Success Stories

$6.1 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST CENTRO MEDICO COMMUNITY CLINIC FOR WRONGFUL TERMINATION OF WHISTLEBLOWER

--Clinic fired doctor who reported illegal management practices and exploitation of patients--

Bakersfield, CA – On February 9, 2017, Timothy D. McGonigle, PC, a plaintiff’s professional malpractice and business litigation firm working in conjunction with Braunstein & Braunstein, PC, achieved a $6.1 million verdict on behalf of Dr. Saied Ibrahim Saied and Dr. Nagy Philips Bebawy against Centro Medico Community Clinic, Inc. for wrongful termination. Lead Counsel, McGonigle proved that Rigaud and Veney, the primary operators of Centro Medico Community Clinic, fired Dr. Saied and Dr. Bebaway in retaliation for reporting the clinic’s illegal practices and exploitation of patients.

“The defendants violated their nonprofit charter by turning away patients who did not have the money to be treated, recommended medically unnecessary tests so they could overcharge patients, and allowed someone who was not a doctor to act as Medical Director,” said McGonigle. “These practices were illegal and exploitative. We’re pleased that the jury arrived at the same conclusion, achieving justice for Dr. Saied and Dr. Bebawy and bringing much-needed reform to the clinic.”

In addition to the verdict, the Honorable David L. Minning, after the first phase of a bifurcated trial on the unfair business practices claims against the clinic, Rigaud and Veney, appointed a Receiver for the clinic which resulted in judicial supervision of the clinic that brought about vast improvements to its services, and it is now fulfilling its mission as a nonprofit to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Background

In 2002, Dr. Bebawy, Dr. Saied, and Rigaud re-opened the existing Centro Medico Community Clinic as a nonprofit corporation, with Dr. Bebawy to serve as Medical Director and Rigaud to serve as Chief Executive Officer; Veney was named Director of Operations in 2004. In obtaining tax exempt status as a Federally Qualified Health Center, the clinic was required to treat all patients, including those who could not pay for treatment. Additionally, as Medical Director, Dr. Bebawy reported to the Board of Directors and was responsible for hiring all medical staff.

In 2007, Dr. Bebawy filed a lawsuit against Rigaud and the clinic for fraud, interference with prospective relations, Lanham Act violations and declaratory relief. Over the course of several years, Rigaud and Veney had taken total control over the clinic, preventing Dr. Bebawy from interviewing or hiring medical personnel, excluding him from Board of Directors meetings and wrongfully barring him from having any financial oversight or control. The lawsuit was settled on the condition that the defendants correct the problems that were the basis of the complaint, but Dr. Bebawy filed another suit in 2011 for breach of this settlement agreement, as Rigaud and Veney were continuing to operate and manage the clinic without oversight from any other licensed medical doctor. As a result, Riguad cut Dr. Bebaway's salary and subsequently terminated him.

On September 27, 2012, Dr. Saied filed a lawsuit against Rigaud, Veney and the clinic, and reported to the California Medical Board. The clinic was turning away patients due to their inability to pay for medical services, repeatedly overcharging patients by ordering medically unnecessary tests, charging extra for certain necessary services such as blood tests, and adding administrative fees. In response to these actions, in early 2013, Rigaud cut Dr. Saied’s hours in half and began paying him only half his prior salary. In September 2013, Dr. Saied was fired in retaliation for reporting the clinic’s illegal activities and refusing to drop the complaint.

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Based in Los Angeles, Timothy D. McGonigle, PC, was established in 1986. The firm has come to be recognized as one of the most respected plaintiffs' professional malpractice and business litigation firms in the state. Representing individuals, small businesses and corporations with equal proficiency, Mr. McGonigle is uniquely positioned to provide effective representation to clients on any side of a dispute.


 

Timothy D. McGonigle Obtains Favorable Outcome on Behalf of Elderly Client in Fee Claim of $1.5 million

Principal trial attorney Timothy D. McGonigle defended an elderly client in a lawsuit filed by the client's former law firm to recover attorney's fees and costs totaling approximately $1.5 million. The former law firm had represented the elderly client and his business partner in litigation pertaining to several commercial real estate projects. The business partner ran the real estate projects and primarily dealt with the former law firm.

After an arbitration spanning two weeks and heard before three retired judges, Mr. McGonigle persuaded the arbitrators that the former attorney and law firm had an active conflict of interest as the former law firm inappropriately had the elderly client sign an engagement letter one-and-a-half years after the representation began which made the elderly client jointly liable with his business partner for the law firm's fees, including for litigation solely involving the business partner, without adequately disclosing that the business partner had significant debts and would likely be unable to pay the fees. The arbitrators thus denied the request for approximately $1.5 million in attorney's fees and costs.

A copy of the 69-page arbitration decision can be obtained by contacting the firm at 310-478-7110..


 

Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Favorably Resolves Suspension of Doctor's Hospital Privileges

Principal trial attorney Timothy D. McGonigle resolved a case involving the suspension of an obstetrician's hospital privileges in the doctor's favor. A hospital summarily suspended the staff privileges of a highly successful and well-loved obstetrician after false allegations were made against her by competitor doctors. The doctor's privileges were suspended for 18 months while an administrative hearing was conducted that concluded that the summary suspension was unwarranted and unreasonable. During this 18-month period, the doctor suffered significant damages from loss of income and loss of value to her medical practice, and Mr. McGonigle and his co-counsel, George Braunstein, ultimately obtained a reinstatement of the doctor's hospital privileges and a successful resolution of a civil suit that was brought to recover damages resulting from the reinstatement.


 

Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Successfully Defended International Singer from Attempts by Promoter to Prohibit Performances

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Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Settled Multi-Million Dollar Case after Trial Court Finding of Duty to Defend by Insurer

Principal trial attorney Timothy D. McGonigle was retained by the insured business owner, who was sued by a hospital for multi-million dollar environmental claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act after the hospital moved into the business's former location. The liability carrier for the business denied the claim, claiming that the terms and conditions of its general liability policy did not provide a duty to defend and indemnify the insured for the hospital's claims. In the business owner's suit against the carrier for bad faith, the trial court granted the insured's motion for summary judgment on the duty to defend. The insured reached a very favorable settlement with the carrier.


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Principal trial attorney Timothy D. McGonigle represented an elderly couple in a case against their insurance company for claims that included breach of contract and bad faith. The couple's house suffered substantial water damage, which subsequently caused flooding, damage to property, mold, and other environmental contamination. After the insurer failed to reasonable adjust their claim and made an offer that was much less than the damage, the couple brought suit, with the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer on all grounds. Mr. McGonigle successfully reversed the trial court's ruling, specifically rejecting the insurer's argument that the mold exclusion was a bar to the couple's claim. The case ultimately settled.


Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Representing Plaintiffs in Action Against Former Attorney

Principal trial attorney Timothy D. McGonigle is currently representing two plaintiffs in a case against their former attorney. The plaintiffs allege that the attorney borrowed $510,000 from them with the assurance that it would be paid back within 30 days of request, with $200,000 of the loan to be secured by a trust deed on the attorney's home. However, after the loan was made it was discovered both that the delivered trust deed was defective and that the attorney had transferred ownership of his home to his wife. Mr. McGonigle represented the plaintiffs in a case against the attorney, which resulted in a finding by the court that, among other things, he acted in an attempt to hinder, delay or defraud the plaintiffs in the collection of their claim.


Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Achieves Dismissal of $18 Million Case Against Former District Attorney

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Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Obtains $700,000 Verdict in Legal Malpractice Action

Principal trial attorney Timothy D. McGonigle represented an automotive design and manufacturing company in a legal malpractice suit against its former counsel, the prominent intellectual property firm Fulwider Patton. The case arose from a previous class action against the company where Fulwider Patton failed to appropriately defend the action, and improperly settled with the plaintiff. Mr. McGonigle asserted that, absent the mishandling of that case by Fulwider Patton, the company would have prevailed. After eight days of trial, the jury ruled in favor of the company in the amount of $700,000.


$323,069 Award Won by Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle in Legal Malpractice Case

Timothy D. McGonigle, Principal trial attorney with Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle, gained a favorable award for a homeowner in a legal malpractice case against her former attorney. Due to her attorney's failure to properly litigate a previous case, the homeowner was forced to pay $174,000 to her contractor who had sued her for breach of contract due to nonpayment for work performed. After a 12-day trial, Mr. McGonigle obtained a favorable jury verdict for the homeowner. Because the jury disagreed on damages, Mr. McGonigle re-tried the case, and received a $323,069 award in favor of the homeowner.


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Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle Retained by U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee in Multi-Million Dollar Case

Timothy D. McGonigle, Principal trial attorney of Law Offices of Timothy D. McGonigle, was retained by a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee in multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty against a bankruptcy debtor's former attorneys. The former attorneys were accused of misrepresenting the bankruptcy debtor in multiple, high-value cases by, among other things, failing to communicate settlement offers which the debtor would have accepted. The action was favorably settled.