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Rehearings - 8/17/12

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Former fugitive doctor enters guilty plea - IL Rehearing "Disgraced 'Nose Doctor' keeping lawyers busy" June 22-July 5, 2012

A former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor who eluded authorities for more than five years before his capture on a snowy Italian mountainside pleaded guilty to felony charges of insurance fraud July 23.

Mark Weinberger, 49, built a multi-million-dollar practice billing himself as “The Nose Doctor.” He abandoned the practice in 2004, disappearing while vacationing in Greece. He was captured in 2009 and extradited to the United States, where he had debts totaling millions of dollars and faces hundreds of malpractice claims.

Weinberger pleaded guilty before Chief Judge Philip Simon in the Hammond Division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Sentencing is set for Oct. 12, and he faces up to 10 years in prison if Simon accepts the plea.

Simon told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville, “I’m virtually certain I’m going to accept the plea agreement.”

It’s the second time Weinberger has pleaded to the charges. Last year, Simon rejected a plea deal in which Weinberger would have served a four-year prison sentence. Weinberger is charged with 22 counts of insurance fraud alleging that he billed his malpractice carrier for surgeries that he didn’t perform totaling about $350,000.

Weinberger also faces more than 350 malpractice suits from former patients who claimed that Weinberger performed unnecessary or outmoded surgeries that might have worsened their conditions.

Separately, Weinberger’s malpractice carrier has sued him, claiming he was uncooperative and his actions void its duty to defend. Weinberger, in turn, sued the carrier, claiming bad faith. Still to be untangled in the federal courts is who will pay mounting judgments. The Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, which pays malpractice judgments up to $1 million above the insurance cap of $250,000, also is involved in the Weinberger cases in federal court.

In April, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich in the Lafayette Division of the Northern District of Indiana recommended a special master be appointed to deal with the pending cases, and a ruling is anticipated. The patient compensation fund says that without a special master, disposing of the cases could take five to 13 years if all went to trial.

– Dave Stafford

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AG: Parts of immigration law can’t stand - IL Rehearing "Indiana's immigraiton law reeling" July 6-19, 2012

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said July 31 that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down most of a tough Arizona law will impact a similar immigration law signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2011.

“Certain portions of the state law cannot stand,” Zoeller said in a statement announcing that provisions of SEA 590 allowing warrantless arrests cannot be defended.

Zoeller filed a brief to that effect in an ACLU case, Buquer v. Indianapolis, 1:11-CV-0708, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

“… the Attorney General recognizes the constitutional infirmities inherent in a warrantless arrest for a removal order, a notice of action, or the commission of an aggravated felony that would subject the arrestee to removal,” Zoeller wrote in the brief. “The Attorney General will submit the issue to the Court with the recommendation that a warrantless arrest under those circumstances is unconstitutional.”

The ACLU suit also challenged SEA 590’s criminalization of the use of consular-issued identification cards. Zoeller said an inference from Arizona, et al. v. United States, 11-182, that this portion of the law should be struck down was an improper reading of the SCOTUS decision.

“While the use of consular identification cards was not addressed in Arizona, (the state recognizes) the substantial questions about how far the Indiana legislature may go to criminalize purely private behavior … and how far the pre-emption doctrine can go toward defining what identification a State may recognize as valid for public and governmental purposes,” Zoeller wrote in the filing, leaving the question open for the court.

Zoeller also is defending the law in another case, Union Benefica Mexicana v. State, 2:11-CV-00482, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, which challenges two sections of the law: one that allows the Department of Workforce Development to file civil actions against employers for reimbursement of unemployment insurance if they knowingly employed illegal immigrants; and a second that prohibits someone from performing day labor without filing an attestation of employment authorization.

Zoeller said he will continue to defend that case in light of the Arizona ruling, but no brief has been filed in that matter because the case has been stayed.•

– Dave Stafford

Rehearings: Updates on issues previously reported in Indiana Lawyer. For copies of the original story, call our circulation department at 317-636-0200 with the title of the article and the issue date listed. Fee is $5 per story.
 

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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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