Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, November 11, 2005

Goliath wants assistance

Law firm boasts of its expertise
while asking the court for help

By David Baker
Posted October 22, 2007

Steve Coffey’s law firm, which in a legal filing opposing my lawsuit against it asked a judge not to allow me any of the latitude often given to self represented litigants, has just put out a press release in which it boasts of its ability to provide its clients with “…unparalleled advice, advocacy and action in their defense.”

The news release announces that O’Connell & Aronowitz has formed a new health care fraud and abuse unit within the firm to assist clients with government regulations. The unit consists of six of the firm’s 29 attorneys – one of them Coffey – who between them, according to the firm’s president, Jeffrey Sherrin, “bring a wealth of experience from all sides of this issue: government regulators, former prosecutors, health care litigators and criminal defense attorneys.”

According to the Oct. 17 release, the new unit brings together nearly 140 years of experience in healthcare and criminal law. “Few law firms in the State can offer such knowledgeable and experienced counsel,” Sherrin is quoted as saying.

I knew there was a reason this firm wants the court’s help in defending it against me as a non-lawyer. They wouldn’t want an uneven playing field.

The announcement raises another question: How can the firm represent healthcare providers and people who claim to have been injured by healthcare providers? On the Website the firm lists the Healthcare Association of New York as a client. This association represents 550 healthcare facilities in the state, including the company that owns Samaritan Hospital. And Coffey himself lists malpractice as one of his areas of practice. Isn’t there going to be a web of conflicts here?

And here’s another twist to this convoluted situation: Coffey probably doesn’t remember the case, but back in the mid 1990s he represented a woman from Saratoga Springs who had nearly died from injuries she received when her car was broadsided by an uninsured driver who ran a red light and then left the state.

That woman had a younger sister. Her name was Lisa.

Lisa Zenzen.