Corona del Mar resident Michael D. Drobot won another round in court recently as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge threw out conspiracy claims against a group of Southern California hospitals (including Drobot's former Pacific Hospital of Long Beach) accused of having used "counterfeit'' surgical screws on patients. At a Feb. 20 court hearing, Judge Elihu M. Berle was particularly perplexed that plaintiff lawyers made dozens of claims against Drobot and Pacific Hospital when 29 of their 32 cases involve patients who never received treatment from Drobot or his former hospital.
"How can the demurring defendants defraud an insurance company for a surgery they did not bill for? A surgery that did not occur at their facility?" asked Berle, who'd find plaintiffs' counsel "misapplied" the law in their complaints and "senselessly grafted the wrong conspiracy [law] here." In other words, conspiracy was an over-reach.
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Suits against Drobot and others allege medical device suppliers, hospitals and physicians worked together to make, sell and use "fake'' spinal implants. As reported in the link above, Drobot and and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit in October against the trio of law firms in the case before Berle, alleging the former hospital owner and his former hospital were defamed in radio and television news coverage.
The California State Compensation Insurance Fund, a quasi-governmental organization that makes payments on workers' compensation claims, filed racketeering charges against Drobot and his medical companies in federal court in Santa Ana last year. The complaint alleges that he received $161 million through inflated surgery room and spinal implant reimbursement fees in what the state calls "multiple fraudulent schemes."
Drobot pleaded guilty in February to government allegations that he paid kickbacks to surgeons for referring patients to Pacific Hospital of Long Beach. He also agreed to testify against state Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, who face multiple bribery and money laundering charges. Ron Calderon is alleged to have been paid more than $100,000 in bribes from Drobot.