***FOR PRINT*** Harron moves to dismiss his claim against CSX

Steve Korris Jan. 18, 2012, 8:00am


WHEELING - Radiologist Ray Harron of Bridgeport, W. Va., abandoned his plan to prove U.S. District Judge Janis Jack of Texas misjudged him when she ruled that he schemed with lawyers to manufacture false X-ray reports of lung disease.

On Jan. 10, Harron moved to dismiss his claim that CSX Transportation slandered and defamed him by quoting an opinion Jack signed in 2005.

Harron accused CSX in a counterclaim to a racketeering suit CSX filed against him and asbestos lawyers Robert Peirce, Louis Raimond and Mark Coulter of Pittsburgh.

Harron's counterclaim indicated he would rise to rescue his reputation.

"All and each of the allegations and statements made by the plaintiff are false, malicious, and untrue," his lawyer, Jerald Jones of Clarksburg, W. Va., wrote in November.

He wrote that CSX injured Harron's good name, causing him great emotional distress and pecuniary damages. He denied that Harron's X-ray readings were medically unreasonable.

Jones didn't deny that Harron lost his medical license in seven states, but wrote that "the cause was Judge Jack, not misconduct, as no misconduct was ever established."

He also didn't deny that Harron pleaded Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination, but wrote that he did it on the advice of a lawyer.

CSX first sued Harron and the lawyers in 2005. U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp granted summary judgment to Harron and the lawyers in 2009, finding a statute of limitations ran out.

Fourth Circuit appellate judges in Richmond, Va., reversed Stamp in 2010, ruling CSX could amend its complaint.

CSX filed a new complaint last October, claiming defendants deliberately fabricated and prosecuted unreasonable, false and fraudulent asbestos claims.

CSX alleged a pattern and practice of bribery, fraud, conspiracy and racketeering. CSX quoted Jack's conclusion that Harron and others in multi district silica litigation were willing participants in a scheme to manufacture diagnoses for money.

CSX quoted Jack's conclusion that in almost 2,000 instances, Harron first found signs of asbestosis and later found signs of silicosis. CSX quoted her conclusion that a golfer was more likely to hit a hole in one than an occupational medicine specialist was to find a case of both silicosis and asbestosis.

CSX quoted her conclusion that Peirce paid Harron per X-ray, enhancing his incentive to read as many as possible without regard to established protocols.

CSX sought compensatory damages for the cost of defending and settling claims, plus punitive damages and triple damages.

CSX wrote that Harron secured licenses in several states so there would be no question as to his authority or ability to read X-rays and give opinions in the courts of those states.

Jones answered with a counterclaim for slander and defamation, writing that Harron never claimed to be a treating physician to workers whose X-rays he read.

He wrote that Harron followed the applicable standard of care.

CSX moved to dismiss the counterclaim on Nov. 23, arguing that statements made in judicial proceedings are absolutely privileged.

Harron didn't respond, and CSX moved to dismiss on Dec. 23.

Harron responded by giving up.

Jones wrote that Harron "opted not to pursue the claim and therefore did not respond to plaintiff's motion."

He asked Stamp to enter an order voluntarily dismissing the counterclaim.

CSX asked Stamp to dismiss it with prejudice, so Harron can't refile it.

Marc Williams and Robert Massie of Huntington, W. Va., represent CSX, along with Samuel Tarry and Mitchell Morris of Richmond, Va.

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