In November 2006, Glenn Weinberg appeared a healthy and hearty 50-year-old, who exercised regularly and was fully engaged in the competitive world of real estate development as a partner of the Baltimore-based Cordish Co.
But he scaled everything back after a cardiologist — Dr. Mark Midei — falsely led him to believe he had severe coronary artery disease and placed three expensive stents in his body that month, according to a lawsuit filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
The case, scheduled to begin Monday with jury selection, alleges that Midei cost Weinberg at least $50 million in lost work. Among the projects that Cordish completed while Weinberg was trying to take it easy was the Maryland Live Casino in Hanover — the state's largest casino, earning $377 million in table and gaming revenue so far this year.
"As a result of Dr. Midei's intentional misrepresentations … Mr. Weinberg significantly reduced his role and responsibility at the Cordish Company, forfeiting ownership in many Cordish Company projects and suffering tremendous economic loss," claims the lawsuit, which seeks $50 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.
Attorneys for Midei and co-defendant St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson did not respond to requests for comment. Midei also did not respond to a message. He has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing.
Weinberg's civil lawsuit is one of hundreds filed against Midei, a former star cardiologist who was found by a state physicians board to have repeatedly falsified medical records to place unnecessary stents in patients at St. Joseph. But Weinberg's case stands out because of the significant damage claims and his background.
In addition to his Cordish connection, Weinberg is the nephew of Harry Weinberg — who with his wife, Jeanette, founded one of the country's largest private charitable foundations — and the owner of the $6.9 million Hawaiian house at which the Obamas like to vacation.
He is represented by attorney Robert Weltchek, who has represented the Cordish Co., and William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., who has a national reputation for taking on high-profile cases worth millions of dollars.
Weinberg and his attorneys declined to comment. David Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Co., did not respond to a message.
Midei, who lost his Maryland medical license in 2011, has said he acted in the best interests of his patients. And the hospital, which sent warning letters to nearly 600 of Midei's patients telling them their stents may have been unwarranted, has also said it is blameless.
Weinberg's complaint, like most others, claims lasting medical complications, an emotional toll and economic losses from the unnecessary stents, while complaining that St. Joseph failed in its oversight responsibilities. The suit was originally filed in 2010 when the allegations against Midei were made public.
It claims that Weinberg, who was feeling healthy and vigorous, visited a cardiology practice in November 2006 to get clearance for hernia surgery and that he was referred to Midei after tests showed possible cardiac abnormalities.
Midei was to check for blockage in Weinberg's arteries and intervene only if medically necessary. He wound up placing stents — tiny mesh tubes that prop open compromised arteries and cost about $10,000 to place — in three of Weinberg's arteries. He claimed in medical records that they were almost completely blocked, the suit said: Two of the arteries were 95 percent closed, and the third was 90 percent shut, Midei is said to have written.
In reality, the arteries were perfectly functional, Weinberg's lawsuit claims.
"In the winter and spring of 2010, various news media reports revealed that hundreds of Dr. Midei's stent patients had been notified by St. Joseph Medical Center that stents they had received may have been unnecessary. Following these reports, in early summer 2010, Mr. Weinberg's investigation revealed that the stents he had received were unnecessary and not medically indicated," the lawsuit claims.
It seeks damages on seven counts, including medical malpractice and fraud on both Midei and St. Joseph's parts. The hospital, which was owned by Catholic Health Initiatives at the time Midei worked there and bought by the University of Maryland last year, knew Midei had an abnormally high stent volume, which should have raised alarms, the suit claims.
In May, lawyers for Midei and St. Joseph settled unnecessary procedure claims by nearly 250 of Midei's former patients, avoiding years of legal proceedings. Roughly 45 civil suits remain.
The Weinberg trial is expected to last at least a month.
twitter.com/triciabishopCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun