Profile: David Hoey, ’94, Law Office of David J. Hoey, P.C.

MSL alumnus David Hoey has made it his passion and his life’s work to help victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. The slogan of his law firm, Hoey Law, says it all—“Protecting the dignity of our elders” is what Hoey strives to do. “We do this through litigation so that the community (the jury) can help improve the quality of care and quality of life in our nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” Hoey explains.

Hoey has many titles: he is a successful and skilled litigator with numerous impressive awards; he is the co-author of “Litigating Nursing Home Abuse Cases” (AAJ Press/ThomsonWest) and “Most Common Mistakes Attorneys Make in Prosecuting Nursing Home Cases” (ATLA); he has served as panelist, moderator, and presenter at many conventions and seminars; and he served as a member of the Board of Directors of National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform based out of Washington, DC, which is the nation’s largest advocate for nursing home residents. Recently, Hoey was appointed Dean of the Keenan Ball Trial College, a national trial college.

After a verdict of $2.4 million for an elder abuse case in December 2013, Hoey has added to his collecting of verdicts with a most impressive accomplishment to his list of many: he secured the largest nursing home litigation verdict in Massachusetts. [1] Hoey represented the son and estate of a 90-year-old victim against a handful of corporate defendants in a case of startling neglect by a nursing home. According to an article in the Boston Globe, “[b]y the time Genevieve Calandro was rushed to the hospital after falling out of her wheelchair at a Danvers nursing home, doctors found a festering pressure sore on her back, acute appendicitis, a urinary tract infection so severe it had invaded her blood stream, kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, and severe dehydration.” [2] The same Globe article noted that the plaintiff was awarded $14 million in damages, of which $12.5 million was punitive damages; the Globe cites Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in noting that this was the largest nursing home-related verdict in Massachusetts in at least the last decade.

After graduating from MSL, Hoey had worked for two years at Boston’s Lubin & Meyer, handling medical malpractice matters. On November 1, 1997, he opened the Law Office of David J. Hoey, PC, concentrating in representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Hoey describes his practice as “85% plaintiff’s nursing home neglect, 5% medical malpractice, 5% wrongful death, and 5% premises liability.” He is, however, most proud of his work in nursing home litigation. “We improve the quality of care and quality of life in our nursing homes through litigation of these cases,” he explained. “I had five goals and met four of them: 1.) argue a case before the Supreme Judicial Court—done; 2.) change the law—done; 3.) seven-figure verdict—done; 4.) punitive damages verdict—done; 5.) try a case in every county Superior Court—not done yet!”

Of course, meeting all those goals has been accomplished by some very hard work. Hoey describes his schedule: “In the office by 8 AM; home at 7 PM. I work Saturdays and most Sunday mornings. However, I have an office at home too, so I continue to read and write from home. I also teach my craft across the country, so I travel a lot. When I am on trial, [my schedule] is 24/7.” Some of the biggest challenges in Hoey’s practice include practice management; he notes the importance of knowing how to delegate and holding staff meetings as much as possible.

To students who are interested in being trial attorneys, Hoey notes that preparation is key. “Be over-prepared,” he advised. “Know the law. Practice, practice, practice!” Hoey adds that if a student wishes to be a trial attorney, then watching many trials, joining the American Association for Justice and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, and attending those organizations’ educational and social events can all be helpful. Hoey has a number of MSL alumni working at his firm.

Hoey says that his favorite part of the MSL experience was the lifelong friends he made. “MSL was the underdog, the new law school at the time, so my class wanted to prove to the others that we are just as good or better,” he recounted. “MSL gave me a chance when no other law school would. I am forever grateful!”

[1] Calandro v. Radius Management Services II, Inc. et al., with docket number MICV2011-02874