August 1, 2007 Recent Legal News


Peer Review 








Pou v Foti

Dr. Pou has been publicly accused of second degree murder but never formally charged.  She is now suing the State District Attorney for the same misconduct as had the prosecutor of the Duke lacrosse team disbarred.  She wants the state to pay for her defense in three med mal cases that stemmed from the post-Katrina affair.  Foti has been accused also of conflict of interest since he turned the case over to the New Orleans DA but continues to have an assistant state DA acting as a prosecutor before the grand jury convened by the New Orleans DA.  The suit blames the state AG for not carrying out his duties and making sure evacuation plans were in place. Foti is up for re-election in several months.    

After the filing of the suit against the PR hound, Dr. Pou was cleared by a grand jury who decided not to pursue a true bill. This left nobody for Mr. Foti to prosecute.  The local DA also considers the case over.  The only one that doesn't is Dr. Pou who wants the state to pay for her civil defense in the malpractice suits.  She has not practiced any medicine since her arrest one year ago.  She is an ENT surgeon.  Well done to the Grand Jury.

US v Bahna

Dr. Marndouh Bahna was indicted for hiring cappers to get patients for sham procedures. After indictment three months ago he fled to Egypt.  He has now returned and entered a not guilty plea.   

US v Purdue Pharma
Plea Bargain

 A federal judge allowed a plea bargain by Purdue Pharma and it's top three execs for claiming to physicians that OxyContin was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other pain meds.  The three former execs pled guilty to a misdemeanor and were told to pay $34.5 million and do 400 hours of community service.  The company was fined $600 million. 

US v Greer

The Feds are going for the maximum prison for Dr. Douglas Greer, an ophthalmologist.  Dr. Greer pled guilty to fraud several months ago for performing laser eye procedures on those who didn't need it. 

US v Bland

Dr. Linda Bland and her hospital, Sebastian River Medical Center in Florida, have agreed to co-pay the feds $1.275 million for unnecessary back surgery done by the board certified neurosurgeon.  This was a whistleblower case by the anesthesiologist who first told the hospital and when nothing was done filed suit.  The hospital will pay $925,000 and the physician $350,000 plus they will also pay $40,000 to the plaintiff anesthesiologist's attorney.  The anesthesiologist will get $230,000.  Dr. Bland worked at the VA but her contract was not renewed.   

California v Roozrokh

 Dr. Hootan Roozokh a Kaiser physician in San Francisco was accused of giving morphine and Ativan to a patient in order to hasten his death.  He also had the temerity to but Betadine on the abdomen.  Dr. Rooaokh is a transplant surgeon who was in Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, California to harvest organs.  He apparently gave an order to a nurse to give meds to a patient so he could harvest the organs before they died.  The nurse from the hospital complied.  The patient was removed from life support but did not die for many hours making the organs not harvestable.  He is being charged with the prescribing of excessive meds to a comatose patient.  This is not a known legal term. If convicted he can go away for eight years or one year and $20,000 fine with probation.  This physician is 33 years old.      Top

Peer Review

Great Britain v Wakefield

The Medical Council of Great Britain is holding a hearing on the professionalism of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  He and his colleagues published in 1998 an article in the prestigious Lancet regarding a potential nexus between autism and measles, mumps and Rubella vaccine.  The inquiry against Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues will only focus on the charge that he acted unprofessionally in the manner he obtained blood samples.  It will not touch on the issue of the cause of autism. 

Perry v Rado
ED Wash

Perry had his privileges revoked and sued the hospital and his competitors for antitrust.  He lost.  He still had privileges at another local hospital so there was no loss of competition.  The attorney should have known better.       Top


Vets v VA
9th Circ.

In the sixth ruling against the VA in their refusal to pay for their use of Agent Orange in Viet Nam, the court blasted the VA for not following its own consent decree entered into sixteen years ago.  The VA has always been an obstacle for the vets to receive their entitled benefits. 

Vets v VA

After the above case, another group of vets have sued the VA for delaying their healthcare and disability benefits.  This group wants the judge to set limits for the VA to process claims and appeals.  The VA is currently stonewalling the vets.         Top


Wright v Magellan
ED Tenn

Psychologist Wright's license was put on probation and he was put on supervision by the State.  He was then dropped by Magellan Behavioral Health for having a license "restricted, suspended or revoked."  He sued stating that his license had none of the above.  Ah, but it did.  He was restricted due to the supervision requirement so lost in court.  

Topper v HCA

Dr. William Topper,61, had a contract with HCA to be the director of the neonatal unit at a Kansas City HCA hospital.  He was let go under a no cause condition and replaced by another neonatologist.  The nurses must not have agreed with the decision since 10 NICU nurses resigned forcing the closure of the unit.  The suit also accuses HCA of slander.      Top


Maak v IHC Health
Utah Ct. App.

It couldn't happen to a better organization.  The greedy IHC was paid more than it billed under the DRG system by Blue Cross.  It them billed the patient her 20% co-pay ($960) on the billed charges.  She was threatened for collection and eventually paid under protest.  She then sued the greedy IHC for breach of contract, class action and other fraudulent acts.  She lost in the lower court but at the Court of Appeal, they are not as impressed with IHC.  The court ruled that there was a possible breach of contract by IHC as their contract was ambiguous.  The court remanded the breach and the class action back to the lower court and dismissed the other charges.  IHC now has established a precedent that no hospital need by paid any co-pay if they are reimbursed over billed charges by the insurer. 

Blue Shield v Alvarado Hosp.

Cheap Blue Shield is suing Alvarado Hospital in the San Diego area for reneging on former lower rates and started charging more.  There is not a contract between the two groups and has not been one since January.  The two are in negotiations are the suit is an unnecessary distraction.  It may also be considered a SLAPP suit and Blue Shield may be forced to pay attorney fees.  

The Medicare carrier in California      (NHIC) has written to most of the urologists in the state to get refunds over supposed overpayments for prostate cancer drugs for the years 2002 and 2003.  The overpayments are due in several weeks and there has been no due process.  The urologists are to write stating they are going to appeal which should not only stop the process but cost NHIC alot of money for each individual appeal process.  The letter also should ask for more time before interest is to accrue due to onerous task of going through all their records.  The urologists should also get with a knowledgeable attorney in this arena and fight the wrongful request for money.      Top   


Illinois v Provena
Ill. Circ Ct

In a trial a state judge overturned an Illinois Revenue decision and gave back to Provena its tax exemption.  Provena in Urbana had a charity of under 1% of its revenue.  This is not the end as the decision will be appealed as well as decided by the legislature or Congress.        Top 


Estrada v Kousseff
Jury Trial

A jury has awarded the plaintiff $21 million for the negligence of the defendant Dr. Boris Kousseff, a specialist in genetic disorders.  He misdiagnosed the plaintiff's first child who has a genetic disorder and told the couple that their next children would be normal.  The second child had the same genetic defect and will need life long care.  Dr. Kousseff works for the University of South Florida so damages against a government entity is limited to $200,000.  The plaintiff attorney will need to convince the legislators of Florida to pay the bill using taxpayer funds.  

Patients v Univ. California Irvine

The University has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle 35 suits against it for their negligence in handling their liver transplant program.  There are still 15 cases remaining.  Of the 35 settled only 10 remain alive. 

Florida v Schlesinger

The state has intervened in a law suit where the plaintiff was injured and awarded $8.5 million.  The attorneys received $1,159,677 for the case and are now going after an additional $ 676,622 from the parents $2 million portion.  The state does not believe that the attorneys are entitled to more based on state law.  The reason for the state intervention is the 1999 case was against a government agency which by law cannot be sued for over $200,000.  The legislature can individually state that they will pay more and agreed to pay the additional amount recently. 

Mottola v City of Union City

The patient sued the hospital for doing an unnecessary urinary catheterization on him.  After obtaining the urine the hospital handed it to the police for a alcohol exam.  The record does not note why he was catheterized.  The court ruled for the plaintiff in the summary judgment motion, as well it should.  

Berkley v Dowds
Ca Ct App

Berkley, the wife of the patient Herron, who had permanent brain damage secondary to a car accident, sued for negligence, elder abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Why?  Because the physician recommended on several occasions that her husband should have the plug pulled.  Obviously, she lost on summary judgment and then the attorney had the temerity to appeal the decision.  The plaintiff rightly lost again.          Top


Several pharmacists and a pharmacy in Washington are suing the state for making them give out the Plan B pill.  This is not a prescription item for adults under the FDA.  Washington states that the pharmacist must either give out the pill or have another pharmacist give it out at the same visit to the pharmacy.        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.