It is with great sadness that MLMIC Insurance Company reports the passing of its founder, friend and colleague, Donald J. Fager, Esq. (Nov. 9, 1930 – March 6, 2023).
An attorney with 48 years of experience in the healthcare professional liability field, Mr. Fager was a noted authority on the subject. He was called upon to provide testimony on medical liability before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as state legislative committees in states as diverse as New York, Ohio and Iowa. He was also a member of the Liability and Quality Committee of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Health Care Advisory Board. Mr. Fager was frequently invited to speak on the subject of medical liability by various state and county medical societies, national and state specialty societies, medical schools, hospitals, law schools, Joint Medical Society and Bar Association meetings, American Medical Association programs and American Bar Association programs.
For 17 years, beginning in 1956, Mr. Fager was a trial attorney for Martin Clearwater & Bell, specializing in the defense of physicians, dentists and hospitals in medical malpractice cases in New York State. He managed the firm’s Syracuse office from 1964 until 1973. In 1973, he became the indemnity representative of the Medical Society of the State of New York, and in 1975, he assisted the Medical Society in the formation of MLMIC Insurance Company. Today, MLMIC is one of the largest writers of medical liability insurance in the country and a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.
Mr. Fager was also a founding board member of the Medical Professional Liability Association (MPL) and a member of the board of trustees from inception until 1991 (the last two years as emeritus). Within MPL, he also served as the Chairman of the Membership and By-Laws Committee; Chairman of the Neurologic Deficit Study Committee; Chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee; and president (1986 and 1987).
A founding member of the National Patient Safety Foundation, Mr. Fager was a member of its board of directors since 1997. He served as a member of the foundation’s executive committee from 2000 through 2003 and the chair of the By-Laws Committee. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City, the board of directors of the Physicians’ Home, the board of trustees of the New York State Dental Foundation and the board of directors of the New York State Dental Association Support Services, Inc.
Mr. Fager served as a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the International Association of Defense Counsel (and a member of its Medical Defense Committee), and the Defense Research Institute, and an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.
He was the recipient of several awards, including MPL’s prestigious Peter Sweetland Award of Excellence; the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in Healthcare Professional Liability; and the Onondaga County Medical Society’s Award for Service to Physicians of New York State.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Donald Fager received his Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. In 1956, Mr. Fager was admitted to practice law in New York State and was admitted in U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern and Western Districts of New York. He is survived by his wife, Geraldine, their three grown children – two daughters and a son – and their three grandchildren.