Extension of Time to Respond to Request For Information Regarding Engagement of a General Counsel to Represent the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association
The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA) is extending the time to respond to its request seeking information regarding the engagement of a General Counsel to represent NICA and the Board of Directors for all general, legislative and administrative matters. NICA is a statutory organization created under Section 766, Florida Statutes, that manages the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan (“Plan”) used to pay for the care of infants born with certain neurological injuries. NICA is governed by a five (5) member Board of Directors appointed by a constitutional officer, the Chief Financial Officer, of the State of Florida and subject to regulation by the Office of Insurance Regulation.
1. Scope of Services
The scope of services required of General Counsel is broad. The General Counsel provides counsel, advice and legal representation of NICA and the NICA Board of Directors for all general, legislative and administrative matters, assigns and supervises outside counsel to handle individual claim matters, and advises the Board of Directors in all matters pertaining to the administration of NICA and related litigation. These services will include but not be limited to:
Provide general legal advice to NICA Staff and the Board as requested.
Represent NICA and the Board of Directors in all general legal matters.
Review contracts, policies and procedures, proposals and other documents as requested by Staff or the Board.
Attend all Board meetings
Handle requests for public information.
Represent NICA in general and administrative actions other than individual claims.
Assign or handle pro-se petitions that have no disputed issues.
Assign and supervise outside counsel to handle individual claim issues.
Assign and supervise outside counsel to handle all appellate matters and coordinate to assure consistent decisions and case law throughout the districts and the State.
Review billing statements received from outside counsel for content and reasonableness.
Advise NICA on legislative issues and represent NICA before the Legislature as needed. Registration as a lobbyist will be required.
All other general, administrative, legislative and other legal matters as requested by NICA staff.
A broad range of legal experience is required, including:
General administrative experience,
Experience with a state agency, board or commission or other governmental entity,
Experience with contracts, personnel, policies and procedures and other general administrative issues,
Experience in administrative actions, including appeals to the district courts of appeal,
Legislative experience, including bill drafting,
The counsel identified in the Response to Request for Information will be primarily responsible as lead counsel for NICA in all matters. It is expected that other staff or counsel may be needed at times to assist. In addition, it is expected that the services of other attorneys and paralegals may be utilized on specific matters as requested and/or approved by NICA. Everyone who assists the General Counsel will work under the supervision of General Counsel who is ultimately responsible for handling of all matters. Duplication of review of materials and multiple appearances by attorneys or other personnel is to be avoided, except as specifically approved by NICA in writing.
4. Conflicts of Interest
As part of the Response, confirmation will be required that neither the General Counsel nor any of the lawyers or other individuals involved in the representation of NICA or handling any of NICA’s matters would handle any matter that is potentially adverse to NICA. If there is any potential adverse action handled by the Firm or other associates of the General Counsel, General Counsel would be required to describe, in writing, what the potential conflict is, and how the individuals involved in any such matter would be limited to assure that they have no access to any information from the files or other materials in the possession of the General Counsel. Any potential conflict will be required to be disclosed in writing to NICA and may be cause for termination of any agreement that may result from this RFI.
5. Fees and Billing
NICA will compensate for general and administrative services based on a monthly retainer which should be proposed. Litigation outside the scope of services which is handled by General Counsel at the written direction of Staff or the Board may be based on the time devoted to the matter at a proposed hourly rate. Currently, the hourly rate generally approved for all claim and other outside counsel, including appellate work is $150/hour. Currently approved para-professional rates range from $50 to $120/hour.
NICA will pay for support services, such as photocopy, long distance telephone and facsimile, messenger and delivery service, online research, travel, word processing and search and filing fees. Long distance telephone will be billed based on charges from the phone company, except for calls lasting under one minute, for which there will be no charge. Word processing or secretarial services may only be charged if done on an overtime basis and with NICA’s written consent. Certain support services that involve equipment or staffing or that require payments to third parties may include additional charges that reflect internal costs if prior written approval is given by NICA. It is expected that the General Counsel will provide the most cost effective and efficient support systems available.
Statements will normally be expected to be received by NICA each month and will reflect the services and expenses incurred the previous month. Retainer may be billed separately. Respondent may expect payment will be made within 30 days receipt of correct billing.
6. Transition Plan
A detailed description and plan for an orderly transfer and coordination of activities of the General Counsel should be provided as a part of any response.
7. Disposition of Files and Records
NICA maintains individual health information subject to HIPPA and other confidentiality laws. Any otherwise nonpublic information NICA has supplied which is retained by General Counsel must be kept confidential in accordance with applicable rules of professional conduct. Files must be returned to NICA as requested in writing.
Interested parties should submit a proposal that includes the following elements:
1. General background information on the Respondent attorney and firm, including a list of current clients.
2. Identification of personnel that would be involved and the qualifications and/or curriculum vitae of each person.
3. Confirmation that the attorney and all members of the firm are not de-barred from doing business with the State of Florida or the federal government.
4. Identification of any current clients which may present a conflict of interest with conducting work on behalf NICA.
5. A brief outline of how the firm would conduct its scope of services.
6. Outline of expected costs and proposal for retainer and hourly fee for services that may fall outside of the scope of services.
7. Any other information deemed relevant or important for NICA to consider.
Additional information may be requested by NICA for any or all of the responding entities.
NICA reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. Selection of any firm is solely at the discretion of NICA. NICA is not subject to the bid requirements of the State of Florida.
Time is extended for receipt of proposals. Proposals will be reviewed as received and interested parties should submit such no later than July 31, 2009. Any proposal previously submitted will be included for consideration and does not have to be re-submitted.
All Responses should be sent to:
Kenney Shipley, Executive Director
Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury
Compensation Association (NICA)
2360 Christopher Place
Tallahassee, FL 32308