SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) – A physician claims Pennsylvania drug agents maliciously prosecuted him on the “outrageous” claim that he supplied drugs for “the sacrificial doping” of parishioners in his pastor’s church, and that the baseless investigation of him began after drug agents “red flagged” him because he had an unlisted phone number.
Dr. Paul Cosby claims that “What began as a notice to the DEA from a pharmaceutical distributor, Harry Schein on December 14, 2007, about the plaintiff Paul W. Cosby ordering scheduled medications spawned into a federal site inspection, allegations of drug diversion and cult behavior, criminal charges, loss of medical license, income and the expenditure of significant funds to hire criminal defense counsel, and, ultimately ended two counties and three prosecutors later when the Commonwealth prosecutor acknowledged, for ethical reasons, that the charges lacked probable cause to proceed and the criminal charges were dismissed by a Wayne County Judge and the nightmare of the prosecution of Dr. Cosby came to a close.”
Dr. Cosby claims that if the defendant agents had “intelligently and with the aid of a medical professional reviewed the medical records of the plaintiff’s patient Doe,” they would have “immediately concluded that there was no probable cause to file criminal charges” against him.
Cosby sued Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control agent Renee Magnotta and a Supervisor Doe, in the same office, for conspiracy, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and civil rights violations.
Cosby says the investigation began after he ordered medicine for the only private patient that he treated, the pastor of his church, whom he had treated and seen once a month for more than 25 years.
The doctor claims that Magnotta and other agents came to his home in April 2008 in response to a “Red Flag” warning that put him under criminal suspicion because of his unlisted phone number. He says the red flag was “an offshoot of the DEA ‘Oxycontin Action Plan of 2001.'”
And, he says, “The criminal investigation was flawed as it was based upon a criminal suspicion as to Dr. Cosby having an unlisted cell phone number,” though “It is quite common for emergency room physicians to have unlisted cell phone numbers.”
Cosby, who has been an emergency room physician since 1973, says he began treating his pastor since 1974 when he treated her frequent emergency room visits for intractable migraine headaches.
He says he wrote her prescriptions for “injectable Demerol via written prescriptions through a local pharmacy,” and that the treatment “eliminated Patient Doe’s emergency room visits and hospitalizations for her migraine headaches.”
Cosby claims that “the tone of the investigation site was hostile from beginning to end” and that despite his “open and honest conduct … the site inspection was conducted in a rushed, disrespectful, accusatory and hostile manner.”
Cosby says he called his pastor during the investigation to request her permission to show the agents her medical records.
The complaint continues: “The focus of the investigators’ comments, including defendant Magnotta, toward Dr. Cosby focused upon his prescribing and supplying
medications at no cost in return for receiving spiritual guidance from his Pastor, the patient Jane Doe.
“Subsequent to the site visit, a theory was advanced by defendant Magnotta that was completely unwarranted and outrageous involving a drug cult in patient Doe’s church and ‘what was really happening’ was the sacrificial doping of the parishioners with narcotics by this ‘cult.’
“During the middle of the Site Inspection all three investigators, including defendant Magnotta, suddenly, simultaneously and without any basis, voiced a conclusion that drug diversion was occurring. This conclusion was reached long before patient Doe’s computerized medical records had been printed and delivered to them and long prior to any due diligence investigation, which never occurred here.”
Cosby says this “outrageous” theory led Magnotta to threaten him with arrest and the loss of his medical license before any medical records had been reviewed.
The doctor says claims that the criminal investigation was further flawed due to the agent’s lack of knowledge regarding the drugs in question, the wrongful seizures of outdated medicines from his home, and the failure to review the medical records of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
He says that that “an educated review of patient Doe’s records from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania … should have alerted a criminal investigator that the amount of medication prescribed for patient Doe, which served as a basis for the criminal charges, was not only appropriate as opined by the doctors at HUP, the HUP doctors substantially increased the dosage of the medications called for by Dr. Cosby.”
Cosby says the criminal charges were dismissed by a Wayne County judge.
He seeks damages for wrongful arrest, unlawful search and seizure, conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is represented by Harry Coleman of Carbondale, Pa.