"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." -Omstread vs United States, 1928 Justice Lewis Braindeis

Physician lawsuits against treatment center injustice


Masters v. Talbott: In the Belly of the ASAM Beast - describes case of Florida physician wins $1.3 million in suit against an Atlanta mental hospital and its medical director, G. Douglas Talbott (original founder of American Society for Addiction Medicine, or  ASAM), for misdiagnosing him as an alcoholic and holding him against his will for four months.  See related article Doctor wins his lawsuit, says hospital misdiagnosed him. 

Physician lawsuits against state physician health program injustice
 

NOTE:  Because the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and because of a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) qualifies as a "religion", the courts have asserted that no state agency can legally compel a physician (or anybody else) to undergo AA's 12-step treatment program if they object to the 12-step philosophy based upon their personal religious beliefs.   (Inouye v Kemna, 9th Cir. 2007).  Numerous physician lawsuits against state physician health programs are now pending because of this recent court decision.  Stay tuned to this website for new developments.

 
Urine test litigation nets doctor $100,000 - Nevada Board of Medical Examiners settles with physician whose license was wrongly suspended due to "confusion" by state's physician health program.  Karen A. Giarrusso, M.D. v. The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners et al., filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on 5/20/2005. In a written decision dated 1/26/06, and after reviewing oral and written arguments from both parties, U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt found that absolute and qualified immunity (including quasi-judicial immunity) were not valid reasons to dismiss all of the plaintiff's multiple causes of action. Dr. Giarrusso's claims for fraud, conspiracy, punitive damages, and multiple civil rights (section 1983) violations including due process, false light, and property rights (medical license) survived the defendants' motion to dismiss. The case was ultimately settled out of court in Dr. Giarrusso's favor.

 

Physician lawsuits against state medical board injustice

Grobovsky v. Board of Medical Examiners - 2007 Oregon Court of Appeals decision reversing the suspension of a physician's medical license due to noncompliance with board order for chemical dependency evaluation (court ruled that administrative agencies are not allowed to order competency examinations without providing "due process" protections, including proper hearings to contest these orders).  The court further determined that ordered competency examinations can not be considered to be "final orders" in contested case hearings. 

Doctors Sue Texas Medical Board for Misconduct -- Cites Institutional culture of retaliation & intimidation - information about the ongoing Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. (AAPS) litigation against the Texas Medical Board.

Miles v. Minnesota Board of Medical Practice  - 1998 U.S. Department of Justice opinion on the ADA complaint filed by Minnesota physician and medical ethicist Steven H. Miles, MD, against the Minnesota  Board of Medical Practice for illegally demanding that he submit to the Board copies of all of his mental health treatment records -- including therapy records -- as a condition of his relicensure to practice medicine.

Hason v. The Medical Board of the State of California - 1999 case filed by Michael Hason M.D. after being denied a medical license because he had a history of depression.  Dr. Hason tried to sue the Medical Board under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by state and local governments. In response, the board eventually petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for immunity from ADA suits under the 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Under intense public pressure in support of the ADA, the state of California eventually withdrew its petition.

Day v. Minnesota -  Recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in the case of Dr. Roger J. Day, who sued the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice in U.S. District Court for restrictions placed on his medical license because of mental health disabilities (in Day v. Minnesota and one other case, the U.S. Department of Justice recently intervened to defend the constitutionality of private title II lawsuits against States). The States argued that they were protected from ADA suits by sovereign immunity. They asserted that Congress lacked authority under the ADA to remove this immunity because the ADA’s protections go further than the equal protection rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In its 8/24/2008 United States' Brief as Intervenor, The Department argued that Congress had the authority to remove State immunity because the ADA is appropriate legislation under the Constitution to remedy the history of pervasive discrimination against people with disabilities.  Nonetheless, the 8th Circuit affirmed the District Court's dismissal of Dr. Day's suit, and declined to consider the issue raised by the U S as Intervenor (whether ADA Title II validly abrogates state immunity).  Dr. Day is now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear and rule on the issue of the constitutionality of ADA Title II, as it applies to professional licensing.

Guttman v. State of New Mexico, et al. - Link to 3/10/2011 oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, including briefs filed as Intervenor-Appellant by the U.S. Department of Justiceon Dr. Guttman's behalf in order to specifically defend the constitutionality of private ADA title II lawsuits filed by physicians against prohibited discriminatory conduct by state medical licensing boards.  This was the 5th of 6 cases argued before the U.S. 10th Circuit in at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law on that date.  Dr. Guttman has already prevailed against the State of New Mexico in one previous U.S. Supreme Court challenge against his suit.

Can the Medical Board of California deny a medical license because of one DUI conviction?   - One Superior Court said, "No."  9/8/2009 posting on Slote & Links legal firm's website by attorney and partner Adam G. Slote, who successfully appealed California Medical Board decisions to either deny licensure ("The Superior Court overturned the Medical Board’s denial of my client’s license on the grounds that one conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol is not substantially related to the practice of medicine") or to grant probationary licensure on the condition that the licensee enroll in the Board's diversion program ("The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) imposed probation but found that there was not sufficient evidence of an alcohol problem to justify diversion").


Physician lawsuits against miscellaneous state injustice

Utah doctor can pursue libel case against state over fraud claims - federal appeals court rules physician can sue the State of Utah over false allegations of Medicaid billing fraud.

 

Lawsuits by other professionals against state injustice and discrimination

Court Decision Allows Bar Admission for Lawyer with History of Schizophrenia - Earlier denial constituted discrimination, say advocates.  New York State Court of Appeals determined that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits such denial.

Methadone Use can be a Reasonable Accomodation for Nurse with History of Addiction - 2010 decision by the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which determined that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits licensing discrimination an against otherwise qualified nurse.

 

This group (and this website) are still under construction.  The website was last updated 4/6/2011.