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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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