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3/12/2013 5:00:00 PM
Court grants Sahlolbei demurrer and motion to strike
Sahlolbei
Sahlolbei

Marty Bachman


BLYTHE - The demurrer and motion to strike filed by attorneys for Palo Verde Hospital Chief of Staff, Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei in response to the hospital's fraud lawsuit, was granted by Riverside County Superior Court on March 1. According to John A, Mills of the law firm Fenton Nelson of Los Angeles, representing Sahlolbei, the demurrer's purpose was to show the court that, as a matter of law, PVH's complaint failed to set forth a valid cause of action against Sahlolbei even if it's assumed that the purported allegations of fact contained in the complaint are true.

"The demurrer was not our clients' formal Answer to the complaint, and should not be interpreted to mean that our clients admit any of the allegations in the complaint," Mills said in an email. "The Court sustained (i.e., granted) the demurrer for the reasons we alleged in the demurrer. The Court also granted a "motion to strike" we had filed concurrently with the demurrer."

Mills said that the purpose of the motion to strike is similar to the demurrer in that it shows the court that certain allegations of the complaint are not based on any plausible facts, but are simply unsubstantiated conclusions, such as PVH's claim that it is entitled to recover attorney's fees and punitive damages.

"PVH has until April 15 to file an amended complaint that pleads sufficient facts to state a cause of action, which its current complaint failed to do," Mills wrote. "We anticipate that, in the event PVH attempts to file an amended complaint, it will still be unable to allege a viable cause of action against Dr. Sahlolbei and Pars Surgery. If PVH does seek to pursue its meritless lawsuit by filing an amended complaint, we will likely file another demurrer and motion to strike and request the court to dismiss PVH's lawsuit."

The hospital was originally represented in the suit by Thomas S. Slovak of the law firm of Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney of Palm Springs. Slovak and the firm withdrew from the case after a new Healthcare District Board was seated in December and they refused to make arrangements to pay the firm. The firm was granted an order to be relieved of the case on Feb. 8.

Attorney Blaise Jackson, from the law firm of Jeffrey G. Scott of San Diego, the Healthcare District's attorney that was hired after the board fired attorney Robert Patterson of Best, Best & Krieger, was present in court for the hospital.

According to Scott, Jackson asked that the court either continue the hearing on the demurrer or in the alternative, grant the demurrer and provide the hospital additional time to file an amended complaint.

"The attorney who had been representing the District did not file any opposition so it was not a surprise that the court granted the demurrer," Scott wrote in an email. "The purpose of our special appearance was to request that the court provide the hospital additional time so that the Board could discuss the case in closed session after they had received guidance from the FPPC. The court granted our request and provided the District 45 days to amend its complaint. Now that the Board has received direction from the FPPC, four members will be able to discuss the matter in closed session at the next meeting and take whatever action they deem appropriate."

In October the Palo Verde Healthcare District Board sued Sahlolbei and his company, Pars Surgery, Inc., accusing them of fraud, unfair and deceptive business practices, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment among other charges. In November, lawyers for Sahlolbei filed their demurrer.

Download the Declaration of PVH attorney Blaise Jackson

Download Sahlolbei's motion to strike

Download court's notice of ruling

Download the declarations to relieve Slovak as counsel 2

Download the court order relieving Slovak as counsel

Download the declarations to relieve Slovak as counsel 1

Related Stories:
• FPPC rules Hudson has conflict and can't vote on issues concerning hospital chief of staff, Sahlolbei
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Hospital's new interim-CEO might be too ethical to last
• TIMES EDITORIAL: No end in sight to Palo Verde Hospital drama
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Conflicts at Palo Verde Hospital will soon cost someone their life

Related Links:
• Healthcare District files lawsuit against hospital surgeon, Hossain Sahlolbei
• Sahlolbei attorneys file demurrer in response to suit
• Hospital attorneys ask court to dismiss Sahlolbei's federal suit


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: To @ phantom nose

Nothing has back fired, in fact things are moving forward at a much greater pace then you think or have been told by the twins and 007.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: @ phantom nose

Let me remind you that it was the old attorney under the direction of the last board that decided that there were three board members out of 5 that thought there was a conflict of interest with Dr. Sahlobei. That is why the board waited until they got the ruling from the FPCC to make any decisions on the case. Turns out that only one of the three does and now the other four can discuss it. Seems like the old boards ploy of getting those three, leaving just McLain and Pinon, unable to vote on anything with Sahlobie turned around and backfired on them a little bit!

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

Agreed. They found a slick way to kill the suit.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: Away to kill a civil Lawsuit

Still leaves the door open to a criminal investigation and prosecution!

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: To @ one way to kill a lawsuit

Partially correct except under normal circumstances with a supporting board and attorney their would of been a response to the demurrer. This of course was not done, so by default he wins this round. Still seems like Sahlolbei will win by default (has happened other times) because we now have a 2 to 2 board on this, which means we will not move forward properly.
A way to kill a law suit!!!


Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

It's hard to win on a demurrer if you don't contest it. The judge can do nothing but rule in favor of the defendant in that case. So, the judge's ruling has nothing to do with the quality of the case.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: @@ one way to kill a lawsuit

NOT!

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: @ one way to kill a lawsuit

The lawsuit is not dead and has not been killed by the board. The attorney representing the hospital told the judge to either take it to trial or rule in favor of the demurrer. This allows the board minus Hudson to take and re-evaluate the evidence they have left that the judge did not disallow. The judge basically told them that their case stunk and that they have 45 days to decide if they have more evidence other than what had been presented and reapply. Sounds to me like the doc has won again and that this was not the slam dunk case it was made out to be. Just hope this does not give even more merit to Sahlobie's suit against the hospital. I think if I was personally named in that suit I would start to worry a little. Sounds like the legal advice they were getting from the old law firm of BB&K was about as good as the advice that BB&K was giving the city of Bell

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: Someone Who Cares

We should stand together and go talk to California Medical Board who is currently visiting the hospital. They arrived Monday.

We also should take up a collection and hire Attorney Slovac to continue the case.



Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: hes a (deleted) get rid of him

The sooner (deleted) (sahlolbei) gone the better.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: One way to Kill a Lawsuit

Get your board elected and:

"Slovak and the firm withdrew from the case after a new Healthcare District Board was seated in December and they refused to make arrangements to pay the firm."

Kind of like the helipad!

Who cares if there might of been FRAUD?


Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: wait for it

Oh I think the doc has much bigger problems then this little oh lawsuit, qnd the gang of three its your own fault when you go down with a sinking ship.


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