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Sources: Confidential settlement reached in fugitive spine doctor lawsuit

WLWT Cincinnati logo WLWT Cincinnati 7/9/2018

It appears a settlement has been reached in a medical malpractice civil lawsuit, but the terms of it are not being revealed.

According to sources, Cathy Beil has made a confidential agreement with West Chester Hospital and UC Health in connection with her claims against Dr. Atiq Durrani.

He is the fugitive spine surgeon who is currently living and working in Pakistan. Information from the U.S. Attorney indicated Durrani fled the country in 2013 in order to avoid criminal prosecution.

Beil and hundreds of other former patients sued Durrani alleging he performed unnecessary surgeries.

The Boone County woman is batting a thousand this month. A jury found in her favor last week, then there was a private settlement this week.

Durrani has steadfastly denied the accusations made against him.

The medical institutions accused of negligently allowing him hospital privileges also have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

According to sources, Beil reached a confidential settlement with West Chester Hospital and UC Health in the days after a jury found in her favor against Durrani, awarding her $350,000.

The same jury also awarded her undisclosed punitive damages.

A gag order issued by Visiting Judge Mark Schweikert's remained in place as word of the settlement started to spread.

Terms of the settlement are sealed.

"In most cases, they're worried that it'll incur future litigation against one side or the other," mused Hamilton County recorder Norbert Nadel, who as a common pleas court judge presided over numerous settlements during his 40 years on the bench.

"I was never in favor of those," stated Nadel in his office this afternoon. "But, they can do it and they've done it. And there have been settlements where when I was a judge, they wouldn't even tell me what the settlement was."

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Five-hundred other former patients of Durrani have keenly watched the way Beil's civil case unfolded.

Of course, confidential settlements are not unusual.

Neither is questioning their validity when there are public components involved.

"It's troublesome when there's a public actor like a non-profit," offered professor Joseph Tomain of the University of Cincinnati Law School.

He said transparency should be favored when public entities are paying.

"I think there's public interest," added Nadel. "And I think it's sort of inconsistent because these are public institutions."

Those same institutions and the same surgeon will face more plaintiffs asking for damages next month.

Six cases are scheduled for Aug. 27 in the federal courtroom of Judge Michael Barrett.

This time, the civil lawsuit accusations against Durrani and the hospitals will be heard at the same time.


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