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RNC Member Talks Importance of Trump Fundraising in "Blue" California

February 19, 2020

By Natalie Brunell Beverly Hills
PUBLISHED 1:29 PM ET Feb. 19, 2020


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Having attended most of President Donald Trump’s fundraisers in Los Angeles, Shawn Steel, the Republican National Committee member from California is always proud to show off his memories from those visits.  

Steel says he looks forward to the unpredictable nature of the speeches and the high energy of fellow supporters and shared his expectations for Trump’s Beverly Hills fundraiser at the Montage Hotel.   

“The beautiful thing about going to a Trump rally or a dinner is you have no idea. It’s very spontaneous, it’ll be a lot about California,” Steel said.   

Steel says he agrees with Trump’s harsh criticisms of California and of the Democratic policies in Los Angeles.   

“California is deteriorating. You just have to drive down the streets, you have to see what’s going on with the overpasses and the underpasses. And you have a criminal element that’s festering everywhere. The quality of living is at stake in California,” Steel said.   

Even though some of the President’s criticisms of the state have led to his threatening to cut federal aid to various California agencies, Steel says money from Californian Republican donors will continue to flow in the President’s direction.   

In fact, the top beneficiary of California-based campaign contributions in 2019 was President Trump.  

“California is not going to be in the middle of the election, but it’s going to be financing a lot of the election,” Steel said.   

That financing isn’t sitting well with anti-Trump protesters who came to the Montage Hotel Tuesday, including Chantelle Hershberger of Refuse Fascism.  Hershberger had just returned from spending three weeks in Washington, D.C. at the impeachment trial and came to rally outside the fundraiser.  

“These people are the haves, and you know they want to see Trump succeed because it is empowering them,” Hershberger said. “It kind of shines light on the whole corrupted system.”   

Protesters at times clashed with Trump supporters outside the fundraiser venue, but those excited to see the President’s motorcade and shoot clips of it on their smartphones appeared to outnumber the activists.   

As for the concerns raised by protestors, Steel says he doesn’t always agree with what Trump says or how he expresses himself, but he says he’s proud to support the President’s push to raise green all across the blue state.  

You and the Law: Obesity in personal injury, workers comp

February 12, 2020

By Dennis Beaver |

February 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

Close to 40% of Americans are obese. That’s over 93 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 100 pounds or more over your ideal weight = morbid obesity.

Today’s story is not a lecture, nor is it intended to be seen as fat shaming anyone.

Rather, a look at a topic, “Often not addressed and filled with prejudice,” as Southern California personal injury attorney Shawn Steel commented when I ran this remarkable fact situation by him.

Doctor is discriminating?

“I just came from my doctor’s office, who is treating me for a really bad whiplash with, back problems and I’m very upset,” ‘Alex’ texted. “I am a victim of weight discrimination, based on what he told me and his attitude. Can we Skype? I want you to see what I look like and tell me if you think his comments amount to illegal weight discrimination.”

Within minutes I was looking at a 40-ish guy in complete denial of his obvious morbid obesity. In reply to my question, “So, what did the doctor tell you,” he stated:

• How dare you come in here drinking a Starbucks overflowing with whipped cream!

• You weigh 350 pounds, had this minor auto accident, but your weight alone is the major cause of your neck and back problems. I warned you about this last time. You have one hour to enroll in our weight management program, come back with proof, and if you do not, consider yourself discharged. I will not see you again.”

Does weight have impact?

A major study published in 2010 looked at the relationship of obesity and vehicular injuries: “BMI and Risk of Serious Upper Body Injury Following Motor Vehicle Crashes: Concordance of Real-World and Computer-Simulated Observations.” 

It concluded that obese men and women—with a high BMI—have significantly greater upper body and back injuries than people of normal weight. The study looked at the bio-mechanics of accidents, In brief, the more overweight the patient, the worse the injury, just what the doctor told Alex.

Our Skype chat

Alex Skyped me from a Starbucks, and was sipping on a large drink, topped with whipped cream! At first I thought this was a joke, but it was no laughing matter.
“Did you sign up for the weight-reduction program?”

“No, I am just fine the way I am and my weight should have no effect on my getting treatment or the value of my case when it settles,” he confidently replied.

Alex is completely wrong.

Attorney Steel is familiar with these fact situations, pointing out: “Prejudice against the obese is built into the legal system, so when an overweight person makes a good faith effort to follow doctor’s instructions it will help healing, and the case. You do not have to be thin at the end of six months, but the more effort an obese person puts into losing weight after an accident shows that you are serious, that you have tried to help yourself.

“Regardless of the injury, bio-mechanically the patient will be viewed as a walking catastrophe, coming into court with one arm tied-behind. So, patients and clients need to understand that 50% of every case depends upon the credibility and likability of the patient. Complainers, and unhappy people who make no effort to address their weight issues generally do poorly in court,” Steel underscored.

Effect on settlements?

Insurance adjusters — and workers compensation underwriters — are well aware of the high cost of obesity of in their worlds: longer treatment, expensive diagnostic tests, more time off work. In a typical auto accident case with an obese client, I have had adjusters bluntly say:

“Don’t go blaming my driver for your client’s back and internal injuries. What do you expect when a 300-pound body collides with a steering wheel, dashboard, or his internal organs are severely injured by all that weight compressed by a seat belt?”

I’ve seen cases with obese clients resolve for much less than with people of normal weight in a similar accident.

There are many studies showing the relationship of obesity to an increase in work-place injuries and their severity. One, “Prevalence of work-site injuries and relationship between obesity and injury among U.S. workers: NHIS 2004-2012,” concluded:

“Overweight and obese workers were 25% to 68% more likely to experience injuries of greater severity than normal weight workers.”

Moral to today’s story: The cost of obesity hits accident victims and employers right in the pocketbook.

Alex had a physician who leveled with him. This was not discrimination, rather, the truth. No one should be rewarded for voluntary behavior that is costly to society.


When Lawyers Refuse to Pay a Client's Doctor Bill

February 07, 2020

By H. Dennis Beaver, Esq. | Author of "You and the Law"

February 7, 2019

It's more common than you might think in personal injury lawsuits, and doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists don't have to stand for it.

Today’s story will be of special interest to two groups of readers who are linked together by what is known as a lien, which I’ll explain in a moment. They are:

(1) People who were injured in an auto accident who lack good health insurance or adequate amounts of auto medical payments coverage but need treatment from a chiropractor, doctor or physical therapist. They hire an attorney to file an insurance claim against the responsible party.

(2) Chiropractors, doctors or physical therapists who provide treatment, and, as Los Angeles based attorney Shawn Steel adds, “contractually — on a lien basis — agreeing to wait for payment of their services when the case is settled.” 

An Enforceable Contract

Specializing in personal injury cases and representing chiropractors for over 35 years, Steel explains that a lien, “It is a binding, enforceable, written contract signed by the patient, attorney and health care provider requiring bills to be paid from the proceeds of settlement prior to the individual receiving any funds.”

But he was quick to point out, “That’s how it is supposed to work. It is what the law requires, but in my experience, over three-quarters of lawyers who handle personal cases on a lien basis flagrantly refuse to honor the lien, and far too many health care professionals just don’t know what to do when they are stiffed, or their bill is cut to shreds.”

The recent example of our client, “Dr. S.” is typical.

‘My Polite Requests to Pay Our Bill was Ignored!’

I have a soft spot in my heart for chiropractors and respect their abilities. Years ago, a chiropractor delivered me from the worst and most painful stiff neck imaginable. I became a believer, and we referred our auto accident clients to him for years, always receiving positive feedback. So, when a chiropractor is badly dealt with by a lawyer, I take that personally … and that’s what happened to Dr. S.

His lien was signed by both longtime local attorney “L” and the patient, but when the case was settled the lawyer refused to pay the chiropractor’s bill. “We placed call after call to the lawyer’s office and did not even receive the courtesy of a return phone call,” Dr. S. explained, not only frustrated, but hurt.

I set up a conference call with both the attorney and chiropractor, asked why the bill — which had been attached to the chiro’s report and was necessary in order to settle the case — had not been paid.

Instead of hearing, “Sorry, I will look into it and get right back to you,” there was denial of ever receiving it and a claim that the file was in storage, away from his office. Finally, L yelled, “So sue me!”

“Nobody wants to sue you,” I replied. “Just find the file and pay the bill. You know the consequences. You have 48 hours to have a check delivered to the chiro’s office or find yourself in court.”

Needless to say, the bill was paid at once — in full. But this should not have dragged on for so long, and that is Steel’s message to all health care providers who treat on a lien basis: “Understand your rights and the attorney’s legal obligation.”

The Lawyer Is a Fiduciary – Do Not Let Anyone Browbeat You Down!

“In all 50 states,” Steel points out, “the Doctor’s Lien, or Letter of Protection as it is also called in some states, creates a fiduciary relationship, making the lawyer trustee of settlement funds for the benefit of the client, the doctor and, finally, the attorney.

“I find repeatedly lawyers insisting that the doctor cut his bill, but the attorney refuses to reduce his own bill when the settlement is not as high as was expected — or that is what the lawyer tells the doctor. In the typical case this is inherently unfair, as the doctor has spent weeks or months in treating the patient, while the lawyer perhaps saw the client once and made two phone calls.

“There is nothing wrong with everyone taking a little less than full payment if the money just isn’t there, Steel says, “but I urge my doctor clients to stand up to strong-arm tactics.” He recommends the following steps:

Get it in writing.

“When you get a phone call asking that you cut your bill, ‘because the settlement was too low and I can only get you $1, 000,’ reply by stating, ‘Please send me a copy of the draft, settlement agreement and client’s proposed disbursement.’

“Remember, a lawyer can easily lie on the phone, but will hesitate to do so in writing. You have the legal right to see all of those documents and how funds are to be distributed.”

Be persistent.

If that information is not provided, then, Steel recommends:

  • Send a demand letter to the lawyer with a seven-day deadline. Attach the lien, your report and bill. In your letter state, “I am sure you are familiar with the Rules of Professional Conduct.”
  • On the eighth day, file a complaint with the state’s Bar Association, send the attorney a copy of it and file your suit in Small Claims Court.

“You will get paid — and, if it goes to court, judges almost always rule in favor of the doctor,” Steel concludes.

Advice for Clients/Patients Caught in the Middle

It’s important for patients to understand that they are obligated for the professional services they’ve received. So, a good idea is to keep in frequent contact with your lawyer, and when it’s time to settle the case, go into the office if possible and go over payment of the outstanding bills.

If your lawyer negotiates a reduced fee for the doctor’s bill, that’s fine, and you want to see proof in writing. The take-away from this story for patients is to realize you could be on the hook for unpaid bills related to your accident if the lawyer refuses to pay your health care provider. Signing a lien simply means that the doctor agrees to wait for payment — from the lawyer — when the case settles.

And if the case doesn’t settle, or the lawyer drops you? You are still responsible to pay the bills of your health care provider, so stay on top of how your case is coming along.