OFFICE OF LEGAL AFFAIRS

Legal Affairs Staff & Services

The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) represents the institution and offers guidance on a wide range of issues including operations, transactions and litigation management. The legal staff researches the law and provides advice for administrative offices and academic entities based on applicable federal and state laws and regulations, UT System Board of Regents Rules, and the UTHSCSA Handbook of Operating Procedures. The OLA also assists in analyzing and advising on the legal implications of policy decisions including:

  • Regulatory and Governance Matters
  • Employee Matters
  • Student Matters
  • Civil Rights Matters
  • Participation on Advisory Councils
  • Legal Review of UTHSCSA Policies
  • Legal Review Related to Health Care

 

Below is a list of the members of the OLA staff and their primary areas of responsibility.

Jack C. Park, JD, Assistant Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the OLA.

Gary J. Sertich, PhD, JD, Attorney-Senior, focuses on copyright law and other intellectual property legal issues, employment matters, and legal support in the areas of litigation management, contract review, and negotiation. He also serves as an institutional advisor on the conflicts of interest committee and handles issues related to federal law, state law and Regental policies.

Hailey M. Mullican, JD, Attorney-Intermediate, primarily assists and advises the UTHSCSA School of Medicine and its clinical practice, UT Medicine San Antonio, on healthcare transactions and federal and state regulatory matters. She also provides legal advice and counsel with respect to undergraduate and graduate medical education, development of clinical policies and procedures, and litigation management.

Carol L. Kopplin, Manager-Legal Support, conducts investigations and prepares response(s) to EEOC charges. Coordinates pre-trial litigation matters, maintains filing and discovery deadlines and schedules witness depositions. Interacts with the UT System Office of General Counsel, the Attorney General's office, and witnesses to gather documents and evidence to prepare draft responses to discovery requests. Reviews drafts of contracts involving transplant, leases, licenses, purchases, sales, insurance, employment, and related matters. Interprets policies and procedures, gathers and analyzes research on statutes, cases, codes, and other legal issues.

Josie Pecina, Office Manager, is responsible for distributing incoming/outgoing interoffice mail, answering incoming calls, scheduling meetings for Chief Legal Officer and attorneys, maintains incoming/outgoing log(s) for student affiliations and contract agreements for tracking purposes, processes and routes all contracts to appropriate individual for review and approval, maintains various reports from Data Warehouse, reconciles OLA departmental accounts, prepares and submits quarterly reconciliation report to the Senior EVP/COO for review, serves as the OLA Technical Support Representative and Access Control Executive, distributes HIPAA Incident Reports from the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance to the Chief Legal Officer for concurrence, maintains files in accordance with record retention policy, maintains time collection and leave accounting, prepares vouchers for payment of services to various law firms, prepares travel requisitions and reimbursement vouchers, prepares PeopleSoft Financial requisitions for office supplies and equipment purchases. Completes various annual reports, i.e., annual inventory, property removal permit, electronic information security risk self-assessment survey, prepares key card/access requests, processes monthly telephone statement, maintains a software log and prepares eShip Global for mailing.

Alain Arrieta, Legal Administrative Coordinator, is responsible for processing UTHSCSA open records requests pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act and maintaining the TPIA database. This includes receiving, reviewing, tracking, and coordinating responses to requests for documents, records and ensuring UTHSCSA compliance with state guidelines. Directs internal departments to produce requested information and records; consults and advises departments on document production. In consultation with UTHSCSA attorneys and the Manager, Legal Support, evaluates requests and determines information protected from disclosure. Reviews and organizes documents and records for delivery to requester. Provides administrative support to UTHSCSA attorneys and Manager, Legal Support. Prioritizes, organizes and coordinates meetings and events. Maintains the OLA records retention policy. Assists with special projects as assigned.

Providing each staff member’s primary area of responsibility will help you determine whom to call if you do not already have an established contact within the office. You may also call the office main phone number at 210-567-2020 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

The OLA also provides assistance in the following areas:

Subpoenas DIRECTED to the UTHSCSA or its Employees
All legal processes, citations, demands, and subpoenas must be handled quickly and properly. Failure to do so may adversely affect or greatly complicate pending litigation.

If a legal document does not indicate on whom and on what date the document was served, such information should be clearly written on the face of the document. For example: "Served on me personally, John Doe, 04/01/13". The UTHSCSA faculty and staff should not contact the Office of General Counsel ("OGC") for purposes described above or for any other purpose.

A Subpoena directed to the UTHSCSA or its employees usually relates to federal or state court proceedings in either criminal or civil matters. They typically fall into one of two categories:

  1. Commanding the employee to appear and/or produce documents/evidence before a tribunal; or,
  2. Commanding the employee to personally appear before a tribunal and offer testimony into evidence. Upon receipt, the OLA initially examines subpoenas for validity assuring they are properly served, timely, specific, and issued under proper authority, and continues to offer support and guidance until the process is complete.

Communicating With Us: Communications with office lawyers are protected by the privilege for attorney-client communications, and therefore are confidential, if they are made for the purpose of seeking legal advice on behalf of the UTHSCSA. Such communications can be revealed only to other UTHSCSA officials, on a need-to-know basis. Although email communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege to the same extent as communications made by other means, email is not completely secure. We therefore encourage you to exercise appropriate discretion in using email to communicate with us about sensitive matters.

Subpoena to Appear and/or Produce Documents/Evidence
A Subpoena may command an employee to personally appear before a tribunal and/or produce documents, or other evidence, to the tribunal under strict temporal and procedural guidelines. This type of subpoena is often officially termed "Subpoena Duces Tecum." An employee should immediately contact the OLA upon service of such subpoena for assistance and further management if the UTHSCSA records are requested (other than medical records) or the lawsuit involves the UTHSCSA.

Subpoena for Personal Appearance to Offer Testimony
A Subpoena may command an employee to personally appear before a tribunal and offer sworn testimony in a civil or criminal matter. Specific time frames and methods for service attach to such subpoenas, varying with the nature of the proceeding (criminal or civil), requiring anyone properly served to appear. Therefore, to ensure proper management and response, an employee should immediately contact the OLA upon service if the lawsuit or legal matter involves the UTHSCSA.

Physicians frequently receive subpoenas to appear in civil and criminal proceedings that do not directly involve the Health Science Center. These subpoenas indicate a time for the appearance but that time is frequently the time the trial is scheduled to begin, not the time it is reasonably anticipated the physician will testify. Physicians should review the subpoena to see if there is contact information so that they may be placed on standby.

Subpoena for Protected Health Information
Many of the subpoenas received relate to medical records and patient information, generally referred to as Protected Health Information (PHI). Any subpoena for PHI should be immediately faxed to the UTHSCSA’s Health Information Management, Release of Information office at 210-450-9760. If you have any questions please call their main number at 210-450-9760. Very specific guidelines and processes apply to subpoenas for such information and should not be processed by anyone outside of the Health Information Office (see the UTHSCSA Handbook of Operating Procedures Policy 11.2.10 Use and Disclosure for Judicial or Administrative Proceedings at: http://www.uthscsa.edu/hop2000/11.2.10.pdf).

Subpoena for Dental School
A subpoena served at the Dental School requesting patient records should be forwarded to the Dental School's Senior Director of Operations for processing.

Subpoena for School of Nursing
A subpoena served at the Nursing School requesting patient records should be forwarded to the Nursing School's Business Administrator for processing.

Subpoena Not Directed to UTHSCSA
A Subpoena served on an individual employee for personal legal matters not involving the UTHSCSA should not be sent to the OLA. The OLA does not provide legal advice on any employee personal legal matters.

Litigation
If you are served with a lawsuit that involves the UTHSCSA, please contact the OLA at 210-567-2020.

Legal Referrals

The OLA cannot provide legal advice, referrals, or representation to individual members of the UTHSCSA community regarding personal matters such as insurance, personal injury, divorce, wills and landlord-tenant issues. In addition, the OLA does not provide advice in matters unrelated to UTHSCSA business, nor to individuals/entities whose interests are adverse or pose an actual, or potential, conflict with the interests of the UTHSCSA, The University of Texas System, or the State of Texas.

If you need personal legal advice or representation, you may be able to obtain information and/or assistance from the resource listed below:

State Bar of Texas
Main phone: (512) 427-1463
Toll free: (800) 204-2222
Main fax: (512) 427-4100
Website

If you are involved in a claim or lawsuit, upon separation from the UTHSCSA or the Completion of Residency or Fellowship, please contact the OLA at 210-567-2020 and leave a mailing address and telephone number where you can be contacted.

 

Contact: WebTeam@uthscsa.edu
Updated: 11/29/2016
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio