Obviously tired of being the target of state and federal investigations and defendant in various legal matters involving his
Pacific Health Corp.Healthsmart Pacific, Michael D. Drobot is now suing some opposing lawyers for $50 million for alleged defamation, his lawyers announced Thursday.
The lawsuit alleges attorneys Brian Kabatek and Robert Hutchinson and the law firms of Kabateck Brown Kellner, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy and Knox Ricksen falsely claimed in broadcast news reports that then CEO Drobot and his Pacific Hospital of Long Beach directed surgeons to install "counterfeit" screws in "thousands" of spinal-surgery patients.
This was done, his suit filed in Orange County Superior Court alleges, "in an effort to disparage Michael D. Drobot and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach's good name and reputation, and disrupt business operations for [the lawyers'] own personal benefit." The personal benefit involves attracting patients for their lawsuits against Drobot and Healthsmart Pacific, Inc. that claim the CEO bribed government officials with money and prostitutes to sell and install the counterfeit screws into patients.
"I never envisioned filing a lawsuit against a group of attorneys,'' says Drobot in his lawsuit announcement. "But these allegations are malicious and, most importantly, patently false. Not only do they portray me as someone I am not, but they needlessly create incredible anxiety for hundreds of former patients at Pacific Hospital. We did not compromise patient care at PHLB.''
Drobot claims he and the hospital "never purchased or used any non-FDA-approved screws or other related parts made with non-FDA-approved materials for use in PHLB spinal surgeries."
During a July television interview with KTTV-TV Fox 11, Kabateck made multiple false and defamatory statements about "counterfeit" and "unsterilized" screws used on a patient during two 2010 surgeries, according to suit. Hutchinson is called out for making many of the same remarks in a CBS radio interview several weeks later.
Those remarks will likely cause many of the hospital's spinal surgery patients "to request and possibly undergo wholly unnecessary spinal surgeries simply to determine whether they, too, have received 'counterfeit' screws," according to the statement.
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 earlier this 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 24 charges, including bribery and money laundering. Ron Calderon is alleged to have been paid more than $100,000 in bribes from Drobot. (Read the Al Jazeera story that details the entire sorted mess that involves other state legislators.)
Drobot lives in a $6 million mansion in Corona del Mar overlooking the Pacific (Ocean, not Hospital).