In 2002, Laverne Burrell died from complications of a punctured colon that was caused by a “colonic” that she had received four months earlier at a health spa. The procedure, which Ms. Burrell had never had before, used prescription medical devices that could only be possessed by, and used at the direction of, a state-licensed healthcare professional, but none of the employees of the spa were licensed healthcare professionals. In early 2004, the case settled for a confidential amount on terms that were very satisfactory to the clients.
We defended the lead defendant, a licensed psychologist, in a federal criminal prosecution. The case involved mail fraud based upon the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment of patients with multiple personality disorders in a Houston psychiatric facility. The government’s theory was that the diagnosis was invalid and done solely to collect insurance payments. After five months in trial, the judge declared a mistrial during the government’s case, and the government later dismissed all charges against all defendants.
In March 2002, a federal grand jury returned a thirty-three page indictment alleging that nine persons had engaged in approximately seventy counts of misconduct. All of the allegations arose from the operation of three physical therapy clinics that billed the government for medical services provided by employees of the clinics. By November 2003, six of the original nine accused persons had pleaded guilty and entered into cooperation agreements with the government. We represented one of the remaining three defendants in a month-long federal criminal jury trial. Our client was a respected physician and long-time member of the Houston community. Our client was the only person acquitted of all charges by a jury.