Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Papers pending

Decisions prior to
settlement not filed

By David Baker
Posted Thursday August 23, 2012

Twenty five days after a lawsuit in which Samaritan Hospital was accused of repeatedly granting staff privileges to a doctor who it knew or should have known was unfit to practice was settled, legal papers in the case have not been filed.

Among those papers are decisions on motions submitted in the weeks prior to the start of the trial that would have affected how the trial would proceed and what evidence could be presented to the jury.

In the case, Susan Stalker of Waterford alleged that gynecologist Akiva Abraham left her disfigured when he performed an unnecessary and unauthorized surgery in 2004.  It was settled on July 30, the first day of trial.

A rule of the court require that these decisions and other papers be filed in the office of the county clerk.  However, that rule imposes no time by which the papers have to be made public.

Lawyers for both the plaintiff and the hospital have evidently wanted to keep this case out of public view and the area’s newspapers have cooperated, not once mentioning the lawsuit in the six years since it was filed – even as they ran more than a dozen stories about Abraham’s other legal problems.

Stalker’s claim was first reported in February of this year on this blog’s sister web page,

The newspapers – which continue to receive a significant amount of advertising revenue from the area’s medical providers – have ignored dozens of malpractice lawsuits against those advertisers since 1998.

Reports of many of those cases appear on this page, and later this year a major campaign will be launched to bring them and the newspapers' silence to the attention of residents of the Capital Region.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Decisions made

          Papers in negligent-credentialing case
           will show details behind settlement

By David Baker
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The lawsuit accusing former gynecologist Akiva Abraham of malpractice and Samaritan Hospital in Troy of negligently granting him privileges has been settled but until last-minute motions and opposing papers and the decisions on them that likely prompted the settlement are filed in the county clerk’s office, the details behind the end, on the first day of trial, of this six-year-old case won’t be publicly available.

In the days before the trial, both sides filed motions.  Stalker’s attorney’s wanted certified copies of three prior malpractice lawsuits that named both Abraham and Samaritan Hospital.  They also wanted to subpoena two doctors to testify, and to obtain records from the state Department of Health.

The hospital opposed all the motions and asked Justice Stephen Ferradino to preclude any questions or testimony about Abraham’s criminal conviction or the revocation of his medical license.

Ferradino’s decisions on these motions – due on the first day of the trial – would have shifted the balance of the case one way or the other. Those decisions – which have yet to be filed – and the prospect of days of testimony in open court, apparently prompted Samaritan Hospital to cave in and settle.

Abraham had no insurance; he is bankrupt and in prison. That left Samaritan as effectively the only defendant.  And with the legal fees and expenses generated by six years of litigation having to be accounted for, this settlement did not come cheap.

MEANWHILE, the first deposition in Samaritan’s lawsuit against this blog’s sister web page is set for this Thursday.  Details of the examination will appear here shortly.