Los Angeles Times Features GB&W Victory in UCLA Medical Center Whistleblower Case

Close-up Shot in the Operating Room of Surgical Table with Instruments

Last year, Attorneys Mark Quigley and Aaron Osten of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP (GB&W) won a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against Los Angeles County and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, which resulted in a $2.1 million jury verdict for the plaintiff. They represented Timothy Ryan, M.D., a vascular surgeon who reported unnecessary, unsafe, and unethical surgeries to implant Medtronic medical devices, all to “line the pockets” of other doctors. Once he shed light on the problem, he faced undue workplace retaliation that threatened his career and reputation, and the medical institution that employed him never did anything to protect him.

We are honored to announce that the Los Angeles Times recently published a featured article about this important case victory for Ryan and Attorneys Quigley and Osten.

In the article (click here to read it in full), it follows the story of Bernetta Higgins, who was one of the patients who underwent unnecessary surgeries at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She was coerced by her medical team to return to the ER and report that she was having chest pains, even though she wasn’t. Following their instructions because she trusted them to know about the details of her health, as anyone should be able to assume, Bernetta went to the ER as instructed, and not long after, underwent a “90-minute” heart surgery that actually took all day and caused her to suffer a stroke. She still lives with the consequences of the stroke and other complications to this day.

Dr. Ryan had previously treated Bernetta and was surprised that she had returned for the surgery, which, based on his expert medical opinion as a vascular surgeon, was entirely unnecessary. Looking into the situation, he uncovered that other doctors were receiving kickbacks from Medtronic through an experimental research program that deliberately targeted mostly people in low-income communities and BIPOC communities. He used the appropriate avenues to report his suspicions—and was consequently retaliated against by his peers and employer.

GB&W was brought into the case to represent Dr. Ryan in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit. Throughout the trial, we used expert testimonies, including statements from Dr. Ryan himself, to show that Bernetta’s condition was exaggerated to excuse the sudden Medtronic-approved surgical procedure that had triggered her stroke. Attorneys Osten and Quigley fought diligently to prove that Dr. Ryan’s actions were justified, which meant that the retaliation he faced was not. In a way, as we fought for Dr. Ryan’s reputation, we also fought to show that Bernetta had been harmed through medical malpractice.

We are proud to have secured a $2.1 million jury verdict for our client. The featured piece in the Los Angeles Times feels like an additional honor for our team’s hard work and success.

We invite you to use the links below to learn more about this complicated story and GB&W’s integral role in it. To learn more about our firm or to get our help with a lawsuit, please contact us online. Thank you.

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