WHY CAN'T I CHOOSE MY ATTORNEY?
ABIM has hired one of the largest law firms in the US. They have been using Ballard Spahr as their legal representation for years. The firm has over 500 lawyers, paralegals and countless resources at their disposal, at a significant cost to us, the physician, who pay for Board exams, MOC and other services by ABIM. As you have read on my site, this is a David vs Goliath battle in which ABIM is using its control, power and financial resources to drain me to the point of bankruptcy. I am fortunate that I have two loving parents who have returned to the legal practice to help me through the case and other lawyers that have seen my case and have offered their services at a significant discount in order to help me fight this abuse and injustice. I was born and raised in the island of Puerto Rico, and having my lead counsel from the island would significantly cut my legal expenses and offer me a fighting chance for justice. This would help balance the case but the ABIM sued me in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey and the expense to fight at a distance is considerable. So the Law provides we had to apply for pro hac vice for my local counsel from Puerto Rico to serve as my representation in New Jersey under the oversight of a local New Jersey counsel. Lawyers who are in good standing with the court and fill the appropriate paperwork and pay the necessary fees are able to serve pro hac vice on a case in federal court. And of course, all my lawyers from Puerto Rico, including my father, who has been in the legal profession for more than 42 years should have been able to fully represent me in my case in accordance to local rules. But ABIM, through their multi-state law firm (Ballard Spahr) objected to the addition of my counsel from Puerto Rico to represent me, stating that “the involvement of not admitted out-of-state attorney has become a source of delay and non-cooperation on defendant’s part”.
So ABIM can have all the legal resources it wants but they restrict my right to have legal counsel and created a hostile environment that strangles my limited resources and continues to exercise pressure like a boa constrictor. I have had to spend significant of my limited resources to fight this injustice and have a legal team that is able to fully defend my case. After spending significant time and money to defend this ABIM opposition to having the counsel of my choosing, suddenly they decide to allow my legal team to represent me but with unheard of restriction, thus creating more problems and delays in my ability to have solid legal representation. ABIM has set the stage for me to hire more local New jersey counsel, at a significant expense, while they have Ballard Spahr which describes their firm on their website “With more than 500 attorneys in 14 offices, we can respond wherever and whenever our client needs us”. If they have one of the biggest law firms in the us, why can’t I have the right to have my lawyers admitted to fully defend my case and stop this abuse of power and money. They claim in their motions of opposition that by me bringing more lawyers, this is causing delay and non-cooperation, yet ABIM legal team has cancelled meetings and conferences since they are unwilling to accept the presence of my legal team from Puerto Rico. I have included links to the pdfs of the arguments [PDF 1, PDF 2, PDF 3]. Keep in mind that while I am forced to fight this ridiculous opposition by the ABIM legal team, my case continues to get delayed and extended at the same time this continues to drain my monetary resources. At what point is the law overpowered by the sheer power of financial power by a big corporation. It is clear that ABIM’s strategy is to continue with unjustified arguments and oppositions to cause my expenses that will provoke me giving up, but this will not happen. I am fighting a battle of dignity of honorability against an institution whose role is supposed to be to defend and support physicians.