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Friday, July 06, 2007

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana opinion today

In U.S. v. Jong Hi Bek (ND Ind., Hudge Allen Sharp), an 18-page opinion, Judge Williams writes:

When Dr. Jong Hi Bek arrived at his pain-management clinic in Gary, Indiana each morning, the line of people waiting to get prescription drugs often ran down to the end of the block. Those lines caught the attention of law enforcement, leading to Bek’s investigation and eventual arrest for the illegal distribution of prescription drugs. Bek was convicted by a jury on twenty-six counts of conspiring to distribute and distributing controlled substances, and committing health care fraud. On appeal, Bek argues that the jury’s verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence, the district court should have excluded certain medical evidence because it was subject to a physician-patient privilege and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and the government interfered with his defense and choice of counsel by vindictively prosecuting his attorney. We agree with Bek that the evidence on count nine regarding his treatment of patient Barbara W. was insufficient to support the jury’s verdict. But we affirm the district court’s judgment on the remaining counts because the evidence was sufficient and the medical records were not protected by any privilege or by HIPAA. Finally, we previously ruled in another case that Bek’s counsel was not vindictively prosecuted, so we also reject this argument.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 6, 2007 12:58 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions