Guilty by association ?

Former suspects sue over DEA raid

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hamilton-county/2016/06/30/former-suspects-sue-over-dea-raid/86529042/

INDIANAPOLIS — Former employees of medical clinics in Central Indiana that were raided two years ago by the Drug Enforcement Administration filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging unlawful arrest.

In July 2014, local police and federal agents with the DEA arrested doctors and staff affiliated with the Drug Opiate Recovery Network (DORN) on charges of selling prescription painkillers to their patients, calling the operation a pill mill.

The defendants have maintained their innocence and questioned the validity of the accusations. Charges have since been dismissed against nine of the 12 suspects — everyone but three doctors.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, the former DORN staff members are seeking unspecified monetary damages from drug agents, police agencies and cities involved in the arrest. The former employees are Cassy Bratcher, Carmel; Jessica Callahan, Muncie; Andrew Dollard, Noblesville; Eric Ley, Noblesville; Joeseph Mackey, Howard County; Yvonne Morgan, Eaton, Ohio; Felicia Reid, Carmel; and Derek Tislow, Avon.

Many of the staff members, the lawsuit says, lost jobs, spent significant savings on legal defenses and bail, and are no longer employable due to the criminal charges and subsequent publicity.

The lawsuit alleges that DEA agents Gary Whisenand and Dennis Wichern, Hamilton County Drug Task Force Maj. Aaron Deitz, the Carmel Police Department, the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, the city of Kokomo and the town of Cumberland performed false arrests and took part in malicious prosecution, negligence and defamation.

Carmel, Johnson County and the DEA had no comment on ongoing litigation. None of the other defendants could be reached Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Jeffrey S. McQuary of the firm Brown, Tompkins, Lory & Mastrian, based in Indianapolis, alleges the employees were not responsible for prescribing medication and were merely performing their jobs.

The lawsuit claims that prior to being arrested and charged, the staff members were performing often mundane clinical duties such as answering the phone, scheduling appointments, ordering drug screens, processing patients and physically handing prescriptions to patients.

“The employees had no reason to believe the doctors had done anything wrong,” McQuary said. “I don’t think the doctors did anything wrong, but even assuming for a second that a doctor was prescribing medication outside of the legitimate scope for doing so, how on earth would the employees have known that?”

The lawsuit alleges that one suspect was told by a DEA agent she was arrested in hopes she would testify against the doctors. McQuary said using the staff members for leverage in the prosecution of the doctors might be only plausible explanation for the arrest of staff members.

The drug case has stalled since authorities in a multijurisdiction drug task force announced on July 25, 2014, that they had uncovered an extensive drug ring after a nine-month investigation.

In charging documents, authorities accused the doctors of illegally providing patients prescriptions for Suboxone, a synthetic heroin substitute, in exchange for cash.

At the time, authorities said thousands of patients streamed into the clinics, and consultations would take minutes or less. Patients paid up to $160 to obtain prescriptions, authorities said, and doctors pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Dr. Larry Ley, the former head of the clinic, faces charges in Hamilton County. Prosecutors there also are pursing charges against Dr. Ronald Vierk. Howard County is pursuing charges against Dr. Luella Bangura and Ley. Wayne County is pursuing charges against Vierk and Ley. All have maintained their innocence as the cases have progressed.

Hamilton County and Wayne County courts, however, dismissed charges against the staff members, essentially ruling staff members could not be held legally responsible for the prescriptions written by doctors.

One of the cleared suspects, Dollard, had asked the Indiana Disciplinary Commission to investigate and ultimately disbar five prosecutors for their roles in what he called one of the most corrupt, dishonest and unethical prosecutions in the history of the state.

Dollard was DORN’s attorney. He also is a former candidate for Hamilton County Council.

The commission declined to discipline any of the prosecutors.

Dollard also has filed a civil lawsuit accusing Current Publishing in Carmel of defamation for its news reporting in relation to the drug raid. A trial has been scheduled for 2017.

4 Responses

  1. Well, this is good news for us all. I wonder how well=publicized this is? Steve, do you know if this story has been picked up by more than you and IndyStar? I’m sharing!!

  2. I just love how the press continues to throw gasoline on a government set “fire” and fans then flames with statements like these.

    “In charging documents, authorities accused the doctors of illegally providing patients prescriptions for Suboxone, a synthetic heroin substitute, in exchange for cash.”

    Suboxone….a synthetic heroin substitute? Really? I must have nodded off during that part of the lecture in pharmacy school. That descriptor would be more consistent as a description of Fentanyl. “Distant half-cousin of Heroin” would be a more accurate but certainly less sensational sounding description for Suboxone.

    Of course there is this gem here. Are these doctors being charged with violations or the CSA or are they being charged with practicing law without a license?

    “At the time, authorities said thousands of patients streamed into the clinics, and consultations would take minutes or less. Patients paid up to $160 to obtain prescriptions, authorities said, and doctors pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.”

    The last time I checked, physicians were healers and not advocates in the legal system. How they would pocket thousands of dollars in legal fees would only seem plausible if their “patients” were chemically impaired attorneys that were trading a promise of future legal services for opioid scripts. If that were the case, it seems that a chemically impaired attorney would be the last person I’d want representing me.

    BTW, I’m operating off of the assumption that these hypothetical attorneys are not legitimate chronic pain patients, but rather individuals who are stricken with the mental illness known as addiction. Even when the press isn’t acting as the dutiful lap dog of the State, it still manages to act in such a way by printing such journalistic inaccuracies and other assorted, damaging garbage.

  3. ditto to ,”chippy,”,,,I hope the sue the living crap out of them and then some more,,,,it about time they stood up against these worthless pigs,,,mary

  4. GOOD!!!!!!!! I HOPE THEY TAKE THESE SO CALLED PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES TO THE F_ €£ING CLEANERS. I HOPE THAT ALL THE COMMANDING OFFICERS AND DEA AGENTS INCHARGR GET BROUGHT UP ON REVIEW AND HAVE TO STAND UP AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON COPAN AND IN FRONT OF NATION TO EXPLAIN THEIRSELVES. THE FACT THAT THEY ARREST, ARREST, ARREST UNTIL THEY FIND A GUILTY PARTY, NOT THINKING OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO THE INNOCENT PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS IS NOTHING SHORT OF KGB LAW ENFORCEMENT. IT’S A DISGRACE TO THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF OUR GOVERNMENT.

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