Whistle-blower suits pending
Broward closes second inquiry into ex-attorney
The state attorney’s office for Broward County, Fla., closed a second investigation of a former attorney for the publicly run Broward Health without bringing criminal charges against either lawyer. Both lawyers still have whistle-blower lawsuits pending against the system.
The office had been investigating whether Joseph Truhe Jr., the former associate general counsel for the four-hospital system based in Fort Lauderdale, practiced law without a license after he was hired at the system without being admitted to the bar to practice in Florida (Feb. 15, p. 14).
Prosecutors closed the investigation in early March after concluding that Truhe’s initial employment offer clearly included a requirement that he sit for the Florida bar exam, which he applied for weeks after he started employment with the system. Truhe had been a practicing attorney in other states since 1977.
A similar set of allegations was lodged against Broward’s former general counsel, Marc Goldstone, though he was not let off as easily. Goldstone worked about six months as general counsel under the mistaken belief he did not have to be admitted to the Florida bar because of an exception to state law that allows in-house corporate counsel to work under a special class of law license, according to an internal memo provided by the state attorney’s office.
It later turned out that the exception does not apply to lawyers at public organizations such as Broward Health.
Although Goldstone was found not to have purposely misled his future employers during a job interview, assistant state’s attorney David Schulson wrote that “it defies common sense” that Goldstone would not have discovered the problem during or after his application process for in-house corporate counsel status.
Still, Schulson closed the investigation without bringing charges.
Goldstone and Truhe have federal whistle-blower complaints pending against the system, which allege they were fired in retaliation for their aggressive handling of numerous allegations of malfeasance against the South Florida health system. Broward Health has denied the allegations and is fighting the lawsuits.