Friday, March 17, 2017

Federal Judge Dismisses ABIM Copyright Infringement Suit

Yesterday, US District Judge Katherine Hayden dismissed the instant copyright infringement action filed by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) against defendent Jaime Salas Rushford MD because the action was time-barred by its three-year statute of limitations.

Background

The ruling stems from a December 2009 complaint filed by the ABIM against Rajender K. Arora who  conducted a live six-day board review course called the Arora Board Review (ABR) course in May 2009 in Livingston, NJ. Around that time, ABIM discovered test questions on ABR's website that ABIM suspected were copied from its prior examinations. ABIM filed their complaint that Arora, ABR, and an ABR employee, Anise Kachadourian, alleging a scheme through which "ABR unlawfully obtained ABIM's secure examination items by mobilizing course attendees to divuldge contents of the examination to defendents" in violation of federal copyright law. The December 2009 complaint also named 50 John Doe defendents "a presently unknown member of past and/or present candidates for Board Certification who have complied with this requests of defendents Arora and Kachadourian to provide secure, copyrighted examination content to Arora for further dissemination." (Note: the issue of ABIM claiming violations of copyright law are solely those of ABIM and were not addressed by the judge in her opinion, but rather the motion to dismiss was made taking everything the ABIM said was true and giving all the inferences they made in their favor.)

On the same day that it filed the December 2009 complaint, ABIM successfully obtained an ex parte order from the district court authorizing United States Federal Marshal to "break open and/or forcibly enter" the individual defendents' homes and seize, among other things, all communications with ABR's customers relating to infringement of ABIM's copyrighted examination. This action later led to national headlines in June 2010 that claimed "doctors cheated."

According to the ruling: "As a result of the seizure, ABIM obtained a trove of emails between Arora and various course attendees. The lawsuit against Arora was settled in June, 2010, and according to counsel, ABIM began instituting action against individual physicians whom ABIM deemed complicit with Arora and ABR. According to the complaint eventually filed in court, ABIM identified Jaime Salas Rushford in January 2012 as one of ABR's alledgedly complicit customers, when it linked him to an e-correspondence about August 2009 exam questions that was sent from the email address "padrinojr@yahoo.com." Salas allegedly began compiling detailed ABIM examination content that he got from colleagues who sat for the examination leading up to his own examination date 20 August 2009 and sent it to Arora using the padrinojr@yahoo.com email address."

ABIM then waited until October 2014 to file the current action against him in October 2014, even though they knew the identity of Salas Rushford in January 2012, eight months before the three-year statute of limitations for their action against Arora ended. (ABIM argued that the three-year statute of limitations did not begin until January 2012 when the identified Salas Rushford as the owner of the padrinojr@yahoo.com email address.) In fact, the judge noted "ABIM made an intentional decision not to bring suit against Salas within the applicable limitations period when the alledged facts clearly show it was capable of doing so." Judge Hayden goes on to say that "this lawsuit against Salas is a coda to the main thrust of ABIM's litigation efforts, apparently born of a second look at the decision ABIM made not to sue Salas when his name popped up in January 2012."

At the time Salas Rushford was sued by ABIM in 2014, he filed a counterclaim, not only against ABIM, but against Richard Baron, MD, Christine Cassel, MD, Lynn O. Langdon, Eric Holmbie, MD, and members of an alleged ABIM "Hearing Panel" comprised of David Coleman, MD, Joan M. Von Feldt, MD, and Naomi O'Grady, MD. He also included ABIM's insurance companies and Pearson Education Inc. in the counterclaim. That counterclaim now proceeds.

Implications

The implications of the decision by the Judge Hayden yesterday are signficiant for a large portion of practicing US physicians and for the the financial solvency of the ABIM. According to its most recently-available Fiscal Year 2015 federal tax forms, the ABIM has a deficit of $50,642,980. Currently, their website lists the ABIM's FY 2016 expenses at $62.5 million, $2.5 million more than their federal tax form disclosed for fiscal year 2015. Legal expenses are signficiantly contributing to these expenses, not just "strategic non-capitalized spending on infrastructure upgrades in anticipation of the launch of a new MOC assessment in 2018" as ABIM claims on its website.

How much higher can these expenses be allowed to go? Who shoulders these expenses?

Physicians do.

From 2000 to 2014, the cost of board certification has increased 244% (16.3%/year) from $795 to $1940 for general internists and 257% (17.2%/yr) from $995 to $2560 for specialists. This year, candidates sitting for their initial board certification in cardiac electrophysiology had to pay $2830 to register for their examination.

If things continue the way they are, the countersuit by Salas Rushford will be the least of the ABIM's legal and financial concerns as doctors come together to act collectively on their own behalf.

-Wes

Disclaimer: I serve as an expert witness for Jaime Salas Rushford, MD and am a co-founder of Practicing Physicians of America, a physician advocacy organization.

25 comments:

  1. The ABIM, Baron, Cassel, Langdon et al will REAP WHAT YOU SOW.
    Congratulations to Dr. Salas!!!

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  2. I guess we (the physicians and their families) have a new Holiday! Just like Bastille Day, Cinco De Mayo, and July 4th!

    Down with the oppressors and unjust taxation! I hope to see "dr" Baron tarred, feathered, and run out on a rail and all his cronies doing the perp walk of shame. Listening Cassel?

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  3. The ABIM liability and for each of the henchmen/women are enormous. It could be upwards of $17M. How many more Dr. Salas' are there? Dozens? Scores? If I was the insurance carrier for the ABIM, I would say the loss of this lawsuit is an uninsurable event. It is the ABIM administration that erred when they chased after Dr. Salas after the expiration of the statute of limitations. Which means that Cassel, Langdon, Baron are personally on the hook.

    The irony is just, utterly and wholly sickening, isn't it?

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  4. The documents related to the dismissal of ABIM's copyright infringement lawsuit are definitely worth a read. The judge made the right call.
    https://www.doctorsjustice.com/

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  5. I read the court documents on DoctorsJustice. There are insightful moments in the 83-page court transcript where Judge Hayden probes for context and background. What comes across is a very human side of the court via a senior judge showing fairness and at the same time getting straight to the heart of the legal facts of the case.

    Hayden showed an unbiased attitude, and strangely, but refreshingly so, seemed to know next to nothing about the ABIM, which surprised me.

    The oral arguments dealt with substance ("show me what you got"), with the focus being on whether the case was time-barred or not due to statute of limitations.

    Clearly the case was filed too late argued Salas-Rushford's attorney. The Supreme Court has even ruled on such cases, he pointed out, so there was not much the ABIM could do. Even most casual observers thought so, and that the case had no legs, no substance, and was out of time.

    So what happened that the case progressed this far? So many years torturing a decent man and physician. It baffles me and many others. So much time and money - both physicians' and taxpayer money?

    Where did the ABIM and ABMS fail in their duties to thoroughly vet this case and the merits of extending their inquisitional "witch hunts" out to over eight years now? The harms to themselves, the institution, and a young vulnerable physician are/were on the line. Why? What for?

    Who ultimately decided to take such violent course with Dr. Rushford. The same ones that illicitly pursued and persecuted Sarah von Muller and the others? I can't believe how much carnage one testing company can inflict. Did it go up the chain of command and come before the full board.

    Was the ABMS' Chief Legal Officer consulted? Is this how the ABMS wants to relate with its community of physicians and public? There are many questions. The culture within the medical boards needs to be looked at an evaluated. This is more important than revenue flow. If there is not trust. You have nothing. And the value of nothing is nothing.

    http://www.abms.org/about-abms/research-and-education-foundation/

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  6. Who screwed up so badly at the ABIM and ABMS? It is criminal what they have done!

    Obviously Dr. Salas Rushford has been a vulnerable party hurt in so many ways by the ABIM. Everything that has been released by the courts, ABIM panel letters, and blog posts about this case screams out about the harm these professional medical politicians have inflicted on him.

    Dr Jimmy has been forthright and shown himself to be an upright gentleman all the way, respectful and quite transparent. He's shown spirit and fight.

    I just don't get why they did this to him - I mean violated the statute of limitations laws with a legal trick - when Ballard Spahr's former Supreme Court Judge would have known the law very well.

    What a ruse they tried to pull to bleed him financially and emotionally and keep stalling for more and more time. It was obvious to me and everyone I talked with it was all puff and huff on the part of B. S.

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  7. All public opinion, outside the ABIM 17th floor executive suites, favors"David" over "Goliath".

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  8. Does the ABIM simply mismanage itself and "get it wrong" on almost everything? Or are they just plain mean!

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  9. ABIM kept torturing Dr. Jaime Antonio Salas Rushford for years with neo-Mcarthyist mind-games, threats, and putting him to the question like it was an inquisition. In court ABIM used stonewalling and legal tricks throughout his ordeal. Regarding the time-barred aspect of the lawsuit, this should have been the first thing that was looked at. In my experience meeting court deadlines is where you must strictly follow legal procedures. ABIM really got it wrong. I think they were just trying to pull a fast one on the court and the defendant. They don't care about winning as much as just hurting people to control the physician community. Dr. Baron and Nora want to keep the revenue stream for MOC alive and their lavish lifestyles intact. Everyone understands the political and financial implications involved in this case.
    Dr. Salas Rushford was Christine Cassel and Lynn Langdon's political and financial pawn the "march of MOC dimes" and their decades-long corporate healthcare agenda.

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  10. Dr. Rushford's Motion to Dismiss On Grounds the Statute of Limitations Had Expired

    I read in the recent transcript with Judge Hayden that there was discussion about why this case was not examined thoroughly and dismissed for tardiness of filing before. Anyone familiar with this case and the previous law suits would just look at a calendar and say jeez this thing is time-barred. Let's all go home!

    In fact, I discovered Salas Rushford's attorneys moved on this 3-year limiter themselves right after the case was filed. See the excerpt from the first opinion of Judge Sweeney below where the statute of limitation issues were clearly understood by everyone, except ABIM's seemingly indignant and capricious duo attorneys. In fact they knew the lawsuit was way beyond the 3-year statute of limitations. Anyone with five fingers could figure it out. They relied on a ex-NJ supreme court bully, who incidentally got in trouble for bullying a vulnerable teen in the past for throwing his weight around in a dispute involving his son. Typical abuse of power. No wonder the ABIM chose him to lead. Was it his idea or MS. Jacobs to try to pull the wool over a magistrate and senior judge's eyes about the statute of limitations? Reprehensible. Look at the costs and harm done to all with Soto-Rivera's fallacious words and procedural acts. All a ploy.

    In fact, take note, much earlier in the trial Rushford even moved on ABIM's Puerto Rico filing to dismiss the case for the same obvious reason, that is to say, the statute of limitation. Rushford's motion to dismiss was in the Puerto Rico filing, but it should also apply to the initial New Jersey filing. The court should have considered this simple fact that it was time-barred from day one. All the court had to do was look beneath the surface of ABIM's bogus prima facie copy-paste lawsuit.

    Something seems contrived here. Didn't Judge Hayden ever watch the television detective show Colombo? Maybe she just wanted to get to some facts about the parties involved in the case. So far only Dr. Rushford has shown up for all the proceedings. Dr. Baron has not shown up once. Nor has any of the many ABIM experts to help out the fairly inept attorneys they hired to explain certification testing. It is all second-hand guesstimates provided to the courts.

    I asked myself, when looking for documents to study this case, why would the court suppress the deposition of Ariel Benjamin Mannes whose exploits add a lot of color and sense of sham and shame to the ABIM's whole operation. Mannes' involvement has direct bearing on everything. He was the felon that investigated and provided weight, felonious or not, with his notes and testimony to get the ABIM's judge to have a sealed filing of their lawsuit, because they wrongly accused Dr. Arora of being a flight risk and would destroy documents. This took away his rights under the constitution. He and his family had the right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    But the thug giving the oath was an employee of the ABIM and he never appears in any of the IRS tax filings as a major contractor or director of investigations. His existence at the ABIM was a lie and the oath he took was a lie, because his words were false and his seizure of property was unreasonable by anyone's standard of decency. Mannes mad a lot of money from harming physicians. He made a great deal of money from conflicts of interest that were not disclosed to the public, because the ABIM never even disclosed their felonious secret weapon.

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  11. Dirty legal tricks and an ill-begotten trove of cash

    Dirty legal tricks, a powerful ill-begotten trove of cash - along with media demonization, intimidation, bullying and other ABIM deceitful acts - were ABIM's only ways of establishing guilt of copyright infringement. They did so through the media, which they had in their pocket, and the court, which was in the palm of their hand. ABIM relied on powerful well-established political and judicial connections.

    Since physicians fees are being squandered in so many ways from huge paydays to spurious legal pursuits, it seems to me that it is time for new management at the ABIM. If the ABMS was involved they should be held to account also. I want a federal investigation of this. How can the ABIM waste so much of our federal tax dollars on its escapades and legal tantrums.

    The DOJ needs to investigate the ABIM and ABMS umbrella, especially their expensive legal staff who were completely aware of law and how the statute of limitations work. At a minimum they should be fined and pay the court fees back to federal government and Salas Rushford immediately. It was posted earlier that the ABMS' Chief Legal Officer has a number of duties. One of those duties is oversight of outside legal actions relevant to the ABMS or any of their 24 medical boards. I just notice that Legal Officer has a number of degrees. One of those degrees is in religious studies. So on ethical grounds alone the ABMS must speak out about this failure of one of its member boards to serve justice and apologize. The ABIM and ABMS umbrella should imo provide compensatory damages to Dr. Salas Rushford and all the other physicians that the ABIM/ABMS has harmed in their brutal witch hunts and persecutions.

    It also appears the Judge Hayden, did not apply the force of the law in time to protect an innocent man from injury. Katharine let this motion to dismiss sit on her coffee table too long. This case should have been dismissed immediately on grounds that the complaint was time-barred under the applicable three-year statute of limitations. I believe Harah Jacobs and former supreme court judge Soto-River should be sanctioned for what they have tried to pull. A seventy-year old senior judge has been made to look like a demented fool and it is Ballard Spahr's penchant for milking the ABIM and its physicians that is largely to blame - along with the corrupt corporation, the ABIM under the leadership of Drs. Cassel and Baron along with Langdon and Holmboe, who hired them. This is one of the most remarkable events in the history of law and the press is not even blinking. Not one reporter or camera. Judge Hayden did her job, but the ABIM and Ballard Spahr did not. They exhibit a knack for abusing the court, taxpayer and defendant and they are generally getting away with it.

    "On January 11, 2015, ABIM filed a federal action in the District of Puerto Rico to protect
    against the possibility that the first-filed case would be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. 1(P.R. D.E. 1.) Just two weeks later, and despite the fact that he was never served, Salas Rushford moved to dismiss (P.R. D.E. 4) on grounds that the complaint was time-barred under the applicable three-year statute of limitations. On February 20, 2015, ABIM moved to stay the action pending this Court’s resolution of Salas Rushford’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (P.R. D.E. 15.) ABIM also moved to strike and/or dismiss a counterclaim filed by Salas Rushford against ABIM and individual physicians involved with the administrative action taken against him. 2 (P.R. D.E. 33.)"

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  12. ABIM wins the horrible-housekeeping-seal-of-dissaproval and a vote of no-confidence

    It is incredulous that a federal judge in EDPA, Judge Curtis Joyner would offer up a rare ex-parte writ to a felon in order to seize another man's property that for all he knew was completely innocent. Incredible. And if not for the lies told, blown up allegations, and invasion of his life, Dr. Arora would have his rights intact today and be just as innocent and upright as any man or woman alive today . . if not for the media and ABIM's expensive propaganda and demonization.

    With the heinous threats made by ABIM's legal thugs and greedy certification company psycho-metricians, all directed at Dr. Arora, a female associate and his family, came untold deprivations of his rights and privacy. Almost all of ABIM's major targets were vulnerable ethnic or religious minorities, candidates who had visa and financial concerns that prevented them from properly fighting back. Or in the case of Sarah von Muller, if she had a team of powerful attorneys, she could have perhaps ended up owning part of Ballard Spahr and closed down the ABIM for good if all the facts were known and disclosed.

    ABIM concealed facts from their victims - facts crucial to their defense and counter-suits.

    A convicted felon with a history of abusing civil liberties and privacy, even associating today with those who have little regard for these rights, has been in full control of physicians' data for over 8.5 years. This convict broke into homes trolling for even more personal information in order to control and gain even more control and power.

    The ABIM is out of control and needs to be held accountable.

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  13. YAHOO!

    Viva Padrinojr! YAHOO!

    YAHOO!

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  14. Dear Dr. Baron et al,
    Are you aware of the word "karma"?

    Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation:

    The cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person's deeds in the previous incarnation.

    Perhaps the ABIM will openly beg for forgiveness from the Diplomates. If not, their fate is sealed.

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  15. A real board of directors would ask for the CEO's head on a platter if that CEO just burned through millions $$$ pushing a lawsuit that never should have been pursued.

    Time to shut down ABIM's fake mission and it's fake board of directors. Clean the whole stinking mess up!

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  16. Wes,
    Is it true, the ABIM filed an identical lawsuit in P.R. against Dr. Salas?

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  17. My understanding is they filed the same suit after the Salas' lawyers asked in New Jersey to get the case transferred to Puerto Rico. They describe it as a "protective filing" which they had no intention to pursue unless the New Jersey court sent them down to Puerto Rico. When the case was not moved to Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico case was dismissed.

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  18. Read the procedural history of ABIM v. Dr. S R, which starts on page 3 of Judge Hayden's court opinion, 2015. It is an outline of the legal actions. Jurisdiction was an issue for the ABIM. NO jurisdiction NO case. So they covered their bases and filed in PR. Jurisdiction is always an issue and one of the first things contested, as it was in the original five cases filed just before Dr. Arora (publicly) settled his case with the ABIM on June 10, 2010, or thereabouts. At this time it was announced that ABIM was sanctioning 139 physicians who took Arora's courses. Five days before the 139 physicians were sanctioned, ABIM quietly filed five lawsuits claiming copyright infringement.

    Incidentally, in the final oral argument in this case, Harah Jacobs withheld knowledge she had readily in her head about when Dr. Arora settled and when the five cases were filed - this was regarding before or after the settlement. We believe the settlement should be unsealed.

    It is an important point I make about timing as the cunning and calculating Jacobs was intentionally evasive on the subject of the settlement date and filing of suits against the five docs. Ballard Spahr carefully planned the lawsuits, and settlement with with well-timed demonizing press releases. All this was meant to confuse facts, which were scant, pushing a narrative that would terrorize physicians into talking and confessing to crimes they did not commit in exchange for what? Leniency, a less sever punishment? This gestapo-like tactic is sickening and physicians were completely caught off guard, not unlike the breaking into the home of Drs. Arora and Anise Kachadourian. All this was meant to make it look like the federal government was rounding up a criminal gang, when in fact the ABIM was engaging in improper search and seizure by misconstruing facts to a federal judge. This could easily be proven in court. ABIM meant to prove Arora attendees guilty in the court of public opinion before any real facts were known and denying them due process. What Salas Rushford's tacked-on raid, sanctioning and surprise lawsuit showed us, was just how far the ABIM is willing to go for financial and political control over physicians - even to the point of violatory acts against our sacred constitutional guarantees and privacy.

    This whole nine-year event of persecuting physicians was a highly political, strategic tactic. Jacobs stayed up late at night planning and coordinating all these details with ABIM's officers named in the counterclaims, and the courts. It shows how much sway they had over the press and courts, because they were able to carry it off with remarkable timing and precision.

    Four of the five punitive cases against physicians - redundant after Arora settled - were dismissed because Pennsylvania had no jurisdiction over the defendants. Only Dr. Sarah von Muller went to trial, the other cases were thrown out. (BTW, ABIM's attorney Soto-Rivera incorrectly stated to Judge Hayden (oral transcript) and the federal court she represents that the defendants settled. This was absolutely wrong. He may have been referring to sanctions/certification agreements, but not to court cases. They were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, almost all without exception. He misled the judge and it is in the federal court's oral record.

    http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/new-jersey/njdce/2:2014cv06428/310554/26/

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  19. If Joyner had all facts disclosed to him of the ABIM's bogus "investigation" and the known liar-convicted-felon hired by the egregiously conflicted politician Christine Cassel, history would have played out differently. If Judge Curtis Joyner knew of the ABIM's felonious "director of investigations", Joyner would have called up the DoJ immediately and ordered an investigation of the ABIM. The DoJ would most likely discover racketeering and tax evasion. The IRS would have to be involved. The HHS offices of the OIG would also want to take a look.

    With ABIM v. Salas Rushford the same miscarriage of justice applies as what happened to thousands of physicians already. ABIM is a corrupt corporation involved in racketeering and public fraud; the DoJ needs to open an investigation.

    With ABIM's pursuit of Dr. Jimmy, facts still coming out, ABIM spent big and lost big in their ridiculous attempts to bully and demonize their client. The demonization of Rushford and the others has only backfired on them.

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  20. What about Sarah Von Muller and her jurisdictional/forum issues?

    Dr. Von Muller accepted the Pennsylvania forum in order to counter-sue the ABIM. She claimed she was wrongfully and maliciously harmed by the ABIM. Her fourth amendment rights were violated, etc. She was defamed/publicly humiliated, made to look guilty in countless publications and media outlets without due process and no proof. Her certification status was "stolen" by the ABIM. The damages against von Muller were enormous. The ABIM spent over a million dollars on the legal pursuit, preparation and trial against Von Muller alone, the bulk going to Harah Jacobs and Marc Weinstein and a third attorney, plus all the billable hours of a very considerably sized team.

    They did not even prove their case against von Muller as the jury did not sufficiently understand legal issues surrounding copyright law. As a result, ABIM was given a favorable judgement and a small amount of money in 'damages' and legal fees. Ultimately, ABIM recovered only a tiny fraction of what they spent on the legal fees in the recovered 'damages' and legal costs paid.

    The federal judge, after Von Muller lost her appeal and counterclaim, found that ABIM was over-billing for attorney's hours and there were duplicate charges. The attorney Marc Jacob Weinstein, Harah Jacob's partner in suing physicians, had obvious conflicts of interest and he disappeared from Ballard Spahr's employ circa 2012. Mysteriously attorney Weinstein does not appear anywhere on Ballard Spahr's billing ledger sent to Judge Joyner's financial reckoning team - as supplied to the court by Ballard Spahr/ABIM.

    Note: Forensic accountants may wish to be alerted to watch out for more over-billing as to Ballard Spahr's legal fees to ABIM in ABIM v. Salas Rushford.

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  21. The Deadbeat CEO/President of the ABIM and ABIM Foundation

    Strange that a federal judge working-full time gets a modest salary - a fraction of what Dr. Baron gets for working 35 hours per-week from home. If you add in Rich Baron's deferred compensation sitting offshore in Cayman Islands hedge funds (waiting for his departure from the ABIM) he's raking in over $1 million dollars per-year. And the ABIM is, practically speaking, moving in the direction of insolvency unless they can gain back some trust and support.

    Ending mandatory MOC is the only ticket that will get there! And taking a substantial reduction in pay. Or soon all the ABIM employees will be working for nothing.

    Consider the fact that Judge Katharine Sweeney Hayden is a retired judge essentially working for free. (She earned a pension.) Gratis is what ABIM directors and officers used to do - they used to work for free.

    A deadbeat skipper running the ABIM aground

    Dr. Baron did not even show up to face the judge in New Jersey in a case he initiated. He missed a golden opportunity. Why? The defendant was there in person all the way from Puerto Rico with his father, why was not the plaintiff, Dr. Baron, there? Isn't the federal court in Newark?

    Newark's federal courthouses are not that far for him to go first class by private jet, or to be chauffeured by limousine. Where was he on January 11, 2017? Just wait until the judge tries to reach him at the ABIM's Walnut Street Suites and finds him at home, not taking any calls. Just send your request for information, Judge Hayden or Waldor to info@amin.org. (That .org as in non-profit organization.)

    Rich Baron's already looking like a wealthy dead-beat. He's a no-show at the courthouse. But if Rich wants any money he just takes it from you every year in order for you to remain employed or struggle to get a job. He just dips into every certified physicians pocket and takes out a million every year.

    If physicians need anything from Rich, such as the overdue ending of mandatory MOC, they're gonna have to take him to court.

    Federal Judge compensation after recent pay increase.
    "Associate Supreme Court justices now have a $244,400 salary, up from $213,900. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges are getting $211,200 a year, up from $184,500. The annual salary of a U.S. District Court judge increased to $199,100 from $174,000."

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  22. Profiteering 101: ABIM’s malicious rush to do harm - how convicted felon A. Benjamin Mannes and Ballard Spahr attorney Marc J. Weinstein preyed on vulnerable candidates and made a market for themselves and Caveon/Kryterion.

    The ABIM in concert with the ABMS hired a convicted felon in June 2008 to control their markets and force out competition as they expanded into competing markets in the board preparation testing markets. ACP, parent organization of the ABIM, and recipient of ABIM Foundation grant money, benefited directly from a convicted felon’s investigative charge and thrusts into these lucrative test preparation markets. ACP sells expensive test prep materials and conducts courses.

    Willful and malicious acts were perpetrated against physicians who attended these competing board courses, such as FrontRuners and Arora Board Review. Spies and investigators were used to collect any and all dirt they could on their competitors. Wall Street companies wanting to engage in buyouts engage in similar practices in secret. The first business we know of, FrontRunners, suffered severe damage but eventually staved off the attacks and survived, but the second business run by Dr. Rajendr K. Arora, an old Hindu physician did not survive. His business was shut down, primarily because it was not affiliated financially and politically with the ABMS and ACP. The ABIM felon and attorneys used the leverage of intimidation to the point of malevolently trying to destroy the intimate families of both small preparation companies during the processes of ABIM’s frontal legal attacks.

    We have come to understand that conflicts of interest run very deep between convicted felon Ariel Benjamin Mannes, attorney Marc Jacob Weinstein and the ABIM. The ABMS umbrella and medical boards were involved to varying degrees. And both Mannes and Weinstein were connected to the spy/investigatory agency Caveon – a group of unvetted testing security individuals who all work from home at unregistered locations. And what’s more they have no offices to visit if you have a grievance or complaint. There are no ethics conference rooms to meet at, if they have harmed you in any way through their invasions of privacy and civil liberties. They have only a Utah commercial postal box.
    Caveon, or any of their hidden cast of employees, are not registered with consumer advocacy groups in Utah if you have been cheated by them. Yet Caveon is in the business of going after test cheaters. Their proprietary forensic software, shall we call it, “let’s run a test for cheaters algorhythm” software is secret and they will not allow state, federal, or corporate contractors test the “testing software” for accuracy and reliability. It tests for testing irregularities. In fact, the company and its sister company Kryterion, which conducts online proctored testing with unvetted third-party vendors, has patents and with their patented products and services they check for irregular behavior during live testing from a center or from your home.

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  23. As chief representative for the the plaintiff, ABIM's CEO, Richard Baron, MD, did not show up for the important oral arguments. This puzzles me?

    Is Rich, with all due respect, not a surrogate (chief) for all the candidates and diplomates as well? In fact he straddles these two complementary worlds and must represent both objectively. They do not have to be opposing realities. Look at what is happening with MOC. Mandatory MOC needs to end and the ABIM need to participate in lobbying back the mandates coming from the NCQA, insurers and hospitals.

    The ABIM is a powerful NGO and must exercise that power for the good of the many. That means today ending mandatory MOC. Why the absence of real leadership from the ABIM and ABMS boards? It is the right and just thing to do to end MOC. I don't get it. They created it and they must end it. I understand the money, but the goodwill toward physicians and welfare of patients trumps money. The absence of leadership at the ABIM harms and disturbs the balance of the healthcare system. Only harm comes out of the ABIM these past several years.

    By analogy, how did Dr. Baron's absence from the Newark courtroom play out in the Honorable Judge Katharine Sweeney Hayden order to dismiss the case against Dr. Rushford? Her actions were according to law, but it will play out for the future in the counterclaims. Physicians are asking for a divorce from punitive overreach and torturous mandates and the father of physicians does not show up in court. What does that say to the hundreds of thousands of certified physicians?

    Why has Dr. Richard Baron never commented on ABIM versus Dr. Jaime Antonio Salas Rushford? I really want to know why has he stayed away?

    When Christine Cassel was CEO of the ABIM she threw her weight around speaking to the media to promote their violatory attacks on board preparation companies competing with the American College of Physicians' medical board preparation offerings and physicians who would choose in a "free market" to attend them. (Before Cassel was CEO of ABIM she was President of the ACP and is a master. Clear duality of conflicts in her thinking and actions.)

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  24. Ending Mandatory MOC Is In The Best Interest Of The ABIMTue Mar 21, 05:32:00 AM CDT

    Being Fair To All

    Just because one is named in a counter-suit, it does not preclude Rich showing up in a courtroom to represent the ABIM's interests and to show concern for his diplomates/candidates. What does this say to the world? I really am as puzzled as an oyster over this.

    This shows lack of belief and fortitude, on Dr. Baron's part, in what the ABIM has done and what they are doing. What else does it say?

    Will Rich be deposed in the lawsuit against the ABIM? Will he have to take the stand in JASR versus ABIM, et al?

    Is Ballard Spahr advising him? Look at the mess all those risk managers, attorneys, subject matter experts and felonious "directors of investigations" have made of the ABIM.

    Beyond the money and outside the politics, I really want to know one thing. Is there any humanity left . . .

    Beyond that we have big problems to solve together. MOC and MACRA and so many encumbrances/restrictions preventing patients from getting the care they need and a physician providing it. How much of this bad faith business in medicine has been created by corrupt industries and assurance companies . . . and how much a product of passivity, not jumping up and shouting enough about it?

    Without humanity inside and the will to act medicine and people will literally suffer or perish from bad decisions . . .

    MOC and MACRA are part of the bad decision process from foolish folks' abortive (abstract) and disconnected thoughts and minds -- it's like the ABIM lawsuits, pointless exercises that just cause great harm. And now ABIM will have to pay for it!

    MOC and MACRA measure nothing except greed and ineptness of the sponsors and supporters. In the end it is money and time down the drain.

    We all need to come together, not to fight one another, in order to root out the bad decisions which harm the patients and the caregivers . . .

    Compassion is needed! Going the whole mile and the second one, being a real leader not just a follower.

    MOC and MACRA equals conflict, dissipation of energy, loss of focus/distraction, waste of money. They are more than just two pieces of straw in weight. They are bricks on fire breaking the healthcare system's back.

    When are we going to have the real leadership we need? Leadership that does the right thing.

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  25. ABIM's continuing malice against physicians: Why was this case dismissed only now and not earlier?

    Did the federal court in Newark show deference toward the ABIM? ABIM acted maliciously to place and hold Dr. Salas Rushford in their iniquitous legal spider web. It appears from this court action and the characterization and language in Judge Hayden's opinion and order to dismiss, other physicians may have the right to sue the ABIM also. Many physicians were harmed with their negligence and overreach.

    MOC Malice

    The malice the ABIM sows in the legal world obviously extends into the healthcare industry by willfully holding physicians in that sticky web of MOC as well. There is great harm coming from a company that glosses over fact after fact and denies reality.

    Time and Substance v. Changing Department of Justice?

    Why was this case held over until early 2017 to dismiss only after the presidential election cycle? It could have been dismissed in 2014, 2015, or 2016. The legal precedents were the same in 2014 as they were in 2017. Three years equals three years. The statute of limitations did not change to five years from three. Limiters exist because the further out in time you go, the more likely documents will be lost or destroyed. It is difficult enough for someone to mount a defense when the means to do so are gone or memories grow dim. How can one have a fair chance to bring out necessary facts when one sees the ABIM and Ballard Spahr allowed to keep some of the most important documents and people involved in this case suppressed/sealed/protected?

    How fair is that?

    Consider: Mannes' deposition, Arora's settlement, lack of depositions from the key bad actors at the ABIM. The shopping list was long in this case and ABIM handed over almost nothing for the public record. Or they dumped unmarked documents to sift through with deadlines looming. The court also did a good job quarantining facts, even the PA medical society's letter and vote of no confidence in the ABIM was not even allowed to be entered as evidence for the record.

    The way things stand at this point, my view is it was all kept neat and tidy favoring the ABIM. Dismissal was appropriate, but the skeptic of human nature in me, just like skeptic of human nature in Judge Katharine Sweeney Hayden may suspect the ABIM or another corporation of foul play, but one is kept in check by powerful political forces that may at times act outside and above the law to influence the Department of Justice, such as when Bill Clinton had an ex-parte communication with an Attorney General that he groomed. Loretta Lynch was involved with an investigation of Hillary Clinton at the time. As a Democrat I was appalled at that. It make one distrust the entire fairness of the judicial system. So, yes I am rightfully a skeptic of human nature and the courts who are full of humans who cheat and make errors. Look at Ballard Spahr and how they cheated the system and were allowed to do so.

    I'm not sure they are such great attorneys at Ballard Spahr. They filed in Pennsylvania for the first five physicians they prosecuted. PA had no jurisdiction. Now they file in New Jersey where the copyright infringement allegedly occurred. But no such copyright infringement occurred. Is Ballard Spahr attorney Harah Jacobs even competent enough to be ABIM attorney? So far she has only drained the ABIM of millions of dollars and proved that the ABIM has no copyright protection, because they don't even register the copyrights properly.

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