August 19th, 2013

Judge: No Mulligans for Defendants on Medical-Legal Exams

Who do I see about a mulligan on my choice of experts?

Who do I see about a mulligan on my choice of experts?

In golf, a mulligan is a do-over. You whack the ball deep into the woods, you yelp “Mulligan!” and tee up a new one. When you’re out with your buddies no one really cares. Unless there’s money on the line. Then it matters.

And so we have the defendants now screaming for mulligans when it comes to so-called “independent” medical exams performed by Dr. Robert Israel. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, I wrote about him on June 3rd after he’d been placed on probation for three years for professional misconduct due to medical-legal exams he conducted for defendants. Yeah, that Dr. Israel.

He agreed, in accordance with his sanction, that his:

…license to practice medicine in New York State shall be limited to preclude me from engaging in any practice as an Independent Medical Examiner as of March 2013. I shall not contract or agree to perform, nor perform Independent Medical Examinations.

Given that he was doing 1,500 orthopedic exams per year for medical-legal purposes, that was a pretty big deal for thousands of cases.

Defendants were, as you might guess, a wee bit concerned that he’d be drawn and quartered by plaintiffs’ attorneys if he took the stand and that whatever credibility he had before the sanction would vanish into the vapors.

So they’ve been making motions, claiming that if Dr. Israel testified on any of his old cases, it would violate the consent order that he’d agreed to.

This was expected when I made my original post — and I said the tactic would fail — writing:

Now here is a big legal issue for all those defense firms and insurance companies that thought they were being so smart in hiring Dr. Israel: The consent order does not preclude him from testifying. He can’t be an examiner for the next three years for sure, but the examination part is done. His records and reports (for what they are worth) are already made. There is no reason he can’t testify, other than the fact he will be (justifiably) torn to bits. But being torn to bits is not the same as being unavailable to testify.

That means there’s a good chance they will all be stuck with him. The insurance companies got the benefit of his exams previously and now they will get the downside. Karma. Sleeping with the devil. Laying down with dogs and picking up fleas. Choose your metaphor or proverb.

The comments on the post lit up with discussion on the consent order and whether it would preclude Dr. Israel from testifying. No way, said I.

And now the first verdicts are in, in three decisions from Justice Kenneth P. Sherman sitting in Brooklyn: Moran v. EMR Mechanical, Diaz-Rivera v. Akindele and Haynes v. Hossain.

The law does sometimes allow for mulligans, of course, in certain situations. Litigants on both sides, for example, often ask for retrials when they are on the losing side claiming some unfairly prejudicial conduct (and usually lose).

But in the first of these three decisions, Moran (decided August 5th), there were problems with the defendants’ application for a second defense medical exam. Justice Sherman wrote that that there was no claim that the plaintiff’s condition had changed (which would obviously warrant a second exam), nor any claim Dr. Israel wasn’t a qualified orthopedist, nor any claim that Dr. Israel was unavailable to testify due to death or disability.

The defendants instead tried to claim that the consent order rendered him unavailable because he would be engaging in “any practice as an Independent Medical Examiner.” Is that good enough for a do-over?

No way, said Justice Sherman. The consent order affects future exams, not the past ones. He wrote: “As those pre-consent order IMEs and reports were not rendered retroactively void by the consent order, there is no reason why Dr. Israel could not testify concerning those reports.”

And, mimicking my comments about Dr. Israel getting shredded on cross-exam, Justice Sherman wrote:

The Court understands that Dr. Israel might be subject to a somewhat intense and difficult cross-examination. However, such an attack on this expert’s credibility, like any other attack on any witness’s credibility, only goes to the weight of that testimony, not it’s admissibility.

Justice Sherman thereafter reviewed appellate cases where other examining doctors had faced license issues, and was unable to find any support for the defense proposition that mere fear of vigorous cross-exam was enough to warrant a mulligan on the medical-legal exam.

The second decision, Diaz-Rivera (dated August 14th), cites to Moran and once again rejects the defendant’s request for a do-over.

The third decision, in Haynes, adds in the additional wrinkle of a letter from the Department of Health that specifically rejects the defense contentions that Dr. Israel would be violating the consent order if he testified about his past cases. (That letter is a July 2nd update to my original post.) The pertinent part reads:

“If [Dr.Israel], in the future, testifies about acts performed, observations or findings made or opinions and/or diagnoses rendered, respectively, at a time that predates the effective date of the Order [June 7, 2013], we would not consider that a reportable violation.”

Now let’s see what happens to Dr. Michael Katz, recently busted on the witness stand for lying about the defense medical exam he did, and perhaps, a few of the other doctors who have for years been doing quickie medical exams and escaped Department of Health oversight.

Do you hear that cheering sound? It comes from gazillions of plaintiff’s attorneys and their clients who have been burned  by insurance companies hiring Dr. Israel and his ilk in the past.

There won’t be any mulligans here. Karma’s a bitch.


July 30th, 2013

To Tell the Truth: Which Doctor’s Signature is the Real One?

Dr. Joseph Tuvia

Dr. Joseph Tuvia

I thought I was done, for the time being, ripping scabs off the lacerations and lesions of New York’s medical-legal evaluation industry. Boy was I wrong.

Over the transom this week sails medical reports allegedly signed under oath by one Joseph Tuvia, M.D., who’s been doing medical-legal reviews of radiology films since about 1996. He was reviewing, back then, a thousand films a year, and was doing 95% of it for the defense.

As you might guess from the title of this post, the questions today revolve again around potential perjury, not from the witness stand but by signing medical-legal reports under penalty of perjury. Or, perhaps, by having others sign his name.

Tuvia1 Tuvia2 Tuvia3
Each radiological study these kinds of experts interpret, you see, gets memorialized in a report. And each report is signed under penalty of perjury.

TuviaJoseph-jane 2But which of these four signatures is the real Dr. Tuvia? Do any of them look even remotely the same as the other?

This looks, to my eye, like some sick version of the old To Tell the Truth, where celebrities asked questions to a panel of three contestants and only one person was allowed to be truthful. It ran for a remarkable 25 years. But those folks were doing it for the laughs, and the imposters certainly weren’t doing it under penalty of perjury.

The declarations you see here are signed pursuant to CPLR 2106, which allows doctors to sign unsworn affirmations as opposed to affidavits. Doctors, I guess, were deemed trustworthy enough to do this. And most of them are.

But who, in this case, is actually signing under penalty of perjury? Do any of those signatures belong to Dr. Tuvia? Do they belong to someone on the support staff? Do they belong to a broker funneling business to the medical practice on behalf of the insurance company?

Is anyone changing the report after it’s dictated? Would Dr. Tuvia even know?

Is anyone laughing about this?

I attempted to reach Dr. Tuvia but was unsuccessful. I am open to publishing a response if he calls back.

I’ve bitched and moaned a lot about the sorry state of New York’s current medical-legal “system,” where brokers pay doctors chump change to do evaluations on a big volume basis, and the results are quickie 5-minute exams. The doctor gets paid and moves on to the next one. The claimants that might have their economic futures affected are stunned at what happened, their legal rights potentially altered forever.

Questions arise, however, not only with those that do the exams but those that are unseen by the claimant. These doctors simply review records and films and then happily testify about the “results.”

Apparently some are laughing at this show. It’s the insurance companies, and they get to laugh all the way to the bank as they limit their payouts. The defense doctors playing this game know who is paying the bill and want the repeat business that comes with a happy client. The insurance companies use the reports — claiming the orthopedic injury is degenerative, or pre-existing, or non-existing, or fully recovered – to coerce meager settlements.

The New York Times covered this several years ago in an exposé about phony Workers’ Compensation evaluations and what happens with the bogus results: “The examiners’ opinions can empower an insurer to slash benefits, withhold medical treatment or stall a case.”

Then the insurance companies use the same phony data to run to the Legislature and scream about all the insurance fraud. Is that a laugh riot or what?

Will the District Attorneys ever investigate? Will the Attorney General? Will the U.S. Attorney?  How about the Insurance Frauds Bureau at the Department of Financial Services where Benjamin M. Lawsky is the Superintendent?? Or is it only individuals that get investigated while insurance companies get a free pass?

Yeah, I keep dreaming about this stuff, hoping someone in the media will wake up when they realize the scope of the issue, that someone will realize how many tens of millions or hundreds of millions are at stake, hoping that one day we will see a little more integrity in the system.  Hoping that someone, somewhere, will pick up this drum and start banging on it.

Hello? Is this thing on? Is anyone out there listening? Does anyone give a damn?

And will the real Dr. Joseph Tuvia, please stand up?

(Hat tip on the documents to one of my brethren at the New York personal injury bar, Jeffrey Levine.)

Update: Three days after this post, Dr. Tuvia took the stand in an unrelated case and was confronted with the signatures:

Part 7: Doctor Testifies That Six Different Signatures Are All His (8/5/13)


July 23rd, 2013

Quickie Medical Exams: What Next?

FraudSo? Now what?

I started this series with the story of one doctor, Michael Katz, getting busted on the witness stand for lying about a defense medical exam that lasted less than two minutes. I followed up regarding the judge’s referrals for punishment, and then did an analysis of other exams Dr.Katz had done, timed by others, that averaged less than five minutes.

And having used him as an example, I then went on to present evidence that these premature evaluations are not an isolated problem. The average exam times for three other “frequent flyer” insurance doctors, from the data I found, all averaged under five minutes.

I think it’s fair to ask the question, how much insurance fraud is going on by the insurance companies? The more denials insurance companies can conjure, the more money they make. But remember, peoples’ economic lives may well be at stake for the Workers Compensation, No-Fault and personal injury cases that these exams are done for.

What next? I SAID, “WHAT NEXT!”

Yeah, I’m yelling, and why the hell shouldn’t I? There are thousands of exams being done each year, just by the four doctors that I briefly investigated. The scope of financial losses to the citizenry (and gains for the insurance companies) may be well up in the tens of millions or hundreds of millions a year when you extrapolate out across all the exams. Just in New York.

I’m just one guy banging away on a keyboard. I don’t have the resources for a proper investigation to tally the damage. I don’t have subpoena power. But others do. It isn’t enough for me to yell about problems, I should suggest solutions:

Like the District Attorneys, such as Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown who already has the Michael Katz perjury file heading toward his office for potential prosecution. But why stop at perjury when the real issue may be insurance fraud?

And this holds true for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as well. This matter isn’t, after all, limited to any one particular county.

And then there is U.S. Attorney’s Office, both Preet Bharara in the Southern District and Loretta A. Lynch in the Eastern District. Wire and mail fraud are often the basis for federal jurisdiction, and let’s face it, if there are problems in New York with these quickie exams there are problems elsewhere.

Do I have faith that these prosecutors will undertake a wide-ranging insurance fraud investigation simply because there is evidence of it, there are vast sums of money at stake, and that many thousands of already-injured consumers may be victimized a second time?  I’m allowed to wish, aren’t I?

On a strictly court-wide level, one of the issues that came up in the trial with Michael Katz was the surreptitious video that captured him doing the one minute, 56-second exam. The judge thought it might not be proper to do so, and if done, that the video should have been exchanged. Plaintiff’s counsel thought otherwise. This is not the type of thing in which you will find a lot of direct-on-point appellate law.

But we shouldn’t even need appellate courts, since the answer I think should be clear, despite Justice Hart’s declaration of a mistrial in the Michael Katz matter.

First off, defendants are already free to video plaintiffs at their depositions or to hire investigators to video plaintiffs secretly. Everything we do in litigation is recorded somehow, because everything has the potential to be contentious.

Why would taking video of a doctor doing a medical-legal exam not be permitted? Is there any colorable reason to object, other than the fact that an insurance doctor won’t be able to say he did a 30 minute exam when it actually lasted four minutes? And that he won’t be able to claim certain tests were done if they weren’t done? Are we afraid of taking away the opportunity to commit a a fraud on the courts?

And why wouldn’t the video be protected as attorney work-product, the same as the notes that might be taken by a lawyer attending the exam with a client? Do plaintiffs get copies during the discovery process of the raw notes that the doctors take? Do we get the letters from the insurance companies and their lawyers to their doctors? No, we don’t, not in New York. Unless a doctor inadvertently leaves the letter in his file and gets caught with it later.

According to Chief Justice Jonathon Lippman, these exams are part of the adversarial process. Can you think of any other aspect of the process where one side or the other doesn’t have the right to record it? As CJ Lippman wrote in Bazakos v. Lewis in dissent:

It is beyond cavil that a statutory medical examination is an adversarial process. The examinee’s attendance is compelled by rule of law (see 22 NYCRR 202.17), and his or her engagement and interaction with the examining physician is nonconsensual. Indeed, because of the inherently adversarial nature of these types of examinations, this Court long ago recognized the examinee’s right to be examined in the presence of his or her attorney

Perhaps, in days gone by, bringing in a videographer, and setting up a camera with tripod would have seemed an intrusion that got in the way, and people figured having a representative there was enough. But as we can plainly see, these quickie exams appear to be rampant and the consequences can be devastating.

Technology advancements cannot be understated. Anyone can use an iPhone and be completely discreet. And with Google Glass now coming fast, video recording would be completely unobtrusive as the camera would be worn like eye glasses. There’s no logical reason to say no to recording.

One thing for CJ Lippman to consider, if someone was kind enough to forward this little posting to him, is amending 22 NYCRR 202.17 to make clear that a party is permitted to audio or video record the exam. Is there any benefit to leaving it ambiguous?

And while we wait for the modification, the lower courts can make it clear in Preliminary Conference form orders that this right exists. Again, there is no benefit to ambiguity.

What do we gain by having videos? Plenty. Sure, it’s still possible for frequent flyer doctors to fudge their findings, it’s just more difficult when a range of motion, for instance, is captured on camera. And it sure looks bad for a doctor if a report details no limitations on a range of motion but the video shows the range of motion was even tested.

There are these benefits:

  1. Exams will generally be more thorough, and if not, the jury will know it clearly without having to depend on the word of a paralegal against the doctor’s word that the exam was a quickie;
  2. Longer exams will likely lead to them being more consistent with the findings of actual, treating physicians;
  3. If defense medical exams are closer to reality, then the differences between the parties will be narrowed, and narrowed differences lead to fewer motions and quicker resolutions of cases;
  4. Quicker resolutions of cases leads to fewer burdens on the judiciary, which can then focus its limited resources on cases with bona fide differences instead of contrived differences.

In essence, the only ones who lose out here are those that seek to commit insurance fraud.

I have spent many hours on this series. Now it is up to you, dear reader, to do something about it.

If you’re a prosecutor, then have the courage to investigate as the scale may be stunning in its expanse.

If you’re a journalist, take the time to further uncover the depths of the fraud.

If you’re a lawyer, take the time to educate as many as you can, via op-ed pieces, websites, newsletters or any other medium you can use, and make it clear in preliminary conference orders that your client has the right to this.

If you’re a judge, you can remove the ambiguity over whether these medical-legal exams can be recorded, and remove the ambiguity over what occurs during those exams.

If you’re a legislator, remember this when insurance companies scream they are the victims of insurance fraud, and you can wonder if they are actually the cause.

I’m done banging this keyboard. I’ve given you more than ample evidence to raise questions and investigate further.

The issue is yours. What will you do with it?

I rest. For now. And reserve the right to reopen my case.

Updated: I didn’t expect to reopen my case so soon, but:

Part 6: To Tell the Truth: Which Doctor’s Signature is the Real One?

Part 7: Doctor Testifies That Six Different Signatures Are All His (8/5/13)


July 16th, 2013

Premature Evaluations – The Evidence on Quickie Medical-Legal Exams

cowboy-backlit-2-727485-788981When I started this series, dear reader, I had no idea it would be so easy to find multiple doctors doing 1,000- 2,000 medical legal exams each year, and that I would be able to demonstrate that their average exam times were likely under five minutes each. But if you read today, you will see that this is the result from my investigation. Welcome to Part 4.

I didn’t write this multi-part series just to pick on orthopedist Dr. Michael J. Katz because he was busted for lying on the witness stand about his secretly recorded one minuted 56 second evaluation. That type of story is a one-day affair.

Nor am I doing it because Justice Duane Hart shipped the transcripts off to the DA, the Chief Adminsitrative Judge and the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. Again, that would be another one-off kind of story.

Nor am I doing it because my analysis found that his usual exam is likely under five minutes, which is also contrary to what he testified.

No, it really isn’t about that. Dr. Katz, you see, is a symptom of a larger problem. So is Dr. Israel, who was placed on probation for his conduct doing defense medical exams.

If it was just about them, you might think these two were mere aberrations. But I’m here to present evidence that these premature evaluations are part of what I think is a systemic disease. It isn’t something new, though I have new material. It was evident four years ago when the New York Times did a story.

The Times covered the problem of bogus medical-legal exams back in 2009 as it pertained to Workers Compensation claims. The article was scary in how awful and slip-shod they were. And a secret videotape came into play there also.

The substance of the article was that their review of case files and medical records and interviews with participants indicated that the exam reports were routinely tilted to benefit insurers by minimizing or dismissing injuries.

The doctor nabbed on video by the Times was Hershel Samuels, caught dictating injuries as the exam was in progress, but the report came back without injuries. This quote was priceless:

“If you did a truly pure report,” he said later in an interview, “you’d be out on your ears and the insurers wouldn’t pay for it. You have to give them what they want, or you’re in Florida. That’s the game, baby.”

Dr. Samuels, who was 79 at the time, surrendered his license four months later.

To injured people the Workers’ Comp payments could mean putting food on the table and paying the rent; to others it is a “game” on getting $100-200 for each medical exam in the hope of a big volume practice, while turning a blind eye to the physicians’ oath to “Do no harm.”

If you want to understand the scale of all this, and why I’ve been banging away on my keyboard about these exams starting with Dr. Katz, consider this: In the Workers’ Compensation arena alone there are more than 100,000 exams each year.

One of the doctors in that New York Times piece was Dr. Edward Toriello, an orthopedist. The Times has this to say about him:

Like many who perform the exams, he views the compensation system as bloated with charlatans. Dr. Toriello, who does about 30 such exams a week, estimates that 80 to 85 percent of the time he finds no disability or need for medical treatment in workers whose doctors have found otherwise. He says the disparity is explained by the “comp mentality.”

Comp mentality by the injured? Or a desire to minimize injuries so that the insurance companies will give him more business? Should someone investigate who the charlatans are?

I decided to do some follow up and see how long his exams actually were, the same way I did for Dr. Katz last week.

You’ll remember, I hope, that the data I used previously to discover how long Dr. Katz spent on his medical “exams” — yeah, I think scare quotes is appropriate now for that word — was gathered from two companies that send representatives to the evaluations with the clients, IME Watchdog and IME Advocates. They both track how long the exams take (among other things), and I found from their data that Dr. Katz’s exams were just four to five minutes long on average.

Dr.  Toriello has testified he does 30-40 exams each week (1,500-2,000 per year). The two companies furnished me with data from 57 reports they had on Dr. Toriello.  And the average time for one of Dr. Toriello’s exams, the basis of which might have profound impact on an injured person’s life for many years to come, or even for the rest of their lives is ….  No, it isn’t 45 minutes. Or 20 minutes. Or 10 minutes.

It’s four minutes and 49 seconds. The distribution looks like this:

1-minute exams – 2
2-minute exams — 11
3-minute exams — 9
4-minute exams — 4
5-minute exams — 12
6-minute exams — 7
7-minute exams – 5
8-minute exams –- 1
9-minute exams — 3
11- minute exam – 2
14-minute exam – 1

Dr. Lisa Nason is another frequent orthopedic examiner. And Dr. Nason once testified that, at the medical evaluation office she goes to in Brooklyn for just this purpose, they try to see claimants every 15 minutes. Her average time doing an exam in the 37 reports that I have? 4:22 minutes. Her distribution looked like this:

1-minute exams — 1
2-minute exams — 5
3-minute exams — 10
4-minute exams — 5
5-minute exams — 8
6-minute exams — 2
7-minute exams — 2
8-minute exams — 3
11-minute exam –- 1

But wait! I’ve been discussing time doing the exam, but the testimony that I found from her about seeing someone every 15 minutes includes taking a history. Wouldn’t it be fair to Dr. Nason to do an apples-to-apples comparison and include her intake time asking how the claimant felt? Maybe then it will come to 15 minutes?

Lucky for you, dear reader, the reports I have almost always indicate the time taking a history. But the total time, alas, even when you factor in history, still doesn’t make it to 15 minutes. Which is not so lucky for Dr. Nason. Her average intake took 4:08, and the distribution looks like this:

1 minute intake — 4
2 minute intake — 7
3 minute intake — 6
4 minute intake — 6
5 minute intake– 6
6 minute intake — 1
8 minute intake – 3
10-minute intake -1
11-minute intake – 2
[One of the 7-minute exams includes the intake, so the exam average should be a bit lower and the intake average a bit higher.]

So, in total, she is averaging 8:30 minutes total time per claimant, inclusive of talking, not the 15 minutes she discussed with a jury.

And then there is Dr. Jean-Robert Desrouleaux, a neurologist. I heard he was testifying in the Bronx yesterday before Judge Julia Rodriguez, so, with a draft of this piece already written, I decided to go watch. Some of his exams, he testified, are done in the same place and on the same day as Dr. Nason, sort of like a factory tag-team match for the insurance company.

He testified that these exams are only 1-2% of his practice. But then he testified he does 20-30 per week (1,000 – 1,500/yr.), taking a total of four to six hours each week. I’ll help you with the math: if he is doing medical-legal exams five hours per week and this is 2% of his practice he is working 250-hour weeks, which is mighty impressive considering the week has just 168 hours in it.

He also claimed to be paid about $125-$150 for each one. Imagine, in the short time available, trying to read medical records, x-rays, deposition transcripts, legal filings and whatever else the insurance company might send, do an intake, conduct an exam and write a report for that price. Something has to give for this business model and if you guessed accuracy and quality then you would be guessing the same as me.

Dr. Desrouleaux was asked if any of his exams were under three minutes. He said he would be surprised if that was true. He was asked if any were under five minutes. He again said he would be surprised if that was true.

But I have 32 reports from Dr. Desrouleaux and he averages four minutes 15 seconds per exam, and seems to have a pretty heavy emphasis on the two to three minute variety. He even has some one-minute exams.

Can you imagine, if you were a claimaint, that your economic future could be decided by a one to three minute exam? His distribution looks like this:

1 minute exam — 3
2 minute exam — 8
3 minute exam — 8
4 minute exam — 5
5 minute exam — 1
6 minute exam — 1
7 minute exam — 2
8 minute exam — 1
10 minute exam –1
15 minute exam –2

Don’t click away, I got more stuff in this evidentiary round-up!

When the New York Times did its investigation, it found that Dr. Samuels was being hired by “IME” brokers — there’s those scare quotes again — who would actually transcribe his reports. The brokers could, in essence, do whatever they wanted with those reports changing findings if they wanted to, and the doctor that had done a gazillion exams would likely never know the report had been changed.

When the doctors take the witness stand they often call these companies “expert panels,” as if it is some badge of honor to take part.

I wrote about one of those companies back in 2008 (How to Fool a Jury (Is It Insurance Fraud?)), called Integrated Risk Services. It seems that one of their doctors forgot to remove the letter they sent to him about how to write a report — the letter that had these delightful instructions about how to write a skewed report:

  • Point out whatever findings or claims are not related [to the lawsuit]. Otherwise be silent on causal relationship.
  • If prognosis appears good, then state that – otherwise be silent
  • If you can state that plaintiff can participate in all normal activities, do so. If not, be silent

Nothing like a completely objective exam. huh?

JonathonLippmanThere are some in the judiciary that understand the problem with these exams, though I fear they are in the minority. Two of them, however, happen to be Chief Judge Jonathon Lippman and Appellate Division Justice Justice Douglas McKeon, who I wrote about back in 2009: Is the “Independent” Medical Exam Dead? after Rowe v. Wahnow was decided in the First Department.

In Rowe, plaintiff’s auto case was tossed out based on the “IME” reports of the defendant’s doctors.  But in dissent comes Justice  McKeon, ripping into the concept that such “IME” reports are actually independent. And he does so by citing Chief Judge Lippman:

…the “independent” prong of the term, has long been winked at by the bench and bar. Few consider the physical examination conducted for purposes of litigation as independent; indeed, one court has described it as part of the “adversarial process” (Bazakos v Lewis, rev’d on other grounds) with Chief Judge Lippman forthrightly observing that “[t]hese exams, far from being independent in any ordinary sense of the word, are paid for and frequently controlled in their scope and conduct by legal adversaries of the examinee (id. at 6 [Lippman, Ch. J., dissenting).

Have things changed since 2009? Will the story of what happened to Dr. Katz make its way to the appellate judges? Will the evidence of quickie medical exams finally coming screaming home to the trial courts? Will more of these exams be taped, surreptitiously or not?

Stay tuned for Part 5….

Update –Part 5: Quickie Medical Exams: What Next? (7/23/13)

Part 6: To Tell the Truth: Which Doctor’s Signature is the Real One? (7/30/13)

Part 7: Doctor Testifies That Six Different Signatures Are All His (8/5/13)


July 12th, 2013

Programming Note on Quickie Medical-Legal Exam Series

Pinocchio-007Thus far I’ve done three pieces this week on quickie defense medical exams, starting with Dr. Michael J. Katz getting busted for lying, the sanctions he may face and an investigative analysis of some of his other exams.

I intend to continue next week with more, including another investigative piece on how much time  some other doctors popular with insurance companies spend with the claimants. Was Michael Katz (and Dr. Robert Israel before him) an aberration?

The story, by the way, has been ignored by the main stream press. Despite that, there have been over 15,000 page views of those blog posts. For a small, niche blog like mine, that’s a lot.

While some have come in from Above the Law (calling the story a “blockbuster”) and a couple of other blogs such as the Village Voice (which scored an interview with Dr. Katz), the vast majority have come in directly because they are circulating in the local legal community via email. Reddit, Facebook and Twitter have accounted for more as part of the word-of-mouth spread.

While the press might not yet understand what  is happening, the local legal community knows that these doctors have seen thousands of claimants, and all those cases will be affected, with tens of millions of dollars or more on the line.

Also, a new website seems to have been spawned dedicated to the quickie medical exam: Bad IME

Stay tuned for Part 4.

(And a hat tip to Professional Liability Matters for the Pincchio graphic.)