Lawyer charged by Texas Commission for contacting Memorial Hermann patients – but how did he get their info?
A disciplinary case out of Texas, reported on Courthouse News, raises a question as to whether there was a privacy breach by an employee of Memorial Hermann in Texas:
The Commission for Lawyer Discipline wants Raymond Lamar Fisher reprimanded, suspended or disbarred. It claims a hospital reported that its patients’ rooms had received 1,009 telephone calls from Fisher’s office in 90 days, “with the obvious intent to solicit employment.”
The Commission says Fisher’s solicitations turned up after an accident victim at Memorial Hermann Hospital got an unsolicited call from Fisher’s office on Feb. 22, 2010, “to solicit employment for respondent.”
The woman declined to hire him.
The next day she got another call from Fisher’s law firm, and she refused to hire him again, and filed a complaint with the hospital, according to the complaint in Harris County Court.
Based on the patient’s complaint, the hospital “conducted an investigation and discovered that over a period of ninety (90) days, 1,009 telephone calls were made to various patient rooms from respondent’s telephone number with the obvious intent to solicit employment on behalf of respondent, by either respondent or someone in his employ.”
The State Bar filed a grievance in April 2010, which brought Fisher to the attention of the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
The Commission says Fisher violated three rules of professional conduct. It asks the court to discipline him “by reprimand, suspension or disbarment”.
Filing by Commission for Lawyer Discipline (pdf).
Note that the hospital conducted an internal investigation that revealed the number of phone calls to patients’ rooms. Did they ever investigate and determine how the lawyer got the patients’ information? I’ve seen no media report like that for 2010, although Memorial Hermann has had problems with employee misconduct in the past that did get reported in the media in 2003 and 2009. The 2003 case involved employees obtaining information on patients and selling it to others who sold it to personal injury lawyers.
I emailed Memorial Hermann yesterday to request more details about this case but the hospital has not responded.