Weekly Poll

This is Homecoming week at Powell High School. Did you enjoy high school?




Results

 


December 13, 2011 8:54 am

Other surgeon was behind mass mailing, Biles says

Written by CJ Baker

An Indiana woman may have sent the mass mailing that disparaged Cody surgeon Jimmie Biles last year, but it was a competing surgeon who was behind the effort, say Biles’ attorneys.

In a suit filed last week in Wyoming’s federal district court, Dr. Biles claims that Dr. John H. Schneider Jr., a Billings/Cody-area neurosurgeon, and his wife Michelle Schneider, came up with and paid for the flyer mailed to thousands of Big Horn Basin residents in December 2010.

Biles’ attorneys sued Lisa S. Fallon of Fishers, Ind., in September for defamation and other torts for sending out the flyer, but claimed she was acting on behalf of someone else.

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!

http://www.etypeservices.com//Powell%20TribuneID160/

8 comments

  • Comment Link December 13, 2011 12:43 pm posted by Salty Dawg

    This is another very good reason to NOT shop local,especially when it comes to health care.Unless of course you are having kids right and left.I don't know how many times I have had to go to Billings for better health care than the VA gives here,or most any other Doctor in Powell for that matter.

  • Comment Link December 13, 2011 5:55 pm posted by Josh Cossitt

    Thanks for reporting this story and bringing the truth out. I love that you guys named names.

  • Comment Link December 14, 2011 8:25 am posted by JN

    Both of these fools need to duke it out in the ring. We needs to run these idiots out of our area. How can anyone continuing to support them with their business.

  • Comment Link December 14, 2011 12:10 pm posted by KodyKoyote

    Much better reporting than what was in the Enterprise on Monday.

  • Comment Link December 14, 2011 2:13 pm posted by Quad City

    Well, Salty Dawg, the fact that its a Cody/Billings area doctor who may have been behind the mailings and not a Powell physician kind of nullifies your point. Keep shopping elsewhere tho!! God Bless intelligence!

  • Comment Link December 14, 2011 3:06 pm posted by LizGil

    Salty Dawg, Obviously you are unaware that Dr. Schneider was a physician at St. Vincent in Billings long before he practiced in the Big Horn Basin. Every town/healthcare facility has issues and Billings is not immune to that fact. For the record, I have never had any complaints with any care I have received in Powell.

  • Comment Link December 16, 2011 8:12 am posted by Salty Dawg

    Nevertheless,LizGil,I prefer to take my six to Billings as I get way better healthcare,without all the waiting.I had some doings with this "Doctor" in question and I was NOT impressed.On top of that,by traveling to Billings,one can do some shopping and get better choices and prices,while watching all the other "locals" from Park County in the Billings stores.

  • Comment Link January 01, 2012 2:46 pm posted by Countrylady

    I have had surgery by Dr. Schnieder and I feel he is a very competent doctor. I would have him do any other neurologic surgery if I needed it and I am glad that he is in the Basin area. If you want to spend your money in Billings and not support your own community then that is your choice. I myself feel like our community is as important to the growth of our Nation as anywhere else. Our support at home creates jobs but only if we are supportive of them.

Leave a comment

*The Powell Tribune reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments.