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Thursday, April 11, 2024 | Back issues
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Anna Nicole Smith’s Doc|Fights for His License

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The doctor who was acquitted of unlawfully prescribing drugs to the late Anna Nicole Smith claims that California's Medical Board is improperly trying to deprive him of his license based on 4-year-old allegations that he overprescribed drugs to four other patients.

Sandeep Kapoor, M.D., claims the Medical Board's accusations fall outside the 3-year statute of limitations under the Medical Practice Act and violate his constitutional right to due process.

The Medical Board claims the patients, R.K., C.V., D.P., and B.M., were subjected to Kapoor's negligent acts: overprescribing pain medications, including addictive opiates, and sedatives and stimulants.

Kapoor says the alleged misconduct occurred more than 3 years before the board launched disciplinary action in March 2011. He says Medical Board investigators first took a look at the patients' medical records after searching his home and medical office in October 2007, months after Smith's death.

According to the Superior Court complaint, the court issued a protective order permitting "the board, the Office of the Attorney General, and their respective agents, representatives and investigators, to access and use all patient medical evidence seized from petitioner in administrative disciplinary proceedings, without the need for a court order. While allowing the board to use medical evidence in disciplinary proceedings, the two-tiered protective order restricted the disclosure and use of non-medical evidence to criminal proceedings."

After the order was issued, the board submitted the patient's medical records to three experts whose opinions, issued in 2007 and 2008, "addressed violations of the Medical Practice Act that are the basis for disciplinary, not criminal, action," the complaint states. "The reports demonstrate that the board was pursuing disciplinary action. ...

"On March 12, 2009, the People filed a criminal complaint against petitioner alleging six counts of unlawful prescribing to Anna Nicole Smith, who is not a subject of the accusation. The patients who are the subjects of the accusation were not mentioned in the criminal complaint and their medical records were not introduced into evidence during the criminal proceedings. ...

"While the Anna Nicole Smith criminal proceedings were pending, and in connection with its ongoing investigation into potential disciplinary proceedings, the board attempted, but failed, to obtain the consent of R.K, D.P. and C.V. to use their medical records in disciplinary proceedings against petitioner," the complaint states.

But Kapoor says that in early 2010 the court allowed investigators to use the files without patient consent.

"The court entered a stipulated amendment to the protective order. The amendment confirmed that the court did not intend 'to have the protective order stand in the way of whatever materials the medical board would otherwise have access to in order to proceed with whatever administrative actions.' The amendment was requested and drafted by Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney ('DDA Carney').

"DDA Carney has testified that he was unaware of the December 14, 2007 stipulated protective order which had allowed the board to access and use the patient medical files seized from petitioner on October 12, 2007. According to DDA Carney, the District Attorney's Office did not intend to withhold the patient medical records in a way that would prevent the board from proceeding with disciplinary proceedings.

"On October 28, 2010, a jury acquitted petitioner on all six felony charges relating to Anna Nicole Smith case, thus ending all criminal proceedings against him.

"Five months later, the board filed its accusation against petitioner citing conduct that occurred over four years earlier," the complaint states.

After Administrative Law Judge Humberto Flores denied Kapoor's motion to dismiss in November, Kapoor filed this writ of administrative mandamus.

He is represented by Ellen Garofalo, of Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Smith died of an accidental overdose in February 2007. She was found unconscious in her Florida hotel room and was pronounced dead on arrival at Memorial Regional Hospital. A forensic pathologist stated that she died of a cocktail of prescribed drugs, including the sleeping medication chloral hydrate.

Smith's partner Howard K. Stern - not the talk show host - and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich were charged, with Kapoor, with unlawfully conspiring to prescribe controlled substances to an addict. Kapoor was acquitted and the convictions against Stern and Eroshevich were later set aside.

The California Medical Board did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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