Four years later, Harron goes after Judge Jack

Steve Korris Apr. 22, 2009, 10:57am


Radiologist Ray Harron of Bridgeport, W. Va., swore he wouldn't pick a fight with a Texas judge who accused him of fabricating X-ray reports for asbestos lawyers, but he picked the fight anyway.

On April 3 in federal court at Jackson, Miss., Harron alleged slander and defamation against a business that quoted U. S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi in a racketeering and fraud suit against him.

Edward Blackmon Jr. of Canton, Miss., wrote that National Service Industries injured Harron's good name and reputation with false and malicious allegations.

On April 21 in federal court at Wheeling, W. Va., Harron argued that he couldn't prove Judge Jack wrong because he wasn't a party in her court.

"There was no way for Dr. Harron to legally challenge the factual conclusions which the Texas court drew," Harron's attorney Jerald Jones of Clarksburg wrote.

Judge Jack found in 2005 that Harron and other radiologists reversed thousands of diagnoses from asbestosis to silicosis.

The reversals offended Jack, a former nurse. In 254 pages she roasted radiologists.

Now Harron elects to stick with the original theory of double disease.

"The mere fact that an individual was diagnosed with both asbestosis and silicosis is not contradictory nor does it tend to show fraudulent intent on the part of a diagnosing doctor," Jones wrote.

Jack didn't identify any specific incorrect X-ray reading, he wrote.

Doctors told Congress both diseases could occur in the same person, he wrote.

He cited two articles from medical journals in 2001 and one from 1979, but the titles don't support a theory of a common combination.

One journal called the case unusual, one identified four kinds of dust in a patient, and one found silicosis with cancer rather than asbestosis.

Harron's indignation represents a new strategy, for he has passed up many chances to answer Jack's charges.

Before Congress and in depositions he has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.

In a March 11 deposition for the case at Wheeling he said, "I am not here to pick a fight with Judge Jack."

In that case CSX Transportation sought to recover damages from Harron and Pittsburgh lawyers for the cost of defending and settling asbestos claims.

U. S. District Judge Frederick Stamp allowed CSX to pursue a claim against Harron over X-ray reports on a single plaintiff, Earl Baylor.

CSX lawyers introduced evidence from other lawsuits as relevant to Harron's methods and standards, and at his deposition their questions followed that line.

Harron refused to answer and continued resisting after CSX asked Stamp for an order compelling answers.

"Plaintiff seeks evidence that Dr. Harron may have behaved improperly in cases not at issue here, involving a different disease, different claimants, different law firms, and different methodologies," Jones wrote.

He wrote that Dr. Donald Breyer confirmed his diagnosis of Baylor and that CSX appeared to seek inadmissible evidence of bad acts.

He wrote that CSX tried to examine Harron about an exhibit involving O'Quinn, Laminack and Pirtle in Texas.

Magistrate Judge James Seibert has set an evidentiary hearing May 1 at Wheeling.

In the Mississippi case, National Service Industries sued Harron, his son Andrew Harron, asbestos screening company N & M Inc., and individuals who ran it.

National Services Industries filed the suit at Holmes County courthouse in Lexington in February, and N & M owners removed it to federal court.

The Harrons didn't consent to removal. They moved for remand to Holmes County.

On March 26 Andrew Harron's lawyer, Precious Martin Sr. of Jackson, Miss., answered the claim with a counterclaim.

"The complaint filed against Andrew Harron contains, false, misleading and vexatious allegations against him," Martin wrote.

He wrote that Andrew Harron resides at Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is staff radiologist at Kenosha Memorial Hospital.

"Andrew Harron followed acceptable medical testing practices in the diagnosis of asbestos related conditions," he wrote.

He wrote that National Services Industries stated that Andrew Harron fabricated bogus reports, deviated from standards and created false results.

He wrote that National Services Industries accused Andrew Harron of presenting false evidence in a scheme to extract millions in settlements.

"All of these statements are untrue and plaintiff has failed to name any individual instance of fabricated medical reports by Andrew Harron or instance where Andrew Harron deviated from the standards of medical testing," Martin wrote.

Martin accused National Services Industries of starting an unjust investigation.

"As a result of NSI's actions, Andrew Harron's good name and reputation have been severely harmed," he wrote.

"He has been made a target of criminal investigation and has spent time and money defending his right to practice medicine," he wrote.

"He has suffered emotional and mental distress, pain and suffering as well as pecuniary damages," he wrote.

Eight days later Blackmon filed Ray Harron's counterclaim, protesting that in a court filing National Industries Services published false statements to third parties.

"These communications are not privileged in any way," Blackmon wrote.

In another federal case at Jackson, National Services Industries seeks damages from radiologist Jay Segarra and former owners of Respiratory Testing Services.

Sixty days after National Services Industries sued, no one had answered.

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