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For several weeks, Redman posed as a psychiatrist at a Chicago medical clinic using the name and license number of Dr. Garcia. He “treated” patients for mental illnesses, and “prescribed” controlled substances. Redman actually did not attend school past the tenth grade. Before commencing employment, Redman provided falsified documentation: an employment application, payroll application, I‐9 Employment Eligibility Verification form, W‐9 form, photograph of an Indiana driver’s license with Redman’s picture, photocopy of an Illinois medical license, photocopy of a medical school diploma, a residency certificate for training in psychiatry, and a photocopy of a social security card. He used online counterfeiting services; he submitted an online Drug Enforcement Administration application and obtained malpractice insurance using false information. He was discovered when the real Dr. Garcia learned that someone had used his medical license number to obtain a DEA registration. A jury found Redman guilty of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, furnishing false and fraudulent material information in documents required under the federal drug laws, and distributing controlled substances. The Seventh Circuit affirmed his 157-month sentence, upholding the application of two-level enhancements for use of sophisticated means and for conduct that involved a conscious or reckless disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury. View "United States v. Redman" on Justia Law

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The Board of Directors (the Board) of Bear Valley Community Hospital (Bear Valley) refused to promote Dr. Robert O. Powell from provisional to active staff membership and reappointment to Bear Valley's medical staff. Dr. Powell appealed the superior court judgment denying his petition for writ of mandate to void the Board's decision and for reinstatement of his medical staff privileges. Dr. Powell practiced medicine in both Texas and California as a general surgeon. In 2000, the medical executive committee of Brownwood Regional Medical Center (Brownwood), in Texas, found that Dr. Powell failed to advise a young boy's parents that he severed the boy's vas deferens during a hernia procedure or of the ensuing implications. Further, the committee found that Dr. Powell falsely represented to Brownwood's medical staff, on at least two occasions, that he fully disclosed the circumstances to the parents, behavior which the committee considered to be dishonest, obstructive, and which prevented appropriate follow-up care. Based on the committee's findings, Brownwood terminated Dr. Powell's staff membership and clinical privileges. In subsequent years, Dr. Powell obtained staff privileges at other medical facilities. In October 2011, Dr. Powell applied for appointment to the medical staff at Bear Valley. On his initial application form, Dr. Powell was given an opportunity to disclose whether his clinical privileges had ever been revoked by any medical facility. In administrative hearings generated by the Bear Valley Board’s decision, there was a revelation that Dr. Powell had not been completely forthcoming about the Brownwood termination, and alleged the doctor mislead the judicial review committee (“JRC”) about the circumstances leading to that termination. Under Bear Valley's bylaws, Dr. Powell had the right to an administrative appeal of the JRC's decision; he chose, however, to bypass an administrative appeal and directly petition the superior court for a writ of mandamus. In superior court, Dr. Powell filed a petition for writ of mandate under Code of Civil Procedure sections 1094.5 and 1094.6, seeking to void the JRC's/Board's decision and to have his medical privileges reinstated. The trial court denied the petition, and this appeal followed. On appeal of the superior court’s denial, Dr. Powell argued he was entitled to a hearing before the lapse of his provisional staff privileges: that the Board surreptitiously terminated his staff privileges, presumably for a medical disciplinary cause, by allowing his privileges to lapse and failing to act. The Court of Appeal determined the Bear Valley Board had little to no insight into the true circumstances of Dr. Powell’s termination at Brownwood or the extent of his misrepresentations, thus the Board properly exercised independent judgment based on the information presented. In summary, the Court of Appeal concluded Bear Valley provided Dr. Powell a fair procedure in denying his request for active staff privileges and reappointment to the medical staff. View "Powell v. Bear Valley Community Hospital" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants - a lawyer and his law firm - in this lawyer malpractice case, holding that Defendants failed to negate the causation element of Plaintiff’s malpractice claim. Plaintiff fell and severely fractured her legs while visiting her husband in the hospital. Plaintiff retained Defendants to represent her against the hospital, but Defendants failed to sue the hospital within the applicable statute of limitations. At issue was whether Plaintiff would have won her claim against the hospital had Defendants timely sued, thus establishing the second prong of the “trial-within-a-trial” doctrine. On appeal, both parties conceded that Plaintiff did not know of the tripping risk that she claimed caused her fall. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants, holding that Defendants failed to establish, as a matter of law, that Plaintiff would not have succeeded in her premises-liability claim against the hospital, thus precluding summary judgment. View "Roumbos v. Samuel G. Vazanellis & Thiros and Stracci, PC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants - a lawyer and his law firm - in this lawyer malpractice case, holding that Defendants failed to negate the causation element of Plaintiff’s malpractice claim. Plaintiff fell and severely fractured her legs while visiting her husband in the hospital. Plaintiff retained Defendants to represent her against the hospital, but Defendants failed to sue the hospital within the applicable statute of limitations. At issue was whether Plaintiff would have won her claim against the hospital had Defendants timely sued, thus establishing the second prong of the “trial-within-a-trial” doctrine. On appeal, both parties conceded that Plaintiff did not know of the tripping risk that she claimed caused her fall. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants, holding that Defendants failed to establish, as a matter of law, that Plaintiff would not have succeeded in her premises-liability claim against the hospital, thus precluding summary judgment. View "Roumbos v. Samuel G. Vazanellis & Thiros and Stracci, PC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court dismissing Petitioners’ civil action as a sanction for alleged discovery violations, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by imposing the sanction of dismissal. Petitioners bought this civil action against Respondent alleging unfair and deceptive acts, breach of express and implied warranties, breach of contract, and other causes of action. Respondent eventually filed a second motion to dismiss the civil action as a sanction for alleged discovery violations. The circuit court identified ten instances of alleged wrongful conduct by Petitioners and granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, even assuming that there was a discovery violation, the circuit court’s imposition of the extreme sanction of dismissal was an abuse of discretion. View "Smith v. Gebhardt" on Justia Law

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This case concerned a recent law school graduate's application to sit for the Washington State Bar Examination. Tarra Denelle Simmons had a history involving long-term substance abuse, multiple criminal convictions, and two bankruptcies. However, in the approximately five and a half years preceding her application to sit for the bar exam, Simmons successfully engaged in treatment for her substance abuse and childhood trauma. She maintained her sobriety since September 2011 and was not accused of any criminal or unethical behavior since then. The Washington Supreme Court found Simmons was entirely candid about her past when she applied to sit for the summer 2017 bar exam, and she readily provided further information as requested by counsel for the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA). Bar counsel referred Simmons' application to the WSBA Character and Fitness Board (Board), which recommended by a vote of six to three that Simmons' application be denied. The Supreme Court then reviewed her application and the Board's recommendation, heard oral argument, and granted Simmons' application in a unanimous order later that day. In this opinion, the Washington Court explained the reasons for its decision. View "In Bar Application of Simmons" on Justia Law

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The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability filed a formal complaint alleging 13 misconduct counts against respondent, the Honorable Vance Day, involving Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.1; Rule 2.2; Rule 3.3(B); Rule 3.7(B); courteous to litigants); and Article VII (Amended), sections 8(1)(b), (c), and (e), of the Oregon Constitution. After conducting a hearing, the commission filed a recommendation with the Oregon Supreme Court, to the effect that clear and convincing evidence supported a conclusion that respondent had violated multiple rules with respect to eight of the counts, including violations not alleged in the complaint. The commission further recommended that respondent be removed from office. Respondent argued the Supreme Court should have dismissed all or several counts for procedural reasons; that the commission did not sufficiently prove the alleged misconduct; and, in any event, that the only appropriate sanction was a censure. After review, the Oregon Court dismissed two of the eight counts of the complaint that were at issue; the Court declined to consider any violation that the Commission did not originally allege in its complaint. The Supreme Court concluded the Commission proved by clear and convincing evidence that respondent engaged in some of the misconduct alleged in the remaining six counts. The Court suspended respondent, without pay, for three years. View "In re Day" on Justia Law

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Jansen pleaded guilty to wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343, and tax evasion, 26 U.S.C. 7201. Before sentencing, Jansen’s third attorney (Steinback) withdrew. His new attorney, Beaumont, requested Rule 16 discovery and obtained 42,700 documents. Jansen filed a pro se motion to continue his sentencing proceedings because none of his prior attorneys had requested or reviewed those documents. Weeks later, Beaumont withdrew, citing irreconcilable differences; he was replaced by Richards. Jansen indicated to the court that he wished to withdraw his guilty plea as not “knowing and voluntary” because of ineffective assistance of counsel. Richards also withdrew. The court permitted Jansen to proceed pro se but denied his motion to withdraw his plea and sentenced Jansen to 70 months’ imprisonment with a restitution payment of $269,978 to the IRS. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, remanding the issue of restitution to allow the district court to clarify that its imposition of restitution is a condition of supervised release rather than a criminal penalty. The district court made the sound factual finding that Jansen hired Steinback “to negotiate the best possible plea agreement,” not to go to trial. Steinback formulated a “four-fold” “tactical strategy” that included forgoing investigation and discovery so that such a strategy was objectively reasonable. View "United States v. Jansen" on Justia Law

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On September 28, 2016, the Medical Board filed an accusation against Alfred Adams, M.D., alleging that he prescribed himself controlled substances, failed to cooperate with the board, and failed to provide an accurate address. The accusation was served by certified mail on his Emeryville address of record. The unopened mail was returned, stamped “Return to Sender, Unable to Forward.” On November 1, the board sent notice of default by certified mail, which was also returned. After a Lexis search, the board served the accusation by certified mail to another Emeryville address. On January 20, 2017, the board issued a default decision, revoking Adams’s medical license, which was served by certified mail and first class mail to both addresses. On April 7, 2017, Adams sought mandamus relief, claiming that no evidence established service. The court directed the board to set aside its default decision. The court of appeal ruled in favor of the board. Section 11505(c) authorizes service of a document adversely affecting one’s rights by registered mail and “does not require proof of service in the form of a return receipt signed by the party or other acknowledgement of receipt by the party.” Section 8311 authorizes “any other means of physical delivery that provides a receipt” but does not impose this requirement if service is made by certified mail. View "Medical Board of California v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The Superior Court of Navajo County erred when it denied Defendants’ motion for change of venue in this legal malpractice action filed by a Hospital located in Navajo County against a professional limited liability company (PLLC) organized in Maricopa County and its attorneys, both Maricopa County residents. After the Hospital sued, Defendants moved to transfer venue to Maricopa County, arguing that venue in Navajo County was improper unless a statutory exception applied under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-401. The trial court denied the motion, finding that venue in Navajo was proper under section 12-401(5) because the Hospital “exclusively contracted business in Navajo County,” and under section 12-401(18), reasoning that LLCs should be considered corporations for venue purposes. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the PLLC was not required, expressly or by necessary implication, to perform in Navajo County; and (2) the trial court erred when it applied the subsection (18) exception on the basis that LLCs, like corporations, are amenable to veil-piercing, where venue and the alter-ego doctrine reflect different policy considerations. View "Butler Law Firm, PLC v. Honorable Robert J. Higgins" on Justia Law