Steve Bruzonsky - Arizona\'s get well, get on with life attorney Peer Review Rated Steve Bruzonsky - Arizona\'s get well, get on with life attorney






Steven J. Bruzonsky

Attorney At Law

Law Office of
Steven J. Bruzonsky
917 E. San Angelo Ave.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
480-969-3003

Call 480-969-3003

 

Please note that Attorney Bruzonsky has been doing this regular “Liens Corner” column since April 2006. His last “Liens Corner” article was for the November/December 2017 issue of The Advocate, having stepped down from this regular column, as he now works part-time (and is part-time retired) exclusively handling large subrogation/lien claims in very large personal injury and medical malpractice cases for other attorneys. However, attorney Bruzonsky may add notes to this website under the subject lien article headers from time to time. (Please keep in mind that this site contains general information for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advise, which can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiair with all the facts and circumstances of your specific case and relevant law.) 

 

 

Arizona Ethics Opinion 11-03 (December 2011)

June 22nd, 2015 05:43:34 pm


The following information updates the articles in this section and has also been published in the "Blog" section of this website:

 

 

Ethics Opinion 11-03 (December 2011)

July 13th, 2012 01:06:55 pm


The “question presented” is “What inquiry must the claimant’s lawyer undertake with respect to potential competing liens or claims of which the lawyer is unaware?”

 

The opinion summarizes and concludes that:

 

“A lawyer holding property in which both the client and a third person have an “interest” must account for the property, pay undisputed sums to the proper party, and abide resolution of any disputes. Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct (“ERs” 1.15(d), (e). ER 1.15(d) requires a lawyer with knowledge of claims against the client to protect those with an “interest” in funds in the lawyer’s control. An “interest” is a matured legal or equitable claim. The ethical rule do not require a claimant’s lawyer to search public records or other sources for medical liens or claims in order to acquire knowledge of an “interest.” ”

 

“Only matured legal or equitable claims of which the lawyer has actual knowledge are protected by ER 1.15(d). There is no requirement under ER 1.15 or any other provision of the ethics rules that a lawyer investigate the possibility of claims of which the lawyer has no actual knowledge, including medical liens. We express no opinion, however, on whether a lawyer may have such a duty under applicable substantive law.”

 

This opinion states that “A creditor’s right to payment may be created by statute.” Then the opinion states as an example the “statutory subrogation claims’ under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA), addressed by Ethics Opinion 97-02 [keep in mind that the U.S. Supreme Court, in EmpireHealthchoice Assurance, Inc. v. McVeigh,547 U.S. 677 (2006), held that there was no federal subject matter jurisdiction and no federal preemption of any state anti-subrogation law in the case of a FEHBA lien claim], and the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act.

 

Keep in mind that other examples of “A creditor’s right to payment (that) may be created by statute”, not mentioned in this ethics opinion, include but are not limited to A.R.S. § 33-931 healthcare provider & hospital liens; A.R.S. § 12-962 state or political subdivision liens; A.R.S. § 12-962 and /or A.R.S. § 36-2915 AHCCCS and federal Medicaid liens; A.R.S. § 20-259.01 Medical Payments liens; A.R.S. § 23-1023 Worker’s Compensation liens; and federal Medicare liens. My understanding is that the inquiring attorney specifically asked about his ER 1.15 responsibility to search for child support or tax liens, but this wasn’t even mentioned in this ethics opinion.



Return to Articles

© Copyright 2006, Steven J. Bruzonsky, Attorney
Terms of Use: This site contains general information for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advise, which can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of your specific case and relevant law. If you use this site, or send information or e-mail the attorney, such action does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advise please personally consult with an experienced attorney like Steven J. Bruzonsky.