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Kaul v. Christie

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 30, 2017

RICHARD ARJUN KAUL, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPER J. CHRISTIE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Dr. Richard A. Kaul, an anesthesiologist by training, claims to be a minimally invasive spine surgeon. In March 2014, the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners (the "Board") said otherwise. Because his performance of spine surgeries on 11 patients without proper training and experience constituted gross and repeated malpractice, negligence, and incompetence, the Board revoked his medical license. From Dr. Kaul's perspective, the disciplinary proceedings were nothing but a sham. What really happened, he says, is that a network of politically connected neurosurgeons wanted to make an example of him. His high-quality medical practice was cutting into their margins, and so with the assistance of a cabal of lawyers, hospitals, insurance companies, and media figures, they importuned public officials to banish him from the practice of medicine in New Jersey. And so Dr. Kaul brought this action against some forty-odd defendants.

         Now before the court are dozens of motions to dismiss, which in general will be granted. In part, the motions are granted under Rule 12(b)(1), on grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. For the most part, however, dismissal is on 12(b)(6) grounds, because the amended complaint fails to allege plausibly any cause of action as to any defendant.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The gist of the amended complaint ("AC") is that the entire medical, legal, and political ("medico-legal", in Dr. Kaul's words) community of New Jersey conspired to revoke Dr. Kaul's license. No surprise, then, that Dr. Kaul's list of grievances contained in this 101-page AC is exhaustive. To begin to untangle the thick knot of private citizens, professional organizations, law firms, attorneys, administrators, politicians, and public officials alleged to have been in on the scheme to deprive Dr. Kaul of his license, this introductory section proceeds in five subparts.

         Part LA is a summary of the parties involved and the nature of the allegations against them. Part I.B summarizes the license revocation proceedings. Because it is relevant to res judicata and Younger abstention issues, Part I.C describes some actions related to this one. Part I.D concludes this background section with some information about the procedural history and claims asserted in this case.

         A. The Parties

         As I must, I accept as true Dr. Kaul's allegations for the purpose of these motions to dismiss.[1]

         1. Dr. Kaul

         Dr. Kaul went to medical school in London and completed his residency here, at Albert Einstein-Montefiore Medical Center in New York. He became a board-certified anesthesiologist. In 2003, the Board suspended Dr. Kaul's license to practice medicine; in 2012, they revoked it entirely and permanently. These incidents, and others, are discussed below, but the takeaway for now is this: The AC claims that the 2012 disciplinary proceedings were the result of a vast conspiracy between the Governor, hospitals, insurance companies, lawyers, and competitors to drive Dr. Kaul, a minimally invasive spine surgery pioneer, out of business. (See generally AC)

         2. Defendants

         For convenience, I group the defendants into eight categories.

         i. The State Defendants

         The New Jersey Attorney General's Office represents these nine defendants in this case:

• The Board, which is responsible for licensing and censuring New Jersey doctors. (AC ¶ 35)
• Christopher J., Christie, who is the Governor of the State of New Jersey. Allegedly, he was moved to revoke Dr. Kaul's medical license by a series of kickback and quid pro quo arrangements with the other defendants. (Id. ¶ 3, 54)
• Jeffrey Chiesa is the former Attorney General ("AG") of the State of New Jersey. Chiesa was AG when the Board revoked Dr. Kaul's license. As to Chiesa, the thrust of the AC is that he allowed the 2012 revocation hearings to unfold unfairly. Particularly distressing to Dr. Kaul is Chiesa's failure to investigate the alteration of unidentified portions of certain transcripts of the administrative proceedings. (Id. ¶ 4, 57, 210)
• Howard Solomon is the Administrative Law Judge who presided over Dr. Kaul's 2012 disciplinary proceedings. Following a 23-day hearing, he issued a 94-page opinion. ALJ Solomon concluded that Dr. Kaul's performance of spine surgeries on 11 patients constituted gross malpractice and recommended that the Board revoke his medical license. An article he read about Dr. Kaul in a Bergen County newspaper, the Record, allegedly influenced his decision. (See generally ALJ Op.; AC ¶¶ 59-60, 97)
• William Roeder is executive director of the Board.[2] (Id. ¶ 36)
• Dr. Steven Lomazow is a neurologist and was a senior member of the Board in 2012. (Id. ¶ 15)
• Dr. Gregory Przybylski is a neurologist. He testified as an expert witness for the State in the 2012 disciplinary proceedings, falsely. (Id. ¶¶ 28, 85, 160)
• Dr. Andrew Kaufman, an anesthesiologist, also testified as an expert witness for the State in those proceedings. At some point, he made false statements that Dr. Kaul was not qualified to perform minimally invasive spine surgeries, perhaps during the 2012 disciplinary proceedings. (ALJ Op. 41-44; AC ¶¶ 34, 67, 85).
• Dr. Kaul is also suing the State of New Jersey. (AC ¶ 4)

         ii. The Doctor Defendants

         The following seven defendants are surgeons (though the AC isn't always clear, I presume they are neurosurgeons) in New Jersey. For the most part, Dr. Kaul claims that they are his jealous competitors, and thus stood to benefit from his ruin.

• Dr. Robert Heary consulted with one of Dr. Kaul's patients and encouraged her to sue Dr. Kaul for medical malpractice. (Id. ¶ 13, 68)
• Dr. Frank Moore is a professor of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. (Id. ¶ 17)[3]
• Dr. Peter Carmel is a co-director of neurosurgery at the Neurological Institute of New Jersey in Newark. Dr. Carmel used his authority as President of the American Medical Association ("AMA") to enact legislation that favored neurosurgeons and hospitals and downgrade the value of endoscopic discectomies. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 72, 80, 92)
• Dr. William Mitchell is the attending neurosurgeon at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. He, too, caused endoscopic discectomies to become less profitable, which reduced Dr. Kaul's revenues. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 73)
• Dr. Thomas Peterson is also a neurosurgeon and affiliated in some way with Hackensack University Medical Center ("HUMC"). Dr. Peterson once called Dr. Kaul a "murderer" in front of one of Dr. Kaul's employees. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 90, 176)
• Dr. Peter Staats is the President of The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians ("ASIPP") and the editor of Pain Medicine News. He has "devoted a large percentage of career to medical politics." (Id. ¶¶ 22, 74)
• Dr. Marc Cohen sent a complaint about Dr. Kaul performing spine surgeries to the Board in 2007. (Id. ¶¶ 23, 75)

         iii. The Hospital Defendants

         Dr. Kaul's allegations as to these five defendants, hospitals and their presidents, are generally similar, so I group them together. (E.g. AC ¶¶ 118, 147, 176, 205, 235, 260, 293) He claims that these defendants compete with surgical centers, such as the one Dr. Kaul ran, and therefore had reason to divert business from him to themselves.

• Atlantic Health System ("AHS") is a healthcare company comprised of number of hospitals, including Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center, Chilton Medical Center, and Hackettstown Medical Center. Drs. Cohen, Heary, Carmel, Lomazow, and Kaufman "do business" with AHS. (AC ¶ 11)
• Brian Gragnolati became the president of AHS on May 4, 2015. (Id. ¶ 42, Def. Ex. V ¶ 14)
• Hackensack University Medical Center ("HUMC") is hospital. Drs. Peters and Heary "do business" with HUMC. (Id. ¶ 11)
• Robert Garrett is the president of HUMC. (Id. ¶ 41)
• University Hospital, incorrectly pled as Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, is a hospital affiliated with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Drs. Heary, Carmel, and Kaufman "do business" with University Hospital. (Id. ¶ 12)
• James Gonzalez is the president of University Hospital. Gonzalez allegedly failed to take appropriate action after Dr. Kaul sent Gonzalez a letter describing an incident in which Dr. Kaufman defamed him to one of his patients. (Id. ¶ 39)

         iv. The Medical Organization Defendants

         The following four medical organizations (plus Dr. Wolfa, the chairman of one) are involved in this case. Dr. Kaul generally attributes the wrongful acts (e.g., improper political influence, lobbying, defamation, etc.) of their members, the Doctor Defendants, to them.

• The Congress of Neurological Surgeons ("CNS") is a professional medical society. Drs. Heary, Przyblyski, Carmel, Mitchell, Moore, and Peterson are all members. (Id. ¶¶ 30)
• Christopher Wolfa is the chairman of the professional conduct committee at CNS. He allegedly failed to take appropriate action after Dr. Kaul filed an ethics complaint against Dr. Przblyski, who is a CNS member. (Id. ¶¶ 31, 70)
• The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians ("ASIPP") is a professional medical society. Dr. Staats is president; Dr. Kaufman is a senior member. (Id. ¶¶ 29, 34)
• The American Medical Association ("AMA") is a professional medical association. Dr. Carmel was its president in 2011, (Id. ¶ 19)
• The North American Spine Society ("NASS") is global medical society. Dr. Przybylski was its president in 2011; Dr. Cohen is a member. (Id. ¶¶ 28, 23)

         v. The Insurance Defendants

         The next five defendants allegedly stood to gain from the revocation of Dr. Kaul's license, and in some way bore responsibility for it:

• Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company ("Allstate") is the New Jersey subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company. Allstate owes Dr. Kaul $10 million for clinical services rendered. (AC ¶¶ 7, 56, 62)
• Richard Crist was the CEO of Allstate. (Id. ¶ 6, Def. Ex. BB, ECF No. 128-30)
• Government Employees Insurance Co., GEICO Indemnity Co., GEICO Insurance Company, and GEICO Casualty Co, (collectively, "GEICO") provides auto insurance. GEICO used the revocation of Dr. Kaul's license as an excuse not to pay him fees owed. They also advanced legislation that favored it at the expense of surgical centers and interventional pain physicians such as Dr. Kaul. Sometime in 2013, GIECO filed an insurance fraud lawsuit against Dr. Kaul, and conspired with the Media Defendants to publish false stories about him. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 61, 98, 153)
• Berkshire Hathaway is the parent company GEICO. Dr. Kaul seeks to hold it liable for GEICO's conduct. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 62)
• Warren Buffett is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Dr. Kaul's seeks to hold him liable for GEICO and Berkshire Hathaway's conduct. (Id. ¶¶ 44, 63)

         vi. The Bank Defendants

         These two defendants allegedly illegally foreclosed on a $ 1 million loan they had given Dr. Kaul to construct a surgical center.

• TD Bank, N. A. is a bank. After obtaining a default judgment against Dr. Kaul, he had to declare bankruptcy. As a result of TD Bank's efforts to enforce that judgment, Dr. Kaul was unable to recover proceeds from the sale of his Manhattan townhouse. Dr. Kaul also says that TD Bank falsely told others in the banking community that he had committed insurance fraud. [Id. ¶¶ 10, 55, 64, 184)
• Divyesh Kothari is the Vice President of TD Bank. He used "false pretenses to obstruct . . . the townhouse and force it into foreclosure. (Id. ¶ 40, 185)

         vii. The Law Firm Defendants

         These five law firms and attorneys represented in Dr. Kaul in various capacities. He generally accuses them of ethical misconduct or incompetence, although it is not very clear what legal services or matters are involved.

• Scarinci Hollenbeck LLC ("S&H") is a New Jersey law firm, and Kenneth Hollenbeck is its Managing Partner. S&H and Hollenbeck attempted to extort $196, 000 in legal fees from Dr. Kaul two weeks before the disciplinary hearing by threatening to withdraw from some representation unless Dr. Kaul paid up.[4](AC¶¶21, 25, 76, 77, 135)
• Brach Eichler LLC is a New Jersey law firm, and Joseph Gorrell is a partner there. The firm has close ties to the Governor and, at some point, represented ASIPP. Had Dr. Kaul known either of these facts, he would have retained different counsel for some matter. The remainder of the allegations involving Brach Eichler and Gorrell are difficult to parse, though the firm seems to have played an important role in alleged conspiracy.[5] Gorrell "was motived by the promise of increased revenues that he knew would be generated from other physicians seeking legal counsel, in the wake of the commencement of the plaintiffs revocation proceedings."[6](Id. ¶¶ 26, 27, 78, 79137, 165)
• Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski, P.C., pled as "Dughi Hewitt LLC, " is a New Jersey law firm. Michael Keating is partner at Dughi Hewit, and he represented Dr. Kaul in an unsuccessful December 2014 bid to reinstate his medical license. Way back when, Governor Christie was a partner at Dughi Hewit. Because of the firm and Keating's cozy relationship to the Governor and participants in the medical and legal community generally, Dr. Kaul claims that Keating and Dughi Hewit deliberately botched or slow-pedaled the reinstatement effort, and then overcharged him.[7] (Id. ¶¶ 32, 33, 83. 170, 229, 287)

         viii. The Media Defendants

         Dr. Kaul seeks to hold these final two defendants, a reporter and a newspaper publisher, liable for publishing an allegedly libelous article in November 2013.

• Lindy Washburn is a journalist. She wrote a defamatory "six-thousand-word story" on Dr. Kaul that was published on the front page of The Record on November 17, 2013, just before ALJ Solomon rendered the initial decision to terminate his medical license. The goal was to influence the ALJ's decision. Dr. Kaul specifically takes issue with the statement that he had "an Upper crust British accent, " which was intended "to malign the plaintiffs character by associating him with the British Aristocracy, towards whom the average American holds hostility, because of the recent War of Independence." She recorded Dr. Kaul without his permission. She also knew that official transcripts of the 2012 disciplinary proceedings were altered but she didn't report that in her story. (Id. ¶¶ 37, 89, 153, 175, 204, 234, 259)
• North Jersey Media, Inc. ("NJM*"} owns The Record, and employs Washburn. Its owners, "The Borg Family, " have commercial interests which align with the co-defendants, and NJM acted as "a mouthpiece" for the Governor and his defendant donors. The quid for NJM's quo was preferential access to "state government news." (AC ¶¶ 37, 88)

         B. The Disciplinary Proceedings

         As Part I.A makes clear, the conduct and events at the heart of this dispute occurred during or immediately after disciplinary proceedings that concluded years ago. Here is a summary of those proceedings.

         On June 13, 2012, the AG initiated administrative disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Kaul. The charges, in essence, were that Dr. Kaul did not possess the "accepted standard of surgical training, education, and experience to perform spinal surgical procedures" and the "flagrant disregard of his own lack of training and expertise . . . place[d] the public in clear and imminent danger." The AG sought an immediate suspension of Dr. Kaul's medical license.[8] (Def. Ex. A.)

         The matter was then referred to the Office of Administrative Law as a contested matter. ALJ Solomon presided over 23 days of hearings, running from April 9, 2013, to June 28, 2013. Drs. Kaufman and Przybylski testified on behalf of the Board. The record closed on October 28, 2013. (ALJ Op. 1-44)

         ALJ Solomon issued his initial decision on December 31, 2013. Here are a few of his findings of fact:

2. [Dr. Kaul's] education, training, internships, residencies and fellowships were insufficient to prepare him for surgeries of the spine, whether minimally invasive or open.
3. The CME courses he took were insufficient to provide such education and training. If hands-on training were offered, it was, in most instances, done on cadavers. In others, he was primarily an observer.
4. In addition to his lack of sufficient education and training in spinal surgeries, he did not receive sufficient monitoring by a trained overseer. For instance, he was on his own the first time he inserted a pedicle screw in a live patient, without the presence of any trained monitor.
5. Respondent's treatment included, but was not limited to, inserting pedicle screws into the spinal canal; failing to immediately remove a stimulator after the onset of infection, thereby risking paralysis; using OptiMesh[9] as an interbody structural device; and performing a staged fusion, as well as other acts as discussed above, 6. Some of his patient consents were unsigned. . . .
9. He used allograft bone in patients who were smokers.[10]
10. He failed to advise patients who were smokers of the risks associated with smoking and allograft bone.
11. He misrepresented his qualifications, not only on his website, but also in discussions with his patients.
12. None of his certifications were recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, with the exception of his board-certification in anesthesiology. Non-recognition included his certification by the American Board of Interventional Pain Management.

(ALJ Op. 80-81)

         These infractions, the ALJ found, went far beyond mere puffery or resume-fudging. To the contrary, over the course of 94 pages, ALJ Solomon detailed the physical and emotional harm Dr. Kaul inflicted on 11 patients who trusted that he was competent to do-and, on several occasions, that he would in fact do-what he told them he could do.

         Here is just one example, patient T.Z.:

The next patient called by petitioner was T.Z., a forty-year-old woman. In the latter part of 2009, she began experiencing pain in her neck and back following an automobile accident. A neighbor, who had been a patient of respondent, recommended [Dr. Kaul]. T.Z. then checked respondent's website, where he represented that he was a board-certified minimally invasive spine specialist. T.Z. was under the clear impression that if she decided to treat with him, any surgery, if one were required, would be minimal, and nothing more ....
He told her that he was going to insert two screws and scrape a disc that appeared to be bulging, that the surgery would last approximately forty-five minutes, and would only involve a small incision, about one inch in length. The patient stated that it was her clear understanding was that this was going to be a minor procedure, nothing more, and that she would be discharged the same day, followed by a minimal recovery period of about a week or so. The patient stated that she made it very clear to respondent that she would not agree to anything more significant.
Although she smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, she stated that respondent never mentioned anything about smoking or its risks associated with surgery.
On September 19, 2011, respondent performed a fusion at ¶ 3-L4 with the insertion of five screws. . . .
On the date of the surgery, she and her husband arrived at the surgical center early in the morning for what was thought to be a forty-five-minute procedure. Instead, she left the surgery center around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. Her husband told her that she was in surgery for about six to seven hours. The ride home was excruciating-she was in extreme pain and felt nauseous. . . . Upon arriving home, she could not walk because the pain was so intense. Her husband called his father and together they placed her in a plastic chair and lifted her up the ten to twelve steps into her home. Once she was inside, she was placed in a recliner. . . .
On December 24, 2011, T.Z. was taken to Pocono Hospital, where she was admitted, because she had severe difficulty walking. The pain and numbness to the inside of her legs and buttocks was worsening. . . . [W]hile at Pocono Hospital, she was informed that the entire disc had been removed. She also learned that five screws, instead of two, had been inserted.
From Pocono Hospital, she was transferred by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital .... It was then that she learned that respondent was not an orthopedist, as she had initially thought, but an anesthesiologist.
On October 14, 2011, after noticing oozing from one of the incisions left by respondent, she consulted Brian Morse, D.O., who performed nerve testing on her legs. They did not respond. He recommended that she see George Naseef, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon. She saw Dr. Naseef on November 17, 2011, complaining of difficulty in walking, leg numbness, her right ankle giving out (going off to the side), and loss of balance, particularly on non-flat surfaces . . . Dr. Naseef told her that two screws had penetrated the nerve in her spine and that she needed surgery. . . .
On January 30, 2012, Dr. Naseef performed a revision surgery at Morristown Memorial Hospital.
During these proceedings, T.Z. was asked to display the scars left by respondent. One scar was vertical at the midline of the low back, and measured approximately eight inches. There was also a horizontal scar to the left of the eight-inch scar, which measured about two inches. . . .
As the result of respondent's surgery, she had to use a walker for about six months for balance, which she began using immediately following the surgery. After six months, she used a cane daily, also for balance. For months, her husband had to escort her to the bathroom, where she used a specially raised toilet seat. This lasted for several months. In addition, her feet have become positioned outward. The inner sides of her legs remain numb and she continues to have back pain. She stated that no day is a good day. Her pain starts upon awakening and worsens as the day progresses.
It was noted by the undersigned that when she approached and left the witness stand, she used a cane and ambulated very slowly. She also brought a pillow to sit on and was sobbing throughout most of her testimony.
Her husband, M.Z., also testified. He accompanied T.Z. to her initial consultation with respondent. He specifically recalled respondent telling them that the procedure would last about forty-five minutes and would involve a three-quarter-inch incision. . . .
He stated that T.Z. is now essentially confined to a recliner. She does not even sleep in bed. . . .
Petitioner called George S. Naseef III, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, to testify. Dr. Naseef. . . performed corrective surgery on T.Z. . . .
Dr. Naseef determined that the L-3 screws were not in proper line and the right S-1 screw was in the S-1 nerve root, not in the pedicle. Both L-3 screws and the right S-1 screw had perforated the bone and were in the nerve canal. . . .
During surgery on January 30, 2012, Dr. Naseef noted that the right and left L-3 screws were in the canal, and the right S-1 screw was grossly malpositioned and in the canal. . . . Once the right S-1 screw was removed, nerve function immediately returned to the patient's leg. ... He stated that of the five screws inserted, only one was positioned correctly.[11]

(ALJ Op. 53-57)

         Assessing the evidence in the record, [12] ALJ Solomon concluded that the Attorney General "prove[d] [] well beyond a preponderance of the credible evidence" that Dr. Kaul "never should have performed any spinal surgeries, whether they were called minimally invasive or open, given his lack of education and training." "[T]hat he performed such surgeries, without the requisite education and training, and in disregard for the safety of several patients who testified on behalf of petitioner, . . . warrant[s] nothing less than the revocation of his medical license[, ]" the ALJ recommended. (ALJ Op. 93)

         On March 12, 2014, the Board adopted ALJ Solomon's opinion and order in its entirety. It then considered the appropriate penalty for Dr. Kaul's conduct. Observing that Dr. Kaul, rather than acknowledging wrongdoing or demonstrating contrition after the ALJ's decision instead lobbed "broad allegations of altered court transcripts, interference with legal evidence and political influence, " the Board struggled to "find any mitigating factors in this matter."[13] Indeed, the Board found Dr. Kaul's lack of remorse "disturbing."[14](Order 22-23, 25)

         The Board also considered that this was not his first offense. About ten years earlier, the Board had suspended Dr. Kaul's medical license based on his failure to disclose in various credentialing applications that he had been convicted of manslaughter for killing a patient in England.[15] Despite his failure to be forthright and honest in his dealings with the Board and others, the Board was lenient. The tragic incident in England, it reasoned, appeared to be just a mistake, and with due care similar incidents could be prevented. It therefore "eschewed a more stringent penalty with the hope and expectation that respondent will resolve to practice with the vigilance that he has promised." Under the circumstances, the Board found a two-year suspension to be a sufficient sanction. But "[f]uture transgressions, " it warned, "will not be deserving of leniency." (Order 23-24)

         Against that backdrop-Dr. Kaul's lack of remorse, his intent to continue to perform spine surgeries, and his failure to "turn over a new leaf to practice medicine responsibly"-the Board adopted the ALJ's recommendation to revoke Dr. Kaul's license, effective February 12, 2014. It further imposed the statutory maximum fine of $20, 000 for each of the 15 counts of malpractice and misconduct charged, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. All told, the Board imposed $475, 422.32 in civil penalties, fees, and costs. (Order 28-29)

         Dr. Kaul did not appeal the Board's final decision to the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division.

         C. Concurrent and Subsequent Litigation

         Over the years, Dr. Kaul has sued, and has been sued, in several actions that bear some relation to this one. Two are particularly relevant to these motions to dismiss.

         1. BER-L-2256-13 (suit against doctors)

         A couple weeks before the first ALJ hearing, on March 22, 2013, Dr. Kaul sued Drs. Heary, Moore, Carmel, Przybylski and Mitchell in New Jersey Superior Court, Bergen County. He alleged defamation, commercial disparagement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, unfair competition, conspiracy, and aid in the commission of a tort. On March 7, 2014 (about three months after the ALJ's initial decision and five days before the Board's final decision), the complaint was dismissed with prejudice as to Drs. Pr2ybylski, Moore, and Carmel. (State Compl.; State Orders)

         2. UNN-L332-15 (Santos malpractice)

         On September 24, 2015, Ana Santos filed a malpractice complaint against Dr. Kaul in New Jersey Superior Court, Union County. In June 2016, Dr. Kaul filed counterclaims and third-party claims against Governor Christie, the Board, Dr. Staats, and Dr. Carmel alleging the same causes of action asserted here: violations of RICO, the Sherman and Clayton Acts, the Hobbs Act, mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, defamation, section 1983, Title VII, commercial disparagement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and aid in the commission in the tort. That case appears to be ongoing. (Def. Ex. J, ECF No. 128-12)

         D. This Case

         Dr. Kaul filed his original complaint on February 22, 2016, in the United States District Court for the Southern District in New York. Because almost all of the defendants and events giving rise to the complaint were located in New Jersey, on April 19, 2016, Judge ...


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