A Brentwood lawyer convicted of extortion years ago has sued his doctor for life-changing and permanent injuries suffered while undergoing treatments for erectile dysfunction at a clinic here last year.
Walter Ray Culp III — one of the lawyers who plead guilty to an extortion charge in connection with the 2006 AIM Healthcare Services legal debacle — filed a $4 million lawsuit last October in Sumner County Circuit Court, accusing Dr. Agustin V. Vitualla of negligence and reckless conduct for improperly treating Culp’s erectile dysfunction condition with permanent physical damages resulting.
This case is now pending in Davidson County Circuit Court as various venue-related motions were filed this month by both parties resulting in a docket move from Sumner County. The sequence of events leading to Culp’s lawsuit — see the complaint here — is as follows:
On June 1, 2010, Culp visited Vitualla seeking sexual enhancement help but, the complaint states, he did not have ED. Despite this, Culp was prescribed Tri-Mix, a potent drug that’s self-injected into the penis and used at home prior to engagement in sexual activity.
Culp said he was never warned of the potential side effect of priapism, a painful and serious medical condition wherein an erection will not diminish for a considerable amount of time, often for several hours. Culp's first use of Tri-Mix — he injected himself with 25 units — resultied in priapism lasting 22 hours. He sought help from Vitualla, who recommended a regime of Sudafed, which worked.
On July 13, 2010, Culp visited Vitualla for the same condition as the first visit but this time only received a testosterone shot and again was not told of any harmful side effects from the use of Tri-Mix before.
On Sept. 15, 2010, Culp self-injected another 25 units of Tri-Mix, which resulted in a second priapism episode that lasted through the night and into the next morning. That day, he called Vitualla and was told again to take Sudafed. That did not bring relief. On Sept. 17, Culp visited Vitualla and was told to go to a pharmacy and buy some extra-strength Sudafed. Culp took the decongestant for the rest of that day but to no avail.
On Sept. 18, Culp still had the priapism condition — which meant the erection had lasted more than 48 hours. He became ill, began vomiting and drove to Williamson Medical Center to seek emergency treatment. Two procedures were performed — the complaint does not state what they were — and resulted in permanent injury to Culp, according to the complaint.
Culp is seeking $2 million in compensatory damages and another $2 million in punitive damages. He’s also seeking reimbursement of his medical and legal expenses and any damages the court will afford him for loss of enjoyment of life and the permanent physical impairment he now has.
Culp is represented by Clinton L. Kelly of the Kelly, Kelly & Allman law firm Hendersonville. Kelly would not comment on the particulars of this case but did say he has received a few similar clients of late.
“The urologist community is becoming quite upset over physicians acting like urologists who aren’t fully qualified to handle treatments when things go wrong,” Kelly said.
Vitualla is represented by Wendy Lynn Longmire who works in the Nashville office of Ortale Kelley Herbert & Crawford. Longmire could not be reached immediately for comment.
In 2004, Culp was arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly trying to extort $9 million from Franklin-based AIM Healthcare, a medical accounts receivables company. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to federal extortion charges and was barrd from practicing law from the fall of 2007 to September of 2010.
Correction: According to Nancy C. Jones, chief disciplinary counsel for the Brentwood-based Board of Professional Responsibility, Culp’s law license is currently suspended.
“The event that occurred in Sept. 2010 was the removal of his suspension for failure to obtain the necessary continuing legal education credits,” Jones wrote in an email dated Feb. 6. “The removal of this administrative suspension was a prerequisite for his being able to appeal reinstatement from the disciplinary suspension.”
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS