"Quackbusters" Crushed in Massachusetts Dental Case...

 

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

 

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

 


The "quackbuster" operation in North America, run out of a New York ad agency,  took another broadside last month in Massachusetts when the Massachusetts Dental Board called, not one, but two, "special meetings," both to dismiss, with prejudice, all seven charges against cutting-edge Dentist David Satloff.  The attempt to use a State agency in a "fake" prosecution to eliminate "Holistic Dentistry," and/or "Biological Dentistry" failed.

 

Charges had been brought against Satloff by the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) president Robert S. Baratz who claims to be a combination MD, DDS and PhD.  Baratz was, also, the only person to testify against Satloff - and he testified for nine full days.  I estimate Baratz was paid $125,000 for his testimony by the State of Massachusetts.  Baratz testified in an earlier hearing that he has never, actually practiced Dentistry.  He also claimed to be a "spokesperson" for the American Dental Association, and a consultant to the US FDA.

 

During Baratz's testimony, interestingly, Baratz testified for six-and-one-half hours on his reasons why David Satloff improperly installed a dental bridge in a patient's mouth - in great detail.  On cross-examination it was revealed that Baratz, who graduated from Dental school in1974, had never actually installed a dental bridge himself, and had never even seen one installed.  When asked how he could testify as an "expert" on this subject he replied "I researched it."

 

It was also revealed that Baratz had, since 1974, only worked in a Dental office for one two-and-a-half week period, shortly after graduation - and never since then.  When asked how he could qualify as an "expert" to testify in dental cases, he replied that "testifying WAS his practice of Dentistry."

 

So, how did this happen?

 

Good question.

 

Strategists and legal experts working for David Satloff were amazed, and appalled, that Massachusetts would hire someone of Baratz's low reputation.  It is common knowledge, with full information available on the internet alone, that Baratz was formally discredited in the State of Wisconsin several years ago.  There, lawyers, for a popular cutting-edge MD, demanded, and got, a three-day "credibility hearing" on Baratz - where he, Baratz, was confronted with the reality of his REAL curriculum vitae.  You can read about that earlier situation by clicking here.

 

Massachusetts is a weird place, when it comes to health care, I guess.  What was EVEN MORE unusual than having a "fake" witness both file the charges AND testify as the expert witness, was that the State would not tell Satloff, prior to the actual hearing, exactly what he was charged with.  Satloff had to hire lawyers and sit through five full days of listening to Baratz testify before he had any inkling of what it was he was supposed to have done wrong - and that from the mouth of a man who practiced dentistry for a total of two-and-a-half weeks in his entire career.

 

So, let me ask you.  Would you be surprised to find out that David Satloff sued some people from the State;  like the prosecutor, the Administrative Law Judge, the entire Dental Board both as a board, and individually, and a few others, for this debacle?

 

Surprised?  I'll bet you're not.  Everybody has heard the term "due process."  Well, everybody except the State of Massachusetts,  I guess.  Certainly the US Supreme Court has, and their comments on the subject are rather pointed.

 

Some of you will remember when I did an article about this case - without mentioning David Satloff's name.  I was brought in to help Satloff's very good Administrative Law attorney, Claudia Hunter, cross-examine Baratz on day number six.  When I entered the room, Baratz nearly had a heart attack, and tried to dive over the table and hide behind the State's prosecutor.

 

Baratz knew that when I entered the room that the Satloff case was about to come apart in his face - for I circulate boxes full of "Baratz data" all over the country.  He, and the prosecutor, were desperate to get me out of the room. They even claimed "I had a gun." Baratz, who we've taped crying buckets of tears during a different hearing, semi-whimpered through most of the day, complaining to the judge every time I whispered to, or handed a note to, attorney Claudia Hunter.  It was fun to watch.

 

Frankly, the whole administrative hearing was a setup - a means to gather evidence of the falseness of the attack against Satloff.  Claudia Hunter played her role to perfection, going through the absolutely right motions of an Administrative hearing.  Except for my appearance on day six of Baratz's testimony, there was no clue about what was being set up, or about. to happen.  Then, two days before the close of the hearing, the trap was sprung, the lawsuit was filed, and the REAL trial was about to begin - but this time the defendant wasn't David Satloff.  It was his persecutors.

 

Jacques Simon, an attorney friend of mine out of Manhattan, New York City came in with his legal assault honed like King Arthur's razor sharp Excalibur chopping through the enemy ranks, with blood flying in all directions.  The Massachusetts Dental Board, their prosecutor, the Administrative Law Judge, and an additional odd assortment of nitwits, didn't know what hit them.  Prior to Jacques's assault I think the Massachusetts Dental Board thought "due process" was spelled "dew process" and had something to do with processing maple syrup, early mornings, out in western Massachusetts.

 

Believe me, Jacques explained the concept of "due process" to them - in spades - or should I say "in court documents.," eighty four pages, to be exact, in the original complaint. 

 

At first Jacques simply went to a real Judge, in a real court, and asked for an injunction prohibiting the Dental board from continuing with the administrative process against Satloff.  Jacques was shocked when the Judge denied his Motion for Injunction, at first, but began to smile when the Judge continued talking.  He said something to the effect of "Mr. Simon, I know you'd like to have an Injunction today, but I'm not going to give you one.  I've never, in my career seen a case so full of lack of due process, frankly, and I want to see what these people are going to do next...  I am, however, taking jurisdiction of this case."

 

The State filed a Motion to Dismiss Jacques's Motion - and lost.  Then Jacques sent out "discovery" demands to everyone that had been named as a defendant - and more, and the Dental Board figured out they were in big trouble.  And, in  big trouble they were.  "Due process" violations can be used to breach the immunity of Board members and public employees - and allow a Plaintiff to go after their personal assets.

 

What are "Due Process" violations?

 

The Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the deprivation of liberty or property without due process of law.  The guarantee of due process requires that no person be deprived of life, liberty, or property without a fair and adequate process. ...

 

Due process is best defined in one word--fairness. Throughout the U.S.'s history, its constitutions, statutes and case law have provided standards for fair treatment of citizens by federal, state and local governments. These standards are known as due process. When a person is treated unfairly by the government, including the courts, he is said to have been deprived of or denied due process.

 

What's interesting, and scares the crap out of government officials who routinely deny "due process," is that getting caught at it could mean that their "immunity to personal liability" goes out the window.  In other words - they can lose their homes, their cars, their boats...

 

Here's how it went...

 

In short, certain members of the Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) in Massachusetts, acting in concert with a "special interest group," the infamous "quackbuster" operation, decided to eliminate "Holistic Dentistry," or "Biological Dentistry," in the State of Massachusetts using the ruse of a prosecution against David Satloff.  They failed, because it was brought to the attention of the Courts that the whole BORID operation smelled of cronyism, and abuse of power.  The Court acted appropriately, forcing the issue.

 

Not only did they fail, but the Board members, in a complete "tail-tucked-between-the-legs panic" called two separate "special meetings" to try and get Jacques Simon off their backs.  In those meetings they formally dismissed all seven charges "with prejudice," meaning that they can't come back again.

 

Frankly, this is a "Model" defense that can be used in every State every time any State agency uses any of the "quackbuster" human slime to come after cutting edge practitioners.

 

I.          1.  THE ALLEGATIONS IN THE ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ARE DEVOID OF ANY LEGAL BASIS AND ARE INSUFFICIENT  TO SUPPORT ANY ACTION TAKEN BY THE BOARD AGAINST PLAINTIFF’S LICENSE.

  

(A) BORID’s  legally and factually unsubstantiated accusations regarding Plaintiff’s conduct which allegedly violates some unspecified and undefined “standard of care” violate Plaintiff’s due process 

(B) BORID acted outside the scope of its authority and it violated Plaintiff’s due process rights by failing to give advance notice to the plaintiff pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A s. 11A1/2 of the executive meeting in which they considered the complaints filed against him and in which they further decided to proceed with disciplinary proceedings against  the plaintiff. 

(C) The allegations contained in ¶72-78 of the Order to Show Cause do not and cannot legally form the basis  for any action against the Plaintiff by BORID.  

(D) BORID violated and continues to violate Plaintiff’s due process rights and it acted outside the scope of its authority by allowing the prosecutor to proceed with the prosecution of the charges alleged in paragraphs 21-31 of the Order to Show Cause. 

(E) BORID exceeded its powers and authority and it violated Plaintiff’s  due process rights to a fair hearing as mandated by M.G.L. 30A §10 and 11, by  801 CMR 1.01 and by  801 CMR 1.03(5).  

(F) BORID’s prosecution of the Plaintiff amounts to a bad faith act taken in excess of BORID’s powers in violation of Plaintiff’s due process rights and in furtherance of the agenda of private interest groups. 

(G) It is futile to ask the Board to consider the constitutional arguments made herein. 

(H) BORID further violated Plaintiff’s due process rights by failing to give him notice that DRT and ART diagnostic procedures are prohibited by BORID. 

(I) The procedure whereby BORID first votes to seek Plaintiff’s license revocation and then at the end it votes in accordance with 801CMR(11)(d) to either accept or reject the Presiding Officer’s findings is unconstitutional and deprives the plaintiff of due process of law.

 

For those of you in other States that are interested in this strategy, email me and I'll tell you how to get a hold of Jacques Simon.  Currently he's back in Manhattan at the sword-sharpening shop, drumming his fingers on the customer service counter, waiting somewhat impatiently...

 

Stay tuned...

Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate