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advertiser banner DIGITAL ISSUES Outpatient Surgery Magazine Digital Edition FEBRUARY 2015 Patient-Centered Care Patient-Centered Care Home > News > January, 2012 ASC Sale Brings $8.8M Verdict for Slighted Physician-Investor Partners convinced him to sell by lying about center's Medicare approval.

Published: January 27, 2012

Category: Surgical Facility Administration > Legal & Regulatory A California jury has awarded $8.8 million in damages to a physician-investor whose partners in an ASC venture tricked him out of his share of the center's earnings.

Daniel Taheri, MD, co-owned a dermatology practice with when the pair decided to open the Thousand Oaks Surgery Center. brought in anesthesiologist and pain management practitioner , as a third partner.

While the new facility won accreditation and eventually gained Medicare's approval, told Dr. Taheri that it had failed to meet Medicare's standards and could not function as a surgery center. The center would be worthless to the physicians, he said, but Dr. Hersel would be able to use the space for other purposes. to join him in selling his shares in the venture to at a loss.

Dr. Hersel bought the partners out. Six months later, repurchased 50% of the center without telling Dr. Taheri, who learned 2 years after investment that the center had been open, and wildly profitable, all along. Dr. Taheri sued and Hersel and the center for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

In his response to the lawsuit, explained that he'd reinvested in the center only to keep it afloat. Pre-trial investigations revealed, however, that his cash had gone into Dr. Hersel's pockets, as the center had $200,000 in its coffers and had turned a $16 million profit in its first 3 years.

also argued that had been required to sell his shares in the center due to a disciplinary agreement he'd signed with Blue Cross of California over billing discrepancies. Dr. Taheri blamed the billing issues on Dr. Khadavi, however, and noted that the insurer's agreement only required him to stop practicing with Dr. Khadavi, not to drop his ownership shares.

The trial jury ordered the defendants to jointly pay $8 million in compensatory damages, reflecting his lost earnings in the center. It also ordered in punitive damages. These awards were upheld on appeal.

attorney declined comment. did not respond to requests for comment.

Leigh Page

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