November 15, 2007 Recent Legal News



Medical Boards

Peer Review





US v Morgan
5th Circ

Dr. Linda Morgan was convicted of writing prescriptions for wheelchairs for Medicare patients without ever seeing the patient.  The 5th Circ upheld her conviction.  She tried unsuccessfully to get the convictions overturned on technicalities. 

US v Ahmed
Guilty Plea

Dr. Abdul Razzaque Ahmed has pled guilty to one count of obstruction of justice and agreed to give up $2.9 million in assets in exchange for no prison time and no pursuit of 14 other counts.  The physician helped people but submitted fake diagnosis for patients so he could get paid for the IV immunoglobulin which are experimental but work.  He claimed the patients had pemphigus vulgaris and not the true diagnosis of pemphigoid.  He actually mixed blood so he could get paid for his experimental help for patients.        Top


Scott v Beth Israel Med Ctr.
NY Sup Ct.

A physician used the hospital email system to communicate with his attorney.  These communications were not protected under any law since the hospital prohibited personal use of the email system and potentially monitored the system.  Therefore there was no expectation of privacy.          Top

Medical Boards

Applewhite v Briber
2nd Circ

The 2nd Circuit found that in routine medical license proceedings, the medical board has absolute immunity from suit.  This is not true in this Circuit with summary suspensions. 

Ross v NY Medical Board
NY App. Div

 Ross, a orthopedic surgeon, intentionally left off important information on his licensure application and failed to correct it.  He lost his license.      Top

Peer Review

Jadwin v County of Kern
ED Cal

Jadwin was a pathologist at the county hospital who sued for a hostile work environment.  One of the defenses raised by the hospital was that Jadwin was arrogant, disagreeable uncooperative, intimidating, overbearing self righteous and unfriendly.  Jadwin sued to remove those statements as scandalous and for sanctions against the attorney for putting them in.  Jadwin lost since he is alleging a hostile work environment and his own behavior may be a defense against the charges.  Since the defense may have merit there can be no sanctions.

Johnson v Grays Harbor Hosp
WD Wash

Johnson sued the chief of staff and the hospital for not allowing an initial appointment application after his provisional time was up.  He sued on many grounds and the chief of staff asked for summary judgment.  This was given on most but not on lack of due process and on race.  It was also withheld in HCQIA grounds since there was not enough in the motion of summary judgment to determine if the chief acted in good faith.        Top


Heartland Spine v HCA

The Kansas court has allowed the lawsuit by the physician owned Heartland Spine and Specialty Hospital in Overland Park against multiple hospitals and insurers to proceed.  The issue is the conspiracy to not allow Heartland to get access to contracts.        Top


Medical Society of NJ v NJ
NJ App Ct

The New Jersey Medical Society is suing and have won in appellate court an injunction to stop the state's Department of Banking and Insurance from increasing the number of procedures to be capped financially to physicians from 92 currently to 1000.  There would also have been a fee schedule in place for ASCs.  The issue is a sentence that directs the Department to "incorporate the reasonable and prevailing fees of 75% of the practitioners within the region" when it sets its fee schedule.  The suit states that the Dept. did not do what the law states by using the Medicare fee schedule and not the 75% method.  The real issue is whether fees are those billed or paid.          Top


Rodriguez v Los Angeles County

The children of the woman who died on the floor of the King Harbor ED this year are suing for $45 million, a ridiculous sum.  The amount is $1 million for each minute she suffered and was deprived of health care.  The state limit on suffering or non economic damages is $250,000. 

Jenkins v Best
Ky Ct. App

 The Court dismissed a case against a physician for an injury due to delayed treatment.  The perinatologist was busy with another patient and never saw or directed the treatment for the plaintiff.  However, the Court allowed to go forward the case against the physician's group as they had a contract to provide 24 hour coverage for the hospital and that it was foreseeable that this type situation would arise.

Wazevich v Tasse 
Ohio Ct. App

The patient died when the ED on call surgeon refused to see the patient who was in the ICU.  The patient bled out before another surgeon could get to the hospital.  The question to be decided by the jury is if the surgeon had a duty to the patient or only to the ED patients.

Patients v Merck

Merck has agreed to settle all cases previously filed against it for Vioxx.  It has agreed to pay $4.85 Billion depending on the length of time the patient took the med and how much damage was done.

RamirezVelez v Centro Cardiovascular

In another strange case from Puerto Rico, the court ruled that the hospital could have corporate negligence against it even though the physician was an independent contractor.  The case involved a patient who died following a cardiac cath.  The hospital should have had a CT scanner on site and whether or not the nurses promptly told the physician of a problem. 

Trial Attorneys v Illinois
Cook County

As one would expect in Cook County, the Democratic head of Illinois, a judge declared all med mal caps unconstitutional.  This sets a review by the state supreme court.  This court is also Democratically appointed and has twice denounced caps in the past.       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.