But on Thursday, he filed a $60 million lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Mark G. Midei, accusing the hospital of pursing “an epic campaign of corporate deception, trickery and fraud” resulting in his “complete destruction.”
“I felt compelled to represent this guy,” Snyder said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “I always felt from the time I met the doctor he was thrown under the bus and the allegations were without merit.”
Lawyers for the patients suing Midei and the hospital over the stent implants were skeptical of the lawsuit’s claims, however. Jay D. Miller represents more than 200 people and called Midei’s lawsuit “a Hail Mary.”
“They’re taking the route of going on the offensive to make the hospital look like the bad guy,” said Miller, of Miller, Murtha & Psoras LLC in Lutherville. “The evidence against Midei is impossible to controvert and is overwhelming.”
Midei’s lawsuit alleges St. Joseph made him “the fall guy” in an attempt to deflect attention from a federal investigation for fraud based on its relationship with MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates, one of the largest medical groups in the state. Midei was a founder of MidAtlantic before joining St. Joseph in 2008 and helping the hospital become nationally known for its cardiology work.
Midei’s lawsuit centers on letters St. Joseph sent to nearly 600 of his patients earlier this year, informing them that they may have received unnecessary stents, which open coronary artery blockages. St. Joseph sent the letters “knowing with certainty they would result in the obliteration of Dr. Midei’s professional career,” the lawsuit states.
Said Snyder: “[St. Joseph] clearly wanted to deflect the full extent of a penalty and appear to be a magnanimous actor and a good corporate citizen.”
St. Joseph said in a statement that it had not yet been served with the lawsuit but would “vigorously defend itself” in the case.
“Throughout the review of stent cases at SJMC and the patient notification process, SJMC has been guided by a belief that it had a moral and ethical responsibility to put patients’ interests first,” the statement reads, in part.
The hospital suspended Midei in July 2009, and the lawsuit alleges the parties entered an agreement four months later whereby he would be reinstated and immediately resign in return for the medical center’s help in finding him a new job. Instead, the hospital began another review of Midei’s cases, according to the lawsuit.
“The Defendants sought to leave no ambiguity in the public’s mind that it acted properly against Dr. Midei … so it continued with additional reviews to supply the final dagger to Dr. Midei’s career,” the lawsuit states.
Midei appeared before the Maryland Board of Physicians in August for a hearing on possible sanctions related to the unnecessary stent charges, although no action has been taken.
Andrew G. Slutkin, who represents less than a dozen stent patients, said a “sophisticated litigator” such as St. Joseph would know that even if it attacked Midei, the hospital likely would be named in any lawsuits filed against him as his employer.
“This case hurts Dr. Midei more than it hurts anyone else,” said Slutkin, of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC in Baltimore and a former partner of Snyder’s. “By filing this suit, Dr. Midei has invited St. Joseph to prove that he was negligent and criminal.”
While Slutkin and Miller said Midei’s lawsuit could help their clients’ cases for that reason, Snyder said it shows the stent patients’ lawsuits are “not a slam dunk” as originally perceived.
“I think some of these lawyers are in for a rude awakening,” he said.
Snyder received a congratulatory phone call from another plaintiffs’ lawyer Thursday afternoon. The lawyer then asked Snyder if he was sure about Midei’s actions.
“I said, ‘I really believe this guy did nothing wrong,’” he said.