Pain physician's alleged billing fraud not covered under anti-SLAPP statute, court rules

Alan Condon -   Print  |

A California appellate court has rejected an anti-SLAPP motion filed by Sonny Rubin, MD, after Allstate Insurance alleged that the physician prepared fraudulent medical reports and billing statements to support insurance claims, according to a court opinion posted on Justia

Six notes:

1. Dr. Rubin controls two medical companies — Sonny Rubin, MD, Inc., and Coastal Spine and Orthopedic Specialists in Newport Beach, Calif. — with a portion of lien patients referred to him by attorneys, according to court documents.

2. In filing his anti-SLAPP motion, Dr. Rubin argued that the preparation and submission of the medical reports and bills to insurance were protected litigation activities.

3. However, Dr. Rubin's practice failed to provide evidence establishing the written medical reports or billing statements for its lien patients were made "in anticipation of litigation contemplated in good faith and under serious consideration," according to court documents.

4. The court said that filing alleged false insurance claims is generally not protected right-to-petition activity under the anti-SLAPP statute.

5. The court ruled that Dr. Rubin's reports and bills were not protected activity because they expressly reference settlement, which acknowledges the possibility that Dr. Rubin's patients will resolve claims outside of the court; there was no evidence the reports and bills were intended to be evidence of damages in litigation; and physicians regularly prepare notes or reports and bill for their treatment. 

6. The court concluded that the documents were prepared in the regular course of business and therefore are not protected activity.

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