Fair

52°F

Powell, WY

Fair
Wind: E at 6 mph

Dr. Schneider fires back: says Dr. Biles is 'jealous' of him

Late last year, Cody orthopedic surgeon Jimmie Biles Jr. sued Cody neurologist John H. Schneider Jr. and his wife Michelle, accusing them of being behind a December 2010 mass mailing that disparaged him with false information.

On Tuesday, the Schneiders fired back in a filing in federal district court in Cheyenne, denying any involvement and countersuing Biles. The Schneiders argue Biles’ suit accusing them of defamation amounts to defamation against them. They claim Biles’ lawsuit was filed because Biles has long-standing animosity and jealousy towards Dr. Schneider.

“They were buddies, and they had a falling out and I think that really angered Dr. Biles, and this is what happens,” said Laurence Stinson, the Schneiders’ Cody attorney of Bonner-Stinson, in a Wednesday interview.

While denying involvement, the Schneiders also defended the mass mailing that disparaged Biles in the response, saying its allegations “are largely true” and “the allegations that may be untrue ... do not rise to defamation.”

The flier in question, mailed by Indiana resident Lisa S. Fallon to more than 14,000 households around the Big Horn Basin, told local citizens to “beware” of Biles.

The Schneiders’ response also unloaded a slew of new allegations against Biles to argue that he, as opposed to the flier, is responsible for negative perceptions about him and his practice.

“It’s a shame it had to come to this,” said Dr. Schneider in a Wednesday afternoon press release sent by a Billings public relations firm. “Dr. Biles has some personal demons to overcome, and I feel sorry for him. It’s sad to see a man lash out at others in a desperate attempt to salvage a career that is crumbling around him. I hope he is able to get healthy and in control again someday.”

One of Biles’ attorneys, Daniel Fleck of Spence Law Firm in Jackson, said Wednesday that legal ethics rules prevented him from responding to the Schneiders’ filing and release, though he said, “the facts will come out in the end.”

“Dr. Biles will continue to litigate the matter of Lisa Fallon and Dr. Schneider defaming him, and we will defend all allegations recently lodged by Dr. Schneider in response to being sued for defamation,” said Fleck.

The 2010 mailing accused Biles of committing crimes he’s never been charged with, of investigations by West Park Hospital and the Wyoming Board of Medicine — which both organizations say never happened — and claimed to be sent by a disgruntled patient named “Rita,” who doesn’t appear to exist.

In response to a September suit from Biles, Fallon admitted to sending the mailing, but denied it was defamatory. Fallon has testified under oath that she acted alone, but in a separate Dec. 7 suit, Biles’ attorneys claimed that John and Michelle Schneider, the godparents of Fallon’s youngest child, put her up to it.

In court filings, Biles’ attorneys, Fleck and Kristeen Hand, have said Fallon has acknowledged that John Schneider bought the list of addresses the flier was sent to and gave her disparaging misinformation about Biles, that Michelle Schneider’s money paid for the mailing and that the Schneiders are paying for Fallon’s attorney. The Schneiders denied those allegations in this week’s response and say that, since Fallon has testified she acted alone, Biles “knew” the Schneiders weren’t involved.

In January, District Court Judge Alan Johnson ordered the Schneiders to provide phone, email and other records to Biles’ attorneys, saying the information would help ascertain the truth as to whether they were involved in the mailing.

“Defendant Fallon did not have any close connections in the Park County area other than the Schneider family,” he wrote. Biles’ attorneys have said he’s never met her.

One of the defenses cited by the Schneiders is that there’s a qualified or conditional privilege to publish the information in the flier.

“Citizens of Cody, Wyoming and surrounding communities have a public need to know truthful information contained within the flier,” Stinson wrote.

The response said the allegations in the flier are “largely true,” since Biles “has been sued several times,” (the flier said he “has a dozen lawsuits that he lost”) did drink and drive and “has had poor surgical outcomes.” The response also accuses Biles of having unlawfully possessed controlled substances.

That accusation also was made in the flier, though in that document, it was falsely portrayed as a pending charge against Biles that could be found on the Park County Sheriff’s website. The flier also invented a charge that doesn’t exist — “lewd act with resisting arrest” — and said Biles was being investigated for a felony offense.

At the time, Sheriff Scott Steward described the flier as having apparently taken real booking information from a DUI arrest and then altering it “to include more serious offenses that never occurred.”

Outside of the October 2010 DUI arrest and subsequent guilty plea, Wyoming court records say Biles only has only a traffic citation.

Perhaps most significantly, the flier also claimed that the Wyoming Board of Medicine and Cody’s West Park Hospital had investigated or were investigating several complaints about Biles being drunk at work.

However, the Board of Medicine’s executive director, Kevin Bohnenblust, told the Tribune in December 2010 the board never had received any such complaints, and West Park Hospital officials took out a newspaper ad saying there was “no truth to the allegations in the letter about Dr. Biles’ behavior or care provided at the hospital.” Hospital officials also said they didn’t understand “why anyone would stoop to these levels in an attempt to single-handedly destroy a talented physician’s reputation.”

Schneider’s medical license currently is suspended in Wyoming, but he claims that while he was chief of surgery for West Park, he “received complaints of Biles taking care of patients while under the influence of alcohol.”

Biles, according to Schneider’s response, denied those allegation when Schneider spoke with him about them. Stinson said he didn’t know if Schneider ever brought those allegations to the attention of officials at West Park.

Biles is “himself responsible for negative public perceptions regarding him and his personality,” contend the Schneiders in the response.

The complaint then lists a litany of allegations of misconduct against Biles, some not referenced in the flier: including that he “often” drinks and drives, has practiced medicine while drunk, badmouths other physicians, waved a gun around his office and pointed it an employee and that he’s mismanaged his ranch.

Stinson said ethics rules prohibited him from discussing what evidence he has.

Biles previously referred work to Schneider, but stopped doing so years ago and later referred patients to a Casper doctor, Robert Narotsky.

Schneider’s response says that’s because their friendship fell apart over various disputes, including a falling out as cooperating surgeons that cost Biles money.

Narotsky described his relationship with Biles during a June 2010 deposition in an unrelated malpractice case in Park County’s District Court.

“Dr. Biles refers me patients, and Dr. Biles has been unhappy with the care that his patients have received from Dr. Schneider,” Narotsky testified. Narotsky said he had critized Schneider’s care to “as many as a half-dozen” patients who came to him.

In a recently-filed malpractice suit, James Clark of Cody contends that, after an unsatisfactory surgery from Schneider, he went for a consultation from Narotsky.

In court records, Clark says he later received an anonymous letter sent from someone named “Doug.” The letter, included in court documents, claimed Narotsky was being investigated by the federal government and “state of Wyoming board” for insurance fraud and unnecessary “re-do” surgeries.

Records show no disciplinary actions against Narotsky from the Wyoming Board of Medicine or any past or present federal charges.

Clark and his wife Martie have accused Schneider of having been behind the letter in court filings. Schneider denies sending the letter or committing malpractice. He is suing the Clarks for defamation, claiming they’ve untruthfully badmouthed him and formed a hate group against him.

Dr. Schneider’s response on Tuesday accuses Biles of having encouraged patients to sue him.

Schneider’s medical license was temporarily suspended by the Wyoming Board of Medicine on Jan. 28 while it further investigates allegations that he wrongly described a spinal surgery as “emergency surgery” and that his prescription of multiple pain medications — including one not intended for post-operative pain — contributed to the patient’s death later. Stinson said he had no further information on that case.

You can read Schneider's press release here.

Share this post on:

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

12 comments

  • posted by Let the trust be told

    May 18, 2012 10:00 am

    We love the Powell Tribune!! CJ Baker did an absolutely great article with many explanations that help to fill in this sick situation that Schneider got himself into. CJ thank you for explaining things and getting it correct.

  • posted by Kyper

    March 05, 2012 7:50 am

    Part of this problem stems from the fact that the publisher of the paper in our county seat likes to protect whom he considers high and mighty and NOT print negative news about them. Very funny, Biles was arrested (and convicted) for DUI, yet no mention of it in the paper. Yet, this same publisher will sure go the extra mile to let you know about that 19 year old kid who was barely over the limit and got his first DUI. If you are going to have a real newspaper, be prepared to broadcast ALL the news! If you are going to pick and choose who to expose from the weekly police blotter, then don't even bother. Publish it ALL or NONE. Many people over here in Cody are upset on how the royalty, or at least whom the publisher considers royalty get the protection. what a sad paper, no wonder many people here in Cody have dropped it in favor of the Powell Tribune

  • posted by Deb R Sheridan WY

    March 02, 2012 12:48 pm

    I disagree with most of the comments posted above. No one really knows all the details except the two doctors. As far as good medical care in Billings, I agree, that is where I first met Dr. Schneider, as he was referred to me by a long time nurse who had worked at St V's for many many years. She told me he was an excellent practitioner and indeed he is! Dr Schneider did my back surgery and I could NOT have been more pleased. My recovery was amazing! I rode a motorcycle before my surgery and was afraid I wouldn't get to anymore after that....how wrong I was. I am totally back to normal doing everything I have ever done. Physical therapy personnel could not believe I had a disc replaced in my back and was up and about doing what I was doing so quickly! I am thankful that Dr Schneider reached out to help the small towns in WY that did not have the medical professionals we needed. He did my surgery at the Cody Hospital and everyone there as well as Dr Schneider and his team were nothing more than professional! He did a great job and I would not hesitate one second to seek treatment from him again if ever necessary!

  • posted by Shawn B.

    March 01, 2012 6:05 pm

    whoever sent or authorized sending those hate-flyers is the "jealous" one! It looks like the strategy here is "accuse the accuser" and make up all kinds of excuses and sue and countersue to deflect attention to the heart of this matter.One of these esteemed Doc's better start selling stuff off and hide assets as the other is bound to win it all. Let the battle of the quacks begin!

  • posted by phg

    February 29, 2012 1:57 pm

    i will continue to follow this thread, and by extension this story in general, when somebody explains to me how this absolutely infantile peeing contest between two supposedly educated people amounts to news.

  • posted by Landon

    February 29, 2012 7:32 am

    hmmm, you can send out over 14,000 defamatory flyers yet sue when the victim complains and tries to defend himself?!?! WHAT KIND OF A DEFENSE IS THAT? Dr. Schneider, not even Jackie Chiles from Seinfeld could come up with a defense strategy that comical and warped. Napoleon, meet your Waterloo!

  • posted by TiraMasu

    February 28, 2012 9:48 am

    I can smell Schneider's desperation...all the way over here in Greybull. It's obvious what his defense strategy is: "send in the clowns" but wait, "they're already here" (Bonner & Stinson law firm). Folks, this is going to be a fun one :>)

  • posted by Stormiefrst

    February 24, 2012 4:36 pm

    I don't believe a thing Schneider says about Biles, Biles is a good surgeron, now for Schneider i would NEVER go to after he did back surgery on my mom, big mistake!!

  • posted by Salty Dawg

    February 24, 2012 7:23 am

    Good idea,Steve S. Barrasso did and look what he has turned into.

  • posted by Steve S.

    February 23, 2012 2:09 pm

    Really upstanding way to address your problems, Doctors. You are both very impressive individuals and are deserving of the utmost respect. I wonder: Have either of you ever considered running for political office?

  •  Start 
  •  Prev 
  •  Next 
  •  End 

Leave a comment

The Powell Tribune reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments.
Fields marked (*) are required.

Subscribe

Get all the latest Powell news by subscribing to the Powell Tribune today!

Click here to find out more!

E-Edition

Our paper can be delivered right to your e-mail inbox with a subscription to the Powell Tribune!

Find out more here!

Stay Connected

Keep up with Powell news by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

Go to top