Radiologist wants fee for searching his asbestos records

Steve Korris Mar. 12, 2009, 10:10am

PHILADELPHIA – Radiologist Jay Segarra doesn't mind digging for details of X-ray reviews he performed for asbestos lawyers, as long as someone pays him to do it.

On March 4 Segarra requested "a fee for searching his records" as he strives to comply with an order of U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno of Philadelphia.

Segarra also asked for 120 days to comply, rather than 20 days.

Robreno, responsible for about 90,000 asbestos suits from around
the nation, stripped Segarra of physician patient privilege in February.

"Doctor Segarra was not consulted by the plaintiffs in order to provide treatment," Robreno wrote.

"Rather, he was consulted by plaintiffs to provide a diagnosis, which would be relied upon by the individual plaintiffs to support a personal injury claim," he wrote.

Robreno refused to define Segarra as a health care provider for purposes of federal law that protects privacy of patient records.

He refused to define Segarra as a non-testifying expert, safe from subpoena.

He ordered Segarra "to produce all information relating to diagnosing reports or opinions for plaintiffs with claims currently pending" before Robreno.

Segarra's lawyer, Matthew Mestayer of Biloxi, Miss., responded that Segarra doesn't know their names.

"Dr. Segarra must be provided with a list of the names of plaintiffs who have claims currently pending," Mestayer wrote.

While targets of asbestos suits seek to hold Segarra accountable in Robreno's court, one target seeks accountability in federal court at Jackson, Miss.

National Services Industries sued Segarra in February, claiming he led a conspiracy to supply asbestos lawyers with phony X-ray reports.

National Services Industries seeks damages from Segarra and others, claiming it lost $80 million to the conspiracy.

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