HOUSTON – Five doctors are suing an oncology clinic claiming fraud in regard to their former employment with the practice, specifically their monetary compensation.
Drs. Frank Parke, Randall Johnson, Stephen Maniscalco, John Davis and Jon-Cecil Walkes filed suit on March 10 in the District Court of Harris County against Texienne Oncology Centers, PLLC and Dr. Asit Choksi and Dr. David Ellent.
Texienne Oncology Center was formerly known as Greater Houston Physicians Medical Association, PLLC, and is referred to in the complaint as GHPMA.
The complaint says of the defendants, “Dr. Choksi, alone or in combination with Dr. Ellent, exerts dominion and control over GHPMA, uses it as a sham to perpetrate a fraud on its members, uses it to indiscriminately and unfairly enrich himself at the expense of its members, uses it as his alter ego, and uses it to wrongfully shield himself from the consequence of his wrongful actions.”
Each of the plaintiffs signed employment agreements with GHPMA, where Choksi was the manager of the practice, according to the complaint.
The specific acts which plaintiffs claim are the root causes of the complaint are failure to pay, and they claim GHPMA “...fraudulently withheld earnings due them under their employment agreements, made material misrepresentation to the doctors about expenses to take more profits for themselves, diverted company monies for personal use, and refused to provide the doctors’ with backup documentation concerning expenses withheld from their compensation.”
The plaintiffs were all members of GHPMA and shared in the profits. Some of the plaintiffs also purchased shares in the practice, entitling them to additional compensation, the complaint states. Additionally, the complaint says: two of the doctors were not credentialed in a timely manner, which affected their earnings; the rheumatology doctors were not properly paid their share of the infusion profits; the doctors paid more than $60,000 in expenses which the clinic should have paid; the clinic failed to bill and collect claims in a timely manner.
The complaint also states that the plaintiffs’ employments were unfairly terminated. Choksi personally committed fraud, they claim also. The complaint asks that an auditor be appointed by the court.
Because the individual defendants are liable, plaintiffs allege, it’s appropriate to pierce the corporate veil. They particularly note in regard to Choksi: “Dr. Choksi operated GHPMA as his alter ego – exercising sole and exclusive control over all meaningful decisions, signing every check, personally approving every payroll, and approving fraudulent and improper financial reports. Because of the lack of transparency to his actions and the lack of accountability (because of his perceived lack of accountability under Section 5.6 of GHPMA’s Company Agreement), Dr. Choksi must be liable for any wrongful act GHPMA committed.”
Attorney Joe Michaels of the Michaels Law Firm represents the plaintiffs.