Great Neck, NY (PressExposure) May 17, 2006 -- Defense medical malpractice lawyers recently googled their opponent prior to trial. What they saw shocked them. A google search of Great Neck trial attorney Gerry Oginski revealed information on his web site that sent tremors through the defense firms. "Judge, we want you to shut down Mr. Oginski's web site," urged Dan Federico, counsel to one of the physicians in the case. "We believe that the material on his site would be prejudicial if a potential juror read it," Federico argued.
A review of the Oginski web site, http://www.oginski-law.com reveals a consumer-friendly, fact-filled web site with information about medical malpractice lawsuits. Many of the articles on his site assist consumers with questions like 'How Do I Choose An Attorney', and 'Why Most Medical Malpractice Victims Don't Receive a Dime."
The defense attorneys argued that "Since we live in a Google world, it would be relatively simple for a potential juror to do a google search on the attorneys and find Mr. Oginski's site," argued Mr. Federico. Mr. Oginski countered by stating, "The trial judge will always give an instruction to the jury that they are not to do any extracurricular research or talk to anyone about the case. The fact that a juror is just as likely to see 'tort-reform' web sites, or walk into any library and research the medicine doesn't seem to concern defense counsel," remarked Mr. Oginski. "The fact that there is easy access to computers does not make it any more likely that a potential juror will read, much less be prejudiced by truthful information on my site," said Mr. Oginski.
Impressively, there is no law on this issue in New York- yet. Attorney Oginski argued that if the Court were to shut down his web site for the duration of his trial, the Judge would be obligated to shut down defense counsel's web site as well, in addition to every lawyer's web site who ever tried a case in New York State. First amendment proponents should have something to say if the Court decides to shut down lawyers' web sites. If a Court were to decide which web sites to shut down on a case by case basis we would have New York judges determining, in an arbitrary fashion, what constitutes acceptable speech on a web site.
Plaintiff's counsel, Gerry Oginski, noted that "Defense counsel has not suggested that there has been any breach of ethical rules in the content contained within my site. Instead they claim that the material on my site, http://www.oginski-law.com, would prejudice potential jurors." He also noted "How is that different than a potential juror going to the library and reading a medical textbook to learn about the medicine in the case? The defense assumes that a potential juror will disregard the Courts' instructions; will go online and do research; will find websites that are 'toxic' to the defense, and become prejudiced because of it." At the present time, the Court has not yet rendered a decision.
A google search of the terms 'medical malpractice lawyer' reveals thousands of web sites. Many of those sites are little more than glorified business cards. However, there are a few sites, such as the Oginski web site that gives readers information about how lawsuits work and answers questions that people want to know when faced with the daunting task of hiring a lawyer to help them solve their problems.