Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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During 2012-2013, three undercover DEA agents posed as patients during an investigation into Dr. Zaidi’s controlled substances prescription practices. As a result, the DEA Deputy Administrator suspended Zaidi’s controlled substances prescription privileges, finding that his continued registration posed an imminent danger to the public health and safety, 21 U.S.C. 824(d). DEA agents also seized controlled substances from Zaidi’s offices. Following a hearing, an ALJ recommended that the suspension and seizure be affirmed and that Zaidi's registration be revoked. The Administrator affirmed the suspension and seizure, but found the registration issue was moot due to the expiration of Zaidi’s registration and his decision not to seek renewal. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that the ALJ arbitrarily and capriciously denied Zaidi the opportunity to present testimony from an expert, employees, and former patients; there was insufficient evidence to support the suspension; the government failed to make a prima facie showing that Zaidi’s continued registration was inconsistent with the public interest; Zaidi’ prescriptions to the three undercover officers were not outside the usual course of professional practice and did not lack a legitimate medical purpose; Zaidi did not falsify medical records; and the sanction imposed was disproportionately harsh. View "Akhtar-Zaidi v. Drug Enforcement Administration" on Justia Law

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Means, 18 weeks pregnant, went into labor. She went to Mercy Health, the only hospital within 30 minutes of her residence. Doctors diagnosed preterm premature rupture of the membrane, which usually results in a stillbirth or the baby's death. Means’s unborn baby still had a heartbeat. Mercy sent her home with pain medication without telling Means that the baby would likely not survive or that continuing her pregnancy could endanger her health. The next morning, Means returned with a fever, excruciating pain, and bleeding. Mercy did not give her additional treatment or options, although Means’s physician suspected she had a serious bacterial infection. Mercy sent her home. Means returned that night with contractions. The baby was delivered and died. The pathology report confirmed that Means had acute bacterial infections. Two years later, a public health educator discovered and inquired into Means’s case. Mercy explained that its Directives (ethical guidelines dictated by Catholic doctrine) prohibited inducing labor or similar action. The limitations period had run out on medical malpractice claims. Means sued the Conference of Catholic Bishops, alleging negligence for promulgating and enforcing the Directives. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal. The only link to the Eastern District, where the case was filed, was the decision of Catholic Health Ministries to adopt the Directives. Each individual defendant lives out of state. Means lives in and Mercy is located in the Western District. Means did not allege that the defendants, by adopting the Directives, caused her any cognizable injury.. View "Means v. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops" on Justia Law

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An Ohio State Dental Board-recognized specialist must complete a postdoctoral education program in a specialty recognized by the American Dental Association and limit the scope of his practice to that specialty. The use of the terms “specialist”, “specializes” or “practice limited to” or the terms “orthodontist”, “oral and maxillofacial surgeon”, “oral and maxillofacial radiologist”, “periodontist”, “pediatric dentist”, “prosthodontist”, “endodontist”, “oral pathologist”, or “public health dentist” or similar terms is limited to licensed Board-recognized specialists.. Any general dentist who uses those terms in advertisements can have his dental license placed on probationary status, suspended, or revoked. Kiser, a licensed dentist with postdoctoral education in endodontics (root-canal procedures). does not to limit his practice exclusively to endodontics. The Board’s regulations treat him as a general dentist. He is banned from using the word “endodontist” in his advertisements. In 2009, the Board warned Kiser with respect to the regulations, but did not take further action. In 2012, Kiser requested that the Board review signage that would include the terms “endodontist” and “general dentist.” The Board neither approved nor rejected Kiser’s proposed signage, but recommended that he consult legal counsel. Kiser challenged the regulations as violating: the First Amendment right to commercial speech; substantive and procedural due process; and equal protection. The district court twice dismissed Kiser’s claims. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, finding that Kiser had stated viable claims with respect to the First Amendment, substantive due process, and equal protection. View "Kiser v. Kamdar" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Stephen Arny, M.D., was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and unlawfully dispense prescription pain medications, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 846. Approximately three months later, but before sentencing, Arny secured new counsel, who later moved for a new trial based on trial counsel’s constitutionally ineffective assistance. The district court granted the motion based on its finding that Arny’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel had been violated by counsel’s misrepresentation that the government had stated that another doctor (Saxman) who had worked with Arny and his co-defendants either had a plea deal or would be indicted soon and that her clinic was searched; counsel’s failure to interview Saxman or call her to testify in order to explain the legitimacy of her treatment plans that Arny continued; and counsel’s failure to investigate or interview any of Arny’s patients. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The affidavits of Saxman and the former patients establish a “reasonable probability that, but for [trial] counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” View "United States v. Arny" on Justia Law

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Dubrule, a former medical doctor, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, 21 U.S.C. 846, and 44 counts of distributing controlled substances, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). Kim, Dubrule’s wife and medical assistant, was convicted of conspiring with her husband. The district court sentenced Dubrule to 150 months’ imprisonment and Kim to 18 months’ imprisonment. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting Dubrule’s arguments that the district court erred by finding him competent to stand trial and proceed with sentencing and by failing to sua sponte order a competency hearing either before or during trial; that his pre-trial attorney and standby counsel at trial provided ineffective assistance by failing to request a competency evaluation; that the district court erred by holding that he had waived his insanity defense; and that his due process and Sixth Amendment rights were violated when the court, in making its competency determination, relied upon an expert opinion that misleadingly claimed to be “peer reviewed.” View "United States v. Dubrule" on Justia Law