October 27, 2008 Recent Legal News


Medical Board


Medical Malpractice



States v Eli Lily

Thirty three states have settled with Eli Lilly over the drug company's improperly marketing of Zyprexia for non FDA approved OTC use.  The settlement was for $62 million. 

Patients v Pfizer

Pfizer has agreed to settle all claims against it for Bextra and Celebrex. The company will put out $894 million for the fraud and med mal claims against it for the two antisteroidal drugs. The breakdown is $745 million for personal injury claims, $60 million for attorneys general claims and $89 million for consumer fraud claims.       Top

Medical Board

Nelson v Montana
Montana Supreme Court

Nelson died while being treated by Dr. Thomas Stephenson.  Dr. Stephenson was granted a license to practice after his license had been revoked for doing cosmetic surgery in California.  Nelson sued Montana for giving Stephenson a license.  The Supreme Court ruled the Board was not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity for issuing the license, but did not owe any duty of care to any specific patient.  There were several dissenters in the opinion.        Top


Firelands Med Ctr v Jeavons
Ohio Ct App

 The hospital sued the patient for $2,878 in unpaid bills.  The patient found an attorney that was dumb enough, unless paid by the hour, to attempt to sue the hospital with a class action suit for overcharging the uninsured.  The Court of appeals found that the plaintiff received but paid nothing for the services.  The court went on to toss the other case as speculative. 

NCRIC v Columbia Hosp for Women
DC Supreme Court

The District high court ruled that the med mal insurer interfered with the hospital's business causing it to go bankrupt.  The trial court had ruled for the hospital in the sum of $18 million.  This was upheld.  The insurer would not continue the contract to insure the hospital's physicians and the physicians left.  

Millcreek Hosp. v Fairview Radiology
MD Penn

The contract between the two entities was terminated and the hospital sued for damages.  The Group stated the hospital did not state a claim.  The court stated the contracts were ambiguous so the dismissal was not indicated.  To trial or settlement. 

Weaver v San Juan Regional Med Ctr.
To Be Filed

Weaver, a nurse at the hospital states he was shoved by a Framington, New Mexico policeman.  The hospital suspended Weaver over the incident and later placed Weaver on paid leave.  Weaver went to the paper and reported the police incident and then was fired by the hospital.  I foresee a law suit by Weaver against the hospital and the hospital paying money to avoid a open suit. 

Hot Spring Med Ctr. v Arkansas Radiology
    Ark Ct App

The Radiology group sued the hospital for breach of contract and the hospital asked the court for a stay pending arbitration as per the agreement.  The trial court ruled for the radiology group and denied the arbitration.  The court of appeals overturned the trial court and stated the contract stated there would be arbitration if any claim arose out of the contract.        Top

Medical Malpractice

Sampson v Contillo
NY App Div

Sampson sued the physician and the hospital for malpractice due to a radiologist reading.  The radiology group was an independent contractor.  The trial court issued a summary judgment for the hospital but the appellate court overturned the decision.   The reason is that it is an issue of fact as to whether the hospital may be vicariously liable.  The radiologist work only for the hospital and only see hospital patients and the hospital owned the radiology group's equipment.   

Jelinek v Gunderson Clinic
Trial Court

The Jelineks sued the clinic for med mal by a midwife and a nurse employed by the clinic causing brain damage to their son.  They won $11.4 million.  The clinic claims they did nothing wrong.  The jury disagreed.  

Romar v Fresno Comm. Hospital
ED Cal

Romar sued the hospital for EMTALA violations of disparate screening violations.  These did not involve professional negligence so the California non economic cap of $250,000 did not apply.  I was unaware that the public had a private right to sue for EMTALA violations.

Smithson v Tenet Health

 In a jury case the hospital won a med mal claim and also was sued under EMTALA.  He injured his eye on a weedeater and was seen in the ED.  He was seen by the Ophthalmology consult and told he needed urgent surgery.  He was transferred to another hospital and operated on later the same night.  He lost his eye due to infection. The court stated no to the appeal for a new trial since the jury verdict may have been reasonable. 

Schlegal v Kaiser
ED Cal

Schlegal is suing Kaiser for its transplant program and wants as part of discovery Kaiser's peer review information on the subject.  The court allowed the request since ERISA is over state law.        Top


US v Gabriyelyan

Meikon Gabriyelyan, owner of TA Medical Supply in Tujunga, California, has pled guilty of bilking Medicare our of $1.6 million of unnecessary DME.  He used pilfered Medicare numbers, which is not hard to do since Medicare refuses not to use Social Security numbers.  He faces up to 12 years in prison.

US v West Jefferson Med Ctr

The West Jefferson Medical Center of Marrero, Louisiana, has agreed to pay the government $3.3 million for collecting money illegally.  There was no admission of guilt but most people pay that if they are not guilty. 

US v Physicians

Six Las Vegas physicians have agreed to pay about $600,000 to the feds for a Medicare fraud scheme.  They were accused of referring patients to a nurse practitioner in exchange for half of what the nurse received.  The physicians were five primary care physicians and one pain med physician.  The fines ranged from $54,000 to $212,000.

US v St. Joseph, N.J.

New Jersey's St. Joseph's Healthcare System has agreed to pay the feds $1.75 million for inflating its costs to get higher reimbursements from Medicare.  This is another whistleblower case by a consultant who did the same with New Jersey's Cooper University Hospital who settled last month.         Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.