Donahoe Kearney - May 2020


May 2020


Like you, when the coronavirus hit, I suddenly had an inbox full of emails from companies I didn’t even know existed. Somehow, they got my email or I signed up for something, or maybe I’ve ordered something from them. It really doesn’t matter because all of their emails were the same. And I know that because, stuck at home, I would read them .

store to ensure our team members are following the CDC recommendations. (Pretty sure Tom in shipping hasn’t washed his hands since fourth grade.)

The best (worst) emails I get are usually from law firms:

In the interest of health and safety, we’ve transitioned to working from home. (If there was a medal for this, we would so get it — and display it proudly on our website with all the other fake awards on our website — so much easier than offering valuable information to help you and your family with the legal issues you’re facing.)

And it was like they all had the same PR agency writing this stuff for them. Because it was all about them.

Here are some real emails I got, and because working from home with teenagers has greatly increased my exposure to “being a smartass,” I’ve provided a translation into what they really mean or want to say:

We’re following CDC guidelines and we’re going to list them here for you in this helpful email, Valued Customer. The CDC guidelines are … (Everything your mother told you growing up — wash your hands, get your fingers out of your mouth, cover your cough, get a tissue, and you’re not going anywhere; you’re sick — who knew moms were so ahead of the times?) Probably my personal favorite had the title: How Should Law Firms Respond During Coronavirus? It was from some law firm I've never heard of and was all about them, but after congratulating themselves for washing their hands and having a laptop, it literally said the following: “The only thing we ask is understanding. The only challenge our firm might have over this difficult time is a potential lag in responsiveness to our clients. This is simply because we are not all in the same building, but rest assured, all our excellent personnel are receiving their messages.” (Our real challenge is giving a you-know-what. Quit bothering us.) We’re in this together. (Yeah, we know we haven’t sent you a newsletter or email in the last four years, but we now decided we care about you, Valued Customer!) On a serious note, we’re in good shape here. But this is a difficult and stressful time. If you want to talk about anything — anything at all — or if we can help in any way, call me. -Frank Kearney

Dear Valued Customer,

(Translation: Maybe you bought something from us once, but we have no idea who you are because we never tried to develop a relationship with you, and even if you buy a ton of our stuff, we don’t give a rat’s ass about you because we haven’t tried to contact you or give you anything of value in years!) During these unprecedented times (we don’t know what we’re doing now) , our leadership team is actively monitoring this developing situation. (Our inappropriately named “leadership” team is reading all the coronavirus emails they get that all sound alike and combining the most boring, corporate parts into an email we’re about to send to you!) We’re here for you during the COVID-19 crisis. (First, we’re really cool because we now call it COVID-19 and as soon as our corporate lawyers allow us to use the word “pandemic,” we’re going to put that in our emails, too!) Here’s what we’re doing to prepare in these unsettled times. (So, we should have been doing this already but all the coronavirus emails we’re getting say we need to get on this.) First, know that nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our associates. (But we don’t actually provide health insurance; we get mad when employees call in sick, and we have a toxic workplace culture — plus we laid them all off!) We have always prioritized store cleanliness. (Okay — so now we actually have to clean the store. We get it.) We’ve posted the CDC guidelines in our

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When you get hurt at work, your livelihood is at stake. If you’re like most of our clients, you’ve worked hard your whole life, paid your own way, and always taken care of yourself and your family. You can’t let a serious injury take all that away from you.

use these exams a lot in our cases to show that someone on workers’ comp or long- term disability no longer has the physical ability to return to their job after a serious injury or illness, so it’s important to have both the technology and the people who understand job functions to do the analysis. Starting with a Functional Capacity exam, she continuously evaluates the person’s physical functioning. And Flora can tell if an insurance company has referred a worker to work hardening too soon, and she

So, you need to find people who get it — I mean really get it.

That’s how we found Metropolitan Occupational Therapy (MOT). One of our clients was in physical therapy there and had such a good experience that we wanted to learn more. First, they take a holistic and compassionate approach to recovery — this is no one-size-fits-all approach. Like us, they treat people like individuals, not a number, and offer a lot of cool services that actually help people, starting with free transportation, parking reimbursement, and reimbursement for public transportation. They have a full range of physical and occupational therapy services, including a certified hand specialist and 8-hour-a-day work hardening treatment to help people with physical jobs — construction workers, mechanics, delivery drivers, nurses — get in shape after a long recovery and rehab, usually after surgery. And, of course, they are an essential business and keep their facilities in tiptop shape: cleaning, disinfecting, and distancing, so people who need it can still get physical and occupational therapy during the coronavirus pandemic. Christina, the business manager, explained how MOT has a case management system to help them beat the insurance company at their own game. (Most medical offices hate dealing with insurance companies, so they don’t, or they procrastinate, or they push it off on you.) The result is impressive — they have a great record of getting treatment authorized. And a lot of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals refer patients to them. That’s really important because a lot of other facilities get all of their patients from insurance companies, and whose side do you think they’re on?

will push back on that. She will also evaluate whether the person has the capacity to return to work and, if so, will develop a program to get them back on the job or a way to maximize their functioning even after a serious injury. A lot of what they do is educational as well, teaching people about their nerves, muscles, and skeletal systems, and how to safely do their job. For example, they teach electricians how to manage overhead lifting, use tools, and do fine motor skill applications like turning screws, and they help retrain nurses to lift and physically care for patients. And here’s something you don’t see every day: They offer “Free Lunch Fridays” for their patients who are in work hardening. I mean, who does that? One of the cool things I also learned about was the support their patients give each other. We all know of the financial, emotional, and psychological stresses when you’re disabled because of an injury or medical condition. At MOT, a real “social fabric” develops, especially in the work hardening program. People make friends here and gain support that helps them make it through a long and difficult rehab and recovery process after a serious injury. -Brooke Birkey

They also have a state-of-the-art work hardening program. Flora is the heart and soul of the program. With over 20 years of experience, she understands the specific and often nuanced needs for work hardening evaluation and treatment. She uses their state-of-the-art BTE machine, which takes data and analyzes it for Functional Capacity exams to measure what the workers are capable of doing at that point. We


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Make an Indoor Quarantine Scavenger Hunt

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers — ESPECIALLY mothers who have been working full time and homeschooling your kids during quarantine. You are amazing — we see you! Here’s a beautiful "bouquet" of outside flowers made just for you. Happy Mother's Day


These days we have all become experts on everything you can do inside to keep yourself (and if you got kids, your kids) from going crazy from cabin fever. So, we’ve devised a challenge for you: Make an Indoor Quarantine Scavenger Hunt for a Chance to Win $100! You can choose really unique things to include in your indoor quarantine scavenger hunt, like to hard-boil an egg or learn to play C sharp on your guitar! The person with the most interesting scavenger hunt will win $100 cash or a donation to the charity of your choice! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. The winner will be published in the June newsletter. Your amazing scavenger hunt could be another person’s saving grace! Email your quarantine scavenger hunt to ‘LOVE YOUR PUPS AND KEEP ON GOING’ I adopted Sasha in 2018. But before Sasha, I had Max. He was probably one of the most spoiled dogs in the galaxy. When I lost him, I was traumatized. It was seven years before I decided to try again — to love another dog. I came across Wolf Trap Animal Rescue and scheduled the earliest meet- and-greet, to meet “Passion.” (Whispered tone: I don’t ever use this name because Sasha might get triggered.) I asked my mother if she wanted to go with me, but I warned her that sometimes these dogs have gone through trauma and get scared when approached. But when we got there, we met Sasha, a German shepherd and Labrador mix who wasn’t like that. She ran up to me and gave me kisses the first time we met. I cried and told my mom that Sasha was it. And she was. Sasha continues to prove we were the right fit. She is extremely intelligent and loves to please her mama even though she’s a daddy’s girl. She loves to cuddle with me. She is so well trained that it still surprises me sometimes that she’s my dog. She never walks on a leash. And she recently proved to me that not only is she a great dog to us but also that she could be a great friend to a second dog. About four months ago, my boyfriend called me and said, “Babe, so there’s this dog that is going to be put down. He is a pit bull, and I am going to go see him today.” I thought to myself: Yikes — pit bull in my home, with my

girl and the kids (we have two kids who live with us part time). What is this man thinking?!

So, a full-grown pit bull joined our family. Initially, I was terrified of him, but I knew if I showed fear, it would only make him more anxious. So, I calmed down, took the reins, and after a few hours of a grueling “What are we going to name him?” battle, I came up with Luca Brasi. (For any of you who are “The Godfather” lovers, this Luca was not going to be sleeping with the fish.) He is now part of our family and is still a work in progress. I have come to love him greatly. He is such a big, STUBBORN dude sometimes that I cannot handle it. But I do love him. The two dogs (and the two kids) make me crazy sometimes, but mostly they brighten up my life. And they have made excellent coworkers while I work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. So, while I’m working remotely, my motto is this: Love your pups and keep on going! -Priscilla Villalta

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Stuck inside, roaming the United States of Netflix, I just watched “The Rainmaker,” a movie based on a novel by John Grisham about a lawsuit against an insurance company. It did a pretty good job portraying the insurance industry the way we often find them — using bad-faith denials and institutionalized delays and protecting their shareholders rather than the people who faithfully pay their policy premiums. The story is set in Tennessee. A young lawyer (Rudy Baylor played by Matt Damon), fresh out of law school, signs on with a firm that requires him to bring in his own business. He gets paid only when he makes money on his own cases. Law firms call this practice “eat what you kill.” Rudy signs one of his first clients: a family whose son is dying of cancer and was denied necessary treatment under his insurance policy. He fights for their rights to get the insurance company to honor the terms of their policy for their sick son. The insurance company behaves in a way we have come to expect, especially with our clients’ workers’ compensation and ERISA long-term disability claims. The insurance company will often deny claims just to see if the person on the other side of that denial will fight them to force them to do right. Let’s face it, many times you just don’t know the terms of the insurance policy, the law, or what your rights are. How could you? So, the insurance companies take advantage of a lot of people. We see this with ERISA long-term disability claims as well, but truthfully, most lawyers don’t understand the nature of the denial or how complex it is to appeal. So, they run the clock on their 180 days to appeal and put together an appeal that is denied simply because the claimant doesn’t know what the governing law says or what the judge will be looking for in the administrative record. That’s why we review denial letters for free and give people our advice on the next steps in the process — whether they hire us or not. Spoiler alert: Young Rudy, though he was inexperienced (and I hope you never have an inexperienced attorney handling your litigation), managed to uncover the smoking gun from the insurance company in the discovery process and ultimately wins millions for his client.

If you have had a claim denied in an insurance case, give us a call and we can help you take the next right steps. Frank and Keith are way better looking than Matt Damon (or at least a lot more experienced than the movie character he plays) and will take care of you and your family!

administrators are at risk of serious injury because of violence in the school. Without adequate security, it’s teachers like Clayton who have to break up fights, often to protect a student from serious injury. We’ve seen a number of these cases, and they’re disturbing. Clayton’s obviously in good shape. He did what he had to do and paid the price. After surgery and a long and intense rehab, we’re glad to report he’s feeling better. -Brooke Birkey

Clayton, a public charter school teacher, had a serious shoulder injury when he stepped in to break up a fight at the charter school he taught at. A lot of charter schools in the city serve at-risk kids — really doing the Lord’s work with many of them — but this comes with a price. Many times, the teachers and CONGRATULATIONS CORNER: CLAYTON DUCKETT


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Here's what you will leave on the table if you don't download this free book:

All of us — bus drivers, accountants, construction workers, lawyers, etc. — have rules to follow. And nurses, doctors, hospital techs, specialists, and consultants are no different. Everyone in health care has rules they must follow, rules to keep patients safe. The coronavirus doesn't change the rules for patient safety; if anything, it makes them more important. Individual doctors and nurses are doing great work to handle the coronavirus, but a lot of the health care companies, hospital corporations and HMOs still don't have systems in place to keep patients and workers safe — and that should be their most important job.

• Discovering what constitutes a catastrophic injury (and whether or not you have one). • Three phrases you haven't heard about Patient Safety Rules that could have prevented a life-ruining injury. • Uncovering the secrets to financial recovery when a catastrophic injury has caused serious lifestyle changes.

Don't wait — download this free book today!

Cerebral palsy can be a devastating injury to a baby, causing brain damage, paralysis, and developmental delay. Every child is different, but if your child is not hitting their developmental milestones and you're suspicious this was caused by medical mistakes, call or email us to order one of our free, no obligation books or guides to help your child and your family. Chances are, we've helped someone just like you, your family, and your child. The call is confidential — it's easy and there's no charge. We're easy to talk to.


All hospitals, HMOs, and doctors’ offices are supposed to follow basic patient safety rules especially when it comes to kids and pregnant women.

MOM’S SOPA DE POLLO FOR THE SICK INGREDIENTS • 1 whole chicken, skin removed. • Salt or lemon juice, for washing chicken • 1 head of garlic, chopped • 1/2 green pepper, chopped • 1/2 large onion, chopped small • Olive oil, for sautéing • Salt and pepper, to taste • 1 packet sopa de Maggi • 2 celery stalks, chopped • 2 large carrots, chopped • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped • 1 zucchini, chopped • 1 handful of fresh spinach, chopped • 1 packet culantro con achiote • Cilantro, for garnish • Priscilla’s optional addition: Corn on the cob* DIRECTIONS 1. Cut chicken into little pieces, remove

until brown. Add sautéed vegetables to the chicken pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add sopa de maggi. 4. As the soup continues to boil, add chopped celery, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, spinach, and packet of culantro con achiote. 5. Let boil for 40 minutes to an hour until everything is cooked through. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. butter. Bake 20–25 minutes. Turn once during baking. 4. When done, cut kernels off the cob and add to the soup.

excess fat. Clean with salt or lemon, rinse, and place into a large pot. Add 5 cups water. 2. Over medium-high heat, boil chicken and water for 15–20 minutes until excess fat rises. Remove fat with a spoon. 3. In a sauté pan, add olive oil, chopped garlic, green pepper, and onion and sauté

*DIRECTIONS FOR PRISCILLA’S CORN-ON-THE-COB ADDITION: 1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. Sprinkle smoked paprika, garlic salt, salt, ground pepper, thyme, and parsley onto a fresh ear of corn. 3. Wrap ear of corn in foil with a dab of

-Priscilla Villalta

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Donahoe Kearney A T T O R N E Y S A T L A W 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006 202.393.3320



What Those Corporate Coronavirus Emails Are Really Saying Helping Get Injured Workers Back to Work A Chance to Win Big! Happy Mother's Day Canine Coworkers During Coronavirus A Faithful Portrayal of Insurance Companies Congratulations Corner: Clayton Duckett Download This Must-Have Book! Mom’s Sopa de Pollo for the Sick Frank’s Column: What are You Doing?

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What Does the Coronavirus Say About Our Lives?

Like just about every crisis or difficulty we go through, COVID-19 has exposed the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re cooped up with your family all day ... so it’s an opportunity to examine our lives, something no one else can do for us (although a lot of people try). And I think one of the key lessons of this pandemic is don’t put things off . None of us is promised tomorrow — not in our work, our relationships, or our lives. So be focused on taking action today — is there someone you can help, or is there someone you can talk to who is scared, anxious or lonely? Do you need a new job, to go back to school, to join a church, to repair a friendship, to do what you always wanted to do? From challenge comes opportunity, so give yourself permission to do it. Today.


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