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Bringing Light & Sense to the DLC Process

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  • Bringing Light & Sense to the DLC Process

    Dear YL-

    You would have to be deaf, dumb and blind to not know my feelings on the Designated Lawyer Selection [DLC] process that is utilized by the BLET, BMWE, UTU and every other rail union. It is a system that is as old as me and has been fraught with deception, greed and a "good ol' boy" system since day one.

    How many people have vowed to clean it up? How many people have gone to jail, absconded with members' monies, been charged with crimes?

    The time has come to clean this mess up and I am starting this thread in hopes that, those that believe like I do, will speak up and let your voices be heard!

    I believe that, at bare minimums, to be any Union DLC, you should have to take a test on the FELA law. You should also have to agree to represent the Members for a 25% contingency fee. You should also agree to give .05% of your FELA fees back to the Union that you have received the designation from and they should be required to take 50% of that money and use it for a designated RAIL charity and the other 50% should be used to fund conventions.

    These are the requirements that should be made open and obvious. No firm should be given preference over another and each should be free to negotiate down their fee below 25% if they want to in order to give a better deal to the member that contacted them. Any firm that receives a DLC designation that is caught using "runners" should forever lose the DLC status and that would include all lawyers in it.

    I urge you to speak out. Mr. Sorrow from the BLET has every reason in the world to to do this and take the lead in the industry. I am not saying any DLC currently with a designation is (1) not deserving of it; (2) does not work their butts off in an excellent manner; (3) is not capable to practice FELA law. In fact, I disavow any reference that this post says anything about any one lawyer or any one firm. What I am saying is the "proof is in the pudding" and one cannot deny the problem exists!

    Steve Gordon
    FELA Lawyer
    Last edited by FELA FELLA; 11-30-2009, 01:55 PM.
    Steve Gordon
    Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
    FELA Lawyer
    FELA Lawyer Blog
    Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
    Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
    800-773-6770

  • #2
    Runner

    What's a Runner?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Reggi View Post
      What's a Runner?
      Though the definition varies from state to state; and, in some states, there is a penal code violation; and, in every state, it would be unethical behavior:

      It is paying, or promising to pay, anything of value to solicit a particular personal injury case.
      Steve Gordon
      Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
      FELA Lawyer
      FELA Lawyer Blog
      Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
      Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
      800-773-6770

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FELA FELLA View Post
        Though the definition varies from state to state; and, in some states, there is a penal code violation; and, in every state, it would be unethical behavior:

        It is paying, or promising to pay, anything of value to solicit a particular personal injury case.
        Is a runner different than an "investigator" or same thing, just a different name?
        Standard lengthy disclaimer / warning / terms of use: All postings by "NSRLink" are fictional, public information, for entertainment purposes only, should never be taken seriously, and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, ideas, or thoughts of any railroad carrier, person, entity, organization, or otherwise. By reading anything posted or associated with the user ID, "NSRLink," any entity agrees they shall not be offended, harmed, sad, defamed, inflamed, upset, mad, harassed, have their feelings hurt, or similar. Parties or entities not agreeable to these "terms of use" are hereby required to block this profile "NSRLink" and agree to not read or view posts so they will no longer be offended, harmed, sad, defamed, inflamed, upset, mad, harassed, have their feelings hurt, or similar in any manner, and may do so via UserCP "Edit ignore List" & adding "NSRLink" to the list. Thank you & good day to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by nsrlink View Post
          Is a runner different than an "investigator" or same thing, just a different name?
          Quite different!! The issue of whether it is unethical or, in some states, illegal, is obviously the intent and purpose. Historically, firms that due an abundance of FELA work have employed ex-Railroad employees to work as their investigator/business promoter. This is completely acceptable and, in fact, a smart business decision. If you personally know someone that has gone to work with a law firm and then you are hurt, it is human nature for you to trust that person's recommendation.Does that person schmooze people, organize parties and also do investigation on specific cases wherein the firm has been hired and/or contacted? Yes and that is completely permissible.

          It is where that person or some other [any] person is compensated to "bring-in" a specific case that crosses the line. I hope that answers your question.
          Steve Gordon
          Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
          FELA Lawyer
          FELA Lawyer Blog
          Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
          Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
          800-773-6770

          Comment


          • #6
            Had a friend e-mail me an article about a DLC "winning" a conciderable judgement for an injured Conducter. With-out going into any of the particulers of this case. I would like to say that it seems that DLC's are taking the more "cut and dried" approach when deciding which cases to handle. It seems that if the cases aren't blatently in their favor,they aren't taking them. Shouldn't the DLCs have a more equal oportunity mentality and shouldnt they represent ALL claims the union members have??
            I may not be king..But..ITS GOOD TO BE QUEEN

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by fatboy View Post
              Had a friend e-mail me an article about a DLC "winning" a conciderable judgement for an injured Conducter. With-out going into any of the particulers of this case. I would like to say that it seems that DLC's are taking the more "cut and dried" approach when deciding which cases to handle. It seems that if the cases aren't blatently in their favor,they aren't taking them. Shouldn't the DLCs have a more equal oportunity mentality and shouldnt they represent ALL claims the union members have??
              This is an excellent question! Having never been a DLC, I am not privy to what the current DLC requirements are in this regard. Perhaps other DLC can comment what the requirements are in this regard.

              However, the DLC qualification process that I envision would remedy that problem real quick. There are many very good, very hungry, very hard working competent FELA lawyers that are not DLC. If the process of qualifying were similar to what I have outlined in the original post, you would have more DLC! Which, I believe, is a better thing for the members. Hence, if you a case that is 'iffy', undoubtedly, as a member that wanted to get a "pre-qualified' lawyer and/or law firm, you would have more choices!

              I have been a lawyer for 25+ years. I have taken cases that others have rejected and we got a good result. This phenomenon is not exclusive to me nor my firm. Others have done it and do it everyday. What a client needs is a lawyer to believe in their case and work it like it is there only case. Is it possible to lose....of course. But when you try hard and never give an inch, you can perhaps get a reasonable settlement offer or even win at trial.

              The more DLC the merrier I say.
              Steve Gordon
              Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
              FELA Lawyer
              FELA Lawyer Blog
              Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
              Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
              800-773-6770

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by fatboy View Post
                Had a friend e-mail me an article about a DLC "winning" a conciderable judgement for an injured Conducter. With-out going into any of the particulers of this case. I would like to say that it seems that DLC's are taking the more "cut and dried" approach when deciding which cases to handle. It seems that if the cases aren't blatently in their favor,they aren't taking them. Shouldn't the DLCs have a more equal oportunity mentality and shouldnt they represent ALL claims the union members have??
                All the dlc's i know will handle any and every case brought to them IF a railroader signs with them. however please remember that the dlc's will give railroaders free advice and sometimes, yes read this, sometimes a case does not warrant or necisitate legal representation and they advise to the worker to seek compensation with the claim agent and if they need advice feel free to call back.
                --all postings by this poster are public information and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, or thoughts of any particular railroad-for their official position please see the particular carriers website

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree- Clients need to be comfortable with their lawyers and I say if the DLC isn't the guy whom you want to take your case or vise-a-versa, Do your home-work and find Legal Council you are comfortable with. There are NO laws that say you are stuck with the DLCs. Its surprising how many of my co-workers think DLCs are their only option.
                  I may not be king..But..ITS GOOD TO BE QUEEN

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gsxr1000mxz800 View Post
                    All the dlc's i know will handle any and every case brought to them IF a railroader signs with them. however please remember that the dlc's will give railroaders free advice and sometimes, yes read this, sometimes a case does not warrant or necisitate legal representation and they advise to the worker to seek compensation with the claim agent and if they need advice feel free to call back.
                    Answering questions for free is not exclusive to DLC. However, when a railroader has a question they want to know they are getting advice that is learned and based upon experience.

                    Please do not misunderstand my initial post. I am advocating an enlargement of the number of DLC because, and maybe I am wrong but I do not think so, I believe that there will be more DLC than there are currently if the selection system moves to a qualification to practice FELA law approach rather than the selection process that has plagued unions and union members for years.
                    Steve Gordon
                    Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
                    FELA Lawyer
                    FELA Lawyer Blog
                    Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
                    Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
                    800-773-6770

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gsxr1000mxz800 View Post
                      All the dlc's i know will handle any and every case brought to them IF a railroader signs with them. however please remember that the dlc's will give railroaders free advice and sometimes, yes read this, sometimes a case does not warrant or necisitate legal representation and they advise to the worker to seek compensation with the claim agent and if they need advice feel free to call back.
                      The DLCs you know are a different lot than the ones I know. The one whose case I mentioned above will not give advice. The union member has to talk to an "investigater" and if "he" feels it in the best interest of the Firm,they will accept your case. I have never and will not tell my union brothers/sisters to by-pass the DLC. BUT they also need to know that the DLCs are not their only option. When-ever a worker finds him/her-self in the genuine need(waranted and necessary) of legal councel, and the DLC is cherry picking cases to make themselves look better-They are not helping the worker. If one case takes more work to bring to satisfaction than another-they still should be treated the same!!! If there were regulations and testing for the DLCs maybe the members would be able to shop around for legal council who will do the best job for them instead of the firm.
                      I may not be king..But..ITS GOOD TO BE QUEEN

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        And the Beat goes on and on and on....

                        Advisory Board Revises Code of Compliance for DLC program CLEVELAND, December 30 — The Advisory Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen has revised its Code of Compliance, Protocol for Designation and Rules of Conduct regarding the attorneys it recommends to its members who are injured on the job (commonly referred to as “Designated Legal Counsel”).

                        The new regulations govern the interaction of its officers, members and employees with Designated Legal Counsel, and alters the way firms obtain designated status. The regulations also establish a standing committee of Advisory Board members to monitor the DLC program.

                        The revised Code of Compliance Protocol for Designation and Rules of Conduct were drafted by a committee appointed by the Advisory Board which had as its objective to review and recommend changes to the existing protocol for Designated Legal Counsel. The Advisory Board committee was comprised of National Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert who acted as chairman; Vice President Steve Speagle; and Vice President Marcus Ruef.

                        “Our members have placed a tremendous amount of trust in us as their leaders,” the BLET Advisory Board wrote in adopting the new regulations. “They expect every officer and employee at every level of the Union to ensure that their behavior is instilled with ethical practices so that every action taken on behalf of the Union is one to be proud of.”

                        The BLET Advisory Board adopted the new regulations on December 17, 2009. They will apply to all officers at the National Division level, all General Committees of Adjustment, all State Legislative Boards, all Divisions, and all employees.

                        The new regulations explicitly prohibit any BLET officer or employee at any level of the organization from soliciting or accepting any gift (except gifts of minimal value), payment, money, loan, promise, or agreement, or anything of tangible or intangible value, from any employer, Designated Legal Counsel, or attorney seeking designated status, who is attempting to promote the officer’s or employee’s candidacy for office, attempting to influence any election on any issue within the organization requiring a vote, and/or has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of an officer’s or employee’s official duties.

                        The new regulations also prohibit Designated Legal Counsel from offering the same.

                        DLC firms must also submit an annual report confirming that they are continuing to abide by the Rules of Conduct. In addition, the regulations shift oversight of the Designated Legal Counsel program away from the National President and to the Advisory Board.

                        BLET National President Paul Sorrow hailed passage of the stricter Code of Compliance and Protocol for Designation and Rules of Conduct.

                        “The Designated Legal Counsel program is an important and integral part of protecting the rights of our members working under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act,” President Sorrow said. “The new rules ensure the firms who have achieved designated status, or those attempting to gain designated status, abide by a code of ethics that promotes the spirit of our Brotherhood.

                        “That same code of ethics also governs our officers and employees, giving our members the peace of mind that those working on their behalf are operating in good faith.”

                        A standing committee of Advisory Board members has been appointed under the new Code of Compliance to investigate complaints that arise under the DLC program. The standing committee consists of: Vice President Steve Speagle; Vice President & National Legislative Representative John Tolman; and Vice President & Arbitration Director Marcus Ruef.

                        Wednesday, December 30, 2009

                        Steve Gordon Comment:
                        Please compare the New Rules [above] to the first post in this thread. They are quite different. Sometime in the 90s, one of the Unions had their DLC sign affidavits that they had never, in essence, violated any gifting rues and that was suppose to fully and finally put an end to the "stuff" that goes on between some Union officers and some DLC. That was, I am sure, a couple of indictments and/or convictions ago. So, this is the big change that we were hoping for.....I hope this puts an end to it. Only time will tell.
                        Steve Gordon
                        Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
                        FELA Lawyer
                        FELA Lawyer Blog
                        Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
                        Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
                        800-773-6770

                        Comment

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