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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lawyer's Blog Post Prompts Physician's Grievance

Dr. Rosalind Griffin
Over the past decade, our law firm has been an early-adopter of blogging as a tool to publish relevant legal content to client prospects. As such, we here at the Law Blogger have followed Steve Gursten's Michigan Auto Law blog with keen professional interest.

With nearly 300 posts, Gursten's blog has been around for a while. In November 2014, Gursten, a personal injury lawyer specializing in auto no-fault claims, took aim against a physician hired by an insurance company to conduct an independent medical examination of one of his injured clients.

In this post, he takes Dr. Rosalind Griffin to task for purported discrepancies between her recorded examination of his client and her subsequent testimony in the injury case. [In an automobile accident personal injury case, the insurance company insuring the at-fault driver secures an independent medical examination to verify the nature and extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff driver.]

Gursten's premise is that Dr. Griffin, a physician he says is notorious among the personal injury bar, performs a "hatchet job" on his client. He conducts a tour-de-force of his cross-examination of Dr. Griffin using a top-9 list of "hatchet job" tactics and applying those principles to Dr. Griffin's specific testimony in the case. Frankly, the piece is well-written and he really gets his points across.

The entire deposition transcript is attached to the blog post. By doing so, Gursten takes the concept of bringing legal content to the people to a whole new level; that, in fact is his mission. Through the post on his case, Gursten seeks to shine a light on the practice of physicians that are supposedly independent but who Gursten says are beholden to the insurance companies who pay for their examinations.

Not taking the matter sitting down, Dr. Griffin filed a grievance against Gursten with the Attorney Grievance Commission asserting his blog post defames her and places her in the proverbial "false light". She is no lightweight when it comes to attorney discipline; she sits on the Attorney Discipline Board.

Just a few days ago, citing the first amendment's free speech clause, Gursten told Michigan Lawyers Weekly that the post will stay right where it is; he has also posted a defense of his post in the Michigan Auto Law blog.

The official play book on law blogging says do not post about your own cases. Your client may not want the spotlight on her case; there are confidentiality concerns; you risk promoting yourself at the expense of good content, etc.

There are exceptions to this general rule and this post appears to be one of them if you ask us here at the Law Blogger. Gursten believes in what he posts and he'll convince you if given half a chance.

Post #523

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