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Miami Maternity Center reopens and owner responds after raid January 3, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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24 comments

You have to give credit to Shari Daniels, owner and senior midwife of the Miami Maternity Center that was raided on Christmas Eve.  She reopened her business and responded to the allegations herself without using an attorney to be her mouthpiece.  She denies the allegations by not only saying they are false, but impossible. 

However, I’m not sure how smart this is.  I just hope she has a good attorney at this point.  If anything she says in any way is false, it can be used against her to try to show thatshe is is a liar.  If what she is saying is true, she needs to mount a huge defense.  I would start right away.  Interview employees, clients, everyone.  Lock the stories in now.  I would even interview past employees.  You need to hit this hard.  The old saying that a best defense is a good offense doesn’t even begin to explain what you need to do here. 

Update on the story is here.   You can also check out Mommy Blawg for another take on the story.

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Search warrant at birthing center shows the need for a good attorney to “audit” businesses January 1, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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6 comments

I’m the type of attorney that is more concerned with the safety and welfare of my client’s,  their business and reputation rather than how much money I can stuff in my pockets.  Strange, I know.  While I’m not running a charity or anything, I hate to see good people get caught up in criminal cases when the entire problem could have been easily avoided if a good attorney got in there and essentially performed an audit on the entire business.

In Miami, a search warrant was executed at the Miami Maternity Center by a team consisting of 12 FDA Special Agents, 6 Miami Dade Police Department Detectives, 2 Florida Department of Health Investigators and 2 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Investigators.  The allegation is that they were providing women with pills containing their own placenta that some take after birth to avoid post partum depression.   This practice is not FDA approved.  Another problem is that placentas from several women were allegedly placed in the same machines which may have resulted in women getting pills contaminated with other people’s placentas.  (no OPP jokes please)

In September, a mid-wife was arrested from the same facility.  It also appears that charges against the owners/operators of the facility are also pending.  Seized from the raid were “all patient records from 2006 to the present (approximately 500 patient records), computers, frozen placentas, dehydrated placentas, dehydrator machine, grinding device, prescription pads, billing records and all potential biohazard items”.

The story is here.

I don’t know enough about the facts of this case to really figure out what the situation is here, but I see no indication that anyone was harmed.  At the most, it seems like they had sloppy business practices while they performed a service that the people wanted; but the FDA does not agree with.  This seems like it would be a good case for a lawyer to argue that this is a technical violation of civil law and not a criminal violation has no one was actually harmed.

While I know that some business owners are greedy and they don’t want to pay an attorney to let them  what they already know:  that they are violating the law.  However, you can’t say that every business that has sloppy practices is intentionally committing a crime.  The simple fact is that many people are not good business owners but by chance, they succeed.  I represent many good business owners who are great people; but sloppy practices and ignorance of the law can get them in trouble.

Getting a good attorney to go in there from the start and just tear everything apart might cost some money up front but I believe that there would be a substantial reduction in litigation in the future.  In addition, they will probably make money by running a better business.  I think the problem is that attorneys that handle this type of work only service very large corporations, and not small businesses.

I don’t even offer this type of service because my practice focuses on litigation, i.e. things are already going wrong.  While I offer my client advice on how to avoid needing my services in the future, I should probably think about what I can put together to help avoid ever needing my services.  Since I don’t handle transactional type work, such as drawing up contracts, I’ll have to work with another attorney if I ever get into this.

This article also shows the importance of calling an attorney when one of your employers are arrested for something they did at your business.  If they would have called an attorney in September when the midwife was arrested, they probably could have avoided most of this.  I know this because I have seen the difference in the results that are possible when a client calls me sooner rather than later.   Not only can they avoid legal problems, but they save a ton of money.