Doctor Sues Hospital|in Silver Case Spinoff

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A Columbia University doctor who emerged as a key figure in the public-corruption case against New York Assemblyman Sheldon Silver claims that the university fired him without giving him a chance to defend himself
     After more than 30 years in Columbia’s medical faculty, Robert Taub was thrust into the spotlight on Jan. 22, 2015, when The New York Times identified him as the man who referred mesothelioma patients to Silver’s law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg.
     That day, prosecutors accused Silver, then speaker of the state assembly, of disguising millions in bribes and kickbacks as legitimate income from his private-law practice.
     Since late 2002, two law firms paid Silver more than $6 million, and Weitz & Luxenberg was the source of more than $5.3 million of that amount, prosecutors claimed.
     In a June 5 petition against Columbia in Manhattan Supreme Court, Taub claims that his career took a nosedive the day after prosecutors unveiled their criminal complaint against Silver.
     “On January 23, 2015, without notice or warning, Dr. Taub received two letters from the chair of the Columbia University Department of Medicine, Dr. Donald W. Landry, informing him that, as of July 22, 2015, ‘the Department of Medicine will have no position and no job duties’ for him,” the 11-page petition states. “Further, ‘[his] salary will end on July 22, 2015. The Department will not have any space or administrative support available for [him] after July 22, 2015.'”
     Landry is not a party to the lawsuit.
     “The second letter informed Dr. Taub that he was being stripped of his appointment as the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Professor of Medicine, also as of July 22, 2015,” the complaint states.
     “Counsel for Columbia University has admitted that Dr. Taub has been ‘constructively discharged.'”
     In addition to Columbia, Taub’s petition names the university’s board of trustees, Columbia University Medical Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons as respondents.
     Taub contends that his ouster failed to follow proper procedures.
     “Apart from the two January 23, 2015, letters, Dr. Taub has received no information from Columbia University or any of its administrators or employees about the basis for his procedurally improper and summary termination,” the petition states.
     Demanding at least $500,000 in compensatory damages, Taub wants the court to order Columbia to stay all disciplinary proceedings until he has testified in the Silver trial, and to bar the university from taking the actions against him outlined in their letters.
     Taub is represented by Richard Reice of Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney.

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