Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

'Ask Gary' Doctor Sues Bloomberg

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

'Ask Gary' Doctor Sues Bloomberg

Article excerpt

KOMPOTHECRAS: Physician is also going after Allstate over alleged extortion bid

SARASOTA -- Dr. Gary Kompothecras and his Physicians Group LLC filed a lawsuit Friday against business news provider Bloomberg L.P., Allstate Insurance and three individuals, alleging libel, slander and misappropriation of trade secrets.

The lawsuit is related to a separate civil suit filed by Physicians Group in January 2012 against attorney Peter J. Brudny and Jeffrey Lauffer, a chiropractor who was once employed by the group.

In that still-pending suit, Physicians Group contends that Brudny and Lauffer attempted to extort money from the business after the latter stole software and documents from it.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Sarasota Circuit Court does not name Brudny or Lauffer as defendants, but cites their alleged extortion of Physicians Group and Dr. Kompothecras.

The new documents also contend that the unsuccessful extortion was a basis for taking their material to Allstate and Bloomberg, which published a major article two years ago that criticized Kompothecras and Physicians Group.

"The case arose after extortionists threatened Physicians Group and Dr. Gary Kompothecras that they would destroy their reputations unless they coughed up $3 million," the Nov. 8 lawsuit states.

When the chiropractor and entrepreneur and his company refused, the suit contends, "the extortionists conspired with Allstate, Bloomberg, and a writer to publish an outlandish hit piece maliciously asserting defamatory lies in order to damage Physicians Group and Dr. Kompothecras."

Reached Friday, Brudny declined to comment.

In a court-filed affidavit in Kompothecras' case against him, however, Brudny claims that Kompothecras was going after Brudny "solely in an attempt to damage my reputation, and to disrupt my ability to continue investigating fraudulent and/or criminal activities that have occurred in Gary's 'organization.'"

The materials Lauffer allegedly stole included software created by Physicians Group to keep track of its clients and a protocol to maximize the efficiency and quality of the treatment of accident victims.

Lauffer is alleged to have taken the materials to a competitor he went to work for, which used the confidential information to solicit Physicians Group' clients.

Using the same information, Allstate allegedly engaged in "a surreptitious scheme to attack Physicians Group and Dr. Kompothecras as part of Allstate's malicious quest to shutter Physicians Group and 1-800-ASK-GARY legal and medical referral network," the lawsuit states.

An Allstate Insurance spokesman declined to comment, and Bloomberg officials did not return a reporter's telephone calls.

Kompothecras is also seeking damages from two former patients for slander, based on comments made about the chiropractic service in a November 2011 Bloomberg article, in sworn depositions and during a television interview. …

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