A Nashville physician is seeking up to $450,000 in damages from a former patient who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against him.
Dr. Ralph Wesley of Wesley & Klippenstein PC, a private ophthalmologic practice that performs medical and cosmetic procedures, filed a lawsuit in Davidson County Circuit Court on Jan. 7 against W. Arlen Harris of Hickman County for malicious prosecution.
According to the complaint, Harris brought a medical malpractice suit against Wesley in Davidson County’s general sessions court in 2008 that was later removed to circuit court. Although “multiple judges” told Harris he needed expert testimony to support his case, the complaint reads, Harris never provided it or dismissed the suits, and the court granted summary judgment to Wesley.
In the original malpractice suit, Harris had sought up to $25,000 in compensatory damages and “further and other relief that the court deems necessary” related to complications from eyelid surgeries performed by Wesley. In the document Harris, asserts that Wesley did not properly inform Harris about the possible complications that caused “much pain and suffering.”
After the Davidson County court granted summary judgment to Wesley, Harris filed another suit in Hickman County against Wesley, “asserting negligence and defamation,” according to Wesley’s complaint. The Hickman County Court dismissed the suit for lack of venue and jurisdiction.
“As a result of the mere fact that Mr. Harris filed medical malpractice cases against Dr. Wesley, Dr. Wesley will forever have to list these lawsuits as medical malpractice cases filed against him — regardless of the fact that Mr. Harris never had an expert witness to support his medical malpractice claims and Dr. Wesley prevailed on those claims,” the complaint reads.
Wesley is seeking up to $100,00 in compensatory damages and up to $350,000 in punitive damages for Harris’ “intentional and malicious conduct in bringing these lawsuits.” He is being represented by Brian Cummings of Nashville law firm Gideon & Wiseman.
United States District Court
United States of America v. George K. Pragovich d/b/a National Justice Center. Filed Jan. 14. The Justice Department sues Clarksville resident Pragovich at the request of the Internal Revenue Service to stop Pragovich from promoting an alleged nationwide scheme to file hundreds of frivolous lawsuits filed against the federal government.
Justice says Pragovich markets himself to individuals — “many of whom have substantial federal income tax liabilities” — saying he will fix their problems by helping them file suit against the government. He allegedly provides customers with “ready-to-file lawsuit complaints that falsely claim that the IRS and its employees have unlawfully disclosed customers’ federal tax information or unlawfully collected taxes.”
More than 200 of these lawsuits, which government officials say are frivolous, have been filed in at least 35 states. In all, the government says Pragovich — who the suit says is not an attorney — has collected more than $1 million since 2005 via National Justice Center, even though almost every Pragovich-promoted case has been dismissed, the suit claims.
“All of the lawsuits lack merit and are used to make frivolous tax-protester type arguments,” the suit states. “The complaints consist of boilerplate recitations without concern for law or facts. In fact, many of the allegations have no factual basis or are contradicted by the customers’ own exhibits and statement of facts.”
Representing the office U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough are Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin in Nashville and Shana M. Starnes of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division in Washington, D.C.
Davidson County Circuit Court
Guardian and Next Friend of Jane Doe v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Filed Jan. 8. An Old Hickory woman claims her 12-year-old daughter was sexually battered on a Metro Nashville school bus last August and that the bus driver failed to stop the attack.
The woman alleges that, as the bus ferried children to their homes one afternoon last fall, a male student picked up the girl by her pants. When her pant leg ripped from hip to knee, the complaint says, the boy reached inside her pants and groped her.
The attack, which was clearly visible from bus driver Jack Whiteman’s seat at the wheel, according to the suit, prompted other children on the bus to attempt to intervene. Students told the driver of the assault-in-progress, but Whiteman was impassive, the filing alleges. The suit seeks damages for negligence as well as compensation for the psychiatric care the woman has sought for her daughter.
Plaintiff’s attorneys: Wendy L. Longmire and Bernard F. McEvoy, Ortale Kelley Herbert & Crawford LLP in Nashville.
– Brantley Hargrove and Geert De Lombaerde contributed to this report.