A New York doctor whose former research organization has received funding from the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation was a treating physician for a Madison County asbestos claimant.
Asbestos researcher Dr. Robert Taub was included on a witness list in decedent Jose Milicevic’s asbestos case filed by the Simmons Law firm in Madison County in November 2012.
According to the asbestos lawsuit, Milicevic, a Florida resident, developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure while working as a mechanic at various locations from the 1960s to 1987. The case has been settled.
Attorney Paul Dix of the Simmons firm represented the decedent and his family.
According to court documents, Taub was named as a potential witness and one of Milicevic’s treating physicians. In fact, Milicevic’s medical records and medical bills associated with Taub were included in the case’s exhibit list along with pathology reports, bills and records from New York Presbyterian Hospital and the New York Presbyterian at Columbia Medical Center.
The decedent’s medical bills amounted to $10,798.00 for Taub and $101,840.22 for the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
A "Block Denial Letter" from Columbia University Anatomic Pathology Laboratories was also listed as part of the pathology reports in the exhibit list.
Taub had headed up the Columbia University Mesothelioma Center, which is affiliated with the New York Presbyterian Hospital, where Milicevic was treated. The mesothelioma research center is dedicated to curing the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma.
Taub was removed from his post at Columbia University on Jan. 23, according to the New York Daily News, after state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested for allegedly secretly directing state funding to the doctor’s research center.
In return for the funds, Taub allegedly referred patients to high profile asbestos firm Weitz and Luxenberg, which had employed Silver. According to the complaint against Silver filed in the Southern District of New York on Jan. 21, cases referred by Taub generated millions in fees for the politician.
The New York Daily News also reported that Taub is cooperating with the FBI and has been given a nonprosecution agreement in exchange for his testimony against Silver.
In related reporting by the New York Times, the newspaper stated that Taub sent patients to the Simmons firm after the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation provided Taub's center with financial support.
Online records show that the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation - established by Simmons in 2010 - donated $3.15 million to Taub’s research center on May 10, 2010.
The Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation website lists the Columbia University Mesothelioma Center as one of six medical centers that it provides funding for “cutting edge research.”
The Simmons firm has filed the most asbestos cases in Madison County over the past decade, and most of the cases have been brought on behalf of plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma. The vast majority of cases filed in Madison County, the busiest asbestos docket in the country, are filed on behalf of persons from outside of Illinois.