boutique firms. By joining Primerus, which consists of thousands of associated lawyers from more than 190 law firms, RCMTZ gains access to an unprecedented network of legal experts across the United States and worldwide.
Primerus focuses on providing clients with access to high quality legal services at reasonable fees. Membership in the society is limited based on a firm’s geographic presence and market size. RCMTZ is the only Primerus law firm in the Northwest Ohio Region.
Primerus law firms are located in more than 125 cities throughout 35 countries around the world. In order to be admitted to Primerus, law firms must pass a rigorous screening procedure, which seeks to ensure that the society contains high quality legal service providers. Primerus emphasizes a set of common values known as the “Six Pillars:” integrity, excellent work product, reasonable fees, continuing education, civility and community service.
RCMTZ’s ties to Primerus provide access to a wealth of expertise and experience in fields outside of RCMTZ’s traditional areas of practice and enables RCMTZ to ensure clients have access to excellent legal advice in geographical areas outside of Northwest Ohio. Because all member firms are vetted prior to being permitted to join Primerus, clients with needs in other legal or geographical areas can be referred to member firms with confidence.
For more information about Primerus, visit the society’s website at http://www.primerus.com/.
A November, 2011 decision out of Ohio’s Third District Court of Appeals, granting summary judgment in favor of a psychiatrist represented by Shareholder Michael Manahan, has been selected for publication. In Piper v. Bruno (Nov. 14, 2011), —N.E.2d—, 2011-Ohio-5874, 2011 WL 5517260 (Ohio App. 3d Dist.), the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of a psychiatrist, represented by Michael Manahan and attorney Kate E. Schuyler, accused of falsely imprisoning a patient who was involuntarily hospitalized in Lima, Ohio’s St. Rita’s Hospital pursuant to Section 5122.05 et seq. of the Ohio Revised Code.
In Piper, the Third District considered the issue of whether Dr. Bruno, the psychiatrist, was immune from civil liability, stemming from his action in having Piper, a patient, involuntarily committed for hospitalization because of behavior, which Dr. Bruno had observed, or was reported to him from reliable sources in his capacity as a psychiatrist. Piper had originally been brought to St. Rita’s for observation after being taken into custody by police officers due to statements he had made indicating that he had homicidal and suicidal thoughts.
Approximately a year after being released from the hospital, Piper filed a civil lawsuit against Bruno alleging false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and intentional infliction of serious emotional distress. The trial court, which initially heard the case, granted summary judgment in favor of Bruno and dismissed Piper’s complaint, after which Piper appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals.
Based on legal arguments presented by the defense, the Court of Appeals concluded that Piper had presented no evidence to support his assertions that Dr. Bruno lacked a good faith basis for involuntary hospitalization and that the trial court had ruled correctly when it granted Bruno’s motion for summary judgment. Because Piper had failed to demonstrate that, no reasonable psychiatrist in Bruno’s position would have continued Piper’s hospitalization under the circumstances, there were no grounds to overturn the trial court’s decision and the judgment in favor of RCMTZ’s client was upheld.
Shareholder Matthew J. Rohrbacher will take part in a round-table discussion on Friday, April 13, 2012 in conjunction with the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys’ (OACTA) Personal Injury Defense Seminar. Mr. Rohrbacher will join a distinguished group of attorneys in discussing “What’s Going On In Your Neighbor’s Courthouse: A Panel Discussion on Trends and Issues Throughout Ohio.” The round-table panel will discuss a variety of topics, including significant developments regarding Robinson v. Bates, tort reform, liability, voir dire and recent trends in jury verdicts throughout Ohio.
The seminar will take place at State Farm Insurance Company’s facility in Newark, Ohio. More information about OACTA and the seminar can be found at www.OACTA.org.
On April 20, 2012 RCMTZ Shareholders Matthew Rohrbacher, Mark Trimble, Todd Zimmerman and David Bruhl were admitted to practice before The Supreme Court of the United States, joining shareholders David Rohrbacher and Nicholas Cron in that privilege. The swearing in ceremony was held at The Toledo Club where General William K. Suter, Clerk of The Supreme Court of the United States officiated.
RCMTZ is pleased to announce that Sarah V. Beaubien has joined the firm as an associate in the litigation division. Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2011 and is licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio.
Originally from Monroe, Michigan, Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Siena Heights University, where she was an Academic All-American and a four-year varsity softball letter winner. In addition to being active in the Toledo Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association, Sarah is active in the Toledo and Monroe communities. For the last three years, Sarah has coached the local FAST Wizards youth travel softball teams. She is currently the varsity softball coach at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central High School.
Sarah’s areas of practice at RCMTZ will include civil litigation, insurance defense, fraud investigation and employment law. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shareholder, Michael J. Manahan, has been invited to speak at the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators’ Ohio Joint Insurance Fraud Seminar in Columbus, Ohio. The seminar will take place on March 14, 2012 at the Quest Conference Centers in Columbus. Mr. Manahan will serve as part of a roundtable panel of attorneys discussing the current state of Ohio case law, trends in insurance investigations and litigation defense.
For further information on the seminar, visit the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators’ website at www.nspii.com.
We are pleased to announce that attorney David C. Bruhl has been named a shareholder of the firm. David currently practices in the RCMTZ Toledo office.
David has been practicing law since 2004 and has been with RCMTZ as an associate since December of 2007. His primary areas of practice are insurance defense, civil litigation and business law. He is licensed to practice in the state courts of Ohio and Michigan, as well as the Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Courts for the Northern District of Ohio and the Western District of Michigan.
David is a graduate of the University of Toledo, College of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Toledo. Currently, he is active in the Toledo Bar Association, the Lucas County Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators (NSPII), the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA) and the Toledo Claims Association. In addition, he serves on the Bar Admissions Committee, the Grievance Investigation Committee and the Notaries Public Committee for the Toledo Bar Association.
David can be reached at (419) 248-2600 or at email@example.com.
This fall, Mr. Cron was elected Chairman of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. He has been very active in the Toledo business community for many years both at local and state levels. Mr. Cron is a past President of the Toledo Area Small Business Association, organized the Toledo Area Small Business Development Center, and chairs for 2012, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Levy Review Committee, and is currently assisting the Toledo Public Schools on an advisory committee to the Superintendent.
About Toledo Distinguished Clown Corps: http://toledodcc.org/ourhistory.html