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Jury: Radiologist Helped Fake Asbestos Claims

December 21, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Chest Radiology, Diagnostic Imaging, Medical Ethics
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A federal court jury decided Thursday that radiologist Ray Harron, MD, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, conspired with two lawyers to fabricate asbestos-injury claims.

As we reported in November 2011, CSX Transportation sued the defendants seven years ago. CSX had been the target of lawsuits alleging that it exposed employees to lung-damaging asbestos. Thursday’s verdict upheld CSX’s claims of racketeering, conspiracy, and fraud against Dr. Harron and lawyers Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond.

According to the West Virginia Record, a legal journal, the jury awarded CSX $469,000. That amount could be tripled because the jury also found that the actions of Peirce, Raimond, and Dr. Harron fell under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.

The jury, which deliberated for two and a half hours, did not uphold the lawyers’ counterclaims that CSX’s lawsuit against them was itself fraudulent. The trial, in Wheeling, West Virginia, began December 11.

The former Pittsburgh law firm of Peirce, Raimond & Coulter filed thousands of asbestos lawsuits in West Virginia courts, supported by evidence provided by Dr. Harron. According to a pair of New York Times articles in 2005 and 2007, Dr. Harron supplied X-ray readings and written medical reports backing claims of asbestos-caused lung damage filed on behalf of more than 88,000 people.

According to the Times, Dr. Harron ended his regular radiology practice in the mid-1990s and began reading compensation-case X-rays full-time. The paper said he read as many as 150 a day, charging $125 for each report he produced.

Dr. Harron lost his medical license in 2007 after he was found by a Texas federal judge in 2005 to have created fraudulent claims of lung damage from silica. In that case, Federal District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack found that Dr. Harron’s diagnoses did not rely on physical examinations, as the reports under his name claimed. Instead, he merely reviewed X-rays and medical histories taken by law firms or screening companies (which set up X-ray screenings to look for silicosis victims and which were not staffed by doctors).

In her opinion, Judge Jack wrote:

These diagnoses were driven by neither health nor justice—they were manufactured for money.

There was no immediate indication whether Dr. Harron and the lawyers would appeal.

* * *

A West Virginia radiologist is suing her own radiology practice, charging that several of her associates defrauded her. See our Facebook page for the accusations.

Related seminar: Thoracic Imaging


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One Response to “Jury: Radiologist Helped Fake Asbestos Claims”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Avoiding Jail, Triple Damages, Knee Problem on February 12th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    […] won in December tripled under provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. As we reported, CSX won a civil case against radiologist Ray Harron, MD, and lawyers Robert Peirce and Louis […]