Portrait of Arthur England ()
Legendary Miami appellate attorney and former Florida Supreme Court Justice Arthur England, who died Sept. 1, 2013, was affirmed posthumously on his final appeal.
Ironically, the victory was against Greenberg Traurig, the firm where he worked for 20 years and headed the appellate department.
England was part of a legal team including lawyers from Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton; Fuerst, Ittleman, David & Joseph and Kula & Samson. Their position was affirmed Wednesday by the Third District Court of Appeal. England signed the brief filed just two weeks before his death.
“Although Arthur has been gone for awhile, I think he probably would have had great satisfaction in having one last win over his former firm and his former colleagues,” said Thomas Julin, a partner at Hunton & Williams and former colleague of England’s at Steel Hector & Davis. “It’s not exactly like LeBron beating Cleveland after leaving for Miami or beating Miami after returning to Cleveland, but you get the picture.”
The case, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions v. Pain Clinic of Northwest Florida, et al, involves a class action filed in 2012 on behalf of 1,000 or more small medical practices around the country.
In keeping with the Affordable Care Act’s encouragement to convert to electronic records, Delaware-based Allscripts and its subsidiaries sold software called MyWay to physician groups of one to five doctors. Buyers would get extensive subsidies from the federal government.
But the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in 2012 alleged the software failed miserably. The company announced it would stop selling the program and convert all the physician groups to a software package being used by large physician groups. Dissatisfied with the product, the existing users did not want to switch, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs attorneys also alleged a scheme by Allscripts to convert the small physician groups to the large practice software under what it called Project Vulcan.
Represented by a team of lawyers from Greenberg Traurig led by law firm co-president Hilarie Bass, Allscripts argued the dispute fell under an arbitration clause. The plaintiffs countered the arbitration clause was not with the parent company but with a subsidiary and didn’t touch on the issue of whether the company marketed a defective product.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Thornton in favor of the plaintiffs, and Greenberg Traurig, led by shareholder Elliot Scherker, appealed to the Third District.
The court affirmed the plaintiffs. Judge Thomas Logue wrote, “The rub in this case is that Allscripts is not a signatory to the arbitration at issue.” Judges Leslie Rothenberg and Ed Scales concurred.
“We do not, however, reach the issue of the viability of any cause of action brought by the doctors against Allscripts with respect to their alleged injuries stemming from the purchase of the software licenses, outside of their rights under the master agreements with the subsidiary,” Logue added.
On Friday, Adam Moscowitz of Kozyak Tropin filed a fourth amended complaint against Allscripts.
“We look forward to our class certification hearing so we can help all class members around the country,” Moscowitz said.
Greenberg Traurig representatives did not return calls for comment by deadline.