Fallon admitted in court documents to placing the order for the mailing, but has denied the flyer was defamatory or that she sent it on behalf of someone else.
The flyer was mailed to more than 14,200 addresses around the Basin. It claimed to be sent from a dissatisfied Biles patient named “Rita,” telling people “if this is your doctor beware.” The flyer then cited a litany of allegations of criminal activity and medical malpractice that officials say and records show were not true. About the only thing in the document that appears to be accurate is that Biles was charged with driving under influence of alcohol last year, but the flyer manipulated that information to make the crime appear more severe and then added fictitious, more serious offenses that Biles has never been charged with.
“The material and gross misrepresentations defendants made in the flyer about the plaintiff were intended to frighten and deter Wyoming people from seeking medical care from the plaintiff, such that they would seek medical care from a different practitioner — one unlike (the) plaintiff that would refer potential neurosurgical patients to the defendants,” says a portion of the complaint filed by attorneys Daniel Fleck and Kristeen Hand of the Spence Law Firm.
Laurence Stinson, a Cody attorney who has represented the Schneiders, declined to comment on the complaint on Monday; Stinson said he had yet to see the document and that American Bar Association rules of professional conduct prohibited him from commenting until the Schneiders’ response is filed with the court.
The Schneiders have 20 days to respond after being served with the complaint — something Stinson did not believe had happened as of Monday.
Though Fallon denied working with anyone, Biles’ attorneys had questioned whether she would repeat that claim under oath.
“She admits she used other people’s money to do this mass mailing, and there is nothing to indicate Ms. Fallon had any motivation of her own to do this to the plaintiff (Biles),” wrote Hand in a filing last month. “It is believed that Ms. Fallon has never met the plaintiff, never been treated by the plaintiff in his medical practice, and never lived in Cody, Wyoming.”
Fallon’s sworn testimony was taken by Biles’ attorneys in a deposition last month; they had hoped to use the information to find out who else was involved.
Exactly what Fallon said at that deposition is unclear, as her testimony has been sealed, according to an email from Hand to Stinson included in court documents.
Citing a conversation with Fallon’s attorney, Craig Silva, Stinson said in a court filing that his understanding is that Fallon has testified she acted alone and the Schneiders were not involved.
Stinson’s filing was in response to subpoenas from Biles’ attorneys that sought a range of documents and information from the Schneiders as part of the earlier suit against Fallon.
In addition to arguing the subpoenas were overly broad, Stinson questioned the need for the Schneiders to provide any information to Biles if Fallon says she sent the flyer herself.
“It seems that all that is left is for plaintiff (Biles) to prove his case against defendant (Fallon),” Stinson said.
Around the same time Stinson filed his objection to the subpoenas in the Fallon case, Biles’ attorneys filed the new suit against the Schneiders.
The complaint alleges the Schneiders have known Fallon since 1996 and are the godparents of one of her children. The suit claims the Schneiders recruited Fallon to send the flyer, hoping to hide their identities through her. Further, the suit alleges the Schneiders have offered to pay Fallon for her efforts, are paying for her attorney and have agreed to cover any losses she suffers in the lawsuit.
“As a continuing part of the conspiracy and racketeering activities, defendants (the Schneiders) intend to have Ms. Fallon accept full and sole responsibility for them in this lawsuit by having Ms. Fallon deny defendants’ involvement,” says Biles’ complaint.
In addition to defamation, Biles is suing the Schneiders for joint enterprise to defame, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with economic relations and conspiracy.
Schneider’s Montana corporation is also named in the suit, which reserves the opportunity to name other individuals as codefendants later.
Schneider is pursuing a defamation suit of his own in Park County’s District Court, filed in early October. The surgeon claims that a Cody couple, James and Martie Clark, badmouthed him and his work in the area. The Clarks sued Schneider for malpractice — a suit Schneider says was baseless — and have encouraged others to sue, warned people “never go to him” and formed a “hate group” to destroy the doctor’s business, wrote Schneider’s attorney, Stephenson Emery of Casper.
The Clarks have denied those claims and filed a counterclaim against Schneider.
Biles’ suit against the Schneiders was filed Dec. 7 — coming some 364 days after residents began calling Biles about receiving the flyers in December 2010. Defamation has a one-year statute of limitations.
We now have a new improved e-edition. Click here for a free visit!