May 1, 2013 Recent Legal News

Peer Review and Employment





Peer Review and Employment

Henderson v Montefiore Hospital

The plaintiff is a black physician with MS who sued after being terminated.  She sued for retaliation and discrimination.  Dr. Henderson was the Chief of Maternal fetal Medicine at a hospital that was purchased by Montefiore.  Her position was eliminated and then over the next two years she had 11 "quality" problems.  The hospital finally intervened between Dr. Henderson and the Medical Director.  During the meeting the Medical director had notes about Henderson's slow moving caused by MS.  An outside consultant recommended supervision of Dr. Henderson but the hospital terminated her.  In the summary judgment motion of discrimination the court said there was legitimate reasons to terminate but there could also be discriminatory reasons so the case should go to trial.  The court also found possibly nexus between Henderson's complaints about discrimination and her termination four months later.  The court ruled against Henderson on her demotion claims stating that the hospital made a good case for getting rid of the position that Dr. Henderson had held at the other hospital.

Varughese v Mt. Sinai Hosp.

A pathology resident sued the hospital for defamation and discrimination.  She won the summary judgment ruling that her claim did not have to go before the public health council since all the complaints against her were for lack of professionalism and not quality of care.

Budik v Dartmouth-Hitchcock Med Center

In a case that does not reflect well on the attorney for the physician the District of Columbia District Court rejected the case as lack of jurisdiction over a New Hampshire case.  It did state that the plaintiff neuroradiologist whose application was denied due to a poor recommendation fro a prior employer was not valid against the person who made the recommendation since he was active military.  

Adams v Jefferson Memorial Hosp

Adams sued the hospital after he was terminated and lost.  The hospital was vindictive and sued for attorney fees.  The hospital lost since the original case did not constitute misconduct.  The physician relied on relevant case law and stated a factual claim.  This is not a hospital system one should be seeking employment with since they seem not to  care about physicians.

Love v Permanente Medical Group

A social worker was terminated after requesting the organization obtain a restraining order against a patient who threatened to murder her. She sued for retaliation under the whistle blower protection law, interference with her right to practice and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The court dismissed the first two claims for not stating legitimate claims but allowed the last claim since it was possibly outrageous that no restraining order was asked for.  That is an issue of fact for a jury.  

Cornu-Labat v Hospital Dist. 2 Grant Cnty
Washington Supreme Court

The physician sued to get peer review records.  The peer review committee had non-physicians.  The lower court said this allowed the records to be obtained by the physician.  The Supreme Court disagreed and said that there may be non-physicians on peer review committees and this does not allow the records to be released.  However, there is still the issue of whether this committee was a regular committee or an ad hoc one and this needs to be determined by a jury.  The written records are also protected of formal meetings but not casual discussions.

Gastroenterology Consultants v Meiselman
Ill. Ct. App

The physician was practicing for 10 years in the area prior to joining the group.  After the physician's termination he treated a patient he had seen while working with the group.  There was a restrictive covenant of 15 miles and 36 months.  The court stated the group did not have a near permanent relationship with all patients treated by the physician.  Also while with the group the physician preserved his own telephone number and billed for his own services and referrals were made individually.  The physician won.

Conner v Iowa Methodist Hospital

Conner applied for a administrative position at the hospital and was accepted and then rejected after she failed to take a urine test.  She has a known medical condition of paruesis (shy bladder).  She was unable to urinate due to the conditions.  She is suing under the ADA and will win if she can show the hospital could have done the test differently such as a blood test or different circumstances in which to urinate.        Top


Flynn v Silverman

Dr. Martin Flynn, an anesthesiologist in Marina del Rey, California, has accused the president of 1-800-GET-THIN, Robert Silverman and Dr. Michael Omidi, the owner of the surgical centers used of identity theft. He alleges that Silverman set up a company called MAFL Medical Inc. that Dr. Flynn refused to participate in.  His information was used anyway to bill insurers for the anesthesiology services.  He also alleges Silverman set up other companies using other physician's information without their consent.  Silverman denies all wrongdoing.  Omidi is said to no longer work at the organization.  

The above was printed on March 1, 2012.  I received the following email from Silverman on April 16, 2013.  This was the only communication I ever received from Silverman.  I do not delete prior true postings.  The above was true in that the case was filed as described.  I do post factual addendums such as below.

Your website continues to publish information pertaining to the Lawsuit filed by Dr. Flynn against myself on allegations of identity theft.  These allegations have been dismissed in my favor with NO findings of any liability, guilt, or entry of settlement.


Identity theft is a very serious crime and literally destroys individuals lives. In fact, I am a victim of identity theft and have represented numerous individuals who have been victims as well.  I take this issue very seriously.  However, from the beginning, this was nothing more than a strategic lawsuit that lacked any and all merit.  As proof, I have attached to this email the dismissal that was entered in my favor. 

Silverman did attach a dismissal by the court without prejudice dated March 11, 2013.

US v Rao

Charlotte, North Carolina, neurologist Hemanth Rao agreed to pay $2 million plus interest for fraud in intravenous immunoglobulin therapy.  The law requires the physician to be present during the entire time of the infusion of the viscous fluid.  Rao was not there the entire time.  He also has to pay an additional $500,000 upon the sale of his medical building.

US v Ebrahimzadeh

Dr. Pezhman Ebrahimzadeh AKA Pez Abrahams, a physician in Winnetka, California, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and restitution payment of $3,184,000.  He used his clinic to obtain the numbers of patients for which he billed the Medicare program for procedures never performed.  This included billing for procedures on people who were dead.

US v Novak

The feds arrested Edward Novak, the CEO of Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago's west side.  Along with Novak arrested was the CFO Payawal and six physicians.  They were all charged with kickbacks and doing unnecessary procedures.  They were also accused of admitting nursing home patients that did not need hospitalization.

US v Schuster

Dr. Michael Schuster of Manhattan, Kansas was charged by the feds on one count of illegally distributing drugs.  He allegedly had unlicensed underlings illegally distributing drugs to people while he was not in town.  If convicted he could get 20 years.

US v Mahmood

Dr. Tariq Mahmood of Cedar Hill, Texas was charged with submitting false codes to Medicare.  He and others owned several small hospitals in Texas and used them according to the indictment to defraud the government.

US v Wijegunaratne

Dr. Sri Wijegunaratne or Orange, California, and two conspirators were found guilty of giving and receiving kickbacks and writing unnecessary prescriptions.  The case involved as most do, DME.  All were found guilty in a trial.

US v Salarian

Dr. Alen Johannes Salerian of Bethesda, Maryland, was indicted for illegally distributing narcotics.  He ran the Washington Center for Psychiatry which morphed into The Salerian Center for Neuroscience and Pain.  Office fees for pain patients were higher than for psychiatric patients.  This may be legitimate.  He also evaluated pain patients via phone for the same fees.          Top


Patients v Adventist Health Systems
Class Suit Filed

A class action law suit was filed against Adventist for failing to keep safe protected information on 763,000 patients at Florida Hospital Celebration.  The hospital had a ER worker who accessed the information and sold about 12,000 names to a co-conspirator.  This was used to get chiropractic treatment for auto accident victims. The worker, Dale Monroe, has been sentenced to one year in prison and the payor of the information got 4 years. The suit alleges the hospital did not provide the required security, training and monitoring required under the law.

Patients v Glen Falls

Two patients out of 2300 have found a shyster to sue Glen Falls Hospital in upstate New York for a breach of security of their medical records.  They had no injury.        Top


Lopez v Contra Costa Regional Med Ctr.

In an interesting case Mrs. Lopez delivered a child and was admitted for pre eclampsia.  She died and her husband sued under EMTALA.  The hospital wanted summary judgment but was denied since the admission was not in good faith.  The hospital knew they had nobody available to care for the patient and should have transferred the patient.

Patients v Harrington
To Be Filed

Harrington is the Tulsa dentist who the Oklahoma Dental Board raided and found unsterile conditions.  The sent notices to 7000 patients to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.  To date 57 of 3100 patient have tested positive for one disease or the other.  Nobody has yet made the causal connection that the infected patients received their infections from the dentist.

Patient v J&J

The first case against J&J in LA the verdict was for the plaintiff in the amount of $8.3 million for inappropriately marketing their hip device.  The second case in Chicago just finished ruled for J&J on the same facts.  There are 10,000 or so cases to go.

Humana v Glaxo
US Supreme Court

The high court refused a lower court case that allowed Humana to sue Glaxo for their marketing of Avandia.  Glaxo has already settled thousands of personal cases on this same issue.  Humana filed a class action case for reimbursement of the monies spent due to Avania problems.

Johnson v Smith
Ohio Supreme Court

In an unanimous decision the court sided with the physician who expressed sympathy to the patient as a "medical apology".  The court ruled the medical apology can not be used in court against the physician.  The patient's attorney tried to characterize the apology as an admission of negligence.  The scoundrel lost.

Herisko v Tenet

For whatever reason a patient and his attorney who should know better filed a law suit under EMTALA against the hospital.  The patient was seen and treated promptly and correctly but suffered heart damage.  He claimed the hospital did not conduct an appropriate screening.  EMTALA only states screening will be done not what type nor in what time frame.

Di Teresi v Stamford Health
Conn App Ct.

In yet another poor attorney decision, a suit was filed for emotional distress by the daughter of a woman who was sexually assaulted.  She claims the hospital did not notify her soon enough so she could comfort her mother.  The court said the hospital has to confirm an incident occurred so there are not a rash of false reports.  That the hospital consulted their attorney before the daughter was notified was not outrageous under the law.  The delay was only several hours.        Top


UPMC v Pittsburgh

The medical center has filed suit against the city for attempting to remove it's tax exempt not for profit status.  The city says that the hospital's care of about 2% of the the revenues in not substantial enough to justify keeping their non tax status.  This was during the same time their CEO was being paid $5.95 million.  Sounds like the city was correct.        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.