February 15, 2020 Recent Legal News

Criminal

Fraud

Healthcare

HIPAA

Hospitals

Malpractice

Peer Review and Employment

Criminal

California v Robicheau
Pending

Dr. Grant Robicheau and his girl friend Cerissa Riley were originally charged with drugging and sexually assaulting women by Orange County DA Rackaucka.  He was defeated in the last election and the new DA Spitzer wants to drop the case for lack of evidence.  There were guns and drugs found in the home as well as the testimony of five witnesses.  The judge said not so fast and wants more information.  Spitzer accuses the last DA of wanting to make a name by going after the high profile case.        

US v Weber
Sentenced

Dr. Stanley Weber was sentenced to five lifetime sentences.  he ws convicted of sexually abusing young boys while working as a physician on Indian reservations in Montana and North Dakota.  The IHS knew about him and transferred him instead of pulling the plug and reporting him.    

US v Shaker
Sentenced

Dr. Milad Shaker of Greensberg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to over three years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $15,000 fine.  He was convicted of dispensing opioids for sex. 

England v Shah  
Sentenced

 Dr. Manish Shah of Romford, England, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for over 90 sexual assaults on female patients.    Top  

Fraud

US v Aprahamian
Indicted

Ara Aprahamian, the former sales exec of Taro Pharmaceuticals was indicted for price fixing.  He was alleged to fix generic drug prices.

US v Agbi
Sentenced

Dr. John Agbi of Wellington, South Carolina, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, loss of his medical license and payment of $140,000.  He signed orders for ortho braces that were not necessary as part of a huge $40 million scam.  

California v Walgreens
Settlement

The company will pay the state $7.5 million to settle allegations that they allowed a person who was not a pharmacist to fill over 750,000 prescriptions for 11 years.  They failed to check her license.  

US v Kim
Sentenced

Dr. David Kim, a chiropractor was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $690,519 in restitution.  Kim had fled to South Korea in 2015  and extradited back to the US.  he had submitted claims for physical therapy that were not provided.  

US v Pappas
Guilty

Drs. Spillos Pappas of Lucas County Ohio, Joseph Betro of Oakland County Michigan, Tariq Omar of Oakland County and Mohammed Zahoor of Oakland County were all found guilty by a jury of health care fraud.  They had a scheme where patients were required to undergo back injections in exchange for pain meds.  

US v Edwards
Indicted

Dr. Michael Edwards of Huntington Beach California, James Bell of Anaheim Hills, Sara Samhat of Huntington Beach and Regina Piehl of Pacific Palisades were indicted for allegedly billing for unnecessary compounded cream prescriptions costing TRICARE over $22 million.  They are alleged to pay patients $200 to show up at a clinic for "treatment".  

US v Wilson
Indicted

Reinaldo Wilson and his wife Jean Wilson of Richmond Hills, Georgia, were indicted for health care fraud for allegedly kickback to recruiters, pharmacies and brace suppliers and paying bribes to providers for ordering unneeded ortho braces. 

US v Southeastern Retina Associates
Settlement

 The Tennessee medical group with offices in that state as well as Virginia and Georgia will pay $1.5 million to settle allegations that they improperly used -25 modifiers for exams that were not allowed to be billed.  They will also get the dreaded corporate compliance agreement covering all 250 employees.  

US v Tenet 
Settlement

Tenet has agreed to pay $1.41 million to settle allegations that Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs knowingly charged Medicare for implanting unnecessary cardiac monitors.  

US v Waldo
Sentenced

RN Donna Waldo of St. Louis was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $48,668 for her role in billing for physician visits when the physician was out of the country.  She was working for Dr. Brij Vaid of Ladue, Missouri.   Top

Healthcare

Patients v Midlands Hospital
Filed

Three patients have filed a class action suit against the Lexington, south Carolina hospital for seizing former patient's tax refunds to pay overdue medical bills after the patient has filed for bankruptcy.  They contend this is against the federal bankruptcy rules.  

Lowe v CVS
Settlement

Two people filed suit against CVS and West Corporation over their use of robocalls to tell people flu shot were available.  they won a $15 million settlement.  Each member of the class will get about $40 but the attorneys will get $5 million.  The named plaintiff will get $15,000.

HIPAA

Patients v United Healthcare
To Be Filed

The company announced that some people in the South Carolina area may have had their data compromised in a Phishing scam.  

Patients v Fondren Orthopedic Group
To Be Filed

The Houston group notified over 30,000 patients that their medical records may have been damaged in a malware attack.  The found this in November and are only now notifying the people.  

Patients v Manchester Opthalmology
To Be Filed

The Connecticut medical group stated over 6000 thousand patients had their medical records tampered with and removed in November.  They too are only now notifying the patients.  

Patients v VillageCareMAX
To Be Filed

The Rehab center is notifying over 2000 patients of the breach of their medical records in a phishing scam.  

Patients v Wise Health System
To Be Filed

The Texas system is notifying almost 67,000 patients that their information may have been compromised by phishing hack.          Top

Hospitals

Parish Medical Center v Health First
Filed

The Florida hospital system is accusing its rival of using the letterhead of a physician affiliated with Parish to falsely accuse two Parish board members and a former politician of fraud.  They accuse the CEO of Health First and an advertising firm of creating the documents.  They say the reason was the day prior to the defamatory letter Parish had won a law suit against Health First over seven oncologists loss of privileges.  

Patients v HCA Healthcare
Dismissed

A proposed class action suit against the Tennessee system was dismissed by the judge.  The suit alleged that the facility fees charged by the hospital were illegal since they were not disclosed.  The judge said that tow of the plaintiffs were not charged the fee so had no standing and the third person claimed the charges were not disclosed were false since they were on the chargemaster.    

EEOC v Yale New Haven
Filed

The feds have accused the hospital of discrimination by their policy that requires all over 70 who apply for or seeks to renew staff privileges to take both neuropsychological and eye medical exams.  They are required to be tested only due to their age and violates the ADA and the Age Discrimination Act.  Look out other hospitals you are next.      Top

Malpractice

Conteron v Hoboken university Medical Center
Filed

The parents of a six year old who died from H1N1 virus filed suit for negligence.  She had a headache and went to the ED.  She tested negative for strep and flu and sent home but had a temp of 105 according to the suit.  Her symptoms did not improve and the other took her to another hospital where she had seizures and died.  The suit says the hospital did not check her vital signs more than once and if they had they may have kept and treated her.  

Mohiuddin v Northwestern Med. Central DuPage Hospital
ND Ill

The plaintiff's mother ws seen int he ED for respiratory failure admitted and treated.  She died the next day and the son sued for EMTALA violations.  The judge rightly state the act was not a substitute for med mal and dismissed the claim with prejudice.  Don't you love it when the attorney loses a case that should never have been filed.

Dalo v University of California San Diego
Filed

The attorneys for the plaintiff seem to have hit the mother lode.  The plaintiff alleges that while a patient at the hospital he underwent ortho surgery and anesthesia was given by an impaired physician.  Dr. Bradley Hay had been an anesthesiologist at the hospital for years and the hospital and staff allegedly knew but did not nothing about his narcotic addiction.  This culminated on him ODing after the surgery on Dalo.  Dalo says he had awaking during surgery but could not yell and this was due to diversion of drugs by Hay.  They have now found an additional patient who also claims problems due to Hay.  How many more will they seek and find?  As many as they can.    

Hutt v Seattle Children's Hospital
Filed

The baby has died from mold infection.  She is the seventh to do so at the hospital and there have been 12 infected to date.  They blame the administration and not the physicians.  

Patton v Forest Labs
9th Circ

The usually liberal court tossed the case against Allergan for not adequately warning that Lexapro adequately warned regarding suicide.  The court said the plaintiffs did not adequately plead their case.

Women v Allergan
Filed

Six women have filed suit against the company for failing to warn the public regarding the health risks from their breast implants.  The six developed anaplastic large cell lymphoma after receiving Biocell textured breast implant.  The FDA has said that more than 80% of this cancer are attributed to the implants.    Top

Peer Review and Employment

Denman v St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and Medical Group
Award

OB Dr. Rebecca Denman won a $4.75 million suit against the hospital and group.  She was accused wrongly of smelling like alcohol by a NP.  A week later she was relieved of her duties and told she had to be evaluated by the Indiana State Medical Association.  After stating she was an impaired physician and having treatment she entered a substance abuse contract with the hospital and returned to work.  She then sued for defamation, tortious interference etc.  She won on all counts except civil conspiracy.  They hospital will appeal.  She never received any peer review nor any way to defend herself.  

Williams v Doctors Medical Center
Filed

Dr. Robert Williams is being threatened with loss of hospital privileges after he complained about the treatment of patients by hospitalists owned by the hospital are having patient forego treatments and being placed on hospice.  The oncologist is not alone in his criticism of the hospital as patients and other physicians have agreed with him.  In an interesting twist the medical staff chief Mark Fahlen won a large settlement against the same hospital for then wanting to revoke his privileges.  

Costello v Valleywise Health
Filed

The suit alleges that in spite of having a legal marijuana card under state law RN Timothy Costello was told he would be fired if he tested positive for marijuana.  He is suing for no money but for declaring that the company's policy is illegal and unconstitutional.  Should be a fascinating result when it hits the state Supreme Court.     Top

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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.