Two Florida doctors to begin serving pill mill sentences

Two Florida doctors must begin serving their prison sentences in October, three years after their convictions on money laundering charges related to a chain of Florida pill mills, a federal judge ruled.

Cynthia Cadet must turn herself in to begin serving a 6 1/2 year sentence on Oct. 3, while Joseph Castronuovo was given until Oct. 18 to begin serving his 18-month sentence, because he needs medical treatment. Both had been free on bond since their convictions in July 2013, but U.S. District Judge Kenneth Mara ruled that they must report to prison.

Castronuovo and Cadet were among 32 individuals, including several doctors, who were charged in a large pill mill indictment, targeting a chain of pain management clinics that improperly distributed prescription pain pills such as oxycodone. Castronuovo and Cadet were the only physicians to fight the charges. A Florida jury found the doctors not guilty of most of the counts against them, but guilty of a money laundering conspiracy related to the payments they received for their work at the clinics.

Castronuovo was paid over $160,000 and Cadet was paid over $1.2 million. The two were hired after responding to ads on Craigslist. The doctors signed documents each week before receiving their pay that stated that they did not witness anything illegal take place.

In addition to criminal charges, doctors, pharmacists and others who improperly distribute medications can face civil charges for the harm that they cause. Anyone injured by pharmaceutical negligence should contact an attorney to learn about their rights. You may be entitled to compensation.

Florida Supreme Court Sets Arguments in Medical Malpractice Case

The Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in December on a constitutional challenge to a 2013 medical malpractice law. The Justices agreed to take up the issue of “ex parte communications” in medical malpractice cases.

In a case filed by Emma Gayle Weaver, the representative of Thomas E. Weaver’s estate, in Escambia County, the 1st District Court of Appeal previously upheld the constitutionality of the law permitting ex parte communications.

Under the 2013 law, defense attorneys representing medical providers accused of malpractice are able to access personal medical information of the patients involved in the lawsuit outside of the presence of the patients’ attorneys. According to Weaver’s attorneys that is a violation of privacy rights. Supporters of the 2013 law said that allowing such ex parte communications is fair, because it allows defense attorneys to access information that is already available to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Before the law was passed, defense attorneys could interview doctors, but only as part of formal proceedings, with the patient’s attorneys present to protect their privacy rights. Advocates for patients said that the law stripped away privacy rights. Several lawsuits were filed challenging the legislation as soon as it was enacted, and the state high court will now decide the issue.