Doctors who lie in depositions is a big problem in litigation. Many of them make hundreds of thousands if not millions doing defense medical exams. Unfortunately, their lies result in injured workers not being able to pay their weekly expenses to be able to support their families, despite the physicians oath that they will do no harm. It is a complete injustice to have doctors profiting by lying in order to deny legitimate claims.
In Bermejo v. New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, Dr. Katz testified that his examination of a injury victim, Manuel Bermejo, took 45 minutes and that his second exam took ten to twenty minutes. He also said he took numerous exams, which would have taken several minutes to conduct if he really did them. The lawyer for Mr. Bermejo asked if it was possible that it could have taken 2 or 3 minutes. Dr. Katz testified that “I don’t think that’s possible.” Unbeknownst to Dr. Katz the interview had been recorded. The video revealed that he spent 1 minute and 56 seconds on his examination. He did not perform all the exams he said he performed. The underlying case involved a bad ankle fracture. The victim had a fusion of the ankle joint as well as a shoulder injury which required surgery. A group known as IME Watchdog averaged his exam lengths. He averaged 4 minutes and 10 seconds per exam.
Judge Duane Hart sanctioned the defense firms involved for $10,000.00 each. The judge indicated that he wanted to sanction Dr. Katz and the insurance carrier. Because they were not parties to the lawsuit he could not sanction them. Justice Hart said, “You can probably hear my teeth grinding.”, because he was so mad at Dr. Katz and the insurance company. The judge later vacated the sanctions against the defense firm because he could not find that the defense firm knew about the fraud.
It is estimated that Dr. Katz made over one million per year doing defense medical exams. He conducts over 1,000 legal medical exams per year. When the judge suggested to him that he should stop doing the independent medical examinations he just said no. So, the judge in the Katz case referred the transcript of Dr. Katz’s testimony to authorities. For a transcript of proceedings go here.
If you think this is uncommon see the testimony of an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Herschel Samuels. He was quoted as saying “If you did a truly pure report, you would 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 surrendered his medical license.