Plastic surgeon Dr. Christ Koulis, known to women across the city for his once omnipresent bathroom stall-door advertising, is defending himself against charges made by former business partner and dermatologist Dr. Michael Gold and by two former patients.
His legal troubles first emerged in February in lawsuits filed by two women who claimed that he engaged in inappropriate sexual relations with each of them while they were his patients. One complaint also alleges malpractice stemming from breast augmentation surgery he performed.
Dan Warlick, the attorney for the former Vanderbilt University School of Medicine resident, told NashvillePost.com in March that the women's allegations are false. Efforts then to reach Dr. Koulis were unsuccessful. Mr. Warlick said earlier this week that he expects to file a response soon to the Circuit Court lawsuits.
In the meantime, Dr. Koulis was sued by Dr. Gold, head of the Gold Skin Care Center and the Advanced Aesthetics Store and Spa on Richard Jones Road in Green Hills. In November 1999, Dr. Gold brought in Dr. Koulis to direct what was then called the Advanced Aesthetics Plastic Surgery Center and Spa. A month later, Dr. Gold announced that the practice was being joined by Dr. Reuben Bueno, a surgeon with extensive experience in facial, cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery. (Dr. Bueno has since left the group.)
In January of this year, Dr. Koulis agreed to purchase some of the assets of Dr. Bueno's former practice, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgeons P.C., and of Gold Skin Care Center for $350,000.
Dr. Gold alleges that Dr. Koulis failed to make payment for the assets and was sent a notice of default in April. In addition to securing payment, he also wants to stop Dr. Koulis from using the name Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgeons P.C.
In his response filed nine days ago in Chancery Court, Dr. Koulis argues that the combination of Dr. Gold's dermatology practice with the plastic surgery practice constituted a self-referral scheme in violation of federal anti-kickback rules and the Stark Law. As such, the sale agreement was "contrary to public policy and illegal and should be held for naught and declared void," Dr. Koulis' counter-complaint states.
Dr. Koulis also alleges that scientific research he was involved in at the Gold-related enterprises was a "program of deceit or fraud."
"Finally," the counter-complaint alleges, "Dr. Koulis was made a defendant in two separate civil actions in the circuit court, alleging inappropriate behavior with patients, which Dr. Koulis will defend vigorously, and which are based on baseless assertions."
"Dr. Gold and his staff… undertook a pattern of behavior to disrupt his practice, to create alleged instances of breach, all of which was designed to force him out of the clinic where he and Dr. Gold practiced. Ultimately, because their attempts were to no avail, Dr. Gold hired armed guards to bar Dr. Koulis from his office."
Dr. Gold's lawsuit also names Dr. Koulis' parents in Chicago, who guaranteed their son's payment for the assets.