NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael D. Drobot, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, this week filed a $50 million dollar defamation lawsuit against a group of plaintiff's attorneys who have falsely claimed in broadcast comments that he and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach directed surgeons to install "counterfeit'' screws in "thousands'' of spinal-surgery patients.
The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court alleges that lawyers Brian Kabatek and Robert Hutchinson and the law firms of Kabateck Brown Kellner, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy and Knox Ricksen made false claims in press statements "in an effort to disparage Michael D. Drobot and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach's good name and reputation, and disrupt business operations for their own personal benefit."
"I never envisioned filing a lawsuit against a group of attorneys,,'' said Drobot. "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.''
The lawsuit notes that Kabateck, during a July television interview with Fox 11, made multiple false and defamatory statements about "counterfeit'' and "unsterilized'' screws used on a patient during two 2010 surgeries. Several weeks later, attorney Hutchinson made many of the same defamatory remarks in a radio interview on CBS 2. The lawsuit alleges that the lawyers made the remarks as a solicitation for patients to join in their pending lawsuits against Drobot and Healthsmart Pacific, Inc. Among their claims: that Michael D. Drobot bribed government officials with money and prostitutes to sell and install the counterfeit screws into patients.
Drobot blasted the defamatory remarks in his defamation lawsuit, affirming under oath in a verified complaint that he and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach "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.''
"Defendants made up the aforementioned false and defamatory statements broadcast on television, radio and Internet out of whole cloth,'' the lawsuit states. "Ironically, Defendants' false and defamatory statements likely will cause many PHLB spinal surgery patients to request and possibly undergo wholly unnecessary spinal surgeries simply to determine whether they, too, have received 'counterfeit' screws from PHLB.''
In February 2014, Drobot pled guilty to government allegations that he paid kickbacks to surgeons for referring patients to Pacific Hospital of Long Beach. No one at Pacific Hospital of Long Beach was charged with failing to provide quality care or with providing counterfeit parts or devices to patients.
A copy of the lawsuit can be obtained here.
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SOURCE Michael D. Drobot