Professional rift between ophthalmologists results in litigation

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Nov. 13, 2013, 1:39pm

GALVESTON - A retired ophthalmologist initiated litigation against his fellow shareholders and their Galveston practice for what he asserts is "oppression of a minority shareholder."

A lawsuit filed Nov. 11 in Galveston County District Court states Dr. Daniel Gold is owed funds from the sale of Eye Clinic of Galveston initiated by Dr. Allan Fradkin and Dr. Bernard Milstein and the rent for the Tremont Professional Building where they are based.

The Galveston Eye Group P.A. is also a defendant in the case. 

Recent court documents show Gold, Fradkin and Milstein have practiced together for more than 25 years.

Sometime in 1995, they reorganized their practice by forming GEG, doing business as ECG, as well as established the Tremont Professional Building Partnership to purchase and manage its principal office near Galveston's East End.

The physicians continued to work together until August 2003 when Gold retired and moved to Israel.

According to the suit, they agreed that Gold can remain a member of ECG and would receive 33 per cent of the proceeds from sales of group assets.

Gold also reportedly consented to deferring the building rent "for a short period of time until a formal agreement between the members of ECG could be signed."

Fradkin and Milstein moved forward with ECG after Gold's departure, but the suit alleges Gold "has not received a salary or distribution of any kind from ECG."

It adds the defendants purportedly left Gold out of any actions and meetings as well as filed reports with the Texas Secretary of State in 2004 and 2005 without his name.

The plaintiff says the respondents wrote him last year to inform him that he is no longer an ECG member because "he was not still a practicing physician" to which he counters is false as he practices in Israel and his license "complies with the requirements of Texas law."

After Fradkin and Milstein's apparent concession that Gold still had active membership, the suit says, they sold a bulk of ECG's assets to HEA Clinic P.A. in late December 2012 without any input from the complainant.

Gold explains he requested but did not receive a complete accounting of the distribution of the funds stemming from the transaction in question, insisting he "does not know what liabilities of ECG were paid, which liabilities remain and what happened to the remaining purchase funds."

Meanwhile, Fradkin and Goldstein are believed to still practice out of the Tremont Professional Building as employees of HEA, which is not a party.

Attorney Mark A. Huvard of Harberg Huvard Jacobs Wadler LLP in Houston is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. 13-CV-1428

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